I have just arrived home from Orlando Florida. I feel jet lagged and through no fault of my own -not the healthiest. I have eaten salty, fatty foods for 10 days in a row. (You must realise for those who have not been to America, that their is nothing healthy too eat, so I had no choice.) Not once, did I enjoy eating, I only eat because I was hungry. All week I was craving fruit, vegetables and salad. I feel the unhealthiest I've been all year due to the food I've eaten and limited sleep. The timing also couldn't be worse because Christmas is approaching. I'll just have to stay away from the treats but that's easier said than done.
However, I really shouldn't complain, it was my choice to go and I went for a good cause. I was a volunteer for the charity Caudwell Children's, I took terminally ill children and their families on holiday. It was extremely rewarding and an 'eye-opener'. I learnt what some families have to deal with in everyday life. I have always known how lucky I am but this has just emphasized this even more. I've learnt more about myself and know that charity work is something I want to continue doing.
I discovered a gym in the hotel 2 days before leaving which is typical. Anyway, I managed to go to the gym twice. The gym was very basic and some machines weren't working and their was no water either, but it does the job I suppose. Generally speaking, I don't really train for the Parish Walk. I keep fit by going to the gym, running and cycling etc, which some people may consider as training, but I would do that regardless. Instead, what I do is apply for all the long distance walking events such as the Peel to Douglas, 'End 2 End' (40 miles) and the '7 station challenge' (50.5 miles). The reason why I do this is because I only take the Parish seriously, so I'll use the other walking events as training. The 7 station challenge gives me a real confidence because it is a much further distance. It seems to do the trick, because so far I have always reached my goals.
The first time I took part in the Parish Walk was in 2006. I wanted to be the first under 21 lady. At the time, I thought perhaps I'm aiming a little too high and I’ll just be disappointed but I tried really hard and achieved my goal in 7 hours 2 minutes. Although, I was really chuffed with myself, I somehow remember feeling disappointed that I didn't complete it in under 7 hours. In 2007, I felt it was compulsory to beat my original time and although I was aiming for 1st under 21 again, I felt it was more important to beat my time and promised myself I would be happy with that. As it was, I beat my time, completing the Parish to Peel in 6 hours 58 minutes and came 1st under 21 lady again. In 2008, I beat my time again and got to Peel in 6 hours 57 minutes, unfortunately however, I came 2nd under 21 lady this time and not 1st which truthfully I was aiming for. But considering the weather-which was awful, I was still very pleased with my self.
I could have given up quite easily in the latest Parish walk. I remember almost crying because I was so cold especially my hands. I suffer from Reynaud's disease which is a circulation disorder to the fingers and toes. They often feel very cold, numb and un comfortable. During a Raynaud's attack, the arteries to my fingers and toes narrow, limiting blood circulation. I remember desperately wanting energy but couldn't open any wrappers or open the lid of my water bottle. I didn't have any support with me so I remember asking other peoples back up drivers for help. I was struggling for ages which slowed me down and it took me quite a lot of time to pluck up the courage to ask for help. It was raining so hard that my I-pod and mobile phone broke which I was not impressed by. (But at the time, it felt that that was the least of my worries.)
I agree with the saying "mind over matter." I'm very mentally strong and in my experience, if you prepare yourself mentally, some how you will succeed. I'm not saying it's physically easy, because it is certainly not. More than once in every event, I could have easily quit, but I don't because I know how angry and disappointed I'd be with myself. What keeps me going is thinking about how far I've come and mentally visualizing myself walking over the finish line.
I'm going to prepare for the Parish differently this year (or at least try to). I'm attempting the full 85 mile distance, I think I have to do more walking in general rather than my usual keep fit routine. I'm going to try and find a walking partner and maybe go on a long walk every Sunday afternoon.
The problem is, I am a very busy person, I always have something to do, I think I make life difficult for myself. Recently, I've been applying for weird and wonderful adventures which I have been selected for. Such as the Caudwell children's charity which I have had to do a lot of fund raising which is time consuming. A few weeks ago I flew out to Argentina with BBC 1 for filming for a TV program called Total Wipeout. It is on TV on Saturday, 24 January 2009 on BBC1 at 20:00. Hopefully, with these events done and dusted, my life will be less hectic and busy but I still have hip-hop dancing lessons twice a week and more before a performance. I have work every weekday from 09:00-17:00 and we are continuously asked to work weekends. I want to do a few hours of voluntary charity work on the Island which I need to look at and any other spare time I have I see my friends and my boyfriend. This is why I usually opt to running or going to the gym or cycling to my boyfriends house who lives in Kirk Michael because it is less time consuming. But this is something I am going to have change to increase my chances of completing the Parish Walk in 2009.
I am going to have to leave it their for now, after talking about how I must walk more, I am going to head to the gym (even if I have only been on the Island for a few hours) best to start as you mean to go on.
In the mean time, if you know of any walking events/races between now and June 2009 (no matter what distance, short or long), I'd love to know and take part. It will really help me!