Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

After cycling on Boxing Day, exercise has come to a bit of a stand still! We have come away for a few days to Parkgate on the Wirral so spent most of Monday on the ferry and then in the car. Tuesday was spent playing tenpin bowling in the morning and then we went on a family shopping expedition for the rest of the day. Now, I am told that to complete the Parish Walk, it requires stamina but a large element is mental toughness – two qualities that are needed in abundance when shopping with Sally.

Yesterday morning, I got up and shook off my hangover by going for a five mile run around Parkgate. The terrain here is pretty flat but I found it quite hard going having over eaten, consumed far too much alcohol and not done any serious exercise for the last few days. I am going to have to put some training in to shake off the cobwebs before the Ramsey fireman’s run on the 7 January.

I was due to marshal on the Millennium Way relay last Sunday but unfortunately it was shortened due to the bad weather on the Mountain and so I was not required. I still planned to go out and watch the race but I didn’t get to bed till about 3am the night before so, instead I watched the excellent coverage on Murrays YouTube video from the comfort of my arm chair. I had toyed with the idea of running in the event but having seen the video of the start of the race up the hill out of Crosby in the cold and wet conditions (everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves!), I was rather glad I wasn’t running.

Now, coming back to stamina, I am considering entering the Manx Mountain Marathon. I think some off road running in preparation and then the race itself would be excellent stamina training in preparation for the Parish Walk. I might give it little bit more thought before I commit to that one.

I think this will be my last entry for this year but looking forward to finishing the Parish Walk next Year! Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Teletubbies are go.

After a great Christmas day it was time to get out and about again. Having been a good boy all year and sitting on Santa's knee last week, I was rewarded with Father Christmas unloading his sack in my bedroom. Amongst numerous fantastic gifts was a cycling top and a pair of cycling bottoms. So this morning I went out on the bike - looking like a Ninja Teletubby - without the stabilisers on!

Things went pretty well until I went up a steep hill, I wasn't going to be defeated, I dropped down into 1st gear (well thats what I would call it on the motorbike) and kept peddling whilst my legs were burning. I shouted 'I WILL NOT BE BEAT....' - I had to walk the last bit of the hill.

I was getting pretty confident by the end so cycled back along the prom. I was feeling a bit smug on the prom when I decided to overtake all the queing traffic. Word of warning - a racing bike tyres are a perfect fit for the track of the horse drawn trams. Luckily, a couple of deft Ninja moves avoided me going arse over tit. Might walk down to the Millenium Way Relay tomorrow.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas.

Just a quick post today!
After the cancellation of the Winter walking league last Sunday, I have been a bit lazy. Mainly because I haven't had much time to get out and exercise. I did get out on Monday and walked 9 miles but other than that, the next exercise will be after Christmas now.
The Monday night childrens race walking session was replaced this week with ice skating and some food and chocolates after. Everyone had a good time and just like walking, the kids were better than me at skating!
Just been down to Tesco earlier this afternoon to get a few last minute bits and pieces in anticipation of the fat bloke coming tonight. Unfortunately, I have drawn the short straw and am working tonight till 8am but at least then I'm off work till next year (sounds a long time).
I hope everyone has a good time over Christmas and remembers to eat too much - because it will be that bit more enjoyable walking off the calories in the New Year! Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's snowing!

The winter walking league race was cancelled today but replaced by winter sports!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's freeeeezing

Its the winter walking league tomorrow morning at St Johns but the weather forecast isn't optomistic! Snow showers and blizzard conditions are predicted so wrap up warm.
I went out for an eight mile run on Wednesday evening but haven't done a great deal since then. I got a new bike on Thurday and I went out for a cycle ride yesterday but within a couple of miles, my fingers went numb because of the cold so I cut the ride short. I'm waiting for things to warm up a little and the ice on the roads to thaw before I try again.
The only other exercise (if you can call it that) was a trip to the ice skating rink at the Villa Marina gardens. I had never tried it before but I took to it like a duck to an oil slick. I went down more times than a - oops -my wife has just censored my brothel analogy! I also walked up the hill to the Santa train today at Groudle Glen (sitting on Santa's knee was a bit scary) - I'm clutching at exercise straws now.
Lets see what the weather is like tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 3 Parish Walk

After my escape from the X factor final, I went for a 9 mile walk on Monday with my wife. As it was daytime, we went on the scenic route which takes in a loop from Strang, out through East Baldwin to the West Baldwin reservoir and then back through West Baldwin. This is a popular walking route and I have seen numerous walkers on it over the past year or so. The loop itself is about 7 miles and is quite undulating - good for training. There is then an extra mile or so each way to my house. It also takes in the parishes of Douglas, Onchan and Marown!
I went to race walking at the NSC yesterday. There is an adult class run by Allan Callow (Multiple commonwealth games competitor) starting at 6pm, meeting on the NSC track.If anyone is interested in race walking, this is the class to go to. Allan has the patience of a Saint - he must have to put up with me the last few months.
I plan to get out a bit later today for a walk for an hour or so but I am working a night shift tonight. I think I will reward myself tomorrow for all this good training. Don't forget the Winter Walking League this Sunday - full details at

Sunday, December 13, 2009

X Factor

I have only been out training a couple of times in the past three days. I went out a couple of days ago for an eight mile run. Then work got in the way and I had no chance to do any training. I finished work at 8pm last night but had only slept for an hour or so in the preceeding 36 hours so I had an early night.
After finishing work at 8pm tonight I got home and was really tired and didn't feel like doing anything. I found my family was glued to the final of X Factor, I needed no more incentive and I went out for a run till the program had finished. As you can probably guess, I'm not a huge fan. X Factor does have a couple of good points - Dannii and Cheryl, however I would only go out with Dannii so that I could get her sisters number. I'm digressing now.
I should be able to get a few walks in during daylight hours over the next few days. I've added a weather item to the blog now so that we can see just how cold and wet we will get training in the Isle of Man! Unfortunately, the link doesn't work outside the UK so apologies to the likes of Martijn Biesmans (3 times P.W. finisher, P.B. 16 hours 53 mins 41s) and any other followers from outside the U.K.
P.S. Apparently Joe won the X Factor.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hey children, get down the NSC on Monday

Not a bad week so far. On Monday, Max (my 8 year old) and I went to the kids race walking class at the NSC. I would recommend it for any kids who want to take up race walking (and any adults who can find a token child to take with them). There is some fantastic tuition from Liz Corran, Bridget Kaneen (both P.W. finishers) and Michael George (4 times P.W. finishers including a p.b. of 15 hours 57 mins!). Starts at 5pm and costs just 50p (Yorkshire - fantastic!).
For those Manx people in the northern outpost of Ramsey, there is a similar class run for the children on Ramsey promenade by a genuine elite international athlete Steve Partington (3rd fastest all time U.K. walker over 1 mile on the track) . Starts at 6pm and free!!!! Unfortunately, the teenagers are significantly faster and more stylish than me. If you can't find a token child, fear not, there is an adults walking class on a Tuesday - full details to follow.

On Tuesday, I went walking around the NSC track again but a strong wind and driving rain curtailed my activities! Today I went for an eight mile walk around Douglas with my wife. I was quite pleased with my pace - following someone with a nice arse didn't go amiss - need to work on that V.P.L. though.

Not much else to add except I thought there was some excellent coverage of the Peel to Douglas walk in the paper today and the pictures were fantastic!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy anniversary

Its exactly one year to the day since I started training for the 2009 Parish Walk. I awoke on the 8th December 2008 with a body mass index registering 'obese' thinking its now or never if I'm going to transform myself into an elite international athlete. I promptly went out and ran 8 miles having not exercised for more than a year. With hindsight, probably not the best idea because when i finished I was stiffer than a steel girder on viagra - but I did sleep well that night!
I notice that the counter has dropped to less than 200 days to go till the parish Walk in 2010! It still seems a long way ahead but the time will soon pass!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good walk.

As promised, I entered the Peel to Douglas walk today. Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all the organisers, judges and marshalls. As we headed out from Douglas shortly after 8am, there were already numerous signs in place and it wasn't long before we spotted Paul Jackson putting up a sign - he had obviously been preparing the route for some time already!
Fortunately, the weather stayed dry and there was only a light wind. The race was won by Steve Partington in, I believe, his slowest time to date (I can only wish of such greatness!!), closely followed by Michael George. Good performances also from Henry De Silva in the over 75 category with a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 29 seconds, but unfortunately he finished behind the youngster Norbert Will in the over 70's category. I have to give a special mention (for the sake of family harmony) to the ladies winner, Judith Quane as she is my sister in law - your mum will be proud of you! For me, I walked a good pace but as is now a recurring theme, I was overtaken by Richard Gerrard in the later part of the race - I can't say I'm glad to see the back of him. I must say thank you to my wife Sally, as she kindly gave up her own chance to race and looked after the children to allow me to race instead.
I spent the afternoon fitting some outside lights but I haven't connected them to the mains yet - a little job for tomorrow. If there are any power cuts in the next 24 hours, it wasn't me......

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Peel to Douglas in the morning.

I have been very well behaved the last few days! Yesterday morning I went for a 6 mile walk at a steady pace. My legs felt good despite running round Ramsey the previous evening. Unfortunately I have been in work today so I have not managed to get out. However I would have been taking it easy today as tomorrow is the Peel to Douglas walk.

I'm looking forward to getting up bright and early on a Sunday morning for the race. The weather forecast is windy with scattered showers - even better. It should be a good test to see if there has been any improvement with my training.

I popped out for a drink last night and had a comment about the music on the blog (Also, hello to Hannah's mum (sorry I don't know your name) who recognised me). I plan to have a different song every week or so, obviously on a walking theme. I have a few in mind for the festive period but am open to requests via the comment link. So any suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where did it all go wrong!

Back on the rock now from my jollies in North Wales! As predicted, my training went downhill and I had far too much to eat and drink! Whilst away, I probably managed to cover a couple of hundred metres on foot. However, in my defence, I did try to walk that distance as quick as possible.
As you can see from the photo in the pub, I was thinking to myself, where did it all go wrong?
So, time to get back on track! Landed back on the rock yesterday lunchtime to walk a few laps round the NSC track. I must admit, I didn't cover a vast distance but it was nice to get out and do something.

However, I managed to get out again today. I headed up to Ramsey (via passport control at Laxey) for the Ramsey bakery fireman's run. There was a good turnout with a few familiar faces present! The run went well and after a few days of chilling out, I was pleased with my performance. Well done to Bernie Ball (P.W. finisher 2009) on a new P.B., Rob Gillanders for almost vomiting on crossing the finish line on the adjacent 4x4 and Robbie Lambden on his maiden victory. Also present was Chris Cale (7 times P.W. finisher!) and the ubiquitous Murray Lambden (do I need to say anymore - Cheers for the link tonight and the paramedics for giving me a swift lift to the finish ;-)).

Thanks also to all my 'followers'. Come on and sign up to follow my blog - you know it makes sense.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Early interest

Crikey! (In my most Manx accent). 1 hour 47 has ealapsed since entries openened and there has been 5 entries. I have had that many whiskys in that time ........Not good

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So far, so good!

Distance: 15.5 miles. Units of alcohol: 0

So far it’s been a good start to training. I went out on Friday and did an 8 mile walk around Douglas. Yesterday I went for a jog and covered about 7.5 miles although at a relatively slow pace. Unfortunately, at the moment most of my training is taking place after dark so I am restricted as to where I can go and there is little in the way of scenery. I have also been well behaved and consumed absolutely no beers since my last posting but I can’t see that lasting.

People tell me that to finish the Parish, much of it is in the mind. I am sure that this is correct, however I can’t help but think a bit of fitness wouldn’t go amiss. When I trained for the Parish last year, my training purely consisted of walking, walking and more walking. No particular regime, just going out and walking various distances from time to time. I had a chat with a friend after the Parish and she suggested trying cross training to increase my basic fitness. So I have started mixing in some running and cycling to try and improve my overall fitness, hence the jogging yesterday. I think I will also need to come up with a plan of action to increase my stamina between now and June!

So far so good, but I’m off to North Wales later today for the next three days. I will be catching up with a few friends whilst I’m there and I think the chances of getting out and performing any exercise will be at best limited. I foresee a reversal in fortune for the distance covered against alcohol consumed tally!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The countdown begins

Ok. Here goes, the countdown is on to the 2010 Parish Walk. I hope you enjoy following my blog over the next few months. Hopefully I will be able to share little tips and suggestions and probably more realistically what not to do.

I must admit, I can be a bit lazy when it comes to exercise so writing this blog will give me a bit of extra incentive to get out and exercise in preparation. To give you a little bit of background, I will give you a brief history of my walking to date. I have previously lived on the Isle of Man for a couple of short spells and then moved back in September 2007. I had never heard of the Parish Walk until I saw a sign advertising the 2008 Parish Walk down at Quarterbridge (The first of many references to pubs and alcohol I’m sure) and my initial thoughts were anyone entering that must be mad.

On the day of the 2008 Parish Walk, I ventured out late morning into the wet windy miserable day (in the car with the heating on of course) to watch the Parish Walk. This confirmed my initial suspicions – they were all mad! However, I watched Sean Hands ascending the Sloc in the horizontal rain, probably getting in his way with the car, and thought to myself this would be a bit of a challenge….I might have to have a go at this. If I was serious, I would have to make an effort to get my physique into one more accustomed to participating in sport rather than watching it on TV.

Only 2 days later, off I went for my first practice walk – didn’t see any other people out walking, thought to myself that they must be slacking. The training seemed to go well and I got a few miles under my belt. It was at that point I thought I will enter the End to End in September 2008 – that will be good training for the Parish Walk. Unfortunately, training didn’t quite go to plan! Six months later I went for the second training walk.

By this time it was December 2008 and I was going to have trouble transforming myself from couch potato into an elite international athlete but hey, it surely couldn’t be that difficult. So this time last year the training started in earnest.

Over the next six months, I did a fair bit of walking over various distances including the 30 mile fireman’s walk in readiness for my first attempt at the Parish. 20th June came and went, and I managed to cover 45 miles to Jurby before quitting for various reasons which I will expand on over the coming weeks.

For a few days after, I was in two minds whether to continue walking or not. The strain of becoming an international elite athlete was starting to show. However, I decided that I would go for the finish in 2010 and make a proper effort.

So that brings us up to date, ready for the training for PW 2010. Im sure there will be highs and lows and where else can you read about blisters, deep heat, chafing, vaseline.....(please don't google that list)

I think that my first top tip for training is to start training for the Parish now and follow a regular training schedule. In particular, best to avoid six month lapses in training. Please feel free to join up and add your comments and suggestions too.