Sunday, 29 January 2017


For those that have just started walking with the intension of completing some or all of the Manx Telecom 2017 Parish Walk I hope you are enjoying your training so far. If you started at the beginning of the year you will now be almost finished your first month of training. As a gift to yourself for the effort you have put into training why not book yourself a Sports Massage.

My first experience of sports massage was after suffering a groin issue during training on a Saturday morning with Bridget in Peel. On returning home I rang a therapist and was seen that afternoon. During the appointment I was asked how often I have a sports massage, my answer to this was "this was the first time I had been injured so had not bothered until now". The appointment also included a Bio Mechanical assessment, basically the therapist had me do some stretching and exercises to see how mobile and flexible my muscles and joints were. At the end of the massage I was offered a repeat appointment which I took up but there after did not have another massage for sometime. I now have a sports massage on average once a week I am not saying this is the norm, or should it be what everyone is doing, but it works for me.

There are four types of sports massages:

  • Pre-event sports massage - a short, stimulating massage 15 - 45 minutes before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
  • Post-event sports massage - given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body's tissues.
  • Restorative sports massage - given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
  • Rehabilitative sports massage - aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.
In one of my first posts I talked about feeling dreadful after taking part in the 2014 Ramsey Bakery End to End Walk. At the end of this event I simply carried on walking over the finish line and to my wife's car who was waiting near by and hopped in for the journey back to Peel. This quickly seen me cramp up, and on returning home to Peel, feeling like I just wanted to be shot due to the pain I was experiencing in my legs, arms in fact my entire body. Fast forward a year and at the finish at the Sound I climbed onto a massage table that Enid Watson had kindly commandeered for me and after around 15 minutes of therapy I was able to sit in the car home and felt as good as could be expected after racing for 40 miles and setting a PB. I was certainly in better shape than that of 12 months before.

Tuesdays and Thursdays training was at a good average pace, this could be put down to the cold weather making it worth while getting it over and done with and back to the shelter, if not the heat, of the car.

on Friday I met Andrew Stanley from the Rebound Clinic in Yorkshire. As said before Andrew had agreed to give me an assessment on my Achilles issue whilst he was visiting family on the Island. I'm happy to say that his opinion was that an Orthotic, an individually designed corrective footwear insert, is not required. The issue I have, if treated with an orthotic, would more likely cause a knock on issue with my knee so it was decided that some Gym work and Pilates Exercises followed up with Physio and possibly a change in footwear will hopefully see a positive outcome to what has now been a long term injury. The change in footwear is something I will not rush into as my current choice has served me well, like anything that you have built confidence in, its very hard to give up.

Yesterday was the usual Saturday morning training walk from the NSC. Dave, Richard, Ray and Stew turned up for what was a wet start to the walk. I was struggling with my Achilles early on which is the norm when starting early, thankfully this eased off later on into the walk. We still managed to cover a good distance of 15 miles in a good average speed / time, we decided to give the Caff a miss on this occasion due to being soaked from the wet start earlier.

Saturday evening was spent at the Woodbourne Pub at a gathering of Isle of Man based Centurions organised by Graham Young. It was interesting to hear that a few are planning to travel to South Africa later in the year to compete on the Centurion event that myself and others from the Island took part in last year (see earlier Blog) A recent Facebook post has confirmed the event will be going ahead with an announcement to be made shortly to confirm the date. Early suggestions from Mrs Quirk are that we will be heading that way also, if not only to Holiday in Cape Town and support the event on the day............... lets get the Parish out of the way first!


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Nights.................. Done!!

I have been working a block of nights since last weekend which I finished on Friday at 0700hrs. The good thing about nights, for me anyway, is it allows me to train with the group on the Tuesday and Thursday evenings, something I can’t do when I am on evening shifts as they start at 1500hrs, finishing at 2300hrs. the Saturday training after my first night shift is always quite hard as I finish at Pulrose Power Station and make my way straight to the NSC for an 0800hrs start, at least until the clocks go forward. My plan was to try and at least do some mileage each day this week but that ended up not being the case. The good thing about finishing my block of nights is I am now off for 9 days, not returning to work until Monday 30th. It is definitely the plan to put some good training miles in next week additional to the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sessions already planned, hopefully trips to ShopShite and Cu Plas for new bathroom cabinets won’t get in the way next week as they have this, Christine also takes advantage of me being home during the day when I’m on nights and being tired I very rarely have a quick enough excuse to get out of such tasks!

 I have an appointment next weekend with Andrew Stanley from the Rebound Clinic in Yorkshire. On this week’s training walks I have been using a heel lift which takes some of the tension out of the tendon, it is basically a gel wedge that sits beneath the heel helping not only the tendon but also adds a little more cushioning to the heel strike. I am never comfortable self-prescribing anything so can’t wait for the consultation so at least then I can take some comfort in the knowledge that if I continue to use the heel lift or any other podiatry aid it will have been on the say so of an expert. The Rebound Clinic has been kind enough to answer my questions via email over the last couple of weeks so the wedge is not entirely self-prescribed.

Michael George joined Dave, Richard W, Ray and I on Thursday and suggested some stretching exercises that have helped him in the past with an Achilles issues. I must admit to not being the most diligent when it comes to warming up and stretching before and after walks. I know when I train with Bridget the first 20 minutes or so are taken up with various exercises to warm the muscles and joints up before putting them under the stresses of exercise so I really should know better. I have Google'd the stretches suggested by Mike and will endeavour to spend at least some part of next week trying them out.

Jock Waddington sent an email in the week looking for volunteers once again for the Race the Sun held in May. For those that don’t know this is a relay race with up to ten persons in a team racing from Sunrise to Sunset on The Raad ny Foillan coastal path which is divided into ten sections, again this year heading clockwise, around the Isle of Man. Although in May I remember how quickly it came around last year, after first being discussed in January, the 2017 Parish Walk is then only 5 weeks after! I have put my name forward to be included in the final team selection if not only for the food and drink that is the reward for taking part at the presentation held immediately after the last competitor crosses the Start / Finish line in Peel.

Saturdays training walk took in the first part of the Parish route from the NSC out to Santon but turning early to head back into Douglas via the old Castletown road. We had planned to stay out a little longer than the eventual 13 miles by taking in the loop around Marine Drive but myself and Stew Jones struggled with tightness in are legs, possibly due to the cold weather and Andy Dawson and Ray were only just back training again after recovering from Flu.

On the 12th February the final round of the winter walking league is taking place around the NSC perimeter road way. Although this is the last round everybody is still welcome to enter on the day and compete over distances of 5 or 10k. There is a wealth of experience at these events be it from coaches, judges or fellow walkers, most of whom have completed a parish or two or three or four or fi…………….. I think you get the picture!!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Winter is Here!

Well done to anyone who has been out training over the last week, the weather has certainly played its part it making for some of the coldest training walks I have done for a while. Tuesday was the normal evening route around Douglas. Richard, Dave and I were the only ones to turn up due to work commitments and the snotty, coughing, spewy bug thingy that is doing the rounds at the moment accounting for a few of the other regulars. Douglas promenade again was busy with walkers, runners and cyclists which is always good to see, as I have already mentioned I prefer to see people using the great free outdoors that we are lucky to have available to us on the Island rather than being cooked up in a gym.

Thursday evening there was only Dave W and myself out. The temperature was reading 3°C on the car dash and it certainly felt like that as I reluctantly exited the car to wait at Bikestyle for Dave to arrive. On the last two training sessions I have forgotten my watch so the average pace on both occasions I haven't known, however, both sessions had me back at the car before 19:00hrs so from that I know they have both been quite quick. If you have not bought a sports watch yet there are various good GPS options out there, Garmin, Polar and Suunto to name a few just make sure you check the battery life before purchasing as not many have the 24hrs battery life required to keep recording during the Parish.

A work colleague, Tom Cain, who has completed the 32.5 miles to Peel on a previous Parish Walk is taking part and hoping to complete the full distance this year for the first time in memory of his sister who unfortunately passed away towards the end of last year. He has asked me over the last week or so for some advice on clothing, footwear and food stuff to eat during the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk, thankfully there are others at work who have also completed the full distance, Colin Gilbert being one who finished the full distance in 2015 but has walked past the 60 mile marker on a couple occasions and Adrian Beale who has completed the Parish 5 times, so having them to give their opinion also just goes to prove that not one person is the same. One thing that is certain is that all these things should start being experimented with now. My own experience on this subject comes from the advice that was given to me when I started to compete on the longer events but there really is no hard and fast rule, it really does come down to what is right for one person isn’t necessarily going to be right for the other so experimentation is the only way to find out what’s best for you. The upcoming Fireman’s Charity Walk, which is being held on the 23rd April this year, is a great event to put all the experimenting with footwear, clothing and dietary requirements to test under race conditions using a support crew. The event is not catered for in the same brilliant way that the parish is where there are corporate and private feeding stations along the first part of the route, at least to Peel, where a wide variety of fruit, sweets, energy bars, chocolate and hot foods etc. are on offer there are however water stations positioned at various intervals. The event also gives the opportunity to recce the section from Peel to Ramsey if it is not already part of your training plan. The date for your diaries will be Sunday 23rd April 2017 starting at 08.30 at Peel Fire Station.

Myself, Stew, Andy, Dave W, Richard and Vinny Lynch, back for his first walk of 2017 after returning from Northern Island where he spent Christmas, met at the NSC at 08:00hrs for Saturdays stroll which took us over West and East Baldwin, up the Scollag Road and around the Little Mill back into Onchan where we dropped down Royal Avenue to finish along the Promenade. The rain, sleet and hail followed us most of the way round so we were well soaked by the time we got to The Caff for are usual reward. It was good to see so many participants in the first of the Prom Runs as we completed are walk towards the Bottle Neck car park, well done everybody who took part.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

And There Off !

The first training session of 2017 was Tuesday night and was at a fairly quick pace, at least a lot quicker than the usual amble we have been having leading up to, and over, the Christmas period. Andy Dawson, Richard Gerrard and I set of from Bikestyle and although it was a shock to the system it felt exactly what was needed to kick start the training for the New Year. The usual loop that takes in the Promenade, Port Jack, and the Grandstand via Harbour Road is the training circuit for Tuesdays and Thursdays, at least until the clocks go forward, then the additional hour of daylight allows us to go out further toward Groudle before turning to head back along Groudle Road.

Wednesday was a short walk around my home town of Peel. I have said earlier the marina in Peel is a great place to walk on an evening being well illuminated and being relatively quiet, it also links in well with the Promenade so a few miles can be clocked up fairly quickly and almost traffic free. On the Fenella beach side of the marina there are painted marks on the pavement from Bridget Kaneens' Saturday coaching sessions, these are also great to do some sprints being 100 meters apart and 400 meters in total. after owning a Treadmill some time ago I always ask myself if it worth getting another one but with the open air gym that is available more often right outside your own doorstep be it  Ramsey, Douglas, Peel or Port Erin promenade's or the perimeter road at the National Sports Centre I don't feel it is worth it. I know a treadmill can be used inside, however, being out in the wind and rain will give you the opportunity to try out weather proof clothing that my be required on the day. I was lucky last year with an almost too hot a day for my first full parish walk but I am aware that previous parish walks have been completed over some horrendous wet and wintry conditions. on one occasion I'm told the climb up 'The Sloc' was carried out in such wintry conditions the file of walkers walking behind one another, trying to get whatever shelter was available from the person in front, resembled something more likened to that of a team trying to conquer a polar expedition!

Thursdays training was back in Douglas where I Joined Dave Walker, Andy and Ray. It was at a slightly slower pace to Tuesday but that was probably due to us stopping for a chat with Stew at the Grandstand, he had unfortunately finished work a little too late to join us from Bikestyle, who was heading in the opposite direction.

I have been waiting since Christmas for a new set of trainers to arrive. I struggled towards the end of last year to find the correct size in the shoes I normally wear and used my last new pair I had to complete the South African 100. I have decided to stay with the same brand and style but move on to their latest evolution, hopefully they will arrive at the beginning of next week so I can start to train in the shoes I hope to wear on events this year and complete the Manx Telecom 2017 Parish Walk in, albeit not the same pair. As long as the fit and cushioning is similar to that of the previous shoe I will order several more pairs in one order so I have reserves.

Saturday mornings normal training was missed due to working, however, Richard and Dave also had commitments early on so we met up during the afternoon. Andy and Ray did get out in the morning and I'm sure it gave them great pleasure sending an image of themselves afterwards at The Caff enjoying refreshments, something we missed on this occasion.

I missed the Winter Walking League 4th round this morning, again, due to work commitments. I did manage however to catch up on Murrays live stream a little later on. Well done to all that competed at Ronaldsway and congratulation to Pete Miller on setting a time of 62mins 48secs on his debut at 10K (an abnormally short distance for him) to Erika Kelly who is now the 5th fastest Manx Female over the distance, setting a time of  50mins 38secs, and to Sharon Cain and Louise Hollings on setting yet another PB.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Glad Thats Over!

Happy New Year to You and Yours and All the Best in 2017!

I'm Glad that's Over, the last two weeks have been spent eating and drinking my way through enough to support a small country. The effects of which are now visible to those close to me including Christine who keeps on eyeing me up and down, and in a telling voice simply says...... 'Jesus'.

I am more likely not alone in putting a few festive pounds on in the last two weeks or so, one thing that is certain though is the training will step up again now with the run up to the Fireman's Charity Walk only 15 weeks away. hopefully the extra pounds will come off as easily as they have gone on, cutting out the Toblerone alone will in its self have a positive effect. Did you know each one of those lovely Swiss chocolate Triangles has 175 Calories, having 3 grown up children meant I had 3 of the buggers to get through.... what else do they get someone who in their words 'has everything already'.

I worked over the Christmas and New Year period, being on shift working for the Generation department of Manx Utilities at Pulrose Power Station meant I traveled most days from Peel to Douglas to get to work. I was surprised how many people I seen training during these commutes. some with there new day glow leggings and jackets acquired as Christmas gifts no doubt, but also a few of the more experienced walkers, Stew Jones to name one, who I seen making his way toward Peel from I guess Onchan (home) walking really strongly, an inspiration to anyone has to be Zoe Lambie who I passed almost every day over the fortnight either walking to or from Douglas, the miles Zoe does in a week are truly remarkable. I trained a couple of times over the 2 week period covering only short distances at a medium pace. I have had an issue with my Achilles now for sometime and have now decided to seek advise from a clinic in Settle, Yorkshire, recommended to me by Gianni Epifani. I have Physio once a week by Bronwen Kaneen who has kept me competing, even with the issue, throughout the latter 2016 events already mentioned in an earlier Blog but hopefully a trip to the Rebound Clinic, who carry out a number of different assessments to indentify any issues with biomechanical dysfunction injuries in the feet and legs i.e. injuries which occur due to abnormal or excessive motion of the structures in the lower limbs when moving, will assist further in trying to overcome the issue before any of the longer races start this year.