So after I banged on about it so much how did the walk go?
Well … I’m swollen, sore and I can hardly walk but … it was a gas! Indeed I’m already plotting ways to do the full 11 miles next year.
Take the first long drag, Northgate Street. It’s straight and about half a mile long. As we crested the hill at the top with a sea of flashing bunny ears behind us the view in front was the same. Flashing bunny ears to the horizon … well … alright then, to the roundabout half a mile away. But definitely as far as the eye could see. 2,370 ladies did the walk and I have to say the atmosphere never really dipped, although it got a bit quieter in the last mile because I had to do the 6 mile course and most of the other ladies seemed to have done the 11 mile so we 6 milers were much thinner on the ground as we came to the end. However what amazed me was how many people on the route came out of their houses to cheer us on. It was pretty epic.
Could my phone do it justice? No but here’s a few pictures anyway.
First up, Team Gymophobics ready for action! Yay!
Then some pictures from registration … first up selfies good reason, right there, why I seldom appear in photographs.
Sadly I have no photos of the end, mainly because I lost the 6 mile group I was with so after saying goodbye to the 11 milers I was on my own and that meant any photos of the end would be of strangers, who might think me odd, or me which would be … well … not good – cf policmen pic.
So was it epic?
Yes. A big thank you everyone who sponsored me and to the various random folks who I did high fives with over garden gates, walls, through windows and in one memorable instance, from a car cruising past the other way – I confess I was slightly worried we might break each other’s arms on that one but it came off fine in the end. Nice crack as the hands connected too! Thanks to everyone everywhere who cheered us on, the whole way round even at the end.
Am I going to do it again?
You bet your sweet arse I will!
Points to take away?
There’s a lot of waiting around and after standing about in the rain for an hour and a half my arthritic knees and pulled hip muscle were pretty much knackered before we began. So next year we’ll meet at the gym, register and get our t-shirts and ears and then go back to mine for a cup of tea for an hour and back up for the warm up at 7.45. By the time we started I was soaked. I also should have worn walking boots. My shoes were comfortable but the soles were not thick enough for walking on pavements and they were soaked to the point of making comedy squelching sounds as I walked – one rather more than the other, thump-squelch, thump-squelch, stylee as I walked down the road.
Classy, as ever.
Despite the pulled hip muscle, wet feet and shonky arthritic knees I was doing pretty well until about 3 miles in when we hit a place called Flemming road where the pavement is basically lots of roots and rocks smoothed to apparent invisibility with asphalt. In the dark it looks skateboard heaven, sleek and smooth but it’s actually proper lumpy: pure pavement moguls. There was a lot of lot of staggering over funny high bits and stumbling into big dips and despite my incredible athletic prowess it took me from no worries to trouble in about 100 yards. This morning when I mentioned it a friend with an artificial leg who lives round there she confirmed that it is, indeed, pavement mogul hell. So Flemming Road needs to be negotiated using the cycle lane on the actual street. Much smoother.
Not pulling a muscle a few days before the walk is also a smart move. And also I strongly recommend avoiding spending the night before any athletic event sleeping on the bathroom floor in a flop sweat, only relieving the tedium by throwing up at intervals.
So that’s it. Minimise the pre off standing, walk on the smooth bits up Flemming Road, sleep rather than hurl the night before and try not to be nursing an injury.
I’m hoping if I do that, next year, I might make it round the 11 mile course … as for this year, I’m really chuffed I made the 6 mile. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me, I made a princely £160. If anyone wants to make a last minute donation, my just giving page is still open: https://www.justgiving.com/Fundraising/M-T-McGuire