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Monday, 19 March 2012

Day 7 Training, shopping for Mothers Day, and a recap on my motivation.

Hello again! Before I start writing about Day 7's training, I'm mindful that any new followers of this blog may be wondering what the hell any of this has to do with autism anyway!? So for those who haven't bothered trailing back to the begining of this blog here's a recap of how I got here...

My girlfriend's son was diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder around about 12 months ago. It was a late diagnosis, coming when he was in his last year of Primary school, aged 10 and without much time between the end of the school year to organise support for his first year of high school. That was the cause of a LOT of stress over the whole of last summer, mainly because all the departments who we needed to have contact with were closed over the school holidays! On top of that, the late diagnosis means that, because of Steven's age, we have a cocktail of ASD, early onset puberty and adolescence to manage and it can be a real problem trying to work out which is the driving factor at any one time. But any of you in the same position will already understand this, right? To say the last year has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, stresses and strains would be an understatement. It's been a massive learning curve, but The Long Push project has helped me to learn from others with the same experiences by sharing links/articles etc. It's still tough enough for me to deal with but much, much harder for Steven's mum, who's health has suffered as a result of a combination of illness and stress, partly caused by the diagnosis and partly due to other stress factors that have been unavoidable. But she's on the mend and hopefully will be back to full strength again soon.

As part of our attempts to learn more about ASD we stumbled upon Carol McKiernon of Families Connected at another ASD seminar for parents run by Autism Initiatives and shortly after this, I made contact with her to ask for some advice and support. Carol's first hand experience has been invaluable to us, so I wanted to do something to 'give back'. I thought about doing a cycle ride but then thought, "Naa, everyone does bikes rides. I want to do something different". I've been skateboarding since 1976 and have a few longboards, but have never really used them for anything other than just cruising round the seafront here in Southport in the summers. I had an idea to ride to Blackpool in a day, and then started to find out more about distance skateboarding at the forums at http://www.skatefurther.com/ and http://www.silverfishlongboarding.com/ and http://www.pavedwave.org/

I decided to name my project The Long Push 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness,  a 100 mile ride from Southport to Fleetwood on the North West coast of the UK and back over two days, 50 miles per day, in suppprt of Carol's FAMILIES CONNECTED charity.
Shortly after, I found out that two young American guys, Blake and Daniel had done an even longer ride in 2011 'Elevate Awareness: Longboarding for Autism', also for autism support. Then I knew I was on the right track.

By the way, Blake and Daniel are doing another, longer journey again this year, so please go and follow their journey and support them over at https://www.facebook.com/elevateawareness and http://elevateawareness.tumblr.com/

So now here I am, three months into my planning and training for the full 100 mile ride. I've found a way to combine doing something that I love (longboarding), generating some donations to a cause close to many people's hearts, raising autism awareness, physical excersise, a personal goal and, if I'm completely honest, a way of taking some time out away from all the daily stresses, to just be at one with my own thoughts and have to worry only about...not falling off! Which brings me nicely back to... Day 7 training.

Bikini clad California Girls just out of shot!
Day 7 came along almost as unexpectedly as Day 6, and was spent pushing and pumping along the same stretch of road, up and down the A565 Formby by-pass from Southport to Lady Green Nurseries at Ince Blundell, a little less than 9 miles each way. The weather looked a bit bleak when I set off but apart from that there's not much to add to Day 6's training really. Like I said it was up and down the same stretch of cycle path. One section of the path was particularly covered with little stones. I was fully expecting to hear that sudden 'SCRAAAATCH!' sound, grind to a halt and do my best Superman impression as a tiny stone just got lodged underneath one of my front wheels and catapulted me forwards, but somehow I got away with it and made it back unscathed.

'Crivit' running socks. A £2.99 Lidl bargain!
I tried some running socks from Lidl today, £2.99 a pair, to see if they eradicated the sore sole problem at the 10 mile mark and they worked pretty well. No soreness at all today. I was impressed. Well worth the money! Still going to try some padded tennis socks though.

Not sure how I managed this but... a bit gutted
The 'switchblade' is starting take some punishment through the training, though to be fair, I haven't used any of my longboards anywhere near this much before, and this IS what it's for.  Took a big chunk out of the top laminates at the front somehow which I'm a bit pi$$ed off about, but hey, it's all part of it. Heard some creaking sounds from the back truck while pumping down the bypass, but don't think it's anything to worry about. Good chance that I'll be needing a new set of truck bushings and new wheels and bearings before the ride itself though. My 'Durians' will be down from 76mm to about 66 mm by then!


Ah yeah, I nearly forgot.
So, it was the Thursday before Mothers Day. So part of the reason I pushed up to Lady Green was because Rachael had  picked up some things there that she liked when we'd visited a few days before, and I had to get her something from the kids. So, I pushed the 8.8 miles there, bought the presents, had an ENORMOUS veggie beakfast and pot of coffee (£5.99 highly recommended) and then pushed 8.8 miles back home, arriving just as the first spits of rain appeared on my shades. Good timing!  Time for a quick shower and then...off to work for 2.00PM! Hmmmm, in retrospect, with a full shift at work ahead of me, next time I have some training time in the morning I'll just do a short ride. As it was...I made my new personal best for furthest distance in 1 day, 17.5 miles. Just 2.5 miles short of my goal for the end on March. Chuffed! :o) But man, was I tired later? And then the day after I was hit by, that worst of debilitating illnesses...'man-flu'! Struggled through two days at work with it and Saturday and Sunday too. Grrrrrrr!

Still, I'm on target for 20 miles by the end of the month. Just got to fit some shorter training rides in around work this coming week and then, all being well, it will be the 20 mile push next week. Just got to work out where it will be, but it will definitley be back on The Long Push route again though.

I hope all the autism mom's reading this had a great day on Sunday 18th March? But it was probably just the same as every other day, huh? Respect ladies, you have my total respect.

Stats for the day here...
Part 1 -  http://runkeeper.com/user/TheLongPush/activity/75538154?&mobile=false
Part 2 -  http://runkeeper.com/user/TheLongPush/activity/75558012

Just Giving widget is fixed on the blog page again. If you havent donated and you can, please do. No amount is too small. And please keep sharing and re-tweeting.

More soon...


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