Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

BUPA Great North Run – Done – Next Challenge Please!

October 14, 2008 14:47 by Andrew Westgarth

gnr_logo I’m very late posting this but I want to say a big thank you to all of those who have supported me and sponsored me in my efforts to complete the BUPA Great North Run and raise some money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

On Sunday 5th October, on a beautiful sunny morning, where conditions were perfect!  The atmosphere on the Metro into Newcastle and at the start line was great.  The BUPA Great North Run was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed the whole day.  I managed to complete my first ever half marathon in 2:15:10.  I’ve now got a time to beat and watch this space to see if I enter next year, I’m still mulling it over, I will do the GNR again but… :).  I’ve managed to raise over £500 so far and money is still coming in – keep an eye on the JustGiving counter on my blog for latest information.  I know the money will go to a great cause!

guide dogs blue logo Big thanks to the people at the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity for looking after their runners so well after the Great North Run!!!

As you’ll remember from my previous BUPA Great North Run postings, this started off as a challenge and has left me enjoying running and the level of fitness I’ve achieved and will maintain.  Now I’m looking for new challenges and experiences!  Next up maybe snowboarding, western riding, who knows – suggestions on a comment please!!!

Please Help Me Help Others - BUPA Great North Run 2008 and the Guide Dogs for the Blind

September 4, 2008 06:22 by Andrew Westgarth

On Sunday 5th October 2008 I will be taking part in the BUPA Great North Run and I am hoping to raise a sum of money to be donated to the Guide Dogs for the Blind

Why The Great North Run?

gnr_logoWhy not is my response :). It's so easy to sit at home and watch these events and say wouldn't it be great to do that! So I decided around December 2007 last year to investigate how to enter and submitted my entry form in January and paid my entrance fee, then I waited on tenterhooks to see if I got a place. Unfortunately I've had events in my life which have made me learn the very hard way that Life is Very Short and we should value every day of it. I am not hugely physical, I do play football two to three times a week but have never really been into running let alone 13.25 miles! So I looked upon the Great North Run as a challenge and something I could look back on and say I did that and at the same time hopefully help other people! I am setting myself a personal target of the time I want to achieve - if you don't have something to aim at you'll never reach the stars.   TRAINING UPDATE: I am now up to running 10 miles in one stint at a half decent pace so am well on the way to being ready :).

Why Guide Dogs for the Blind?

guide dogs blue logoWhen I looked at the long list of very worthwhile causes, I had a few milling around in my mind, with which I have had or have connections with in some form over the years, but Guide Dogs for the Blind was the one that sprung forward. Six years ago my Dad passed away, a dark and very stressful period in my life which rocked me too the core, and as part of the funeral we collected money for Guide Dogs for the Blind and just had family flowers. We chose Guide Dogs for the Blind then because my Dad always had a great love for dogs and in particular the Labradors and Retrievers which are synonymous with the Guide Dogs Organisation and so there we had a link. There were other charities we considered but we decided to help the Guide Dogs for The Blind.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of the great work that the organisation do and the amazing stories of how Guide Dogs help to change the lives of people are blind, when watching the Secret Millionaire on Channel 4. In this programme a gentleman in Glasgow had become blind after contracting a rare illness and to see how valuable his Guide Dog is and how it lets him live independently and how much love he has for the dog was very moving.  If you are in the UK I would very much recommend that you watch the program via Channel 4's online service - and you'll need to search for the Secret Millionaire - Nick Leslau.  Hopefully whatever amount I raise will be of help to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Organisation and will enable them to continue the great work that they do!  For more information about the Guide Dogs for The Blind visit their website

So how can you help me?

You can help me by sponsoring me via my JustGiving Page, and hopefully through my efforts in the Bupa Great North Run I can raise a sum of money which will be used by the Guide Dogs for the Blind to continue their great work! 

Back to training for the Great North Run!

May 8, 2008 15:49 by Andrew Westgarth

Bupa Great North Run Yep I got back into my training at the weekend.  Managed to get myself going and got out in the beautiful weather we've been having in the North East, and completed a little over 3 mile run on Saturday morning with no problems.  I'd previously not managed to get out over the previous weeks after not being at home very much and having very little time to get out.  I'm now in the process of keeping up the training and setting up a charity donation collection page.  More details will follow soon.  For now I'm just pleased I've managed to get training again, and I'm very much looking forward to keeping it up and getting out and experiencing the great places in the North East where I can run, for example the excellent seaside we have in the North East.

No Pain No Gain?

March 11, 2008 03:03 by Andrew Westgarth

Well I went for my second BUPA Great North Run training session on Saturday morning, dodging the wind and the rain.  I started off on the same route as last weekend but had to cut it short as I experienced a lot of discomfort in my right ankle, so shortened my run and only completed 2.65 miles - http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-kingdom/sunderland/643691580 - still within a reasonable 25 minutes though. 

I played football last night and this morning my right ankle's still feeling a little sore.  I'm not playing till Thursday this week so will see how it holds up, probably going to invest in an ankle support though.  Will see how things are before pushing myself too far - don't want a serious injury so early into my training.

You're Gonna Eat Lightning and Crap Thunder!!

March 2, 2008 13:59 by Andrew Westgarth

rocky3 Yes the rumours are true!  I, Andrew Westgarth, will be running the BUPA Great North Run on Sunday October 5th 2008.  This is one of the biggest half marathons in the world and I am very pleased to be able to take part.  It may come as a surprise to many of you that I have decided to do something like this.  I would imagine anyone who's met me or seen pictures of me would not attribute sports with my physique.  On the contrary I play football 2-3 times a week (well sometimes I attempt to play ;-)) and I like to get to the gym.  My goal over the past few years has been to increase mass and put on more muscle, something I started to achieve last year by gaining a stone, but due to illness at the turn of the year I've lost it again so it's back to the drawing board :-(.  I read many articles about losing weight and how tough it can be, but I read very little about trying to put a bit of weight on and how very hard that is.  I thought about setting up another blog for my training record but I think I'll blog about it here instead, saves having to update multiple sites and prevents one having little content.

I recently emailed Mike Ormond at Microsoft about his experiences last year whilst training for and running the London Marathon.  Mike kindly obliged with some great tips which I will use along with others that I've read and gained from  other sources.  The opportunity to run the Great North Run represents a great personal challenge and an opportunity for me to raise funds to help out people less fortunate than myself.  I will publish full details of the charity(ies) I'm raising money for when I get my documents from the Great Run Committee.gnr_logo

Today I started the first part of my training.  My plan is to play football on Monday Nights, Wednesday (possibly) and Thursday nights; Gym Circuits on Monday Morning, Wednesday Morning and Friday Morning, have a run (gradually increasing miles) on a Saturday and resting on a Sunday :-).  I'll see how this goes and how it fits with my plan to bulk up - but those are my initial thoughts.  So this morning I got up, had breakfast (well I must improve on that in future!) and about an hour later went out and completed a 3.35 mile run, completing the distance in about 30 minutes and it was at a very sedate pace :-).  I was quite pleased with myself, although some of the music I left on my iPod were very motivating (Vince Di Cola's War; Training Montage; and Bill Conti's Gonna Fly Now) unfortunately Eagles and Carpenters ballads whilst I love the music, didn't exactly inspire me to keep the pace!  Any suggestions for suitable training music would be very much welcome.  All in all a successful first start - but I'd love some tips for a proper warm down routine, I ended off by doing sit-ups, press-ups and back extensions but I'm sure I should be doing something more suitable.  More training updates next week! :-).



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