Wednesday 18 November 2009

The story so far (PART 2 - Training to run 3100 miles)

As promised, I'd like to continue the task of bringing everyone up to speed with how my preparations and training are going for the 3100 mile run across the USA in 100 days starting in May 2011. On Tuesday I spoke about the 2 chosen charities. Today, I'll touch on how my training is going and how well prepared I am.

Training to run 3100 miles in 100 days

"How on earth do you train to run for such a considerable time and distance? Where on earth does your training schedule start? How much training do you have to do?" were just some of the questions on many people's lips back in the Summer of 2008.

First of all, I considered what it had taken for long distance events that I'd ran over the previous 6 years. I'd ran the 134 mile C2C route 3 times, ran the 84 mile Hadrian's Wall Path and of course ran 874 miles from John O'Groats to Lands End. While all of these events were successfully completed, they weren't easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'm convinced that I've always done the right amount of running was done beforehand and as a result I've always been pleased with my endurance levels.

In my opinion, if you've got enough endurance and an equal measure of mental strength then you've got a very very good chance of succeeding in what you set out to do. Mental strength isn't so easy to come by as physical strength is though.

Sadly, in my experience, some of the things that go to build mental strength are having to endure and pass through devastating life changing events. I've written, talked and cried many a time about the loss of my parents and my brother. As the years go by, when that mist of grief starts to clear and you begin to move on with your life you suddenly realise, despite the horrific loss, how much stronger an individual you have become. I've seen it and been made aware of it many times in many other people over the last 21 years since my Dad died.

What I've also seen and I'm sure that you the reader have too, is the overpowering urge to turn the most negative of negatives into the most positive of positives. We see, read or hear about it almost every day of every week. So many people, doing so many amazing fund raising things to try and help give other people a better life, help fund research to cure so many illnesses, help to ease the pain of those who are suffering or dying, help to give an independent life to those who would not otherwise have one. I could go on and on and on.

We all know at least someone who fits this bill. Someone who has the desire, like me, to repay a debt of gratitude. In my case, it is the debt of gratitude to the Doctors, Nurses, carers and volunteers of St Benedict's Hospice that I wish to continue to repay for as long as I can.

The same can't be said for The Children's Foundation. I have no debt of gratitude to pay. My son, Jack, is very fit and well and, as far as I know, we have never had to call upon the services of The Children's Foundation or one of the projects that it supports. Mind you, just recently, my niece and first time Mammy Louise has. She attended a session on child safety; namely the "Whoops! Child Safety Project". The motivation I've got to raise funds for The Children's Foundation is entirely different to St Benedict's Hospice. This one is completely selfless, which the dictionary has the following entry for: "Selflessness, the act of sacrificing ones own interest for the greater good". The key words there are the "greater good". I've learned a lot over the last few years about the good work that The Children's Foundation does. It still amazes me to this day, that by simply putting one foot in front of the other a few million times, getting people to sponsor that effort and passing the funds onto the charities can actually help them fund projects or resources for the "greater good".

So it's time to revisit those questions; "How on earth do you train to run for such a considerable time and distance? Where on earth does your training schedule start? How much training do you have to do?".

The training for this one started in 1988 when my Dad, Terry, lost his battle against cancer. Training continued in 1990 when my Brother, David, died as a result of a sudden brain hemorrhage. My training to run 3100 miles across the USA was finally complete in 1995 when my Mam, Margery, also lost her long battle against cancer. Although, I didn't realise it at the time, I was ready to take on this 3100 mile run back as far as 1995.

As I see it, the amount of running, strength training and healthy eating from November 2008 to May 2011 will determine the degree of pain that I suffer during the 100 days on the trans USA run. I have been trying very hard and will try even harder next year to bring those 3 components together in an attempt to reduce the pain.

I'll talk about the facts and how the physical side of things have been going tomorrow as I continue this "story so far" series.