Monday, 29 December 2008

2008 - Year end thoughts (Part 1).

2008 was another good year for fundraising with the sum of £2,601 handed over to The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013) in respect of The Pennine Challenge. Thanks to the team who accompanied me on a 44 mile bike ride and 22 mile run through the harsh terrain of the North Pennines, this took the overall total raised since I began fundraising to over £51,000. Brilliant!

2008 was also the year in which I started training for the 3100 mile run across the USA in 2011. More importantly though, 2008 was the year where the real building blocks started to be put in place to give me the best possible chance of succeeding in the USA. And what exactly do I mean by success?

Success will obviously be managing to finish the run in 1 piece in the 100 days that I've planned to do it in. The next campaign will also be considered a success if I manage to raise a considerable amount of money for St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013). 

The fundraising target is a very ambitious £50,000. At the time of writing there is £1395 worth of pledges on the board. That's not bad at all given that the run is still over 2 years away! I'd like to think that by the end of 2009 that figure will have nudged close to £5000. To help me achieve this I'll be continuing to sell Run Geordie Run t-shirts, selling the places in the "3000 scheme" as well as asking for conventional pledges. Also, thanks to Geordie band "The Exiles", there'll be a couple of charity songs for sale/download too. I saw the 2nd draft of lyrics back in October for the 2 songs. Both songs were superb to say the least! I can't wait to hear what they sound like when put to music.

The t-shirts are selling very well indeed with all proceeds going to the 2 charities. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of Brian Wells (design), (production), Peter McCowie (production costs) and David Fairlamb (erm......well David twisted a few arms).

The first few places in the "3000 scheme" have been taken up too. It is my hope that I'll be able to dedicate each mile of the run to a lost loved one. Please click the link at the right hand side of the page for further details.

As you can probably tell, I'm getting a "little help from my friends" with the organisation and support of this run. I'll talk more about that in part 2 as well as the plans for 2009.

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 8

Monday 22nd December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 27th December - Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 27th December - 5 x run up the steps. (00:12:30).
Saturday 27th December - 5 x run up the Priory bank. (00:11:05).
Saturday 27th December - 6 mile run, Tynemouth, pier, Fish Quay and back. (00:58:34).

Sunday, 21 December 2008

A very good week of training.

Week 7 of training for the big run in the USA has me thinking that I'm currently well ahead of where I need to be with 2.5 years of training left. Not only that but I'm continuing to develop a whole new level of mental toughness. This is going to be essential to get me through the thousands of miles that I need to do between now and August 2011.

Thankfully, the chest infection I had last week is a thing of the past. This week saw me bounce back with some good running and average minute per mile times coming down to below 9 minutes. I enjoyed a cracking Beach Bootcamp session on Saturday and what I can only describe as the best steps session to date afterwards. I ran 9 times up the steps in King Edwards Bay with a lot less recovery time in between each one. The burn levels were nowhere near as bad as previous weeks and Dave Fairlamb agreed at the end that this was the best attempt yet at what is a difficult explosive style session that gets my heart rate near the red zone every time! It should have been 10 times up the steps but Dave said that if I could beat a passing female jogger who was running up them (with a good head start) then I could drop one.

This week's steps session drew the largest team of people ever to attempt it since I've been doing it. Each person took it in turn to accompany me on each attempt. The encouragement and support from each one of them was brilliant as ever. At the end, my legs were a bit shaky but that didn't stop me from doing a 5 mile run from Tynemouth Beach to Spanish City and back. It was slow on the way out with a toilet stop at the lake (the toilet's at the lake not the lake itself by the way!). I got just past Spanish City when my GPS watch read 2.5 miles. I was much quicker on the way back with the last 2 miles around the 9 minute mark. It was one of those runs where I felt I could have gone on for loads more miles. All in all, it was a very good couple of hours of exercise. The plan now is for a run to become part of the Saturday morning routine after Bootcamp and the steps. There is no festive rest and the next session is this weekend. 6 miles will be on the cards this time. I might be running to Blyth and back by the time the Summer comes!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 7

Monday 15th December - 6 mile run, Town Moor. (00:53:34).
Tuesday 16th December - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:44:30).
Tuesday 16th December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 16th December - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Thursday 18th December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 20th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 20th December - 9 x run up the steps. (00:22:08).
Saturday 20th December - 5 mile run, Tynemouth to Whitley Bay and back. (00:51:20).

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 6

Monday 8th December - 5.2 mile run. (00:52:40).
Monday 8th December - 4.8 mile run. (00:49:43).
Tuesday 9th December - 5 mile run. (01:02:12).
Thursday 10th December - Personal Training Session. (01:30:00).
Saturday 13th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:45:00).
Saturday 13th December - 7 x run up the steps. (00:14:12).

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The 3000 scheme

Running 3100 miles across the USA is a massive undertaking. Just like the 2007 run from John O'Groats to Lands End, I'll be running in memory of lost family members such as my parents Margery and Terry and my brother David. 

I don't want the dedication to lost loved ones to stop there, however. I want to open up this event to as many people as I can. Apart from the obvious effects of raising 10's of thousands of pounds for the 2 charities, it is my sincere hope that this run will have as far reaching an effect as possible and will serve to inspire and to give hope and comfort to as many people as possible. I know from the 1000's of emails I've received over the last 18 months, just how much last year's run and the cause I was running for meant to all of those people who got in touch. It soon became apparent that for every 1 runner like me, there are thousands of stories of great loss but usually great inspiration also.

It is my hope that 3000 miles of the run from California to New York in 2011 will be dedicated to the memory of a lost loved one. I will create a register on this site of all of the names and provide space for a comment or dedication to be left if the recipient wishes. These people will be in my thoughts as I run each mile and I will most certainly hope to draw on the dedications left for inspiration as well as running in their memory. There will be a nominal cost of £2 for each mile. It will be the recipients choice whether this will go to St Benedict's Hospice or The Children's Foundation.

If you would like to have a mile of the USA run in 2011 dedicated to the memory of someone please follow these steps:

1) Pay £2 by visiting either for St Benedict's Hospice or for The Children's Foundation. The choice is yours as to which charity to donate to.

2) Email with the following details:

a) Your name or family name.
b) The name of the person I'll be running in memory of.
c) A dedication and/or some information about the person I'll be running in memory of.
d) A picture of the person I'll be running in memory of. 
e) Whether you'd be happy for me to include some or all of the above details in a register on this website and if you'd be happy to have the person's name mentioned on this site during the run. You can supply as much or as little information as you would like.

Hopefully, all miles will be dedicated but one thing is fore sure, it will be an honour and a privilege to run in the memory of all of those people who are sadly no longer with us.

Friday, 12 December 2008

100% profit for charities!

Thanks to the generosity of Peter McCowie, who has offered to foot the bill for production costs, the entire proceeds from the first batch of t-shirts will be split between St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation! Superb!

I've just met Peter recently at the Beach Bootcamp sessions on a Saturday but he is no stranger to the cause. Peter was one of the sponsors of last year's run, finding out about the event via

The t-shirts are being printed today and I'd like to say a massive thank you to Peter, David Fairlamb, and Brian Wells for their help.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Chest infection!

I was 10 miles into this week's 50 mile schedule when a nasty chest infection took hold. I still had a go at yesterday's 5 mile run but it was a useless attempt. I managed to do 1 mile on the very icy paths of Gosforth. The cold caused a bit of pain in my chest and throat so I did the last 4 miles on the treadmill in the gym.

I seemed to have very little energy so the whole 5 miles took over an hour to complete. It was only when I had a sauna at the end of the session that the pain went.

I'm listening to my body today and therefore won't be doing the planned 10 miles. Hopefully, I'll be running again by the weekend though. It's been a long while since a chest infection has caused me to rest up. Given, the icy cold conditions I've been running in recently perhaps this was inevitable. I can't wait for the Summer!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 5

Monday 1st December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Tuesday 2nd December - Personal Training Session. (01:15:00). 
Wednesday 3rd December - 7 mile run, Race Course Forest. (01:07:40).
Thursday 4th December - Spinning. (00:45:00).
Thursday 4th December - Body Pump. (01:00:00).
Saturday 6th December - Beach Boot Camp. (00:50:00).
Saturday 6th December - 10 x run up the steps. (00:25:13).

Brilliant t-shirt news!

I received the t-shirt artwork from designer, Brian Wells, today. To say I'm pleased with the design is an understatement! I'm also pleased to report that I've taken pre-orders for almost all of this first batch of t-shirts. The sales from these will yield over £300 for the 2 charities. I'll keep you posted with news of exactly when they become available to buy and how to pay for them.I don't think it's too far off now. In the meantime, check this awesome artwork out.



Fatboy getting slimmer!

I had a body composition test this week with Mark Fleming and I must admit I was dreading it beforehand! Despite giving up booze, takeaways and bacon sarnies I think there is still room for improvement in my diet. It's going to take time but I'm definitely heading in the right direction. 

Anyway, imagine my delight when I found out I'd lost 6 pounds of fat this month! That's 12.5 pounds of fat lost since pre-training began in September! I've also gained 1.75 pounds of muscle this month and that's almost 3 pounds gained since September. My metabolic age (in simple terms, that's the age your body thinks it is) was  down to 45 from 52! Excellent! I'm getting younger! There were also noticeable improvements in other areas such as total body water and the Visceral Fat Rating (fat around major organs) was down to 9.  

According to Wikipedia "Visceral fat, also known as organ fat or intra-abdominal fat, is located inside the peritoneal cavity, packed in between internal organs. An excess of visceral fat leads to the "pot belly" or "beer belly" effect, in which the abdomen protrudes excessively".

Wikipedia also has the following to say about the "Sit Ups Myth" - "There is a common misconception that spot exercise (that is, exercising a specific muscle or location of the body) most effectively burns fat at the desired location, but this is not the case. Spot exercise is beneficial for building specific muscles, but it has little effect on fat in that area of the body, or on the body's distribution of body fat. The same thing applies to sit-ups and belly fat. Sit-ups and other abdominal exercises are useful in building the abdominal muscles, but they have little effect on the adipose tissue located there. In order to burn fat, one must take part in aerobic exercises.". Hmmm.... Very interesting!

All in all it was a pleasing set of stats and proves to me that the first 4 weeks of USA 2011 training have been a success.  The real challenge is going to be to follow that up this month, next month and every month for the next 3 years!

Pushed to the limit!

There seems to be a lot of "the toughest" ever this, that and the other at the moment. This label isn't something I'm just casually associating with a workout that I happen to find difficult. It is testament, I think, to how hard I'm pushing myself and more importantly how hard I'm being pushed by others. Namely, David Fairlamb and Mark Fleming.

Yesterday's Beach Bootcamp (pictured in simple form) made use of a different part of Tynemouth to previous weeks with the very scenic Priory providing the backdrop to a session that included 3 miles of running (at various speeds) and a tough arms session. Apart from the bikinis and hot weather, the whole thing reminded me of something you'd see on Aerobics Oz Style! You couldn't get a more perfect setting for a nice wintry workout!

The steps session at the end of Beach Bootcamp, aided by the now traditional posse of Bootcampers, left me in such a state. And I mean a right old state! I was as white as a sheet according to Mark Fleming. I just lay there in the freezing cold with legs feeling like jelly and a very sickly feeling in my stomach. It was like nothing I had experienced before. In fact I've never even come close to this in any Marathon, long distance run or gym class. That was after 8 sets! This week David said that we would be doing 10 sets! After the 8th, I muttered those not often muttered words - "I can't do any more"! I was half expecting a reply along the lines of "Ok, you've done well with those 8, we'll leave it there.". However, I don't think this is ever going to be the way things are done with David and Mark so set 9 was done with jelly legs and a sickly stomach and the promise that I could take as long as I wanted before setting off on the 10th. A couple of minutes rest was needed before setting off on the 10th. I was like Shakin Stevens on the way down to start the final set! Without too much pause for thought I started the final set. When I got to the top, I didn't know whether I should pass out, be sick, cry or just fall asleep on the top step! It was a good 3 or 4 minutes before I was able to walk again.

It took me the full day to recover from the steps! Not physically though! I found myself emotionally drained from the whole thing! I think David and Mark are starting to learn a lot about me and what I'm capable of. I've certainly learned a lot about them. They both demand nothing less than 100%. This is proper training this is!

Monday, 1 December 2008

More t-shirt details!

I've been getting more t-shirt details from the designer today and we have decided to go for a screen printed finish. This method is far more durable than conventional heat transfer and will last much longer without fading. I'll be putting these t-shirts through their paces in the gym and on the road over the coming months so we felt it would be a good idea all round to have a better quality finish.

The front of the t-shirt will feature the RUN GEORDIE RUN logo followed by the words "in aid of" and then the 2 charities logos. The back of the "supporters version" of the t-shirt will have the RUN GEORDIE RUN logo followed by the words "I'm supporting the '3100 mile run in 100 days across the USA, 2011'". The Custom Planet and David Fairlamb Fitness logos will be on each sleeve. I can't wait to see the artwork before it goes to print and rest assured that I'll put it on the blog when I get it.

I'm so pleased that the printer (Custom Planet) have waived the screen setup price (which isn't always cheap), the designer, Brian Wells has not charged for his time and we've settled on a price of £10. This means that £7.70 will be donated to the 2 charities for each t-shirt sold! That's £3.85 to St Benedict's Hospice and the same amount the The Children's Foundation. Brilliant!

In relation to the t-shirts, I received the following email today from a lady named Alyson. It is an important and timely reminder as to why I'm doing all of this and how important the funds that are being raised are to their recipients.

".....we would like a couple of t shirts, we have seen first hand what the charities you are raising funds for can help a child. Our son was born 5 years ago with a rare chromosome deletion and we have just had to rely on charities in making his life more comfortable.. what you are doing is fantastic. keep up the good work, take care and keep healthy.".

Emails to register your interest should be sent to with details of quantity and size. Don't worry, this is not a commitment to buy, but it does help me and the printer gauge the likely quantities and different sizes needed.