Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Marathons and memories

Preparation for the 2009 Edinburgh Moonwalk has been on going since I stepped onto the treadmill for the first time back in February this year. I remember so vividly getting very emotional as I contemplated crossing the finishing line at my first marathon. This was the week that this would become reality!

Despite our best intentions, we were still putting finishing touches to our bras into the early hours of Saturday morning. So it was an early 6:30 wake-up to finish packing and have our weigh in for the week. We decided to do this a day early rather than wait another full week.

My weekend was to start well. . . . . . I've lost another 2lb this week, bringing my total weight loss 3 stone 8lb. That's 50lb!!! . . . . . over 18% of my body weight!!! Whichever way you look at it, it is a lot of weight for any person to lose.

People are calling me an inspiration but I really don't feel like that at all.
I am simply a woman who, in January was down and depressed with everything to do with myself and everything that life was throwing at me. I decided that I simply could not carry on in this frame of mind so resolved to do something about it. By taking my tragedy and converting my sadness into hope and inspiration, I would not only help myself but also raise much needed funds for the British Heart Foundation, a cause that is now very dear to me.
I am getting to the point now where I actually like myself and I cannot remember the last time that ever felt that way. I feel healthier, I feel good, I feel alive and more more importantly glad to be alive!!

The train journey to Scotland was a first for me and should have been very relaxing but in reality I was so excited about the challenge ahead of me and I just looked at the beautiful scenery and kept up to date with the goings on on Facebook - the wonders of National Express WiiFii!

Our hotel was fabulous and we managed to chill for a couple of hours before meeting up with Caz and Andy. We met them in the bar for pre Moonwalk drinks and a bite to eat. Carb loading I think they call it - baked potato with tuna mayonnaise - Yummy!

Then back to our room to prepare.

By 8:30pm we were ready to go, all dressed in matching outfits and bras. Nerves were already getting the better of me and we hadn't even got to Inverleith Park!

We had a 15 minute walk to the park and arrived by 9pm. The waiting was possible the hardest thing to contend with - we had to be on site by 9:15 and the start wasn't until midnight. . . so, we got our patch of floor and waited. The music and the atmosphere in the largest marquee in the world was electric with every shape and decoration of bra you could ever imagine! Over 10,000 people were participating in the 2009 Edinburgh Moonwalk and it seemed everyone of them had a smile on their face that night. It was more like a carnival atmosphere than a marathon. My eyes took in every last detail of the event. I could only find one word to describe it. . . INCREDIBLE!! The organisers called for a minutes silence to remember those who's lives and deaths had most influenced us and encouraged us to participate in the Moonwalk. It was enough to send my already bubbling emotions into turmoil but I had a long night ahead of me and I was determined to hold it together for a little longer.

We were eventually 'called' and it took us about 20 minutes to get to the start line due to the sheer volume of 'bodies' and then we were on our way. Wow - here I was on my first ever trip to Edinburgh, doing my first ever marathon! The number of people walking was difficult to comprehend and everyone seemed to be in party mode. The volunteer crew did a fantastic job cheering us on along our route and for the first couple of hours the atmosphere was incredible. We walked through and around Edinburgh city centre and then took on 'Arthur's Seat', an 824 foot high hill that during the day gives possibly the best panoramic views of the city - BUT NOT IN THE DARK! It was so strange because we couldn't physically see it - we could just feel it in our legs and it set our thighs aching for 45minutes!

As the night wore on the crowds dispersed somewhat as people settled at their own pace. It was also noticeable how quiet people were, hardly talking at all or conversing very quietly. Was it because we were supposed to be asleep at that time of the night? I really don't know - all I could hear was the low buzz of conversation, like bees buzzing around a hive doing their own thing, just getting the job in hand done.

At the half way point, there was a low loader with a disco on board playing extremely loud music and what a buzz that was! It lifted our spirits no end and we even managed a little jig and dance at the time.

Ray hit a bad point not long after that, around the 18 mile mark. His pallor was grey; his head was down and he was in his own world, plodding! He was counting the steps knowing he would get there but also knowing that he had to get through the 'storm' that was in his head.

We all seemed to pick up at daylight and the atmosphere once again changed - our heads were high and we were walking with new vigour.

I hit 20 miles and had a very emotional hour or so. I was now in new territory, I had walked further that I had ever walked before and had put myself through more than I had in years, both physically and mentally. Here I was on the dawn of Fathers Day without my Father for the first time in my life and it was killing me. I wanted so badly for him to see what I had achieved, what I was doing and for him to be proud of me. Deep down I know he was but at that moment in time I needed him to tell me that. My heart was aching in line with my legs - it was my time to be in a bad space and I just walked, thought and sobbed.

Mum rang me about 6 o'clock to see how we were getting on. Benjamin had woken her so she used the opportunity to ring us before they went back to bed. She was also very upset. It was her first Fathers Day on her own too and I suddenly felt quite guilty for leaving her on her own. I would walk the earth for her yet here I was, miles away when she needed me and I wasn't there for her, it hurt. Benjamin was there to keep her company though and I think he did a good job!

Because some of the walk was around Edinburgh City Centre we were forever stopping at traffic lights and whenever that happened we would stretch out for the minute or two so that our muscles wouldn't seize up. At 24 miles, en route back through the city centre we did just that and as I stretched I inadvertently popped a big blister that had developed on the side of my foot!! The pain was so intense I squealed! Why, why, why with just over 2 miles to go did this have to happen? I was in absolute agony. Tears fell again but this time in pain. I was determined to finish what I had started though and was not prepared to sit down and investigate the damage. I knew that my muscles would give up if I stopped so I hobbled the last 2 miles favouring the ball of my foot.

I can't tell you how I felt at my first sight of the finish line. Although we always said we would be happy if we completed the walk in under 9 hours and elated if we did it under 8 it was never really about the finish time with me - it was about the finish line!

So I completed my first ever marathon in 7hours and 39 minutes!!

I walked 26.2 miles or 138,336 feet!

I took approximately 104,000 steps!

I burned nearly 4,000 calories on the way round!

I was elated, I was dreadfully emotional and I was absolutely shattered!!!

Roll on the next one!!!!

I would just like to thank Ray, Caz and Andy for their unwavering support before and during this marathon. It was Caz who first put the idea into my head and before we knew it we were setting the world to rights on our training walks. Andy's training advice and his support was crucial as I really didn't have a clue what I was letting myself in for! Ray as always was my rock and it meant the world to me that he joined me on my marathon. I really don't know where or who I would be without him. His love, support and guidance through my journey means more to me than he (or anyone) would ever know. Final thanks to Mum - she had every faith that we would finish and has always been there to look after Benjamin for training sessions and have soup ready for our return! xxx

I wonder what my next challenge will be?????? . . . . . .

God bless



  1. Another weepy one for me!I'm so proud of you and your pops is too.Love ya.XX

  2. That makes amazing reading babe, and it felt like i was there with you....ohh hang on a min i was...tee hee. You were amazing,Ray was incredible and we were just there to believe in you and help you through the few bad hours.
    Your determination was inspiring and no one was going to get in your way that night. You did it with pure guts and i felt honoured to walk with two people who have changed their lives around. Be proud and you best get a medal cabinet as there will be plenty more to hang up. Good luck with your next adventure and with or without Cazzy you will be the best of the best.
    Mwah xxxxxxx