I suppose you will realize by now that if I had been doing mega-training, this blog would have been full of my derring-do.
So the last real action I did was the final Winter Walking League at the end of March. This was held on the NSC perimeter road, on a new super spongy surface, guaranteed to give a glut of personal bests. And so it proved. For once IOM Government have improved a road surface for sports people other than those who ride Japanese super bikes.
For the first time all winter, the weather was perfect and there was an excellent turn-out. A mass start was slightly daunting as it takes a while to find out your level.
Twelve and a half laps were required, and my first schoolboy error was to hit the wrong button on my Garmin Forerunner at the start. I got it going properly as we started the second lap, and spent the rest of the race trying to add the time of what I guessed the first lap might be, to what was showing on the watch. That way, with a tired mind, lies confusion.
Second schoolboy error - over reliance on the mileage shown on the Garmin Forerunner is not good for you on a course which has been measured by The Experts Who Scorn The Great Satellite In The Sky.
Steve Partington lapped me three times, and in working out how far ahead he was, my numbers got mixed up. On my ‘last’ lap, I was closing reasonably quickly on Colin Moore, who has been a couple of minutes quicker than me all winter, no matter how much I improve. I thought I may be able to close him before the finish and gave it my all.
As I buzzed down the finishing straight, I was too far away to catch him, and then came a call from a long finished Steve Partington - “keep it going Dud” - combined with someone waving a bell at me. Another full lap to go as your body and mind scream “No!” Eleven and a half does not equal twelve and a half….
That was a devastating feeling. All you want to do is collapse in an exhausted heap, totally, totally spent, but you have to pretend you know exactly what you are doing, and set off on a racing last “extra” lap. So off I set, trying to work out the arithmetical gymnastics of what Mr. Garmin was telling me, in a state of exhaustion. Mental arithmetic and race-walking are not good bedfellows.
In the event I did not catch Colin, but I knocked about 45 seconds off my previous time, and finished in 1.08.06. That is a four minute improvement over the winter.
To get any quicker will need a much better technique, but I enjoyed the experience. The last time I did anything similar was over ten years ago in the Fireman’s Runs at Ramsey, and before that in Douglas.
The organization of the Winter Walking League was superb, and many thanks to Steve Taylor and all the officials who give up Sunday mornings for the sport. And the walkers themselves were friendly and supportive and if any “non-racer” fancies a go next season, go for it, you will enjoy it and be encouraged no matter what your level is.
So that is the speed work done for the Parish - now to get in some serious miles and hills. I’ll save the speed bit for the final two miles along the Douglas Prom in June……… hopefully……