|8th Apr||Off island|
|9th Apr||Off island|
|10th Apr||Off island|
|12th Apr||Rest Day|
|14th Apr||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||420.22||676.29||3 days 07:12:44||9,561||9,225||50,036|
Another low mileage week unfortunately. Last Monday (11th) was my first time out for just over 2 weeks due to man flu and chest infection.
I wasn't 100% when I set off so decided to be cautious and chose one of my shorter 'long' routes from Onchan and out around Baldwin.
The advantage of this route is there are several opportunities to shorten the distance if things aren't going well, or extend the distance if they are.
It's a great route if you like hills as there are virtually no flat sections so you are constantly walking up or down hill.
The worst part is the last 1.5 miles which are uphill all the way from the bridge at the very bottom of Skollag Road all the way up to just before signpost corner.
Due to this lingering chest infection I was really struggling for breath on the uphills. My hamstrings were tight, my shins were burning and generally the whole session was pretty unenjoyable.
I last did this particular route 4 weeks ago in a time of 02:04:43 so I do take some comfort from the fact I was only about 1.5 minutes slower despite the elephant on my chest.
A more interesting statistic though is my average heart rate 4 weeks ago was 144 compared to 148 last week.
This is another good indicator that I am not fully recovered. 4 bpm may not seem a big deal, but over 2 hours it does make a big difference.
As I mentioned above, I could have shortened the distance but I stuck with it. For long distance endurance events it's not all about physical training. You have to train the brain too.
If you have a bad patch you have to resist the urge to quit and push through as best you can. Just slow down a little, relax, make sure you get some food and drink and, more often than not, you will get through it.
Caveat: There is a big difference between a bad patch where you are just feeling totally exhausted, legs are screaming at you to stop, maybe a bit of chafing and/or an annoying blister or 2 vs a bad patch where, biomechanically, things are just not working properly and if you carry on you are most likely doing yourself some longer term damage. If you get one of these bad patches then it's probably wise not to push through it.
While not easy, try not to think about how far you still have to walk but rather think about how far you have already walked and, if you quit now, all those miles were for nothing.
I'll often play back the walk so far in my head, so for example if I hit a bad patch around half way (Ballaugh in the Parish Walk) I would think back to the excitement and adrenalin at the start, the first few miles through to Marown and the first checkpoint at Santon, the long push towards Rushen, up Ballakillowey and The Sloc into Peel, the undulating coast road into Kirk Michael and so on.
Once you are into Kirk Michael then, with the exception of a few small climbs (e.g. The Lhen and Bride), you have a reasonably flat 23 (ish) miles into Ramsey. Compared to the first 39 miles these next 23 are "easy" so just try and remind yourself of that. 'Most' of the hard miles are done, so stay positive and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Before you know it you will be in Ramsey ready to start the last really tough 6 or so miles of the day, and they are the long climb up into Maughold and up Hibernia back onto the main coast road.
Chances are it will be dark now, but if you have walked 63 miles into Ramsey then just keep telling yourself that you can do these next 6 miles.
Once you get up onto the main road it's reasonably flat/downhill towards Laxey before the long climb from Laxey village all the way up to Lonan church. This climb isn't much fun, but you are now into the last 10 miles so it isn't going to stop you right?
After the Lonan checkpoint you are into the last 7 or so miles with just 2 short climbs (out of Baldrine and from white bridge up into Onchan (plus a very short climb where you dip down and up, and back again, to check in at Onchan.))
You really are on the home straight now. You will be hurting a lot, but just tick off a mile at a time and eventually you will be making that final right turn at Port Jack to drop down onto the promenade for the final mile or so.
Now I know from personal experience that this is a lot harder than it sounds as, in 2014, I retired at Maughold (67 miles). I'd just hit a bad patch too many and, combined with many other things, the thought of the climb up Hibernia just tipped me over the edge.
That year my first bad patch was just after The Sloc (about 23 miles), so it's pretty amazing I pushed on for another 44 miles. I was determined not to stop before Peel (32.5 miles), and when I got there I decided I wasn't going to retire in front of everyone, especially my kids who were cheering me through.
My plan was to keep going until I met my support where I would quietly retire into the car, however that ended up being about 30 minutes later at which point I was now about a mile out of Peel so I decided to push on for another 5 miles to Kirk Michael.
Things weren't going well when I got to Kirk Michael but I was lifted by the great support outside the Mitre, cheering my name as I went past, so I decided to dig deep and reach the half way point at Ballaugh.
Those 3 miles were a real struggle. Literally yards before Ballaugh church there is a long hedge and I just stopped and layed back into it. I really was done.
As I was lying in the hedge Adam Killip had caught me up and gave me some words of encouragement which helped get me off my backside to complete those final yards to the Ballaugh checkpoint.
I was determined to retire here but the marshall wouldn't take my dibber. He told me to sit down and think about it first, so I sat there for about 15 minutes, got some food and drink down me, and then decided to push on to Jurby.
Of course by now the quick drying cement in my legs had well and truly set so it took a while to get going. These patches carried on until I eventually retired at Maughold 25 miles later.
Anyway, I waffled on a bit there but even though I retired at Maughold I hope it does show that you can get through a bad patch if you try. I managed to walk another 44 miles after my first bad patch, the final 25 of those after a very bad patch. I was just unfortunate that they started far too early in the day and never really went away.
Finally, my second walk of last week was one of my usual 7 mile loops around Groudle and Liverpool arms. This was similar to the Baldwin loop really, except the elephant on my chest was now more like a cow.
The plan for this loop was to stay in Zone 2 but my HR was just way too high even while walking slowly, so I decided to push a bit harder and let it drift into Zone 3. It was tough, and my lungs were burning a lot, but when I finished I really did feel like things were improving.
I will just have to wait and see if things have improved enough for the 50k next Sunday....
That's all from me for today. I hope your training is going well and you avoid the man flu / chest infections that are doing the rounds at the moment.
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.