Monday, 16 September 2013

My Great North Story The Final Chapter


The Greatest Race Of My Life

15th September 2013 the day had finally arrived, after 9 months of training my moment to remember my daughter Jasmine was actually here.

The previous day marked Jasmine's first birthday, it was a day packed with emotions, we marked her day with a family gathering at her garden where her headstone was fitted in perfect time for the occasion, we released 15 balloons to send up to heaven along with our thoughts and prayers.

She also got a visit from her little brother Joel making it a bitter sweet point in my life, it wasn't long before I was setting off on the long journey to my hotel in Newcastle with my Mum, Dad, sister Danielle and my dad's partner, providing me with support for the big day.

After a nice sleep in my humble travelodge surroundings, it was time to make the last minute preparations for the final chapter of this journey. Waking up at 6:30am is not normally my kind of thing,but on this occasion it felt right, off I went to get drenched in as pure water you can get in my surrounding providing a source of comfort to the butterflies waking up in my stomach.

I had a custom made running shirt done special for the race, with a photo of my precious angel on my chest, it was at this point an overwhelming sense of pride kicked in, a look to the sky and I felt ready.

9am we arrived at the start of the biggest run of my life, and one of the first people i seen was the legendary Colin Jackson,

if ever there was a sight to hit home the enormosity of this event that was it, one of the greatest hurdlers off all time and here I am rubbing shoulders with him, unbelievable start to the day.

Shortly after my sister and mother secured me an interview with radio tyneside where I was able to tell my story and promote the 2 charities extremely close to my heart, I think I have finally achieved celebrity status? well if being on the radio wasn't enough I also managed to get on to BBC 1 and I think it is safe to say I definitely have a face for the big screen!!

Time waits for no man and it was time to walk the 1000 metres from the start line of the run to my starting point pink zone K, this was the last of the zones so there were at least 45,000 people in between me and Mo Farah, quite why I thought I would give him such a massive head start I don't know but next year I might do something about that!
There was a moment where runners were asked to stop and think about the people who we were running for, this almost brought me to tears, I again looked to the sky a gesture I done so much more through out day, and had a pre-race talk with my Daughter, by 10am all the participants were in place and the warm ups began, thousands of people in unison waving hands, squatting, jumping around, from the back it really was quite a sight and all finished up with a bit of gangnam style dancing amongst the masses.

10:40 arrived and Mo was off, I didn't see him and for reasons I will explain later I failed in my mission to catch him. Slowly but surely I made my way towards the start line my heart rate increasing with each meter closer.

The horizon in front of me was awash with colours, purples, pinks, greens, penguins, scooby doo and men with sinks and fridges on their backs, only in a mass event do you see inspirational people like this. You are stood in the middle of the worlds biggest story, chapters contributed by every single participant, if you could get every story into one big book, it would be the most awe inspiring read filled with love, grief, determination, blood, sweat and tears. It could be as powerful as some religious readings, it would show you can achieve anything, that the world whilst it has it's downside is filled with fantastic people, one massive community sticking together for the greater good.

I finally reached the start line after what seemed an age but what a way to start as I was lucky enough to high 5 a world and olympic champion in the form of Christine Ohuruogu, that really set the wheels in motion and I was off on my 13.1 mile journey. The Jasmine Journey.

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, cadence ok running? check!! Now time to take it all in, within 500 yards of the start line there were already families stood outside cheering you on, this was not what I expected at all I thought I wouldn't see anyone until I was crossing the bridge, it was amazing that despite the weather people were giving up hours of their day to make help every single runner, what fantastic spirit. It wasn't long into the race when I seen first hand the sense of family runners have with each other as an older lady tripped over when mounting a kerb, in a split second 6 other runners broke their stride and stopped to help her up and make sure she was ok and encouraged her back on the way, I guess it is things like this that really emphasise what the greatest half marathon means.

Soon enough I was crossing the Tyne Bridge, such an iconic part of the race, the crowds gathered along the paths cheering everyone one, I don't think I went 10 meters without being cheered on by the public. I felt I was coasting along everything was going fine just taking it all in lapping up the atmosphere with every stride.

By mile 5 I had to stop for a toilet break, which took at least 10 minutes off of my finishing time amazing that these things do not happen to you in training, after that I was back on my way and feeling good. At mile 6

I was on the right side of the road to see my entourage which certainly put a smile on my face, it was fantastic to have their support at this time.

Then I hit mile 7 and what went from 7th Heaven went to 7th Hell as my knee completely gave in, agonising pain ripped through me and a feeling of distraughtness hit me hard, why did this have to happen to me now? I still had just under half the way to go, a quick look up to Jasmine to ask her to help me through and a quick text to my wife who provided support from Northampton, installed in me a steely determination to make it to the end no matter what. With a combination of power walking and what must have looked like a comedy sketch when I attempted to run I sauntered off on my way to 13.1 mile heroism in my mind.

The miles to my astonishment felt like they were coming quick, you almost feel like they had measured the course wrong but the sheer volume of people hides the roads so you never get daunted by a long stretch of tarmac which certainly helped the cause. As each mile passed the cheers from the crowd took more effect on getting me by, I was so glad that I had my name printed in large font on my t-shirt as crowds called me out by my name really pushing me, with every bit of encouragement I would run a couple of hundred meters until it was too painful to do so, and it was back to walking pace.

I know I have mentioned the crowd so many times already but it is to me what makes the great north run, the bands on route playing steel drums, an Elvis impersonator, children as young as 4 shouting oggie oggie oggie and holding their hands out for high 5's like you are a film star or something, people stepping out of their houses with biscuits, oranges and ice pops to hand out to runners, honestly it warms your heart these kind of gestures from strangers, showing great pride in their city, It will always stay with me.

The last 2 miles were a real mix of emotions, I was so close to the end yet in so much pain, I was fighting with the quitter inside of me, luckily the fighter inside came out on top, the sight of the red arrows as they performed loop the loops and love hearts almost a signal that Jasmine was proud of me for carrying on.

as I reached the top of the last hill a nice cool sea breeze hit me, I knew then my moment was here, this was the last mile, I text my wife 1 more mile to go and she replied telling me this was Jasmine's mile, as I said in previous blog post I was saving the last mile for her. A tear dropped from my eye and I tried to run the whole mile, but I couldn't manage any more that 10 seconds a time with out the pain being too much so every minute I just ran as much as I can until the last 100 meters when I made a late dash, running through the finish line, I kissed the photo of Jasmine and pointed to the sky, that was for you I said, how I did not break down in tears I do not know, but I had done it, I was a Great North Finisher and the proudest father in all the land.

I limped off to collect my bag of goodies included my medal and t-shirt sat down on the grass and thought of my achievement, it is a hard enough challenge when fit let alone when your knee goes half way into the race, I felt satisfaction with a slight tinge of disappointment of not being able to run the whole thing.

My finishing time was 2 hours 40 minutes and 40 seconds, pretty good and that concludes my great north story. It has been a roller coaster and I am now looking forward to a few weeks of rest.

Sponsorship

As it stands at the moment, I have raised £1281.00 or £1539.75 including gift aid, which will really go along way in supporting families struggling with the loss of a baby and I can not thank everyone enough for their generosity and their belief in me.

Until next year I bid you all farewell

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Weeks 31 & 32


The Longest Mile

It is exactly one month to the day until I take on the biggest personal sporting challenge yet. Reflecting on where I was at the point of starting my training to now, and I can only feel proud of what I have achieved, the mentality to stick to something, the drive to succeed along with physical changes, like losing 2 stone. If anyone reading wants to make a difference to their life and do something that will help others, I can not recommend entering into a half marathon enough

Over the last 2 weeks I have upped the anti with the training, the objective was to reach 12 miles, and so like it became that on a Saturday morning at 8am I went off to my training ground Pitsford Resevoir along with a good friend from work, who has been dragged into the running world by me the poor fella, to achieve the target I set out I would need to complete approximately 2 laps round.

It is a testament to the training that a 10k run is no longer a gruelling challenge but a nice run and as so it made the first lap nice and easy, the feeling of ease continues until approx 8 miles, then the lactic starts to kick in almost screaming at you to stop, a bit like the old monster from the shreddies adverts, you end up relying on your fluid intake to keep your ailing legs at bay, a strong mentality is required at this point, I find taking it a mile at a time helps, just thinking only 10 more minutes the it is mile 9 .. 10 .. etc. There was one thing that I wasn't prepared for and that is the hunger pain feeling kicking in. Reading articles your body can store enough carbohydrates for an hour and a half worth of exercise after that it rely's on you topping it up.Now I didn't have a bite to eat with me so I had to make work keeping a bottle of lucozade to last.

Eventually the end was in sight and the man from my nike plus running app read out 12 miles completed time 2 hours, I had done it and the time was not too shabby either, it was kind of a euphoric moment when I hit the milestone and now I know I can definitely do it I am going to savor the last mile that will be dedicated solely to Jasmine, Bring it on.

Numbered

This week I received my running pack including number and timing chip. I will be joining the pink brigade and starting from the K area which means I will be starting right from the back 56,000 runners in front of me that will be some spectacle. This is because when I filled in my entry form I said it would take me nearly 4 hours as it was all an unknown based on training I should do it in about 2 hours. So just incase you see me on BBC look out for runner 51376.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Weeks 29 & 30


Back In The Game

It has been a pretty good couple of weeks, the shins seem to be weakening in their fight against me, perhaps they have run off at the thought of challenging me as I have ramped up to what I have affectionately called Project Sparta. I am sure the message got passed down my veins and their reaction was a bit like woah I don't wanna be messing with Barker the Spartan man he sounds tough. So all is well now and I am positive it will stay that way until I take part in the biggest half marathon in the world in just 7 weeks!

Since the shins have retracted I have made good use of this by completing 6 and 7.2 miles in the last 2 weeks, I have cut down the running to once a week to keep injury free. I can not tell you what a relief it is to be completing this mileage again, honestly I can not quite explain enough at how frustrating it is to have to stop mid way through your training, it is probably a bit like going to enjoy a cuppa tea and a chocolate hob nob only to find out that there is only one hob nob and that one has gone all soft and dry and has lost the very essence that makes it the best biscuit, incredibly frustrating especially when you are trying to be good with your diet and will have to wait a couple more weeks to treat yourself. I hope you now understand the frustrations.

So in short I am back timings can improve but for now it is getting the distance in, one lap of Pitsford hurt a little bit next journey 8 miles.

Butterfly Release

As you all know one of the charities I am running for is Children are Butterflies, and since I last wrote my family and I attended their annual butterfly release, hosted at Ivy Cottage in Hollowell. The thinking behind this event is pretty awesome, Ann (Director of the charity) nurtures the butterflies herself from caterpillar to butterfly and handles them with care so in time they can be released in memory of families lost babies.

So the setting for this fantastic event was in a back garden and what a garden it was, semi-wild I believe it is referred to, abundant with wildlife and colour and treasured by the owners who from what I gather were inspired to do this for their grandchildren, some fantastic ideas have been implemented including painting up an old caravan based on the railway children story books and using it as a play house. If any one is into gardens then I recommend visiting on one of their open days

And so with the weather holding up for all the families in attendance it was time for the butterfly release, the names of each child read out and the families going up and holding a butterfly in their hands before releasing them into the wild, I think we were the last ones to go up and release our butterfly. I held the butterfly safely in my hands and went to release it, but my butterfly did not want to go straight off, it decided to land on my chest instead, I think it was Jasmine giving me a hug and acknowledging she knows she is always in my heart a real poignant moment for me

A special thanks to all at Children are Butterflies for arranging this event and long may it continue bringing some joy to bereaved parents

Big News

Today there was a big announcement, I can only presume Mo Farah heard I was doing the great north run and thought that man could do with some competition and so he and Gebrselasie have decided to enter in the race, more fool them sabotaging their careers coming up against me, I jest but hey how incredible is it to say that I have raced with these legends in what looks like it is going to arguably be the best Great North Run yet.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Weeks 26,27 & 28


The Great Man

Its been a few weeks since I last wrote a post, sometimes life just throws things at you that move you off course on the path you are travelling, normally that road is a bit quick sandy probably in the arctic, you just kind of freeze you move around a bit just for survival.

Since I last wrote sadly my wife's gramp Roy who I am proud to call my 3rd Granddad lost his fight to the big C, In the 3 years I have know him, I can honestly say I learnt a lot from him, firstly his attention to conversation, he always had something to ask you, and his strongest asset, something I would say he must have trained like a shaolin monk to learn was the art of listening. No matter how mundane the subject matter he always seemed interested, little things like how your working week was. I think anyone can make a conversation but only a few master it and he certainly did.

Since I started training for this run way back in January, he was one of my keenest supporters, having a passion for shoes it started from the moment I bought my 1st pair of aasics, he gave them the full inspection followed by the thumbs up seal of approval, always a good sign when a man who worked in shoes for such a long time approves, he would always ask for updates on how far I have run what my timing was like, and always safely encouraged me, Saying how well I was doing but to make sure I don't injure myself.

Well I tried not to injure myself but my legs just would not listen, I will really miss Gramps but I will use his energy and enthusiasm he had for life even at 90 years old, to do him and my daughter proud while they watch me from above

8 weeks to go

I can not believe that there is 8 weeks to go until I am lining up with 56,000 other runners as we set off on the 13.2 mile course. I think nerves are starting to kick in now, realistically I have 6 weeks of training to do, but with the shins showing no sign of retreat I have had to adopt a new regime this late on in the game, I am going to just focus on doing 1 long run a week and topping up my cardio with cross training, this seems to be the only choice I have at the minute, hopefully after a few long runs I will get back into the groove of things we will wait and see.

Since I last wrote the fundraising total has now surpassed the £500.00 mark I am overwhelmed by this, believe me it will make such a difference to the lives of bereaved parents

Right that is me done for now, stay safe

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Weeks 24 & 25


Rehab and Kinesio Tape

So I pick up where I left off, carrying on with attempting to cure these cursed shin splints. Over the last 2 weeks I have basically gone right back to basics, no running over 2 miles, with the clock ticking this is really really frustrating now and I am slightly getting nervous about the big event now.

The sessions I have been having with the sports therapist have been bearing some fruit, not quite your nice juicy fruit more baby fruit at this stage. I have loosened up all the joints around the ankle and the hip now which is good news and the treatment has stepped up with the usage of laser therapy and kinesio tape.

The results so far have lead to me running 2 miles feel comfortable not pain free, but a major difference it will be interesting to see how it holds up after a run of at least 6 miles. My goodness it is crazy how much I actually miss running that distance at a minimum. I have read a lot of doubt expresses about the use of kinesio tape but based on my experience I would recommend it to any one with a niggling injury they can not shift, if you are like me and you have hairy legs then removing the tape without it turning in to some sort waxing beauty treatment is a challenge in its self.

Hopefully with this treatment things will improve and I can up the distance again, a frustrated runner is not the kind of runner you want to see.

Reaffirmation

Sometimes visiting Jasmine's garden is one of the most relaxing places on earth a place that is good for your inner soul, then there are times where you realise you should not be here and actually the place is distressing. In the last 2 weeks they have started to build more gardens on a new row. Since Jasmine's funeral in October her row of neighbour's is now full there are 13 gardens in a row, this gives you a picture of just how many families are affected by child loss and each time a new garden is created a bit of your heart breaks for the other families. Nothing prepares you for the number of people effected and this is why I am running for the charities who will help to save lives. Once again I thank you all for your support so far.

Well that's me for the next 2 weeks, keep safe

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Weeks 22 & 23


Freak Toe

Well the frustration of the shin splints continued over the last 2 weeks, after the highs of getting a PB at the 10k bang the lows of the injury return. It seems that these shin splints are like hunger I can only keep them locked up til lunch.

I have decided that I need to get to the bottom of this so I have been to visit a sports therapist to sort me out, after an initial consultation it turns out I am a bit broken, too many sprained ankles in my youth seem to be a cause of the issue. This was pretty much expected what wasn't was his reaction to my big toe, The look on his face was incredibly puzzled as he struggled to get to terms with the fact I have a bend in it he even had to ask if it was a genetic trait that he has never seen before, turns out I am a freak toe! Plenty of training on them to sort it out.

I am hopeful that in the next two weeks I will be back out running pain free less than 90 days to go time is getting tight.

Fathers Day

This week for me has been one of the hardest since it all happened, the whole week leading up to fathers day, I was stressed out about it and probably my most emotional since christmas, I had never dreaded a day coming round quite so much, You just can not get past the fact that I should have been waking up and spending the day holding my little girl and showing her off.

You get this feeling every day but when it is a day special for fathers it really reinforces everything. The day came and quite how my wife managed to find a way to write a card I do not know, It must have taken some incredible strength for her to do that, it is one of her best qualities.

Well it turns out that Jasmine is pretty clever and managed to send a parcel to me through air mail I guess and boy does she know her daddy as what did I get oh yes a Thierry Henry Legend cup, perfect. A trip to the cemetery just me and my girl was to follow and in a way that not many people would understand a feeling of calm and peace flowed through me. The hour of me and my girl I will always remember and I feel blessed as a Father to have had that time with her.

Donations

To end this week a massive massive thank you, as I have now passed the original £400.00 target I set everyone's support has been incredible and heart warming,

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Weeks 20 & 21


Back on the run

2 weeks without running to some people may sound like a nice 2 weeks, no pain, no effort, no forcing yourself to push a few extra yards in the pouring rain, purely relax in the house watching Britain's got talent and the voice or something. There was a time when I would have whole heartedly agreed but 21 weeks on from when I started I can safely say I missed it quiet a lot.

It was so frustrating for the injury to follow so shortly after I had just managed to do 10 miles, 2 weeks worth of running was replaced by cycling on the exercise bike 20k at a time followed by a good weight session and ending with 30 minutes on the cross trainer, it is not quite the same even if it is useful to keep your fitness levels up.

So since returning from injury I am breaking back into it slowly for a couple of weeks and have managed two 2 mile runs so far, amazing to think that 12 weeks ago I would have been really happy to have managed that but now I know I have the distance in me it kind of feels like meh! This time it was a mixture of relief as I managed to complete it with no repercussions and some satisfaction knowing that I am back in the game, roll on Saturday lets see if I can manage at least 5 miles

2 pounds to go

Also in the last 2 weeks I had dropped 2lbs and am now just 2lbs off my goal weight of 13.6 stone which would equate to a 2 stone weight loss happy days

Well that's me done for this week short and sweet and don't forget you can sponsor me by visiting .My money giving page £13.00 off of my target now and with your kindness I would really really love to smash that figure out of the park, Take Care

Friday, 24 May 2013

Week 19


What a pain in the shins

Well this has been the toughest week in my training so far, the main problem being that my legs could only manage 3 miles of running. This has been quite deflating in all honesty, at one point I was close to tears with pure frustration.

This week my shin splints came back with avengence, I have suffered with this through most of my life and if any body has suffered from them then you will catch my drift at how unbearable they can be, it is almost as if your shin bone and muscle have decided they have fallen out of love and want a divorce. They scream and shout at each other for a while which is bearable until they decide to have a full on row and launch the fine China plates at each other. They throw that many plates in reminiscent of a Greek wedding tradition all in the space of a storage cupboard. The end result is they hurt each other quite badly and end up in the local A&E where they are stitched up and ordered to rest.

And rest is what I will be doing for the next 2 weeks to see how it copes. Plenty of deep freeze and ice to help reduce the inflammation and plenty of cross training at the gym to keep my cardio levels up.

Level 10

This week I also visited my local wellness centre for an evaluation to help me get my body in the right shape to achieve my goals.
Using Tanita scales to get a full examination of my body. We discussed entering into a competition run by herbalife called Level 10.
You choose from 3 categories weight loss, lean muscle gain and body fat reduction, from this I set a goal to reduce my body fat to around 15% in 90 days which ties in well to fill the gap until the new football season starts.

Also we discussed a nutrition plan, using an identifier as a protein factor to establish what sort of protein consumption my body will require to achieve my goal based on my height and BMI. I will need 126g of protein a day whilst keeping my calories to no more than the 2000 RDA. It is a challenge I am looking forward to and I can not wait to see the results.

If you are interested in taking part in this challenge then please visit Your local herbalife independent distributor's website

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Week 18


10k Man? Erm no 10 mile man actually!

This week marked another major milestone in my preparation for the biggest run of my life. I decided that a nice evening run around Abington Park would do just nicely, so at at around 7:30pm I set off on to my latest conquest. Now Abington Park is by no means what I would call an easy run, it has some lovely steep hills which really put the burners into your calves.

I had predetermined that I would run 7 miles at least that evening and off the back of the buzz of running Silverstone I was totally in the right frame of mind. So off I went headphones in and off on a nice 10 minute a mile pace. The last time I had run Abington Park I was ecstatic at achieving 3 laps so after completing my 4th lap I was rather satisfied but I still had plenty in the tank and so I just carried on running. This run taught me something new in that running + nice scenery = easier runs add to that combo with some classical music and you have probably the ultimate scenario for nice relaxed running.

I appreciate that will not be to everyone's taste,but the soothing sounds of big classical instruments really makes you feel unbelievably relaxed to the point any niggling aches in your legs are soon forgotten and it's just you the music and the scenery. For those runners not concerned with high pace then I suggest you try it.

So after 1 hour and ten minutes I had completed my 7 miles, it was not time to stop so I just carried on until my legs said no more, this submission came at 10 miles. Wow I actually can not believe that I can now run 10 miles 18 weeks ago I was out of breath at just 500 yards, this was a whole new level for me. A word of warning though a ten mile run does not hurt until you stop. My goodness they say no pain no gain, well I hope I gained a lot after that, my legs decided they would rather feel like lead pipes than muscle and water, trying to walk back to the car up a hill was certainly not the one with all the lactic acid flooding through me. A few stretches later all was well and what a way to end a pretty awesome running week.

Also this week I notched up another Personal Best for a 1 mile run clocking in at 7:30 so not only am I building endurance I am building speed, watch out Mo Farah Barker is coming to get you.

8 Months

This week also marked 8 months since our little sleeping beauty was born. I can not believe how quick the time has gone it all still feels like it all happened yesterday. I still feel like I had not long held her in my arms looking at her with the purest of love that you just can not describe, thinking how on earth did I play a part in making the most perfect baby girl you ever did see. She just looked so peaceful she really was a real life angel. To this day though I still do not understand why she was taken from us I don't think I ever will, the pain of losing her is still very raw, some days I just would like to hide away from the world and not come out, but then I think of my Jasmine and she provides me with the strength to carry on and to be strong, She is my inspiration she has instilled in me a never give up attitude and while she may not be here, I will still take her on every journey I make, with every flower I see, every gentle touch of wind that pats my back it is all a sign that she is there with me.

Its a boy a real boy

To end on a good note we have found out that baby Barker the II is a boy, we are absolutely thrilled and can not wait to meet him, next up trying to think of a some names, Wilberforce any body?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Week 16 & 17


Mr 10K

The morning of Wednesday 8th May 2013 I woke up feeling rather apprehensive and slightly nervous, my legs were feeling tight at the thought of what was to come in the evening, bracing them selves for their first ever competitive race on one of the worlds most famous sporting venues.

Silverstone the home of the British Grand Prix, where the grey tarmac has been graced by the fastest cars in the world, Ferrari Maclaren, Mercedes and Red Bull as well as legend drivers such as Senna and Schumacher.
I arrived at the venue 45 minutes before the start of the race and there were already hundreds of runners there all getting prepared for the challenge ahead, I walked to race control heart beat slightly raised with adrenalin as I collected my race number. 437 apt as these numbers add up to my favourite number and the day my Daughter was born on 4+3+7 = 14 a sure sign that my daughter was watching down on me cheering me on. After nervously attaching my number to my shirt after originally trying to fasten it with 2 safety pins instead of the required 4, I was interviewed by the race MC, who wished me well after I told him that this was my first ever race in preparation for the Great North Run. I then rather sheepishly headed to the race track to warm up with some dynamic stretching.

At this point the heavens opened and for at least 20 minutes my skin was lashed with the purest of rain water, many people headed for cover, not me this was my element, for me running in the rain is a far more pleasurable experience.As the clock ticked down to 7:30 I became focused and ready to enjoy this event. There were a total of 1050 runners to compete with, many coming from running clubs from across the country, I headed towards the back of the pack and with one final shake of the legs and shoulders waited for the start.

7:30 pm and the sound of the klaxon starts the race and 1050 runners head off. I pass a few people at the start and settle into a rhythm that I have been running at comfortably over recent weeks. I soon found a running partner a woman who was part of a running club named Bedford Harriers and for the first lap I matched her pace as she pushed on a bit so did I, running in this environment does have a lot more compared to running alone, whilst running it was quiet amazing to think how long the track is and gives you a real appreciation for how fast those f1 cars go, truly unbelievable.

Through out the course there were many volunteers who would clap you on and tell you how well you are doing, that sort of thing really does help to motivate you. It soon became that I had finished my first lap with a time of 30:32 on schedule to beat my personal best. At this point I decided to kick on and I left my pace maker and picked up the pace, passing people in a race did make me feel good, there were people in running clubs that I would overtake and I guess I was quite satisfied with myself as I had only been running 17 weeks and only achieved this distance within the last 4 weeks or so. The competitive streak in me is certainly growing and I felt this in the last 3k, my legs were now well and truly warmed up I looked in front and got my legs moving faster as I entered the home straight I think I ran the fastest I have ever run and over took about 5 people just at the finish line, what a buzz that I had the strength to power home really made me quite proud, running past a crowd and the MC highlighting my final sprint wow what a feeling. I finished the race in 58.18 seconds so a massive 5 minutes off my personal best and finishing 878th out of 1050 pretty good for my first ever race and I felt I have more in the tank. Now I can not wait to run my next race.

My sprint finish was so fast I made the photo blur

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Week 15


Blistering Pace

This week has been a bit of a pain, following a 6 mile run on the Saturday, I haven't ran since. I think I must have been running so fast that the running gods thought "what who is this boy thinking he is Hercules, better put a stop to that" and zap a nice blister covering 1/3 of my foot was my punishment.

Forgive me for sounding a bit dramatic, but as I have never had one anywhere near this size before it was an absolute killer and flared up after about 2 miles so I ran a further 4 miles on it. Yeah take that running gods bet you thought it would stop me. Since then I have been doing cardio work on the bike, completing 9 miles each time, so not too much of a bad substitute, all is well with the foot now though so back to the long run again on Saturday.

Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton

Pretty cool subtitle I think, some great names in the world of motor sport there and I am about to follow in their footsteps. This week I sent off my application to take part in race 1 of the East Midlands Grand Prix Series, this will be a 10k race on the Silverstone race track.

I chose to do this to get a feeling of a running event as part of my preparation to take part in the worlds biggest half marathon, I thought what a place to start in a world class venue, full of history, legend and speed, I don't think I will be the Vettel of the running world, but I will give it a good shot. My current PB at 10k is 1 hour 3 minutes, on the 8th May 2013 I would like to run sub 1 hour, which should be easily achievable I think. It will be time for runner 437 to shine.

Sponsorship

I am now currently just £48.00 short of my £400.00 target, the generosity so far has been astounding and I am truly appreciative for your support. I hope now that we will not stop short but all help to smash this target to pieces. Once again thank you.

Until next week adiĆ³s

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Week 14


Good Times

When I set out starting this blog it was to record my thoughts and my progress of a journey started by the loss of my daughter, ending in triumph as I cross the finishing line after 13.2 grueling miles whilst raising money.

In the darkest of times light will always find a way to you, whether that takes a day, a week, a year or a decade at some point no matter what the light will shine so bright and along with the light it brings warmth, and warmth brings comfort. Comfort to me means being happy, in a place that feels right and your surroundings mold themselves around you. Well I can now say that the light is currently shining very bright and I am now expecting my second child, currently 17 weeks gone and is due to be with us about 2 days after I have finished the run.

Progression

This week I made yet another step up in progress as I achieved a 8.3 miles, the best thing about this run was I said to my mother "I am going to just do a 5 mile run today" but whilst I was out I must have caught Forrest Gump disease and I just wacked on my trainers and I just ran and ran and ran. So with 5 months left to go I am just 5 miles short of my target distance, looks like I am training for marathon distance instead.

It has struck me how quickly your body can adjust and carry you further and long distances can be overcome quickly once you have kick started all the engines, so anyone out there starting out and wanting to give up, DON'T it will soon come good.

And that is all folks, a 3 day course learning about IT Infrastructure Libraries followed by an official exam, has left the brain some what jaded.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Week 13



Ohhh We're half way there

Welcome back to my Great North Story. It has been a pretty awesome week in terms of progress made with positive results on all fronts. On the Saturday a rather strange thing happened this year, in the sky was this golden object that produced such light and something that I have not felt from the sky this year a bit of warmth, just that on its own gives you that happy feeling mix this with a run and you have got the best form of happy pills in the world fact.(on a side note is the suns main purpose to provide light or heat? seems like lately it has turned into a energy efficiency light bulb, reduces the heat energy escaping but then also sacrifices on the power of the light and you live in dimness, if NASA wouldn't mind they could revert back to the old less efficient sun thanks).

Sorry I digress, I tried out a new route this week starting at the Bradlaugh fields, running from the entrance near Morrison's all the way to Kingsthorpe Cemetery popping into see Jasmine on route so she can see her dad hard at work in her garden, ran back to the entrance of Bradlaugh fields, decided that was not enough so turned back around ran to the university and back again clocking in a 6.3 mile run in the process, half way there now can I get a whoop whoop.

The run took me 1 hour 6 minutes, which I am very happy with on a route that was hilly I couldn't help but get a great feeling of satisfaction, I think this might be my favourite route so far, as you are just in a world of your own feeding energy from the surrounding landscape, taking in fresh air from the tree's into your lungs with the sun keeping you warm, it really is a beautiful feeling.

Bye bye 14s

Another highlight of the week is that I weighed in under 14 stone for the first time in years so getting a lot closer to my goal weight, muscle mass has also increased this week by over 1% which is rather satisfying. I put this down in part to the nutritional benefits of the herbalife sports 24 range, I have been using the rebuild endurance this week, which offers runners the perfect recovery requirements to replenish your bodies stores of glycogen and proteins. Normally after my long runs I feel the aches for the next 2 days, this time however there were no aches or pains. I would recommend this product to any serious sportsmen for more info you can visit 4goodness-shakes.com

That is all from me this week until next time

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Week 12


Hello Plateau

Another week gone, it is all going too quickly now it is hard to believe we are a third of the way through the year already! This week I have reviewed my bio and it seems I have reached a dreaded plateau in my weight loss. I am aiming to get to 13.5 stone, a few weeks ago I would have said that it was extremely achievable with no problems, however it appears my body is telling me different, perhaps I have gained a fair bit of muscle but my calculator machine shows no change perhaps I have had a bit too much chocolate but I am sure you will all forgive a man for indulging at Easter. It has frustrated me a bit as it hides the obvious signs of improvement. I can feel a lot of difference myself I can tell my body is definitely toning up in a good way so I am happy with that.

As I am talking about body changes last week I was asked to consider showcasing some of my progress in picture format, now I had toyed with this idea but decided that it may not be too every ones taste and I wanted to avoid office ridicule, so I have a compromise if you wish to look at the progress then you can do so HereWarning These are boxer weigh in type photos.

Other Higlights

This week I maintained my mileage completing 4 miles again. I also ran my fastest mile so far clocking in at 8:28 now if only I could maintain that pace for 13 miles that would make for a pretty impressive time.
Just a short blog for this week I will update you all again next week.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Week 11


One of them weeks

Well this week has been a mixed week in terms of training, for some reason in Spring when we are all being bombarded about saving the planet because we are making it warm up to much! We seem to have had this rather cold icy white stuff falling from above I believe from what I read on facebook this phenomenon is called snow.

Maybe it is just me getting old but I hate the snow, it just makes it harder to do things, playing on your mind like some sort of travelling gypsy fortune teller who wants to make a quick fiver, tells you something you didn't want to hear like if you go out next Thursday you may well get caught up in a gangs crossfire.You think that is a load of rubbish I ain't going to stay in the crazy fool, but then you end up doubting this and start saying to yourself well what if she was right, I had better stay in just in case. And so it is with snow you say oh well it's only a bit of snow, lets go out then its like but what if I get stuck in the snow and I have to abandon my car ahh man we will just stay in.

So Saturday came and this is my day set out for my nice long slow runs and you guessed it all day my mind payed with the idea of going out regardless or staying in, I opted to stay in because to me that was a better idea then hitting the snow finding the ice bit slipping over and injuring myself, and so because of this snow my plan was knocked off schedule.

Being knocked off schedule is probably the most annoying thing I have experienced so far, I find that an almost regimented plan helps me to produce better results, and this set back has meant I have not done as much this week as I would have liked to. Also in the same weekend, It was my sisters birthday and for that we went to red hot buffet, now that is not the place to go just to eat a few bits of salad and some of the healthier food options, this is a place you get your monies worth and pig out on pizza, chips, curry and don't forget the dessert, so I indulged myself this week and it has but me in a strange place, I enjoyed treating myself but at the same time felt guilty about it. I have ended up thinking well in ten weeks I can now run 4 miles and I should reward myself, but the guilt was enough to say but only this week and it is back to all healthy meals again.

Monday came and I decided I will go to the gym and do my long run on the treadmill(this is a runners nightmare from what I have read so far) 48 minutes later and the result an extremely satisfying 5 miles completed, almost half way there I love these long runs they really do give you a feel good factor, knowing you're achieving something is one of the greatest feelings known to man no matter what the achievement is.

Donations

Last week this blog was read by more people then ever before in one week, it is currently just 10 shy of 1000 views, and I hope everyone has enjoyed it so far. In this week there was also a flurry of sponsors, and I would like to express my gratitude for your kindness, I am now at £342, so very nearly at my target, and this money will go a long way to help fund important research into preventing the loss of babies which 17 families a day are effected by in the UK.
It will also help provide families with much needed support ensuring people are there to listen when you need to talk, to assist you in dealing with heart wrenching funeral plans and also help you to remember a loved child with things such as memorial services at Christmas

Thank you all for your support

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Week 10


Story of another runner

Hello, this week I have something different to bring to the table. Since I started on this journey, I have found reading other runners stories on what inspired them, kept them motivated and how they prepared. My main source for this information has been reading runners world articles, this week I thought I would bring you the story of Natalie, an old friend of mine. She has recently completed a half marathon where she raised money for one of the charities I will be running for raising £382.69 in the process, and it has inspired me to carry on with the hard work I have put in so far.

Here is what she thought about her experience

What run did you do?

I ran in the Silverstone Half Marathon on 3rd March 2013.

What made you decide to take part in this run?

I ran in support of 'children are butterflies' and 'Baby Harry' a family member who lost his life before he was able to take a breath.

How fit were you when you started training?

I have enjoyed running and been running for a number of years I put my feet up to rest when I fell pregnant with my Daughter. When she was 6 weeks old and I got the OK from the doctors I put my running trainers back on & started again. After having such a long break I struggled! I could barely power walk one side of the park but day by day I got back to my normal fitness level and ran 8 laps of that same park just before my half marathon....it can be done!

How long did you train for?

I trained for the half marathon long distance for about 3 months running 3-4 times a week. Short runs, interval training & gym in the week followed by a long distance run at the weekend

What was the race experience like?

The race experience was surreal all I could hear was my music as my headphones were taped to my ears but had the feeling of running alongside thousands of runners that shared the same interest as me. Every so often I would get a pat on the shoulders from other runners and I did the same to others that felt as though they wanted to stop it was a real buzz! I Probably didn't sleep properly for a week before the race and caught the dreaded cough & cold but pulled it together and got on I felt nervous but excited at the same time

What time did you manage to complete the race in?

I completed the race in 2:02 hours, running over that finishing line was amazing! I wanted to turn the clocks back and do it again I can't wait to do another & my hopes are high to get into the London Marathon next year which I failed to get into this year.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of running a half marathon?

Advice to anyone wanting to complete a half marathon.......just do it! Keep focused, relax and most of all enjoy it! Running becomes enjoyable when you no longer feel the pain but enjoy it. Too many people tell me they can't run but dont knock it until you try it! They may find they like it.

Quick Update

I hope you enjoyed the insight into the life of another runner, but I know you all are dieing to know about my progress this week. I will keep it short and provide some more detail next week, this week I have managed to run 4 miles which whilst I was running felt like an incredible distance only to be faced with the reality that I will have to do this run 3 times over it is a little daunting, on the plus side my lung capacity seems to be capable of managing the feat I just need to work up the power in my legs now.

I have continued with my gym work out to improve my core muscles, which has lead to an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in weight so it is doing something.

That's your lot for this week guys, until next week keep on running

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Week 9


High-5k

This week has been a good week in my training life, more progress has been made which is always a good thing. On Saturday I managed to complete my first 5k in a reasonable time of 31.02. In total I ran 3.29 miles.

This run was 2 laps around the big part of Abington Park, there are some pretty tasty hills on that route which add some extra spice to the run. The feeling of satisfaction after completing this run was the best yet. I was on the home straight feeling the effects of the 5k I had just run, knowing just around the corner was a milestone to signal two laps were completed. Yes yes yes I shouted in my head, sounding a bit like them crazy women off the herbal essences adverts. 3 miles down 10 to go on my quest.

I have in my life attempted to run a lap around the park never quiet managing it, simply because I lacked the determination. I used to see other runners going round and lapping me with ease. I used to think these were some kind of super humans. Who on earth could run two laps with that ease? crazy people! Now I am up there with them I have a long way to go but I have come a long way too and I am so excited to see where I am going to be in 6 months time when I cross the start and finish line in Newcastle.

Gym Time

This week I also joined a local gym to try and ensure I can get the best performance I can. I have joined mainly to strengthen my core muscles my routine includes a ten minute warm up on the rowing machine, 36 reps on the leg press on 180lb, 36 reps on the chest press at 80lb, 36 rows using the trx ropes, 36 reps with free weight lifts, planks on a gym ball and 20 minutes on the treadmill at a pace of 11 km/h. A pretty gruelling work out to start off on and after my first session it's safe to say I was worked hard, but I have to train hard or go home.

For any one who is thinking of taking up running you will find most people say to avoid the treadmill and keep outside and so far on my experience I would agree with these people, but I do however think it has it's place to prepare you, it helps you to maintain a pace, as too often when you start out you can go too fast which then increases your perception of effort. The higher your perception the harder it is to get your self motivated.

I will say when running do your long runs outside, as nothing beats the fresh air and if you can find some where scenic then even better as you have a nice distraction from the pains you get whilst running.

Until next week

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Weeks 7 & 8


Sorry

Start this week of with an apology for the lack of blogage last week. It turns out that not only do you need to exercise your body you also have to exercise your brain! So after a week of learning about DOM's, BOM's, functions and objects as well as mastering the joys of public transport and the wonderful London underground, I think its fair to say my brain got a full work out although with all this extra knowledge surely that wont look good on the scales?

Review

This week I completed the plan as set out on the great run app with the aim of being able to run for at least 20 minutes a week ahead of schedule. I thought it would be interesting to review the last 8 weeks.

Running

Well I will start off by looking at how far I have come in terms of fitness, when I started I could barely run to the shop with out being knackered this was only 322 meters away from my house. (When I look at that I wonder how I let my self become so unfit!)

Several weeks of either walking or running only 3 times a week I am proud to say I can now achieve a distance of 2.5 miles or 4119.9 meters which is a massive 1179% increase, not to shabby for a few weeks work

Body

Stepping on them scales back in January and being faced with a weight of 15st 6lbs was a massive shock. I never felt that I looked fat and so I guess it was pretty well disguised. This was too heavy for me to become a runner and had to change. I have expressed on here previously the changes I made particuarly to my diet and the results have been worth it.

This morning I came in at 14st 4lb 4oz meaning total lost to date is 1 stone and 2 pounds (Result!!!), I have also reduced my body fat from 26.4% down to 23.9% and increased muscle mass from 69.5% to 71.9%. Still some work on that front to be done but still major progress.

Sponsors

The reason I am doing all of this as you are aware is to raise money for two amazing charities that have helped a great deal at the lowest point of my life, children are butterflies and SANDS. Doing this run just 1 day after my beloved Jasmine would be 1 is not only going to test my physical limits but also push my emotional boundaries, running in her memory when I should be celebrating her birthday is going to be incredibly hard make no doubt about that. However I will do this because I am doing it not only for my daughter but also to help reduce the number of families in our situation and to ensure that there will always be the support for those who do suffer from the loss of a child.

So far I have raised £287.00 or £344.50 if you include gift aid. An incredible amount and thanks to every one who has donated so generously. I am pretty sure every donation gives me a bit of extra momentum so please do keep them coming

Last but not least I must also thank every one for reading this blog, checking the stats this morning it has been read by just over 700 people. If you like what you read, please feel free to share amongst friends and followers on the various social networks out there.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Week 6


Lean Mean Running Machine

Evening, another week has gone by they all go so quick now especially when you have an event to prepare for you, it feels like 24 hours feel like 24 minutes and I am conscious that September will no doubt sneak up on me like a ninja, ready to test me to the limit, fail to be prepared and that is me KO'd.

This week has involved the completion of a couple of mile stones, the main one being that in 6 weeks since I started my plan, I have now achieved over a stone in weight loss. Looking back at some pictures it is actually quiet a big transformation and I am massively proud of myself for achieving these results. Simply eating healthily and exercising (which as by my plan is only a maximum of 30 minutes at the moment)I feel like I have come so far, and it shows that it doesn't have to be grueling to achieve some positive results.I toyed with the idea of a before and after picture but I think I will protect your eyes for now

If you're wanting to get in shape then I recommend following the easy program that I am completing which is aimed to get you running continuously for 20 minutes in 9 weeks, its relatively pain free normally doing 2 sessions of walking and 1 run alternating with 2 running sessions and 1 walking session each week.

Also this week I have upped my longest run up to 1.42 miles and increased my best time for a mile to 8:38, there is nothing better then seeing progress knowing you are on the right track and your body is getting fitter and stronger. I love looking back at the end of a week and seeing such positive results.

.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Week 5


Valentines Love


Valentines day today so I may as well write about the things I love this week I think.
There are few things in life I love, my wife, my family, Arsenal FC being the main ones, without these things I do not know how I would have coped over the last 5 months. These people bring me so much joy in the most testing and challenging of times, I feel an immense pride having these in my life. Love in my case is certainly not blind for I see it and feel it every day. So to all everyone of my loves I say thank you.

However I must confess now that a new love for me maybe blossoming, just as beautiful as the pink flowers on an apple blossom tree. Yes I think I may well be falling in love with running, for you see running gives you some tough love that some times in life you need, it says you will find each run hard, you will burn and you will ache but after I will reward you with all the niceties your body desires. Your vitality which has been diminished by one too many burgers (beef or horse), I will gently restore, Your muscles which just get you through your day I will make strong, the stresses that life puts on you, I will remove and you will feel all better.

These reasons make running very hard not to fall in love with, who would really not want this? so all the singletons reading this wishing they had love on valentines day I say go start a love affair with running, just wack on a pair of trainers and head out of that door take it nice and easy, what have you got to loose?

Sponsors

I would just like to take this time to say a massive thanks to every one who has sponsored me so far, I am currently at £237.00 or £282.00 including gift aid so already over half way to my target. This really does help to spur me on and to do my best so thanks so much.

One last part for today, one of my old friends is running the silverstone half marathon in just a few weeks and is raising money for children are butterflies also so if any of you would like to add a bit extra towards this great charity and spur her on you can do so HERE

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Week 4


YES

Today I decided to start this blog off with a massive YES, for today I have had a small taste of what is to come and the taste was pretty scrumptious. If chocolate is one of the sweetest things a man can savour than this was a taste that I would imagine tastes a lot like a willy wonka finest everlasting, creamy milk chocolate, hand crafted into the shape of a giraffe by his leading oompa loompahs with the added bonus of a golden ticket.

Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Well for me it was as today was my first run to a mile non stop in a pretty good time of 8 minutes and 44 seconds. It feels so good to be able to run this distance when 4 weeks ago I couldn't make it back from my local shop. It has created a new piece to the jigsaw that is completing a 13.2 mile run. It has boosted my confidence that this run will indeed be possible aslong as I keep up the hard work.

Team work

This week I have also teamed up with my local herbalife independent distributor(my mother). She will be working with me to ensure that I have all the right nutrients to ensure I will be at my best. After conducting a full body assessment she has provided me with my nutritional plan for the course of my training. I have started on the f1 free from shakes this week, with the aim of using it to encourage weight loss to achieve my desired weight which I hope will be about 13.5 stone and to have a better well being.
For more information you can visit her website www.4gooodness-shakes

Right that's your lot, I hope that you continue to enjoy reading this, feel free to leave any comments on this page all are welcome

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Week 3


Mind Battles

Welcome back to a fresh chapter in my Great North Story. As with previous weeks, I have continued with my plan as set by the greatrun.org website the ante was upped a little this week with longer running stints and longer brisk walks which will continue apace over the next couple of weeks.

This week I think has been challenging not physically but mentally, cravings have kicked in, temptations to tuck into a nice piece of lemon drizzle or a munch on a bar of the sweet delicacy that is a chocolate bar,any thing will do. It has been hard, it is strange to be caught between the tug of war that is in your mind. One side saying "Come on Luke look at us lovely beautiful tasting pieces of devilish food, you know you want us, what damage will just one do?" You could say they tease you in like some sort of scantily clad temptress offering you all you could want if you give up something that you just don't quiet know how important it is too you. If your body is a temple then these are the other religions attempting you to convert and give up on your temple for a new one.

The other half of your brain like a knight in medieval times comes to your rescue and begins battle knowing that it will be a long hard battle but at the end of it all the world will be a better place and for that reason them exposing themselves to such enemies is good enough reason. The leader of the knight's he speaks boldly and with truth, he tells you that there is much more to be achieved if you join him in his battle and stay strong, he promises you that your temple will be the greatest temple in the land and all good will occur when you get to the promised land. It could be so easy to give in you could think no that battle is too hard, what chance do we have to survive I will never make it to the promised land, the land that is green and luscious, the enemy will eat away at my temple throwing it to ruin like so may temples gone before.

I have chose to fight so many times this week I have been offered the sweet things in life and I have turned them down each time, with a great sense of satisfaction I just think it would be so easy to have one but that as so often happens leads to another and another, those close to me will know that I have what could be called a biscuit addiction I was not one of those people who could just have a maximum of 2 biscuits with a cup of tea that was just wrong I had to have as close to the whole packet as I could. It has been 3 weeks since I last had a biscuit 3 weeks since I last had 2 sugars in my cup of tea, it is unreal what you can overcome if your mind is fully focused on getting where you want to be.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Week 2


Here's to good health

Another week has gone the last of the relaxed work out's has happened the intensity will step up a notch this coming week.
Looking back on the previous week I feel like there has been a big improvement to my well being and this all from just 20 minute brisk walks and eating healthier. It is amazing to me that such small changes can make a difference especially in your mental alertness, I am more switched on and able to take on and understand information more readily. If your looking to increase your well being just these small changes really do make a huge difference.

This week I have continued with the small steps and on Tuesday stepped it up from brisk walks to 6 x 1 minute run followed by 1 minute easy walk. This will gently ease me up to being able to run non stop for 20 minutes.
I have also completed two 20 minute sessions on the rowing machine this week coming in at 1000 reps.

A thing that has also struck me is my focus on achieving the results, I have many times attempted to get fitter but give up as soon as it gets too cold or wet or just a bit too hard, this time there is no room for complacency so despite the snow fall this week, I have not waned I have not give in, I have been out there in the sub zero temperatures ensuring I get the best preparation possible to achieve the success.

Weighing In

Weighed in first thing this morning and was extremely happy with the result good bye 15st and friends hello 14st and mates. I have managed to lose half a stone in just 2 weeks, it's these results that really give you some encouragement knowing you are heading in the right direction, thank the world for spinach rice and sweet potato.
Just to reiterate that this loss came from walking 3 times a week and 3 sessions on a rowing machine.

Reiteration

A side from all this preparation my life that was rocked so badly continues on, I went to see Jasmine on Wednesday at the cemetery in Kingsthorpe and they had dug a hole in preparation for another baby to be laid to rest that will be the 4th child since we laid Jasmine to rest in October, and the 7th in her row since September.

More then 1 child a month is buried in Kingsthorpe alone so far, I have no idea whether there are more cremated or in the cemetery at Delapre, either way it is an incredible number, and each time you see this it hits you and you feel for the bereaved parents fully understanding what they are going through it verges on torturous at times and I hope that they have such supporting families as I am lucky in having as that makes such a difference.
Obviously events like this show that there is a lot more we need to learn to make pregnancy safe and reiterates why I am choosing to do this run. More needs to be done, education is a necessity to stop this happening, It also shows that a support network will help and is needed for everyone affected by the loss of a child.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Week 1


Ok so I am at the end of week 1 since I was accepted to do the North Run 2013 so I thought I should update with things that I have done so far.

Small Steps

After downloading a plan created for me when registering for the North Run I have started following this to the exact letter. I have done 3 20 minute brisk walks so far, sounds pathetic when that sort of thing makes you feel like you have done an ok work out, obviously this is getting my lungs working a bit better and ready for harder things to come. I have one more week of brisk walking before I start the running.

Other things I have done this week include one of the main things a runner needs, a good pair of trainers. I visited sweatshop in Milton Keynes for help picking the right footwear for me. When there I was put on a machine which looks at the shapes of your feet and Achilles alignment. Turns out one of my feet is perfect the other not so. Some specially made insoles were baked to my foot contours for extra support and I was put to the test on a treadmill.
Now this was interesting whilst you are running on the treadmill there is a camera recording your movements, This is used to review your running style. I was told that I was a heel striker (from reading various documents this is not a good thing and something I need to change going forward.) and also that I over pronuncated, so my ankle rolled in too much, trainers with more ankle support did the trick, a few pounds later and I am now an owner of a pair of asics trainers.

This week I have also started to look at the foods I eat and have started to eat better to improve my general well being, gone is white bread, in is whole meal, out is 2 sugars now down to 1, meals will contain more vegetables and protein along with carbs, ready for when I ramp up the sessions

Thursday, 10 January 2013

My Bio


  • Name:Luke Barker
  • Sex: Male
  • Height:6'0"
  • This page will be updated weekly to show hopefully some signs of progress

    Date Weight BMI Muscle Mass Body Fat
    10/01/2013 15.6 Stone 29.26 -overweight 69.5% 26.4%
    17/01/2013 15.3 Stone 28.85 -overweight 69.9% 26.0%
    24/01/2013 14.13 stone 28.34 -overweight 70.5% 25.4%
    31/01/2013 14st 12lb 6oz 28.34 -overweight 70.5% 25.4%
    07/02/2013 14st 10lb 2oz 27.92 -overweight 70.6% 25.3%
    14/02/2013 14st 7lb 8oz 27.53 -overweight 71.4% 24.4%
    21/02/2013 14st 5lb 9oz 27.26 -overweight 71.7% 24.1%
    28/02/2013 14st 5lb 9oz 27.26 -overweight 71.7% 24.1%
    07/03/2013 14st 4lb 4oz 27.11 -overweight 71.9% 23.9%
    14/03/2013 14st 2lb 2oz 26.84 -overweight 72.2% 23.6%
    21/03/2013 14st 1lb 8oz 26.72 -overweight 72.3% 23.5%
    28/03/2013 14st 1lb 8oz 26.72 -overweight 72.3% 23.5%
    04/04/2013 14st 1lb 8oz 26.72 -overweight 72.3% 23.5%
    11/04/2013 13st 13b 25.72 -overweight 73.4% 22.3%
    18/04/2013 13st 13b 25.72 -overweight 73.5% 22.2%
    25/04/2013 13st 13b 25.72 -overweight 73.5% 22.2%
    02/05/2013 13st 11lb 25.46 -overweight 73.8% 21.9%
    09/05/2013 13st 11lb 25.46 -overweight 73.9% 21.8%
    16/05/2013 13st 10lb 25.34 -overweight 74.0% 21.7%
    23/05/2013 13st 10lb 25.34 -overweight 74.0% 21.7%
    23/05/2013 13st 8lb 24.92 -Healthy Weight 74.1% 21.6%
    06/06/2013 13st 8lb 24.92 -Healthy Weight 74.1% 21.6%
    13/06/2013 13st 8lb 24.92 -Healthy Weight 74.4% 21.3%

    Wednesday, 9 January 2013

    My Story The Reasoning



    This year I have been lucky enough to be accepted to take part in the great North Run 2013, I have decided that it would be interesting to write this blog to detail my journey from a man who struggles to run 13 yards with out puffing to a 13.1 mile marathon man.

    Why am I running?

    On the 14th September 2012 I suffered the an horrendous loss that has changed my life completely. On a day that should have been the happiest day of my life transcended into a nightmare. I had spent all day in an excited anticipation as my wife was in labour and I was about to see my 1st born baby girl for the first time.

    20:34 she was born, but she did not take a breath, all resuscitation efforts failed, our baby girl had died, she was the most perfect baby you could ever imagine, she weighed in at 8lb 6oz and was 60 cm from crown to heel and looked just like me.

    You can not describe the devastation that this caused and life will never be the same again, the thoughts that going through your head are so extreme from what they were just 12 hours earlier. Before you are planning her life and how to raise her and also happy at becoming a family. The reality we were faced with was planning her funeral and facing the struggle to cope with life.

    The Charities

    It would seem that now would be a good time to mention the charities I will be running for.

    Children are butterflies

    This charity is based in Northampton and is one we will always hold in high esteem.
    They were there for us when it came to arranging the funeral for us, they provided this service to us at no cost to ourselves, understanding that this is already an incredibly difficult time for us and families in our position. This charity is also more that just helping towards funeral costs, they are also incredibly supportive and helpful, On the occasions when we met with Clare(one of the workers) we often ranted about our experiences to her and at no point did we feel she was not interested, every one just listened and that is something we needed at that time.
    As well as helping with the arrangements they also provide us with a personalised memory box which contained many thoughtful touches and memorial items that we would never have thought of, such a wonderful charity and I can not thank them enough

    Sands

    Sands are the uk's leading charity when it comes to reducing the number of still borns and neonatal deaths, they campaign for research to reduce the 17 families a day affected by this tragedy. They also help to provide you with comfort in the most trying of times and the memory box they provide will always help and comfort us.