Monday, 31 August 2009

One last bit of fundraising

On eBay I've just listed this gorgeous little notebox...
...containing 5 Just A Note notecards, made by the lovely and generous Ellen. She has made this especially for me to contribute to my fundraising for my Moonwalk, and it is to my shame that this has not been listed before now.

So if you want a gorgeous notebox, and to donate 100% of the cost of your bid to Walk the Walk, a charity that funds research in to preventing breast cancer, but also making the lives of those who already have cancer a little bit easier, then take a look at my eBay auction

Friday, 3 July 2009

Sponsorship Total

Just a quick update before I leave this blog be.

I just sent off my sponsorship money (well that which I didn't raise through my Justgiving site)

I raised £352.50. I am very proud. I hope I never have to benefit from it.

I raised £235 online, £116.50 in cash and cheques, and then I ebay'd the bra that came in my welcome pack, but which didn't fit. Unfortunately it only went for just over the starting price, but it's still another £1 to add to my total.

I have promised my husband that I won't do the walk again, but if my newfound Moonwalk friends join up for next years, I WILL be applying to be a volunteer.

If you are reading this blog because you are contemplating doing the walk yourself - do it, it was one of the best nights of my life, I very much doubt you will have as many problems as I had. If you've already signed up - best of luck to you!!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Two weeks on

Well it’s two weeks since the Moonwalk and, provided I’m not looking at my feet, it seems so much longer since it all happened.

My feet are still full of holes. Even 10 days after the event I was still getting blisters coming to the surface, I think it must have just been a build up of all the walking I’d done. Touch wood I haven’t had a new blister in 5 days now. Most nights you can find me with my feet soaking so I can give them a good scrub afterwards. I’m going to treat myself to a posh pedicure in a few weeks time – but my feet are still too sore for other people to be prodding them about at the minute.

But even with all the pain and hassle I’ve had with my feet, it still ranks up there as one of the best nights of my life. It was bloody hard work, but the sense of achievement has finally sunk in. It did take a few days though, and even now, having walked 26 miles, I still can’t quite comprehend 26 miles – if you see what I mean.

I’ve seen all my friends photos of the events, so it’s nice to have a record. I wish I had taken a few more myself, but towards the end I was so focussed on just getting over the finish line, the photos kinda fell by the wayside. Which is a shame, but not something I will beat myself up over. Unfortunately I can’t find any photos of me on the Action Photo website either because their site is pants. Which means I have no record of me actually crossing the line which is definitely a shame – or of me getting my medal. Oh well.

On the plus side, I have raised over £350 and it’s still coming in. I can’t get over people’s generosity in the current climate. It made it all worth it, and I hope the money does some good, and that I will never be in need of it.

I’m going to hang my bra up in my craft room and frame my medal. One thing I’m not doing, is signing up for next year. I am disappointed because I wanted to do the Edinburgh walk - having never been to Scotland. But it’s not worth the grief, or the antibiotics. I’m going to get my bike out and start cycling again as I really enjoyed being out in new places and exploring the countryside and coastal paths etc. If my Moonwalk friends all sign up again though, I have said I will volunteer because the atmosphere on the night was great and it would be nice to do some of things I didn’t do – like stand back and take it all in, and watch other people cross the finish line.

But for this year, all I have to do now is send off my oodles of sponsorship money.

Thanks for reading xxx

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Photos from the night

Some photos from the big night. More photos, including horrible ones of my blistered feet can be found at on Facebook
Waiting for the train to take us to London
The blummin gret queue
My facebook/moonwalk friends, and some other people we picked up on the journey. Nothing like looking like an idiot to help you make friends
Inside the big pink tent - double this for an idea of actual size
Paul O'Grady and his fabulous flashing nipple bra

The warm up man in his bra

All dressed up and ready to go

Waiting for the Go Go Green Light

The random group of musicians who set up camp at mile marker 2 to play us along. Cheers guys!

St Paul's looms in the darkness

Walking past Harrods but no time to shop. Besides, I don't think we would have passed the dress code

Daybreak over the Albert Memorial

The way too familiar site of Battersea Power Station

Hyde Park between mile markers 24 and 25. Officially the longest mile known to man.

The big pink tent, but more importantly, the finish line is in sight

Exhaustion, pride, relief, but mainly exhaustion.

Monday, 18 May 2009

The aftermath

I walked out the exit and there stood Steve and then I just started crying. It had stopped raining and I pointed at some empty grass and said I wanted to sit there. As we sat down Amanda came over with her husband and 3 littlies.

I managed to get my accessories off and got on the floor. I took my trainers off and couldn’t believe the state my feet were in, no wonder they hurt so much. Steve fetched out a flask of tea and a bottle of Asti (I’m cheap, I prefer Asti to Champagne LOL) I had some of both, and they were both beautiful! Me and Amanda swopped experiences and Steve was very good at looking after me. Diane had headed home once she crossed the line, and Amanda said that she had seen Sam cross the line but that she then passed out and was taken to the medical tent. We really had put ourselves through it hadn’t we. I'd seen 2 people collapse in front of me on the way round as well.

Then after half an hour it started to rain again. We started packing our things away and I got my brolly out. We split up from Amanda and co and made our way to the edge of the park in order to catch a taxi. It was only a short distance but it took so long to walk it. I had my crocs on, but as I had blisters under my toes and on my heels, I couldn’t walk in any way other than to shuffle flat footed along the floor. We got a taxi and headed over to Charing Cross, by this time it was absolutely lashing it down. Someone really was watching over me weren’t they? At the station I needed the toilet again, getting down those stairs was such hard work! I got myself a Burger King breakfast – I was so hungry by this point I would have eaten cardboard.

As we sat on the platform Steve said ‘Isn’t that your friend?’ and up walked Sam. I thought she had gone home, but she had been in the medic tent for over an hour so we got the train home together and swapped a few more stories.

Getting off the train in Ashford was definitely a comedy moment as we held on to the doors and backed out of the train. Then laughed as it took us so long to get in the lift, the doors started to close on us. Then at the barriers the attendant had to let us through the wide gate so we didn’t have to worry about getting stuck in them as they shut. Oh the fun!!

Steve went to get the car and then drove me home. I hobbled up to the bath and then went to bed for a couple of hours. After my sleep I had another bath and then set up camp on the sofa for the rest of the night. I still don’t think it’s sunk in quite what I have achieved. But everyone keeps telling me how proud of me they are. Which is nice.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Walk

The first couple of miles were really quite surreal, walking along in the middle of the night surrounded by half dressed people. I scooted past quite a few people to start with as at the beginning I can easily do a 4 minute mile, so I got to see a lot of bras. All the way around Hyde Park and through Green Park and St James’ it was full of groups of people who obviously had people walking somewhere but there were clapping and cheering everyone on and everyone was in high spirits. I must admit, I got a little teary at this point as the enormity of what I had taken on hit me. I was going to spend the next 8 hours walking on my own (even though I was surrounded by people) tackling the hardest physical challenge I had ever attempted, at a time when I usually get tired and go to bed and I KNEW my feet were going to be ripped to shreds at the end of it. And the more people clapped, shouted my name (written across my front) and cheered me on, the more upset I got.

I also got a couple of texts from people on a craft forum I visit and from friends I had asked to text me, and I realised how many people were supporting me. I had to focus, and by the 3rd mile marker I had picked myself up and was ready for the challenge in front of me. By 4 miles, we started to pass people from the first group who were on their way back from the half moon – OMG!

As I came past the Cabinet War Rooms and out on to Parliament Square there was a huge bottle neck as we waited to cross the roads. I had to ring Steve and talk to him for the 10 minutes I was queuing as I really didn’t want to get dejected at this early stage. There were quite a few bottlenecks along the route, but none as bad as that one. Then we were past Big Ben and walking east along the Embankment, just like walking from the office to the station, except it was 1 in the morning and I was dressed in a bra. The amount of revellers who stopped to cheer us on, and horns that were honked, was really amazing. It really lifted my spirits, and even though there were a lot of drunk people around, there were no negative or leery comments, they just stood aside and clapped us on. It has restored my faith in people a little I have to say.

We walked along the river and could see some of the earlier groups making their way back along the other side, that was quite amusing. We then headed up towards Ludgate Hill and past St Pauls. The first toilets loomed but there was no way I was waiting in that queue! We headed up towards London Bridge and over it. I was little disappointed we didn’t walk over Tower Bridge, but there you go. We were then on the South Bank and walking all the way back down past the Tate Modern, the Globe, the SouthBank and the Eye etc. I found this section quite difficult actually, it was very busy and the paths were quite narrow, meaning I couldn't overtake anymore. I was glad I knew the route but I still had to look at the floor to avoid the bollards, dropped bottles and discards ponchos etc, and it made me feel quite dizzy. At mile marker 9 they started to split the full mooners from the half mooners and then on the far side of Westminster Bridge it all thinned out quite a bit. I did see one new sight though, Houses of Parliament with the lights off, the lights are all still on when I go home from work. I also had to laugh at one of the ladies at mile marker 9 who thanked us all for walking past her LOL

It was as I drew level with my office that I saw Diane up ahead so I sped up to catch her. As we walked past the London Fire Brigade lifeboat raft, they opened their 2 toilets up for us. We only had to queue for 5 minutes and it had loo roll. Yay to the firemen!

Then it was on and on along the south embankment, past MI6 and around the back of Battersea Power Station. We got in to Battersea park and they were giving out oranges and bananas. At this point we were between 11 and 12 miles along and I was starting to get a bit light headed and dizzy, this made me feel sick but I knew that if I didn’t eat anything I was going to get worse. I had rationed myself to half a mars bar every 6 miles, so I had that, and then a biscuit bar and my half a banana, a couple of energy sweets and a good gulp of water – even though we weren’t supposed to gulp it, and after an hour the dizziness went but the sickness stayed :-(

Then it was over Albert Bridge and in to Kensington and Chelsea. We walked along the Embankment for a while and passed the 13 mile marker – woohoo! I have to say that between 13 and 19 miles it was pretty uneventful, and I had been warned that this was the most difficult part of the walk. The chatter died away, it just wasn’t fun anymore, by this time it was gone 4 in the morning (exact details are already a little hazy) we were all tired, exhausted, my feet were getting really quite sore and the route was backwards and forwards through residential areas. I lost my bearings of where we were and apart from Harrods and the Albert Memorial, we didn’t pass many ‘sights’. One highlight was the two drunk lads around 15 miles who proceeded to stand either side of the walkers, shouting our names out and making us hi-five them.

At 16 miles me and Diane both put our ipods on. We just had nothing left to say so Scott Mills filled the conversation gap. At 18 miles we stopped for toilets and I popped a couple of blisters and changed my right socks, my left foot was sore but not too sore so I didn’t want to take my trainer off. If I had, I would have seen the blisters and convinced myself they hurt. We got some oranges as we passed the Institute of Cancer Research. It was also between 4 and 5 that the sky started to get lighter which meant I could take less blurry photos. I also got a phone call from my dad at about 5:30 which gave me something else to focus on.

Around 19 miles we got to Sloane Square and I knew we would then head back down to the river. I had it in my head that once I was back on the river, I was ‘going home’ in that it was a pretty direct route back to the tent. However, I was starting to struggle. My feet were getting very sore, my legs were feeling like lead, my shoulders ached and I was bored. Bored of walking, bored of being tired and sick, bored of my feet hurting, and until I got to the 20 mile marker, I couldn’t start the backwards countdown I had promised myself.

And then we were back on the river and I was passing the 20 mile marker. Sam rang me to tell me she was just passed the 22 mile marker. I must have got my second wind or something because I became a lot more alert. At 21 miles I got the horrible ripping sensation across one of my toes which meant a blister had spread. I knew there toilets in the next mile somewhere so I told Diane I would stop there for the toilet and to pop some more blisters. She carried on whilst I went to the loo and sorted my left foot out. I popped the blister on my toe but also found a HUGE blister on my heel. I had to pop that as well to get it back in my trainer and OMG did it hurt. I put a Compeed on it but then had to ring Steve for 10 minutes until the initial burning agony had passed. I wasn’t proud of my language but I was in so much pain and I still had 4 miles to go. I knew in context it wasn’t far, but at that point it could have been the moon. Steve talked me through it but then I had to just get on with it. I put the phone down, had a little cry, dried my tears and carried on. I swopped my ipod to my Moonwalk playlist and turned it up really loud.

Because I was now limping quite badly I wasn’t using my muscles properly and I was seizing up. I willed my legs to move faster but they just wouldn’t. I felt like I was going so slowly and the people I had spent 20 miles overtaking were now overtaking me! I texted Amanda as she had been finished for nearly 3 hours by now and although the four of us had agreed to meet at the finish line, I wanted her to know I didn’t mind if she went home. She texted straight back to say no way was she going home, she was staying to cheer me over the finish line. That meant so much to me. That someone who I had only known for a few months, had only met 4 times, was prepared to stay around and cheer me on really lifted my spirits.

As I came back up towards St James’ Park, I started texting everyone I could think of. I’d been updating my Facebook status and had got quite a few texts back from that, so I sent a few more updates, and replied to anyone who had texted me. That kept me occupied for about 20 minutes by which time I was coming back up the Mall. The number of people cheering us on started to increase as they waited for their walkers to come back. I took one earphone out so I could hear the encouragement and also the music.

At 24 miles I went back over Wellington Arch and I suddenly realised how close I was to the end, because it was also so close to the start. However, the mile between 24 and 25 was so so long. It truly was the longest mile of my life, it was on a slight incline, it was all in a straight line and I could just see forever, and people continued to come past me. I couldn’t ring Steve as he was now on the tube to get to the finish before me. Based on the texts I was sending to Amanda at every mile marker, I was still doing an 18/19 minute mile but at the time it felt like I was crawling so slowly.

Then I passed the 25 mile marker and just around the corner I could see the whole path back to the tent. The end was in sight!

Steve had come out of the tube at the wrong exit and was therefore in a race to the finish. I had wanted to have my photo taken at the 26 mile marker but I just couldn’t stop and I didn’t think it was fair to ask other walkers at this stage. As I went past the marker Steve rang to say he had just come past the 25 mile marker, I knew then he wasn’t going to see me cross the line which was a big disappointment but I couldn’t stop and wait for him, it sounds silly but I just could not stop I had to get to the end.

The marshalls for the last 0.2 were brilliant, they could see I was really struggling and were shouting my name and clapping me on. And then as I came up to the barriers funnelling us to the finish line Amanda came running over to give me a hug and send me over the finish line.

And then there it was in front of me, the finish line. The plans to stick any missing tiles on to my bra (I’d only lost 3 to be fair) to smile sweetly at the camera and take in everything around me just went out the window – I managed to look in the cameraman’s direction and I think I might have managed a smile, I don’t really know. I was pointed to the people with the medals and then the little bit of metal I’d walked 26.2 miles for was around my neck.

Then I looked up to get my bearings and realised that my bag tent was right down the other end of the enclosure – nooooo! I rang Steve to tell him I’d crossed the line and he said he could see the finish and couldn’t believe he’d missed me. I think he was more disappointed than me at that point, I just had sheer relief flooding through me. I headed past the Walkwear stall but again, I just couldn’t stop. I headed for the toilet and then got my bag and headed for the exit.

At that point it started to rain, I just looked up at the sky and laughed until I cried, literally, it was as though someone was waiting for me to cross the line before they let the rain fall. I would have loved to have stopped and had a look round but it just wasn’t worth the agony of slowing down and having to get going again. I also couldn’t face going back up to the finish line to see some others cross the line. Oh well, I was over, that was all that mattered really.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The big day dawns....

I couldn’t believe it when I woke up wide awake at 9:30 this morning. A million thoughts rushed in to my head and I struggled to relax, but I tried my best and went back to sleep an hour later for another hour and a half.

I got up and had ‘breakfast’ at 12:30 and went out to do the shopping. Once I’d done that and all the other little jobs, it was time to get changed. I put my outfit on and got Steve to write my name across my chest and facebook and the forum down my arms.

I was meeting Sam and Amanda at the station at 5:30. They got tickets and we went up to the platform and got on the train with about 20 other Moonwalkers – I don’t know where they all came from. We were talking to a lone Half Mooner so we invited her to sit with us and we just chatted on the way up. We got the tube over to Hyde Park Corner and as we came out of the tube station we were just greeted with a sea of pink. It was brilliant. Mind you I think we walked a mile to join the back of the queue and it took us a while to get in. Sam met up with the person doing the walk with her, and our Half Mooner went off and met up with her friend. We met Diane just inside the main entrance and then got our outfits ready. The photographers took some photos of us, and we took photos of each other. We then went in to the tent to get the food they provide and it was so manic we lost Sam and her friend. Myself, Amanda and Diane sat outside the tent eating our food but then it started to get cold. We took our bags to check in and split up as we were all in different colour groups. I then texted someone I knew from another forum who I had never met in person. She only got diagnosed with cancer recently and has battled her way back enough to complete the half moon. Respect! It was nice to sit with a group and chat whilst the compere put on a show and introduced the celebs taking part, like Paul O’Grady and his flashing bra.

Then the warm ups started and the yellow group left the tent. Then another warm up and the green group left the tent. My new friend and her group all wanted to go to the toilets so I said goodbye and joined in with the third warm up and then the orange group left the tent. Then one last warm up and it was the pink groups turn – they saved the best til last LOL

We moved out to the start line and I spotted some empty toilets so I grabbed the opportunity for a quick wee and joined the rest of them at the start line. We were stood there nearly 10 minutes and Nina herself was keeping us all amused. At 12:04 we were off...