Sunday, 15 January 2012

The First Attempt

Quite a good week on the training front starting with running my 5 mile loop on Monday evening. Tuesday was back to football training for Colby Vets after the Christmas break. Following a warm up all we did for the next hour and a half was have a kick around, but I could certainly feel it the following morning - just shows how you use completely different muscles from walking and running, but good for the allround fitness.

Had a rest day on Wednesday as we had our first committee meeting for the End to End Walk, which is held in September. A long way off but a lot to organise.  On Thursday I met up with the two Daves and we did a few laps round the NSC. It wasn't too strenuous and we had a good chat with one of the topics being the 28 hour walk held each year in Roubaix, but more about that later. Went out with the two Daves again,  plus Vinny and Michael for the usual Saturday morning walk from the NSC. Given that we all planned to do the 10km in the Winter Walking League the folowing day, we decided not to go too far, except for Michael who did a 2 1/2 hour walk, but couldn't convince any of us to join him!

A cracking turnout for the walk at St John's this morning - there must have been nearly 70 people taking part, which can only be good for the future of the sport. It was a bright morning, but with quite a cold breeze and other than that conditions were perfect. After a quick start I settled into a good rhythm, but when Jock passed me after about 3 or 4km I couldn't stay with him, but just tried to keep him sight. I went through the 5km mark at 25.55 and ended finishing in 52.09, which was a PB and my pace didn't drop off too much in the second half, so I was really pleased with how it went. Had my Garmin GPS watch on as usual and for anyone who is interested, below are my stats from the race.

This afternoon Colby Vets had a match against Peel, so given this morning's exertions I was hoping to be on the bench. Unfortunately, I was in the starting line-up, but the the Isle of Man FA, obviously recognising the physical limitations of the older footballer, allow 4 rolling subs throughout the match. The game took place at our new ground, so before we kicked off we had a few team photos taken, went through our warm up and then realised there was no referree. Appears no one told him we were playing at our new place! It was a tight game with a few feisty tackles and Peel took the lead late on in the second half, only for us to equalise right at the death, for what was probably a fair result. My legs 'went' with about 15 minutes to go, so I decided to substitute myself.

Contining the theme from my last blog, where I started to trace my intial steps into competitive walking, in this one I will cover my first Parish Walk experience. My training was anything but organised, as it started off merely as a method to assist with my weight-loss. At this stage I started going out walking with Kyley every Sunday, dressed in boots and jeans. We would dump the kids at my parents house and just ramble for an hour or two. It was only then I started to realise that walking might be a decent form of exercise, owing to the fact I ached after each walk and usually developed decent blisters, due to the choice of footwear.

I progressed through February and March doing a couple or shorter walks during the week, to complement the 'longer' one at the weekend. However, I realised I would need to step it up a bit if I was going to beat my father-in-law who had got as far as Kirk Michael the previous year, so on Good Friday 2007 I decided to walk the Parish route from the start to Rushen church. I got myself some decent walking gear, including a pair of trainers, in preparation for the walk. I thought I was well prepared, but omitted to bring anything to eat or drink with me, so by the time I reached Malew and was able to stop at a shop, I wasn't in great shape. I pulled myself together to stumble on to Rushen church, When I finished I couldn't understand why my feet were in such a poor state with numerous blisters, despite investing in some quality trainers. What I didn't realise was that I would need to wear them in first, rather than expecting to walk nearly 20 miles in them, on their first outing! After that training walk I had no idea how I was going to make it Peel, never mind past Kirk Michael!

Anyway, learning from some of my earlier mistakes I kept up the training and the big day arrived. The first thing that struck me when I arrived at the NSC the day of the 2007 Parish Walk was the sheer number of people taking part. The second thing was the atmosphere and the sense of anticipation as people nervously chatted to one and other, wondering what lay ahead. It was only then that it hit me as to what an amazing event the Parish Walk really is. This only increased throughout the day, as the sense of community and support from the spectators came to the fore.

On the day the walk to Peel was a lot easier than I expected and passed fairly quickly, as I spoke to numerous people and made new friends. Only after Peel, when the number of competitors visibly reduced, did I start to feel pain, but nothing that a few painkillers wouldn't sort out. On the outskirts of Kirk Michael blisters on both my heels had formed and walking was starting to feel uncomfortable - couple more painkillers. I passed Kirk Michael and had beaten my initial target, so was feeling quite pleased with myself, so the next objective was to get to Jurby, which is roughly half way round. Continuing to Jurby wasn't too bad and I then began the walk to Bride. Only in the last couple of years have I actually enjoyed the leg from Jurby to Bride, as I hated it so much in the 2007 walk. My blisters had got even worse and I was also feeling unwell - time for more painkillers! I was getting slower and slower but received a short lived boost by the Welcome to Bride sign. I say short lived, because the sign must be at least 2 miles before you actually get to Bride church.

On reaching Bride I barely had enough energy to carry on and seeing the short, but steep hill out of the village that faced me was hardly a great motivator to continue. Kyley told me it was only 2 or 3 miles to Andreas, so I should at least try and get there. By this time I had resigned myself to there and this decision was compounded by the walk up the path to the church. My badly blistered feet feeling every one of the small stones on the way to check point. I had no hesitation at all in asking the marshall to cut off my dibber. I was relieved to finally stop and pleased to get to Andreas, which I thought at 55 miles was no mean feet.

I gingerly made by way back down the path to the entrance where my wife and mother-in-law Jill were waiting, There was no sign of my father-in-law Paul and they confirmed he was still going strong. I then started to feel ill, like I was going to pass out and I stumbled over and grabbed a tree at the side of the road.  Paul then strolled past, looking really fresh and asked me if I was stopping for a rest (he went on complete to the first of his 2 Parish walk finishes).  At that point I went from feeling like I had achieved something to knowing I had unfinished business. This was made worse a few minutes later when I started to feel a lot better and wondered how I would have got on if I had just rested for a bit and then continued. What I learnt from future Parish walks is that everyone will have a rough patch and that you can push your body and overcome pain a lot more than you initially think. If you feel like quitting, stop and rest. At least then you will definitely know whether you could have carried on or not. Also, don't have too many painkillers unless you want to bring your walk to a premature end!

Below is a picture from my first attempt and as you can see I'm still carrying a little too much weight but a huge improvement on the last blog's photo!


  1. Well done for your PB yesterday and keep up the blog work

  2. Thanks Michael. What are you doing up at 5.22am? Hope my blog helped you get back off to sleep!

  3. Ha ha! I think your bloggy clock may need re-setting because I was fast asleep at that time.

    I couldn't read your stats on my computer at work but they would suggest that you have plenty of improvement to come if you can pace it that badly and still get a PB!

    Don't mind me, I'm only jealous. It was four years ago, I set mine :-(