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.

Friday, 29 May 2009

I haven't done any form of exercise since Monday and I'm really struggling with it. I can't sit still. I am constantly fidgeting and walking around the house. It's like I have too much energy inside me and I just want to get rid of it in order to relax. I always get rid of it by doing exercise, usually running. However, I have been forcing myself not to do any exercise in the hope that my knee will get better.

Having said that, I've been counting down to the weekend as I am playing badminton on Saturday and Sunday with work, which I'm really looking forward too it as I love the sport and I'm quite good at it - I used to be in the Isle of Man squad and I want to get back into it. I'm going to join a club in September when badminton season starts again.

Whilst writing this post it's only just occurred to me that I could probably go swimming without causing any harm to my knee. I'll probably do that next week.

Right now my knee feels fine, however, earlier today I could feel it wasn't right again which is worrying because it normally only hurts during or recently after running or long distance walking and like I said above, I haven't done any exercise for four days.

On Wednesday evening, I walked 2 miles to the bus station to catch a bus to Kirk Michael, (which I would normally have walked) my knee started hurting for the last 5 minutes of the walk and even once I got to Kirk Michael walking to Daniel's house (only 400 meter away) hurt my knee. This made me really upset, it still does, because completing the Parish walk means everything to me and I'm so worried that this knee is going to stop me.

Daniel says it's because I've overdone it and done too much training and my body can't cope with it. However, I disagree, because I have always done a lot of exercise but only for the last 6 Months have a walked so much, but I've just replaced it with running and going to the gym which is supposed to be easier on your joints.

My friends and family are convincing me that I am doing the right thing by resting but it feels so unnatural to me, I don't know what to do with the spare time that I have. I'm also being told that theirs always next year but in my head I'm still doing the Parish walk and I'm going to complete it. I made my mind up 10 years ago when I first discovered the event! I have to be optimistic to have a chance.

On the plus side of having all this spare time, is that I have been able to apply generous amount of surgical spirit to my feet. This will harden my skin and help prevent blisters.

Last night I made sweet mashed potato and I'm so glad I did because I discovered that I didn't like it. I'm going to mash ordinary potato instead. My friend lucy is going to make me risotto and I might make some pasta as well. The mash and risotto especially will be easy to swallow without much chewing. (I find it difficult to eat during long distance walking, it's usually the case of forcing it down)

I'm also going to buy lots of fruit - strawberry's, blue Berry's, grapes, oranges, melon, bananas, peaches. I enjoy eating fruit, especially whilst walking, it's refreshing and contains natural sugar.

I'm going to go for a big shop a few days prior to the event and it will probably be expensive. It will be one weeks worth of shopping intended for the one day. Another reason why I must complete the Parish - I've spent a lot of money - buying clothes, trainers and food.

All in all it doesn't look good to the outsider, but I'm staying positive, I've got it inside my head that I am completing it and that my knee will be fine on the day. The Month leading up to the Parish is not exactly what I would have liked but I can't help it and I'm doing the best I can in the situation I'm in.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

knee pain

I'm afraid this post isn't going to be as positive today.

One aspect I didn't mention in my last post - re the IOM walking festival, is the fact that my knee did hurt at times . I used 2 walking poles and painkillers to get through it. I forgot to mention it because I honestly thought that my knee only hurt due to the uneven grounding. (Something I wouldn't experience in the Parish)

I was very surprised when I first experienced the pain on the first day. We had only a few miles to go and mum had a pain killer to give me. I honestly thought it was due to the uneven ground because before then, my knee never hurt whilst walking. It only hurt when running and after running for a couple of days.

This is why I haven't been running recently. I want my knee to get better or at least not get worse, but it's horrible, I hate not being able to put my running trainers on when ever I want. It's what I love doing, especially after a stressful day at work or if your angry or upset about something.

Anyway, everyday last week whilst walking in the IOM walking festival, I experienced pain in my knee at least once, but I was able to walk through it. I used 2 walking poles to ease the pressure off my knee and took a pain killer, which did the trick.

Since then I walked to Kirk Michael via Peel (after firstly walking to dancing followed by 2 hours of dancing) and on Bank holiday Monday, I walked home from Kirk Michael via Injebreck which is the shortest route. Both times my knee started hurting after the 10 mile mark and on Monday, it hurt more. This is when I really started worrying because my knee hadn't bothered me whilst walking on road, like I said, it was only when running.

However, something I have been avoiding is walking to fast because I can feel my knee when walking to fast as well. I just stick to a very comfortable 4 miles an hour, I think a lot of this was actually subconscious. Also, since my knee injury I think I have been walking a bit funny, something I haven't noticed until now. It was actually my mum and work colleagues noticing it. I think I was walking on it funny because I'm aware of my knee and I'm scared of hurting it, but, I'm probably not doing any favours by walking funny on it. Right now, I'm conscious of every step I do as my knee even hurts walking around the house.

I think it is probably best if I don't train anymore, I'm prepared as much as I can be, I have been out walking regularly since December 08. This is why I'm even more annoyed at the situation. I have trained, I have been eating healthy and I been keeping myself fit, I've been hardening my feet to help prevent blisters, but this knee injury is out of my control. I am able to walk through horrendous blisters, muscle pain and chaffing - I've done it before, I don't know how, but I manage it by putting the pain to the back of my mind and keeping positive. But this knee injury is a different type of pain, when it gets really bad I physically can not walk on it or my whole leg will give way and I will fall to the floor.

The sort of pain I am experiencing now or after 10 miles over the weekend is manageable as long as it doesn't get worse, it will probably slow me down, make the whole experience not as pleasant and probably make the knee even worse but I could cope with it. However, the likely hood is that the pain will get worse and worse for every mile I walk.

If this knee does stop me from completing the Parish I'll be so upset because it's not only the Parish walk that I have to do all over again, it's the training as well. I've worked out that I have walked roughly 500 miles so far. Miles that I have purposely walked in order to complete the Parish walk. On top of that, I would feel silly if I, for example only make it to Peel because of this injury and I would feel bad on those people who have given me sponsor money on the intention that I was on a mission to complete it. So I feel that I would be letting others down as well as myself, even though it is not my fault.

I really don't know what I should be doing? I think it's best not to train anymore but what about my dancing class twice a week, which I again love and don't want to miss. I don't know if dancing it doing my knee harm or not? What about walking to town and walking to meet my friends, walking to catch the bus, walking to dancing etc, it's not training because that's what I always do but I'm confused about doing to much and harming my knee and not doing anything and harming my knee.

I had an x-ray on my knee a few weeks back and nothing came of it so my next step is seeing a physio therapist which costs £48 per session. So not cheap, but it has to be done. My appointment is a week tomorrow. Lets just hope that the session helps.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Can do attitude

Last week I walked over 100 miles by walking around the isle of man coastal paths following the the way of the gull signs. I did it with a group of other walkers, mostly from overseas. However, there were a couple of locals, such as Bethany who completed the double Parish last year.

It was nice to listen to her story, and others experiences and tips they had.

If anything is going to keep me going it's - if Bethany can complete 2 laps of the Parish, I can complete 1 lap. Another little saying I say to myself when I am really struggling is pain is temporary but quiting is forever and pain is temporary and pride is forever.

Also, when I am feeling low in the Parish and feel like quiting, I'm going to think of the high that's coming, it might take 10 minutes or 1 hour but it will come. I am always optimistic and I think anyone who completes the Parish has to be. When I'm struggling, I will visualise the finish at the war memorial, even thinking about that now makes me really happy, that will be another technique I'll be using to help me finish.

At the beginning and end of everyday of the walking festival, a taxi drove us to the start and back. The taxi driver we had completed the Parish walk last year in 2008. He told me everything which happened in great detail - we drove along the Parish walk route for a while and showed me which fence he was slumped over and where he stopped for 20 minutes. He had tried to complete the Parish for the last 2 years and almost quit again at Lonan Church but his back up team encouraged him not too. He made it within the time limit with 10 minutes to spare.

That's another story I'll remember when I'm walking it myself. He completed it in the pouring rain. Hopefully, the weather can't possible be worse than what it was last year. I'm so grateful that I was under 21 in last years event and therefore not allowed to walk beyond Peel.

Anyone who completes the Parish walk has done a remarkable achievement. They should be proud for themselves for the rest of their lives but I personally think that the longer you take to complete the Parish, the more the achievement is. As you have had more chances to quit and felt the pain for much longer.

I'm feeling very positive about the Parish today because after completing over 100 miles in 5 days, I am very pleased to say that I feel absolutely fine. No blisters or sore feet, my muscles aren't hurting, I don't even feel tired, I could walk again today. Although, I'm not, as probably should rest - I don't want to over do it.

I'm thinking of resting today and Sunday and then walking 20 miles on Bank holiday Monday. I'm planning on training up to the last week before the Parish. Yesterday, I had the thought of walking to Peel or even Kirk Michael - the route of the Parish walk which is 32 / 38 miles but now I'm thinking it might be too much? I'll see how I feel but I am scared of either doing to much or too little.

I'm already starting to get nervous, it feels very real now that it is only a few week away. I'm also under alot of pressure to complete it, but I am confident that I can. It's not going to be easy, I'll be in a lot of pain and I will feel like giving up as certain points but I am mentally strong. I will keep plodding on and say to myself, I can do this. I think about what other people achieve which is even harder, for example mount everes. I have walked Kilimanjaro in Africa and I have experienced altidude sickness to a certain degree and it isn't pleasent. Kilimanjaro is nothing compared to Mount Everous. If people can do such achievements then I can complete the Parish walk.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Raising funds for Autism Initiatives

I cannot believe how fast the Parish walk is approaching, 1 Month and 3 days to go. How scary is that?

I am going to train really hard tomorrow and throughout the week as I am taking part in the Isle of Man walking festival. I am walking around the Island in 5 days and including the walk to the start and back, I will be walking 24 miles a day for 5 days which will give me good confidence - I think.

However, not all of the walk is on road, the walk covers road, glens, beaches (etc) so it will be a variety of surfaces (which I think is easier on your feet).

I really do hope that the weather isn't going to be so unpredictable as it is now. Everytime I have been outside this weekend its started pouring with rain and as soon as I go indoors, the sun comes out?

Last Monday and Tuesday, I walked to work and back which is 9 miles all together and on Wednesday, I walked to Glen vine again (where I work) and afterwards, I continued walking in the direction of Peel and continued to Kirk Michael to see my boyfriend.

It took me just under 3 hours to walk from Glen Vine to Kirk Michael via Peel. The weather wasn't the best but it could have been alot worse. Everyone at my work thought I was mad when I refused a lift in order to walk.

I have decided to raise money for Autism Initiatives which is a charity I work for. The funds will provide a sensory room for individuals with Autism on the Isle of Man. The facility costs £5000.00. I am going to do my best to raise as much money as possible.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

I have just scrolled through my entire blog very quickly and roughly adding up all the miles I have walked in 'training' sessions. The figure does not include miles walking to work and dancing etc and also does not include distances I've ran.

According to this blog, to date I have walked 389 miles.

It seems quite high, but the miles soon add up and sometimes I do wonder if I am doing enough?

Throughout Monday - Thursday I walked to work and back which is now based in Glen Vine. This is probably about a 9 mile walk including the walk home.

On Saturday, my boyfriend offered to pick me up from Douglas and give me a lift back to his in Kirk Michael (but after the football) I decided to walk towards Peel as it would add miles to my feet and would be less effort for him. In the end I got as far as Ballacrain (2 miles from Peel). I probably walked about 9 miles.

On Sunday morning, I left Kirk Michael at about 07:15 and walked to Douglas via Interbreck. I really enjoyed the walk and felt really comfortable at the quaterbridge. I decided to continue walking and not take the most direct route home (which is what I usually do) I walked to the Quay and along the prom, up Summerhill and back to my house from Onchan. Soon afterwards I walked to dancing and back. Probably a total of 20 miles.

Next week I'm taking part in the IOM Walking Festival which is following 'The Way of the Gull' around the coastal path. It will cover 100 miles in 5 days, I hope this will be good training for the Parish.

In the mean time, I will continue to walk to work and back when I can. Sometimes, it isn't possible because on Monday, for example, I will be based in KirkMichael.

Monday, 4 May 2009

I completed the Sara Kiley walk in just under 7 hours 30 minutes which is a speed of 4 miles an hour. This was the time I was aiming for as I hope to walk and maintain the same speed for the Parish.

I walked with Jenny Patrick for the entire distance. I had done a few walks with her prior to the event and we intended to walk together - it was great to have her company.

I found it harder only walking 30 miles as apposed to walking 50 miles in previous years. I think it is because I didn't prepare myself mentally because I didn't think I needed too (as I only care about distance, not speed) and I felt that I could walk 30 miles comfortably. However, time did not fly by and I wasn't comfortable at all.

I felt guilty about the shorter distance this year, so I decided to walk to Jenny's house which is 2.5 miles away from where I live, Jenny's mum then gave us a lift to Peel.

I wore reasonably new shoes and I replaced the insoles for better ones. I also wore 2 pairs of thin socks. I'm not joking when I say my soles of my feet had a burning/stinging sensation only after a few miles of walking. I have never experienced this type of pain before, especially so early on. I could only guess that perhaps it is because I'm wearing 2 socks? Or are the shoes to new? or perhaps their isn't enough room? At Kirkmichael, I took one pair of socks off too try anything to ease the burning sensation. It continued to bother me until the finish, and all I could think about was thank god it wasn't 50 miles after all. This walk was supposed to give me confidence for the Parish, but I think it's done the opposite.

On the plus side, I didn't get any blisters and my muscles were fine.

At about half way I felt really queezy, like I wanted to be sick. I wasn't sure whether is was because I had eaten too much food or whether is was because I was Hungary? So I didn't know whether to eat or not. I decided not to eat, only because I didn't fancy it and my queezyness soon went away. I eat far more food in the 1st half, but this always happens to me because later on in the walk, eating is the last thing I feel like doing and this might be a big problem in the Parish. I find it hard to know how much and how often I should be eating.

Jenny's mum was a star, she backed us up the majority of the way (which I am not used to) and she provided me with a cheese roll. I definitely prefer savoury food on long walks, however, without the back up it's hard to eat savoury food as I can only carry energy bars, chocolate and sweets in my bum bag.

Now that I know this, I plan to buy lots of different types of fruit for the Parish, this is savoury and also contains natural sugar.

2 days ago, I walked the Parish Walk route from Ramsey to Laxey, I intended to walk all the way to Douglas, but I'm too good to my friends as I decided to get a bus home to meet them all in time before going back to Laxey and seeing a bit of the Blues festival.

I have now walked every part of the Parish walk route, just not in order and not in one go.

I now work in Glen Vine which I have already mentioned and tomorrow, I intend on walking to work and back which will be just over 8 miles in total.

Jenny and I are attending the Sara Kiley presentation tonight which is at the Cat With No Tail at 7pm for a 7:30pm start.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

As at the moment, my knee feels a lot better. But, it might just be because I haven't been walking or running for the last 10 days or so. (But I like to be optimistic)

I have iced my knee a few times as I have been told it may help.

The only walk I have done is maximum 2 miles a few times.

On Sunday, I had dancing rehearsal at Courfour and again later on that day at Ballakermeen High School. I tested my knee out by running to Courfour from my house. My knee didn't hurt and I was really happy about that. But in the afternoon, I also tried to run home from Ballakermeen, but unfortunately, the pain came back. I did the sensible thing of walking home instead.

Last Friday was my last working day with Barclays. I now work for Autism Initiatives UK which is a charity helping Autistic people and their families. My main placement is at Glenvine and I have been cycling there and back this week which surprisingly doesn't hurt my knee. Although the job isn't physically active, it is definitely a lot more tiring, as your on your feet all day - in contrast to sitting down, behind a desk, all day.

It's only my second day, but I definitely feel that I have made the right choice. It's really challenging but rewarding and fulfilling too. It's what I have been looking for in a job for quite a while.

The job involves working weekends and shifts so I have had to book the Parish as holiday. (I might not need it as holiday, as it could end up being my day off anyway, but I did it in case it didn't work out like that. I didn't want to take any chances.

In a way, I feel quite bad because I have had to book quite a bit of holiday (but it has all been booked and paid for prior to job offer):

Parish Walk,
Great North Run in Newcastle
Isle of Man Walking Festival - training for the Parish
Family holiday to Ibiza (quiet side)
Climbing up Machu Pichu in South America with Family

I'm really exciting about my new job and I'm really keen to learn. Someone lent me a autobiography to read. A girl with Autism wrote the book and I've been told that it is good read.

To be honest, even if I didn't have this niggling pain in my knee, I wouldn't be able to train this week anyway. I feel really bad because Jenny has texted me a couple of times asking if I want to go for a walk with her, but unfortunately, I don't want to because of my knee and I can't because I'm so busy this week. I've started my new job, I have dancing rehearsals every night as we are doing a show at the Gaiety from Thurs - Sat. I need to somewhere along the lines visit the Douglas Police station because I've been selected to be a community Officer, which is working alongside the police voluntarily - and, one of my best friends just had a baby girl called Leah, 7 pounds. (who I haven't even been able to meet and probably won't have the chance too until next week.)

I shouldn't complain, when I do have half an hour to relax, I hate it.

Well....the Sara Killey walk is this Sunday I believe. I hope so anyway. I hope the rest this week does me good rather than the opposite effect. I will have to see what happens to my knee? I am not going to walk fast at all, probably the pace that I want to do in this years Parish, perhaps 4 miles an hour or just over that.

The Sara Kiley walk is 30 miles long and for the last 2 Parish's, I completed Peel in under 7 hours, so probably capable of completing the new Sara Killey walk in around 6 hours 30 minutes, but I'm not interested in speed at the moment, I just want to concentrate on distance.

Good luck, to everyone taking part in the event!

Monday, 13 April 2009

The last thing I need!!!

The only form of training that I have done since my last update is going to the gym during my lunch on Friday and walking 27 miles on Sunday. The 27 miles was split up throughout the day because I walked home from Kirk Michael an extra long way which was probably 21 miles. I then walked to dancing and back later that day and walked to the bus station in the evening. My legs and feet felt great, however, I did have blisters on my feet which I only noticed once I took my shoes and socks off.

Apart from that, I haven't done much - training wise, I've either been resting to perform well in a race or injured! :(

I've injured my knee quite badly and I'm really upset about it. It's the not knowing whats wrong with it, how it happened or what I need to do to make the injury go away.

I first felt my knee niggling on Good Friday, (The day I did the 10km run in Port Erin). My mum reckons it's because I've done too much and over trained but the ironic thing is - I didn't train 4 nights in a row because of the Port Erin 10km run.

I completed the race in 51 minutes. I am a bit disappointed because I wanted at least 50 minutes, but I did push myself and I forget every time how hilly the route is. My knee wasn't hurting during the race. At least I didn't think so at the time. (I am able to block out pain when I need too.) Only after the race was my knee really sore. I couldn't bend my leg and hobbled back to my car.

The following day my knee still hurt and again, I couldn't bend my leg. I met my friends in town and I struggled to keep up with the strolling pace. (A sight not often seen.)

However, the next day, Easter Sunday, my knee was fine and I could walk normally again. In actual fact, I completely forgot about the injury and really fancied a run in the evening. I ran 7 miles, it was really uncomfortable. The last mile I had to walk home because my knee was so sore. I cannot recall ever walking when I go out specifically for a run. I should have turned back the minute I took my first step and felt pain, but I love running and walking, it's what I do.

I'm not joking when I say I can't walk from A-B. This Easter Weekend I've been getting around on my push bike. My knee does hurt slightly when cycling but no where near to the extent of when I run or walk.

My mum has offered to drive me to work tomorrow. Some people, if not most people would prefer a lift to work, but not me, I hate the idea of not being able to walk to work and back.

My oldest brother Graham (24) also had a knee injury recently and he had a look at it to see if I had something similar. He is no physio therapist and couldn't help in the end but suggested an exercise that strengthens your core. Graham said that a lot of runners get injuries because all they do is run and have no core strength. (that's why my mum has a bad back now and she says Pilate's does her the world of good.)

I'm really worried about this injury because the Parish means everything to me and I've done so much training. It's typical really, we are only 2 Months away from the big day. I hope that I am exaggerating this injury and that it disappears, but I can't help but think the worse.

Mum reckons I should book a doctors appointment now so that if I need to see a physio, I can get on the waiting list now, rather than later.

I have arranged to meet Jenny a few times this week for a walk but I think I am going to have to cancel on her. I hate letting people down, especially when it comes to walking because I know how de-motivating it can be to go out on your own when you expected company. But if I don't cancel on her, I'll be letting myself down. Anyhow, I can't walk even if I wanted to, so I don't have a choice in the matter.

I also have the Sara Kiley walk in 2 weeks time, so cross fingers the injury has gone away by then.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

So much for resting?

I haven't rested since the half marathon, I should really, but I'm going to rest next week instead as I'm taking part in the Port Erin 6 Mile run on Good Friday.

On Monday (bearing in mind this was the day after the half marathon) I went on a 7 mile run varying my speed from jogging to running to sprinting. It was really tough, my legs felt so heavy and I was grateful when I finished. All the way through the run I thought to myself that I shouldn't be doing this.

I was thinking about resting on Tuesday, but I had already arranged to meet Jenny for a walk. Including my walk to work, I walked 12 miles in total. I started at Courfour leaving all my belongings in a locker there. I had dancing later that night at Courfour so I left my bag their deliberately. When I got home, my front door was locked, no one was in and I forgot to bring my house keys with me, (I left it in my bag at Courfour.) I was really annoyed at myself, I started walking back to Courfour, which would have added an extra 4 miles to the walk but I saw my mums Car at Shoprite and I got the keys off her - luckily. It meant having tea before going to dancing, which I needed.

On Wednesday, I met the usual running group at Nobles Park, we did a speed training session. We ran down quite a steep hill, along some thick grass and then back up another steep hill. We repeated it 6 times with a 2 minute rest each time. Afterwards, we did 2 sprints, 1 down a hill, the other up a hill. It was really hard and I fell asleep really early whilst watching TV.

On Thursday, I was planning on meeting up with a friend and resting. But she wanted to go to the gym to do a "Thighs, bums and tums" class. She asked me to go with her for 'moral support' and guess what? That's exactly what I did. So much for resting.

Tomorrow, I'm planning to go to the gym during my lunch, so I can't do much even if I wanted to. I will definitely rest on Saturday, but on Sunday I'm planning on walking home from Kirkmichael.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

I did not expect a Personal Best.

Just a quick update this time. I promise.

Liverpool Half Marathon results:

Time: 1 hour 50 minutes and 50 seconds
Position: 1,564th (I don't know how many people took part but my mum was something like 2,750 position and she was nowhere near the back)
Age cat position: 113th

Got back from the Liverpool half marathon 30 minutes ago and I'm really pleased with my time. I got a personal best of 1 hour 50 minutes and 50 seconds, so well under 2 hours.

I have always wanted to get 1 hour 50 but never quite ran quick enough, my personal best before today was 1 hour 52 minutes in the Ramsey half marathon.

I was optamistic this morning. I slept well and decided to wear a pace making bracelet thing - a time of 1 hour 50 mins - it shows what time you have to be at, for each and every mile. My mum thought I was aiming to high and didn't think I would be able to achieve it. (So did I, to be honest, but I thought I might push my self harder this way, and the plan worked. So much for not worrying about time).

I was worried that perhaps I was running to fast in the first half and I'd soon run out of steam, but I didn't, the only thing that did bother me, however, was the heat (believe it or not, but it felt too hot and I wore trousers) and my shoes felt a bit flat.

Also, on the 7th mile (I'd ran exactly 1 hour at this point) the inside of my left ankle and up my leg slightly, was painful everytime I put weight on it. After 2 miles it gave in and I heard a loud click - it hurt so much that I actually said "ouch" out loud and I couldn't put my full weight on that leg for about 5 strides and after that it was perfectly fine again. It's not the first time I have experienced this and I'm not sure what it is or even what bone or muscle is it?

When I did finish the race, I had enough time to get a shower in my hotel room before I had to be checked out by 12pm. I felt fine at first, obviously tired and maybe a bit dizzy from suddenly stopping but certainly not sick, but after my shower and waiting 5 minues for mum, I suddenly started feeling queezy and sick. Turned out it was just because I was so hungary, as soon as I had a jacket potatoe, 2 bottles of lucadaze, chocolate and energy bars, oh and bannanas, I was fine. Honestly, I'm really small in height and quite thin, but I have to eat so much, people wonder where I put it. But I honestly feel that my body needs the food. and if I let myself get too hungary I start feeling sick. My mum doesn't get that at all, she did the half marathon and only nibbled up until tea. Whilst I also had a toastee at the airport and another jacket potatoe at home. (I must just have a really fast matabolism.)

I saw 2 people in fancy dress, one person was all the way from Australia and was wearing crickit gear and was also carrying the bat. He was very near the back. I also saw a man about 3 miles in front of me wearing a blow up baby costume which must have been 3 meters tall. It's so demorolising when you see someone in a fancy dress costume so dramatic as that beating you by such a long way. (alot of the routes go back on yourself so you can see people infront and behind)

Whilst shopping yesterday, I ended up buying a pair of trainers that I will wear on the parish. It was Asics, Kayano, 15. I also have the Asics, Kayano, 14. I will wear one pair of those trainers for the Parish and bring the other one in the car incase I feel like chaging trainers. (I read somewhere that if you have really bad blisters, changing trainers sometimes helps because there are different pressure points.) Both shoes will have added insoles for comfort. I also bought rehydration tablets that you put in 500ml of water, along with 3 more pairs of socks, two liners and one outer layer sock. So the Parish has been quite expensive for me! But it means so much to me that I want to try everything. If I do fail, at least I won't have any regrets such as, I didn't train, I didn't have comfy shoes, socks, clothing (etc). Saying that, back when the Parish first started, people used to complete the walk in work clothes and work shoes. I just don't know how they did it? Maybe thats something worth thinking about when you feel like giving up? We have got a hugh advantage.

Not really sure what I'm going to do this week - training wise, so i'll just play it by ear. In the mean time, I'm really looking forward to sleeping!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Feeling tired from over doing it.

I was planning to walk 3-4 hours this morning before meeting some friends in town. However, after working hard everyday for almost 2 weeks, it's starting to catch up on me and my legs feel very tired and heavy.

I noticed it considerably yesterday. After work, I caught a bus to Peel from Douglas and I ran to Kirk Michael. I think it was 7 Miles. I couldn't tell you how long it took because my stop watch stopped half way through. All I do know, is I felt slow and it was because my legs were so tired from pushing myself in previous workouts. It didn't help that I was really hungry and had little energy. Also, when my I-Pod ran out of battery, I wasn't best pleased. But I actually found it quite nice listening to almost silence (apart from the odd vehicle). I also look at the scenery more when I haven't got music. I remember watching 20-30 rabbits running in a field.

I've only ever got the bus to Peel and ran to Kirk Michael straight after work once before. Although it's nice to do and convenient it is also inconvenient at the same time because I have to pack all my running stuff and bring it to work and then I need to leave my work stuff at work and carry all necessary items with me - like purse, mobile, i-pod, house keys. So all this stuff is jiggling in my pockets which is annoying. The bus also leaves at 17:10, so I have to finish work bang on 5, get changed and leg it to the bus stop within 10 minutes. It used to bother me being in proper running gear for everyone at work to see and the have to catch a bus like that. But I'm much more confidant now and I don't care. I'm just doing what I want to do.

Yesterday night, (like most nights actually) as soon as my head hits the pillow I am asleep. That's one of many things I like about being active. There was a time at school - when doing my A-Levels, that I stopped doing exercise because my friend who I used to always run with and swim with and do everything sports related with went to Uni. I started not being able to sleep, eventually it got so bad I was only sleeping 1 hour a night and I tried to catch up on my sleep during the day but I couldn't sleep then either. I tried everything, herbal remadies, hot milk, lavender, having a bath before bed. Nothing worked. It really effected my school work, it was such bad timing, because I really cannot cope without sleep. The day I started sleeping well again was when my mum encouraged me to get out of bed and go for a run. At the time, I didn't feel like she understood how tired I was. It's a vicious circle, if you are tired and drained from lack of sleep, the last thing you feel like doing is exercise. However, mum encouraged me to run, explaining that nothing else was working and I might as well give it a go to tire my body out not just my eyes. That night, I slept like a baby, the first time in Months and that is a major reason I do exercise, I am just very fortunate that I also enjoy it.

I cannot cope with little sleep, everyone else seems to be able to handle it a lot better than me. If I go out with my friends in the evening, I'm always the first one to go home because I feel very tired - probably from some form of exercise I did earlier that day, and I don't want to be tired the next day either. Quite often, I like to be home before 12 and that's even a late night for me. It's just as well I didn't go to uni, I wouldn't have fitted in at all. It's just nice that my friends are great and they know what I'm like so they don't mind me going home.

When I do the Parish walk, I'm going to have to be up all day and night - walking. I pray that I can handle it. I'm hoping that if your active, it's different - my determination and passion for the Parish will kick in and overcome my tiredness? When I was 13 years old, I did the moon walk in London which is a 26 mile road walk. The event is held once a year and it to raise funds for breast cancer. Everyone, including men wear just a bra or a bra over the top of their clothes (which I did). This walk starts at 12pm and I remember being so tired at the beginning of the walk. In total, it took us 10 hours to complete this walk. I am aware that this is incredibly slow.....when I took part in this event, 8 years ago, it was very unorganised. Their were crowds of people trying to funnel through narrow streets. It took us 1 hour to walk the first mile. I remember leaning on bricked walls closing my eyes at every opportunity I had (which was quite a lot) because I was so tired. I don't think we started walking at our usual pace until we got to mile 4. Once we got going, I was fine and I started waking up, so I'm hoping this will apply for the Parish as well. (If anyone is taking part or is considering to take part in the moonwalk, I've been told that the organisation is alot better and the streets are much wider and the slow start doesn't exist anymore.)

I'll explain why my legs are so tired now - I've already mentioned that I've done training everyday since coming back from holiday. Since my last update, I met up with a group of people to go running with and it was supposed to be an easy session. We were only supposed to jog 3 miles. However, I ended up running at the front of the pack and then kept up with the 3 fastest people. It was reasonably comfortable running to the prom from the NSC and along the prom to the villa marina, but the pace increased from bottom of Broadway all the way to the the top of the hill at St Ninians. I really worked up the hill trying to keep up with the people I was with, knowing if I fell behind, I'd be running on my own because the rest were a while behind us. From here, we were supposed to jog directly back to the NSC. However, we had to make it harder for ourselves again and we ran a longer way by heading to the test centre, to the hospital and back to the NSC. I was running flat out, harder than I have ever before. I was really chuffed that I managed to keep up. I have no idea what speed we were running, it would have been interesting to know.

On Tuesday, I walked with a friend - Jenny. We walked straight after work at 5 for about 2 hours. We walked along Marine Drive all the way to Port Sodrick and then headed back where it leads to the back of Tesco's. From here I walked home. I much prefer having company on walks, although I go slightly slower, the time goes so fast.

On Wednesday, I ran 6 miles, taking it easy-ish for the first 3 miles (except stopping for the toilets on the prom and having to sprint to catch up with everyone) The last three miles were harder because the people ahead of me were speeding up and I felt obliged to catch them up which I did just in the nick of time. I actually overtook another runner along the grandstand -who was going at a reasonable pace - I felt good about that.

The following day, I went for a walk, straight after work, but on my own this time. Jenny had a hairdressers appointment, so she couldn't make it. I got back at 8pm so I did 3 hours. I walked along Portsodrick, I then followed the road which takes you by B&Q area, I then ended up by Kirby Garden Centre and back at the NSC. I was tempted to walk directly home from here, but I felt good and was enjoying the walk so I decided to carry on. From here I walked to the prom along the prom, up Summer hill and back home. During this walk - near the end of the prom, I missed an important phone call which I was eager to get back home and return the call (as I had no money on my mobile).

I'm really enjoying the lighter evenings and I sence that my full length trousers can soon hibernate again and I can bring out my shorts and t-shirt instead. I am also much prefering to go for a walk straight after work. It means having an hour extra to relax at home, so your walking is done quicker and as such your evening feels longer. I have been eating my homemade energy bars which I think work very well. I've finished the last energy bar yesterday (I'm not sure if my brothers and sisters have been taking them for themselves, because they have seemed to disappeared very quickly?) I'll try and make some more over the weekend, this time, adding more dried fruit and an extra table spoon of honey, maybe, slightly less flour and a touch more Orange juice. I feel the energy bar really worked for me, so I will continue making it and eating it.

I'm going to take it easy today and I'll see how I feel tomorrow. I really should take it easy this week because I have the Liverpool half marathon next Sunday. The last time I ran a half marathon distance was last September which was The Great North Run in Newcastle. I haven't really been running the distances I should but I have done a lot of running recently so I should be fine. I should easily be able to complete it in under 2 hours, so if I don't I'll be disappointed but I'm going to try not and look at my watch and just enjoy my self. In a way, I see it as training for the full marathon which I'll do next year and I'll concentrate on after the Parish.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Feeling good!

I've really enjoyed my first week on the Island since coming back from holiday. I've done exercise 6 days on the trot so far and I feel really good for it. At the moment I feel really fit and healthy and when I feel like that it makes me want to do even more exercise because I enjoy it so much.

Yesterday, I met my friends in town so I walked there and back like I usually do. However, this time I decided to wear these weights that you wrap around your ankles. Each weight is half a stone, so in total, I was 1 stone heavier. As usual, my friends thought I was mad but why not make the most of it?

Whilst I was walking home, I really wanted to go out running, I remember picking up the pace so that I would be home quicker and therefore be running sooner. Also, I didn't have much time because I was going to a friends house later that night. As soon as I got home, I ran up the stairs to ask mum whether she wanted to come with me -I didn't care what speed I went, I just wanted to run. As it turned out, mum did want to join me, but I wouldn't have minded either way. I was going to run regardless - I'd made up my mind a while ago.

Mum and I ran a different route to usual. We ran to Onchan and through a countryside road and back home. We ran for 1 hour but the pace was easy, I didn't feel tired at the end. Whilst running with mum, I'll say something along the line of "you set the pace, I'm scared of going to fast." Mum jokingly gets annoyed because she hates the fact that I can chose to have a hard run and a rest run like this one was for me.

Whilst running, I saw a group of walkers and one of them recognised me and shouted across that they love my blog. To be honest, I'm doing the blog more for myself, but if people are enjoying reading it, then that's fantastic. I've had a couple of people I don't know approach me and say really nice things about my blog and wishing me luck and I think that's really nice.

After the Parish I intend to run a Marathon. I'm planning to apply for the London Marathon, for the 4th time, I if I don't get in again, I'll do a different Marathon, perhaps Paris or maybe a country I haven't been to yet? I joke to mum that I'll get a sub 4 first time, something that mum has always wanted to do but not quite reached it. Mum must have done over 20 marathons and her personal best is 4 hours 3 minutes.

Today, I met a few people at the Snaefell Bungalow and went for a run in the hills. I say run, although we also walked a lot of it! The route we did is the same race that is taking place next Saturday at 2pm. It involves running up Snaefell itself. To be honest, I'm rubbish at fell running. I have no sense of direction, I am guaranteed to get lost, if on my own and I have no idea how to read a map or use a compass. We did the route to practise for next Saturday's race. But I still think I'd get lost-even on a clear day, like today. I was given loads of tips like-head to that tree (etc) but I found it difficult to head to objects in the distance whilst running because I have to look at the ground all the time and concentrate, as to not fall over or twist an ankle.
Also, I'm honestly useless at running down hill. In fact, I can't do it, I might as well walk, it might possibly be quicker?! (It probably doesn't help the fact that I haven't got any fell running shoes, I just used my ordinary road running shoes). I much prefer to run up hill than down hill, although it's physically harder, at least I have the will power to keep going. I noticed, that out of the group I was with a tended to lead the uphills but tailed behind in the down hills.

I haven't got the guts to throw myself down a hill. I know your supposed to relax but I tried this and actually did fall over a couple of times and scared myself. Although, when I was younger, my brothers and sister used to race each other up and down Snaefell from the bungalow. We even had a stopwatch and recorded our times and tried to beat it. I can't ever remember being scared of the down hill part and I think I did used to throw myself down it. But I think your less scared as a child and I my competitiveness probably took over.

I almost forgot to mention, I'm in the middle of making some homemade energy bars. (We haven't got any raw eggs in the house so I need to wait until mum goes shopping later today to finish them off. I'll eat them on my walks this week. I want to test how successful they are (as in, will they actually stick together or will the oats crumble apart and make it hard to eat?) I hope it does work because I want to make a load for the Parish Walk day.

At the moment, every time I go for a walk, I always try and eat something, despite the relatively short distance (8-10 miles) I want to get my body used to eating whilst moving, something I've never enjoyed doing. I usually force it down me. Something I'm not looking forward too. I'm hoping that if I at least eat one thing every time I walk, this might change?

Bring on next week!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Back from holiday already?

First week back from holiday and already it feels as if I hadn't gone at all!

The holiday was brilliant, it was different and I was active quite alot on the first week in Bulgaria because I did skiing. I could feel my thighs and calf muscles working. Thank god I didn't get any injuries! Although at times, it was a close shave. At one point my sister and I collided and my brother (who is much more advanced) had to sort our tangle out - I remember him shouting at us not to move or one of us would break a foot.

Whilst in Bulgaria I read Paula Radcliffe's autobiography which was really good. It made me want to go out running myself, but the conditions made it impossible as it would have been far to slippery with all the ice and snow.

If anyone needs any motivation, Paula Radcliffe's autobiography is the book to read. It really made me want to run as hard as I could. If only I'd been on the Island when I read it?

I did however make time for a 1 hour 30 minute walk with my parents through the forest which was really pretty. I did this because I was going to see an orphanage in the afternoon where my sponsored child lives and therefore didn't have time to ski in the morning. The walk wasn't very fast though, I was wearing snow boots with about 4 layers of clothes on.

Later on in the week we also walked to a restaurant which was half an hour away. But other than skiing, that was as far as the exercise went.

I spent the second week in one of my best friends parents house in Tenerife. This week was nice to relax after skiing and I appreciated the sun a lot more after coming from such a cold country. By this point though, I was itching to run again and there was a lovely promenade which was very popular for runners and walkers. I managed to fit in 2 runs, both 1 hours 30 minutes long. Back home I would normally struggle to go out for that long but because the scenery was so nice and different, I thoroughly enjoyed it and could have happily ran for longer. I did notice, however, that I was running much slower than usual but that was because their were steep inclines as well as the heat.

Some people would think I'm mad to want to run whilst on holiday but I can't sit still and have to be active or I become really restless.

My friend and I actually did cover a fair few miles everyday walking to place to place. Some days, we walked up to 2 hours, although, it felt very slow, some times, uncomfortably slow so it probably wasn't beneficial. (Although, we weren't out training, we were having a strol) It might have helped keeping the legs ticking over?

I returned back to the Island Sunday night and although I would have liked to get back into normal routine on Monday I thought I better not. I had some catching up to do with my family and friends.

Tuesday, however, I planned to go out for a walk which I was looking forward to because I hadn't been on a brisk walk in a while. I managed to walk just over 2 hours before dance class.

On Wednesday I went to Nobles Park and found a circuit about 500 meters long. I ran this circuit as fast as possible 5 times with a 2 and a half minute break between each set. My legs felt very heavy during this training session and I struggled. I didn't feel as fast as usual. Maybe because I've had a break from hard training sessions from being on holiday?

I've just got back from a 2 hour and 30 minute walk. I met up with a friend called Jenny who I met through another friend. I found out that she too does the Parish each year and we decided to meet up and go for a walk together. I really enjoyed the walk, it went so fast I couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch. We were perhaps walking a tad slower than what I would have done if I was on my own but the point is, I really enjoyed her company and I'm sure it's done me good.

One thing I have found out since coming back to the Island is the route and distance for the Fire Station Challenge event has completely changed. Apparently the route is only 30 miles and the walk starts in Peel and ends in Ramsey. I am actually very disapointed in this because the old route which covers 50 miles would have been a great test to how I would feel come Parish walk day. I was hoping that this years firestation challenge would prove easier because of all the training I've put in which I hahn't previously done. 30 miles will still be excellant training but I would be lieing if I said I wasn't disappointed.

On the plus side, I have just entered for the Isle of Man Walking Festivel which takes place on the second week of May. You walk about 20 miles a day for 5 days in a row and you walk around the Isle of Man following the way of the gull sign posts. Everyone meets at the Villa Marina and a bus takes us back to the villa marina at the end of the day. On top of walking 20 miles, I might add an extra 4 miles byt walking to and from the Villa! The event costs £60 and I've had to take time off work. For me, this works really well, because it will get me out walking reasonably long distances whilst having company. It will also give me some confidence for the Parish as it is only a Month before hand.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Full of the cold

I just got back from a 10 mile walk. Part of the walk was along Marine Drive, which is a very nice area especially for walking as there isn't any traffic. The weather was also spot on. It wasn't cold (unless it was - and it was actually because I wrapped up well) anyway, I didn't feel the cold - which is a change and there was no wind either. The only problem I had at times, which wasn't really a problem, just annoying, I kept randomly having coughing fits as I have a horrible cold at the moment and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

On Monday I ran 1km followed by 500meters as fast as possible and repeated it. I jogged very slowly between each set. I pushed myself so hard, partly because I had somebody pushing me and encouraging me to keep going giving me advise and tips throughout. I had the first symptoms of a cold on Monday, but it wasn't too bad at this point and it didn't effect my running.

On Tuesday, I went to my gym during lunch to do weight training and after work I did some cardio work before my dancing class. I also ended up walking 6 miles this day from walking to and from work and back to dancing.

On Wednesday, I did a 6 mile run and I kept changing my speed from jogging to sprinting. I used landmarks in the distance to do this. At one point I was running along the Douglas prom but it was very icy. It was dangerous to walk on never mind running so I had to run along the pavement instead. I struggled during training session as I could feel my cold getting worse and despite this I pushed myself really hard again. I probably haven't done myself any favours.

However, I'm hoping that the speed training I've done recently will benefit me in the half marathon run in Liverpool next Month.

I was so ill on Thursday and Friday that I skipt any kind of training. I even missed the chance to see some friends back from Uni! I had hoped that by doing nothing it might help clear up my cold but unfortunately not.

A week today I'm off to Bulgaria for a skiing holiday - cross fingers that I don't get any injuries! Whilst in Bulgaria, I'm going to visit my sponsored child as the chance won't arise often. I dread to think the coldness. I just hope I can stand it and have brought enough layers with me. From Bulgaria, I'm flying to Manchester, to London and then to Tenerife for another week holiday in the sun. So quite a drastic change in temperature and my suitcase looks quite random.

I was hoping to climb the tallest mountain in Tenerife called Teide whilst there but unfortunately there is snow at the top this time of year and guides only take tourists up in the Summer which is a shame. I have a thing with walking up Mountains now, if I have the chance, I have to do it. The list is short, but so far I have walked up Snaefell (from the Laxey Wheel) obviously, the tallest Mountain in England, Kilimanjaro in Africa and this August I'm attempting Machu Picchu in South America.

In a way, I wish the Machu Picchu experience was before the Parish. It would help with the mental side of things as well as the walking. But, I suppose I could do it the other way round - use the Parish as a mental training session for Machu Picchu instead. Although, the Parish means more to me, but then again, I do have the opportunity to keep applying year on year.

Whilst on this topic, about 1 Month ago, I had an amazing idea which would be excellent training for the Parish. But it cant work which disappointed me. I don't think I ever mentioned it? I thought of it whilst out walking. Their is a very popular walking event in Holland called "Nymegen Marches" which is a 4 day walking event. You can choose to do 30KM, 40KM or 50KM distance everyday. I took part in this event once about 6 years ago but I opted to the shortest distance as I quite young considering. I turned 15 on the second day of the event (I wore a T-shirt which told everyone it was my 15th birthday) I thought about going to Holland to take part in the event again because I loved it, but this time I would do the longest distance and it would be excellent training for the Parish. Then I remembered that the event is in the middle of July - after the Parish. (I can I forgot, the event it during my birthday)

I don't doubt that I won't do it again, it just would have been convenient if I could have used it as training as well. The date for the Sarah Killey walk has been confirmed - 26th April but I don't think you can enter for it yet. Forms will be available from the following website soon

Anyway, I'm hoping that by the time I get back from holiday, the evenings will be a lot lighter. This way, I can get my training in by walking to Peel whilst being able to see my boyfriend more often. (Although he lives in Kirk Michael he spends most evenings in Peel training for football.)

I hope to publish another post before I go, but if I don't have the chance, you'll know where I am.