I think I can actually type a bit more today; apologies for the pithy walk report yesterday. Right, so here's the scoop for those of you who are interested.
We got to Playtex City (I kid you not, that's what the walker's section of Battersea Park was called. It was pink and had lots of images of bras.) and met up with the rest of our team. We were divided up into three groups, based on our estimated walk times. We spent around 3 hours in a very large marquee listening to music, admiring costumes, eating pasta, and taking a few pictures. I just really really really wanted to get going with the walk - hey, 11pm is late for me. We endured a very long and boring message from Prince Charles (who didn't even lean out the windows of the palace to cheer us on, the old git) and another very long and boring message from Lorraine Kelly (Scottish TV presenter that no one outside of the UK will know) before the countdown. Heather was singing the theme to I Dream of Jeannie which led to me telling her "That bloke in the bra next to you thinks that you're being weird" (yes, it was meant to be ironic). The bloke in the bra next to us chatted with us while we waited, which was nice. Surreal, but nice.
It wasn't nearly as slow as I thought it would be, but then again, we were in the fastest heat out of the three. There were some serious walkers out there: people who actually pump their arms, clench their buttocks, and go "Phew phew phew phew phew" in rhythm to their steps. The first few miles were great, we were filled with energy and enjoyed the gorgeous views of late night London from along the Thames. Firemen waved at us from outside the station (wheee!), cars drove by and honked, busloads of people gaped at us in wonder, and drunk people staggered onto the pavement and wondered if we were a figment of their lager-filled imaginations (this is the problem with starting an event like this at closing time, unfortunately). At one point, a limo parked at the side of the road and a tipsy middle aged man jumped out, opened the door, and started gesturing towards the inside of the limo. Upon looking into the limo, we noticed a few other men inside, some of whom were actually passed out on the floor. Niiiiice. At around mile 5, Paul and Jack met us to cheer us on and provide motivational hugs and smooches. Judging from Paul's pictures, I'd say that they were both suitably entertained while they waited for us. We carried on past more drunken (but appreciative) onlookers and honking drivers. Jack said that there was some guy hanging out of a car window shouting "Somebody PLEASE sleep with me!!" at the walkers. Got to give a guy credit for trying.
The marhsalls were absolutely fantastic; they cheered us on and really kept me feeling motivated. Even the police who directed us across busy intersections were encouraging. This was extremely important as we got to around mile 10 and something evil happened to a muscle in my hip. I think it's called "overexertion". Coupled with an existing neck and back injury, this was not a good thing. I hobbled, limped, swore, and dragged myself along for the last 3 miles (and they really were the longest miles I've ever walked in my life). Heather slowed down and stopped and streched with me, let me take her arm and kept telling me how well I was doing. The miles were long and painful, but the encouraging words of the marshalls were brilliant. We finally made it to the finish line (which I swear was another 10 miles after we passed the final 13 mile sign), and we got medals and a goody bag. I hobbled out of the park to the car, and promptly fell asleep until we arrived atJack and Heather's house in Cambridge.
Sunday morning I was cold, tired, in great amounts of pain, grumpy, hungry, and miserable. Paul asked if I felt like I had accomplished something and at that point, I couldn't say that I did. Although it all seems a little surreal and the night is a bit of a blur, I do feel like I did something significant. 13 miles isn't a lot for some people, but for me, it was. We walked for 4 1/2 hours on no sleep, in the chill of an English spring night, in our bras. Would I do it again? I don't think so, but I'm telling you, I will happily donate a hefty sum to anyone I know who does. It was an excellent experience and I'm very proud that I took part. Well done, ladies!
Holiday time! We've packed up our suitcases and will stay overnight at a hotel near Heathrow tomorrow. By this time on Wednesday, we'll be most of the way across the Atlantic. Another thing I have gotten from doing this walk - an excuse to pig out at Red Lobster when we get to San Diego. What? A girl has to reward herself! I may also have to congratulate myself with a shopping spree at several outlet malls. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
See? Charity - it's a good thing. Everyone wins.