Sunday, 28 May 2017

Rice Pudding!!

Training started on Monday this week with a rather pacey walk up over Baldwin with Richard. At the time it felt gruesome but in fairness it was needed to free the legs off after the Race the Sun. Tuesday, again seen only myself and one other of the usual group out, Ray had headed to Spain for a short break before his life is taken over by the TT for 2 weeks, Stew was still away and Andy and Rich were both busy with work, so that left Dave and I to tackle Marine Drive. Both nights were a struggle, more so with the temperature, but the weather really made it worth being out. Wednesday was a night off and Thursday four of us met up and done the loop around Douglas / Onchan. I missed Saturday as I was on a day shift and also had to decline an invitation to train again this morning (Sunday) due to work commitments. On the subject of work commitments, I am hopeful that this may be my last weekend for a while working on shift. An opportunity has arisen for me to transfer onto day work (Mon - Fri) for a while whist the Power Station goes through a routine outage. I will more likely still have to work over weekends when necessary but at least I can train and arrive a little later in the morning rather than having to be in at a set time to take over from the previous shift and miss out completely.

I found some Nectar Hydro Tabs before the Race the Sun event and have used them before and after training over the last week. I more often than not have a case of water in the boot of the car and have been adding one or two of the Tabs, for flavour, rather than drinking it plain. I may have mentioned before that the High5 sachets I use give me a dry mouth and sometimes taste as though the last mouthful is still very powdery in the back of the throat. The Tabs don't give this feeling but the down side to them is they do not contain any calories, unlike the high5 product. I have ordered 3 more tubs for the Parish. It may sound daft but the calories in a drink are more likely the only calories you will be getting toward the end of a long walk unless you are one of the few that can eat right up till the end of a long distance race. I find after so long I refuse solids in preference of fluids, this can happen in the space of a mile, I can be quite happy eating the odd sandwich, cake and bits of fruit but all of a sudden just want fluids. When this does happen it’s important that the drink is made up with something that will at least give some amount of energy otherwise the fuel used to keep the body moving forward will soon run out. The Tabs, like the High5, also have key electrolytes so the salts lost are also replaced / kept in balance.

On the subject of foods etc. that I eat during an event I have made a list below to give some idea. some of the choices may make you think 'URGH' I couldn't eat that whilst walking, but by now, if you have been trying different foods, you will know what is best for you and what does not upset your stomach or mind on the day. I say mind as what goes on in your head plays a big part in whether you finish or not. The slightest thing, that would normally not bother you, can really peeve you off on the day, one of mine is sticky hands, Christine and Colin have helped me enough now to know that if I am having something  sticky they have a Wet Wipe ready as well so I can wipe my hands and face after eating it.


Rice Pudding
Various Sandwiches
Salted Nuts
Fruit Cake
Ginger Cake
Fruit Jelly
Naked Bars

Later on in the race Christine will have most of this stuff on a large tray so I can help myself to what I fancy. At the beginning, so I'm told, I'm quite predictable so she has what I like, and usually want, ready for me as I pass. I become a little more fussy and awkward (a pain in the arse) later so the tray is her way of preventing any arguments. You really don't want to get to the point where you are arguing with your support, for fear, as has happened in the past on the Parish, they get in the car and head home leaving you with nothing or no one to give you the assistance and encouragement you will so desperately need as the miles drag on.

Also No support = No finish  (rule 13 below) if you are already thinking that you may go on further than Peel 'depending on how I feel' then you should already have support arranged in case. One or two who I know and are taking part this year have said this to me recently and I have said the exact same thing to them. Also if  whoever they are knows they may be required, if everything is going well, then they can also be prepared for what may be a long night ahead of them.

13. Competitors continuing beyond Ballaugh must be individually accompanied by an attendant in a car. The sharing of a support vehicle is not permitted. Attendants must wear hi-viz reflective clothing.

Honestly you really don't want to be heading through Kirk Michael thinking how well you are going and how you told yourself you would only get as far as Peel to then start panicking and trying to organise last minute support to enable you to go on past Ballaugh

My phone has just alerted me to a WhatsApp from Dave Walker for a walk tomorrow morning. With it being Bank Holiday Monday I guess lots will take advantage of the long weekend and get some additional miles in. With less than 3 weeks to go now until the gun goes off at 0800hrs on Saturday 17th June these may be the miles that count!!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Race the Sun

Another week of training has come to an end finishing yesterday with the Isle of Man Children Centre Race the Sun. Tuesday seen only me and Richard out training due to work commitments and being off Island for one or two of the others. I finally managed on Wednesday to meet with Pete Miller for a stroll around Cringle and Ronauge. Pete had invited me down, a couple of times previously, to train on one of his local routes but through work or racing commitments I hadn't been able to. The route was a good 10 miles and was just as hilly going out as coming back so ended up being a good walk effort wise. Pete is walking really well and will undoubtedly be on for the most improved on previous time award come the Parish in a few weeks’ time.

On Thursday I had my first experience of judging a race walk event. The Manx Harriers Club 5K was held on the T.T access road and was an opportunity to get one of the four signatures I need to be signed off as a level 1 judge. As I compete on most of the events it may take a while to get all four signatures but at least when not taking part I can give something back by helping officiate.

As already said, yesterday, was the Isle of Man Children Centre Race the Sun. I had opted for the first leg starting in Peel, at 05.06, from the Kiosk on the Promenade opposite the Marine Hotel. I arrived down around 20 minutes before the start and wasn't surprised to see most other runners warming up along the sea front. If it were a walking race I would have done some sprints etc. to warm up as well, however, as it was running I thought it was best left to the more capable athletes, the 11.5 miles ahead of me was already a concern, distance wise, I definitely didn't need to go adding distance by running up and down the promenade as some kind of warm up routine! The majority of the 30 teams were lined up at the start with only 2 or 3 others opting to start later, one reason for this was the tide time, being high tide at 06.40. I set off at sun rise and headed out over the Headlands to White Strand before picking up a short bit of road section and turning right onto the old railway line at Knocksharry. I recced this section in the opposite direction a few weeks ago, at that time there was a couple of boggy sections, yesterday thanks to the good weather we have experienced in the last couple of weeks those sections had almost dried. Once out as far as Glen Mooar we dropped down from the railway line and headed to the beach after crossing the main Peel to Kirk Michael coast road. This was to be the first section of sand as far as Glen Wyllin and straight away it was apparent it was going to be hard work as the tide conditions meant we were running quite high up on the beach in the softer sand. Once at Glen Wyllin we had to make are way up over the sea defense boulders, again due to the tide preventing us from running around them. After cutting up through the camp site we again picked up the disused railway line out as far as Bishops Court where again the course diverted from the footpath onto the beach via a couple of fields and someone’s back yard, we had to run between their house and garage to gain access to the next bit of beach section. This last bit of the route up to Ballaugh Cronk was over 2 miles running in the soft sand. My finish time was 06.48 (1hr 42mins for the leg) so the tide was at its highest as I ran the last mile. Dale Farquhar was doing the second leg which started with a 6 mile beach section and said at the Point of Ayre how difficult it was. I did the second leg last year and it could not of been more different in that the tide was at its lowest and running on the water’s edge was not to dissimilar to running on the road the sand was that compacted. The team did a tremendous job of clawing any time lost through conditions under foot, and in my case not being the strongest runner, over the remaining 8 legs taking in Maughold, Laxey, Douglas, Port Grenaugh, Port St Mary, Bradda, Niarbyl and Peel to finish at 19.35 giving us a total time of 14hrs 29mins compared to 14hrs 32mins last year. From waking just before 0400 it was a long day ending after midnight in The Creek following the Presentation and Buffett held in the Marine. Thanks and huge congratulations must go to Lisa Motley and her team at the Children’s Centre for organising another great event.

The planned training for this morning came to naught. Feeling quite good last night I had agreed to a stroll, however, on getting out of bed and walking toward the shower the effect of the alcohol that had been consumed, starting at The Bay in Port Erin yesterday afternoon, had worn off and I was as stiff as a board. With only 26 days left now until the start of the Manx Telecom 2017 Parish Walk there can be no excuse for not getting out tomorrow night.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Another Week Closer!

Another week of training has been completed, which of course means, the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk is another week closer. The week started with a sharp coaching session on the Tuesday night, I rested Monday, on the TT access road with Marie Jackson. Thursday was a lap of Marine Drive in the anti clockwise direction passing through kewaigue / White Hoe to start and finishing with the climb out of Port Soderick and Marine Drive to end up back in Douglas

On Saturday Richard Gerrard, Ray Beattie and myself met at the NSC at 0700hrs for a stroll over Little London. The walk from the NSC out toward Ballacraine was in dull but warm conditions but once through Ballig the weather became  wet and once up over Sartfeild the head wind was also more than evident. Thankfully by the time we reached Druidale Cottage and headed toward Injebreck the conditions although remaining wet improved in that the head wind had as good as disappeared or at least we were being sheltered by the fells either side. Richard had placed some water at the tight hairpin above Injebreck Reservoir so once water bottles were refilled we headed off to complete the remaining 6 or so miles through Baldwin and Mount Rule to finish back at the NSC.

I have started to use a High5 powder supplement again in my water since the Firemans and although I'm not completely happy with it as it gives a powdery taste towards the bottom of the bottle I am struggling to find an alternative that is closer to the original Nectar Sports Concentrate that I was using. I thought  I had managed to find a GU product on Friday evening but of course with not saving my recent searches I am now struggling to find it again. It may even of been a Powder not to dissimilar to that I am already using.

I managed to find an Asics clearance site last week and ordered 4 pairs of the older DS10 that I have been using since starting the longer distance races and using a lighter shoe. I wasn't sure if they were going to materialise or not due to the difficulty in finding them, in stock anywhere, since January. I am happy to say that they arrived as stated. When I originally put the order in the store was showing 9 pairs of size 10.5 in stock on there online order page so a repeat order was put in and I received another 4 pairs on Friday. The down side to having more trainers cluttering up the bedroom cupboard is that Christine has informed me some of my trial and error purchases over the last few months thinking I wasn't going to find the older DS10 will need to be culled.

1413 entries have been received for the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk. To plagiarise a post I seen earlier, there are 646 Men and 767 Women. The youngest is 18 and the oldest 82 with 197 previous finishers competing this year.

I have just been out to walk the middle part of my leg of the Race the Sun event being held next Saturday. Yesterday it was foggy up on top of Sartfell, because of this the route seemed to pass over quite quickly. I cant help thinking now that the recce today was a mistake as the distances I thought were quite short seemed to go on for ever. Maybe the unknown would of been better next weekend.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

A Sunny Northern 10

It was perfect conditions in Ramsey this morning for the Northern Athletics Club Paul Collins Northern 10. After staying out far too late last night and still feeling the walk from the day before I wasn't to keen on making the trip up to Ramsey this morning but with a little encouragement from Christine (a foot up the arse) I reluctantly and gingerly climbed out of bed, showered and headed off with Christine who had decided also to get up, the weather was far too nice to be lay in bed anyway. From Ramsey Football club we headed out of Ramsey toward Sulby. Thankfully Chris had taken my own, Marie Jacksons and Sharon Cains drinks as within the first mile or so the temperature had risen. I had started to quick which in turn meant I wasn't walking well (thanks Marie) but as I settled / slowed down my walking improved. The walk back in from St Judes to Ramsey differed from previous years, as in, we were instructed by the Marshal to walk on the left hand side of the road. The camber on this side was evidently worse than that on the right hand side and played its part in a few walkers including myself to complain of sore hips and glutes immediately after the finish. A massive well done to Adam Cowin, Hannah Hunter and Steve Partington who were the top 3 finishers in that order, Hannah winning the Female race in a time of 85mins. Jayne Farquhar knocked two minutes of her previous best to finish 3rd Female and 6th Overall. Sharon and Louise Hollings both knocked over two and a half minutes off there PB's to finish 5th and 6th Female 9th and 10th Overall. Marie Jackson was 2nd Female and 5th, I finished 4th Overall 3rd Male which I was happy with as the event was being used as a recovery walk after yesterday as I knew I would not motivate myself to get out today otherwise.

Thanks to all at Northern AC for hosting the event, Paul Collins for sponsoring and the Marshals for keeping us safe at the road junctions / crossings.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Turned Out Nice!

What a week its been weather wise. I finished my nights on Friday morning and must say sleeping over the last week has been almost impossible knowing that the sun was shining outside. I got up most days by noon so I could spend the afternoon lounging in the garden and / or strolling the promenade in Peel. I didn't walk on Monday in favour of spending the afternoon with Christine and visiting my sister for the first time in what seems like an age. Are first stop was the MSPCA in Foxdale where we had a piece of Cheese Cake big enough to sink a ship! That put any plan of an evening stroll on hold due to feeling like I was carrying a lead weight around with me. Cheesecake for breakfast was maybe not the best idea!

I trained Tuesday and Thursday, as usual, taking in the prom route around Douglas and Onchan on both nights. On Wednesday evening Christine and I went through to the NSC where there was a get together of family and friends of the late Murray Lambden. We arrived quite early but were not surprised by the amount of people already there. He really will be sadly missed by all.

The plan was to do some decent miles on Friday with Ray. unfortunately Ray was held up in the morning and I had a massage planned so by the time Ray called I could only get out for an hour before peeling off. Ray continued on for some additional mileage due to being required for medical cover on the Manx National Rally on the Saturday morning, preventing him from training with the usual Saturday group.

Saturdays walk turned into a bit of a marathon in the end (or a mile short of one anyway) Andy, Richard, Stew and I headed off from the NSC at 0700 and took in the back road from Strang to Crosby, heading straight over the cross roads up to the Garth past Gilbys Stables, then out to St Marks before turning and heading out to the Ballamodha where we went left for half a mile or so before turning right onto the road that leads up to the Cringle Reservoir. After another mile or so we went left and found are way back to Silverdale via Grenaby where more fluids were taken on-board from an outside tap Richard had found and used in the past. Once hydrated we followed the Parish Route backwards along Orrisdale and the Old Castletown Road as far as the Oatlands Road but continued straight on through Crogga Mill and White Hoe to end up back at The Caff for refreshments. The Caff has recently been refurbished and I'm pleased to say The Caff Racewalking Team photo, from last years Parish, has made it onto the Wall of Fame.

Myself and Wifey are out tonight, we went out last night just for tea time drinks but were home for 20:00 due to me walking this morning. I am planning to do the Northern 10 tomorrow morning, signing on from 07:15 for an 08:00 start, but it will depend on two things, 1 , if I get home early enough tonight, and 2, if I can find someone to give me a lift as I wont be driving up unless it turns out tonight ( doubtful ) that we are home before the band finishes.

Good Luck to those that are running and walking in the morning. I hope to be there, if only to walk the legs off a bit from today.