Two and a half training sessions and I clocked up 58 miles last week. Yes, I got round the Firemans Walk (or 7 Stations Challenge to give it it's correct name). It was a great event and the organisers are to be congratulated on a debut success. Yes, there were a few grey areas (not least proceeding up the Ballamodha in dense fog), but the marshalling, drinks stations and officials were all excellent.
For me, the race went better than I'd feared (and largely expected). I walked to Peel with Marie Jackson, where two of the Parish top-guns, Sean Hands and Eammon Harkin had already stopped. Clearly, they weren't taking any risks... With little training mileage in my legs, I twisted logic and told myself that I had nothing to risk and carried on. Other than having to walk through a flock of slow-moving sheep at the Devil's Elbow, I was feeling good to Kirk Michael. From there I started feeling rough, but a quick (I didn't have anything to read) excursion to the excellent toilets in Ballaugh restored my inner calm and I was OK until Sulby. Into Ramsey was a real struggle and it was hard to maintain a race-walking technique. The hills out of Ramsey provided a real boost and from there on, apart from the steeper downhills, I was OK. A tremendous cup of tea - worthy of some sort of award - at Laxey, washed down my final energy gel of the day and I felt strong on the final section to Douglas. Top marks to everyone who finished, but a special mention to youngster James Moore.
None of the things that I was worried about happened and I seem to have 'got away with it'. Fifty miles is a long way in anyone's book. In my book, the 50 Mile chapter would feature 'blisters' and 'lengthy recovery'. Apart from the usual pressure sores where the heel strikes the ground, I didn't suffer any of the former, and although I'm only a few days into it, recovery looks to be nearer than I'd dared hope (especially as the Mountain Marathon was just two weeks ago). To hurry it along, I shan't be putting my trainers on this week.