On Saturday I went to the Moonwalk, thinking that I was prepared. I had read the list of what to take in my bum-bag and followed their expert advice and covered my feet in vaseline.
I had ‘trained’ a bit – we did a long walk in London on concrete, in horrendous weather over 15 miles and my feet were fine…. just so you know. I’d also done a couple of 10 milers with the dog and a few other walks that didn’t even make me break a sweat. Easy peasy with the atmosphere on the night, right? Ha ha.
Our team were asked to register by 8.30pm, so I took the train in London at around 7pm, to meet my team at Marble Arch at 8.20pm.
I had then realised that I had not re-charged my iPhone for the evening, and therefore tweeting or twit-pics during the event was going to be a no-no as the batteries would almost certainly not last until the morning when I needed the phone to contact my parents and Stu who were coming to meet me at the end. Luckily @Simply_Lorna had a battery pack and tweeted on behalf of the team.
We met up as planned and then joined the almost 1 mile queue for getting into the event.
The costumes are amazing, there are so many people and teams that do such a fabulous job of their bra’s and ‘costumes’ that it’s really an amazing sight.
In the Moonwalk Compound there was live music, motivational speeches and free food (not something I’d try again, that rice). We were in the last group for starting which meant we didn’t actually start until midnight. It’s a LONG time to wait around and there are a LOT of people packed into the Pink tent.
Anyway, we started at the back of the queue at midnight and eventually left the start line at about 12.20am, an hour after the first group had left.
There are so many people, packed into a small walking area that it’s really hard to start walking at any pace at all, trying to keep together in a team and to ‘get going’ took about 4 miles.
We were held up for 20 mins at Big Ben as there had been an RTA and a bottle-neck at the crossing so we didn’t move. There was a lot of stop and starting that really doesn’t you help get into a rhythm, keep warm or prevent seizing up!
The balls of my feet started to bug me at about 5 miles. By 7 miles we stopped at a toilet break and was kindly given some compeed plasters for my feet, which helped cushion them. (wish I’d changed socks at this stage too).
We had a few toilet stops in ‘unofficial toilets’ (alleys and shrubbery) the toilet queues for the first 11 miles are immense. But there is lots of water available and a paramedic at each toilet stop should you need it.
By 12 miles I was in PAIN. But I’d bored myself moaning, so I tried to shut up for a while. While we were walking along Grosvenor Road, throngs of walkers were striding out in the opposite direction across the road – they had got to 21 miles! How disheartening…. I ached to cross the road.
The route is great, you see some great sites, which I *kinda* realised as we were going round, but by this point I was practicing breathing exercises a la childbirth, and not really getting the benefit of the walking views or photo opportunities.
I was now getting a bit tetchy. There are loads of marshalls along the route that are fantastically upbeat and supportive. In my pained, tired, miserable state I was not the most responsive (I apologise to them all) it is a great sentiment, but at the time I wanted to bash them on the head with my water bottle. Yeah, I am a cow sometimes.
By 17 miles I was doubting I could do this. Blisters worse and legs really started getting painful and crampy.
By 21 miles I was actually crying. My back decided to join in and seize up. I was being eaten up with pain from toes upwards.
I would like to thank my walking partners. They put up with a tearful, angry and pathetic woman, who’d eaten her snacks by mile 4. They were fabulous. Also the staff around the route are amazing. I hated their cheeriness at the time, and wondered out load ‘if anyone had actually smashed one in the face’ when they keep up with the encouragement. But they are in fact amazing. Especially a Japanese couple at around the 22 mile marker. They were so brilliant, I even spoke to them.
At 22 miles I seriously wanted to stop, something in my boots popped when I stretched my legs… ewww. Every step was like walking on glass, the legs were getting worse and I cried when I coughed as it spasmed my back!
All around me there were older men and women who were still striding out, all guns blazing and people who I imagined I would have been finishing in front of, leaving me standing. They are all amazing – my broken feet had really let me down – I had so wanted to enjoy it all.
Three things kept me walking – my team, the people who had sponsored me and my girls at the finish line (who were, in fact, more interested in where we were going to go for breakfast and how long was I going to be?)
Finally we were back at Hyde Park – but alas another 1.5 miles to walk around the lake before you even lay eyes on the pink tent and the finish. I would like to point out to the organisers that this is beyond cruel and sadistic.
We finished in 9.5 hours. Which is so slow. But I am so grateful that I finished at all, the stopping and starting is agony, the queues are soooo long and we had the Big Ben hold up. (in our defence)
My Mum said ‘Blimey you looked like an old woman who’d pooped herself, staggering up to the finish. I thought you would have enjoyed this.’ You can tell it was an impressive ending.
When I got home I took off my socks – gingerly – and there was complete sock shape of allergic, red-hot and raised skin where the vaseline had been. The blisters were like golf balls and huge. They have since been lanced twice…. niiiiice. The rash was so hot last night that I was sleeping with ice packs (frozen peas) on them for hours.
The Moonwalk is a huge event. It is amazingly well organised and the people are really great (if a tad annoying when you are ready to drop down). BUT, there are too many people, it’s actually too busy. I will never do it again….
Note for *IF* there is a next time;
- NEVER EVER use Vaseline (although it must be said some people can use it without monster blisters and without allergic reactions.)
- Try and register in a ‘faster time group’
- Don’t arrive before 10.30pm
- Train more and don’t be so indifferent to the distance – it IS a long way.
- Have a battery pack for the iPhone
- Try and cry for the emotion of the event and not cos you are feeling sorry for yourself (as my mum also pointed out!)
Thank you Lorna, it was immense and I wish I had enjoyed it more.
And I’m not talking about it anymore!