Here in Barrow, the weather has been fine for the time of year, good walking weather, so I've got in at least 10 miles a day on the good hilly climbs. The weather has been especially clear, the island looks spectacular from the top of the nearby hills with the sun setting behind it. I usually get across to visit my father before christmas, but we're a little busy here with the current windfarm trying to catch up on schedule and a new nuclear submarine, HMS Ambush, due for launch on monday, it's been all go. Hoping to get a week across in January, pack some butties and a flask and do the Douglas to Peel section, for fun as much as training. Some of my favourite views are on the south of the island, I usually stop for a while at Tom the Dippers and watch the steam train making it's way southwards. Something you can't really do when you are racing against 1700 others...
One problem with taking part so often in the Parish is that you make so many friends, people with a similar outlook on life. Whereas before I nipped across for a couple of days, saw my niece and my father, then went home, it now means I have to make it a week, to get out for a beer and a chat with everyone. Wouldn't do to come across and leave anyone out!
Got to take advantage, while I'm across, to visit Dawne Watson, who has the Revive in Peel, which has become a bit of a superstition of mine. She does a fine sports massage, and gives me a chance before every Parish and End to End to get rid of all my training knots, kinks and injuries. It's surprising how tense and worked up the muscles get with constant training, and I must admit she has magical hands. I had a minor quad strain before last summers Parish which I thought would give me a problem and which after a visit to Dawne gave me no trouble at all. She hails from Ulverston as well, which is a massive coincidence, but gives us plenty to talk about. I thoroughly recommend an occasional sports massage to anyone putting in the miles before the Parish, sometimes what you think are injuries that could slow you down can be put right by a good sports masseur.
A day off, or at least a day on stand-by, tomorrow, so hopefully a chance to pick a mountain I haven't been up yet. I'm lucky as I don't have a nine to five job, get lots of time off, and can take advantage. For anyone contemplating the Parish, the finest piece of advice I can give, is that nothing beats putting the miles on the road. You can't walk 5 miles each weekend and expect to do 85 miles in one day. get up an hour earlier and put in 5 miles each morning. It gets the blood circulating, releases good endorphins, gets the oxygen to the brain before the rigours of the day, and gets the metabolism into gear, burning calories long after you have finished the walk.
Dawne, at her usual middle table, after the 2010 End to End.
If you're not enjoying it, the training isn't fun.