I did actually go in and work for a few hours on Monday but it is also the day when a mainly ageing crew mainly from Hotels and Restaurants like to go to the N.S.C., mainly to pretend that we are still able to play football.
It's like the league of nations with Italians, Poles, Swiss, Chinese, English, Maltesers and on occasion with the odd sprinkling of Manxies all convening to see how many languages they can swear in. Over the years we've had Greeks, Tunisians, French and many others I've probably forgotten.
Always being an enthusiast has been my greatest strength in football, never quite having had the skill, presence of mind nor explosion of pace to be a decent player. My fitness , a small ability to time a tackle, concentration enough to get some part of my anatomy to connect with the ball, though not always the sweet spot of my boot or forehead and not to be frightened to go in where it hurts has always just about kept me from being a total liability to any team I've played for.
After 10 minutes of attempting to play, following my morning walk of 18 miles, it seemed I was bereft of even my usual thinly spread assets and I really was beginning to wonder quite what I was doing there. However, I kept plugging away and eventually I did get slightly better.
Following the soccer, I used the junior's racewalking training warm up to warm down, reckoning I'd done enough for one day.
On Tuesday, I was quite sore but I think the football had taken off the worst of it by loosening off my muscles. Even so, I only did half an hour's recovery and the following day I just did a steady hour in preparation for my big pace session on Thursday.
There are times when I start to think I'm getting quite good at this walking lark and get a little bit cocky in terms of how I see my own ability. The best way to knock any kind of complacency out of myself, I found the other night is to train with Peter Kaneen. Once again, I was looking to do 7 x 1km at 4:45 and I had already done my first two reps before he showed up (he was only scheduling 5 x 1k and I knew I wouldn't carry on if we started together) and in true athlete style, I was blaming the wind for my very slow 5:06 and 5:02. With Peter to drag me round, the next ones took 4:35, 4:46 and 4:39 and I think he was at least 20 seconds in front of me on all of them. Attempting to stay within shouting distance on my 6th rep, I really blew up and struggled home to a 4:59 and having lost my form, I decided enough was enough and quit while I could still stand up.