Shine Walk 2016
Walking a half marathon? Yep easy, sign me up.
I guess because it’s ‘just walking’, but it’s common misconception that a walking any great distance must be reasonably easy, especially in comparison to running. I must have had a memory blank when I agreed to walk the Shine half marathon for Sole because I have previously taken part in the Moonwalk full marathon event six years ago when me and my new work buddies walked throughout the night, ending around 9am very sore and stiff. Phoning your drunk mates with updates and hearing how they’ve been out partying the entire time whilst you are solidly striding on through rain for TEN HOURS is pretty brutal and to be honest, dull. Those were the days where podcasts just weren’t a thing and believe it or not I didn’t even have a smart phone anyway (RETRO) so making ten hours of conversation with a bunch of people I’d just started working with was long. I remember eating a bacon sandwich in the bath the next day whilst crying out of sheer exhaustion from the sleep deprivation.
Thankfully I did have the sense to do the half marathon (instead of full) this time around, and these days I am more fit than I was back then so I thought it might be more enjoyable. Determined not to make the same mistake as last time (i.e. doing zero training and having no expectations as how hard it would be), I embarked on a few training walks and for one of them, Dan and I spent a glorious weekend in Margate and rambled along the coast to Broadstairs and Ramsgate. If you haven’t been down to that part of the country I would definitely recommend it for the quirky independent arty shops and cafes in Margate, and the Dickensian hot spots of touristy Broadstairs (avoid hanging around in Ramsgate though!). You can take the Viking Coastal path by bike or foot for 32 miles of scenic white jagged cliff edges and clashing waves. We opted for a slow six mile walk in the sunshine, stopping for a pub lunch and icecream. The most wonderful icecream in fact from a parlour called Morelli's - divine.
I digress. Aware that six miles over the course of a day with pit stops is slighty different to walking without a break late at night, so I also took part in a training walk with the other Sole ladies and we had a very sociable jaunt around London for eight miles one evening after work. I slept well that night.
So with the evening of the Shine walk upon us and my little backpack stuffed with cereal bars, I met up with Vikki and we headed over to meet our group at Southwark Park where Anthea Turner was kicking off the event. We got our glowsticks out and off we went. Vikki and I were on a bit of a mission, both not wanting to be walking for longer than necessary so we massively got our stomp on, which was great but meant we promptly lost most of our group. Ooops.
Madly catching up on relationships, work and everything in between, I loved walking with Vikki as we stuffed our faces on chocolate biscuits (we may have overcompensated for the amount of exercise we were doing..!). After about six miles, my legs started aching. I actually couldn’t believe it – I know I must have found the Moonwalk hard at the time but I didn’t really remember the aches kicking in that early. Around ten miles in, the balls of my feet started hurting and eventually left me with that horrible burning sensation that follows from a night out in heels. When we rocked up to the finish line in just under four hours, I was tired and so relieved for my feet. I have so much admiration for all you guys who walked the full marathon, as I don’t know if I could have done it that night. I did think of you all when I woke up the next morning and saw it had been raining as well, bummer.
If you are reading this and thinking about entering next year, you should go for it. Everyone is out raising money for Cancer Research and carrying messages on their backs about who they are walking for so it’s a very inspiring and humbling evening. Ladies out in force together at night, cheering, singing and of course glowing – it’s a really great atmosphere. It’s also such a well organised event taking in so many iconic sights in London at night, which is quite special. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the distance!
Thanks to the Sole crowd for having me in your team. My feet were thankful for the flip flops I slipped on to get the tube home in!