|20th May||Rest Day|
|22nd May||Rest Day|
|24th May||Rest Day|
|25th May||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||626.26||1007.83||4 days 22:21:48||13,717||13,666||68,440|
Bit of a mixed bag last week, and pretty much exactly half way through the challenge now.
Saturday was my first walk since the 50 miles in Rotterdam and was meant to be a slower paced HR zone 2 walk. I would have liked to have tackled a longer route but my wife was away for the weekend so I didn't have a lot of time. As it happens, 10 miles was more than enough!
It's a nice 10 mile route from Onchan down to Port Jack, all the way out towards Baldrine on the coast road but then turning left just after coming into Baldrine. This takes you up a long 1 mile climb onto the Creg Ny Baa backroad, and then take a left back down towards Whitebridge and back into Onchan.
The first 2 miles were okay as they are mainly downhill all the way from Signpost corner to the bottom of Blackberry lane before going along Strathallan Road towards Port Jack. The 2 mile mark is the entrance to Skandia/Poker Stars, and up to this point I was comfortably in HRZ 2.
Mile 3 is a long steady climb, not too taxing, rising about 50 metres over 1 mile but my heart rate was quickly up into zone 4 and didn't want to come down even when I eased off. Normally I would blame the monitor and just keep pushing but I knew it was pretty accurate because it really did feel hard work.
At this point I decided that because I was only doing 10 miles I would push a little harder and made it a Zone 3 session instead.
Just after I passed the old Groudle pub I got a stitch. I seem to get this more frequently now, always in exactly the same place, lower left side, and it always seems to be when I pre-load with peanut butter and toast so I'm going to avoid that from now on and see how it goes.
The toughest part of that route is mile 7, the long steep climb up Baldrine Hill, climbing 115 metres over 1 mile. This is where I realised that in addition to still being pretty tired after the 50 miler I still wasn't fully over this chest infection as I was breathing out of both ends just to get enough oxygen into the system!
As I clocked over the 7 mile mark and started the nice long 2 mile descent towards Whitebridge I got another stitch but this time under my ribcage on the right side. I took advantage of the downhill to ease off and get my breathing back under control but it didn't improve so I had to stop and take a 5 minute break at the little picnic area (Garmin paused of course).
I wasn't worried about it being anything more serious due to it being on the right side, but when it did ease off I just took it steady back into Onchan.
The lesson I learnt from that walk was that it takes much longer to recover from a long/hard session than you may realise. You may feel pretty good after just a few days but all of those muscle cells are still busily repairing themselves at a micro level and aren't too happy about being pushed again.
The heavy breathing up Baldrine Hill followed by the chest pain/stitch put me on a bit of a downer for the rest of the weekend because I thought I was finally over this chest infection which started some 8 weeks earlier!
It didn't bother me at all in Holland, but at the time I was on antibiotics (placebo effect?) and the course being virtually flat obviously helped.
On Monday I did one of my 11 mile Baldwin loops and right from the off I decided to ignore the heart rate and just push 'comfortably hard' to see how it would go. It's a good hilly route and there are virtually no flat parts, with 330 metres of elevation gain/loss over the distance.
It was a great session. My breathing didn't give me any problems, I had no stitches and I felt pretty strong throughout. It was the 4th time I have completed that route this year, and it was a PB (02:00:12) by almost 5 minutes. And yes, I did get annoyed with those 12 seconds at the end!
This was actually the very first route I walked when my challenge started on 2nd January which I completed in 2:11:28, although that was following the HR zones which averaged 149. On Monday I averaged 158 which is still pretty good considering it resulted in an 11 minute improvement.
My final walk of the week was the 7 mile Groudle/Liverpool Arms/Onchan loop and since I had walked 2 'hard' sessions this week I was determined to keep this as a Zone 1 recovery walk. The good news is I did do it, but the bad news is it was my slowest time around that course (for a Z1 session), and in fact it was almost 3 minutes slower than my best time from January when I had only just started the challenge.
This really just confirmed to me that I need more recovery time.
We are now into the last 3 weeks before the Parish Walk so there really isn't much training time left.
Hopefully I'll get some good miles in this week and then it really is into tapering over the final 2 weeks.
One good thing about the extra traffic over TT fortnight is it means some of the longer 'out of town' routes are no longer really suitable so this really helps keep the walking distances down.
The hardest part about TT being so close to the Parish is trying not to add too many extra pounds due to the increased consumption of beer and burgers, although you can never start carb loading too early!
That's all for me for now.
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.