Friday, 21 April 2017

Here We Go!

Sunday sees the long awaited 11th running of The Firefighters Memorial Walk. Hopefully the weather will be similar to that of today (Friday) warm but overcast would be perfect. I have been away since Tuesday working so have not had much time to think, never mind prepare, for the event. I trained on Monday but apart from that have done nothing this week. If I am honest I wouldn't of done much more than strolled around Peel Marina just to keep the legs turning over. I hope, like me, you are looking forward to the event, during training on Saturdays we have a couple of times done really good mileage so walking 31 mile on Sunday should be a doddle .............. shouldn't it!

Good Luck to all that are waking whether it be to Bride or Ramsey.

See you Sunday

Thanks Murray

What a start to this week with the sad news of the passing of Murray Lambden. I remember my first race around the NSC, a guy with a camera was clicking away and encouraging me along by calling the number pinned to my vest. By the second event he encouraged me along by referring to me by name, this to me typified the man, he wanted to know and support each and every one of us by name, no matter if we were at the front, middle or back of the field he had the same level of respect for us all. I have read a fitting tribute by David Griffiths this week on the Manx Harriers website and learnt a lot more about Murray as a competitor. It will feel strange from now on not starting a race wondering where Murray will pop up, clicking away and / or filming. We Joked last year in South Africa, whilst competing on the SA100 held on Robbin Island, that we wouldn't be surprised if Murray was around the next corner with his camera! He was also someone who appeared able to be in more than 2 places at once. it would not matter how many events clashed with each other he would manage, by the end of the day, to post pictures from each event from the first competitor to the last.

Back in November he phoned and asked if I would write this blog for the 2017 Parish Walk, daunted at the time, I more likely never thanked him for the opportunity ........................ Thanks Murray!


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Work / Walk Balance!



This week has been 'one of those weeks' when it has come to the work / training balance where work has won, if it wasn't for getting out on Monday and Tuesday the week may of well ended up the shortest, mile wise, I have done since the New Year. It doesn't have any real detriment to anything other than how I feel mentally when the week hasn't been as planned distance wise. Work cannot be entirely blamed as I met up with Jock, Vinnie and Dave Mackey on Wednesday evening for a few drinks in Jaks, using Football as the excuse. I could have easily trained and said no to the invitation of an evening of comedy from Mr Mackey and Lynch but it is something that should not be missed. Vinnie is now heavily into his Yoga which has seen him become super flexible, of course this led to the usual (Male) line of questioning which I will not go into in case anyone who is reading these weekly ramblings is easily offended! Unfortunately a few of the group could not make it, Richard had commitments with work and it was Dave Walkers wedding anniversary. I did suggest that he should tell his wife, Sally, that the night out in Jaks was a once in a life time event and that wedding anniversaries come along every year, but it was feeble at best.

Due to work I didn't make it out Thursday and Friday, although I swopped onto a morning shift Friday from my rosted evening so that I could hopefully take part in the first race of the Easter Festival of Running in Port Erin. By the time I got home from work it left little time to prepare or to drive down to signing on. I was going to walk the 10K as the ankle is still not comfortable when running, walking is still an issue but it seems to not worsen any when under walking conditions and had arranged to meet Pete Miller down there for a stroll (Sorry Pete). Due to work on Saturday evening also I missed the Peel Hill run, held as the 2nd of 3 events Manx Harriers organise as part of the festival, the 3rd event being a 5k race on Douglas promenade on Sunday morning. I'm not sure if the disappointment of missing the race was as bad as not being able to recover in The Creek immediately after crossing the line outside the House of Manannan with one or two of the 320 odd competitors that take part.

Entries have now closed for the Firefighters Memorial Walk next weekend. 206 competitors have entered which is a great number for the event and up on last year which seen an entry of 116 compared to 183 the year before. I can’t believe I have been walking now for well over 3 years and that this will be my 3rd year competing on the event, I have had to take holidays as my rota sees me on day shifts next weekend 0700 - 1500hrs (see title)

Andy, Ray and I met at the NSC on Saturday morning for a shorter walk than that of last week. We followed one of our usual jaunts out on the Parish Walk route to Santon but turning early and heading back over Marine Drive to finish at The Caff. I am still testing footwear out at present so if you see some lunatic with one bright yellow and one bright green trainer on next weekend that will be me. I said a few blogs back that I had cut the back out of a set of racers to ease the area that puts pressure on the Achilles, these were new DS11's and were rubbing quite bad on the effected ankle but by cutting the material away it provided some relief. I also cut the right foot shoe, this was the cause of a nasty blister thereafter, as the harder material that makes up the heel support was inadvertently exposed. So to not cut another new racer I may have to try one of each, perhaps I should consider some midnight miles so not to be seen in odd trainers .......... Oh no, hang on........... Work will probably get in the way!!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Not The Sloc!

After a few swapped texts on Friday evening it was decided a route would be chosen at the NSC on Saturday morning. Richard, Andy, Stew and I met Dave Walker, who had managed to fly back home a day earlier than he had expected from the UK, and Sam Fletcher who was also free to walk due to his babysitting commitments not starting, this weekend, till 12 o' clock. It was decided, so Sam could make it home in time, that the Sloc was the best route to follow. Sam had arrived in his Mini Bus so this was the chosen transport down to Ballabeg (Sam's house) he could then turn at will and head back for home to meet his timetable. The weather was perfect for it, nice and clear, if not a little cold to start, but this didn't stop Sam wearing his usual wife beater vest. Not to speak for anyone else but I ridiculed him on his choice of attire, it was only at the top of the Sloc, at the round table junction, that I realised his choice was far better suited to the now sunny, warm weather and pace than the layers I had wrapped up in. We continued on the Parish route to Peel, Sam had turned Dalby side of Glen Maye for home, where the rest of us stopped at a cafĂ© for breakfast. After refilling are water bottles we set off back, on the main road, to Douglas and the NSC.

With doubling up training Wednesday and Thursday my mileage this week, after yesterday, was up somewhere close to where it would have been without the short break in Brussels. I must admit to feeling a little empty at the bottom of Ballakillowy yesterday morning but I had walked on Friday, late afternoon, and hadn't really eaten much Friday evening apart from a Salad. I think both these factors played their part early on Saturday. For those that are doing the Firemans Memorial Walk, on Sunday 23rd April, who have not walked a similar distance before it really is important, not only to eat and drink on the day, but to eat and drink ( no.. not alcohol, oh.. ok... maybe just one or two! ) in the week leading up to the event. I normally eat  Pasta, Rice and Potato type meals the week before and drink more water than I normally would in any other week. Again, this works for me,  but if it is your first long walk and indeed its being done as training for the Manx Telecom Parish Walk itself then it is an ideal opportunity to try and eat and hydrate well the week before and find foods your  happy with and sit well in the lead up to the event.

Note to Self - Read this before your next South African Centurion event!!

There is only one week left now to enter the Firemans Memorial Walk, entries close at midnight on the 13th, so get them in so not to miss out.

http://www.firefightersmemorialwalk.com/






Friday, 7 April 2017

How Much!!

After arriving back from Brussels to late for training with the group on Tuesday evening I knew I had to do something on Wednesday. Brussels was a great place to visit for a long weekend, the restaurants and bars were always busy, certainly towards the evenings restaurant wise. The bars were busy all day. The weather was great too so most of the day was spent strolling around the narrow streets and The Grand Place. It did not take long to realise the closer to the Grand Place you got, bar wise, the beverage price escalated quite rapidly. We went from a extremely cheap €8 in one bar for 4 drinks to €37 in another that was on the square itself. Luckily, me getting the first round in worked well, as every other round seemed to be the most expensive. The hotel we stayed in was just off the Grand Place so around 20:00hrs we returned to the room for a freshen up. At this point I fell asleep until being woken by my phone around 23:00hrs, it was the couple we had travelled with asking if we were ready to go back out. Christine had decided it was to late so I joined them both and away we went to do it all again. the bars we frequented earlier, which were already busy, were now heaving! Most had bands on, it was only the next day we realised that everything band or DJ wise started after 2300hrs. Breakfast the next morning was the typical continental affair..... a big greasy fry up would have been more welcome than a croissant and yoghurt as some kind of medicinal hangover cure I must admit. All in all it was an enjoyable trip, the travelling was a little annoying to say the least. Sitting in Airports and on coach's / trains really does get frustrating but it is all part of the experience.

The Grand Place


As I guessed the afternoon in Liverpool was for me spent stood outside shops whilst wifey went shopping. We did find a nice garden bar to have a couple of drinks before heading back to the airport for are evening flight home so it wasn't all bad.

On Wednesday Christine dropped me at kirk Michael and I headed back on the main road to Peel. It is the same 6 mile route I do quite often and was what was needed to slip back in to training. I also went out in the evening and walked the route of the Peel Hill race held as part of the Easter Festival next weekend, hopefully i can get a swap or day off so I can take part. Next week starts and finishers at the House of Mannan though which is far more convenient for The Creek afterwards!
Thursday lunch time I got dropped of at the same spot by wifey but walked / ran back on the Raad ny Foillan route, once I had picked it up at Glen Moor. This is the reverse direction to what I will hopefully be doing on the day but was an ideal recognisance of the route. I wrong slotted almost straight away and headed further up the glen than what was required due to missing the small cut up the side of the old railway line bridge pedestal. I would not of made this mistake coming from the correct direction, however, although this year sees the route take on a clockwise course it does get held anti clockwise occasionally and I would have missed this cut on race day for not checking the route first. I  trained with Andy and Stew on Thursday evening around a lap of White Hoe, Port Soderick and Marine Drive. I wore the same shoes as what I had worn to go up Peel Hill the night before with no issues, but maybe due to the higher pace, I managed to tear the fresh skin of the healed blister the shoes had caused, a fortnight ago Saturday, on are walk around Glen Roy. With the Firemans Memorial Walk now only 16 days away I need to decide if I am going to persevere with the shoes and hopefully break them in in time, dig out a pair of  DS 10's I have in reserve or wear one of the other many pairs of trainers I have tried over the course of the last 8 months to aid the Achilles recovery. I think it has more to do with where I have cut the back of the shoe, exactly the same as my original set, than the shoe itself but I am reluctant to order a fresh set in case it is the shoe. Stew and Andy both said last night that they find the size a little more generous than the previous DS's causing them to slip a little on the heel. It is a bit late in the day now to change things so maybe it will have to be a case of taping up the area affected and going with it.

As its such a nice afternoon today I am going to have a stroll round the Western 10 route but missing the part that goes from Ballacraine to Ballig due to traffic. Saturday training will go from the NSC as usual with firm plans to be made later on with the group on distance and route.

Christine has just asked are we out tomorrow for the Grand National  .......... she does come up with good ideas occasionally!!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Brussels Here We Come

with being on nights this week it meant my days, when I should be sleeping, were free. I done a few small gardening jobs on Monday and once finished sat for a while in the front garden thinking I should really make the most of the day and get out for a walk. I didn't want to do anything to pacey as the ankle was still a little tender. My Nephew, Wayne Quirk, swaps and changes his exercise discipline from cycling to gym and weights then walking. he is currently in his walking phase so I met him for a steady 8 miles. Its always good to catch up with him, typically, he only lives 100 meters from my house but since we have both finished are time in motorsport where we could be found in are respective garages till all kinds of hours most days we now only catch up on the odd occasion. when I started walking late 2013 Wayne was up for the challenge also and started walking most evenings competing also on the Winter walking League. At the time he went and spent, what I considered to be a lot of money, on suitable clothing, trainers etc. He still has all the kit he bought which is proof that buying cheap really isn't the most efficient way. I have swapped my kit a few times since I started, spending probably 10 times as much on shorts than what I would when I first started. I wrote a while back about a chafing episode I was unfortunate to suffer during an End to End walk. The shorts I had on then were more likely something I had found cheap on one of the discounted sporting store websites, needless to say, the shorts I wear now are a far cry from those early ones with seamless stitching and compression pants built in.


Tuesday training ended up being a decent enough session. At the start I felt as though I had just come of the back of a longer distance race. everything felt tired and heavy, I was glad I wasn't the only one feeling this way as at least I had company along the promenade as everyone else took off towards Onchan Head. The pace improved towards the end and the body didn't feel much worse for it.


I managed to arrange a massage on Wednesday with Bronwen. With work and breaks away we had not met up since the beginning of February. I am hopeful work will remain as planned now until after the Parish so that I can get back into a routine with Bronwen for my Sports Massage. I have two more sessions of Friction Massage on my Achilles booked with Jorel at the Adjust Clinic in Peel before the Fireman's Memorial Walk also.


The weather was wet when I woke earlier on today (Thursday) . Andy Dawson had sent the group message out to see who was up for what would have been a wet walk. I had slept a little longer than planned so would have been tight for time to make it through (that's my excuse) Dave was working, Stew had had his injections for an upcoming trip to Argentina, Rich was Running and there was no word from Ray so it came to naught. I could of gone out later on but the refuge of the Sofa seemed a much better option than splashing around Peel. I packed my bag for work tonight with lunch etc. to eat during what was my last night shift. I also packed some walking gear with the intention to walk back to Peel after finishing here at Pulrose in the morning. (yeah right)


Entries are coming in thick and fast now for the upcoming Fireman's Walk on the 23rd April with 125 entries so far.


I am off to Brussels for a long weekend with Christine  so there will be no walking now, apart from shopping miles and sight seeing, until next Wednesday. No doubt wifey will find a whole host of well known clothing stores to browse around knowing full well if I dare complain, even once, that will be my support gone for the upcoming Fireman's and Parish Walks. I don't know how she can dare make comparisons with the boredom for me of standing in shops with her sitting in a car for hours on end waiting on my every need ................ cheeky mare!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Another Week.......... Done!

I started another set of nights on Thursday. as I scrolled through some news items on the net I seen a '30 days to go' post referring to the London Marathon, of course the Fireman's Memorial walk is being held the same day. as always I will be on nights till next Friday morning which will see me head straight to the Airport for a long weekend away in Brussels. Sitting writing this now I can only think of the training miles I will be missing whilst off the Island, however, I am sure as it gets closer I will begin to look past that and may even become a little relieved at the prospect of some time away from walking. My plan is to train well over the next week, night shifts helping with this, so I don't feel to guilty come next Friday morning.


Training on Tuesday night took in Marine Drive for the first time this year as a Tuesday / Thursday loop. It was a late change to the normal prom route but was evidence of the nights stretching that enable us to take on this route. Admittedly it was a little dark once we started to drop down back onto South Quay, we had gone out round White Hoe first so not to be on the road back from Port Sodrick in the fading light, but the extra miles and the route was what was needed after a practically no miles day on Monday apart from a short stroll with Christine.


On Wednesday evening the Isle of Man sports awards were held at the Villa Marina. Deservedly, for the second year in succession, Richard Gerrard won the veterans sports person award. The year for Rich seen wins on the Parish, End to End, the African Centurion Walk in Cape Town and also a sub 3 hour London Marathon. Thankfully, like last year, Richard will be taking part in the London Marathon on April 23rd so at least we can all finish one place higher up the finishing order on the Fireman's due to him being missing!


Thursday evening was spent back round the usual lap of Douglas due to Ray being on call for the ambulance service. the head wind on the prom was enough to make me want to turn round and head back to the car, thankfully, the wind let up by the time we were in Onchan so the route back to Bikestyle was a little less arduous. I wonder with Bikestyle moving in the future down to the Market Hall will we still be meeting at Bikestyle when its no longer there. Many shops etc. seem to move on or close but remain a landmark used to give directions or explanation as to the where abouts of another buiding or shop still trading. Being Peel born and bred I am definitely guilty of confusing people with directions that may include Looneys, The Creel Chipy, The Peel Castle Public house (PC) and The Chocolate Box. these are four examples of building that although still standing have either changed name and business many years ago or closed down but will always be known to me as I remember them historically. This is of no use however, to a TT visitor say, when asking directions to the Bus Station. If I made mention of any of these in my directions It would definitely lead to them missing the bus or perhaps never finding it at all.

Saturday, once I had finished, I headed straight to the NSC for 7 o'clock to meet and head off on a planned 20 miles. From the off I knew I had made a mistake wearing a new set of racers. I had cut the back out of them to give the Achilles a little more room but had not cut enough. Normally I can start to wear a new set without any concerns, this was certainly the case with the older DS's I was wearing. Perhaps the new evolution need a little more time to break in. I struggled all of the way round which was unfortunate as the weather and route made for an enjoyable walk otherwise. Again its better I have found this out now rather than starting a new set of shoes the week of a race, which I was confident to do before, and finding out then. A short stroll today (Sunday) has brought another week to an end. The fine weather was definitely an excuse to do alot more, hopefully it will continue into next week.