|29th Apr||Rest Day|
|1st May||Rest Day|
|2nd May||Rest Day|
|3rd May||Rest Day|
|5th May||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||528.76||850.92||4 days 03:29:01||12,242||12,045||62,915|
Just 2 sessions this week.
On Saturday 30th I finally got around to walking the final quarter of the Parish Walk route from Ramsey to the War Memorial, a total distance of 21.44 miles (starting in Parliament Square).
I enjoyed the first few miles to Maughold church as it's not often I walk that section in daylight so it's good to get some reference points for the day.
Exactly 2 miles from Parliament Square there is a house with a large anchor in the garden (I think the house is called Anchorage house if I remember rightly). Not only is it the 2 mile mark but it's also the start of quite a long climb, about 1 mile, before it evens off and leads you to the church giving a total distance from the square to the church of 3.5 miles.
Shortly before the church is my favourite road sign in the Isle of Man.
The reason I like this sign is because it's the first one of the day that is actually telling the truth about how far is left to the finish, 17 miles. Any other road sign you have seen up until now will be taking the shortest route to Douglas.
The actual distance is just under 18 miles once you allow for the extra up and downs at Lonan and Onchan church, but it is 17 miles until you are walking along Douglas promenade and can see the finish.
As I mentioned in my previous post I like numbers and I am constantly analysing things while I am walking. To see the number 17 in black and white is a huge relief. Even though you know it's 17 miles from Maughold there is just something reassuring about actually seeing it written down.
Another thing I like about this small piece of road is that, on a clear night, if you look to the right you get a good long view along the coast towards Laxey. Since it's dark you can't actually see the coast line but what you can see is the flashing hazard lights of support vehicles for other walkers stretched out for about 6 or 7 miles, snaked out all the way up Ballajora, along the A3 through the top of Glen Mona and towards Bulgham rocks.
The reason I like to see those cars is because after passing through Peel I often go for several hours without seeing another walker and start to feel like I am the only person out here doing this. Seeing the flashing amber lights reassures you that the walk is real, you aren't dreaming and you aren't out here all alone.
Combined with visual confirmation that there are 17 miles left to go you really do feel like the end is in sight now.
After checking in at Maughold church there is a nice long downhill stretch, about 0.6 miles, before you start the long climb up Ballajora to rejoin the main A3 road.
One advantage of the dark is you can't see how steep that first section is!
Bearing in mind you have walked nearly 70 miles by now I think it's probably best not to be able to see this!
After reaching the very top of Ballajora last Saturday (for info the top is 3.5 miles from the Maughold church) I was really starting to struggle.
When I eventually finished at the War Memorial I was exhausted. My total walking distance over the past 7 days was 70 miles which is far too much for me, and not the kind of distance to be doing with a chest infection.
I knew Saturday was the only time I would get to walk that final stretch before the big day so I had to do it.
I took 3 rest days after that, and completed week 18 with my regular Liverpool arms 7 mile loop. I totally ignored my heart rate for this walk and just power walked (not race walked) as hard as my lungs would let me. I was pleased with the pace, but not with how I felt.
I will stop whining about this chest infection soon I promise! I have had a chest X-Ray and Blood tests now and will be back at my GP next week for the results. I'm sure it will all be fine and with a few antibiotics I will be good as new in no time.
This time next week I will be in Rotterdam with about 15 other Manx walkers. I feel like a lightweight only going for the 50 miles when they are all doing the 100 but I know it's the right thing for me.
My big focus this year is the USA 100 in September so I'm treating the 50 as part of the training.
While I will be a little disappointed not to be doing the 100 at least I will get a PB in the 50 (providing I finish!) as it's my first race at that distance.
My race doesn't start until 8pm by which time the 100 milers will have been going for 8 hours.
I haven't started a race this late before so it will feel a little strange. If it's a hot day then at least it should be a little cooler by the evening so that's one plus point.
If you haven't yet entered the Parish Walk don't forget that entries close tomorrow night!
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.