Sunday, July 3, 2011

Final Thoughts

Another great Parish Walk over. Looking back I am sure we pick out the good bits and put those low moments out of our head (bit like child birth as far as I can tell from a mans perspective!)

Anyway finished 3 in a row now and already thinking that would like to give it a go again next year. My plans for sub 17 proved to be optimistic but still feel that this achievable but the years are perhaps beginning to run out :( so need to get on with it!

It is always important to learn things from each effort so here are the new tips I am going to give myself for next year. Everyone reacts slightly differently, so the most important tips I reckon are those you can get from your own experiences.

1. I seem to over heat easily and cannot keep cool especially after 40 miles or so. Try to keep cooler - bring ice water to throw over your head at regular intervals! I will do some Internet trawling too to see what otter less drastic options there are.

2. Rethink socks. Vaseline all over feet not just heels and try to toughen up soles beforehand, perhaps a bit of barefoot walking

3. Make time for a few longer walks to try to work out pace and try out sock and shoe strategy on the longer walks. My shoes worked for about 40 miles but the toe box was a bit small and toes were really bashed, I also think the rubber type insole made my feet overheat. I swapped shoes and socks in kirk Michael and i was really glad I did as it definitely helped.

4. Keep smiling!

Anyway lots of other events between now and the next long walk; plan to enter end 2 end and really enjoyed the 10 k series which I will also give another go - I would recommend that to anyone thinking of doing the parish next year. Also got the Dublin marathon in October which seemed like a good idea last Xmas but now getting a bit close and will have to start some running training.

I am glad (and hope) people have enjoyed reading the blog - I have enjoyed writing it, it certainly helped me focus on the event and ensured that I kept the training up.

Feet are healing pretty quick albeit I have not had the fish treatment from town I had never heard of this till last night but apparently it is all the rage, the fit nibble bits of your skin off your feet to clean them up - yes really and she sent me the picture!!

Dont worry those aren't my feet and decided I might finish them off if I stuck my feet in the tank!

Well that's all folks


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Presentations Prizes and less Pain!

Well my blogging days are coming close to an end - I have in mind doing a final blog about the day but I do not have time today. As I can see there are still quite a few readers I thought I would do a short wrap up on the above and leave it there.

Hopefully most of you made it to the presentations. It was great to meet up with fellow walkers and tell tails of highs and lows! Any readers of my earlier blogs might remember I said previously I looked forward to seeing the hand over of the most improved prize and that I would look out for the winner (The Island is Walking). Ironically the much deserved winner also featured in my Parish Walk 2011: Day off blog - Sam who flagged me down for a chat in Baldwin a few weeks ago.Well done great effort and you ended up in hospital after reaction to voltarol overload (another tip to add to the list - stay off too many tablets or perhaps stay off them all).

Anyway great night last night and esp thanks to organisers and well done to prize winners (which included the team winners who beat my Clumpers team - well done ladies).

On the pain front - pretty much all gone now though blisters still a bit of a nuisance (I need to delete all my tips re shoes and socks! - but that story is for my final post).


PS Take That concert great show although walking 1 1/2 miles from car to Villa Ground standing for 4hours and then walking back to car was probably not the best recovery plan!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Take That

Well on the road to recovery. THE Doc sorted my feet out this morning with some padded dressing so can now walk unaided!! Thanks Col.

It seemed like a good idea when someone offered us some take that tickets as I had taken the day off anyway. I was a bit worried I might not make it yesterday as feet/ legs a bit wrecked but much better today! So blogging at the airport. Lots of great pictures on the web site, my support team were so busy getting me round that no time for picture on the way round.

Just boarding the plane so must dash - hopefully lots of readers will be there tomorrow (and hopefully return flight on time too as i don't want to miss the presentation - it is always a good night)


Sunday, June 26, 2011


Well the strategy did not quite work for me on the day but as I said before we got underway 1st goal to finish, second to beat the wild of 2010 and then 3rd to get in under 17... 2 out of 3 will do for this year. In fact, I have only done this 3 times and yesterday was definitely the hardest. Not entirely sure why, I probably went off a bit quick but only arrived at Peel a few mins earlier than planned 6:14hrs. Almost immediately afterwards I started feeling sick with some unpleasant intestinal issues (sorry Gemma)!! My energy levels dropped really quickly after that and I could not eat thereafter. I then got blisters on the soles of my feet - as I know Dudley Butt is a follower with a great blog picture of his blisters I thought I better post my own version!

Anyway back to the day - fab time and tremendous support from lots of people; I had my own team of Gemma, daughter Cath and her friend Georgie. I also had my other support crew of Brett from about 50 miles in. They have both supported me on all 3 of my efforts and what I can say for sure is that I would not have finished without them. The message also got round that I was dying on my feet so I had emergency pick up visits from the the Grace clan and for the last few hours Mary and Neil came straight off the boat to urge me home. Neil Skillen finished on his first time in 18hours last year and I think I have given him the bug for next year - so watch out!

The other support that gets you round are the thousands of people who come out to support and wish you well on the way. I have to say the most memorable moment was a group of clowns outside the Mitre in Kirk Michael singing "there's only one Jonny Wild one Jonny Wild....." I am not sure whether they sang this for everyone but it was great!! (just reading this back I meant literally dressed as clowns....). All the texts and phone calls also give you a lift - thanks to everyone for getting me round.

I am very happy to have finished and joined in what was yet again another fantastic event and especially thanks to all those who organise and marshall on the day - it could not happen without them. Congratulations to all who got where they were intending; especially those finishers and to Jock and Maureen for great win and the famous 5 front runners who must have made the event so exciting for all those watching and following on Manx Radio. Also Richard my fellow blogger led the Callin Wild Clumpers home in a great sub 16 hour time - well done. The non finishers in the team did well kathryn making it to Jurby and David making it to Bride well done guys

I will end here as pretty exhausted - here is an action shot of me blogging!

New Parish Memories; a beautiful evening in Maughold  - unbelievable views with the sun shining - it almost made me forget the pain!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Ok corny last post title but here we go for the last pre race blog.

Check List almost complete:

1.  Register
2.  Clothing for the morning (and garmin charged)

3.  Spare change clothes
4.  Wet weather gear
5.  Track suit and wet weather for pre start if raining
6.  Medical Kit inc sun cream (optimistic?!?)

7.  Food

8.  Gear for Support

Ok just about sorted - weather forecast seems to have improved so time to relax and fill your mind with positive thoughts!!!

Only last minute things are minor but may just save you a bit of time or hassle - if you are planning to go past Jurby then things like checking head torch batteries and adjustment of headtorch or other light source is good to do now - set the velcro in the right place - it is just something else to distract you when you are tired.

Gemma has done a great job so all food and medical supplies sorted; food all packed and soup ready to be warmed for the flask tomorrow. She thinks I am mad as I am taking pictures of the supplies for the car - she is probably right!!

It has been a really uplifting day today lots of well wishers emails tel calls and texts - thanks to you all. The flip side is very difficult to get too much work done  as also tempted to check weather and have been talking to the rest of the Callin Wild Clumpers team about plans for the day, last minute prep and general "parish stuff" 

Well not much more to say other than good luck to you all - hope you achieve your targets and enjoy the day; lets see if we can get 200 finishers this year...

Thanks for reading :)

The Waiting Game

Well stayed up a bit late tonight but still officially 2 more sleeps. So the day is nearly upon us. Sick of pasta by now and being one of the heavier walkers I figure don't need to go overboard on the loading up - I reckon still plenty of reserves. I have never actually disclosed weight but have talked quite a bit about gradually loosing a few pounds during the training.

Those of you who have read so far will realise I have come clean about my shoe fetish which in my defence comes from having size 14s and also my sock issues which have also dominated some blogging themes. Thankfully the endless talk of shin pain has also come to a halt as I seem to have got rid of that one! So thought as we have just entered the last day I should also confirm results of weight loss programme; first lap in 2009 I was 17st. Second lap last year exactly 16 and this year pretty much weighing in at 15 1/2. There we go then - no need for pasta for me:)

I went out for a fab Scandanavian meal tonight (yes I am still on the island not done a runner due to the tension!) which was great - largely fish based and managed to limit the alcohol carb intake too and no pasta! Did some final support planning with my Blackboards SMP chum who is now shopping for porridge tomorrow for my mid morning snack, hopefully around 10:10 all being well...

Anyway need to sleep - final post will be after checkin tomorrow; 7 - 8 months of blogging nearing its conclusion - and need to fit some work in tomorrow before checking weather and generally getting excited!


Parish memories; people with programmes looking up race numbers to cheer everyone on by name.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weather update!

Hot off the press.......

It is getting better. And the other forecast at is getting better too:)

Weather Forecast for the Isle of Man
Ronaldsway Meteorological Office
Issued at 4:45 am on Thursday 23rd June 2011 
Rain soon dying out on Saturday, then dry for the rest of the weekend. Some coastal mist is likely but warm sunshine will develop in places, especially in the north.
Saturday 25th June

Occasional rain or drizzle
S-SW 20-25 decreasing 15-20
Moderate perhaps poor at times with hill and coastal mist or fog patches

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


No time tonight but noticed lots of you reading over the last few days - 120 yesterday.

Your thoughts may have turned to the weather apart from the local sites my friend Mark put me on to this site today

Looks pretty detailed but the weather doesn't look great - hopefully it will improve :)

Went out for a gentle walk with the dog. Came back with sore knee and tired too, so put it down to mental issues surrounding tapering and the doubts we all suffer!!! Put it all out of my head now and decided to have a glass of wine to aid the carbo loading situation! Only one though...


Parish memory: too early for a bacon bap at steve M's house at the Blackboards last year and nearly missing Cath who was staying there to give me supplies... I am sure you will all receive supplies there again - thanks Steve

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4 More Sleeps

I have received quite a few emails since posting my new "wildwalker" address on the blog. It looks like quite a few of you have had trouble posting comments as the blogger is a bit of a pain to set up. Thanks to all those wishing me well - much appreciated and best of luck to everyone too. Whilst I believe you make your own luck - I think we all need a bit over such a long event. I have to confess that having read Richard's blog re the weather I am getting a bit worried as rain and gale force winds not the best combination although hopefully this will blow us all up the west coast!

A public thanks to Michael Bonney who sent me his great excel spreadsheet - I eagerly plugged in last years times with I think a more accurate mileage breakdown. It was interesting to see the gradual tail off in my speed; unfortunately I worked out I would need to set off at about 10mph to be up with the leaders - i need to borrow a bike !!

I have found tapering unusually easy this year as I have almost ground to a complete halt - what with the office move and 2 nights out this week I am left with tomorrow as my only stroll this week. The carbo loading is going well though!! and I have put more training in than last year - the blog has helped to incentivise me over the last few months so I am staying up beat and have convinced myself I am ready for Sat morning.

Last minute preparation: quick shop at up and running to stock up on the Zero high sports drink tablets for the electrolyte drink intake to mix with the water stops. Job for tomorrow; light walk and load songs on ipod. Out Thursday night and then pack Friday night and last blog before D Day. I have asked daughter Cath to do mobile blog upload on the day so will have to see if that works for the culmination of the story...


Last few Parish memories; standing on finish line with Andrew Titley and Neil Skillen  as per my blog picture(Neil amazingly finished in just over 18hrs on his first ever go - and he still blames me for telling him not to start off too quick as he was only a few minutes behind at the end!! -  the plan worked!!!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Final Countdown

Well just back from trip away and not done much since the wet weather session on Friday. Did a few miles just to stretch the legs out but not had time to do a proper workout. Just thinking through final preparations for food and drink for the support team as clothing all now planned.

I have already talked quite a lot about the food and drink to eat on the day so won't repeat it all again but soup rice pudding and other easily digestible food is I think important to have available especially in the second half. The ability to eat solids gets harder as he event progresses so I am planning to try to eat some solid food early on with the odd banana thrown in.

Another thing I have been planning is my planned timing round the course. Although there is of course no guarantee you can do this on the day; I think it is a good idea to have a few target times at some of the churches - your support crew can perhaps keep these especially past Peel.

This is not only to make sure you have a realistic target whether it is for Rushen, Peel, beyond or all the way. If you want to go as far as you can it is important not too set off too quick - it is really easy to get carried away... That said my own view is that it is still important to set yourself a reasonable relaxed pace that you are comfortable with. At the end of the day if you can get round in 20 hours or so then it is still 4 hours less on your feet... Imagine how your legs ache just standing up for 4 hours! So if you work out a sensible pace before you start then you will probably walk a bit quicker but you might want to reign yourself in a bit if you are trying to get all the way round.

If you haven't been for a walk with the gear you plan to wear on the day (including the bib) I suggest you do - it is worthwhile to take a trip out in the next few days just to make sure you are comfortable and have no niggles....

The final countdown is upon us!


Ps another parish memory; a kind lady outside her house with a table full of oranges drink and other goodies just when I needed it somewhere up North (too hot and tired to remember where! )

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wet Weather Test

Well beginning to feel a lot better which is a big relief. Apparently it was a virus, my hotline to my parish walk physician (aka THE Doctor) confirmed something is going round and that should be well cleared before the countdown clock stops - neurofen and diarolyte ....  This soon made me feel a lot better and having taken another day off watching Elton John (which was fab) I felt I had to go out tonight.

Anyway back to the title - the most appalling day;  I guess a few inches of water laid down after endless rain which brings good news and bad news

Lets start with the good: I always try to stay positive so the fact that it poured down all day gives a great opportunity to test out the wet weather gear. I therefore wrapped up with my birthday hat and gloves (see march posting) and also donned the under armour full length pants and my parish bib. I tried to avoid mirrors and the kids on the way out and with hat pulled down low i went out into the rain. I soon ditched the gloves as found them quite annoying to walk with - so will just leave them in the car in case it is really cold on the sloc or at night. I have only walked in the long pants a few times but they were fine and I reckon they will soon dry out if the weather dries which is handy so they will be packed in the car (or worn if really bad weather first thing). The ron hill hat was great, very light, kept the rain out of eyes and is ok for the day if raining or if hot. Make sure you have a light coloured baseball type hat in the support vehicle. They are also essential if it is hot and sunny as you will really suffer if you don't cover your head - also some regular cold water in the hat really helped keep me cool last year. the bib is still fine although i now remember that the Velcro catches a bit on the arms so be careful how you do it up at the beginning - it can be annoying to have to fiddle around with stuff once you get going so may as well sort it out before you start.

So walk went well despite the rain albeit my left knee remains a little niggly but there is always something that annoys you so just put them out of your mind - it will be replaced by some other pain on the day!!! My socks were a thicker training pair so I found that they got soaked pretty quick and retained the water so I am definitely still on the Nike Dry fits regardless of the weather.

The Bad News: Not parish related but moving office today, not too far - only down the road but definitely not the best day to be traipsing up and down the Athol St and then into the office walking all over our new carpets.... The weather could not have been worse but we are nearly in which is exciting and the office is just next to the Courthouse so ideally placed for post parish celebration!

I have had a few people contact me directly by email as apparently the comments section is a bit difficult to log into. I am impressed that people have been bothered to track me down so I have opened a "wildwalker" email address with a link at the top of the page - please feel free to drop me a line with any last minute issues - preparation really is the key and everyone forgets to do something. Believe it or not I have been banging on about socks for a while but I still haven't replaced the pair which developed a hole so I really need to sort that out....

Well I am away this weekend so maybe just a short walk later on fathers day - the countdown is now in single figures.....

More Parish Memories: The friendly householders who came out with a hose pipe and a sprinkler to spray you as you go by. I especially remember someone going out of peel who I gave a big thumbs up to, to give me a good spray as I plodded by...



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Cold

Not much to report in the last couple of days. Picked up a slight summer bug with sore throat and generally feeling a little below par. Nothing desperate I hope, but taken a couple of days off. Plan to go for a short waltonight just to stretch the legs out. Hopefully back to 100%in the next day or 2.

As not much to happening over the last couple of days I wondered what was left outstanding from the increased blogging aka rambling writing, over the last few months. I realise I did not really confess to the outcome of the weight loss program over period. I have not really been dieting as with the increased training you still need to eat well and I enjoy my food and have a good appetite! I have however cut down on processed stuff and don't eat White bread(even our great "White and healthy"!) or fast food etc. I have also cut down on wine and beer which helps the time I had probably put on about 7 lbs since finishing the parish last year but have currently got down to about 4 lbs under last years weight. I am hoping to loose a couple more pounds before we start (in 10 sleeps) therefore should be around 7 lbs lighter than last year and about a stone lost overall.

I am hoping this will give me a bit more of an advantage over last years competitor. I have approached this year's event with the view that I am racing myself from last year. This has certainly helped give me a good focus and encorouged me to work on fitness & technique as well. The combination of definitely improving in all 3 areas over the past 6 months or so has hopefully enabled me to stand on the line in 11 days time quitely confident that barring mishap i should be able to beat last years me - if that makes sense. If I am going to achieve my 3 goals (finish, beat last years time,complete in under 17) I will need some luck as well but I should go in with the right frame of mind which is a good half of the battle.

I was also talking yesterday to Geoff Gelling part of the strong Barclays showing this year. I have spoken to him before about the tactics and tips etc and it is great to see their team has put so much in to this. Geoff seems very focused on finishing this year and I am sure he will get there and have that great smile on his face walking down the prom on Sunday morning - nothing compares to the first time....

Part of the reason for mentioning Geoff is that I am rather hoping he reads this as I was looking through a news report yesterday which had Jock's tips mentioned and Jock was saying he wears double skin socks. I had given Geoff chapter and verse yesterday on how i wear the breathable socks and like the nike dry fit as nike spend a lot of time and money on sock technology - i thought they must be be worth a try and they work for me having now tried a few brands (i seem to wear socks out v quick).I also explained sweating/dampness promotes blisters, so breathable and tight reduces the friction that causes them. Having fired him up to buy, wash and "break in" new socks today I see jock goes with the double skin approach - so Geoff go with what you have and donate the sock money to the Barclays Charity!

Anyway need to get off to work soon so will sign off and blog again in a couple of days to continue the countdown.....getting excited now not long to go.....


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Island is Walking

The Island is Walking - Well that was it felt like this morning. I wasn't expecting to see anyone out as the dog woke me this morning as he had a "friend" over and they decided that they wanted to wake up at 5ish and I never made it back to sleep! (Even more surprising as had been at a 70s night fancy dress party raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind that Gemma was helping organise and the Mateus Rose and Liebfrau was flowing!!!).

Anyway went for a decent walk at 7am but still saw lots of people out. I went for a different lap as picking the car up from Onchan so had a lovely walk via the prom with the sun shining brightly. I was back by 9am so had the rest of the day ahead but lots of walkers and indeed runners and cyclists out - it is great to see. Running the kids around in the morning saw me pass lots of groups practising the Parish route Laxey to Douglas.

Then it suddenly became winter by lunchtime, at least in Douglas - freezing wind and rain and thoughts of perhaps another walk in the afternoon evaporated like the sun.... so spent the afternoon with the family and tapering starting now in front of the TV!

The other bit of running around this morning was to drop my improver's trophy off which has had pride of place for this last year :( When I won it Jane Crowe a former winner came over and said I had got her trophy and told me to look after it! I now know how she feels so I will have to pass the message on to the next winner whoever you are... I am now in good company though as former winners included Michael George and Mark Hempsall and Gill Cunningham.

It will have a new name on in a couple of weeks time but time to hand it back. I don't think I have a picture of this yet so Chess took one when we were packing it in the car - it weighs a ton - good Pooil Vaaish Quarry slate! and thanks to MSM for the trophy.

Back to work tomorrow and TT distractions over (the team has now left too). Just planning 2 or 3 shorter walks this week and will take the dog with me now too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day off

Well took the day off today and it has been great so far. Got up early and walked to St Johns before the roads closed. I was amazed at how many people were out on their pitches already before the senior. Walking past the Crosby was a little embarrassing as I was trying to get up the hill at full speed whilst being teased by a couple of bikers who were enjoying the early sunshine with an even earlier pint! I was momentarily jealous as a pint of cold lager did have its attractions but that would not have set me up for the rest of the day.

I was also relieved about my compression sock choice I mentioned a couple of weeks ago as I fortunately i had the white pair rolled down - knee length White socks would have definitely raised the level of the banter as I went by. It was probably not the best route to walk but I had actually booked in for another massage at St Johns so there was no option but to go for the tt course. Other than a few strange looks from all the spectators the walk was fairly uneventful and well worth the trip out as the massage the other night really helped to loosen up the legs muscles and I think increase the speed slightly.

Today's massage was camomile based which is apparently good for healing and reducing inflammation so ideal to soothe aching legs ESP. Hamstrings and thighs which have been bothering me a little bit over the past week or so - but nothing serious....

I have just noticed that page views and followers gadgets do not seem to be working at least from my iPad so will have to check out whether this is a problem. At the moment still about 80 reads a day which spurs me on to write as much as poss especially with really only 2 weeks to go - gulp!!!

In fact I bumped into a fellow parish trainer called Sam in the back of beyond between east and west Baldwin on Thursday who flagged me down to ask if I was one of the parish bloggers!! Sam if you are reading this impressed you recognised me and hope the training walks keep going well - forget the shin pain - with a bit of a warm up and an easy first mile or 2 I am sure you will be fine on the day.

Anyway hoping to catch a bit of the racing in a minute and cheer on the Relentless team and he of the sideburns (was that your comment as "anonymous" Sumo?).

Only a couple more full on sessions and then thinking about winding back then with a few shorter walks and maybe a swim....

15 sleeps to go!


Ps another Parish Memory: so many friendly children handing out sweets ESP.the ones providing jelly beans!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Relax with a massage

Usual walk again with the longer loop so just over 10 miles on a nice evening. Went to tt today but unfortunately washed out but still had a great time and saw Steve Colley's fantastic show. The advantage was that I got home fairly early and was able to easily fit in a good session and the rain had stopped by the time I got out.

My hamstrings have been sore over the last few days so my super masseur friend Rachel offered to pop round and help out. So on return from my walk she gave me a fantastic massage and now I can touch my toes again! Everything was pretty tight especially it band and hamstrings; feeling much better already and booked in another session for Friday!

Only a few more quick sessions before calm down on the training and will ease right back in e last few days just plan to go out and stretch the legs during the last week.

I have just looked at my Parish tips page again and realise it is a little out of date so will try to give that a bit of attention as it looks like a few of you are reading this. Behind the blog the stats tell me not just how many page views (about 80 or so a day now) but also where from - mainly iom views but quite a few from uk and also Germany,Ireland and USA and a few other countries around the globe!! I hope they are all travelling to our lovely island forth big day!

Anyway getting late and the massage nearly put me to sleep already so need to sign off...

Parish Memories and why I come back for more: Colin Garvey drinking baileys down in one in Andreas and then speeding away to eventually cross the line with me on our first go in 2009 :)


Ps if anyone reading needs a pre parish massage drop Rach a line she does a great regular massage and reflexology and aromatherapy too! Email

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recovery Complete

Planned to go out Saturday but was v tired and decided I needed another rest day. Next plan was to go out Sunday morning but still woke up pretty tired and the thought of a rare lie in, with the kids all doing the same, was too tempting. Nick had been away for a week on a school trip so needed some family time today with all 5 of us playing cricket and even garden jobs.

Eventually made it out early evening on the usual walk, which went ok -I can't seem to be bothered finding another route now but beginning to count down the remaining sessions left - its definitely getting close now!

Gemma bought Paula Radcliffe's book the other day which I have stolen and found really interesting, Lots of motivational tips and chapters on nutrition and various training schedules too - worth a look...

For some (sad) reason I was surfing parish walk on you tube yesterday and found a couple of recent Granada reports extracts which I had not realised had been on TV - particularly exciting as I was in the background on one of the shots during the Roger Black piece - fame at last!!!

Some other parish related videos:

Finally here is Ray Cox being interviewed at the launch of this year'sevent  last year - Murray's you tube post - good interview (not sure about the curtains though!!)

Enjoy the weather and keep going, last few sessions to hopefully build up the focus and confidence.

More 2010 memories - Gemma buying ice creams in Kirk Michael and handing out to those of us plodding by - I was so hot by then and the ice cream really hit the spot.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hot Stuff

Wow, yesterday was very warm. I decided (perhaps foolishly) to  continue with working on my water consumption testing. At the moment (well prior to yesterday) I seemed to be averaging about 1- 1 1/4 pints an hour nearly 3lbs weight loss every 2 hours - it was obviously going to increase a bit.....

This changed dramatically yesterday. My usual 10 mile plus hilly walk started fine but having snuck out of work early on Friday (as we had people round later and i wanted to get a walk in)  i ended up walking at 4:30 when it was still  20degree plus and really sunny. Started off ok but for the first time in a month or so the early shin pain returned. It was not too bad to begin with but it got increasingly uncomfortable and the calf length compression socks seemed to be making things worse.

After about 2 miles I rolled down the compression socks and surprisingly the shin pain eased off almost immediately - so this sealed my last clothing decision - short length dry fit socks on the day; i will save the calf length socks for the running training (which starts after the Parish for the Dublin Marathon in October - gulp not run a marathon before).

Anyway socks rolled down I ploughed on until after about 7miles in I started suffering and wished I had brought a drink with me. I made it home but slowed down towards the end and felt absolutely exhausted when I got in - when I weighed myself I realised why, as I had lost 6lbs in under 2 hours! That is the best part of 5 pints and apparently you need to drink about 7 pints to replenish! I would not recommend this approach as I definitely over did it & I have been pretty tired today and only now beginning  to get energy levels back to normal.

I had thought on last years Parish I drank too much fluid as I reckon I had about 20-30 pints but on this experience that was probably about right. Anyway I won't try yesterdays dehydration training  again....

I took a couple of piccies on the way round - can anyone guess where I was standing (same place for both) - a beautiful spot near a beautiful church - .

Final picture of a steep short hill which was pretty tough yesterday (the photo flattens it out honest!)

Back out tomorrow for the last week of full on training,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Sunshine and TT thoughts

Another beautiful night and roads again pretty quiet during TT practice. Whilst talking about TT we have part of the TAS TT team  staying with us at the moment so I should go down and check out how they are getting on. Not really got into the bike scene yet this year but always try to get down one day during race week - current plan is to watch next Wednesday as have generous invite to the Manx Gas Klaffi team set up which is normally good fun and great atmosphere to watch with the team and see them prepare beforehand...anyway digressing again.

With just over 3 weeks to go the clock is really ticking now and have been trying to put in a last minute blitz. I think I will take tomorrow off though as you do need to give yourself a chance to recover and I have been pushing the hill work quite a lot so I think it is taking its toll - I hope that is the reason I am getting slower at the moment!!!!!! - the other option is that I am just getting worse - but hopefully a day off will see my energy levels return. Going to ease off with about 10 days so not long left to give it a final push. Last few days will need to keep legs ticking over as I remember last year my "tapering" essentially consisted of stopping training altogether which resulted in my legs stiffening up and a panicked trip down for last minute massage.

Memories from last year.... overheating in Jurby and struggling all the way to Ramsey

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Nothing much to report today last day of the month so into the final countdown tomorrow. Usual walk tonight but lovely sunny evening and roads quiet as I went out after the practices had started.

Still lots of walkers and cyclists out and about which is great to see. Tried the weight loss water loss test again and lost approx 3 lbs in 1 hr 45 min. As I am walking quicker than when on the Parish I reckon that equates to around 1 pint an hour... I'll keep doing the test to get a more accurate breakdown but it gives you an idea of how much you need to take onboard.

Recovered from the weekend with about 30miles under my belt since I got home on Sunday - I think I need a bit less sleep to make a few more hours in the day - this last month has meant I have been a bit of a stranger at home at times but one day I'll persuade the kids to come out with me and the constant training will be coming to an end soon anyway.

Shin pain seems to have disappeared of late and knees generally ok but definitely feel the need for a massage to release some tight legs and hopefully help with promoting a smooth and relaxed style.

Until next time....

A good long weekend

No rain today, made the most of it with a couple of hours walk and 2 bbqs! Breakfast and dinner! Nipped into work and now watching a film but thought I better catch up on the blogging too!

Had a fairly quiet weekend on the exercise front as went to the game of the decade which did not quite turn out that way for my team :( . Never mind it was a great occasion and I saw Usain Bolt who walked straight past where we sitting - although a bit too quick to get a decent picture!!

Yes that is him but not the best camera work!!

Before it all went wrong!!!

Wandered around London from one place to eat and drink to another both before and after the game so that was the extent of my Saturday exertions!!

The closest we go to the cup....... someone was passing with a replica !!!!!!

I keep telling all my friends who are Liverpool and City fans and revelling in the defeat that you need to suffer the losses to appreciate the wins! A red mancunian was not happy but enjoyed the day and we were well beaten by the best team I have ever seen.

Anyway after a late night and an early start on Sunday I got home Sunday lunchtime and as we were out later in the evening I managed to motivate myself to walk there to get another 8 miles under my belt as I was beginning to feel guilty... Not eased by the great Indian takeaway from Peel on arrival (although 1 meal had fresh Ginger in it for the anti-inflammatory relief???) so much for the diet!

Turning back to the Parish not long left now, beginning to make some last preparations for those of you who read my embarrassing shoes blog I have now chosen which pair to wear - I have plumped for the Nike Lunar Eclipse found them comfortable and the sole seems really good for my walking style. Got my regular clothes sorted the only thing I am still not sure about is which socks I am going to wear - I have been trying out the embarrassing knee length compression socks but not sure if I am brave enough to wear them on the day yet!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remember it's Fun

During my walk tonight I was reflecting on last year's Parish and how much I actually enjoyed the challenge. I suddenly realised that much of the blog over the last few months has focused on training and tips to finish and preparation etc etc. Whilst these are important to think about they are also easy to obsess about too. Whilst I keep telling the family that a bit of obsession is needed I realise that there are nearly 2000 people entering this event around10% will finish and I guess less than say 20% actually want or are really trying to finish. So I realise that out of the 6,500 thousand or so page reads so far (which is a great testament to Murray's fab website and efforts to keep us all interested in the big event) a good  proportion of readers are perhaps concentrating on walking to Peel and I haven't really mentioned much about this; or for those of you who are newbies like I was in 2009 - what to expect on the day.

So here goes - enjoy it, is fun, for the newbies you will meet lots of great people on the way whether you walk in a group or on your own there will always be someone new around you and lots of smiling faces and cheering crowds to lift your spirits and help you round the next bend.

For those of you who are looking to get to Peel then I would try to work out a comfortable pace for you to walk at and try to get into a rhythm and relax. Enjoy the day and make sure you eat and drink before you get to the sloc,I found it gets difficult to eat on the way up and you need the energy to help you on the way up.  I am not sure about having a beer at the round table - I was very tempted first time :) but managed to resist...

It is a great feeling getting into Peel whether you are stopping there or not and anyone who says "I am just going to Peel" needs to get a different mindset because 32.5 miles up and down dale is a long way and a real achievement so be positive and don't minimise the achievement whether it be a stepping stone to next years Parish or whether you will do this only once - it is a great day - otherwise why would we all keep coming back?!?

Thought I would add a picture to remind us all what it was like when it wasn't wet and windy!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Windy Monday


It was a really wild night last night but managed to convince myself that I needed to get out despite a late night at work and feeling pretty tired as I was away at the weekend. I have also picked up a bit of a niggly knee injury over the last few days - think I need a massage to release the legs as I have put some miles in recently. I therefore decided to try to walk a bit slower and stretch the legs out a bit more.

I have read a fair amount about race walking technique and the general consensus seems to be to warn against overstriding, shorter strides out front and try to increase stride length behind you for the push off. A good site if you are interested is I have been trying to improve the technique as the better the style the more efficient, the less energy used the more likely you are to get round...
That said due to the knee pain I decided to slow up a little and increase stride length so that I take a few less steps and go the same distance with a lower cadence with the logic that you do not need to maximise speed for the parish and less steps to an extent means using less energy? That was my logic anyway... I felt pretty fresh when I got home so maybe the experiment worked, I did not really race walk more like longer striding power walk but was only 2 mins slower than my usual time over nearly 9miles so not a huge difference. I would be interested to see if anyone else has any theories on this, as most of the sites are technique for speed rather than efficiency for an ultra walk.

Anyway despite the wind a refreshing walk and a few more miles under the belt. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am trying to loose a few pounds to help me up the hills. I have managed to loose a few just with the training and being a bit careful about the intake but there is still a bit to go - I am hoping to loose another 4 or 5 pounds over the last 2 weeks or so of heavy training - time will tell I guess!

Keep on going - not long left now...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trying to keep the training up

It has been a pretty busy week at work this week, we are moving office in the next few weeks too so there is a lot to organise. Anyway i have managed to get out for a couple of reasonable length walks after work so still feeling like training is on track. I think there is about 3 weeks left of pushing the training so beginning to feel the end is in sight as it is pretty difficult to get the life balance right at the moment especially with the kids exams too. That said I still find the walking relaxing and a good way to de-stress.

Not much else to add tonight except to confess that I did a bit of planning yesterday ( when I took the night off from training) trying to set myself times to reach each parish church so that I would know whether I was on track. I have tried to shave a bit of time of each leg especially the ones up north when I went through a bad patch last time. It is all very well setting times but I obviously now have to get inside them on the day if I am to improve. I took some inspiration from the BackleyBlack talk as they emphasised the importance of setting goals and preparing - so I thought I would give it a go. I am also beginning to think about food and trying to plan what and when to eat as this side of the preparation is equally important. Yes everyone thinks I am obsessing about the event - I guess they are right but I would really like to firstly finish again, to beat last years time and my ultimate goal get under 17 hrs and to do that takes a bit of obsession I reckon!! Anyway time will tell if the work has paid off.


Monday, May 16, 2011


Ok, not the most interesting blog post subject but as I have given myself a night off (after feeling pretty tired today having pushed it over the weekend) and seeing the renewed interest in the Parish Site after the deadline has passed I thought a quick sock review might be of interest!?!

As you will see from my tips page (click the link across this page) the first point to make is never wear a new pair for a long walk (in fact I would always wash first anyway). I made this elementary mistake on my first lap in 2009 and ended up shredding my feet by the end. The second point is whatever you plan to wear on the day make sure you have worn them a few times during your training (and hopefully found them to be kind to your feet).

There are lots of different types/styles/materials but the bottom line is that socks are in direct contact with your feet and choosing the right pair of socks to wear will make a huge difference. The wrong pair can wrinkle up within a shoe and retain moisture, which can cause blisters and be one of the main reasons to stop. The best for me are ones that fit my feet well, and are made with fabrics that keep them cool, dry and comfortable. Main fabrics for wicking are polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax wicking away moisture
 will help reduce blister risk. I have also tried the double layer socks but not really sure about them - I don't tend to have trouble with blisters during training so can't really tell - some people swear by them others don't like them; the main thing that puts me off is that my feet tend to overheat with these on so I tend to stick with the tight fit coolmax type that are fitted. The main problem with these is that I wear through them really quickly so I tend to just wear them for races.

I have mentioned before that I also have the compression socks but as they are knee length you have to make sure you train at night - I also have to avoid the kids on the way out of the house as they find it very embarrassing :)

If anyone reading has any other ideas or theories please comment as it is a good idea to make the effort to get the foot wear right and give your feet the best chance to make it through the day.

Training resumes tomorrow with renewed vigour as I went to the BackleyBlack talk at lunchtime sponsored by Lloyds - with both stars being brought over by Scottish Widows too; so big thanks to Dean and Trevor. I did not make the talk in the Gaiety tonight but sure it would be good too. They focused on a few principles that I am sure are good to reflect on if you are trying to go the distance - hopefully I remembered most of them:

  • Passion
  • Self-belief
  • Surround yourself with talented people
  • preparation
  • Absolute clarity of thought and goals - you don't need to win to achieve your goals but aim high and go for it
So if you are in it to finish - clear your mind of the negatives; go in with a plan; visualise the end and get out there and train - and you will enjoy it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cross Training

Busy day today; got out for a good alternative session as decided that need to work on overall fitness a bit more. I am hoping this will pay dividends in the second half on the day as I really suffered up North last year. Once I got through to Maughald i got a real lift and felt ok but before then I was really suffering with exhaustion and overheating; Once I had cooled down and got back onto the main road I just said to myself it is downhill all the way!!

Anyway digressing - I did a 5 mile run/walk up to Santon albeit I think I overdid it a bit when I tried to run up Richmond hill as was exhausted by the time I got to the top! Then Gemma picked me up in the car to meet our friends Neil and Mary for a blast down South on mountain bikes. They took us up every hill in the area and apart from a sore butt and returning absolutely exhausted I really enjoyed it. I also realised that I will never enter the Mountain bike E2E and that I need a new bike (mainly because I used this as an excuse for everyone else beating me up the hills!).

Now curled up looking for a film to watch having had roast dinner and a glass of wine - life is good :)


Back on Track?

Went out on Saturday afternoon for a 10 miler round my usual Baldwin route with a 1 1/2 mile extension up to St Lukes and back round towards the reservoir. I thought about going up Carraghan again but time was against me. My shoulder pain has almost gone at the moment just a dull ache this morning; I am hoping it was a one off injury but need to keep an eye on it.

The back roads were really busy partly due to the fact there was a wedding on - I even had to stop to give directions to one guest who turned out to be closely followed by the wedding entourage which came round the corner as I was explaining whee to go! I think the few days enforced rest gave me useful additional recovery time which really helped the workout especially speed over this hilly course. Managed to get round in 1hr 45min so hopefully this is a sign the training is paying off and also shows the importance on proper use of the arms keep them bent at 85 - 90 degrees for the quicker work. When I first did this walk before my first parish 2 years ago I was doing it in the same time but before the 1 1/2 mile additional loop so gives you a lift to see that hopefully still improving.

Going out for an indian on sat night perhaps undid some of the good work but you have to have the odd treat.... Not sure what I will manage today - 4 of us planning to go out on the mountain bike for a bit of cross training but might try to go for a short walk too just to keep the legs going.

More later....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Armless Training

Well as mentioned in my last blog the first opportunity to get out was last night but that worked well as my shoulder has been getting better but still a few aches and pains.

So Thursday night I decided to do my hilly regular 8 1/2 miler but made an effort not to move arms too much. It was quite a good test as it becomes difficult to change your style and it probably makes you work harder on other parts of your technique. I started reasonable well just trying to swing more from the elbows. I saw fellow walker and last years official blogger Andy Walker and Sally as they went by (in car not on foot this time) they probably wondered why I was walking so strangely! Managed to get into a reasonable rhythm into Baldwin and then met Sean Hands speeding by on the otherwise deserted east - west baldwin road. The shoulder felt OK so managed to walk the last downhill stretch at reasonable pace with short arm swings holding elbows at 90degrees.

Overall I was about 5mins slower than my usual time but a decent workout nonetheless. It also highlights how important the proper use of arms is. I know that after Peel it becomes harder and harder to keep the proper technique as the fatigue sets in but if you can just keep those arms going....

Walks planned for Sat and Sunday so hopefully shoulder will hold up as only a few weeks more before I will ease off.

will we make 2000 this year?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Injury scare

Picked up an annoying injury which is hopefully not too bad but have been advised by my parish medical team (thanks dr garvey) that I should take it easy for a few days and take some antiinflamatory tablets. Not sure what brought it on - probably just overuse but serious shoulder pain came on overnight on sat night and could barely move my shoulder on Sunday. Rest ice and tablets eased it off and now feels ok just dull ache. A few days recovery is probably no bad thing; in london monday tuesday anyway and as it is gemma's bday tomorrow I will stay off the roads til Thursday. Should be ready to give it a big blast then though....

Still great to see how many people are out training and see from murray's blog that the numbers are going up - hopefully 2000 is still achievable. Finally congratulations to Michael George again for winning the 20k championships in a super quick time - I just can't work out how people can walk that quick - lots more technique and fitness training for the rest of us!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


ok confession time, I have got a major problem. Since wrecking my feet the first time I did the parish (I had Dudley Butt rivaling blisters with the soles of my feet shredded) I have become more and more obsessed with footwear. I now realise I have more shoes than Gemma and I am amassing an "up and running" rivalling cross section of running shoes.

In my defence I have size 14 feet which means I cannot just walk into a shop and try shoes on. This tends to mean that I have to shop around online and I have now found a couple of sites that stock lots of shoes in my size. This has opened somewhat of a Pandora's box as I have never really had a choice of shoes before - if I found a pair that fit I tended to buy them!

Unfortunately I have carried on with this policy as I have been looking for the ideal shoe to wear for the Parish. The good news is that I have plenty of shoes broken in as I have 8 pairs that are run in;I am now rotating at least 8 pairs! It is quite surprising the difference between different pairs even of the same make. I have a number of Mizuno's as they seem to have a wide toe box and have generally fairly firm soles with decent support. the Brooks;(not sure what model)are also pretty comfortable and have a short tongue and I find that this helps reduce aggravation to the top of the foot. The Saucony pair are also very comfortable although my favorites at the moment are a pair of Nike Lunar Eclipse which are very comfortable and at the moment I plan to use them on the big day. My other pair is a minimalist pair of racing flats called Nike Zoom Streak xc 2. They are really light and I plan to use the in the shorter races but I do not think they will give my feet enough support for the longer distances. I have only just bought them so may give them a go on a longer walk in the next week or so but will probably stick to the Eclipse on the day.

I am trying to kick the habit now as I have enough pairs to last me until I enter the next age category! Oh well enough of the confessions - Gemma made me take a picture of them all and I now see there are 9 pairs and I could not find another pair which I have not worn for a while :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Holidays Over

Well carried on training hard over the weekend culminating in a 17miler over some really hilly terrain. Went up to brandywell then down the road towards the west down towards Sartfield and then back on yourself down the West Baldwin road to Injebreck and beyond!

 It involved 4,300 ft of ascent including the millennium path around Carraghan which is not only steep but difficult terrain and mainly into the teeth of a serious gale - I was tired at the top so stopped to take these piccies.

Other than the wind, the weather was great and when I turned the corner with the wind at my back it was easy to get some real pace up to make up the time lost earlier. Managed to average 5.1 according to the garmin which I was pretty pleased with given the climbing and the windy conditions.

I was beginning to run out of energy towards the end as only brought drink with me but managed to make it back with a craving for some pasta which was quickly satisfied. Later in the day we went up Bradda Head with the family so more hills but at a gentle pace. Here are some more pictures of this beautiful spot.

Family dinner on the prom with more views of the head - the Island is just beautiful I wonder why we go on holiday anywhere else?

Fairly relaxed day Monday although did manage some golf in the morning which wasn't too bad despite the wind it is a good way just to stretch the legs out before a longer walk tomorrow. This month is the main push for me so must keep it up.

Weight loss starting now due to training and cutting back a bit I reckon another 7lbs to go before I can walk up the sloc without feeling guilty that I am carrying up a few too many pounds... Time will tell.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Walks

Well been a pretty good week on the training front been out most nights about 9 miles each night. I have been mixing it up with some running just because the shins are pretty sore again and I figure it is good for the fitness required on the second half of the parish.

This morning I did 30 mins on the xtrainer before watching the wedding along with third a of the planet - amazing! I have to say it was really good watching it with the family and some of the kids friends. We all went for a walk up peel hill afterwards (despite the complaints from the younger ones..) and then I walked back from Crosby. Out again tonight but will drive to avoid temptations!

Lots more walking planned over the break especially as the weather is so good - must make the most of it.

Here are some pictures from peel hill just to prove we were there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Exercise

Well it's been a busy few days with lots of walking and lots of meals and probably too much wine too!

I am not sure whether I got the balance quite right exercise versus food and alcohol intake but went out for 3 x 9 milers and ran most of the last one as my usual tender shins/front of foot was giving me jip again. Pain disappears when running so just walked up the hills (as I am not yet fit enough to run the whole hilly course...).

Even managed to go water skiing on Friday but that is another story and probably did not add much to the walking preparation although good for shoulder strength?!?

Back to work in the morning and easter eggs eaten so I have decided to go on a diet for a couple of weeks as i figure every pound less to drag up the sloc will be a blessing! I will report back later on whether this has been a success!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mix it up with a run

Just nipped out for a quick walk. ( or that is what I planned) early Easter Friday as not much time today. Gem still away, returning tonight with some Maundy Money; we all watched the coverage on BBC and saw our new tv star family!.

That means I have been left in charge of 6 boys (nicks b'day crowd) and a few girls too so early start if there is to be any "me" time!

The walk ended up as a run because yet again felt there was not much time to warm up so tried to take it easy for first mile but not very good at that... Got serious shin pain in left shin and ankle about a mile in so decided to run to relieve the pressure. Did 5 mile run in the end and then back to cook BBQ breakfast for 9 .....

I guess still a little residual soreness from Sunday may have contributed although taken it easy this week save for a stroll up Bradda head with the kids (who now always moan at me for racing ahead no matter what speed I walk at!) here are some pictures....

Happy Easter everyone and I am sure we will all enjoy the great excuses not to pound the roads for a few hours over the break!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sara Killey V2

Well those of you who read last nights blog (interestingly enough the stats behind this blogger site show that about 70 views since then including people from Germany Ireland and the USA so the Parish is truly cosmopolitan) might have realised that I was pretty tired and was surprised at how bad/low I felt half way round.

On reflection I realise now that part of the slight downer was that I was wandering how I did that section in the last 2 Parise's after walking to peel, without feeling even worse than I did yesterday ! Andy Green definitely summed it up afterwards by saying the walk can put people off doing the Parish for just that reason - especially if you have not done that section before. I think the best way of getting your head round it is realising that you will not be walking anywhere near as quick or pushing as hard as yesterday, by then you will be in your rhythm, relaxed and spurred on by the support - which psychologically makes a big difference. So a day later I am much more up beat and would add, especially to potential first timers, if you have doubts about entering having done the Sara Killey; put them out of your head and give it a go....

That said I already plan to do the walk again next year as it is for a good cause, its great for training and I might try going off a bit slower and see if I can keep an even pace for the whole way round!!! I really must have the bug...

Anyway day off today apart from a few stretches and some exercises for 10 mins so will try to fit something in tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Sara Killey

Just got home after the 50k race which was pretty tough - I had forgotten that there were quite so many hills. The conditions were pretty good, if a little warm - but can't complain.

All for a great cause and a really good turn out. I finished in 5.40 hrs which was around what I was aiming for although not in the manner I hoped. Think I went off too quick and my support (thanks gem - sorry for being moody when you arrived!) did not meet me for a couple of hours and by then I was running low on energy and needed some water over my head! Gem arrived with lots of lucozade but no water. My fault really because my preparation was a bit of a disaster as had been pretty busy the day before and did not get everything ready the night before. Apart from running around in the morning and not really have time to eat breakfast my phone was flat and when I went to switch the garmin on it did not work - I think messed up on the charging front but not sure... It was a bit disconcerting because I do like to know roughly how fast I am going.

Gem then went off for water but nowhere around so she disappeared for ages and no watch for me made it feel like even longer! By the time she got back I was going through a real bad patch but after water food and dioralyte I got back into some form of rythm.

Anyway congrats to all who finished I think I was 9 th or 10th but did not look at results (although i know sally walker won the ladies with judith quane just behind her as they were both in front of me) just had a cup of tea (thanks to the kind lady at the fire station) and legged it back home as kids on holidays and walking is pretty time consuming....

I think Richard gerrard was second and the winning time a shade over 5 hrs which is pretty amazing..... Hopefully other readers will provide us with an update on results and stories too?!?

Anyway should write more but pretty tired now so bed and work am.............

Ps thanks to all the fire crew who organised a great event and the fireman who passed me bottle of water out of his engine as he went past towards the end - he could obviously tell I needed it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marine Drive

Dropped Francesca off at dancing or rather as she is now learning to drive she dropped me off - makes you feel old, where did all the time go?

Anyway the real purpose of the intro was to emphasise maximising opportunities to nip out for a walk as had an hour whilst dancing was on. Went through town and up marine drive and into the fog. It is quite a good route as long steady climb up to the gate and managed to make it in time to turn around and head back. It was really quite cold in the fog but there were a few people walking and cycling; there were a lot more people eating pizza and kFC in their cars by the lookout - I was very jealous on the way back down as pretty starving by then! I did 3 up and down the steps just to finish me off and then back to get chauffeur driven home by chess.

Sara Killey on Sunday so probably just play golf on Sat which will stretch the legs off if nothing more!

I will report back Sunday night....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Parish themed birthday presents

Well not sure where last week went. The good news is that whilst the blogging stopped the training carried on. I did a couple of 9 milers during the week taking advantage like many others of the lovely weather and light nights.

The training regime was interrupted on Friday as I had a very kind invite to Ladies day at aintree. I have never been before and whilst the bookies won by a mile, the entertainment was first class and despite the odd guilt pangs I put the healthy options to the back of my mind for a day!! (thanks again to Natalie and Bryan).

I was feeling guilty on Saturday but started the day at the foot health clinic using my birthday present voucher at the clinic attending one of the parish walk special sessions. Those of you who read earlier bloggs may remember that nearly all my presents had some form of walking theme which is definitely a sign of the times (whilst on that subject the glide is working fine but not sure about the stick application - enough said!).

The session at the clinic was really useful and happily showed no major issues but gave me a few things to bear in mind and it was good to have some tlc on the old feet.

Renewed and refreshed I went for 16mile walk on sat afternoon. Chose a v hilly route round Baldwin and then up Colden round to Brandywell back past injubreck and then home to Cronkbourne. I have some piccies which will try to download later.....

I tried another pressie on the walk which was a pair of compression socks. Apart from feeling rather ridiculous with the knee length White socks I think they helped a little with the shins knee drainage and probably my head... I think I will try them on the Sara killey at the weekend as this is probably the longest walk I will now do before the Parish so I'll let you know how it works out.

Anyway need to go to work.... More blogs more walking - where does all the time go...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First Parish 2009 Vol 2

In December I started a long rambling blog about my first Parish Walk in 2009. Thought I better carry on with the story as can't believ it is over 3 months since I started it.

As I mentioned Colin Garvey and I entered the walk for charity and we agreed to walk together too. We were warned against this and I guess it has some downsides but we both finished on the first effort to do the walk so it definitely worked for us.

We didn't do any races before hand but had done some training together beforehand and also some individual training too.

We only had time for 2 long walks of 10miles plus during training for the Parish. The first was a 14 mile walk which I think we finished in about 31/4 hours. We were pretty excited that we had done our first longer walk and finished relatively unscathed - a couple of minor blisters but everything else intact! This spurred us on to trying to walk to peel on the parish route to give us a feel for whether we could really do the whole thing.

The main mistake however was to leave it too late to do the trial run. I think we tried it about 4 weeks before the main event.This was probably a bad idea in itself but was made much worse by the fact that Colin got pretty bad blisters and when we arrived in Peel we both realised we were pretty tired and the thought of doing that again and still having nearly a marathon distance to go did make us feel pretty daunted! matters went from bad to worse when he decided to slice his blisters a couple of days later which then got infected and he eventually only just recovered the week before the big day...

Anyway undaunted we set off on the big day with the plan to walk to peel at around 4.3 mph - try to get there in under 8 hours. We walked together until the sloc and then eventually got split up as we went up. I then had a few texts telling me about the beer at the round table which was very refreshing. We joined up again into Dalby and felt pretty good through Peel. From then on we stayed within about 400yds of each other although it is difficult to walk side by side all the way we stayed around each other and definitely spurred each other on. Perhaps the highlight being our trip through Andreas. Colin was catching me back up so we could walk together again, when I heard a terrific roar from the patio of the pub which was full of drinkers /spectators/supporters one of whom lifted colins spirits enormously and probably got
us both over the line! By then we were not eating much but when he was offered a tumbler of Baileys by an excited spectator, Colin went for it in one amidst the cheering crowd of drinkers and then roared off at blistering pace all the way to Ramsey, now leaving me in his wake!

Maughold was a struggle for us both and was dark cold and wet!Hot salty soup rescued us and some words of encouragement saw us back to the coast road and then it is all downhill from then on!

6am on the prom and we were all smiles with one of the most rewarding feelings ever, a first finish (and Colin swears his first and last...).

Happy days :)

Anyway we proved to ourselves we could do it and I came back for a second effort last year so I must have enjoyed it?!?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garmin Set up

I managed to get out on Sat afternoon after a game of golf in the morning. Carrying a golf bag round Langness probably does not qualify as too much training but it is better than nothing and stretched the legs out. In the afternoon I did 8.5m with the dog which I think finished him off for the rest of the weekend! It is a good hilly course round West Baldwin so got the heart pumping and managed to keep a reasonable pace.

Unfortunately undid some of the good work with a meal out and late night at new restaurant in Port St Mary called Sabri - worth a try good food and very friendly staff! Anyway less of the restaurant critic and more to relevant blogging; went out tonight (in nice bright conditions) and did a quick 5.5 miler (without dog this time). Took time to review my Garmin settings and work out the ideal set up for the watch on Parish day.

Many of you may have the forerunner already if not it is worth thinking about; I find it really helpful both in training and on the big day. Training I tend to set a goal for each mile and try to keep the walking in the zone that works for me. During parish training, uphill if not too steep try to keep around 4.8 to 5mph (12min miles) downhill around 5.5mph on the level around 5.2/5.4. Last year I reckon I was about .3 slower across the board so hopefully the speed training over the winter will pay off this year? Anyway back to the Garmin - I think the best set up is to have 1 display split in 3 showing the 1mile lap speed that resets each mile in the big box at the top; bottom left an average overall speed and bottom right lap distance. That means on one page you can check speed (where you are on each lap as early on in the lap the speed is not necessarily that accurate) and how you are getting on overall. If you have your mind set on time to get to say Peel or the end you can work out what overall average speed you need to stay at and then just keep it around that for each mile - easy!?!

The second page has overall time top box, overall distance and elevation. Tend to flick to this every couple of hours or so on the day mainly to see how long I have been going - but don't want be reminded too often as you then realise how long is left!

Final page dont use too often either but I set up with 4 screens - time of day, heading, calories (makes you feel really good burning 5 figure calories in a day!) and instantaneous speed.

Having said all that, the 305 battery life proved to be about 10 or 11 hours so first Parish I ran out of battery. Second time round my physio Wendy Shallcross very kindly lent me her watch too so I swapped it on half way round. Towards the end though I was way past looking at average speed - just wanted to keep going!

I believe the newer 310 version has a 20 hour plus battery life (the 305 is rated as 8hr I think) so if you are thinking of getting one that might be the one to go for as it would probably last for the event.

Must sign off again its getting late...