1 second to go. Unusual how so many people wait until the last minute.
So, if you're not in by now, too late. 1,755 brave souls, and me, commited to another 5 and a bit weeks of training and frustration wondering if they've done enough. I stayed up to watch, and I'm sure Murray must have come close to wearing out his laptop, the way he blogged away the dozens who waited until the last minute before committing. Last minute doubts? It looks good if you go to the pub and tell your mates "I tried, but it was too busy taking final day entries, the whole internet packed up and I couldn't enter" before pushing your acting skills to the limit by lowering your head and with a quivering catch in your voice declare "I'm gutted. All that training so far, this was going to be my year..."
Well, unlucky, you got in and will join the 1700+ at the start. And for all those who entered whilst drunk in front of your mates (damn those smart phones and pub wifi!) Well, the House of Keys have passed a law stating that if you apply for the Parish then you must take part, apparently it's deception, or fraud or something, and you can only get out of it with a doctors note or if you raise £500 for charity.
Still, think of how much fitter you'll be, how much better off as you give up those boozy nights, and how your lungs are going to have to get used to fresh air again.
Dad reports that whilst driving to sulby reservoir for his fishing trips, he's seeing many more people out training, and the nod of affirmation from car drivers as they mutter to their passengers "Parish walkers" will become a more regular thing over the coming weeks. Over here there's just me, and car drivers must be muttering "Look at that idiot, he's walking as though he's s**t himself!" But there you go, race walking isn't as popular over here as it is on the island.
I'm a little bit gutted not to be on the Island before the race, usually I'm across every couple of months, to see my Dad and Helen, and especially for the TT races. It was February last time I was over, probably the longest I've missed coming across for years. It seems that every time I get enough time off for a long weekend I'm off to some other part of the country for some race or other. Very restrictive, especially being here in Barrow at it's busiest. I'm in London for the 20k race on the mall on 30th May, so that eats into the TT, luckily it's on ITV4 but I'll miss my first race vantage point at Quarterbridge with a cold guinness, especially as a few relatives and friends are making the trip across this year.
I'm going back to Hull for a few days soon, at the moment I'm sat in the flat in Ulverston with the rain pouring outside. I'm due to go tomorrow but as it's windy I could go tonight. A few days to get a million things done at home, including some tests and a chat with my coach. Exercising and training has been going well, strength and speed building. I got out yesterday evening, as I looked out and saw quite heavy rain, I was pleased as it meant I could test and get a few miles in my new weatherproof jacket. It was comfotable and not too warm, good breathing which is good in a weatherproof. The only downsize is that it's in flourescent yellow, bright enough to burn out the retinas of anyone looking directly into the jacket which is probably a good thing for night walking in the parish but not cool to pop on when nipping to tesco's for a pint of milk. Still, it's the final piece of my clothing equipment, and will get worn a few times to get it comfortable, although maybe not in Hull, I don't think the asbo's and chav's of a Northern housing estate will fully understand. Not without some barracking...
So, a rest day on Saturday with a final couple of guinness in the evening, and yesterday afternoon I was out for my 8.5m hilly circuit. One with a couple of Ballakillowey type hills in it, one near the start and one 4 miles in, a total climb of 300 metres so tough, raining, with strong winds. On a course which I'd never broken 1h31m.
I pushed, and actually felt quite fit. I've started to work on my push off, as your back foot leaves the floor you kick with your toes to give that extra couple of inches each step. This can backfire because its a fine line between kicking off with contact and kicking off too much and turning into a run. I'm just gradually building up to get into the stride of it for now.
I surprised myself by getting back in 1h 25 for the 8.5 miles, averaging 10 mins a mile or 6 mph, which, over hills, is quite a feat. the 10k passed at 1h 2m, which is close to my personal best on the flat way, way back in december, so definite improvements, even in the last month or so. Another good sign is the peaks and troughs in the heart rate graph. I'm finding it easier to push up the hills at quicker speeds, but, whereas last year I was averaging 160 to 170, this year it's down to 150 to 155. Burning less calories for the same speed, and the sharp inclines in the HR graph mean that when it is pushed up to 160, recovery is quick which means I can push on better after tough climbs.
My final mile or so is a slight downhill back into the town, and I used this to push on, and got a sub 8m 30s mile which I've only been doing in short bursts but can now maintain for longer.
I felt it today though, it was as if I'd raced yesterday, not trained, so resting and waiting for work to find out if they need me today and I can shoot off home.
It's just our luck that it's only raining on the Isle of Man and the Lake District today, (oh, and Manchester, but it always rains in Manchester.) sunshine in Hull and the rest of the country. So anyone out there on the Island, a good chance to go out and get wet on a long walk, and test out your waterproofs and anti chaffing creams.
The bath after a long wet and windy walk is always a little sweeter.