Monday, 22 June 2009

22 hours and 20 minutes! :)

I can't believe it's all over! I completed all 85 miles in 22 hours and 20 minutes and 11 seconds and I'm over the moon. I didn't care what time I did it in but I was and still am grateful that I didn't have to ever panick about making it under the cut off as that would have been stressful. I also beat my mum's personal best by 4 and a half minutes which is a bonus.

I was so nervous in the morning getting ready for the huge day ahead. I could hardly speak to my family and when my sister asked what was wrong, I shed a few nervous tears.

As I was approaching Peel, I was very excited, but nervous about going beyond that point as it was unknown territory for me. However, I felt very happy and comfortable up untill Andreas which is 55.5 Miles, however, after that, particulary after Ramsey, I started going downhill drastically.

My worst problem at that point was chaffing in between my legs. A problem I hadn't experienced before. This is very embarrasing, but it was killing me and I had to sort it there and then or it could have very well stopped me from achieving my goal. I thought it might have been the shorts as they were lycra and very tight, so I changed to baggier shorts but it made no difference and I then figured it was actually the knickers I was wearing which was causing the pain, so I took them off! By that point I had lost all dignity and self respect. All I wanted to do was finish and I was willing to do anything to get there. It did do the trick so I'm glad I did it. It made it much less painful although I have now got scabs from it.

Once I had sorted that problem, I was fine again (apart from feeling a bit drunk). However, just before Lonan, all my blisters decided to pop at the same time and up untill that point it wasn't causing me too much bother. My feet were sore, but it was managable. But when all my blisters popped I actually said outloud "Oh no" and from that point onwards I had to walk on my tiptoes, it was either that or giving up so tip toes it was. I only put up with it because I only had 10 miles to go. At the time it felt like a huge distance but I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time and I'm not giving up after walking so far, it simply wasn't an option.

Up untill Andreas, I was very chatty to all my support crew and other walkers but after Andreas my family said I was funny. I didn't have the energy to appear happy or even talk. My main food supply was mash potato with cheese and fruit - blueberries and strawberries. At the beginning I was asking very politely in full sentances what I wanted from my support crew but towards the end I was giving one word instructions very bluntly. My friend Lucy who was in the support car even texted me at one point saying something on the lines of I'm doing so well, keep going. I had so many familiar faces around me cheering me on which helped me so much. My friend Jo spoke to Manx Radio Live and annouced me on air and wished me luck. I didn't hear it but I was told about it and it's just so nice to have that support, it really kept me going.

The worst part of the whole event by far is walking in the pitch black for several hours. It was horrible. I couldn't see where I was going and I was terrified of twisting my ankle or falling over which is easy to do when you are tired. Also, this slowed me down because I was watching where I put every step and because I had a torch in one hand and a drink in the other it made it very difficult to eat.

I must have drank so much and I went to the toilet probably over 15 times and that is not an exaggeration. I was worried about getting dehydrated, I've heard so many stories about people giving up due to that reason and I was making sure that didn't happen.

Just before Lonan, I saw this poor man suffering so badly, his back was leaning badly to one side and he gave up and by looking at him he had no other option. Now I understand why some people just have to give up, because I saw it with my own eyes, but he did amazing to even get that far in the pain he was in, I congratulated him in as much enthusiasm as I could muster. That made me scared, I thought, gosh, what if that happens to me, it made me so scared thinking about not making it after reaching as far as Lonan. When I finally reached Onchan church I shed a few tears of relief because at that point I knew I had cracked it and I could sense the finish line.

I always knew that I'd complete it, but I also knew it was going to be extremely tough. I mentally prepared myself which is just as important, if not more important than being physically prepared. I was constantly having a fight with myself. My body saying stop, my mind saying keep going -my mind always wins. When I want something, that's it, nothing gets in the way.

My mum took several photos of me and I remember having a really happy smiley face at Jurby with my thumbs up and when my mum took a picture of me on the promanade I had my thumbs down and I said outloud "This is to remind myself to never do it again." and I was being serious at the time but I'm already coming round to the idea of another attempt.

The pain I experienced yesterday was unreal, I actually crawled into my home! Getting ready for bed was harder than actually walking, and even when I was ready for bed I was in so much pain that I couldn't sleep so in the end my sister gave me her laptop and I was on the Parishwalk website for the rest of the day and my lovely sister kept me company all day. I literally couldn't bend my legs without extreme pain and my feet were so sore as I had so many massive blood blisters which some had already popped and some hadn't. My mum had to pop the remaining blisters for me, usually I'd be fine doing it myself, but not this time, I was too tired and sore and because it was blood, I thought it was going to hurt. This is not a joke when I say I was in bed for almost 24 hours and asleep for about 12 of those hours and on the odd occasion I had to get up, I crawled there. Dad said I was like Lady Muck, being waited on hand and foot. I rang my brother at one point asking him to get me a drink and my sister made me lunch and mum had to empty my three weeks of food from the car. My jaw hurts from eating it all.

I fell asleep at 17:00 and stayed asleep untill 04:30 and I was wide awake after that and I started getting ready for work as I had a 07:30 start. Work was OK, I did all the paperwork, this morning I was glad I was on an early and not a late shift.

Today, I am feeling much better, I can bend my knees and my muscles aren't too bad but my feet are still in agony. Both feet are bruised, full with blisters and swollen. Mum says she is going to keep an eye on my feet incase they are infected but I'm sure they will be fine.

Well that's it, my very last post. My next challenge is to run a marathon which will surely be easier.

Congratulations to everyone and I have enjoyed writing this blog!

Friday, 19 June 2009


Where has the time's my last post before the event. I am really excited about tomorrow. I'm full with nerves but I am really looking forward to it as well. I drove around the Parish Walk route all the way to Ballagh today, unfortunately I didn't have time to continue to the end even though that was the plan originally. (Lets hope I don't experience that tomorrow.)

My plan for tomorrow is to only listen to my music in the second half of the race. This way I can talk to people on the 1st half when there will be more people about, and listen to my music when I most need it. Also, I don't know about you, but I find that after a while of listening to music it just fades into the background and you don't really hear it anymore.

I just recently got in from a very good day at work and I received a good luck card from my friend Fern. I am so humbled with the support I have been given. All day I have been getting texts wishing me luck, telling me that if anyone can do it it's me and I've got more determination than anyone they know and that they will be finding me on the course to give their support. Like Dee for example, she lives in Port Erin and she will be looking out for me at Rushan. Even my friend Sarah who has just had a baby is going to find time to support me. My friends are just fantastic and I am so grateful!

My friends boyfriend - Sean Murphy, completed the walk last year and he is going to attempt it again. I'm really pleased about that because I will be wanting to have updates on his progress. I'm also going to be interested in how all the leaders are getting on although I'll be very envious when they finish knowing that I still have ages to go. I honestly do not know how you can possible walk that fast full stop, never mind a distance of 85 miles, it's just unbelievable.

There is no point in worrying about my knee now because there is nothing I can do, what happens happens and I'll have to take each step at a time, I'll just keep plodding along and eventually I'll get there. All I can do is my best and I promise you I'll deliver that. The only way I'll be giving up is if I absolutely have to and I can't physically walk anymore. But I really hope that doesn't happen because I have bought the Parish Walk Program for a momentum for this event and I really don't want it saying anything other than I finished.

Another excuse for me to keep going is that I have a physio appointment with the NHS this Monday coming. I can't believe how short the waiting list was, I was pleasently surprised when I received a phonecall. I was expecting to wait Months not 1 week. So I'm chuffed with that. Hopefully I can get my hip sorted too stop the pain in my knee sooner than I thought.

I'll really looking forward to recovering from the Parish so I can go out running again because I've really missed it and I definately prefure running to walking.

Can I already say "never again" before I even given it a shot?!

Best of luck to everyone and if you bump into me I'd love a chat to pass the miles. I'll let you know how I got on by posting an update after the event. Although I can't promise you it will be Sunday!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I'm counting down the days.

The weather today reminded me of Last Years Parish Walk event. In fact, something everyday reminds me of the Parish Walk, I must have talked about the Parish Walk at least once everyday for the last year and I promise I am not exaggerating. I sometimes try and stop myself as it must drive everyone else mad but I can't help it.

Thankfully I can attend the Parish Walk presentation on Tuesday night. I have received my shift pattern for next week and it doesn't clash. I have been worried about that for some time so that's one thing off my mind. I'll attend the Parish Walk Presentation no matter what happens.

At work today we drove along the sloc to Peel and other parts of the Parish Walk route too and I don't know if it was a good thing or not because it reminded me just how long the distance is. Speaking of which, I friend at work is sponsoring me £1.00 per mile which is potentially £85.00 which he is well aware of. Very generous!

I'm itching for Saturday - because it's more nerve racking thinking about it, talking about it and waiting around. I just want to do it now. I guess I'm really nervous because it means so much to me to complete the walk and anywhere other than the finish would be failing. I'm scared of not making it due to pain, my injury or not being mentally strong enough. If I knew 100% that I could do it, I wouldn't be scared. Last year I was also nervous but not to this extent, that was because I was racing against my personal best which I did (6 hours 56 mins and 47 secs) and I was also hoping for 1st under 21 3 times in a row but unfortunately it wasn't to be I came 2nd instead.

I have been carbing up this last week eating a lot of Pasta which is actually one of my favourite foods which makes it very easy for me to do.

I'm only working 2 hours tomorrow from 07:30 - 09:30 so I'm going to use my spare time getting everything organised for Saturday.

Next Saturday my family and I are going out for a meal to celebrate my brothers 18th birthday, lets hope that we can also celebrate my achievement!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A big Thank you

Just a quick post today! says the weather on Saturday will be:

Saturday: Mostly dry & bright with variable cloud, sunny intervals & a moderate or fresh W to NW wind.

Ideal weather conditions, I'm very happy with that and it will be so much nicer than last years weather. I don't know if it's possible for the weather to be worse than last years? I think everyone deserves a pat on the back for even taking part in the event last year!

Before I go, I just want to post how brilliant my friends are for supporting me. My friend Glenn isn't taking part in this years Parish in order to back me up over the sloc. My parents are backing me up from Peel onwards. My boyfriend is sitting in the back up car from Kirk Michael onwards and one of my best friends Lucy will be in the back up car from Rushan onwards. I know Jo and Elliott will be finding me at some point and god knows who else.
Jo and Lucy are helping me out with the shopping and helping me cook the rice and mash potato (I know it's not hard but it's just an excuse for a get together and Lucy is brill at cooking and it's their way of supporting me.) So thank you so much!!!! :) x x x

Monday, 15 June 2009


I can't believe the Parish walk is less than 1 week away. When I think about it I get really nervous, but I suppose that's a good thing because it shows how that I care.

Despite the event being so close, I still keep seeing people out training and I can't help worrying that I'm not and should be. But then I remember why I'm not - to rest my knee.

My knee doesn't hurt at all and hasn't for a while which is really good news, but I haven't done any exersice in about 3 weeks which might be why, but I'm staying optimistic.

I just hope that 3 weeks of doing nothing doesn't get rid of all the training I've done prior to the injury. I read in runners world that 2 weeks of doing nothing decreases your fitness level which made me worry a bit. I hope it might have the opposite effect and I feel fresh on the legs.

When I really think about how I might feel in the middle of the night, I honestly think it might be the hardest thing I've ever done mentally and physically. Harder than Kilimanjaro or 24 Peaks in 24 Hours and so much more. Although mum says that Kilimanjaro was harder for her. (Bearing in mind she's completed the Parish twice) The second time was to make sure the first wasn't an accident. Although the first time my mum attempted the walk - she only got to Ballagh which is halfway.

My boyfriend Dan lives in Kirk Michael and he is going to be in the support car with my parents from that point onwards. 2 friends;Elliott and Jo (and probably others) are going to find me as well which will be nice.

Unfortunately I won't be using that text service which Manx Telecom are providing because I have a basic phone with no Internet. But I will be putting lots of money on my phone in case I need to ring my support or kill boredom by talking to friends.

Initially I wasn't going to have backup until after Peel because my mum is walking to Rushan, however I have found a friend who will back me up over the sloc. I am worried however, that Glenn will get lost as her sense of direction is bad and also I'll have to figure out when to call her and how much notice to give.

In case anyone didn't realise, its Fathers day on Sunday, 21st June when all the Parish Walkers will be walking through the night. I was intending to give dad my present at midnight whilst walking - but he already found out what I got him which is really annoying. My dad works 1 week in Swizerland followed by 1 week on the Isle of Man and he left to go to Switzerland yesterday. My dad swims about 3 times a week, so on Saturday, I added 10 swimming sessions to my dads NSC card thinking he wouldn't be going untill next week, however, he went yesterday before his flight and the lady at reception said he had 11 swimming sessions left - so he figured it out. My dad also asked if I could perhaps clean his car as an added Fathers day present. I've also done that now as there is no chance I'm doing that this Sunday coming!

All that's left to give my dad is a card and I'll do that whilst I'm walking at midnight. It has a picture of a car and him being lost which is so true as his sense of direction is also awful. However, it will not be funny if that actually happens. I trust my mum if she's driving. She won't get lost and won't go to far ahead. She also will know how I'll be feeling since she's done it twice before. But if mums asleep, I hope dad knows where he's going and that he won't go too far ahead! When my mum did it, she said that dad went too far ahead in Maughold area. Mum thought she was lost as she didn't see her support car for almost 2 hours and she was so relieved when she spotted it in the distance.

Guess what I found today? I found a penny whilst cleaning my room. It is going to be my lucky penny which I'm actually going to carry with me because not only is it a penny, it's also got a picture of the Parish walk finish - war memorial which I haven't come across before.

One thing I am concerned about is the fact that I'm on an early shift at work on 22 June. My shift starts at 07:30 and finishes at 14:30. I'm trying to work out what would be best, an early or a late which is 14:00 - 22:00. A late would mean more sleep but an early would mean getting it out of the way.

Mum has already agreed to give me a lift to work and back just in case I am unable to drive. I would take holiday but I don't have any days left to take. I do know the consequences of completing the Parish walk, I'll probably be in a lot of pain and find it hard to move afterwards. But if I do complete the walk, I'll be so over the moon that I won't care about being at work in pain. I know the consequence.

Right, I'm off to Kirby garden centre to buy my brother a birthday present. He's 18 on 22 June and there is no way I'm making an effort to get him a present after the Parish. (He's in to feeding the birds and gardening.) I'm going to walk there and back which is probably just short of 6 miles.

(My dad and brother don't read this blog so they won't know)

I'm sure I'll post another blog before the event - it will probably do me some good on Friday as it will get all my nerves out of my system which will help me sleep. Speaking of that, I have been sleeping brilliantly for the last Month despite doing no exercise to tire me out. One thing I learnt a while ago is sleep can do more good than training in the last few weeks to a big event.

Monday, 8 June 2009

I work at Glen Darragh Road in Glen Vine about 100 meters pass the primary school on the opposite side of the road. This road is part of the Parish walk route and I saw a sign today by this area warning support vehicles that it is only one way along the road. I don't know whether it's been their for ages and I haven't noticed or whether it's just been put up. (Not that it matters, or you need to know.)

Since I have been writing this blog, back in December 2008, I don't think the Parish has ever been off my mind, if I'm not thinking about it, I think I still am subconsciously and when I purposely think about the event, I get really nervous and excited at the same time.

I just wish I didn't have this knee injury and I pray that it will be OK on the day and if it does get painful, I'm hoping it will be bearable and if not, I hope painkillers will do the trick - which I know is not ideal, but finishing the walk is so important to me and anywhere other than finishing would be failing. I recently bought a knee support from Intersport, just in case it helps. If not, it might help mentally.

When I did the Sara Killey event 3 years ago - which was the 1st event, then called seven station challenge. It was 50.5 miles long and the longest distance I had walked at the time was 40 miles in the End to End (which I was under 21 at the time, but I took my number off at Peel and continued unofficially-this was work all going towards the big event in less than 2 weeks time). At the start line I really wanted to finish but I didn't know whether I would be able to. Even though you were allowed to retire at any station, I still felt that not reaching the last station would be failing and that is how I finished. (That, and my mum backing me up after the 40 mile mark as I ran out of food.)

I have been doing my exercises religiously since going to the physio in the hope that it will make a difference. However, I am finding 2 exercises very difficult to do correctly. The first 1 is to lunge with my right foot forward and my hip, knee and toes have to be in line with each other which I can't do. I'll try and it will be better that my natural position, but it's still not in line. The other exercise is to stand up and lift my right foot slightly off the ground and bending and straightening my left leg. I have to again, keep my toes, knee and hip in line but I can't do this without twisting my hips to the left.

Now that I know what's wrong, it's so obvious and I can't believe I didn't notice it before, but that's always the way.

I cannot afford to continue going to physio, although I am glad I went the once because at least I now know the cause of the pain. I have booked an appointment with the Doctors for this Wednesday. I'm hoping to be put on the waiting list to see the physio via the NHS.

That way, if my knee does really hurt during the Parish and I have to retire at liest I will have something positive to think about. At least I am on the waiting list to see a physio and I'll be ready for next year. Although if that were to happen, I'd be terrified of training but I don't want to be on the start line with no miles in my legs either?!

In my bedroom wardrobe I have three big boxes already filled with alot of things I may need. One box is for clothes, 1 box is for medical stuff, ie/plasters (etc) and the final box is food and drinks. I want to be as organised and prepared as I can, especially since I can't train anymore. When I see other walkers - presumably training for the Parish walk, I just wish that was me. I especially miss running, I feel like that even more when I see runners.

The only exersise I have been getting in recent weeks is walking to town and back and on Wednesday when I have my doctors appointment, I will walk there to. But I don't count that as exersise, I call it a healthier option to driving - which I wish more people did.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

my hips the problem - not my knee!

My physio appointment was yesterday morning. The good news is that it won't cause long term damage to my knee by completing the Parish walk, however, the bad news is that the injury will take 6 weeks to fix and this will increase to a few Months after the Parish. The physio also said I'm very likely to experience pain.

The reason for my sore right knee is because when I run and walk my right hip is out of line with my knee and foot. (My right hip naturally goes to far to the right) this is putting a strain on my knee and pulling my knee cap to the right as well - which is the cause for the pain.

During physio, my knee cap did actually come out of place and this is when I can't bend my leg and I experience pain. My knee cap had to be clicked back into place and it was then fine again.

The physio also said that my leg muscles are far to tight and I need to stretch 5 times a day as well as some other exercises to try and train my body to posture myself differently when I train. When I found out was was wrong, I wondered why it had taken so long to become a problem as I have been running and walking since I can remember. I was told that my body has been able to manage as I wasn't over doing it and now I am doing so much more that I'm used to and it has taken a toll on my body. Which is very frustrating, because I'm not struggling physically. The most ironic thing is, I'd probably be in a better position for the Parish if I hadn't trained at all.

Whilst walking to the physio and back and I could feel that my knee wasn't right even though it wasn't hurting me. However, today I have walked 8 miles just by walking to town and back twice and my knee has been fine. So I seem to have good days and bad days. I'd also say that applies to my feelings as well, some days I'm really down about my knee and give up all hope, which makes me upset and other days, like today, I feel of optimistic and still believe it's possible.

I went to Tesco's with my mum today to start buying some food for the event. I'll have to hide and label the food to ensure my brothers and sisters don't eat it instead. I bought bottles of water, full fat coke and lucazade. I'm going to drink 1 bottle of water, followed by 1 bottle of diluted coke, followed by 1 bottle of water, followed by 1 bottle of diluted lucazade. (Or that's the plan) I'm diluting the drinks so that I still get the necessary energy but I'll have more intake on water. Also, alot of people suffer from sickness when you drink only energy drinks as it sits funny in the stomach.

I have been told that taking sachets of Dioralyte (which you usually take when you have sickness or diarrhoea) is also a good idea. But you have to be careful as it is a medicine. I have been advised to take it after 30 miles - (Patrick or Peel would be a good time to take it) and then every 15 miles after that. All the medicine does is help with lost water and body salts. The powder has to be diluted in 200ml of water. I am going to use a plastic bottle and measure 200 ml and draw a line with black marker so I know how much water to pour in the bottle at the time.

Other bits that I bought in Tesco was figs, salted and unsalted nuts, raisins, chocolate, jaffa cakes, ready salted crisps, chocolate digestive biscuits.

I still need to buy lots of fruit, but obviously that needs to be done a couple of days before the event. I still need to by bread rolls and fillings for them. I'll probably want cheese and ham as a filling or a jam sandwich. I'm also going to make mash potato as it is easy to eat and full of carbs.

I'm probably going to have far to much food with me but I am not failing through lack of energy caused by hunger as that is avoidable.