It's Sunday, the day after the St Luke's Midnight Walk and I am so pleased and proud to say 'We did it!'
My daughter Amy and I completed the Midnight Walk in 2009 and although we did finish, it was not a pleasurable experience. I was ill prepared, unfit, nearly 4 stone heavier and just generally naive! I did plan to have another go in 2010, but chickened out, using ill health (labrythinitus) as an excuse.
2011 dawned and I knew I wanted a successful year both professionally and personally, so set myself goals. The Midnight Walk was on the list! I wasn't going to let anything get in the way and even incorporated it into my cancer recovery
Our start time for the 13 miles was 11pm as this year St Luke's had staggered the times dependant on which route you were following (7 miles at midnight, 13 miles at 11pm and 26 miles (!!!!) at 10pm) When we arrived at Argyle's Home Park, the atmosphere was electric with several thousand woman dressed in pink, getting ready for the off
After a Zumba warm up (which has inspired me to check out the Zumba for the Wii) we were off and it must have been an amazing sight as we all poured out onto the streets of Plymouth. There were a lot of people milling around to wave loved ones off, beeping car horns to encourage us along the route, and I lost count of the number of people waving from bedroom windows (probably woken by the car horns and decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em)
The Marshall's all the way along were brilliant, clapping and encouraging us when I'm sure all they wanted to do was be tucked up warm at home. Although it was a warm night for us walkers, as soon as you stopped, it soon chilled down. So I totally get the fleeces and thick jacket wearing! Other Marshall's were dressed as parrots, sheep, pirates, I even saw a Batman and Robin so am sure they were warm too!
The camaraderie was palpable as we all shared a common goal, to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause. As we left Home Park the charity had counted pledges from the 26 milers and it already stood at £70,000. What a way to start us off.
Amy and I had been practising the route and we knew our particular weak spots and planned accordingly, and encouraged each other where needed. All toilet breaks available along the route were taken advantage off, which is something we didn't do in 2009. Feeling knackered, sick with fatigue and crossing your legs, is not a good combination, take it from me! And before we knew it the 10 mile marker was crossed.
Both of us, although tired were in very good spirits physically and mentally. The training was paying off. And when we approached the last mile, which was up a very steep hill (I know, who planned that!?) we were ready. Head down, we just powered through. The short sharp sessions on the treadmill came into there own now, as I had the stamina to actually speed up as we went up the hill. I think we over took at least 30 other walkers at this point! It wasn't a race, but for me, I needed to conquer the hill (I cried all the way up it in 2009) and the speed and determination gave us both the energy needed.
Crossing the finish line and getting a medal was almost an anti-climax after beating the hill! But then the realisation we had done it, were functioning and could still walk (I couldn't talk or walk after in 2009) kicked in! MrC picked us up and we went home at 4am to bacon butties and mugs of tea before bed!
If anyone is thinking of taking on a challenge like this, I would say do it. It feels amazing. I am proud of the training and planning and also the support I've had along the way. People on Twitter and Facebook have been very supportive, not only with sponsorship, but also with encouraging comments.
I also need to send out a special thank you to MrC and our friends Adrian and Leah. Adrian and MrC were our support crew and available to drive out with anything we needed! And MrC has been a star throughout helping me prepare and just being there. He was part of the team which made this possible, so thank you.
A big thank you to everyone involved (you know who you are) So far I have raised £537 and Amy £168 and its not too late sponsor either of us through our Just Giving Pages
So, will I do it again next year? I think I will volunteer as a Marshall in 2012 .......or should I look at the 26 miles as my next challenge?