Sunday, 30 April 2017

47 Days to Go!

The first part of this week, Monday to Wednesday, I have was on evenings and although this has gotten in the way of getting out walking, more for recovery after last weekend than effort, my left calf is still sore so getting on top of that first has to be the way forward. Bronwen Kaneen came round on Wednesday morning and gave me my usual Sports Massage which helped loosen the calf up and I have started the stretching exercises again that I was doing on the run up to the Firefighters walk. The next event for me will be the Northern 10 in Ramsey on Sunday 7th May starting at Ramsey Football Club. If you have not done the event before the route heads out along the reverse of the TT course to Sulby Bridge before continuing straight on to St Judes here it turns Right and heads back along the Jurby Road into Ramsey, taking a little detour, and instead of heading straight back to the football club to finish we head out along the Bride Road toward the old Grand Island Hotel before turning down onto the promenade and taking the road through the park to the finish. It is mostly flat apart from the drop down onto the promenade close to the end. I'm sure the calf will of eased off by then and I will be back to full training so I'm looking forward to it. I also have the Race the Sun coming up in 3 weeks time so need to be as injury free as I can be leading up to that. I would like to get out before hand to recce the full route as I have only walked the first 5 miles in reverse a few weeks ago. I start my nights on Friday evening for a week so my days, apart from trying to fit in some kip, will be free which should help me fit in a few extra walks or at the least mean I don't miss any planned training in the evenings.

I got out with Dave on Thursday evening for a short lap around Marine Drive although the calf was tight throughout it was no worse for the 6 or so miles. On Saturday we left from the NSC and walked down to Ballasalla, via marine drive and santon, where we picked up the Parish route and walked as far as Malew Church. The rain had started as we walked past Rushen Abbey so once at Malew we decided to get to Balthane, where Andy had left his car for the journey back to Douglas, by taking a short cut through the back of Ronaldsway Industrial Estate. The pace for the walk wasn't at all quick but with last weekends Firefighters Walk still in the legs and Richard still recovering from his London Marathon it was good to get some miles in all the same.

Entries close for the Manx Telecom Parish Walk next weekend. If you have not entered yet then you really do have until then as under no circumstances are entries accepted after the Sunday 7th May cut off.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Firefighters ....... Done!

Well that's another Firefighters Memorial Walk completed. My time in mind to finish this year was a similar time to last year .... 5hrs 12mins. At Ballaugh all was going well, even through Jurby my time was still up on where I wanted to be, as Dale Farquhar, Dave Walker and I rounded the cone, in that order, half way up the Jurby Church access lane. By the time we reached bride church 21miles in I had dropped to 6th, I had started to feel myself slowing and the watch confirmed this. The leader was now 5 minutes ahead and 5th place was a couple of minutes up the road. As I rounded the turn to head to Andreas I felt a slight pull in my calf, From there on I suffered with a cramp which became almost a show stopper at St Judes. I spent a bit of time there lay on the ground with Christine trying her best to stretch and massage the cramp out. I continued on past the Ginger Hall where I was passed by Andy Dawson and soon after Tony Edwards, who himself had struggled with cramp earlier on in the race, this dropped me to 8th. Around a mile outside Ramsey I managed to reel them both back in, Tony first and then Andy myself and Andy worked to pull a small gap on Tony, then with around half a mile to go I managed to drop Andy to regain 6th at the finish. With 5 minutes covering 1st to 6th at Bride I had lost another 18 minutes to the leader at the line, finishing a total of 23 minutes behind. Those 18 minutes were lost in only 10 miles so unfortunately the cramp had played its part in my finish time. Stew Jones, another member of the training group also suffered in the mid stages with cramp which also plagued him till the finish after starting really well running 6th early on. It was a good day out for the training group with 4 of the top 10 places being filled by the team.

The event was won by Dave Walker for the second year in succession with Karen Chiarello 2nd Overall / 1st Lady and Mike Bonney 3rd. The top 10 at the finish looked like this ...

   Name                                       Bride              Ramsey
1180David Walker03:25:42 [1]05:15:09 [1]05:15:09
229Karen Chiarello03:28:31 [5]05:17:31 [2]05:17:31
312Michael Bonney03:27:05 [3]05:20:13 [3]05:20:13
460Dale Farquhar03:26:24 [2]05:22:09 [4]05:22:09
5100Aaron Kneale03:27:36 [4]05:23:16 [5]05:23:16
6143James Quirk03:30:18 [6]05:37:52 [6]05:37:52
747Andrew Dawson03:38:39 [8]05:39:00 [7]05:39:00
856Tony Edwards03:38:34 [7]05:39:05 [8]05:39:05
9119Pete Miller03:44:31 [11]05:42:17 [9]05:42:17
9Ray Beattie03:43:03 [9]05:44:09 [10]

Am I happy with 6th? ........ Yes ........... would I have preferred to finish 6th with a time closer to the leaders? ........ of course. I learnt a bit today about over doing it on the salts and maybe not eating enough carbs, both factors in the onset of my cramp I think. My Achilles, although sore at times, gave no real issue and feels ok tonight as I'm writing this. I have had it before after a race when its felt as if it has gone back 6 months to when it was at its worst so I'm happy enough with that.

Massive congrats to Dave on another Win and well done to everyone who took part whether finishing at Bride or Ramsey. It was tuff out there today weather wise and definitely not overcast as predicted.

Congrats must also go to Richard Gerrard, running another strong London Marathon today and also Sharon Cain on setting a PB in what she said were tuff conditions in London.

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.

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!!