It's all over .... for those who are "hooked" we wait in anticipation for the entries for the next Parish Walk to open. We then wait for months to stand on the start line with some training thrown in for good measure. The week before the Parish Walk we start to get very, very nervous and apprehensive and wish we had more time to train and plan. We then complain about the weather for a fair amount of miles and then when we finish we can't wait for the next year!
I think that just about wraps up a lot of Parish Walkers!
June 21st 2014 saw plenty of sunshine, absolutely no rain and a little breeze. There were times I would have paid good money for a little rain or even a generous amount of cloud cover.
I have to admit that my overall race did not go to plan. I felt really strong up to Rushen but for the first time I really struggled up the Sloc. I have always enjoyed the Sloc and questioned why it has such a bad reputation with so many walkers. I don't think the heat beating down on me and the smouldering tarmac helped much. I even suffered walking downhill through Dalby. My heel blistered and this was to stay with me for the remainder of the walk.
I got to Peel in 6 hrs 47 mins. Five minutes over my 2013 time, I think this was the first time I realised there was no way I could get a PB. I was well hydrated at this point but I soon started to battle to eat and drink. Nothing tasted nice, not even plain water was going down well. From Ballaugh onwards I was pretty much walking on my own and really having to dig deep to keep pushing on.
The sun lost a lot of heat once I was on Lezayre Road and going into Ramsey I was feeling good again, especially seeing friends in The Swan. I knew once I got through Maughold I was on the home stretch so I pushed on and for once I went through Maughold without too much of a battle. The heat of the day had drained a lot of my energy and all I wanted was to see the war memorial! At 19:22:23 I was rewarded with a friendly group of people waiting for my dibber and to wrap me up in tin foil like a chicken!
Parish Walk 2014 was a long, hot day. Not the best walk I've ever done and not the most enjoyable but I never, ever thought "never again". My thoughts were always "next year I'll do better"!
Training has now started for the End to End. I went out for a short 5 mile walk yesterday and felt really good. The legs are still a little heavy so I'll build up the miles and speed slowly.
There were some amazing performances last Saturday. Janette Morgan led the crowd out of the NSC and kept up the fantastic pace for the full 85 miles to take the ladies race very convincingly. Richard Gerrard, the obvious favourite of the day certainly didn't disappoint. Dave Walker pleased the fans who had written his name in chalk most of the way to Peel by finishing 2nd followed by Richard Wild on his debut. The race may be very interesting in 2015.
Hopefully many more personal targets were met on the day and many of you will be waiting to sign up for next year's Parish Walk.