I've been in the pre-training phase of USA 2011 training schedule for the past 10 weeks and it is almost at an end. Pictured to the left is the elevation profile of a 9.5 mile run I did yesterday (as taken by my GPS watch). Based on how I felt at the end of that very cold uphill run I could easily tell that there has been much progress made since September. I hardly felt like I'd done a run at all when I got to the end of the Derwent Walk after having set off from Blaydon Rugby Club 1 hour 37 minutes and 13 seconds earlier. I was gutted to later find out that my PB for this run is 01:36:16. If only I'd realised, I'd have made more of an effort of it! I'll save that one for next time!
Seriously though, what I feel I've achieved over the last 10 weeks is nothing compared to what I need to achieve over the next 2.5 years. The weekly mileage needs to increase. The gym sessions need to increase and become more intense. I'm bordering on 16 stone at the minute (better than 17 stone 8 pounds in January 2007!). At least 3 of that needs to come off before I set off from California in May 2011! So much improvement and effort to be made but thankfully time is on my side.
My diet has changed quite a bit over the last 10 weeks. Despite having the odd lapse now and again things are definitely going in the right direction on this front. For instance, it has been 8 weeks since I had a takeaway or a bacon sandwich (my real vice). I've cut out processed food almost altogether and fresh vegetables and lean meat are regularly the order of the day for my tea. There is still plenty of hard work to do with my nutrition. With the help of my mentor's David (Fairlamb) and Mark Fleming, I'm far better placed to succeed than ever before. In fact, I've got a weigh in and an hour's gym session this Friday with Mark. The proof of the pudding will come out of that test!
At present my training is a mixture of running, gym work, Body Pump and Spinning. I'm so pleased to report that 3 weeks ago I added tennis to this list. Coach Phil Atess, really puts me through my paces for an hour with a mixture of drills and games. Despite not hitting a ball in anger for over 2 years I was surprised to find that I wasn't too rusty (by my standards!).
Not only is Phil a top class coach, he is also to blame for putting the idea of running from John O'Groats to Lands in my mind. Phil ran that route in 1992 and raised over £12,000 for charity. That was a staggering amount to raise in a pre-internet age. He told me about it in 2001 and 6 years later I followed in his footsteps.
I'm also pleased to report that my son Jack has started to play mini tennis and Phil is one of the coaches charged with coaching him. Good luck!
Moving on to the financial side of things. There are 2 distinct sides to the funding of the next event. Firstly, there is sponsorship. I'm pretty sure that given the magnitude of this event, I'll be able to reach the £50,000 target. I have a couple of fundraising initiatives that I'll be announcing over the coming months to help boost the fund before I do the actual run in 2011. More on that soon!
Secondly though and just as important as sponsorship is the Tour Fund. This is the pot of money that I'll need to pay for flights, insurance, accommodation, food, lap dancers in Vegas, fuel and all other incidental supplies. This pot of money needs to be around £14,000. A more accurate figure will be calculated next year. Hopefully, the exchange rate will have picked up by then!
As I've said many times, the Tour Fund will come entirely out of my own pocket. It has been suggested by a number of people that I should seek assistance from various companies. If I do happen to find a company willing to support me then it would directed towards the sponsorship for the 2 charities. The only personal assistance I will be seeking will be for the supply of footwear. I have written to a couple of major footwear manufacturers and at the time of writing all I can say is that I await favourable replies! Given that I get through a pair of trainers every 600 miles or so I anticipate using quite a few pairs. If anyone has any contacts in this area and you think they may be willing to help out then please get in touch at email@example.com.
The good news is though that after 7 months of saving I have almost 1/3 of the Tour Fund in place. The fund was boosted in the summer when I was able to do a lot of cycling into work and I banked the saved petrol money. I'm also saving quite a bit by not drinking beer and the fact that takeaways are off the menu it's amazing how it all adds up.
To further boost the Tour Fund I've set up an eBay account and will be auctioning off some of my prized possessions over the coming months. In 2004, I set out to raise £6,000 via eBay with the sole intention of buying a state of the art 50" Plasma TV and home cinema setup. It took 12 months to do but I made it and the TV was installed in time for Christmas (and I was on 1st name terms with the lady in the Post Office!). If you're interested in a bid then the list of items for sale by RUNGEORDIERUN can be found by clicking here. First up is an Adidas Team GB tracksuit worn in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Watch out for more unique items coming soon.