Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good Times/Bad Times - Good Days/Bad Days

I am a guilty of a bit of neglect of this Blog, but Other Events Loomed Large recently.

An update on my training - I had a bit of a splurge a couple of weeks ago, but once again the Great Snot is laying me low and that combined with work has kept me off the roads for a few days.

So, I went to see Higgy at St Pauls Sports Shop in Ramsey, and bought the promised pair of boats and have broken them in. They are Reebok Premier Road Plus VI, similar to trainers I have used in the past. Sounds a fancy title, but doubtless a much lower pedigree than my Saucony Fast-Twitch. But they seem to be doing the job. Higgy has plenty left if you need some.

After my 8 mile walk on the 25th February, where my time was distinctly average, I went out the next Tuesday and did a ten mile walk - from Onchan via Lonan Old Church Road, up to Ballacannell and back the same way. I just felt right that day and finished the 10 miles just 33 seconds outside two hours, despite the hilly nature of the route. I was minutes quicker at every point than I was on the 8 mile walk.

What is it that makes some days better than others? That was a good day.

A few days later I did six miles at the NSC. I worked out that in competition at the last Winter Walk League, I averaged just over 5.45 mph for the 10k of that walk. That converts to about 8.7kph and I tried to keep that up on the treadmill, and found it almost impossible. It just shows that in competition, when you are trying to catch the walker in front, or trying to escape the heavy breather coming up behind you, that you put in a much greater effort than you can in training.

A couple of days later, I did a 12 mile walk, again out via Lonan Old Church Road, down to Fairy Cottage in Laxey, and back the same way. This time I was minutes slower, at 2 hours 29 minutes, and the last couple of miles I seemed to have little energy. Tiredness brings a real lack of concentration and times slow as technique disappears. It also showed that I am not yet fit, and I need to get some gym work in. That was one of the bad day/bad time days.

A further trip to the NSC last week, and I managed 5 miles at nearly 8.7kph, a good day. Since then, and I hate to mention it again, the Great Snot has returned.

The chemist has advised sorting it out the Continental Way - a nasal spray called Sterimar which is in fact a Sea Water spray. It's all the rage in Germany where apparently squirting sea water up your nose is amongst the top ten Germanic Winter pastimes.

A couple of weeks ago, a journalist from IOM Newspapers, Jackie, rang me up to talk about the forthcoming Legislative Council elections, during which she asked me my age. Having to say it out loud made me realise what it actually is, and what on earth I was doing even contemplating doing the Parish. Jackie told me that last year she got to Maughold where she stopped. This year Jackie you will finish. It's down hill from Maughold. Honest...

One of my Government roles - working with Sports Development and the NSC is in a state of flux with the re-organisation of Government going on, the change of Ministers, and possible moves for the rest of us also-rans.

I cleared the first hurdle by having the good fortune to be re-elected on Monday and await the other changes which should be announced in the next few days. I have asked to stay with Sport and Leisure, where the new Minister is David Cretney, a Parish Walk trainer and finisher of note. Cret has an interesting sporting CV - Parish Walk Finisher, London Marathon Finisher, and 100mph+ laps of the TT Course to his credit. Short of winning a stage of the Tour de France, there is not much else for a Sporting Manxman to achieve.

Next Blog - more Tips on how to Just Survive the Parish.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Joys of Vaseline....

A Spring-like day, and by some reckonings today is the first day of Spring.

Expect to see hordes of eager and earnest walkers on our roads from now on, and a big leap in the number of entries.

So now may be the time to impart my promised knowledge of the pitfalls the first time walker needs to avoid.


1 The more you do, the better you will perform. You are less likely to be injured and you will get further. Lack of enough training has been my downfall, even when I finish.

And here is what I have learned from my post-walk visits to Hospital:-

2 Doctors and Nurses laugh at you, and stick your feet in agonising bowls of salty water and secretly video your agony for the amusement of their friends

3 The muscle alongside each shin is packed in tight and the fitter you can get those muscles, the better the blood supply to the muscles will be. If those muscles are not fit, over 85 miles, not enough blood gets to the muscle and there can be an infarction of the muscle – that is a death of muscle. That happened to me (and many others) and causes agony for weeks after – and a nasty side effect is that you get micro-fractures of the shin bone.

Or that is what a masochistic Doctor at Noble’s told me, at the same time banning me from playing football for three months. Doctors always tell the truth of course.

4 The cure for that is in your method of training – if you are non-athletic – go for shortish (4-5 mile) walks as fast as you can. Really give it stick and you will feel the tightness of those muscles. Unless you feel that, you are not doing enough. Proper athletes like the top walkers already have that fitness.

5 Next – cut your toenails. The jarring of your toes on the edge of your trainers, particularly going downhill from the Round Table will cause you problems. Get your nails as short as possible. You may well still lose nails, but you will find them again, months later when you are making your bed....

6 Don’t buy or use 1000 Mile “Blister-Free” socks. I wore 1000 mile socks for the year of that infamous picture of my feet. And the 1000 Mile socks had done their damage by the time I got to Peel. I knew things were not good, took my trainers off at Peel to have a look and only my experience of viewing many post mortems enabled me to carry on. I wrote to the manufactures and tried to claim 915/1000's of my £10 back. They didn’t reply.

7 Get your socks from a site called “Running Bear” as recommended by Steve Partington – I have had fewer problems since using those.

8 VASELINE, VASELINE, VASELINE. I was slow to accept The Joys of Vaseline but now I cannot get enough. Stuff your shoes and socks with the stuff. And don’t forget to grease your erogenous zones.

You know where they are.

9 I never used to stop at all, but the last couple of finishes I have stopped just after Jurby and changed my undershirt, cleaned the blood off my feet, re-Vaselined and changed socks. That break really refreshes me, only takes about 3 or 4 minutes, and gives you a renewed burst of energy.

10 There is a limit to the number of pints of Okells you should drink as you walk past the Mitre at Kirk Michael. Just because they are free doesn’t mean they are good for you….

11 Whisper it, but Solpadeine can be Your Friend…..

More Vaseline based tales soon.....