Walkin’ da Mile (or 26.2)

I’d meant to write this post the day after the Walk the Walk Moonwalk and what with one thing and another that deadline has well and truly slipped! So, to roll back to 12th May, we rocked up in the massive Pink Palace tent in Hyde Park and joined 17,000 other women (and some men) to walk through the night to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. After the pre-walk party, and last minute preparation, everyone whipped off their tops and got their bras out on show, ready for the off. There were all sorts of decorated bras on show, an amazing array – Glittery one, flowers, cupcakes, even one covered in Quality Street sweets – genius!

At the stroke of midnight we headed off through the night, first looping round Hyde Park before crossing the centre of London on a route that took us along the Embankment, across the river, through Battersea Park, Chelsea, Kensington and back up the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and back to Hyde Park, completing the 26.2 mile route. The first 10 miles were pretty uneventful, but then I started to feel blisters beginning on the balls of my feet. Damn! I’d recently got some brand new, carbon fibre orthotic insoles to help my knee and although I’d trained in them, up to 16 miles, on the big day my feet didn’t like them so much.

After plastering up those ones we carried on, hitting the halfway point in Battersea Park, where we were treated to half-time orange segments from the wonderful helpers, and we carried on through the night into early morning. As dawn arrived it brought with it some beautiful sights, and I wished I’d had a decent camera with me with a tripod as the Thames was so still that Battersea Power station was perfectly reflected in the dawn light, so beautiful.

All the while I could feel more and more blisters appearing, but by this point I really did not want to stop as I knew that starting walking again would not be pretty, so I just kept on. Until mile 24 as we were heading up the Mall with only 2.2 miles left to go a slightly sore spot on the edge of my right heel suddenly went from slightly sore to “YOWCH!!!” in one fell swoop. I sat down and discovered a mahoosive blister that had decided it had had enough mincing around and was going to get serious. So patched it up as best I could and kind of hobbled the last 2.2 miles. Who knew that such a short distance could feel so long!

So we finally hit Hyde Park, and whilst walking along the Serpentine I had a minor starstruck moment when Brett Anderson off of that band Suede from back in the 90’s jogged past us, out for his Sunday Morning bimble, and seemed rather amused to see all these ladies walking along with bras out – and gave our puppies a cheeky smirk J Eventually the finish line came into view – whoop! And we finally finished, 9 hours after we started, although to be brutally honest it was quite an anti-climax. When I did it previously, and when I’ve done the Race For Life there’s always been a massive group of well-wishers cheering people on, but there didn’t really seem to be any of that. I don’t know if it was just that everyone was absolutely shattered to think about cheering people on or what!!

But the main thing was that we all finished, we raised well over £1000 between 7 of us and did the walk without any lasting damage! Thanks to the insoles (and a regular supply of brufen) my knee survived with just a bit of aching and swelling, but nearly 2 weeks later and my feet are still a mess! I counted 9 blisters on toes and heels thanks to the insoles and if I was dumb enough to consider doing it a second time, one of those fish pedicure things would be the way forward to sort my feet out. But being the squeamish person I am, I think I’ll go for the traditional pumice stone when the blisters are fully sorted.

When I did this walk in 2000 I swore then that I would never do it again – stupidity made me go back on my word, but after doing it a second time I think this time I’ll stick to what I said as I crossed the line – never, EVER again!

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