I can’t remember how or when we signed up for the Shine Walk, it feels like forever ago, I think possibly my friend Mandy may have suggested it after she successfully completed the Shine Half-Marathon last year, this was her first time doing anything like this, before last September she hadn’t even taken part in a Race for Life so tackling a half marathon was a huge accomplishment for her which I think even up until the night she didn’t believe she could do it, but we did, we even smashed her 4hr target. (you can read about last years half marathon walk here)
When we signed up to the marathon we decided to really knuckle down, we were going to train every week, we were both going to lose weight, while I can’t speak for Mandy, I am around a stone heavier than when we signed up, & while I do walk 3-5 miles at least once a week we never managed to commit to the long walks each week like we planned, that’s not to say we didn’t walk, we built up from around 3 miles to 9 miles at a mile a week, but unfortunately that’s where it started to go wrong, work commitments, family commitments, the weather, we have had a crazily hot summer this year and Wednesdays the day we usually walk seem to either be scorching hot 28+ degrees or pouring rain, neither ideal conditions, we done our longest walk (just under 21 miles) on 24th August the hottest day of 2016 – the cold cider in the above pic was calling me for the last 6 miles.
So onto the night itself, we planned to leave home just before 6 & head to a local Zizzi’s for some last minute carb loading, before we jumped on the tube and headed to Southwark Park, we were lucky in that we had been invited as part of #teamsole (more about that later) into the VIP/media tent, which meant we had somewhere to relax before we started.
Whenever I take on challenges like this I have an awful habit of clock watching, not necessarily for speed it’s because I break the races into chunks ie 2.5 miles we have done almost a 10th, 6.5 miles we have done over a quarter, 10 miles is just 10 miles but is always a high, 13 miles is halfway. etc & I always have a rough idea of how long I think the walk will take me ie for Saturday night we were on track for finishing well below 8hrs, so I new at 2hrs we should be a 1/4 way around by 4hrs we should have been through the half way point
Unfortunately, the evening didn’t go to plan, Mandy picked up some niggles during our 21-mile walk last month, that flared up quite early on in the marathon (mile 6) meaning almost every step after that was extremely painful for her.
This was my 6th walking marathon & by far my toughest, probably in some part because I am almost 3st heavier than when I have done these walks in the past, but I also carried the extra weight with me when we walked the 21 miles, I think I struggled because of the extra time on my legs, I have always said I don’t think I had more than 8hrs in my legs 8.5hrs at a push (I have finished previous walking marathons between 6hrs 42 to 7hrs 43) as I mentioned above I clock watch during these walks, so for me the night became as much of a mental battle as it did a physical battle, my problem was time wise I had no idea where that finish line was so I had no idea how much longer I needed to carry on walking & I found that really tough & demotivating, I felt like someone was constantly moving the finish line further & further away.
Several times Mandy told me to go ahead and leave her but that was never an option, there were times when I genuinely didn’t think we would make it & I am not talking about Mandy and her injuries although I am sure she had those thoughts too, I am talking about me mentally at 15 miles I could have happily quit, I knew there was no way we would be finished within 8.5hrs, I was shattered, I had started to trip up a lot where I was walking slower than my usual pace so not picking up my feet properly, which was making my whole body jar from fatigue, at every rest stop Mandy needed to sit down and rest her legs, but I couldn’t as I knew I would never get up, my body seems to know the distance/time I am out for and as soon as I stop everything just seems to seize up (this even happens after running a 10k)
To say we were both happy to cross London Bridge & see that finish line in an understatement.
(Mandy got her medal engraved)
I am so proud of Mandy she walked over three-quarters of the marathon in pain, not that I told her on the night but at mile 4 saw the remains of blisters she still had from our 21 mile walk a month earlier and they looked painful (I didn’t think me saying ouch would help), add to that a tight IT Band meaning she had pain right the way down her leg I think she is a total trooper, all along she was determined to finish no matter how much pain she was in herself or how long it took, she had in her head was why we were walking, to raise money for Cancer Research UK & for her personally in memory of her Nan, Grandad & Uncle.
My only regret from Saturday was not taking in the sights more, but I think we were both to exhausted.(totally gutted I didn’t get a snap of me & Bumblebee the yellow car from the Transformers movies as they were preparing to film along The Mall)
Sunday was spent catching up on some sleep, having a long relaxing bath with some Epsom Salts & giving my feet some TLC, thankfully I had my It’s Your Sole Sports Flips to wear as I am not sure my feet were ready for shoes just year.
(believe me those feet look better than they were feeling)
Did you take advantage of the massages & free socks on offer from the lovely people from Your Sole at mile 13, Mandy did, she had a massage along her IT band which helped loosen up her leg for a few miles.
I had already entered the Shine Walk Marathon when I was invited to be part of #teamsole & was lucky enough to have been sent some socks, Footbeds and the Sports Flips to support me with my training. I was actually already a familiar with their products as my husband started using their footbeds during last year’s London Marathon and they really helped with his Plantar Fascitis pain, so if you haven’t already checked out their website do so now, I believe they have a sale at the moment as my husband was stocking up on the footbeds at the weekend.
I couldn’t finish without sharing this beautiful photo of the sun rising over the Thames just before 7am on Sunday morning, I am still not sure if it was this colourful sight or knowing that the finish line was just around the corner that made all those miles suddenly seem less painful than they had earlier in the evening.
I have been raising money for Cancer Research in memory of my nan & her sister & brother in law, if you would like to make a donation please text NIKM73 £2 to 70070 or follow the link below – Thank you in advance for your support