Monday, March 29, 2010

Be careful what you wish for.

Sorry about the lack of posts these past few days but for various reasons, I have not had as much time for posting or training for that matter as I would have liked! The planned walk last Tuesday and Wednesday went by the wayside however I had set aside some time last Thursday to do a last bit of training and reccying for the Manx Mountain Marathon. I had decided to set out and do the half marathon route from St Johns to Port Erin.

Thursday morning came along and with it the heavens had opened but by sheer luck, the mist was obscuring the rain. Sally came with me for for a bit of company the first 4 miles or so before running back to the car on the roads. Sally has competed in quite a few fell runs in the past and she always wished one day that we would go running around the hills together but a few years ago, her fell running days coincided with my intensive couch potatoe training regime and so it never happened. Now she is being more careful what she wishes for!

So off I went with visibility of about 20 meters thinking, if I can find my way in this mist, there should be no problems on the day. It was actually surprisingly easy to find the route following two simple rules. One, when ascending a hill - keep going up hill till you can go no further up hill and Two, anything that looks vaguely like a path masquerading as a stream will be a path. Rule two can be applied to both up hill and down hill sections and even bizarrely, on the flat. I finally got to Port Erin in quite a good time for me in just under 3 hours and felt OK apart from I think I will lose my left big toe nail after it rubbed on my fell shoes - that'll be one less to lose on the Parish!

I did take the opportunity to take some photos of the views. This is looking south from the top of South Barrule.

This is looking North from the top of South Barrule.

And this is me enjoying the view...

Yesterday, I took part in the final round of the 10km Winter Walking league and after managing to improve my personal bests in each round, I finished the series by walking my slowest race of the series. So it was back to the drawing board today to get my self motivated again for a final 3 month push on training and what better way than to listen to Roger Black tell us how he prepared and motivated himself to become (amongst his many achievements) an Olympic Medalist. This was an excellent presentation followed by a question and answer session from some of the local celebrities. I was so motivated by the end, I talked myself out of a trip to MacDonald's for lunch and I am now back on track to be an elite international athlete.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am the weakest link!

Well I returned back to the Isle of Man a couple of days ago after a fantastic week skiing. By the end of the week, even with my lack of balance and incoordination, I could actually ski! Not quite as well as my 6 year old Zac, who after a couple of days had the knack of just going straight down any hill without falling over once. I managed to avoid breaking any bones but have a few bruises and a huge bruise covering my right thigh - I'm happy to post the pictures if I get enough requests!

Quite a bit has been happening over the past week whilst I have been away. I see, with Murray's frequent updates, that the entries are now flooding in. There are now less than 100 days to go to the big day. I notice that our final team member has also entered - Peter Ryan (The plod!). Although Peter is like me a novice to the Parish Walk, that is where the similarity ends. Unlike me, Peter is an experienced race walker with a vast number of races under his belt including winning a 100 mile walk! So that's the team, Peter Ryan a centurion winner, Dave Mackey, fastest first time finisher in 2008, Vinny Lynch, fastest first time finisher in 2009 and me - so no pressure whatsoever on me!

That has inspired me to get back to the training today and with less than 2 weeks to the Manx Mountain Marathon, I ran (and frequently and for prolonged periods walked) the route from Ramsey to Greeba. All the snow had gone from the tops but I set out this morning in heavy rain and mist. Fortunately the rain and mist cleared but with the ground so wet, almost every path had turned into a stream so it was a bit heavy going. I did however manage to find some better routes especially crossing the stream at Injebreck and ascending Colden so hopefully, I will be that bit fitter and better prepared.

I will hopefully get a walk in tomorrow and possibly on Wednesday. In the meantime, apologies for the music but it was requested by Sam my 16 year old son.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bend ze knees.

Training this week has changed somewhat. Instead of walking, for the first time in my life I am trying to ski! All seven of us travelled to a place in the French Alps on Saturday called Les Carroz. Yesterday was the first time on the nursery slopes but of course we bumped into some other Manx people. Sally managed to recall how to ski from a couple of ski trips as a teenager and the kids took to it like ducks to water. On the other hand, I let the side down and have some fairly impressive bruises to show for my efforts. Today went slightly better with only 3 falls and no embarrasing moments on the drag lift. Bring on tomorrow.

Looking at the countdown timer, next time I post there will be less than 100 days to go till the Parish Walk....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More and more people out training.

After a good start to the week on Monday, training has ground to a halt the past couple of days. I went for an 8 mile walk on Monday around Baldwin and then went with Max to the children's race walking session at the NSC on Monday evening. Unfortunately, I was struck down with a stomach bug yesterday so I couldn't train and today, I took it fairly easy and ended up doing some work in the garden. I am on annual leave for the next couple of weeks so I was hoping to do quite a bit of training this week. Next week we are all going on holiday, so I will update the blog from our holiday destination (assuming I can get internet access)!

I am off to Royal Ramsey for the final round of the Fireman's runs tomorrow and it will be a good indicator as to if I have continued to improve or not. More importantly, there is a presentation after so the opportunity for a beer cannot slip by!

As the days get longer and the Parish Walk approaches, I am seeing more and more people out training. I bumped into Michael Shipsides today just before he was off for a training walk. I also saw Michael George, Shirley Gage and David Taylor race walking past my house during the afternoon. If you can't beat them, join them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Slow and steady.

Not too much exercise the past few days. I went out to reccy the Manx Mountain Marathon course from Ramsey to the Bungalow. Despite the warmer sunshine and light winds at ground level, that wasn't the case up North Barrule! I went up there with Sally and once we were approaching the summit, the wind picked up to a gale. That coupled with the thick snow at the tops made it virtually impossible to run. We did run along the ridge towards Clagh Ouyr (following a couple of sets of footprints in the snow) but the wind, snow and low cloud (or mist - not sure which it is when you are in it) made it impossible to cover the ground and we descended back to the Mountain Road to follow the road back to Ramsey.

The only other thing that I have done is go for a 5 mile walk and bumped into a couple of last years P.W. finishers, Bernie Ball and Carl Senogles, on the prom in Douglas. Unfortunately, I was working today so I missed the Manx Harriers Open Meeting at the NSC. Well done to everyone who took part and the officials, organisers and judges. Thanks to the internet, I was lucky enough to be able to keep an eye on the results and see a few photos as it happened thanks to another P.W finisher from 2009, Paul Jackson. I was also able to watch a bit of the racing thanks to a previous Parish Walk winner Murray Lambden and his YouTube video. How he finds time to do all the video, editing, publishing and then run 10k faster than I could dream of, I will never know. Back to training then......

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The team is taking shape.

As promised, I got out bright and early on Saturday morning and went for a 16 mile walk with Richard Gerrard. We headed up to Laxey from Douglas via the Creg Ny Baa Back Road and then went through Glen Roy before descending into Laxey and following the Coast Road back to Douglas. The route between Douglas and Laxey was fairly undulating to say the least so it was a good training session. I was fortunate to be walking with someone otherwise, as the going got tough, the tough would have been tempted to continue up the Back Road and into the Creg to put my feet up for the rest of the day!

Sunday was a quiet day and I just played a few games of tennis with my wife and the youngest 2 boys, Max and Zac. I also managed to catch a bit of the football in the afternoon and rather depressingly watched Man U win.

I notice that there has been a lot more entries for the P.W. in the past few days. Amongst the entrants I saw a former blogger, Adam Killip's name on the list. I think he is now about to or has reached the ripe old age of 21 so he will be able to continue past Peel and possibly go for a full lap. I also see another of mt team mates has put his entry in. The team (3 walkers and a plod) so far consists of Dave Mackey, Vinny Lynch (as the 2 previous finishers) and myself - so no pressure on me!! We are just waiting on our 4th team member to enter. We make up the 3 walkers so we are just waiting for the plod to enter.

The Manx Mountain marathon draws ever closer and so today I decided to go for a longer run and went for a 16 mile jog. It was a bit of a struggle after 10 miles and that was just running on the roads. Hopefully on the day, I will be able to maintain a sensible pace and keep going to hang on to the end.