It’s been a while.

I don’t know what’s made me decide to update the blog today?  It’s raining outside and I can’t get out for a run, I’ll not be going swimming tonight and I haven’t been on my bike since… well, Sunday but it seems like ages.

At the end of last year – after the last run of the year (the Parkrun where all my fantastic friends came to join me in fancy dress) I was a bit sick of running.  I think I’d got to the stage where I had set myself a mile goal and was just doing various events to rack up the miles, not for fun.  The Kielder Marathon sticks out as an especially bad one – from the off, my watch wasn’t working and my ipod ran out not long after.  I remember plodding most of it alone, thinking how easy it would be just to drop out at each checkpoint I passed.  However, at each checkpoint there were also a load of people cheering and clapping, so it made it hard not to be motivated and carry on!

Anyway, I thought that would be it – I’d hang up my trainers.

But it turns out I missed it!  Not necessarily the actual running but more the buzz, the fresh air, the feeling of being healthy, the challenge and the free t-shirts!

So I signed up for the one event that I didn’t manage to complete – the dreaded Kielder Offroad Duathlon.

And I did it.

And I completed it.

And I loved it.

And that was it – the bug was back.

So now this year, whilst it won’t be as extreme as last year, I have signed up for a variety of events;

The Washington Duathlon (run / bike / run);
The Alnwick Harriers Les Alcorn 10k (run);
The Fred Whitton Cycle Sportive (road bike – 112 miles in the lakes passing over all the mountain passes!)
The Clennel Colossus (mountain biking in the Cheviots)
The Virgin Money Cyclone (road bike)
The Chevy Chase (off road running in the Cheviots)
The C2C (biking / drinking with mates!)
The Alnwick Harriers Coastal Run (run)
The Great North Cycle (road bike)
The Peebles Triathlon (swim / bike / run)
The Wooler Wheel (road bike)
The Trail Outlaws Wooler half marathon (off road run)

Any anything else that looks fun!

Here’s to 2017!!

A funny old year.

Well, that was a funny old 2016 wasn’t it?

I seemed to have gone from non runner to…. well…… a bit of a runner!  So much so that I won the Alnwick Harriers Senior Male award and was nominated for two Regional Sports Awards too!  Crumbs!

As a recap of the year, I managed…..

2 Ultra Distance Runs (one running 65 miles on St Cuthberts Way and the other 30 miles in the Cheviots carrying a 30lb rucksack with the Marines…)

5 full marathons

1 duathlon

11 half marathons

1 10k run, and

6 Parkruns.

 

Phew!

Thank you isn’t quite enough!

Last Friday’s Chilli Night and the days since – I think it’s fair to say – have been a success.

I only ever set myself a fundraising target of £400 for the Newcastle Healthcare Child Bereavement Charity and would have been dead chuffed if I had have hit that.

However, thanks to the generosity of my family, friends, their friends and even some strangers I think it’s fair to say that I’ve smashed that!

threeI would like to say a HUGE thank you to the following people, who have all helped to pull in the donations from left, right and centre:

  • Wayne Hilton who created the All 4 Guy logo and is leading the charge with providing our branded goods!  (details below if you wish to order)
  • Alnwick Rugby Club for letting us have the venue as their contribution
  • My sister in law Susan for cooking up copious amounts of Chilli and rice and for all of the people in the kitchen who helped her out
  • My mother in law Ros for making all of the deserts for the night
  • My wife Christine for putting up with my new hobby.  She always said that I should get one, so she should be happy 🙂
  • IMG_0002The fantastic band My Nasty Gran who had almost every single person on the dancefloor
  • Everyone who donated a raffle prize and by God there were LOADS!
  • Chris from Wild With Love who donated the fantastic flowers for our Blind Date lady
  • Hamish, Callum and Will who were our unwitting Blind Date lads – I don’t think they knew what they’d let themselves in for….. 🙂
  • Andrew Lawson from Thirston Garage for providing a bottle of Gin and another of Whiskey for the “chuck a coin” competition
  • The Alnwick Round Table for their very much appreciated donation
  • Everyone who came and ate, drank, donated, sponsored and generally had fun!

And anyone else that I may have forgotten!

We are still taking orders for all of the merchandise, so if you would like to order anything please get in touch – prices are as follows :

bundleString Bag – £7
Water Bottle – £8.50
Mug – £8

So now this is all done and dusted, I am going to concentrate on my training for the Ultra Marathon in July.  62.5 miles in one go (allowed time = 19 hours!) from Holy Island to Melrose.  And in between now and then I have :

  • Leas marathon
  • Cragside 10k
  • Thrunton Thriller 1/2 marathon
  • Kirkley 1/2 marathon
  • Druridge Bay marathon
  • Les Alcorn 10k
  • Edinburgh marathon
  • Coquet Valley 1/2 marathon

If anyone feels inclined to sponsor me for this – quite frankly – absurd task I’ve set myself then please don’t let me stop you : www.justgiving.com/All4Guy.  The charity I am supporting is incredibly close to my heart and they are not a large charitable organisation – they don’t get support from major events or press and TV campaigns.  They get by purely on donations from idiots like me, but the support that they provide to families in the form of counsellors like the amazing Paula is absolutely second to none.

You may be thinking that I’d forgotten to tell you what the current total raised is.  I haven’t, I’m just stringing it out like what they do on X Factor…..

So – drum roll please – the current, and I say “current” as every time I add it up, I get another bit of dosh to include! is…..

£3114!!!

As Guy would have liked us to have said – thumbs up and keep smiling!

xx

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Chilli Night – The Aftermath

Friday night saw the much anticipated Chilli Night at Alnwick Rugby Club, all to raise funds for the Newcastle Healthcare Charity – Child Bereavement Fund.  And what a night.

We had food (lots!), raffle prizes (loads!), donations (plenty!) and laughs (a lorra, lorra…..!).

The Blind Date was hilarious, where we kind of pitted a mother and son against each other.  All in good spirits!

The running total so far (and believe me, donations are coming in thick and fast still) is in the region of £2500 so I really couldn’t have been happier.

Please excuse the quality of the footage, but below you’ll find some links to the Blind Date which I hope you’ll find mildly amusing!  The lad in the middle (Hamish) is the son of the picker, Fiona.  Thanks to our other hunks, Will and Callum too!

Enjoy!

clip 1 https://youtu.be/PEEaqeOtKMI
clip 2 https://youtu.be/ciV2bsLr5Io
clip 3 https://youtu.be/soI2ZSkomc0
clip 4 https://youtu.be/bJYbskbOwQI

 

The VO2max is done!

image3Oh, what a night.

So I turned up to the Uni pretty oblivious of what was in store.  Tom was there to meet me as my lift arrived to his dimly lit 4th floor office (it was a like a scene from James Bond… “Ah, Mr McAllister – I’ve been expecting you”) and what a nice chap he was.  He explained everything to me in as much detail as I needed – not too much, just enough.  But he left out one simple fact.

He was trying to kill me.

Well he wasn’t, but up there in a fairly deserted 4th floor office he could easily have done so and probably with the industrial strength bleach, dissolved my body.

I should correct myself;  he wasn’t trying to kill me exactly, but by the end of the testing I was fairly sure that I was close to that point.  I hope that the bright light was the LED lighting system.

image1I’ll not go into too much detail, because if you are planning on doing some VO2 and lactate threshold testing then you should go open minded like I did.  That way you’ll enjoy it all the more!

I’d go back tomorrow if I could – it was thoroughly enjoyable, I felt GREAT afterwards and can’t wait for my results!

 

DCIM100GOPRO

V02max Testing

Here’s a thing.  Tomorrow after work, I’m heading down to Northumbria Uni to get myself involved in a bit of V02max testing.  You know, as you do.

There’s a nice chap called Tom who is doing some research for his phd and I’m getting myself all involved with it, so as part of it he’s going to push me to the limits and test my…. well, my V02max.

I wasn’t sure what exactly it was, so googled it and came up with : “Some experts believe that VO2 max is a key physiological determinant of an athlete’s running performance, and that it is an important objective of a training programme to improve it.”

If nothing else, he said I can take a go-pro to film it, so I should have some good footage at least!

Will report back when I’m all tested and that.

ps – this is what I’ll look like.  Just not so girlie.  Hopefully.

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Strava – the only app I’ve stuck with

When I first started out, I would take my phone to check how far I had run and basically show off to my friends.  However, since I’ve started using Strava, I’ve realised it has far more than just bragging rights.  I am now monitoring pace, elevation, distance and time and can research a bit about what friends of mine are doing to get hints and tips on where to run and what pace I should be aiming for.

We’ve created a Foxy Runners group on Strava too, so if you are in the village and want to join just search for it on the app!

 

Just Say No

s-l1000If I learned anything from watching TV growing up in the 80’s it was to “Just Say No”.
Look at the pickle that Zammo got himself into.

musclesSo with this piece of advice firmly planted in my head, I’ve always shied away from supplements when I’m a-sportin’. I think I also thought that if I took anything, I’d get mood swings, a little “little Ian” and end up looking like this.

I clearly did what I do best – didn’t bother looking into it properly before making a rash decision.

It was with much trepidation that when my wife suggested I try some supplmements to help with my running I agreed. Will it be a slippery slope? I’ve seen Trainspotting and don’t much fancy that toilet scene (though my friend James and I witnessed very similar at the start of the Bamburgh half marathon back in the Summer).

Angry-Popeye_689But I didn’t get addicted. I haven’t had to rob old women or sell my body to pay for it and it’s helped me no end.  It was like that bit when Popeye gulps his spinach and goes all super strong

By nature, I’m a right old moaner – be it aches, pains or just generally made up stuff that I’ve convinced myself I’ve got (thanks google) – but since having started to use Arbonne Phytosport before and after my running I’ve not only steadily improved my pace and distance, but the post workout bit (when I normally forget to cool down and stretch) has been a dream!

In “professional terms” – ahem – “they contain key ingredients like essential branched chain amino acids, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and botanical extracts to support critical physiological functions that contribute to your best physical performance.

And there’s more!

Supporting and optimising your physical functions with PhytoSport products can help prepare you for action, improve performance and endurance, and speed recovery.

In real terms, I’m faster and less knackered than I was.

Give me a shout if you want to try some – I’ll send you a couple of scoops of mine!

To read more about Phytosport, either give me a shout, click on the images below to open up the product guides or click here.

prepareafterhydrate

Epson Runsense SF-810 Testing

So here’s a strange one. One day flicking mindlessly through Twitter (which is the only way to actually flick through Twitter) I saw that Epson were looking for 100 people in the UK (300 worldwide) to test their new running watch and post reviews.  In return they got to keep the watch afterwards.  “Might as well give it a go” I thought.

And would you believe it, I went and got chosen! I would like to put it down to my witty application and handsome face but in reality I suspect it’s because I’ve organised to do so many events and in such stunning surroundings that they thought the video reviews would be good.

So  it’s probably with slight disappointment that the first review is from running round the streets of Essex then sitting in me ma’s front room! I was away for the weekend you see…..

https://youtu.be/xCtDS2HtIG0

Not to worry, the next review is from a night run through the woods so that will hopefully be more adventurous!

www.100runnertesters.co.uk

#epsonrunner

Foxy Runners

So we’ve started a running group!

An all welcome group, 0800 Sunday mornings, meet by the Running Fox in Felton. No pressure, just a easy going run for an hour or so. We’d encourage anyone who’s interested to come along, the more the merrier, social not competitive. We could even pop into the Fox after if anyone fancies it, they offer a free tea or coffee!!running-silhouettes
https://www.strava.com/clubs/179555/latest-rides/621aaafda58371f21a3adce832447a88367384ae?show_rides=true

60% Freezing / 40% Mind Games

So yesterday I did the much anticipated, postponed Winter off road duathlon at Kielder Forest and by flippety jibbets, it was cold.  And much harder than I thought.

The plan was for an 8k run, 20k off road mountain bike then a 6k run.

The first run went fine – enjoyable even!  And the start of the bike ride was fine, nicely up and down pretty decent hills on Forestry Tracks (gravel mainly).  But then the proper off road bit kicked in – single track mountain bike track with “gnarly” (I presume that’s what that means) descents.  So much so that one bloke I saw got a puncture from going down it too hard and fast.

Me, on the other hand, had never been on a proper mountain bike track.  And I’d taken my old mountain bike (I think £45 new about 10 years ago).  Neither me nor the bike were fit for purpose.

I’ve never clung onto my brakes so hard with such little impact.  To the point where I did (what I’ve been reliable informed is called) an Endo extremely closely to a stream and log pile.

So after about an hour and half of this slow paced madness a bike I’d lost feeling in my feet, legs and hands and I think my mind was made up.  I wasn’t going to do the final run.

Fitness and stamina wise I could have, and in hindsight if I’d have stamped my feet and rubbed my hands then I would probably have got enough feeling back to have done it.  But my mind was made up.

And this is why I didn’t do the final 6k run, sulked the whole way home, slept awfully last night and still have the grumps.

I realise now that I not only need to train my body to compete in the events but I also need to train my mind.  And not to do anything off-road on a mountain bike again.

Bah.

Untitled-4

 

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What it’s all about

One of the main reasons for this entire running stuff is to raise funds for the Newcastle Healthcare Charity.  I’ve done OK so far (about £1500 to date) but want to try to smash it next year.

I’ve organised a Chilli night at our local rugby club, so if you want to come along then give me a shout!c4c-poster

Winter Blues

I’ve been looking forward to today for ages. I’ve never done a duathlon and today was going to be the day. 

Unfortunately Desmond came and ruined the course. Disappointed didn’t cut it when the text came through last night. 

So I went to bed grumpy. 

However, today is a new day so time to reframe. The girl child is away with the brownies which leaves me and the boy child amusing ourselves. 

As I’ve trained and eaten well all week I have not a jot of guilt at sitting in my PJ’s in front of the telly watching Return of the Jedi instead of going out for a leg stretch. 

Onwards and upwards – I’ll do something exercise-y tomorrow. But until then, may the force be with you. 

   
 
  

The best things come in small packages. 

I’m ….. How do they phrase it…. vertically challenged?  Always have been and I presume always will be. Still, we’re all the same when we’re laying down eh?

At school I was the smallest chap and in my circle of friends I’m not far off.

I’ve heard it all; best things come in small packages? It’s not the size, it’s the quality?

But it only dawned on me today how I should be listening to this. 

I went for a lunchtime run – just under 4 miles. I berated myself a bit for only doing 4 miles but then I stopped and thought a bit. Well, I didn’t actually stop – I wasn’t back at the office yet.

Of the 4 miles I ran, about 3 of them were uphill. And quite a steep uphill  too. I apparently elevated over 700ft according to strava!

So all in all, I have decided – a 4 mile hilly run is of more benefit than a 6 mile flat one. Plus, a 4 mile anything run is better than sitting at my desk looking at rubbish online.

Smug points for the day well and truly earned! 

  
  

Oh, what to wear?

For those of you that have ever gone out for an evening with a lady, you’ll know what it’s like waiting while they choose what to wear. On this I shall say no more (Wifey might be reading).

However, winter running has been causing me a dilemma. I don’t want to be too cold, but likewise I don’t want to overheat 3 miles down the road and end up tying all manner of things round my waist.

My brace of sister-in-laws bought me a nifty lightweight jacket for my birthday with removable sleeves which is great. But I always struggle with layers – long sleeve only, short sleeve over the top or does it go under? Hat and gloves always yes, but what hat? The thermal one or the skull cap that makes my ears stick out?

In honesty, by the time I’ve gone through this ritual I’m generally warm enough to go out naked in a blizzard, so it’s fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things!

A duathlon!

So as the final “official” event for 2015 I have decided to go for it, in the form of an off road duathlon.

I have only been on my bike a handful of times this year and my off road running isn’t anywhere near as practiced as my road running, so what could possible go wrong?

This Sunday I’m doing an 8k Trail Run / 20k Mountain Bike / 6k Trail Run at the beautiful Kielder Water National Park, so if nothing else I’ll get a decent selfie or two!

http://www.highterrainevents.co.uk/#!kielder-duathlon/c234n

Me being ridiculous

downloadFor anyone who I haven’t bored the hind legs off, I’m doing some exercising over the next 6 months or so with the hope of raising a bucket load of dosh for the Newcastle Healthcare Charity (Child Bereavement).

I’m leading up to a 100km Ultra Marathon along the St Cuthberts Way in July, so to get into shape I have run :

Great North Run
Bamburgh Half Marathon
Kirkley Big 10 Mile (today, in the wind and rain and at one point sleet!)

And I am going to be running:

Kielder Duathlon (next Sunday) (http://www.highterrainevents.co.uk/#!kielder-duathlon/c234n)
Kirkley Half Marathon (April)
Edinburgh Marathon(May)
Coquet Valley Challenge (June)
and then the St Cuthberts Ultra in July (http://www.trailoutlaws.com/stcuthbert.html).

Plus whatever training runs and other organised events I can fit it!

I know that a load of you put your money where your mouth is for my Top Gun film night earlier in the year, so I’ll be organising some more things to get you in the mood!

However, in the meantime, if you wanted to take a peek at my justgiving page then it is here : https://www.justgiving.com/all4guy/

Ian McAllister

Mid-life crisis or lightbulb moment?

I’ve never been particularly sporty.  I dipped my toe into running BC (before children) but the man who ran the club told me off for going too slow once and I never went back.  Poor fella was just doing his job at trying to motivate me, but clearly hadn’t chosen his audience too well.  Bear a grudge?  Me?  Never……

In 2014 my mate Stacey did the Great North Run and we met him at the finish line.  And I got jealous.   Jealous of the atmosphere, his new finishing T-Shirt and the fact that he was then entitled to be smug all day about it.  So I entered.  And got in.  And did it.  And didn’t collapse.

So I thought “in for a penny, in for a pound” and got a little bit obsessed with entering things.

In 2016 I ran over 1300 miles, 400odd of which were in organised events.  And during this process I raised quite a bit of dosh for the Newcastle Hospitals Child Bereavement Unit.

At the end of 2016 I said that was it, running’s over for me.

But it turns out it’s a bit of a bug.

However this year, instead of just running a lot I’m also cycling a lot too.  And swimming a bit.  And I’ll try to blog a bit too.