After last Sunday's football I took Monday off from training, plus my ankle was feeling a little tender after the Union Mills's left back caught me a little late. I seem to have developed this knack of getting hit either above or below my shin pad when I get tackled. Maybe it is a sign I should wind up my season before my 9 lives run out.
Tuesday's training session with Dave W, Vinny and Jock was a good one, as we did the loop from the NSC down to the Quay, through Kewaigue and back to the NSC. Not a long walk, but we had the usual 'race' up the hill past the school, whilst pretending it wasn't hurting. Dave Mackey couldn't make it as he said he was off work for the Cheltenham horse racing festival. I assumed he was actually going to Cheltenham, but instead his week was spent moving back and forth between O'Donnell's and Joe Jennings. On Wednesday I went to circuits at the NSC and again managed to cripple myself doing side lunges!
Thursday was the Dursley Stott Spring Handicap 5K Walk and my first race in the V40 category. Neither Michael or Jock were walking so I started off last; however, instead of assisting the lap counting or just providing support from the sidelines, they were in new roles - as judges! Both had successfully passed the judges exam the previous weekend, so were there on the sidelines with their cards at the ready. I managed to avoid one all race, before picking up a yellow from Graham Young 20 metres from the line! I knew I was close to 25 minutes and I think with a final effort to get under that time I lost my technique a little, finishing in 25:03. Still a PB though, so I was pleased. There were some excellent performances on the night, namely the top 3 - Alexandra Valentine, Stew Jones and my fellow blogger Ed Walter. Also worth a mention was Michelle Turner who with a time of 26:59, seems to be making big improvements in every race with more to come. I had guests over from the UK with work, so after the race I met them at the Regency Hotel where they were staying and we popped into the Queens for a couple of pints before heading to Chillies. Nothing like a few beers and a curry for your post race recovery!
Friday was a rest day, as a long walk was planned on Saturday. Looking at the weather forecast on Friday night, I was all prepared for rain all morning, so it was out with the thick base layer and waterproof top, as we were taking on Ballakillowey and the Sloc, starting at Colby. Vinny sent a text message to remind us all the bus was leaving Douglas bus station at 6.40 and not 6.45, so make sure we were on time. I was running late on Saturday morning, so decided to drive down to the NSC and catch the bus from there. Whilst it was a clear morning, my car windscreen was frozen, so I considered the warm clothing a good idea. On arriving at the NSC Dave M was wandering around looking agitated, so I pulled up and asked him what was wrong. The bus had gone through 10 minutes earlier and we had missed it! We phoned Vinny who seemed upset that the bus timetable had changed in January, but no one at the DOT had personally contacted him to let him know! Fortunately, the delay meant that I could nip home and pick up my Garmin that I had forgotten and Dave could get himself a banana. The bus eventually arrived at the NSC and Dave and I hopped on to join Vinny, Jock and Dave W. The title of the blog is taken from a scene from the series the Inbetweeners, which if you have seen it is hilarious and dedicated to Vinny.
We stepped off the bus in Colby and started at a slow and steady pace. By this time it was clear blue skies, with a really warm sun - so much for the forecast rain! Ballakillowey was the usual slog and it was immediately evident I had put on too may layers of clothing. Next the Sloc! When anyone talks about the most difficult part of the Parish Walk on the way to Peel, the Sloc is always mentioned. Personally, I find Ballakillowey much more of a challenge, as it is considerably steeper and tougher on the hamstrings. After going through the Round Table we raced into Peel maintaining a good pace all the way. As we headed into Glen Maye it was good to know that it is not only me who suffers from cramp walking up the hill past the Waterfall pub. Every year I suffer in the same place and it must be something to do with such a steep hill after miles of downhill.
In Peel we stopped for refreshments - tea and sausage/bacon baps, or just eggs and bacon in Vinny's case, as part of his gluten free diet. After sitting down for a few minutes it was really difficult to get going and it was only by around Peel School that my legs started moving freely again. We then pushed it most of the way back into Douglas averaging 10 minute miles by the time we reached the NSC. Overall we covered not far short of 25 miles in a shade under 4 hours and 30 minutes, so a good workout. It was a bit of a step up from our previous longest walk and I think we all felt it by the end. I managed to spend a lot of the afternoon watching the Rugby and well done to Wales for winning the Six Nations, but England's performance later in the day was equally impressive considering the young age and limited experience of the team.
Sunday was more relaxing, but given it was another beautiful day Kyley and I decided to go for a walk around Onchan and Douglas for a couple of hours in the morning. I am trying to talk her into doing the End to End Walk, so a good start to her training! It also helped build up an appetite for the day of eating that lay ahead to celebrate Mother's Day. We commenced our eating Marathon at Kyley's parents' house for Sunday lunch and whilst I tried not to fill my plate too much, the food that was on offer was too hard to resist and I admit I did have more roast potatoes than I should have done. I also should have avoided the after dinner mints! After leaving Laxey the next stage of the endurance event was meeting up with my side of the family at the Italian Job. Garlic Bread for starters before demolishing a large pizza and I still found room to share a desert with Kyley. A really good meal but the service left a bit to be desired. Got home too full to do anything but fall into bed. On day's like this it's not too difficult for me to remember how I managed to get so big in my 'jabba the hut' days; however, I now know I need to take it easy the next few days and train that little bit harder.