Over the years of training, several 'plans' have materialised and which have remained steadfast options which occasional tweaking will adapt as necessary. Most people will be familiar with this scenario. Each 'plan' name instantly informs those familiar with the name where they will be going. It's usually a show of hands, but to be honest, we ordinarily go with the first suggestion unless its daft. There are several 'plans' which include (starting at the NSC):
- Marine Drive - 8 or so miles
- Groudle - 11 miles loop more or less;
- Ramsey - bus to Ramsey and back to Douglas via Parish Route. 18 miles.
- Glen Roy (Laxey) - 22 miles
- Little London - out to Ballacraine, through Cronk-y-Voddy, Little London and up to Brandywell. Back via Injebreck and Baldwin. 22 miles
- Sheep pens - out via Baldwin/Brandywell to the sheep pens which are beyond Druidale at the top of the decent to Ballaugh and back. 22 miles.
- Sloc - bus trip to Colby then Parish route to Peel (for a bacon bap) and back to Douglas. 23 miles or so.
- Woody - pub. No miles
Last week however, it was 'Little London'.
This is a challenging route which is fairly tough as it is fast for the most part, hilly for what seems more or less all of it and, depending on the weather, exposed to the elements in the higher parts of the route.
Heading out of Douglas, I was extremely conscious of pace and terrain because, at the forefront of my mind, I was constantly thinking about my left ankle which had recently recovered from a tendon injury. I consciously didn't race walk (as I suspected that would put more strain on the recently recovered tendon), but rather power walked all the way from Douglas to Ballacraine. Here I felt that it was suitably warmed up and I felt quite comfortable to try some race walking on the way to Glen Helen. The climb up to Cronk-y-Voddy and up through Little London was good too but due to the steep terrain, it was power walking for the most part. All felt fine which filled me with confidence but this new found relief that my tendon injury appeared to be fixed wasn't enough to make up for the missed training and I was puffing somewhat on the miles of (yet more) climb up to Brandywell. Alex had stormed ahead of us on his own with obvious ease and, bearing in mind, he is young and essentially concentrating on shorter distances at the moment, he is, should he choose to go down this route, a promising PW contender in the years to come.
The descent from Brandywell and on through West Baldwin was fairly uneventful. Dave and I had lost touch with the others gradually (me - enforced lack of training; Dave recovering from flu like symptoms) and by Mount Rule, they were about 300m ahead but we felt ok.
As Dave and I drew level with Ballamyligan, I could feel a familiar pain in the same area of my ankle. My head dropped and my heart sank. The ankle had lasted twenty miles. All of the rest and therapy which I'd been adopting appeared not to have paid off and I coasted home dejected and somewhat disillusioned.
At home, I iced the area and during the coming days, applied heat, ibuprofen gel and massage but I must admit, I was concerned.
I avoided training until Thursday, when I did around 8 steady miles with Brian Wade and Dave Walker. All seemed well as I had no issues whatsoever but, just to be sure, I applied more heat when I got home.
It has been fine since, I am glad to report.
I am not sure what happened on Saturday as all seems well now but I was concerned. I took a tip from Michael George who suggested a different method of lacing the offending trainer to ease pressure on the top of the foot where the tendons I had been having issues with are located.
This, along with all of the other therapeutic measures I hve employed seem to have paid off which is just as well as I'm off to Germany and Holland at the end of May for a short break before the 100 miles in Rotterdam which I am really looking forward to. I have just two weeks' worth of training left.
Your Parish Walk training will be probably cease five weeks tomorrow (June 17th). It is a scary thought that the event you have been planning for so long is now just over the horizon and not 'months away' as it has been since you agreed to do it back in the mists of time! Five weeks will quickly become four, then three, then two..... An odd reality is that the closer the race becomes, the quicker time seems to evaporate so, in reality, five weeks becomes three and a half, then two then none!
The remaining five weeks are yours to put the finishing touches to your training but, almost as importantly, plans for the day: nutrition, drinks, clothing, shoes, lights, bibs, support.
Leave nothing to chance. You may be familiar with the old adage "Fail to prepare; prepare to fail". A bit cliché but so, so true in this event.
Prepare to succeed.