Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Its been a postive experience!

My last blog, I’ve not blogged as much as I should have done, so sorry to Murray about that, hopefully the message I have got through my blogs is the positive experience I have had preparing and taking part in the Parish Walk and its definitely given me an appreciation for race walking and ultra-distance walking which the Parish must come under! Just touching on the day not the end result I wanted I must be honest, but on the day getting to Jurby was the best I could do and on reflection I’m happy enough and have learnt from the experience, and hopefully I can get round the full distance in a time I am happy with one day, I will definitely do it again but not until 2017 I am supporting my wife Karen next year who is giving it a go for the second time and in 2017 I may only go to Peel and aim to go further again in 2018 and beyond I have got the bug for the Parish Walk! The day was still really positive the support you get from your fellow competitors and spectators is amazing on par with the London Marathon and much better in some ways because you know so many people! I’ve said it before if you are thinking of taking part in the Parish Walk get signed up in January you won’t regret it. What about Richard Gerrard an amazing performance but I must say if you get round in 14.40 or 24 hours it’s a super human effort and everybody should be really proud of their performances. Also well done everybody – which ever Parish you got to a great effort. The good thing about sport is when things don’t quite work out there is always something else to go for the Lighthouse challenge is only a couple of weeks away and I’ll definitely continue walking ! I’ll sign off there whatever your targets or challenges you have set your yourself best of luck and good health.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Less than 24 hours to go

Less than 24 hours We are nearly there, excitement and nervousness all in one! It still hasn’t really sunk in that I am talking part this year in some ways I still feel like I’ll be doing my normal marshalling slot at Rushen I’m sure that feeling will soon disappear when I am on the start line!! Whatever happens over the next 48 hours the whole walking experience has been a good one and I’m sure I’ll continue walking in the future whether its 5km – 20km events I’m keen to try and improve my times. Although I know most of the walking community through being involved in athletics for nearly 30 years I have met allot of new people who have been really supportive and helpful, if anyone is reading this and is not involved and is thinking about getting involved in walking definitely do it, it’s a great sport. I’m the sort of person who struggles with attention to detail so making sure I have enough food and my support is going to be in the right place at the right time is proving stressful but learning from my Sara Killey experience food and support are crucial to hopefully getting round! Although I haven’t blogged as much as I should I’ve enjoyed writing them and as I started my first blog back in December a big thank you to all the volunteers who will be helping to make this weekend the fantastic event that it is. Best of luck to everyone taking part, hopefully it will be a positive experience!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Nearly there!!

Nearly there!! Well the talking bit is nearly over and the walking bit is nearly there! I’ve had a pretty productive period since my last training blog including a mixture of walks, runs and cycling. I had a very pleasant surprise with a time much faster than what I expected in the Manx Harriers 5km walk, it’s a long time since I’ve had that sort of surprise, running wise for the last 20 years my times have been going in the opposite direction! The speed sessions that I have been doing on the NSC track must be paying off I now have my sights on a 10km on the 16th July which is just under a month after the Parish hopefully I’ll be recovered. I mentioned in my previous blog I had one more long walk planned, I covered the Parish route to Peel plus a couple of extra miles, I left my house at 6am and arrived at Peel Swimming Pool at 1.35pm averaging about 4.5mph. After the Sara Killey I paid more attention to my food and enjoyed a mixture of peanut butter + chocolate sandwiches and energy bars which worked well, however, my legs were pretty sore, hopefully that was due to the hard weeks training I had put in before the long walk. When I arrived at Peel Pool the reality hit me that I wasn’t even half way, so on the 20/21 June the mental battle is going to be key to whether I finish or not! So about 10 days to go not much more I can do now really just try and look after myself the best I can and avoid the temptations of TT Week, junk food and beer! The whole experience has been harder than what I envisaged going back to my decision to take part in the Parish last October I can honestly say I didn’t think the training and preparation would be as hard as it has been I just hope I can now finish it off by getting round the 85 miles next Saturday – fingers crossed. I’ll get one more blog in before the Parish and a final one after – happy training – G

Monday, 18 May 2015

Postive and Negatives

Well I’ll start with another apology, it’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. Quite a bit has happened – I’ll start with a positive yesterday’s Northern 10, great well organised event, flat route and came away with 1hour 36 minutes which I was happy with, and no major niggles (touch wood!). A negative was the Sara Killey 50km walk in late April, again a really well organised event, but personally I was a bit disappointed with my time, however, I did learn a fair bit in relation to nutrition and pace judgment! For the Parish don’t go off too fast and remember to eat, another positive though I did get a 30 mile walk under my belt. After the Sara Killey as planned I enjoyed two weeks of cycling training including taking part in the team triathlon and a 10 mile time trial which surprisingly went better than expected time wise, so maybe walking is the way forward training wise for future cycling events! I have also enjoyed a few descent runs of between 7 – 9miles, fingers crossed I can stay clear of injury and hopefully take part in a few running events after the Parish we’ll see! I have one last long walk planned, which I will do next week, hopefully the Parish route to Peel from my house will give me about 34/35 miles after that I will just tick over with walking and cycling up to the big day. I need to start thinking about help on the day and my nutrition a couple of people including my wife have volunteered to help so I just need to come up with a plan. During my long walk next week I am going to experiment with sandwiches peanut butter + jam, when I have taken part in endurance events previously I have got cravens for tuna and cheese so I’ll have those on standby during the Parish. Well I promise I’ll get a couple more blogs in before the Parish, if you are reading this and taking part I hope your preparation is going well. Happy training – G

Monday, 13 April 2015

Change of plans

In terms of keeping on top of the blog I’ve been slack so once again apologies! Training, fingers crossed has been ok since the Ascot Open last month, as always nursing a few niggles but generally going in the right direction. As with all best laid plans, due to a few things out of my control I could not walk in the 10km Champs and had hoped to run the Easter Festival 10km but had to miss that event also, this time not due to injury but taking Conor my step son away to cycling events, one in Manchester and the Scottish Youth Tour, obviously in Scotland! The event in Manchester was held in velodrome so I took the opportunity to have a go on the Watt bikes that the general public can use, I set myself the target of a 2 hour session at quite a tough tempo, after an hour I was really struggling, the temperature in the velodrome was pretty high and was over heating pretty seriously but I did manage to complete the two hours but it left me pretty knackered for the rest of the day which wasn’t helped by the long trip home not in distance just in time, the Heysham 2.15am sailing! This weekend I have my longest walk to date planned followed by the Sara Killey 50km walk the following weekend, so I’ll keep you updated on how those go. Traditionally on Grand National Day the wife and myself venture into town to watch the race and have a few drinks, this year was no exception but I had made a note that this would be my last drink (more than 4 pints on one go!) until after the Parish so hopefully I can keep to that! It’s getting closer folks but still enough time to make a difference to your performance both good and bad?! Happy training!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Liverpool and Beer !

Probably not the best subject to cover for a Parish Walk blog but before I touch on my training and the things I should be talking about, I thought I would mention my recent trip to Liverpool with my wife Karen to watch Liverpool beat Manchester City convincingly! Sometimes switching off from training and racing and re charging the batteries can be just as useful as a hard block of training if done at the right time and normally your body lets you know it needs a break. For me Liverpool is a great City, brilliant pubs, restaurants , shops and of course one great football team, sorry Everton supporters ! Karen and myself enjoyed a couple days away from everything, no training kit was picked and the diet was parked for a couple of days, once back home I was ready to resume training mode again feeling fresh and motivated! I took part as a walker for the first time in the Ascot Open, I have competed as a runner a few times winning the 10km run event in 2008 although not in a very fast time I must add. I enjoyed a pleasing performance breaking the hour for the first time and probably more importantly for me, relatively pain free both on the day and the day after. It was a privilege to share the start line with some top class walkers, and to witness their speed first hand was really something, Michael George + Richard Gerrard had really strong walks which all bodes well for their Parish performances. I must mention Kevin Loundes and his 10km run, circulating at 2.30mins per lap gave him a time of 31.27mins, a top class performance in the conditions, fingers crossed Kevin’s form continues as he prepares for the Island Games. I’ll be honest I’m a bit behind in my Parish preparations, in terms of specific walking training, during my injuries I’ve maintained my fitness with cycling + x training but I realise I need to increase my walking training, but in a way that I don’t over do it get injured again. Something else I have learnt over the years is not to be influenced by what you hear or see other people doing, stick to the plan and don’t be swayed to add a few more miles on or miss your rest day! I have just noticed on the fixtures a 10km event on the 29th March, which I would like to do and then the Fireman’s 50km on the 26th April, so plenty to aim for and we are getting closer to June!! Happy training everyone!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Once again I’ll start with an apology, still not blogging enough, it’s not an excuse but I can’t believe how fast time is flying by!! Well things have gone ok since my last blog, following the final winter league walk at the NSC, I had a solid walking week maybe not in terms of speed but distance wise not too bad. However, after a longish walk on the Saturday, I had walked 6 days in a row, I had a sore foot, sore knee and my hamstrings weren’t great either, so I decided to have two weeks off walking completely and just cycle and x train for two weeks. During the two weeks apart from a cold I managed two 10 + hours of cycling, the x trainer, turbo and a little bit of running and stretching, and fingers crossed it seems to have worked I feel ready to put together another block of walking training. During the two weeks I took my step son Conor and another young cyclist Will Draper to Manchester velodrome, collecting them at Nutsford Service Station after they had spent 3 days training in Newport. While Conor and Will were training, I met an old friend from Manchester Steve Lee, who now lives in Huddersfield and a keen cyclist we got a 3 hour + ride in around Oldham and taking in the Holme Moss climb that has been used for the Tour de France, Tour of Britain and the Milk Race. Although it was cold, wet and misty I really enjoyed the training ride, the area was great for bike riding. Yesterday Saturday, I joined the Posse ride, which turned out to be a bit of a pain fest really, with the racing season just weeks away, riders are rounding into form, so I spent most of the ride just hanging onto wheels, it served its purpose though another good endurance session. So back to walking this week, short term the Ascot Open, with the setbacks that I have had, I think I’ll do the 10km, originally the 20km was the target but I’m not fit enough to get round that distance at the speed I would like. There have been some great performances in recent weeks by local walkers noticeably Tom Partington and Michelle Turner indoors over 3km in the National Champs, plenty of other walkers, especially the youths had strong performances which is very encouraging. Also this weekend my favourite event the National XC Champs in Parliament Hill London took place, Sarah Astin had an outstanding run to finish 3rd and Rachael Franklin also performed very well to finish 16th . I’m sure there were some great performances in the University Indoor Champs also this weekend. A lot of the success of these athletes is down to their hard work but also their coaches who put hours and hours of their time in all weathers to ensure athletes are prepared properly for their competitions. Hopefully during my next blog I can report on some progress walking wise, like everyone the Parish is getting nearer but I’m not panicking just yet!! Happy training!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Once again sorry about not blogging more frequently, January is flying by!! January has been up and down training wise, the mind is willing, but the body is not playing ball at the moment but as always I’ll keep pressing on and keep thinking of the bigger picture, a Saturday in June!! Up until last Thursday, my short aim was the next Winter Water League Walk on Sunday 1st February, however following a training sessions with Elizabeth Corran and Steve P training group, during a 3km effort around the NSC raceway, I felt a pull in my left hamstring, and glut area, I felt the pull at the start of the effort and stubbornly I carried on. Just as I thought I was overcoming my hamstring issues, the left, not the right one is now stopping me from walking. So back to cycling and cross training, I ventured out with posse group last Saturday morning or spuders how the group is affectionately known!! The group leaves the QB at 8.30am every Saturday morning, and generally consists of a 3 – 4 hour ride, at a decent pace, sometimes flat or hilly or both! Although mostly older riders, the posse ride has welcomed Cav and Peter Kennaugh, who know they’ll get a good ride at a respectable pace + a good bit of banter, which is always important when you are in the saddle for 4+ hours. The injury has calmed down quickly and I even managed to walk to work and back on Monday albeit very slowly, but in the short term, I may have to stick to the longer walks and decrease the speed a bit until I’m more confident with my hamstrings and trying to race walk! So I might have to miss Sunday’s Winter League, I’ll have a fitness test on Friday. As always the x trainer, bike and turbo trainer are helping to maintain my fitness and weight, I cover between 10km and 10 miles on the x trainer, and for me it’s the nearest thing you can get to running without actually running! Before my recent hamstring injury, I had even managed a 5km run on the treadmill at a respectable pace, so the new injury is even more frustrating but you have to remain positive and have a plan b training schedule that can allow you to train around the injury. I also picked up the V+D bug, I’ll leave the detail at that, but it did wipe me out for a day or two! I really enjoyed the recent IOM X country Champs at SCS Ballanette site, at the front end Alan Corlett and Mark Dooley has an epic battle with Mark just edging it, but a brave race by Alan, who led for the most of the way. Alan’s progress as a runner over the last 5 years is truly inspirational, and it shows what consistent training, commitment and believe can achieve. Across the younger age groups numbers were very healthy, and the senior field attracted a good entry, I also noticed a number of established parish and race walking stars taking part, so the benefits of x country running during the winter months are clear to see. So once again another blog, where things haven’t quite gone to plan, but injuries are never too far away and it’s something you just have to deal with, I’ve learnt over the years it’s not worth getting down about and you can spin it and use the time as an opportunity to work on flexibility, strength + conditioning and the list goes on. If I don’t compete on Sunday, I’m desperate to be involved on the 7th March, another great event the Ascot Hotel Manx open, I definitely won’t be running the 10km event, so hopefully I’ll be involved in the walking events, fingers crossed. I’ll leave it there with the promise of more frequent blogs, I will try my best! Take care, and happy training G

Monday, 5 January 2015

29 and out !

Firstly, I hope everybody enjoyed their festive period, and I now we are in 2015, its another step towards the reality, that this year, I am taking part in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk. For me, new year, is just another day, but anything that can be used to to help set new goals and lift your enthusiasm has got to good! Unfortunately, in terms of events and training, things didnt go exactly to plan, the sore and stiff hamstrings noted in my last blog, turned out to be a bit more serious than what I first thought, especially my right hamstring and running proved too painful, which meant I had to pull out of my SCS team, so my run of taking part in what was the Millennium Relay and more recently the SCS relay since 1985 came to an end, however, I did help Alan Franklin at the start and finish area, with the dibbing in and out, so I was involved, and everyone was in really good spirits, so although I was disappointed not to be running, I once again enjoyed the day, and Andy Fox and his team did a brilliant job, as I said in a previous blog, its a great event, and well worth considering putting a team in this year ( you have 11 months to organise it ! ), it would be good to see 20 plus teams involved again. Although, my sore hamstring stopped me running and until the last few days, fast walking, I could cycle and use the x training machine at the NSC and lots and lots of hamstring stretches ! So my only competitive outing during the festive period was the Hamper Cycling race in Jurby, originally scheduled for Sunday 28th December, the event was postponed due to ice, and took place yesterday. Changing the date of the race meant that local cycling stars Peter Kennaugh, Ben Swift and Mark Christian couldnt take part, due to other committments, but it was still a great event, and proved to be a excellent work out, the race was won by Team Polypip Pro Tom Mazzone, I managed to hang onto the bunch, and just came in with the same time as Tom. Moving the Hamper race to yesterday mean't it clashed with the fourth round of the Winter Walking League just down the road in Andreas, I had my trainers in the car, just in case it was icy again! Now my next short term target is the final league event at the NSC on the 1st February. Normally, at this time of year, I would be looking forward to the the IOM and National XC Champs, and then the cycling season, which norammly starts in March, this year, with the Parish, things are going to look a bit different. If I can keep my hamstrings in one piece, my next short term and medium aims are as I said, the last Winter Walking League, hopefully the 20km walk around the the NSC in March and Sara Killey 50km walk in April, and in between those events, steadily increasing my walking training in terms of distance, and hopefully speed, so lots to look forward to, but as always its about training SMART and being sensible, not always something I'm good at! Well thats it for now, I'll try and be a bit more frequent with my blogs in the coming weeks, cheers.