Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Trying Two Weeks

Well if you've been following my blogs you will probably have noticed that I have been posting every week like clockwork but I missed posting last week.
These last two weeks have been busy, difficult, trying but eventually eventful!
I have a new job and a new house. I have resigned from my old job and handed in notice on my current house.
Doing two of the most stressful things a person can do is not always good for training but I have managed to get out for a couple of longish (15 mile) walks and a few short, fast 5 mile walks. I have also been on the treadmill a couple of times and done 3 days of Insanity workouts. So I have managed to keep the fitness up as well as the stress levels!
Once I move I believe my stress will all be gone as this is the view from the front window of my new house. Ramsey here I come!!
More good news is that we now have an extra hour of daylight. No more "I don't feel like going out in the dark" excuses.
With only two weeks to go before the Sara Killey I am feeling that my enthusiasm to train is waning a little and I need something to kick-start me again. Sometimes I almost feel like I'm forcing myself out the front door, but every time I go out I thoroughly enjoy the training!
Injury is also rearing it's ugly head again. All winter the tendons in my right foot have been fine, but as the weather is warming up my tendons are aching more and more.
Yesterday evening I did a relatively slow 10.5 mile walk but today my foot is swollen and the tendons are very pronounced. This seems to be a repeat of last year's injury, but this year I'm more aware of it and will get it treated as soon as possible.
It's less than 12 weeks to the Parish Walk so this is not the time to "lose the mojo" and not the time to get injured.
My tip of the day: Keep up the training and try to stay injury free. With only 10 weeks serious training left make the most of the time.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Mind Willing, Body - Not Really!

After work I try to get out for a short, fast walk at least twice (preferable three times) a week. I have a standard route which takes me just over an hour and incorporates uphill's and one big downhill. Last week I made a promise to myself that I was going to cut the time to just below an hour by the end of the month. Thursday I did it in 62 minutes, Friday I did it in 59 minutes 17 seconds! It just shows you what determination and an achievable goal can do.
Saturday - rest day and coffee with the girls (all afternoon!)
Sunday - 15 miles along the prom, Groudle and then back up through Onchan and past the grandstand. My legs felt like they were made of pure lead. I still managed a respectable time but it was hard-going and the last couple of miles were very, very long miles. It's on walks like that one that I wonder how I could possibly manage over 5 times that distance. However, having the occasional walk where you really have to work hard makes the sense of achievement so much stronger and the next one so much easier.
Last week I left Parish Walk 2012 with bleeding hands in Laxey.
I did get up (or was picked up) and carried on. There was never an option to stop at this point. My hands were too cold to feel too much pain anyway and I hadn't damaged any other body parts, so soldier on it was.
I think that Brian was starting to get really tired by this point as he was counting down the miles and the minutes to the end. He was encouraging me to pick up speed on the final leg of our journey. I have to say that I have lots of respect for the people who do the support for the full distance. It's not easy driving slowly along the route, getting in and out of the car every mile or so. I think that walking is probably the easier option!
Lonan Parish came and went without a hitch, although why the church is up the top of such a steep hill is anyone's guess.
Onchan Parish came and went without a hitch, but the church is at the bottom of a hill which you need to climb to get back up to the main road. When I dibbed in at Onchan the marshall there checked his watch and told me that if I hurried I would still finish in under 20 hours. I didn't need any further encouragement, I thanked him for spending his evening, night and early morning dibbing in the Parish Walkers and continued on my "merry" way.
By the time I got onto the prom - only a mile to go - I was desperate for a pee! There was just no way I was going to make another mile so I had to stop. Unfortunately this is where Tony Mackintosh overtook me. I went from position 46 to 47 because of a full bladder.
Back on the prom again and I was about 20 yards from the war memorial when I spotted Michelle Turner. I looked at my watch it was 3:49am (19 hours and 49 minutes walking time). I had 11 minutes to walk 20 yards but I still told Michelle that I thought I wasn't going to make it!
19 hours 50 minutes and 11 seconds was my official time. 47th finisher overall and 11th lady to finish. Those are numbers I will always remember!
Tony was waiting for me at the end to thank me for having to stop as he had been chasing me for quite a while and didn't think he was going to be able to catch me. We have been good friends ever since!
My tip of the day - whatever distance you aim to get to in the Parish Walk believe you can do it, put the training in and make it happen.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Track vs Road Walking

Yesterday I did the unspeakable, unthinkable act of resigning halfway through a 10km track race, and not just any race but the Ascot Open.
When I arrived at the track my heart and soul were not in the race, looking back now I know that I shouldn't have even started in that frame of mind. But I did start and was doing a reasonably good time (for me) of 29:56 for the first 5km but then I got a yellow card for contact and it just threw me. For the time being I have decided to dedicate my time to road walking.
Ever since doing 100 miles around the NSC I have had a mental block against going around the track one more time. It doesn't make much sense to me, but there you have it. That's why I have temporarily (or maybe not) decided to retire from track racing.
So to pay penance for my stupidity for not continuing for the 2nd half of the race on Saturday I decided to catch the early morning bus to Ramsey and walk home to Douglas on Sunday. In total it was a distance of 15.8 miles done in 3 hours and 6 minutes. I enjoyed every minute of it, even the section where the wind was blowing a hooley, which wasn't forecast on Accuweather!
This brings me to the penultimate section of the 2012 Parish Walk from Glen Mona to Laxey.
Now that I knew I was on time for a sub-20 hour race I suddenly had a bit more spring in my step - as much as you can have after walking for 70 miles.
Michelle Turner was at the car park at Dhoon offering her support. The main highlights of my walk were all my friends who were out at various locations supporting. Without the supporters the walk would hardly be worth doing! It was at this point that Brian gave me a cup of coffee. The coffee spilt over my gloved hands and I immediately dropped it accusing Brian of trying to burn me. It was scalding hot - or so I thought - to this day he still insists that the coffee was hardly lukewarm. Brian realised then exactly how cold I was. I wasn't feeling the cold until he firmly suggested that I put on a heavier coat. Once I had the coat on and I started to defrost I started to move a little faster and feel a little more human.
The trip between Dhoon and Laxey is much longer on the evening of the Parish Walk than it is any other day of the year. I remember thinking that someone had moved Laxey Service Station. When I reached the tram lines going over the road at Laxey Brian was handing me a banana, insisting that I needed to eat something. But I wasn't watching my footing and tripped over the pavement. Because I had very little energy left I dropped like a stone, but Brian immediately lifted me onto my feet and told me to carry on!! There was another support car over the road and the gentleman in the car crossed over to Brian and said "That's a shame, she was doing so well" to which Brian replied "she's still doing well and will finish". That's the kind of support everybody needs. He believed in me even when I was cold, tired and my hands were bleeding!
My tip of the day - warn your support that you may get unreasonable at least once during the walk!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Is it enough training?

I keep reading the other blogs and thinking "am I doing enough training?" I think this may be a common thought amongst the walkers who are preparing to go the full 85 miles. How much is enough? Personally I try to do 3 shorter (5 mileish) walks during the week and a 15 - 20 mile walk over the weekend.
I usually go to college on a Tuesday night but this Tuesday I excused myself and attended Strictly Parish. I believe that no matter how many times you have taken part in the Parish Walk, regardless of how far you walked, you can always learn something from someone at a forum like this. There were lots of hints and tips to be taken away and thought about but one thing I felt really stood out was "PLANNING". Plan your training, plan your food, plan your drink, plan your support, plan your strategy to get to your finishing point, plan your clothing, plan your foot preparation. Really good advice for every walker out there.
I was out training on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening after work, I felt really sluggish and battled to get up a good, consistent pace. I was feeling frustrated because I knew I could do better. On Saturday morning I went out thinking it was going to be another difficult session but I felt great, I picked up the pace almost immediately and kept it up all the way. Maybe I'm just a morning person!
Back to 2012 and Lezayre - I had almost 10 hours to complete 23.5 miles, this was probably the point that I knew I could finish and I was feeling quite strong. This was also the point where my body decided that it could no longer stomach solid food. I was given a Nutri Grain bar in Ramsey but I carried it all the way to Maughold almost untouched. From Ramsey to Maughold church seemed an eternity, I can't lie - it's a long, dark road when you've already covered 64 miles.
From Peel to Maughold Brian had been waiting a mile ahead of me, seeing if I needed anything and then driving on another mile. From Maughold he decided to cut the distance to half a mile, I was tired, cold, wet but nevertheless determined to carry on. It's a hard walk from Maughold church up Ballajora and back to the main road, it was pouring down and it was like walking through a river with sticks floating all over the road, but I plodded on (yes "plodded"). I was so relieved to see the sign at the top of the hill saying Laxey and Douglas. I was on my way home!
When I got to Glen Mona my brain started to engage again. I was trying to calculate how long it would take me to finish. Alas, my brain was not all it used to be. For the life of me I couldn't work out how many miles I had to go. I figured I was reasonably close to a 20 hour finish - this was way faster than I could possibly have hoped for, maybe my calculations were way off. Next time I met up with Brian I asked him to work out my finishing time based on my current speed, which was around 4.5 miles/hour. He agreed, I was going to finish in under 20 hours.
My tip of the day - From Strictly Parish - start planning now, it's worth planning for.