Countdown, just under 3 months. If we countdown in months we don't have to do it so often, and it somehow seems we have more time. 3 months sounds better than under 90 days.
I had a successful day yesterday, despite the wrong preparation. I set off for the northern 20k wanting under 2 hours, with my coach stating I should get under 2 hours, and finished in 1 hr 59 dead, in overall second place. At the finish I had energy left and was wondering yet again if I could have gone faster. All I can say is that it's yet more proof that it's all in the mind. I went out and did what I wanted to do, I knew I couldn't catch the winner (Paul Evenett, Redcar, 1hr 37mins) so did what I had to do.Still, more shelf bling for Denise to polish...
My race? I did too much beforehand, too many miles on the road didn't help during last week, I went out for a gentle walk on Saturday, the day before the race, and ended up doing 8 miles. I tried to walk slowly but it seems I can't. I ate a solid breakfast of porridge and fruit on the morning of the race which just seemed to sit in an annoying lump in my stomach, and not enough warming up. My shins were burning for the first three miles which was my fault, I go on and on in this blog about warming up and making sure you're fully stretched and then ignore it myself! Still, it was a good result so nothing lost, and it was only my 13th ever race so my inexperience shows. It's a learning curve, and I hope I can take things from it.
Russ, My coach, was very helpful. Apparently if your shins are burning then lift your toes up to put less stress on the muscles. it worked, they eased a little, but then you just have to wait until they are clear and the pain's gone. Towards the end I felt I was just walking normally and said so. I was race walking, but it's finally coming together and it's now more natural instead of forced. Thanks to starting slowly (10mins a mile) I had to speed up towards the end and pushed it up to 9 and a half minutes, and for the last lap felt I was pushing it a little fine for the 2 hours so upped to 8m 45s. I still have to concentrate on pushing with the arms to keep the speed up so I need to work on that. Everyone said that it was a tough course. It was at the University in Leeds, with 12 laps, round the athletics track was okay but round the field in front of the main building was uphill on one side and downhill on the other. with the access road onto the track 50 yards quite steep as well. I was told 1m 59 here would be 1m 56 or 57 on a normal course. Which begs the question, why not do it on a normal course? I kept shtum though...
All in all a good afternoon.
I spoke to a couple of entrants for the Parish from Lancashire. They are taking part for the first time, both want to finish (obviously...) and neither of them care what time they finish in. What advice could I offer? Difficult to put in one sentence. Just go to the start line with the belief that you're going to get over the finish. They train regularly so there was nothing I could add there, a little advice on food and drink, and, if you really are trying just to finish in any time whatsoever, slowly up the hills to conserve energy use mother natures fine invention, gravity to get any speed downhill. Go with a plan, set out latest times for each section so you don't take it too easily and lose out. There is a time limit of 24 hours after all!
One of the Parish hopefuls was Sailash Shah from Lancashire Walking Club, who I last ran into at the Centurions race last August. He did 95 miles, which I thought at the time must have been really annoying, but he explained to me he had an ankle injury so had to sit out for an hour during the night, which means he would have got his Centurion number. Still, he intends to get it, and so, six days after the Parish, which he intends to finish, he'll be off to Lingfield to try for his Centurion number again. His doctor advises him to get home, rest and bulk up for the six days and it might be possible. I waited 5 weeks last year but made the mistake of getting out and training a couple of days after the parish (inexperience again!) and ignoring the injuries. Also, I was out for a quick time in the Parish so was pushing from the start, whereas he will be taking it easy (if walking 85 miles can be classed as taking it easy...) I'll be keeping an eye on him closely and wish him all the best in his exploits. He also said he'd checked over the previous results and wasn't sure, but was wondering if any Asians had completed the race. I don't know personally but was wondering if anyone out there knew.
Right, finish here, then drive back to Ulverston, a couple of days rest, then work on the shins and quads and try and digest all the information from yesterday. There were plenty of coaches there yesterday, and one thing I've learned about coaches, they all want to give you advice!