Thursday, April 29, 2010

I am not in pain!

I went for my first walk again on Tuesday. I decided to do a short 5 mile walk around Douglas in the afternoon but was apparently spotted by Sandra Halpin who thought that I looked in extreme pain! Although my legs felt tight after the weekends walk, I wasn't in pain - just my usual facial expression when I'm enjoying walking (As can be seen on the photo of me on this website). It was going OK till I got a call from Maureen Moffat's (4 times P.W. finisher) husband to call me into work - I think he was really trying to scupper my training. So I ended up jogging the last mile and a half. I passed Mark Hempsall on the way back, he was unlucky to be injured and unable to defend his title last Sunday but was out and about to support the race.

I went for a 9 mile walk around Baldwin yesterday and another 8 mile walk today around Douglas, both at a reasonable pace. One of the most pleasing aspects after last Sundays race has been my recovery. In the past it has always taken me a while to get going again after an event but this time has been much better. Hopefully this is a sign that I am getting fitter.

The only other thing that I have to mention still from last Sundays race is that my support was excellent - I have had terrible earache this past few days for not mentioning it so far.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why am I doing the Parish walk!

About 25 miles into the Sara Killey memorial walk on Sunday, I remembered just how painful long distance walking can be and was thinking to myself why do I want to walk 85 miles! It reminded me just how sore my legs felt in the parish last year. Fortunately, that thought soon faded and within a few hours it didn't seem so bad after all.

I was using the walk as preparation for the Parish not just with walking the distance but also footwear, food, support etc. However, I was really pleased with my time and position in the walk and overall, things pretty much went to plan. I thought I would use this entry while things are fresh in my mind to share things that went well and things that need some improvement.

Firstly, liberal vaseline in the morning - I had no chaffing thanks to my trusty tub of vaseline. I also ate little and often from the beginning of the walk and that seemed to keep up my energy levels reasonably well - I was eating fruit (banana) and chocolate biscuits. I also managed to drink a reasonable amount but found the orange energy flavour drink too sickly after a while and found it much easier to drink orange squash drink. I think on the Parish I will need to be eating and drinking more frequently than I did last Sunday. Footwear was a positive for me too. I wore a pair of trusty old 1000 mile socks (Not a popular choice by most people but I bought a few pairs last year which are made of a thinner material and never cause me any problems - They don't seem to make these thinner ones any more. The rest of the 1000 mile sock range which I have tried do cause me blisters however). I also wore my old asics gel trainers, and with this combination I did not have any pain or blisters whatsoever. After the walk, I felt quite unwell for the first 3 or 4 hours but my recovery was rapid after that and yesterday, my legs didn't feel as stiff and sore as I had expected and I went for a 1 mile swim last night to loosen up and I plan to get out walking again later today.

The things that I learnt from this walk is that between now and the Parish, I could do with improving my stamina as I could feel my energy levels rapidly tailing off towards the end of the walk. Obviously, on the Parish I won't be setting off at anything like the pace I was walking last Sunday and also on the Parish I plan to walk at a much more consistent pace. So I plan to do one longer walk per week for the next 6 weeks or so. My night before preparation also left a little to be desired. After abstaining from alcohol for the previous 2 or 3 nights, I decided to pop down to the pub for a pint to relax the pre race walk nerves on Saturday night. When we got home, I asked Sally to get me another can of lager and she said 'you're walking tomorrow and shouldn't be drinking lager, you should be drinking wine instead' So as the evening went on and we were sharing the wine out, Sally came up with the classic quote 'you have the rest of the wine, I've got to be the support driver tomorrow'. Fortunately, I don't think it affected my race on this occasion. Definitely not doing it on the evening of the Parish though.

After the walk I was lucky enough to get a massage from Lisa Motley (3 P.W. finishes, P.B. 20 hours 13 min's 38 s.) and as she was rubbing my inner thigh she gave me a top tip. She suggested walking the sections of the Parish Walk in training that you think you will struggle on, and then they won't seem as bad on the day if you have walked them when you felt good. You never know where your next top tip is coming from!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Resting up before Sunday.

I was tied up last Sunday teaching on a course but I thought there was a possibility that I might be able to escape for an hour or so to sneak down to the NSC for the 5km walk. That, plus the fact that Jock Waddington and Dave Mackey had been persuading me to enter earlier in the week gave me the encouragement I needed. I was surprised to find when I got there that after all the persuasion from Jock, a hangover had got the better of him and he was watching! I managed to come home in 5th place largely due to the fact that a number of faster people didn't enter. I was quite pleased with my time as I hadn't really planned to do it and my legs felt quite heavy from the 18 miles that I had covered the previous evening. As soon as I finished, I had to dash off and miss out on the close finish between my wife and her sister (and the ensuing sibling rivalry!)

The rest of the week, I have been taking it fairly easy in preparation for the Sara Killey walk this Sunday. I went to the children's race walking on Monday evening and on Wednesday I went for a 9 mile walk around East and West Baldwin. Now I bumped into Sean Hands during that walk and I can, for once say that I actually passed Sean not once but twice during the course of the walk. Unfortunately, on both occasions, he was going considerably faster and in the opposite direction.

Apart from kicking a football around the garden with the children last night and tonight, I am otherwise resting up now for the big day on Sunday. I have even managed to avoid any alcohol in the past 48 hours (not intentionally, just due to work commitments).

Just a quick good luck to all the local athletes competing in the London Marathon on Sunday. I was talking to Rosie Craine on Tuesday and I hadn't considered the impact that the volcanic ash cloud would have until she told me of her travel arrangements and plan B that she had come up with. Probably the last thing that was needed after all the months of training and preparation.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stop procrastinating

By the time I had finished writing the blog on Thursday, I didn't leave myself enough time to get down to the NSC and walk, so I went for a 6 mile walk from home instead. I was rather pleased with my effort so to follow up, I went for an 8 mile walk around Onchan and Douglas yesterday evening. I was spurred on as I walked at great speed past the pub, safe in the knowledge that I would be inside it within the hour!

I woke this morning feeling refreshed so I don't have any top tips for walking with a hang over, other than best not to. Unfortunately, I got into my old habit of putting off the walking today. I had planned to get out and do a longer walk as recently all my walks have been over a short distance. I did start with good intentions by putting on my T shirt and shorts. But the sun was shining and the birds were singing and I started to relax in the garden. By lunchtime, the BBQ was lit and I was helping myself to a refreshing can of lager. As I sat in the sun with my T shirt off (ladies, please try and control yourselves), the burgers cooking and sipping on the lager, I thought to myself, is this the behaviour of an elite international athlete? Is this what Roger Black taught me when he gave his motivational talk? I don't think so!

So I put the t shirt back on and dragged myself out and walked 18 miles. I now realise that I need to do some regular longer walks as my legs are aching a lot this evening. Hopefully I have learnt the lesson and next time I will get out and do the walk earlier rather than putting it off.

Good luck to everyone competing in the 5km race at the NSC in the morning.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Several short walks this week.

I have been reasonably disciplined this week with training so far. As promised I went for a walk on Sunday evening after work. I was quite impressed with myself as I didn't get in till 8pm so it took a bit of effort to go out instead of having a relaxing drink. It was the first training I had done for about 10 days and I felt really quite rusty and even though I only covered about 5 miles, my legs were aching after.

I also managed to get out yesterday and the day before and cover about 5 miles on each occasion. I'm also planning to head down to the NSC in a few minutes when I've finished this to do a few laps. Hopefully I will get out in the next couple of days and cover a longer distance.I think the best chance of that will be on Saturday morning but that could be difficult as I'm off out for a meal and a few drinks tomorrow evening - I might have a headache to accompany my training walk!

As you might have guessed, I have started to scrape the barrel with walking songs to accompany the blog (some might think that I was scraping the barrel from the beginning). So the options are that I keep coming up with bad songs associated with walking, or people suggest some better songs or alternatively press the mute button.

Maybe my next post will include top tips for walking with a hangover.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back to it tomorrow!

I haven't updated the site for the last week as I'm afraid I haven't done anything. After the vomiting bug last week which put paid to the Mountain Marathon, it took me a few days to get back to eating and only in the past 24 hours have I had normal energy levels. Today I had commitments with the children all day so any chance of exercise went out of the window. Looking on the bright side, hopefully I will be re-energised after the enforced rest break of the past week.

Without doing any exercise, I have taken to watching some sport. I went down to the NSC to watch the 5km walk on Thursday night. Some of the top Parish Walkers were racing and they all seem to be hitting top form at the right time. I also watched a bit of the Masters golf on T.V. the other night until Sally asked me why I was watching a load of men hit an egg with a stick. I didn't have an answer so I switched over.

Only 2 weeks to go till the Sara Killey memorial walk. Got to get out for a walk after work tomorrow.....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Non starter

After watching the excellent 10k race last night I was all set for the Marathon today. All the preparation had gone well and I was looking forward to the race this morning. Unfortunately things went rapidly down hill overnight as I succumbed to the vomiting bug which my children had earlier in the week (I will spare you the graphic details). I was so disappointed not to be able to take part, even to the point of trying to get up at half past seven this morning to see if there was any possibility I could race. Realistically, I knew that there was no chance. So disappointing, I'd better go now before I start swearing....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Only 84 days to go.

Time is ticking by rather rapidly - only 84 more days to go to the big day. I have been out doing a few short walks this week. It was heavy rain on Tuesday so I went for a swim followed by 45 minutes walk training down at the NSC with Allan Callow. On Wednesday, I went for a 5 mile walk after it had stopped snowing and yesterday I went for a 6 mile walk. I'm not quite sure why but I have felt quite tired when walking this week and on each occasion felt quite slow. Hopefully it's just a blip.

Today is a rest day before the Manx Mountain Marathon tomorrow. It's a bit like a practice run for the Parish Walk as I am going to get all my kit out shortly in preparation and get the food and drinks ready. A few people laugh at the volumes of food and drink that I take when doing a serious event. However, I have learnt from experience. On the End to End walk last year I took quite a bit of food in the support car which Sally drives along often accompanied by Zac, Max and sometimes Jenny. Unfortunately the kids think its their birthday and usually by the first rendezvous, the kids have chocolate around the mouth and half the food is gone. Sally usually prefers the fruit. I shall see what the weather and the day brings tomorrow.

With a rest day, it gives me the opportunity to help out with the Easter Athletics Festival 10k this evening. I have run this both last year in a time of 45 mins 33 and the year before without any training in a time of 54 mins 44 and it would have been interesting to see how much I have improved (or deteriorated) with regular training this year. There are lots of good young athletes in the race so I will be heading down South later to check out the talent.

That reminds me of a little anecdote. Sally entered the Peel Hill race a couple of years ago and in support, I walked about half way up Peel Hill to encourage her. Amongst the front runners in the race was blonde student who, as she was just running in front of me, promptly collapsed. With no one else around apart from the other athletes I had no option but to help out and offer the kiss of life. Sally came through around the middle of the field to find me in what could have been interpreted as a compromising position. The young lady did take a while to come round - I was still in the same position when Sally came past a second time on the descent. Not the sort of encouragement she was looking for. I can report that both the athlete and myself made a full recovery.