Many of you have followed this blog from the beginning, some may have just read the odd post and others may be new to it altogether. So apologies to those who have read some of this before. I'll try to do what I can to add something new to make it more interesting for y'all, but for those new to the blog, I'll link back to the original posts, so that you read more detail if you wish. The story starts in late summer 2011 on the Coastal Road in Southport...
|September 2011 - Coastal Road, Southport|
By the beginning of January I posted the 'first draft' of The Long Push route plan and on the 8th January, I spent far longer than I should have creating my first ever Youtube video; a 'teaser' for The Long Push:
|Saturday 14th January, just before setting off on Day 1 of training.|
From that point I wrote blog posts for all my training days, which I'll link as I continue this post. You can find all the links on the right hand side of this page too. Each time I would talk about the type of board and set-up I used, where I rode to and from and any good points or potential pitfalls I came up against.
The weather held for a few days, and I was able to get out again very soon for Day 2 Training: Monday 16th January. Sector 2 - 4.0 miles and on 26th January The Long Push reached its first two landmarks, 100 Facebook 'likes' and, more importantly, the first £100 in sponsorship money was raised on The Long Push Just Giving page. Awesome! :0)
The weather, work and just general 'life stuff' meant that it felt like waiting for the planets to align before Day 3 Training on Tuesday 7th February. I was limited by time on this day, so this became my first days training where I developed a figure 8 training circuit around the seafront area in hometown Southport. From here on, if I wasn't able to do training along The Long Push route, I would either stick with this 4 mile circuit or 'tweak' it to give it some variation at times.
Our world was rocked on Sunday 12th Feb. As if she didn't have enough stress in her life, Rachael lost her mum when she died after a brief illness. Rachael and her mum were very close, speaking on the phone daily. It was incredibly hard for her, still is, and of course, there were two children for who this was their first experience of losing a family member. Add ASD and we were uncertain how Steven would react to the news. To be honest, even now it's not clear exactly how losing his grandma has affected Steven. He still seems uncomfortable at his grandads house, and it might explain some of his behaviour when he's there, but overall, both children coped incredibly well with the funeral. So did Rachael. Despite all the pressure and loss, Rachael was amazing and stood tall as she planned, arranged and organised the funeral, when all she really wanted, and still does, is her mum back. She's always with you Rachael, watching over you and she's so proud, and so am I.
On the 19th Feb the conditions were good enough for me to get back out on board for Day 4 Training: Sectors 3 & 4 of The Long Push route plan
On 24th February I was able to announce the first two sponsors for The Long Push 2012, Big Woody's Skateshop and DC Shoes.
Other product sponsors followed, Sporting Sails
Orangatang Wheels/J& R Sports
which was amazing; Companies to help give credibility to The Long Push project and help spread the autism awareness message in the longboard scene. Not to mention, GREAT wheels! And Richard Birchwood at J&R also sent me some Paris trucks and Loaded bearings too. Really, just...awesome stuff, that I was hugely grateful for.
I also started to build up my distances skated in training during March, getting over 12 miles on Day 6 of my training and up to 17.5 miles on Day 7.
The 20 mile barrier was tantalisingly close, but it would be another three weeks before I broke it.
Just before the end of March I was able to announce SPORTING SAILS as the latest sponsor of The Long push 2013.
'Autism Speak's 'Light it up blue' campaign' for autism awareness.
16th April was the day I broke the 20 mile barrier , actually skating 25.6 miles by pushing from home to Tarleton and back.
Following this landmark though my training was disrupted for a few weeks. Life got in the way!
May was a month filled with frustration. I was struggling to find time to get out and train on the days that we had decent weather, so many of my training days were short rides around my Marine Lake training circuit. I was aslo aware that my fundraising total had 'frozen' around the £346 mark and I was conscious that I had to do something to keep it rising. I decided to start a monthly 'Vital Statistics' post, detailing the progress during the previous month. This way all visiters to the blog and Facebook page could see what increases were being made (such as the Facebook page hitting 300 'likes') and where more work was required. I think this was a good idea and one of the ideas I will carry forward into The Long Push 2013.
Carol McKiernon, the founder and head of the chosen charity, FAMILES CONNECTED BY AUTISM wrote a post for the blog herself during May, 'Life With Children On the Spectrum and before the end of thre month I had achieved a new personal best distance pushed so far, on Day 18 Training, Sunday 13th May. Marathon distance achieved and passed 30.4 miles. I was making progress.
TO BE CONTINUED.....