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Monday, 12 March 2012

Days 5 and 6 Training: New personal best distance!

I sat down to write my blog post about Day 6 training tonight, and realised that I only posted the details of Day 5 on Facebook! Doh! My excuse for that is that Day 5 training was nothing more than a brief 3.8 mile push around my Marine Lake training route after work a week ago. Then again, It's important for me to vary the length of training rides, and all is better than nothing. And this was my first training ride wearing one of the new Long Push T-shirts, so it was important in being the next phase of promoting the ride and raising more autism awareness. 

Look out for me on future training rides around the seafront area of Southport, or along the Preston Bypass training for the full 100 mile ride.

Day 6 of training came about unexpectedly over the weekend and, like the heading says, ended with me reaching my furthest distance skated in one session so far, a new personal best of 12.31 miles.

Rachael had taken the kids to their grandads for a sleepover, while I worked a late shift, which left us with a bit of a problem for the next day. If I went over to meet them in the morning then we'd end up with two cars to bring back, which seemed a bit pointless. We hadn't worked out exactly what we were going to do before I finished work on Friday night, and everyone else had gone to bed by then, but when I woke up on Saturday morning and looked out the window, an idea struck me. What about skating up there? It would solve the car problem, give me a training opportunity as well, and leave Sunday free for Rachael and myself to do something nice while the kids were away with their dad. It loooked bright enough at first, but there seemed to be a bit of a wind, and I've never even thought about skating this kind of distance before, so I went out down the road to check it out.  I imagined the wind would, (of course), be blowing in my face, rather then being behind me. So I 'ummed' and 'ahh'd' for half an hour or so, looked up at the clouds, checked the weather widget on my phone and Sky News weather, but after half an hour, my bag was packed, cats fed, high viz vest was on and I was ready to roll!

This training wasn't along The Long Push route though. No, this was in the opposite direction, from Southport to Netherton in Liverpool, which I thought was going to be about a 15 mile push, and if it was, it would take me towards my 20 mile target distance for March. I think I've pretty much decided that I'm going to use the Landyachtz 'Switchblade' set up that I've posted in earlier blogs for the full Long Push ride itself so, with my board under my arm, bag on my back and sunglasses on I set out from home, down the road to a path which leads me to one of the main roads along the outside of Southport and out towards Liverpool. Here's my route...

View Day 5 Training. in a larger map

Since the 11.5 mile training of Day 4, the only training I managed to do for Day 5 was the 3.8 mile push around my Marine Lake training troute in Southport and then a bit of a scoot up and down the promenade in Blackpool last Tuesday, 6th March, so when I set off my right leg (the one I don't push with) felt a bit weak and tired at first, but after a while it settled down and was OK. This was the first long distance work with the new DC 'Monty's' too, so I was hopeful they were going to work OK as well. The first part of the ride was across a country park path and onto the pavement of Guildford Road, a long road which curves around the outside of one section of the town, dividing the urban areas from the farms on this side of Southport. After a little over 2 miles I reached the cycle path that runs alongside the A565 Formby By-Pass.
Here, the ride started to seem a bit daunting, with such a long straight road ahead and knowledge of how many times I've driven this road before in the car and on my motorbike. The wind was, as I'd guessed, blowing straight towards me, but it wasn't too bad. Only 12 -15 mph according to my weather widget. Still, I would have prefered it to have been behind me! I stopped a couple of times to try and get some photos and once to get another drink while I passed the Tesco at Formby. The cycle path was smooth for most parts, but I did have to swap sides at one point, after I found one section which was pretty unskateable. Well, it was if I wanted to keep the fillings in my teeth! The set-up rode perfectly, with no problems at all. Still especially impressed with the Orangatang 'Durian' wheels and the Bear bearings. They rolled over everything in sight, smoothly and as effortlessly as possible in the circumstances.  Some sections of the path were a bit narrow as the photos show. I even took a video at one point to show y'all, which I'll try to upload over the next couple of days. 

Pretty narrow with 70mph traffic coming atcha!
I got a few beeps from passing cars while I pushed alongside the by-pass, but then it ended at Thornton, so it was back onto the flagged pavements for the last stretch to Rachael's dads house. This was around the 10 mile mark and my pushing foot was starting to get a bit sore on the sole. The same thing happened at around the same point on my 11 mile push on day 4 too. It's no fault of the footwear I'm using. The problem is simply that... 30 years of habit means I still only push with one foot, and I really need to try and force myself to learn to push with my right leg too, to balance things out and ease the pressure on my left foot. That's going to have to be a a training day (or several) in its own right, coz it ain't gonna come easy! In the meantime I'm going to try using cushioned tennis socks and running socks to see if they help (I wasn't using them today) and maybe experiment with cusioned insoles too, but I have a feeling they will just move about in my shoes and cause me even more problems. Blisters were always going to be a problem on any distance ride like this, so I'll have to go on the http://www.skatefurther.com/ and  http://www.pavedwave.org/ forums and get some advice from the distance skaters on there.

Now this ain't California! Or Madrid! So the sight of me in helmet, shades, high viz vest and back pack drew a few glances through these outer edges of Liverpool, but I think it was the board that drew most people's attention. Longboards aren't seen too much in this part of the world, and to laymen I guess the size and shape of a board like the 'Switchblade' was something they've not seen before. Still, nobody stopped me to ask what I was doing today, which was a shame, because that's a big part of the reason for the training rides, raising awareness of the cause.

Check me out...I'm 'Tron'!
After a little while I rolled the last few yards along the road and into the driveway and checked RunKeeper for my stats: 1 hr 38: 58 secs and a distance of 12.31 miles. You can see the full stats via RunKeeper here:

Not quite the 15 miles I was hoping for, but still my new personal best and with 3 weeks to go before the end of the month, encouraging for me reaching my 20 mile target this month. So my training plan for the rest of March is this:
  • A training ride each week
  • Minimum distance of 4 miles (one lap of my training route)
  • Target distance for March of 20 miles
  • Minimum of a 10 mile bike ride each week if the weather is too bad to skate

I've got another sponsorship blog to post soon, which is great news and I'm working on another 'rainy day' blog, in case I can't get out to train again. But until the next blog post, please join the Facebook page at  THE LONG PUSH 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness 
where there is daily activity sharing autism/longboarding/skateboarding links.

Also, there seems to be a problem with the Just Giving widget on the blog page. If you wish to make a donation, until it's fixed please go to directly to the Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/TheLongPush

Thanks. Back soon..........


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