Thursday, 24 January 2013

There's sNOw time like the present...

With the cold weather we've been having over the last week or so, you could be forgiven for sitting indoors by the fire, watching TV and eating comfort food... Well I managed to force myself to leave the front room this week and venture out for some training!

Saturday saw me take on the 15 mile walk from Douglas to Laxey and back, I got my clothing choice totally wrong, which didn't help when battling the cold air (note to self, wear more layers and a woolly hat). There were some lovely sights along the way and some great advertising oportunities (see if you can spot one in my picture below).

The trip took just over 3 hours which wasn't too bad for the stage I'm currently at... the main thing I was pleased about was the lack of rain... what a bonus! One thing I did want to mention was the amount of people (who I didn't actually know) that were either out running, cycling or simply strolling along through Douglas/Onchan/Laxey and said hello, waved or gave a nod of recognition to me. I thought the spirit of community had gone the way of the dodo, but I'm obviously very much mistaken (I'm sure my wife will tell you that me being mistaken, or as she likes to put it "just being wrong" happens on a daily basis, so I shouldn't be so surprised!). We often don't realise how lucky we are to live on such a friendly Island, but you certainly appreciate a smile when it's freezing cold and you've been walking for what seems like forever!

Fast forward to Tuesday night, I wanted to set a course which would see me leave my house and return their within an hour. I wanted a session where I can walk when it is dark, which would be well lit and had a pavement, so I'm not having to dodge cars left, right and centre! The walk I chose had a good mix of flat and hills (not sure if thats the correct walking terminology?) and was able to complete 5 miles within the hour (not sure what speed I was going though? ha ha!), it incorporated Douglas Promenade and thought I'd take a picture (for all those who have ambitions of finishing) of where the finish line will be on Sunday 23rd June 2013...

As an aside, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I finally got round to going to the physio about my injured ankle... good news is that the physio said I am able to do whatever sport I want, so long as I do the exercises she has prescribed to strengthen the muscles around my ankle, these will help me compensate for any ligament damage which has been sustained. I'd like to say how impressed I was with the service provided by the Department of Health's physio self referral scheme. All I had to do was complete quick online form (found on their website, make a phonecall two days later to book my appointment  and I was seen within a few days at the Community Health Centre in Douglas It's a great service that I'd recommend to anyone who thinks they may benefit from it!

That's all for now, I'll hopefully have clocked up a few more miles by the time my next blog comes out... Keep on walking!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The early bird...

My walk this weekend started at 7:00 am in the NSC car park. I was once again joined by Richard Creer and we decided to walk to Peel via St Johns. The morning was dark, as you would expect for this ice of year, however I didn't realise that there is no real street lighting after you leave Braddan Church... This meant walking in the dark, not a huge problem, but one that other walkers may wish to take note of?

Due to time constraints I suggested that we walk only to St Johns (I had underestimated how far Peel was from Douglas on foot). I had kept pace with Richard on the way to St Johns, but on the way back the wind had really started to blow against us and made walking all the more difficult. Richard was going at a really steady and good pace, which sparked my competitiveness to keep up, however my body started to tell me pretty quickly that my fitness was somewhat lacking. The upshot of this was that I was walking faster than I would have done on my own, but was really feeling it in my arms and legs (not a bad thing I know)! 2 hours and 55 minutes after starting, we were back at the NSC. A few lessons learned:

1) if you're starting out early, make sure you have a headlamp,

2) if your route is not one that you have walked before, check how faro it is and work out how long it should take you to get to your destination (and back if applicable),

3) work on a steady and constant technique that works for you (even if it's unorthodox),

4) know your limits... Don't run before you can walk (excuse the pun). Work up to a quicker pace in your own time.

The picture below was taken after I'd adhered to my own advice (point 4 above). The minuscule figure in the distance ahead is Richard on his way through Union Mills!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

And so it begins...

On Sunday 6th January, I started my training with a great 2 hour 'run out'. The walk was only arranged about 4 hours beforehand when I got a message on Facebook from my friend and local walker, Richard Creer. Richard is just getting over an injury and wants to clock up some miles, which is perfect for me as this is the stage I'm at (and once Richard gets up to full speed I wouldnt be able to keep up for more than a few minutes!).

We'd decided to walk from the NSC to Groudle, via Douglas Promenade and then turn back after we'd been walking for an hour. I arrived dressed in my new training gear (so skin tight that Spider-Man would at felt well at home in it) and we set off after a quick warm up and stretch.

Everything was going well and my ankle which has caused me so many problems since I injured it back in September felt fine, maybe this was a breakthrough and I could push on?... well not exactly. After reaching the last street lamp on Onchan head just on the hour mark, we turned back, only for me to go over on my ankle after tripping on a grid cover which was raised on the pavement. I looked worried as I thought this may spark another period of rest for my ankle and Richard was concerned (probably because we had both left our phones in the car and he might have had to carry me back!), I managed to walk off the pain, and it gave me the satisfaction of knowing that I might be able to do so again during the Parish Walk if the situation arises?

We returned to the NSC in under an hour, which was pretty good going for me, although had I been out on my own, I doubt I would have pushed myself as hard as my muscles were tired and starting to tighten up. Training with someone else is a great way to beat the boredom that can creep into walking long distances, especially as when the big day arrives you will not be allowed to use your Ipod or radio.

I'm hoping to get out this weekend for a walk to Laxey and back... check the blog to see if I actually do or not!