Moonwalk Report

Aside from the toaster, the greatest invention ever must be the Time and Date thingy on digital cameras and mobile phones. Two weeks after the Moonwalk I can barely remember it; my brain seems determined to suppress the finer details of all the pain and glory. But thankfully I can look at photo data or my Sent text messages and let the memories spew forth… "OH YEAH, that's that precise moment I wanted to fling myself under a double decker bus rather than take another step."

So here we go…

Saturday 14 June, 10AM – On the morning of the Moonwalk there was nothing left to do but carb it up. The training was done. The bra was decorated. The socks had been nestled inside the shoes in readiness. Bring on the rice and porridge.

I lazed around between bowls. We picked up Jenny from the airport, and some most excellent bacon from the farmer's market ready for my post marathon sarnie.

6PM – Tried to take a nap but Lionel Richie's All Night Long was stuck on an endless loop in my head.  How can one sleep with those saucy beats? I got dressed and paced impatiently. In the end I wore a tank top underneath my decorated bra. I was okay to bare arms but the belly was a bridge too far!

7PM – Had a last minute brainwave to live blog the walk on Twitter so I linked my phone to my account. Didn't realise until the next day that I'd put in the wrong number and had been rambling sending texts to some poor sleepless bastard all! night! looooong!    

8PM – Hitched a ride to Edinburgh with my Moonwalking comrades. On the way over we compared carbo notes and the joys of coating your feet in Vaseline. Try it, I tell you. Lube up your feet then slide into a pair of cotton socks; it feels like you're walking on air. Or a field of pillows. Or across the plump buttocks of many cherubs. For the first two miles, at least.

8.45PM – Arrived at MoonwalkCity, aka a gigantic pink tent in the middle of The Meadows.

Tent

Suddenly it was all rather exciting. I knew there would be 12,000 Moonwalkers but I didn't fathom the scale until I saw the sprawling sea of feathers, flowers and sequins. And pink pink pink. Mostly women but a few blokes gleefully showing off their brassieres.

We all plonked down in the tent. And so began the waiting.

9.30PM – Pinned race number to my trouser leg. Felt smug since I had proper safety pins instead of staples this time.

9.40PM – Ate my allocated vegie pasta ration. Surprisingly tasty!

9.50PM – Smugness came to abrupt halt when I noticed that I'd somehow managed to KNEEL IN MY PASTA, leaving a greasy red stain on my race number.

Pasta

Then there was a wilderness hour where our only real purpose was to pee as many times as possible…

Looqueue

… and take photos while queuing for the loos (10.28PM)

Looqueue2

Honestly, all that waiting around was a real energy killer. If I had my time again I would have slept all day then rocked up to the pink tent just before midnight!

10.58PM – The Moonwalk Boss Lady took the mic from the salsa band and instructed us approximately eleven million times to PLEASE wear our plastic poncho thingies because it was an extremely cold evening out there. She had the exact same tone of voice as an ineffectual primary school teacher pleading with a wayward eight year old to PLEASE come down off the canteen roof and stop throwing those rocks. But since she is an amazing woman to have dreamed up such a wildly successful fundraising event, we all chanted obediently like members of a very pink cult, YES MISS, We Will Wear Our Stupid Ponchos.

Cult

11.02PM – Attention span fading. I thought I'd be nervous but I was just plain grumpy, anxious to get out there and get the bastard over with. Also riddled with bra envy upon seeing a herd of ladies in zebra costumes. They had TAILS!

Zebra

Serious interlude – At something o'clock we had a minute of silence to think about the purpose of the Moonwalk. Why or who or what you were there for. It was a very moving, misty-eyed moment. I don't think there'd be anyone in the room whose lives had not been touched by cancer in some way.

11.40PMFinally it was time. Since there were 12,000 walkers we started in three different waves.

11.50PM – We cross the line and I hit the start button on my stopwatch.

Start

As everyone warned me, the pace was sloooow. And the Moonwalk Lady was not kidding about the cold.

The first part of the route was around the bottom of Arthur's Seat, the same route as my Race for Life 5k in 2005. My legs felt good and strong as we strolled up the hill that had left me cranky and wheezing back then. It was rather eerie, pitch black except for scraps of moonlight bouncing off our reflective caps; silent but for the rustle of thousands of plastic ponchos.

At the top I looked back across the city – Edinburgh Castle was lit up in pink. I got that little shiver just like the first time I saw it back in 2003; a groovy feeling of being where I'm meant to be.

Sunday 15 June, 1.10AM. Mile 4 – Walking up the Royal Mile was brilliant. Sozzled blokes were stumbling out of the pubs, rubbing their eyes at the sight of the bra-wearing swarm. People were hanging out the windows of their flats to cheer us on.

Milecrowd

I wanted to take more photos but to pause is to get left behind! So lots of blurry pictures ahead, I'm afraid. It was at this stage my arms went numb from cold so I had to put my jacket on underneath the plastic number. After all that time I'd spent psyching myself up to flaunt the Moonwalk costume, it was too bloody Baltic to do it. Grrr.

We headed past Castle Terrace at 1.20AM and I snapped this truly shitty pic of the pink castle. That was the last one I took until 4.21AM.

Edinburghcastle

So what happened in the hours in between? More walking at a glacial pace. A handful of yogurt-covered apricots. Some peeing in bushes. Yes, you're not supposed to do it but if we'd queued politely at the official stops I'd still be walking now. I tell you, once you've dropped trou in front of your work colleagues there's a whole new level of comradeship.

2.15AM – Received a text from jetlagged Jenny asking how I was getting on. I texted back with great enthusiasm: Nae bad Jen, almost at mile 8 and-

SMACK. I slammed groin first into a big traffic cone. Both me and phone went flying. I landed on the road hands first and there was a gasp from the crowd. I tried to leap up as casually as possible and announced, "I'm good! I'm good!". Everyone cheered.

DUDES. Mortifying.

Cone
Sample only.
Not actual crotch-whacking cone.

2.20AM – Was composing a message to what I thought was Twitter to inform you of my ordeal when… SMACK. I did the same thing again.

I was fine, really. Fine! Just embarrassed. And possibly now barren.

Let this be a lesson to you folks. DON'T TEXT AND WALK. Especially when it's dark outside.

[Sorry this report is taking so long; things have been a wee bit chaotic. Second and final installment later in the week!]

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28 thoughts on “Moonwalk Report

  1. De-lurking to tell you that it’s your fault my coworkers think I’m insane, since I sat here and laughed out loud at the computer when I read that you walked into a cone. Again.

  2. Someone seriously needs to investigate the Lionel Richie Phenomenon. Just the other day I had “Hello” stuck in my head all day at work. Have you seen that video?? It’s so disturbing.

  3. Lionel macking on a blind girl? That video gave me nightmares, I’m not joking.

    I am always walking into things too – and I generally don’t even have the walking/texting/dark outside excuse… in fact I suspect they make traffic cones that height deliberately to stop clumsy people from reproducing. Evolution, I think it’s called :0(

    Looking forward to the next installment!

    TA x

  4. Sounds like it was a great time. I love the fact that people were cheering you on from their flats – I need to move back to the city. I miss stuff like this!

    Too bad Twitter’s not loading your page for me 🙁

  5. Only you, DG, would have such an entertaining marathon walk report. You look adorable in the pic before the race. Can’t wait for the rest of the story.

  6. Your account of this walk almost made me wee a little in my pants. I was laughing way too hard. 🙂 More importantly it really make me want to do it next year.

    Thanks for helping such an amazing cause!

  7. Mum and Cathy arrived in Edinborough the day of the moonwalk and heard all about it from a guest at their hotel!! Now I have to give them this link for a Full Report!

  8. I’ve done the walking into things as well. My mishap was in Sydney Centrepoint tower where I was doing the touristy thing and went on the sky-something tour with the other tourists. At the end of the tour you get to sit in a cinema type room with moving chair, so it feels like a 3D experience. Because I was looking up at the big screen on the wall (as our tour guide was telling us it was the biggest for a private cinema or something equally amazing) I walked smack dab into an airconditiong box that sticks out of the floor at about shin height. I fell over, the room shook and all the tourists turned to stare. I got laughed at in several different languages.
    The the bloody ride wouldn’t work! I broke the ride, my dignity and cracked a bone in my ankle… yikes!
    OK it wasn’t a crotch hieght cone, but it was pretty embarrassing! 🙂
    Except I can’t blame mine on a mobile phone. bummer!
    Can’t wait to read section 2!

  9. I’ve walked headlong into signposts before, if it makes you feel any better. Nothing says doofus like cracking your head on a huge red STOP sign!

    Looking forward to Moonwalk Part Deux!

  10. I can’t load your Twitter page (I’m going to put it down to Twitter having been a bit of a flake in our relationship so far. I feel like I love it more than it loves me.) but is this where the lost Twitters went: link to twitter.com ?

    Congratulations on completing the walk! I like to think I participated by, umm, sitting in Bella Italia on the Royal Mile and pointing out all of the pink people!

  11. Ha ha ha! Loved the intimate connection with cones. I once jumped from a rope into a pool (at the tender and highly embarrassable age of 14), forgetting that it was moored to the land by an elastic cord (aka cheese wire). Which I landed on so it went right up between, erm, my legs. I assume I will never be able to have children – but if I do the pain will be nothing on that (and presumably I wouldn’t be under water screaming either!).

  12. Ahhhhhhhhhhh oh man, I can’t believe you walked into a cone… TWICE! Mind you, this from me, who took a cup of water during my 5km race only to have its entire contents miss my mouth completely and splatter down my shirt. Comrades in exercise event clumsiness, unite!

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  13. I once walked into a concrete bollard like that. Not recommended. I hope you didn’t skin your palms too badly!

  14. I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while, but have never posted. But, being I laughed out loud several times with this report, I thought I should tell you I think you are amazing!!