Friday, February 26, 2010

A legend and a gentleman.

I have let my training lapse the last few days and so I haven't had much to report on the Blog! I have been working long hours this week and had commitments on a few nights as well so I have had little time to squeeze in training. I should have gone out tonight for a run or walk after work but a blocked sink put paid to that so I am sat down having a beer instead of exercising. The problem with not getting out is that it becomes easier to put off the training and become less motivated so I have arranged an early morning walk tomorrow to get back into the swing of things.

Although I haven't been out training for the past few days, the Parish Walk hasn't been completely out of my mind. In fact if you are not training for it, what better than to talk about it! I was fortunate enough to bump into a gentleman on Wednesday and after talking for a while, the subject turned to the Parish Walk. He told me that he had completed the Parish Walk in 2009 in 166th place, in a time of 23 Hours 15 mins 17s. Not bad you might think but he seemed a little disappointed that he was 2 seconds slower than his finish in 2008. And he was slower than his P.W. time when he completed the course in 2007. This is starting to sound impressive! The really impressive thing was that his P.B. Parish Walk lap was 21 hours, 43 mins 50s (The time in itself was good enough) but he completed his P.B. lap in 1961!!!!

I was lucky enough to bump into Michael Gray who completed the 2009 Parish Walk at the age of 74. I had to admit to him that my effort last year was, in comparison, pathetic. Michael and his wife had some great stories about the Parish Walk and he is hoping to walk again in this years event, the 50th race since he first entered in 1960. To find out more about Michael Gray, click on the link to 'old features' from the Parish Walk home page and scroll down to find him.

Right, thats got me motivated again. I'm going to the pub now and then back to the training in the morning at 07.30 hours prompt!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A longer walk at last

After promising myself that I would go for a longer walk, I finally managed to get out on Friday and went for a 25 mile walk. I headed out on the Parish route to Rushen and the original plan was to head over the Sloc to Peel. I had some encouragement shouted at me on the Peel road by passing motorist Michael Shipsides (4 times P.W finisher and P.B. 17 hours 4mins 21s). However, after 17 miles at a fast pace, I was feeling extremely fatigued and I decided to miss out Ballakillowey and the Sloc and headed to Port St Mary and then back towards Douglas at a steadier pace. I think there were 2 lessons learnt from this. The first was that I was probably going too fast initially and the second was that although I had food with me, I didn't eat anything till I got to the point that I was feeling really tired after 17 miles. About 15 minutes after eating something and walking at a steadier pace, I felt much better and walked another 8 miles before deciding to stop for the day.

The other positive that I can take is that I seem to be able to recover much quicker than I ever could in the past. My muscles felt a little achy on Friday night and yesterday morning but I had planned to enter the Glen Mona fell race yesterday. So off I went to Glen Mona and after a short jog to warm up, the tightness seemed to have settled in my legs. It was a seven mile route and there were two starts, an early start for anyone expecting to take longer than 90 minutes or a later start for the quicker runners. I thought that I was going to be right on the 90 minute margin so to set myself a challenge (and because I was running late as usual!), I decided to set off with the elite athletes. I was quite please to come in 1 hour 27 mins. especially as I lost the path for the last mile or so and ended up being slowed by the dense heather.

I think I will need to get out on a few longer walks over the next few weeks in order to get my legs stronger and a little more practice with eating. I think little and often is the rule.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

School boy errors.

I have been quite pleased with my training this week although I made a couple of school boy errors! I went out for a run on Monday evening which I found quite hard going. Now normally when I go out training on my own, I take my Ipod with me to listen to. I have a mixture of tracks on there mainly consisting of rock and heavy metal which I find quite motivational for training. On Monday however, I had forgotten to charge my Ipod and it had a flat battery. Sally kindly offered to lend me her Ipod and off I went for an 8 mile run listening to Take Thats greatest hits (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one!) - Hardly motivational. It would only have been slightly worse had it been Jedward's Ice Ice Baby on repeat. So the run was hard going but at least I will remember to charge the Ipod in future!

The second school boy error occurred yesterday. I decided to recce the Southern section of the Manx Mountain Marathon from the Round Table to Port Erin. I went with Sally and took two cars to Port Erin, left one there and drove back to the Round Table. Off we went and covered the 7.1 mile section in a reasonable time. I was quite pleased that this section of the route is relatively easy compared with the rest of the route although I'm sure trying to get up Bradda after covering the rest of the course will be a bit of an ordeal. On returning to the car in Port Erin and feeling rather pleased with myself, I suddenly realised I had left the keys in the car at the Round Table - How popular was I!! So the only option was to casually add on a few miles of road running from Port Erin, following the Parish route up Ballakillowey to the Sloc. Luckily, some kind souls in a camper van on their holidays from Liverpool gave me a lift the last 3 miles up the Sloc Road to the Round Table crossroads.

So lessons learned this week, charge the Ipod and don't forget the car keys!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Early morning walk.

Well valentines day came and went. What with all my training, I didn't manage to get out and buy anything for Sally! Luckily, I think I managed to dig myself out of that hole with the fantastic card I gave her pictured below. If I know her like I think I know her, then she was over the moon. It was one of a multipack, so I am still waiting on replies from the other 9 that I sent (You lucky ladies).

I think I have mentioned before that I am not really a morning person but on Saturday I went for a longer walk with Richard Gerrard setting off in the morning frost at 7.40am. We covered just over 16 miles but was back home for 11am and felt much better for it. Normally, I would set off much later but by the time I get home, most of the day has gone. Only once in the past 18 months have I set off earlier than that for a walk so I was quite impressed with myself.

Yesterday was a rest day, but this evening I will head down to the NSC with Max for the children's race walking class. I have started to see more and more people out walking and the evenings are now starting to become lighter for longer. I am looking forward to the clocks changing so that evening walks will be more enjoyable. I am still in tracksuit bottoms at the moment as it is so cold but as the weather gets warmer, I might be tempted to start wearing shorts. My only concern is that I will end up looking like Alan Partridge.....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The entry has gone in.

Taking Murray's advice not to leave entries too late, I became the 271st entrant into this years Parish Walk today. In the past, when my training has been rather slack, I would have to put an entry into an event in order to give me something to aim for and get out training. Hence I entered in the December before last years Parish Walk to get me motivated and go out and do something. However, with the blog and encouragement from friends, family and team mates, I have all the motivation that I need this year.

I was a bit tight around my hamstrings earlier in the week after the walk on Sunday but this eased after walking around the NSC track on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday, I went out and ran the section of the mountain marathon from the Bungalow to St Johns (I say run, more like the odd section of jogging interrupted with prolonged periods of walking and the occasional episode of climbing and hyperventilating). It was a clear day but with it, the ground was frozen. I am not sure if i took the correct route up Colden from Injebreck but the route I took was very vertical and thick in heather. If anyone is aware of the correct route, please leave me a comment! It was quite tough running through heather but hopefully someone will be up there the week before the race with a strimmer...

I still haven't been out and done a longer walk yet although I keep saying that I will. If I don't do it on Saturday, then I will definitely go for one next Wednesday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

That Manx Mountain Marathon again.

I have, over the past 6 weeks or so, been toying with the idea of entering the Manx Mountain Marathon. Up until now, I have been safe in the knowledge that I am actually working that day so if training wasn't going so well or if I just didn't feel like it nearer the time, I had an excuse! Unfortunately, I made the mistake of swapping shifts a couple of days ago and now I have no excuses left up my sleeve. At least I will have something to focus on in my training for the next 8 weeks.

The next thing to do is to enter. There are 2 start times, 7.30 am or 9.15 am for those who expect to finish in less than 7 hours. I am not quite sure how long it will take me but not being a morning person I am going to go for the relatively luxurious 9.15 start.

Exercise for the past few days consisted of the fireman's run in Ramsey on Thursday night. Thanks to Murray for putting my photo on the front page of the manxathletics website. I think that you can see from any photos of me, just how much fun I am having whilst participating in these events - especially the one on the Parish Walk website!

Today I went to Andreas for the winter walking league where there was a big turnout and I also met fellow blogger Dudley. I actually had everything prepared for once except I forgot to abstain from alcohol last night - Doh. I even remembered to smear vaseline in all the relevant chaffing areas - nice. (Now there is a top tip for the Parish Walk - you cannot have too much vaseline at the start, go on apply it liberally, you know it makes sense). However, I managed to get a new personal best but I'm not sure where I came overall in the race yet.

Hopefully I will get out and keep the training going in the next few days.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Different training schedules.

I have been catching up (as in talking to and not overtaking!) with a few Parish walk finishers in the past few days. On Tuesday, I went to the NSC and did a few laps with Richard Gerrard. Looking through the Parish Walk stats, 2009 was his second finish in a time of 17 hours, 12 mins 20s and an improvement of 4hours and 18 s on his first finish! That made him the second most improved walker in the 2009 parish - could have been the most improved finisher if only he'd taken his time the year before!! He is training quite a bit already and looking to improve on his 11th place last year.

On the other end of the training spectrum, I bumped into Keith Wilkinson the other day. He has finished the Parish 5 times and also walked the course in reverse one year when he failed to get his entry in on time! (As Murray says, no late entries - No exceptions. Although I believe Keith still entered on the morning of the closing date last year). I think Keith started his training about 6 weeks before the Parish last year when we went out together for a 10 mile walk and he managed to get a blister. I don't think he did many more training sessions but he still got round the course in 21 hours 38 mins 55 s some way behind his P.B. 19 hours 24 mins 34 s. These people must have amazing levels of fitness or determination or both to walk the 85 miles with minimal training. Despite finishing the Parish at around 6am on the Sunday morning, he did walk to the pub on the Sunday evening! I didn't get chance to ask him how his training was going but I can't imagine that he has planned that far ahead yet.

I was also talking to Will Moffatt a couple of weeks ago. He is support driver and husband (not necessarily in that order) to Maureen Moffatt. We were talking about training and Maureen is one of these people who produces a good time without training constantly. Will was telling me that she gradually builds up her training for about 3 months prior to the Parish. She was third female in 2009 with a time of 17 hours 43 mins 52 s on her 4th Parish walk finish.

I'm not quite sure what all this means. Some people train all year round, some people train for a few months before and others get around the Parish with just sheer determination. I think I'm going to need both the training and the determination!