|22nd Apr||Rest Day|
|23rd Apr||Rest Day|
|25th Apr||Rest Day|
|27th Apr||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||500.32||805.15||3 days 22:02:02||11,384||11,144||59,609|
Week 17 mileage started with the Fireman's 50k walk on Sunday 24th.
I wasn't really sure how the race was going to go as my training for the previous 4 weeks has been disrupted by this chest infection which I still can't shift.
I had many targets in mind, with my first being to try for a PB (5hr 41min). If I felt like a PB was slipping out of reach my next target was to finish in under 6 hours, and if that wasn't going to happen my final target was to just hang in there and finish.
On longer events I like to have several targets to aim for. Not only does this give the brain something to do by continually assessing the situation and recalculating the strategy but it also means if you end up missing the first target you can keep motivated by refocussing on the next and so on.
If your only target at the start of the race is a particular time (which may or may not be a PB time) and things don't go according to plan then it can be all too easy to just throw the towel in and quit. It opens the doors to too many negative thoughts and you need to keep those doors shut for as long as possible.
Chances are you are already battling one, or all, of the following: fatigue, blisters, chaffing, upset stomach, cramps etc, so your brain has already got enough to do helping you push through these physical symptoms so the last thing it needs are extra negative thoughts.
Rather than thinking "What's the point, I have missed my target time now, my feet hurt so I may as well quit." it's much better to think "Okay, it looks like my target time X is out of reach so what do I need to do to hit my next target time Y."
People often ask me what I think about when I'm walking and whether or not I get bored. The simple answer is no, I don't get bored. I'm constantly assessing how I'm feeling, how many more miles can I maintain this pace, if I slow down a little now (before it's too late) will I end up with a better average pace over a longer distance and so on.
So, back to the 50k race. You may have gathered from this, and previous, posts that I like numbers.
Well, because I had no real idea how the race was going to go I decided to make a note of all my mile splits from my 5:41 PB in 2014. These were printed in a table on a small piece of paper about 3" by 1" which I then sellotaped to the back of my race number so all I had to do was quickly glance down to see how quick I needed to do each mile to be on track for my first target.
This was the first time I have tried to pace myself by individual miles as I usually just aim for an overall average pace which can be tricky to judge when hills are involved.
In 2014 my pace dropped considerably in the last 7 miles so I thought if I could just repeat 2014 mile for mile to Andreas then as long as the big drop off doesn't repeat itself a PB is possible.
As usual, I started off to quick. I never learn. Mile 1 was meant to be 11:26 but it ended up 10:51. Mile 2 was meant to be 10:37 but it ended up 10:19.
By Kirk Michael I was 3 minutes up which may not seem like a lot, but over an undulating 7 miles and with my lungs at only 80% I knew it was unsustainable for another 24 miles.
I walked from the start with Andrew Dawson who has had man flu on and off for the last few months too, and as we left Kirk Michael I told him I had to ease off slightly. Whereas my first 7 miles had been approx. 30s per mile quicker they were now nearly 30s per mile slower than 2014.
I stayed with Andrew for another 6 miles, or rather he kindly stayed with me, but just after Jurby I had to ease off a bit more so lost touch with him. Despite this being a relatively flat section my HR was near the max and I was breathing as if I had just ran up and down the gas works steps 6 times.
My time to Jurby was more or less the same as 2014 but my pace was slowing and it wasn't even the half way mark yet. So, knowing that my first target had slipped out of reach I just refocused on my second target, sub 6 hours.
I relaxed a little, accepted the slightly slower pace and just took it mile by mile.
Just before St Jude's cross roads is the 26.2 mile Marathon mark and with the London Marathon being the same day I couldn't resist a cheeky glance at my Garmin which showed 4:48. Given the up and down terrain from Peel to Kirk Michael and of course the hills at Lhen and Bride I was pleased with that.
The good news is my pace drop off this year wasn't as much as 2014 so I did claw back a few extra minutes over the last section from Andreas, finishing in a time of 5:46. Very pleased to be just 5 minutes off a PB over that distance.
A big well done to everyone who took part, especially to joint winners Dave Walker and Sam Fletcher, and thanks to all the marshall's and timekeepers.
The rest of my training last week was just one of my usual Onchan/Groudle/Liverpool arms 7 milers and Onchan/Groudle/Baldrine 10 milers but at a slower recovery pace.
Oh, I finally admitted defeat with this chest infection and saw the doctor on Wednesday.
After describing my symptoms and listening to my chest (which he said sounded clear) he was a bit reluctant to give me antibiotics (which was fine with me) and instead sent me off for a chest X-Ray and a range of blood tests for all sorts. I managed to get the X-Ray same day but it will be this Wednesday before I can have the blood tests, and then it will be into next week before I go back and get all the results.... so just a few days before the 50 miles in Rotterdam!
Part of me wishes I had just asked for antibiotics on Wednesday now as I'm sure that's all I need, but I guess the doctor is just being sure there is nothing else going on first which is fair enough.
The good news is he didn't tell me to stop walking, but then again I didn't specifically ask him that question........
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.