Last week was a poor week for training, mainly due to work commitments, so I only managed to get out for a couple of runs. On Saturday morning I met up with Vinny and Dave W and as per the previous two weeks it was raining as we set off. When I had left home it looked like the rain was going to be around for a while, so put on an extra layer of clothing, as its better to be too hot and take layers off, than too cold. We set off from the NSC, up Bray Hill and past the Grandstand. Before we reached Onchan the rain had stopped and I quickly started to overheat - I never seem to get it right! Up to Whitebridge we headed past the Liverpool Arms and after crossing the tram lines took the next right, as you enter Lonan. This road then takes you up towards Ballanette and Lonan Old Church, but we stayed on it and it brings you back on the Groudle Road. From there we held a good pace all the way back to Onchan Head, along the Promenade and a final sprint to Mash.
This leads into the subject of what clothing and accessories should you have with you on the day? I usually pack the following items:
- A spare pair of trainers. Ideally these should be a similar pair to the ones you start in and both pairs fully 'walked-in'. You don't want to be turning up on the line in a pair of trainers you are not comfortable walking distances in and ones your feet are not used to, making them more susceptible to blisters.
- Spare pairs of socks to change into if your feet get wet.
- A cap. It keeps the sun out of your eyes and also useful if it rains.
- Spare shorts or tights, if you're that way inclined (you know who you are.... Ronnie Kelly/Dave Mackey!)
- Two or three spare t-shirts. Even if you don't get wet, if it is a hot day you will sweat a lot and will feel a great deal more comfortable later on, if you have a fresh top to change in to.
- A high-viz showerproof jacket, or if the weather is anything like 2008 a more heavy-duty waterproof/windproof jacket is probably more apt!
- A warm hat and gloves. Before the 2008 Parish Walk experience I would not have even considered needing a hat and gloves in June. However, even if it isn't wet, it can still get quite cool during the night and after you have been walking for hours on end the body is more susceptible to feeling the cold.
- A base-layer. Again, if it is a cold night a base-layer under a lightweight jacket should keep you warm. In last year's walk I was wearing a t-shirt as I approached Bulgham Bay, but there was a cold mist coming in. Kyley was telling me it had got quite a bit cooler as the sun was setting, but I hadn't noticed at this point. Similar to making sure you are eating and drinking enough, this is another area where your support team can make a difference, by ensuring you change clothes or put on another layer as it starts to get dark.
- A high-viz bib to put your race number on. You can wear this all the way round and makes changing clothes easy.
- A head-torch and a red light to clip on to the back of your jacket. As mentioned in an early post on my first finish I carried a hand-torch round after dark, which wasn't ideal! you can also pick up the lights the wrap around your arm fairly cheaply.
- Spare batteries for your lights.
- One of the most important things you will 'wear' during the walk is Vaseline. Apply it liberally to every nook and cranny and reapply regularly, even if you don't think you need it! This is particularly important if it is wet, otherwise when you start to feel the pain from excessive rubbing it is usually too late and it will bother you for the rest of the race.
- Insect repellent. As well as the enduring the long trek from Jurby to Bride, last year was made worse by the unbelievable number of big black flies that were around, unless it was just me attracting them! Whilst it didn't disperse all the flies, spraying my hat with insect repellent made it more bearable.
- Waterproof plasters. Whilst I can't speak for the ladies, I would recommend the gentlemen use waterproof plasters to protect themselves from the dreaded nipple-rub. Personally, I have found Vaseline to only be effective for a short period of time.
- My Garmin GPS watch. The model I have is a 310XT, which I have used for the last couple of years and it has a 20 hour battery life. Before I start the race I will have gone through my times from the previous year to each church and from this will plan times for this year. The Garmin watch helps me keep on track and will tell me if I am going too fast or need to speed up a little.
Without my brothers assistance this time around it took Tom and I an age to shift it. Tom slipped going down the stairs and let go of the half-ton TV with me below it. It could very nearly have been the end of this year's Parish Walk attempt had I not been able to wedge myself underneath it, before it flipped on top of me. In the evening Kyley went out to exercise classes in the evening, so given my lack of training the week before I decided to go out for another run and covered 5 miles, again in the rain. Must have overdone it a little as my calves were quite painful this morning.
Now going to undo the good work from yesterday and have a few pancakes!!!