Pictured with the Isle of Man juniors representing the North of England in the Inter Area games at Tamworth.
I'm not long back from Tamworth, just north of Birmingham, where the Annual Inter Area race Walk games took place today. The North, with the above Manx contingent included in the junior 3, 5 and 10k races, came a close second to the Midlands. they basically won because they were on home ground and could score points in every race whereas us from Oop North were short in a few races which we would have scored points. I'm not a bitter loser...
Conditions were not great with a very strong cross wind along the straight and a buffeting head wind in the final bend. I don't know any of the results from the Manx walkers, it seemed pretty hectic and more than one race was being run at a time, so all the 3k, 5k and 10k races were lumped together, but they seemed happy with their all. I'm sure their exploits will be done justice on manxathletics.com
I did a 56.30 for the 10k, and, once again, was told it was an improvement despite conditions. It was my first all track race, 25 laps, and as a lot of the field were 50 to 55 min walkers it was a good opportunity to race against better opposition who I had a chance of keeping up with. I was told that a track 10k was 1 and a half to 2 minutes slower than a road 10k because over a third of it is on bends which means you have to short step on your left foot for a third of the race. Secondly, the wind was strong to gale force which buffeted you as a crosswind on the back straight and slowed you right up on the second bend. all in all, if I find enough excuses I can knock off enough minutes here and there to claim a new world record. I did finish in front of a couple of walkers who are regular 54m finishers and who I've never beaten yet, so despite the time, I've got to be pleased.
One thing I do know, 10k is not my distance. Up to 6k, I was struggling with pain in my calves, a little in my shins despite the warm up massage, aching quads, back and shoulders. At 6k, I was wondering if I could finish. At 7k, it had all pretty much gone and I could stride on and speed up. By the end of the race I was just nicely warmed up and could have gone on again. So, this creaky old frame takes a while to warm up, and 10k races, despite another half decent time (for an old man) 10k's remain training walks for longer distances to gain speed.
Back to Parish training tomorrow, a quick 5 mile cardio in the morning up the hill, morning training before breakfast gets the metabolism working and are great for fat burning, then a walk to work and back, although the weather forecast says 70mph winds. It'll be difficult as I can't hear my mp3 player when it's windy. Next week it's the Mall 20k, lots of excellent walkers going to that one, and I think I'm one of the slowest at 1h57m, so lots of Ironic clapping as I walk in 20 minutes after the winners, but everyone keeps telling me I should be quicker on a good course, and if the Olympic course is not a good course, then it looks like I'll spend the rest of my life like Indiana Jones in search of the Mythical Perfect Course. You watch, knowing my luck the Mall will be excellent, and it'll be either torrential rain, 100mph winds, or 100 degrees in the shade.
One positive from today, I got a new vest to keep. The North should have a badge of a flat cap with crossed whippets, with the Northern motto of "Ow much???"
On a final note, the Bradford Whit Walk, a tough 35k usually held around whit weekend, and known as the oldest continuous race walk in the world, around 135 years, has been re-arranged due to the clash with the Olympic test race next Monday. It'll now be held on 31st July, and gives me a chance to defend my 3rd place in the middle of what was supposed to be a rest period for me.
31st July, nice and hot for a four hour race...