|15th Apr||Rest Day|
|17th Apr||Rest Day|
|18th Apr||Rest Day|
|20th Apr||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||452.22||727.79||3 days 12:56:10||10,361||10,062||53,886|
A much better week for miles.
On Saturday morning I joined Mike Bonney, Andrew Dawson and Adam Killip in Ramsey for a 15 mile walk, my longest in over 3 weeks. We opted for a later start, just after 10am, to give a bit more time for the previous nights curry to clear the system.
There has to be nothing worse on a long walk when you are miles from civilisation than the sudden clunk in the stomach, the cold sweat, and the realisation you have approximately 30 seconds to find a solution.
Luckily this has only happened to me once over the last 5 years or so. It was in last years Parish Walk and, luckily, it happened on the approach to Colby so I knew there was a very welcoming house just around the corner. I dread to think what would have happened had it been 30 minutes later when I was half way up Ballakillowey.
It's important that you don't try any new food or drink during a race. Stick to what has worked for you in training, including what you would normally eat the day before a long training walk. I didn't try anything new last year, I guess my luck had just run out!
Anyway, enough about that side of things!
I was apprehensive about the 15 mile walk on Saturday as Mike was hoping to average 10:20-10:30 per mile pace (5.7mph), and given my lingering chest infection and the fact I hadn't trained much over the past few weeks I thought there was no way I could keep up.
The plan was to start at Ramsey fire station, the finish line of the 50k Fireman's walk, and walk 7.5 miles out in the reverse direction then turn around and walk 7.5 miles back. I have been struggling on the hills recently, but since these 15 miles were relatively flat I decided to give it a go.
I tend to avoid 'out and back' routes but the idea behind this session was to get some visual mile marker points for those last 7 miles just in case the Garmin distance is way out on race day.
If you are pushing for a particular time you can then assess how far out you are and hopefully, if not too far out, adjust things accordingly... legs willing of course!!
There is nothing worse when you think you are bang on race pace to cross the line and realise your Garmin has recorded a different distance to the actual, so you were actually walking just under race pace and therefore finished just over your target time.
Of course sometimes it can swing the other way and you are actually walking quicker than race pace. This isn't always a good thing as it means you have been pushing harder than you needed to, which increases the chances of blowing up in the final few miles.
Even if you are not pushing for a time it can still be reassuring to know those final few mile marker points.
I have just checked the actual distances recorded from my 4 Fireman's walks and they are 31.20, 31.14, 31.12 and 31.10, so pretty consistent and surprisingly accurate given the distance.
Last year I ran the London Marathon so didn't do the Fireman's, and my Garmin recorded 26.82 miles, so over 0.5 mile longer than actual. I followed the blue 'racing line' as best I could given the number of runners so I'm sure my actual was much closer to 26.2 miles.
I was chasing a marathon time of 4:15 and, according to my Garmin, I was on track. It was around the half way point that I realised the gap between my Garmin distance and the official mile markers was increasing each mile and therefore I was going slower than 4:15, but at this point it was too late to increase my pace and I ended up finishing in 4:24.
I think we have come to rely on technology and gadgets too much these days. It's often nice to just leave the watch behind and just run/walk based on how you feel. If you really want to know, just try and put the watch somewhere out of sight and only look at the end.
Anyway, back to the walk. The first 2 miles out of Ramsey started off fine. Nice and flat so I was comfortable with the pace. At the start of mile 3, now suitably warmed up, I felt good and decided to test myself and put the hammer down to put in a 9:13 mile. It felt good and gave me hope that my chest infection was on the way out, despite the fact my lungs were on fire at the end of it.
After that I just eased back into the group pace which ended up being quicker than Mike's original target, resulting in an overall average pace for me of 10:07 per mile.
The walk was a huge confidence boost and gave me hope that a PB at this weekends 50k Fireman's walk might be possible.
On Sunday, the day after, I could barely walk. My hamstrings were completely ripped to pieces, no doubt most of which was down to the 9:13 mile.
I was hoping to get out for a recovery/easy walk but decided against it and took the dog for a very easy 6 mile walk to try and loosen up my hamstrings. They were slightly better by Monday, but with the 50k coming up I decided to have another rest day.
On Tuesday they were still sore so I did an easy, zone 1, 7 miles, and another rest day on Wednesday.
On Thursday they still weren't great but I was keen to get out for a decent walk as I knew it would be my last before the 50k. It wasn't a bad walk, but it wasn't great either. My heart rate was high and I was still struggling for breath on the hills so I decided to make it a Zone 3 walk instead.
The walk took me out along the Groudle road but rather than turn left (by the Liverpool Arms) back into Onchan (which is the 7 mile route from Tuesday) I turned right towards Baldrine. Just as you enter the top of Baldrine you can take a left onto Baldrine Road which is a killer hill. It's a mile straight up, bringing you out onto the Begoade road.
I decided to really test the lungs here and pushed as hard as I could. I only managed 3/4 of the mile straight up. My legs were burning, in a good way, however I was struggling for breath and was starting to get double vision so I had to stop for a minute to recover. I stopped my Garmin first of course. After that I carried on to the top before a nice long 1.5 miles back down towards Onchan.
If you are looking for a good hill to train on I would definitely recommend Baldrine Road.
According to my stats I have now walked 10k, 6.21 miles, straight up hill.
Good luck to all the walkers in National Champs this weekend, and to everyone in the London Marathon. And finally a huge good luck to the real men and women for whom a Marathon is just a warm up, and of course I mean everyone taking part in the Fireman's 50k tomorrow, including me ;-)
For all those 50k walkers, the 26.2 mile mark is a few hundred yards before St Jude's cross roads, giving you just under 5 miles to the finish.
And don't forget, the second part of my challenge is to try and raise £2,016 for Finley's Tracks and all donations are welcome here. A big thank you to everyone who has already sponsored me online or offline, and to those who have pledged to donate later.