THE LONG PUSH 2012 is sponsored by...

THE LONG PUSH has been sponsored and supported by the following companies and individuals...



If you would like to sponsor me on my journeys, please contact me at the_long_push@btinternet.com

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Day 12 and Day 13 Training and the breaking of the 20 mile barrier!

Tonight, I am pleased with my achievement. Today I broke the 20 mile barrier that has been dogging my progress so far. My legs know it, but I'm well chuffed! Here's how it happened...

Day 12 Training: Tuesday 10th April : 4.01 miles

Took the opportunity to get out and do a few miles after work around my Marine Lake training circuit, but by the end of 1 lap I was ready to stop. A good wind was behind me blowing me northwards, but it was tough pushing in to the wind on the promenade. By the end of 1 lap of the figure of 8 circuit I was feeling a bit stiff in the back, so with that and the wind I decided to call it quits for the night. With 6 days at work ahead of me it was always going to be hard to find any more training time this week, so I was working on the adage that any training is better than none. I was right. It wasn't until the following Monday that I got my next chance to get out to train.

Day 13 Training: Monday 16th April : 25.6 miles
Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to today saw me and my colleagues working three 12 hour shifts, and if travelling was added to that they were more like 14 hour days. On top of this I was still working till late on the Sunday too! So all in all this probably wasn't the best preparation for a 20 mile plus skate! But the weather forecast was showing that Monday was going to be the only dry day of the week, and on waking up there it was, blue sky, sunshine and barely any wind! Perfect conditions. My distance skate bag was aready packed and ready to go so, instead of driving to a starting point, it was urethane straight onto the pavement outside home and off pushing to the starting point of Sector 1. And so, at the start of Sector 1, I whipped out Camera 1 (Praktica) and made a quick intro video...

Sorted. No problem. Pushed off and along the first part of the Coastal Road and then stopped at the next section to try and do some more filming. Some great features on the coast road here, so I figured it would make for some good footage. No sooner had I turned the camera on than "Memory full"! Damn! I've tried changing the SD card on this camera before and it doesn't like ones with too many gig, so turned to camera 2, (Fuji).

For whatever reason (because it gave me no error message) this one wouldn't record any more than 2 seconds at a time! No idea why. Never done that before! Camera 3 (Alba): Forget it! This one was a free gift  and the sound is dreadful, not to mention that it too cuts out all the time as well! Well and truly hacked off at technology farting in my face in such a way (again),  I pushed off and tried to tell myself I wasn't annoyed at yet again, being unable to provide any video footage of a training ride. But I was. Well and truly hacked off about it. Still, a mile down the road it was forgotten and I was just enjoying the day and the progress I was making.

The end of Sector 1 was reached and I stopped for a breather and to check my phone for messages. Pretty soon I was back off along the A565 on route to Tarleton, which I got to at around 12.00 and made this quick vid...

I skated past the end of Sector 2, into the village and stopped outside the library for a sandwich. Found the health centre, close by too, so those should be two good LONG PUSH poster locations when I visit again on a rainy day. I'd been tracking my ride with RunKeeper as usual, but between trying to use the phone camera to make a video and the battery life disappearing before my eyes I thought I had lost it. Only to find that it was there on my Facebook page when I got home! Weird! Good that I got half the info, but dissapointing that the battery life of my phone is so...poor (being diplomatic) that I won't be able to fully map all my distance work on 

Propped up outside Tarleton library.

I'd decided, because I had to be back to take one of my cats to the vets, to do Sectors 1 and 2 together and then come back the same way, rather than do 20 miles out and then get public transport back. So, after a buttee and a can of Monster, it was back homeward bound. A slight head wind this time, but nothing to cause any great problems. So basically it was straight back via the same route. Only when I got home and mapped the journey on Google Maps did I find the full distance travelled...25.6 miles. Well and truly beating my 20 mile target and actually reaching my target for the end of April/1st May. In fact my total distance pushed and pumped so far on training is...126.7 miles. So although this is a 100 mile journey over 2 days, the total distance pushed by the end of the ride is going to be pretty impressive. Still, I'm now officially ahead of schedule, but my legs know I've done some miles today. I figure a couple of days off and then a quick 1 lap of my training circuit will be ideal before my next long distance training,  as long as I get the weather to do it.

Next long training ride, whenever that will be, is going to be another 25 miler, but this time from the beginning of Sector 1 to Preston and maybe beyond. I'm hoping to make contact with some familes affected by autism and support services around the Southport to Penwortham and Preston areas. So if you live in that area and you would like to be featured in the training for The Long Push 2012, please get in touch. I'm interested to meet people and hear their experiences with autism and the support or lack of it that you get. This journey is all about raising autism awareness. Please join me along the way.


Todays route...

View Day 13 Training for The Long Push 2012 in a larger map

Monday, 9 April 2012

"My diet starts tomorrow", and other things I've learnt over the first three months of preparing for The Long Push 2012

"When you're younger you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26 inch waist  trousers and zip them closed. Then you reach that age...24, 25...your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all you're suddenly a fat bastard!"

Quote by Rimmer in Red Dwarf

And if you think that quote is right about being 25, it sure as hell is when you're 47!! 
I'll get back to the topic of this post shortly, but for now, indulge me a minute or two, with a post I've had in 'draft' for a month or so...

I've talked about the poor weather over winter here in the UK quite a few times in this blog so far. It hasn't only stop me from getting out on the longboard, but I couldn't use my two wheel love, my Triumph TT600 motorbike between Boxing Day and March this year either. So I was hopeful of some decent weather on my two days off in the first week of March, to just get it back out on the road again for the spring/summer, and maybe get up to the weekly Monday evening bike meet at St. Annes for the first time this year. 

Swapping 4 wheels for 2 - 'Yellow WKD' at Lytham Windmill
I follow the same road as the route plan for The Long Push to get to St. Annes on the bike. I just get there a LOT quicker! And I was lucky enough to win some brand new Triumph leather trousers in my size, 32" waist on Ebay recently, so I was really looking forward to getting kitted up and out on the road. After a few false starts the bike (I call her 'Yellow WKD') started up and ran fine. Time to try the leathers on. Expected no problem. My old ones are a 32" waist and the 34" ones I have are a bit drafty round the waist, so should be fine.

Now, it could just have been that the pants were still new and stiff and need wearing to flex them a bit. No, really...stop sniggering at the back there...it could! I suspect however that the sad truth is more like...
  • My eyes are NOT bigger than my belly! I eat too much! And as a result,  I'm a tad closer to a 33" waist than a 32" at the moment!  
Ahem! Seriously, I need to address my diet, structure my meals and work out a fitness plan to support the training I need to do to push a longboard 50 miles a day for two consecutive days. And to be honest, that ain't gonna do me any harm. It's long overdue. I'm already using RunKeeper to track my training rides. Now I've added 'My Fitness Pal' to the apps on my phone, to track my calorie intake and match that to my training. So now that the chocolate fest that is Easter is over, I need to get this 'healthy eating' trip on.Easier said than done for a chocaholic like me!

So, that's one thing I've learnt through the last three months or so. Which leads neatly back to the theme of this lil' blog post,  other things I've learned this year so far...
  • If you really must start training for a longboard trek in December in the UK, don't expect to get out on yer board much before March!
First time I've done anything like this, for charity or otherwise, and the winter UK weather wasn't the best for longboarding, so the first few months have been busy getting all the social networking set up in place, making contact with people, getting logos done etc while it's been cold, colder, downright freezing and/or wet! But at least for next year I'll have this experience already. Next year I'll wait till March to kick things off.
  • The closest I am to an 'athlete' is having Athletes Foot! 
Sad, but true. See above re: diet etc. but also regarding my feet! Two thirds of my life wearing skate shoes has left me with all sorts of bumps, bruises, verucas, seed corns, hard skin and...athletes foot. And with two 50 mile pushes ahead of me, now more than ever I need to get my feet sorted. I feel my first trip to a chiropodist comin' on!
  • Blue is the generally adopted colour to raise awareness of autism!
I realised this after I'd decided to adopt the yellow/black colour scheme for The Long Push for 2012 of course! Doh! Still, I've got a bright scheme to attract attention, and now I know how to 'tweak' it for next year. Yup, I'm thinking about 2013 already! 
  •  Take your time to find what works for you before looking for sponsors.
Actually, I've pretty much done this. My initial plan was to not try to get a hardware sponsor for this year, just to use my own kit, but now that I'm happy with the set-up I've decided to use I may contact some of the companies to see if they will support The Long Push by replacing the kit that is going to get worn out in the process. Plus, it's another way to widen autism awareness.
  • LISTEN to those with more experience!
There's a wealth of experience on offer at the likes of  http://www.skatefurther.com/  http://www.pavedwave.org/ and http://www.silverfishlongboarding.com/ among other forums. This I DIDN'T do enough of at the beginning of my planning for this year. But now I'm going to address that over the months leading up to the 2 day journey.
  • Autism is EVERYWHERE!
The amount of connections I've come across and made through this process so far has been amazing. From other skaters who are parents of autistic kids, to the amazing work that the A.skate Foundation do at  http://askate.org/home to staff from MONSTER ENERGY (see the Long Push page at http://www.monsterarmy.com/members/thelongpush/ ) who have friends on the autism spectrum, and even longboard companies who make and sell their own products to fund autism therapy http://zealouslongboards.com/ 

The connections between the skateboarding/longboarding communities and the autism commuinty are huge and inspiring. And I hope to continue to reach across these two divides with The Long Push over the next 4 years until 2015. Then I think it will be time to stop, and slow down a little, aged 52! Just a little though!

"Wait a minute dude? What about longboarding and yer training?"
Ah yeah, well it's been a rough week for training this week, as you may have noticed if you've been on the Facebook page. After shorts and T-shirts a week ago it's gone cold and wet again, and other comitments have gotten in the way of skating again. My cat's got on the board more than me this week!
Perry on the 'Switchblade'
But that's life and it is always going to happen. I managed to get out for a quick 6 miles yesterday before the rain came again, but I'll leave that for now and add it to the next full training blog. Problem is that this coming week the weather looks crap again, and I have a week at work that includes 36 hours at work over 3 days...and it's a 6 day week! So trying to get any miles in this week is going to very difficult. But we'll see. Gotta be positive, but I'll try to keep sharing links on Facebook if I haven't got anything to update the blog with.

OK, I'm going to finish this post with something I posted on the Facebook page the other day. Another fundraising idea for The Long Push, and one I could use some feedback on please.

I'm looking for a corporate sponsor to fund the cost of getting some charity wristbands made for THE LONG PUSH. 250 bands are going to cost £142.50. Sold for £1 each (assuming I sold them all of course) the donation would boost by another £107.50 to £250.

500 bands would cost £210.00 and potentialy generate an increased donation of £290 to make £500, again asuming all the bands were sold. I don't want to risk a large donation by not selling all the bands, so the bands would be made in THE LONG PUSH 2013 colours, so they could still be sold next year too.

Prices found here...

So the two questions are: Would you guys buy the bands for £1 each and...is there a corporate sponsor out there who will make the donation to fund the bands please? I hope you'll contact me either on here, at the Facebook page or at the e mail address with any feedback, or if you are one of those sponsors coming forward to help the cause.

More soon. Have a great week,


Friday, 6 April 2012

THE LONG PUSH 2012 poster campaign

This is the poster that is going to be going out to shops and businesses along THE LONG PUSH 2012 route, between Southport and Fleetwood. Please help me out by sharing around Facebook, Twitter and other forums you use on the interweb between now and the 2 day ride in August. 




Sunday, 1 April 2012


For some families of course, EVERY DAY is about autism awareness. So I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone what The Long Push 2012 is all about. 

As well as raising general awareness of autism, the aim of The Long Push is to generate some donations towards an autism support charity that has helped myself and my girlfriend to come to understand what is happening since her son was diagnosed last year, and that has supported us through some of the meetings and hard times. The charity is FAMILIES CONNECTED

The charity was formed to connect the families of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders by giving them a voice and a forum for support. Families living with a child with ASD can find it to be an isolating experience. Families Connected was founded to provide avenues for communication between families who can understand each others experiences and help others through sharing. Families Connected works to help families find support from a community who understands the effects of ASD on family and daily life.

To find out more about FAMILIES CONNECTED check out their web page at http://www.families-connected.org.uk/ 

April being AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, seems the ideal platform to step up the fundraising aspect of The Long Push 2012, and several different aspects of fundraising are going to start from this month. The posters have been ordered, press release finalised, letters and e mails will be going out to several different potential corporate sponsors and some other events are being planned. Anyone can donate at anytime using the Just Giving widget at the side of this page or by visiting the page at http://www.justgiving.com/TheLongPush but, with today being WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY I have a small request...

THE LONG PUSH 2012 Facebook page has 256 likes. On my own personal Facebook page I have 108 friends. That's 364 potential sponsors. If only half of you (in the UK) donated £1 each towards The Long Push today that would be another £182 towards the £5000 target, allowing Families Connected to support more families in the same position as us. Almost double the current total. And it's easy to do....

Just giving can now accept donations by text message from your mobile phone. All you have to do is type a text message with the following code LFAA50 £1 and send it to 70070. If you wish to donate more you can just substitute the amount for £2, £3, £4, £5, or £10. You will receive a receipt for your donation by text and also be given the opportunity to choose 'Gift Aid' to increase your donation to the charity. This could be an enormous boost to the fund raising in just one day, so if you are able to, please consider making a £1 donation today, World Autism Awareness Day.

Me? I'm hoping to break that 20 mile barrier on the board, if the weather holds. But if not today, then I should have it done by the end of this week. Then it's the 25 mile barrier by the end of April.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has donated or sponsored me in some way so far. Please continue to share links and tell your friends, neighbours, work colleagues and bosses and help me reach that £5000 target.

More soon, until then, however you spend your day, have a great one.


Training Days, 8,9 and 10 and the elusive 20 mile barrier

One of the biggest challenges of The Long Push so far is finding time to get all the training I need in around work, life and the weather! To be fair we've had some awesome weather for March here in the UK just recently, and when everything has fallen into place I've taken advantage of it to get out there and get some miles in. But trying to fit my training in around a three week shift pattern that mixes day shifts and late shifts is not easy at all. Still, here's how I managed it over the last three times I got out...

DAY 8 : Monday 19th March 7.78 miles. 
Today's training was just two laps of my Marine Lake training circuit after work one evening. It was bright and sunny, so had to be done. Pretty uneventful as I remember, but It's a while ago now, so I've lost track a bit. Seem to remember I had the wind behind me going north and against me coming back south. I tried to make a vid at the end of it, but the sound seems really bad on the camera for some reason. If I managed to 'tweak' it then it's here below. If it isn't then... I didn't! And I deleted it again! I really HAVE to get this lack of video situation sorted out.

DAY 9 : Thursday 22nd March 9.93 miles
Aaaaarrrggh! If anyone saw my Facebook status when I posted the stats of this direct from RunKeeper you'll know that I just clicked 'Stop' without really looking at my distance for this training and it was at 9.93 miles, when I was aiming for 10 miles! I only needed to leave it on for another 100 yards down the pier to the car and I'd have made it to the 10! Grrrr! What a doofus! Still, this was a good ride. Another session after work around the Marine Lake circuit, and the first time this year that I was able to get out training wearing shorts and a T-shirt!  The wind was in my face northbound this time and then behind me coming back around the lake onto the promenade. All good practice because the wind could be blowing any which way on the two days of the ride. but hopefully it will be behind me at some point and allow me to deploy the Sporting Sail maybe?  Still need to trial that too on a training day sometime. I got the attention of a lot of the skaters in the skatepark while I pumped past down the pier. Problems? Yeah, a couple this time...

I very nearly rolled my left ankle while pushing tonight. I've rolled this one twice before skating on mini ramps, so I know how much it hurts if it sprains fully, but at the time I thought I'd got away with it and carried on. Since then though it's needed some regular heat rub ointment to heal the muscle. I was lucky, it could have been MUCH worse, but I now know it's something to watch for. I may use an ankle support the next few times just to help it fully heal.

The bigger problem after tonight's session was that I got struck down by some virus. Either that or the 'man-flu' I had last weekend hadn't fully cleared and came back to haunt me! It started right after I got back from training and knocked me for 6 all weekend. And I was working late shifts at the weekend too! Ugh! I felt dreadful, and I was planning on trying to break the 20 mile barrier on the following Tuesday too, so this well and truly scuppered those plans. There was no way I could take on 20 miles until it had passed properly. So that was dissapointing, especially as we had the most amazing day of weather on the Tuesday! Grrrrrrrrrrr! Still, that's what happens with plans and I was just going to have to adapt.

Day 10 : Wednesday 28th March: 10.54 miles
So, virus passing and just a day after I intended to do the 20 miles, I felt well enough to get out again, but felt that, discretion being the better part of valour, to not do quite as much. Not to mention that I was also going into work again at 3.00pm, and I've learnt from experience not to do too many miles training before a full shift at work. It was another beautiful day, with temperatures well up into the late 50's/or 60's degrees farenheit, barely any wind and another shorts and t-shirt day. I didn't want to just do the Marine Lake circuit today, as I was keen to get back onto The Long Push route plan. So after a push along the Promanade and the old Coast Road to The Long Push starting point, it was back onto Sector 1 again, along the Coastal Road with a slight northerly tail wind and right down to the end to the roundabout at the Plough pub. Here I stopped for a bit of a breather and then pushed back up to the pier, making me up to a pretty respectable 10.54 miles. I was pleased with that. No problems at all today. That 20 mile barrier remains elusive, but I know I can do it and aim to have it well and truly beaten by Easter.

More soon,