Saturday, 28 April 2007

Parish warm up

There was a good turn out and a high class field for the Seven Stations Walk last Sunday despite its close proximity to the big race. I would call it a Parish warm up - most of the top guys were walking.

Myself and occasional training partner Matthew Haddock decided that we would go for it from the outset as I was unsure about finishing due to bad feet and he was carrying a groin injury.If nothing else it would be a very good training session under race conditions.We went so well that we were only passed by 2 people in the entire walk - once by Sean Hands early on and then by Jock Waddington in the mists approaching Foxdale. In fact, despite walking together, it was a very lonely race ! We got to Peel ok enough in about 12th place but I was starting to feel the effects of my blistered feet and decided, rather sensibly for me, to pack in at Kirk Michael( 24 miles) before I made the situation any worse. I had dropped about a quarter of a mile off Matthew by that stage and was just behind James Moore. Well done to both those lads for finishing it and to the organisers for such a great job. There were plenty of marshalls and water stations plus the mobile guys who were constantly on your case asking if you were ok. I think if the event can be moved backwards by about two weeks, it may grow and grow. I hope so - endurance events leading up to the Parish are thin on the ground and with traffic an ever increasing problem, walking under race conditions are ideal.

I rested my feet for 4 days and went out for an 8 mile quicker walk last night. My feet were fine and my time was ok ( for me !) but I have done my back in ! If it's not one thing, it's the other - is my walking training always going to be this way ??!!

I was chuffed to see there are now almost 1000 entrants for the big day, following a little confusion over the exact numbers. This will be my first parish experience and I want it full on, numbers and all ! Hopefully, with a week still to enter, the figures will rise. Get your entries in folks if you haven't yet done so !

Friday, 20 April 2007

No niggles or aches ??

The last 10 days training have gone really well and, for the first time I can remember,I have not felt any niggles or strains. I have decided that the weekly regime will include a long walk, one speed session and one intermediate session of about 10-12 miles, relying on quality rather than quantity on my feet. It's so far so good.

I again managed to walk a part of the course this week and last Saturday walked from Shoprite Ramsey to Maughold and back with Matt H. I am pleased I managed to get this part done as, if I am honest, I didn't really know the route. What surprised me was, not the steep climbs up Ballajora or Hibernia Hill,just how long the Maughold route actually is. I went round there in the car just after Christmas and thought it was nothing, not realising I has taken a wrong turn ! Just after the Ballajora climb, the road forks left and right and I had turned right to go back onto the main road which I now know is the wrong way. There must be a further 3 miles in the loop including the final Hibernia push which I never knew was there ! I must admit I found the two rises not too bad although in the Parish itself I can see why this may be different. Fatigue is setting in and darkness is upon you, completely different from our hot sunny morning and only 3 miles into the walk ! Maybe my viewpoint of this area will be permanently altered in 9 weeks time ! Anyway it was a great session, just under 10 miles in slightly under 2 hours which I was pleased with.

Yesterday, I did my intermediate walk which on this occasion was a 14.1 mile loop from my house in Saddlestone up to Onchan Head and back again via Kewaigue in 2 hrs 45 min, an average of 5.1 mph. The good news is I did this route before with Mark H and struggled the last 3 miles, this time I felt comfortable. Isn't it strange how that happens sometimes, for no apparent reason ?

I am looking forward to the weekend and the 50 mile Fireman's Walk on Sunday. There are roughly 150 entrants and a high class field, from what I can gather, which is good for a fledgling event. At this stage sitting at my PC, I am not intending to complete the course and my intention is to use the event as part of my training and at least get to Ramsey which is 33 miles. Depending on how I feel, if I reach that point, will determine if I go on. However, I stupidly walked in new shoes the other day and am nursing a couple of blisters which may ultimately make the decision for me ! See you there !

Monday, 9 April 2007

Holiday punishment

Firstly, my apologies for not updating the blog in the last 3 weeks. I have been on hols in Florida with the wife and kids during this time and had no PC access. It won't happen again, honest !!

During this time I virtually did no training at all due to the heat and the desire to relax, save for two pathetic 20 minute jogs around the complex and one fast walk of just over 2 miles. However, I am claiming visiting the theme parks as part of training as you are on your feet for about 8 hours per day and must walk about 5 miles around them per visit. Well that's my claim and am sticking to it !

I must admit I really did miss the routine of my training schedule and have come back home with extra vigour and sense of purpose. I am determined to make the most of the next 10 weeks.

With this in mind, I went out this morning with Matthew Haddock, who was a first time Parish finisher last year. He came up with a fantastic loop route which went :- Rushen Church - Sloc - Round Table - Glen Maye - Arrasey Plantation- Round Table- Colby- Rushen Church. In all we covered 20.5 miles in 4 hours and 20min. Not that quick at just over 4.7 mph but we covered some good hill climbs and I got to savour the challenge of the Sloc for the first time ever.

Mind you, that well-known climb pales into insignificance when you take on the awesome hill when you turn right at the Old Post Office at Glen Maye. I believe it is called Molluc Vellyn ( not sure about spelling ) and it must be one of the steepest hills, if not the steepest, on the island. I had never encountered it before -it is a one track road and I swear at one lung busting point I was about 3 foot tall due to the rise and my body shape.It was literally like walking up a wall and I thought we would have to make base camp at one point !The incline is only about half a mile in distance( feels like 2 ) and I would love to know the % rise of the entire slope. Seriously, if you have never been up there, have a bash and I dare you to tell me I'm wrong ! However, it was a really good session and most beneficial to both of us - especially to Matt as he was hung over !

It was also informative to walk part of the Parish course too and this is something I intend to repeat over the coming weeks. I am not totally happy I know the way around the Maughold / Ballajora area and this will be my next assualt of the course, hopefully on Sunday.

I can't believe it is just over 10 weeks to the race and I can't wait for the challenge - I feel like a kid in December. The evenings are getting longer, the weather warming up and the entry list on the Parish Walk site ever growing - I love Spring !