I'm now 4 weeks into the training schedule for USA 2011 and I genuinely feel that things could not have gone any better so far. Things are going so well on all fronts! Have I made my point yet?
Firstly and most importantly, I'm managing to get all of the required running, gym work and gym classes in. My routine has really settled down and even if it means not getting in until 19:30 most nights at least I make it in time for story time! This also means that every minute I'm not training is so very precious and spending quality time with Katy and Jack is of the upmost importance.
For instance, I was ever so proud when Jack (pictured) and I went for a run on Saturday morning. We managed 1 and 3/4 miles on the Derwent Walk. That's not bad at all for a 5 year old and after he'd played tennis for 45 minutes. Hopefully, we'll be able to repeat that distance this coming Saturday.
Anyhow, I digress! Being motivated enough to get out and run has never been a problem. I usually have some good running company and recently, colleague and fellow season ticket holder, Carl Hudson has been dragging me round (not literally!) various routes on a lunchtime. His company was especially valued in week 1 and 2 when my speed wasn't at it's best but he stuck with me and 4 weeks later I have started running at a respectable (for me!) pace again.
Likewise, gym classes have always been enjoyable and again I've never had a problem getting the motivation to do a spinning class or boxercise and now I've started to do Body Pump. The instructors at the Northern Rock gym are top class and always seem to be able to push me to my limit.
The problem I have had in the past though was attending the gym proper. It's not been unusual for me to do 5 or 6 classes a week but trying to get into the gym has been a real issue. Thankfully, David and Mark have helped out on this front with some advice and a schedule and getting in the gym is now something I look forward to. In fact, I'm looking forward to a session in David's gym with Mark this Thursday. I've got a feeling that one is going to be tough but I hope they are going to be able to see the progress made since I last had an assessment 4 weeks ago.
Put it all together and I've got plenty of training options. I'm not likely to get bored! I've never been so determined to train as hard and as long for anything in my life. And that includes last year's run from John O'Groats to Lands End. There is something quite different about this run. I think it may be the fact that I know the size and scale of what lies ahead (and it's not my stomach for a change!). I know how great the potential rewards are for completing this one. The ultimate reward will be handing over sizable cheques to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.
I'm going off on a tangent here but stick with it. I'll get back on track in a minute. Already, I can tell that the interest in the event, even at this early stage, is starting to grow and gain momentum. Appearing on the front page and page 3 of the Journal last week was fantastic. Also, I was at a bit of a do last Thursday. A lot of people there, knew who I was and what I was planning to do and some had seen the Journal article. I was a little bit embarrassed at times with the praise that was sent my way. No really I was!
Anyway never mind that! Without going into too much detail, that Do, by the way, was one of the most amazing nights I've ever had. To say that I was inspired by the people who were at the centre of the night is an absolute understatement. It was a privilege to be there and I've had a spring in my step ever since.
Where was I? Ah yes. The training is going well! Did I mention the fact that training is going well? That's only half the story. The other bit to all this is my diet. And not just my diet but my changed attitude towards food in general. I'm now into the 3rd week of healthy eating. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, David and Mark provided the inspiration and ideas for a structured eating plan and Katy has prepared and cooked most of it.
Today was a textbook day in terms of eating and having enough energy to do the required amount of exercise. I started off with the usual porridge and raisins. Lunchtime saw me run 5 miles in 00:46:05. I felt strong throughout and brilliant at the end. In fact, I probably had a quicker run in me but I'm happy with that time. I followed that run up with a baked potato and beans. That was enough energy to be able to do 50 minutes in the gym followed by a tough spinning class. I rounded off the day with roast chicken and vegetables followed by meringue and fruit. Not a chocolate bar or bag of crisps in sight. Nor the usual cravings for them either!
Well I hope you'll agree that things have started off on a really good foot. I've just got to keep on keeping on, as they say. Long may it continue.