I have been asked numerous times over the last week at work and also by friends I have bumped into, as to how the training is going and they seemed surprised when I tell them I am winding down now. The hard graft is done and it is just a case of trying to stay fit and healthy for the next few days. This has been particularly difficult at work recently, as the number of ill people seems to have increased massively over the last couple of weeks, with chest infections appearing to be the most common ailment. I'm just trying to stay out of the way of these sick people and probably coming across as quite rude.
As I said the hard training over the winter is in the bank and personally I am feeling fitter and stronger than I have ever done prior to a Parish Walk. Having said that I am also about 7 pounds heavier than I was this time last year, currently weighing in at 12st 3lbs, so I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not. I am 6ft and when I started the Parish last year I weighed 11st 10lbs, but at the time I felt a little too thin and it was the lightest I had been since I left school. My current weight feels about right for me, but I have this nagging concern that carrying a few extra pounds later on in the race might count against me. I don't usually suffer much in the way of self-doubt, but occasionally the odd negative thought creeps into my head, especially the nearer the race gets. I have played out the day in my head numerous times and the different tactics I will employ depending on how things pans out. I have decided what my strategy will be, but will be keeping that to myself! One thing I'm sure of is that it is going to be a very close race with a number of potential winners, but more on that next week, on the run in.
Back to training, the tapering was definitely a consideration on Saturday morning as Vinny, Dave W, Jock and I had a very leisurely stroll, averaging a little over 5.1 mph for 14 miles. We followed the Parish Route as far as the end of the Oatlands Road, where we took a left back into Douglas via Port Soderick and Marine Drive, before stopping on the Quay for a cuppa at Mash. Jock still insists that he is not missing doing this year's Parish, but it might be a different matter on the day, seeing everyone lining up at the start! Sunday was an easy 5 mile recovery run and I passed a group of walkers, which included Ed Walter, who seemed to be moving well, so the injury is obviously on the mend and looking good for the big day. Tonight I did nothing apart from watch some of the England v France match (not a great performance but better than expected), before having a sports massage, so the legs are feeling particularly pummelled now!