The goal was to see how far I could walk comfortably in 6 hours and practice eating and drinking as much as I could en-route.
I live in Bride and so I set off tracing the Parish Walk route in the reverse direction. There was quite a strong headwind all the way but I managed to keep the pace steady. First pitstop was the shop in Ballaugh where I filled my water bottle, drank a sports drink and scoffed down an egg and bacon sandwich.
Next was Shoprite in Peel where I refilled by bottle, had another sports drink, a banana and a cereal bar. I was also inclined to buy a little pot of vaseline as I was getting chafing on my arms of all places. I won't wear that top again, but I got away with it, just.
At Patrick I left the Parish course and turned towards St Johns and up to the Hope. Straight over and up the back road to the Earie towards Braaid. I have driven up there countless times. I didn't realise quite how steep it is and it keeps on going uphill beyond the plantation - a 3km 600ft climb. As a consequence I was out of food and drink and getting hungry by Braaid; but right on cue, Michelle arrived with supplies! I had another sports drink, a packet of crisps (salt), a banana and three much needed jam and peanut butter sandwiches.
Refuelled, I carried on past B&Q, Kewaigue school and on towards the South Quay. At the Nunnery I still had 15minutes to go so I managed to push on up to Douglas Head along Marine Drive to the arches and back to Douglas Head again in 5:59:54.
The total was 52.6km or 32.7miles, almost exactly the Parish Walk distance to Peel. 6:50/km or 11:00/mile 5.4mph. Bar the hills, the splits were even all the way, no speeding up or slowing down.
The pace felt very comfortable; I managed to scoff loads of food and so kept my energy levels pretty much topped up all the way. It felt like a sensible pace for me to try and stick to on the way to Peel on the big day.
All the hard training over the past three months seems to have paid off. I felt quite stiff after the Sarah Killey (although that was a much faster pace) and yet I felt fine on Sunday day and have managed to continue training as normal; albeit a bit fatigued.
As a novice, it is hard not to feel anxious about the Parish, especially when everyone you speak to emphasises how hard and painful it all is. I know I do! So this weekend was a confidence booster which is what is needed at this time.