Monday, December 20, 2010

More Snow!

Well my weekly blog does not seem to have too much to do with walking at the moment as it is pretty difficult to get out there and tick over the miles. I managed to go for a walk on Saturday up towards the Creg but the going was pretty treacherous. Took the dogs and enjoyed the views and atmosphere.

Yes that is the mountain road with my wife Gemma leaving me behind!

Here are the dogs mine is on the right Oscar

The one on the left is Indie who is our regular visitor  Rhiannon's guide dog - but enjoying some well earned R & R!

I then made it home for serious sledging with my son Nick - go for it boy! 

The girls then made a huge snowman with my help - the Saturday workout was complete trying to lift the head onto the body - which was definitely Dad's job

Sunday I went for the treadmill session and a quick set of exercises before a large Sunday roast - another excellent day!

Busy week ahead, so staying realistic, decided that proper training should start on 4th January - lets see what happens!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My First Parish - 2009 Vol 1

My last post was this time last week, I had great intentions of a week of varied training - some speed work and may be one longer walk. I need to be a bit more realistic this week! Like many of you, spare time is at a bit of a premium especially at this time of year, so between Christmas parties, kids activities and work the time available in the evenings evaporated and the only chance I had for a walk was on Sunday morning. Dropped my son Nick off at at Ramsey for a football match and went for a quick 6.75 mile walk so that I could get back for the 2nd half to cover my family duties too! Although not ideal training, as long as you make sure you try to get out when you can, I think that will be ok for now,I don't want to beat myself up at this early stage as there will be plenty of time for that next year!

Anyway as I do not have too much to write about (at least that involves walking or training!)I thought I would make a start on a run through my first 2 efforts on the Parish. I am not saying this was the best way to prepare but I think you probably need to be realistic about how much you plan to do for say your first try. Until you truly get bitten by the event (as the inspirational blogger Richard clearly has) you may not have the focus, time or even desire to devote the time and effort required to go for a finish in one of the higher places.

For most mortals, if like me you have not had much involvement with the event but think that 85 miles sounds like a long long way, then I would suggest that a realistic goal for the first time is to train and plan to finish but not get too hung up about a time. Another alternative is to set a goal such a Peel and go for that on your first Parish to get a feel for the event.
My own view however is that if you want to finish and have time to train from now on, you should only focus on reaching Douglas before 8am. It is a real challenge without putting doubts in your mind before you start - set yourself a goal and go for it - if it doesn't work out then so be it but set your goal now and go for it.

If you are keen enough to read "blogger 2" at this early stage then for the rest of this blog
I will assume you want to finish and you haven't before.

For my first Parish in 2009 I basically committed to finishing it when I decided to enter the Parish to support the law society's charity people in need and as part of last year's 150th anniversary. I decided to do this in January 2009. The first question was how and who was I going to train with? I had completed the 3 peaks a couple of years before to raise money for oscars dreams charity (if you are interested see my blog from 2007 on the charities page and decided to try to resurrect the same team. I largely failed but eventually managed to persuade my good friend Colin Garvey to do the Parish although I think it is fair to say he was less persuaded by my insistence that we were going to do the whole thing at the first effort. Training got off to a patchy start as with 7 kids between us (2 good catholic families I guess) 2 wives who thought we were mad and 2 pretty time consuming jobs we really only managed 2 walks a week at most and generally only 1. We did about 5 miles a session (which at the time seemed like a lot but now seems amazing light - we thought this would get us through.)

Apart from a light training regime we also decided to walk together for the event. The received wisdom seemed to be that this was a bad idea but we decided that the musketeers approach would see us through.... I have rambled on enough for this post v2 will continue the story.....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Cool Peel to Douglas Race

I was out at my Parish support team's house (Brett Woods) for a party on Saturday night so I thought this was probably not the best preparation for a speedy walk this morning. Fortunately he even looks after me out of hours too, so I was full of sparkling water by the time I drove home before midnight (although I left the other half of my support wife Gemma, at the party so no lift to Peel for me this morning!). As Brett's house is on the course he also got up early and threw me a chocolate bar and drink as I went by which was a good lift for the final push.

Anyway, the walking; conditions were actually not too bad just a few icy spots but don't think anyone had too many difficulties under foot.A few cars and 1 lorry caused me more worries, why don't people just slow down a bit and leave some space? Surely they can't be in that much of a rush on a Sunday? Sorry moaning and digressing again... the walk was great with a record entry and some amazing times - well done to Steve and Sue. A big thanks to all the marshals and organisers - it is bad enough getting up at 7am to enter a race let alone to help other people race. It was also great to see a few people out early to urge the walkers on (thanks Eamon and D1). I finished in 1hr 43mins so I was reasonably happy for a first season of trying to walk quick in the winter. Everyone assures me this is a great way to increase your Parish pace - it
certainly makes sense as walking back at 5mph now seems very relaxed so hopefully it will work for next year... before I go I was talking to my first follower Dave Walker after the race today who gave me a good tip to ward of the shin pain when you push from the off (he got it from Sean Hands so I am sure it will work for most of us). Anyway to hear what it is you will have to read my tips page - click the link across the page.

I think Tuesday training is off this week? So will need to motivate myself to hit the streets... You will find out whether I make it in the next instalment...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Parish 2011 goes live

Well it is great to see Murray's site has now gone live. I'm sure it has not been a good week of outdoor training for anyone. I was planning to go down to the NSC for the Tuesday walking session but realised I had a parents presentation at school so had to miss it. I think it was a lucky escape though with freezing temps and a slippy track - I heard from Kathryn C that at least a couple of other intrepid ladies made it out including Bernie B - well done!

I plan to do the Peel To Douglas on Sunday so probably take it easy tomorrow. I was lucky enough to have been able to buy a reconditioned treadmill off eBay recently so I had a quick work out when I got in tonight - it is not quite like the real thing and I have not quite worked out all the settings as it seems to suddenly go into a steep incline whilst I am at full speed on the flat so the occasional injection of running is required to save me from shooting off the end!

I am just trying to tick things over at the moment - busy at work and lots to do with the kids but feel it is important to try to keep vaguely in shape through the Christmas period and then start training a bit more seriously in January, but will still give it a good go on Sunday!

Next instalment Sunday night I guess...

Ps If you look across the blog you will see I have set up another page. I hope others will add comments to the tips page so that we can perhaps work out the most popular food to eat on the day or favourite drink... Although I would recommend dioralyte I definitely had too many in last year's heat and that does produced unintended and inconvenient consequences!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Snow on Man!

Wow - snow in November was a bit of a shock; not good for the training sessions though.

In fact I was lucky to be in Spain for a few days (thanks Mark) so avoided the snow until tonight, but actually the conditions were horrendous there too. 40 hours of solid torrential rain turned all roads into rivers and just about shut the place down. I did manage to get 1 training walk in albeit it turned into a bit of a battle for survival. It should have been a great road walk up into the mountains on a rarely used road but not only were there streams coming down the road but there were lots of rocks falling onto it from landslides. In the 90 min walk I saw no cars or people just lots of water and rocks!

It was therefore a bit of a shock to land back home with snow on the edge of the runway. We were very lucky to get home at all - some of our friends ended up doing a planes trains and automobiles eventually relying on the Steam Packet via a long train journey from Gatwick to Heysham.

Anyway less rambling about the weather... I have been going down to some of the Tuesday walking sessions laid on by Allan and Manx Harriers. I would recommend this to anyone who is thinking of doing the Parish next year. You will get lots of tips and whilst some of the top walkers come down which is a great help, there is a really good mix of all levels of walkers. I also find it a good way of ensuring you go out even if it is cold and wet.

I have a few ideas for the blog but if anyone out there wants me to cover anything in particular please give me some feedback as I am not used to talking into the ether...
Must sign off but before I go firstly thanks to Dave my first ever follower! Hope you enjoy the blog and also hello to my fellow amateur bloggers Richard and Stephanie whose bloggs I look forward to reading along with our professional Murray.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Training Already?

When Murray asked me to be an "official blogger" I realised it was a great incentive for me to keep the training up through the long winter months. The earlier you start the easier it will be?!?

As this is my first post I will keep it short so I will have a few things to say later! If you are reading this blog in 2010 then you are probably an avid Parish Walk supporter anyway, so no need to explain what lies ahead before 25 June 2011.

This will be my 3rd Parish so I now know what to expect and have received lots of tips from many walkers - this is what makes the Parish special for me. Whilst it is a competitive event there is real camaraderie amongst the walkers, lots of support for all competitors and even the elite walkers are happy to pass on tips and help with training and walking technique.

By posting this blog I realise that I am committed to enter, train, try to finish and hopefully beat my best time - time will tell!

Looking forward to see who is my first follower (if I get one!) as this is a first for me...