Friday, 24 June 2011

24th June 2011.

      16:00 hours, 16 hours to go.

          The usual bedlam of the final day. I always plan to just sit around and relax, always end up running round like an idiot getting final things. making up food for myself and support crew, making plans, checking equipment, I'm lucky I'm not working like a lot of walkers will be who have to do it all tonight after a full day and a rush hour commute home. (Rush hour, a misnomer if ever there was one for the islands evening journey home. I see half a million people sitting in miles of solid traffic in Hull and see the delight that is quarterbridge where 5 minutes is a long wait.)
         Final preparations? Constant picking at liquid carbs, done a nice chicken stew with pasta, fresh vegetables, and noodles with extra bits thrown in. Two pans, one thick and lumpy for the support crew, one transferred to the blender then watered down until smooth and easily digestible. Drinking water and green tea with ginger. Not too much, just enough to keep things flushed through.
       Make sure all the gear is packed in their proper boxes, clothes, waterproofs, extras (headlights, batteries, flashing armbands other bits and pieces) all in their own boxes. Food in it's own box, water in the cooler, all sorted so I get the right ones at the right time.
       Some stretching this evening and also tomorrow morning, and all ready for a warm up in the morning. If you do start walking in the morning and feel twinges, aches and pains, don't worry initially, it's usually muscles and tendons warming up and sorting themselves out. 
       Toenails trimmed, all other bits and pieces checked and sorted.

      I've spoken to a few of the top walkers, they all seem quietly confident, and it has the makings of a fast race if all goes well. I'm not making any predictions, its a long long race and anything could happen, and I'm not normally one for predictions, which are more hopes than sensible forecasting.
     I should be making excuses about now for when I fail but I don't feel too bad. I could have changed a few things in preparation, but then again, I'm fitter than last year, the training has gone better and I have the experience of last years failures to go one better this year. If I don't improve on the day it'll be because I'm not going to improve. I'm only racing one person, that's me, any time improvement will be a bonus.

      Things to remember? Concentrate at all times, although it'll be easier to do in a race than when walking uphill in the Lakes on a training walk which tended often to see my mind wander and gradually slowing. Eat and drink at the right times, and in the correct proportions. Dehydration messed up last years race for me, remember, dehydrate and you're asking for blisters and muscle pain as well as reduced energy levels. don't overdose on isotonic drinks, take at least twice as much plain water as sports drinks, they are meant as one at a time exercise boosts or recovery drinks, not constant rehydration fluids. Don't think you can drink litres of water before the race to store up, you'll just end up wanting the toilet before Union Mills!
      Enjoy the race. Not much need for a reminder on that score. The whole atmosphere, and the way a large majority of the Islanders pull together to help out makes it memorable.

     Weather? It's pretty much settled on rain overnight and into the morning, dying out during the morning and dry and warm in the afternoon and overnight.

         With a bit of luck it'll be just light showers if anything at all by 8am, and if there are any more showers after the start they'll be welcome cooling showers, not drenching torrential stuff. It was a worry that if it was raining too hard at 8am, then it would have been like the formula 1 grand prix and we would have started behind a pace car for the first lap and finished in the order we started in! All those who did the native american anti rain dance, it seems to have worked.

The wind might be a factor, breezy from the south west during the morning, dying out for a while in the afternoon, before picking up again overnight.

       Nothing much else to say now, good luck to all those entering, hope you first timers enjoy it and achieve your targets. When those photo's start coming through on the website in the morning, we want to see smiles on faces! Anyone spectating, be sure to encourage the walkers along, it all helps and creates that unique atmosphere. Thanks in advance to anyone who puts out drinks and nibbles for the walkers, it's most welcome, as with the hoses on spray when it's hot, and the cuppa at Maughold I'll be looking forward to.

       Good Luck everyone, and I'll next be on here after the race with my own personal take on the day.

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