Certainty in an Uncertain World

It had been two years since I’d done a Body Pump class at The Barn. I went along with my pal Claire. Turns out we used to be regulars at the very same class long before we knew each other, setting up our barbells just metres apart.

Nothing has changed in our absence. It’s still a sweltering hellbox, the microphones still don’t work and most delightful of all, it’s still the same patrons. Standing in the exact same places doing the exact same things.

"Hey! There’s those two obnoxious chicks who insist on having really loud conversations throughout the whole class!"

"And there’s still that chick that never stays for the cool down."

"And there’s that chick with the perfect hair and perfect makeup and the REALLY HUGE WEIGHTS. I thought she’d be lifting cars by now."

"I can’t believe all those years we were two metres apart and bitching about the very same people. We coulda been bitching together!"

In these crazy credit crunchy enviro mental times it’s very comforting to discover there is a place where time stands still. The instructor will always sing, the lunges will always hurt, the songs will always be cringeworthy, and that bloke will always be snorting and grunting through the bicep track because he overloaded his bar to prove to the ladies what a hero he is.

I stayed for Body Combat afterwards, and reassuringly there was still the dude up the front with the helicopter arms and sparring gloves who’s taking it all very seriously. Ahhh.

High Heels and Haggis Workout

Greetings from 2AM!

  • I#m going to use bullet points because it’s quite late!
  • Tonight I went to a Scottish wedding reception
  • I went by myself because Gareth is down at the Wickerman Festival
  • Which was very inconvenient when you’re trying to zip up an unforgiving fitted frock. I was seconds away from not going at all or asking the taxi drive for assistance. I blame my recent discovery of flapjacks.
  • The frock totally puffs out from the waist so my arse looked enormous, or like I was hiding a television under my skirt. At the time of purchase I’d told my sister I don’t want to look like a flower pot but she insisted it’s the style.
  • I saw a bloke with a bright red fluffy sporran. It looked like Elmo was curled up in his crotch.
  • You cannae get a better workout than a ceilidh. A ceilidh is a Scottish dance thingo – take yer partner by the hand, strip the willow and all that. This was the most hardcore ceilidh I’d ever encountered – the band were relentless, playing on and on until we were just about ready to vomit from exhaustion. If I’d been wearing my heart rate monitor it might just have exploded. Forget Spinning and Body Jam, they should have ceilidh classes at the gym! It’s exhilarating and fun and you don’t realise what a great workout it is until you notice your blistered feet and flaming calves. By the end of the night the crowd was soaked with sweat and shining like seals on a beach.
  • There was a very Scottish buffet at half time to boost our energy – haggis, neeps and tatties, bacon rolls and wee paper cones of fish and chips. There was cake too, but I had a second bacon roll. You gotta take the bacon when you can get it.
  • The bride and groom were gorgeous. It was such a down-to-earth affair but with classy personal touches, like a slideshow of photos from their actual wedding earlier this year set to poignant music, to watch while we ate our bacon. I squirmed thinking back to our shithouse Microsoft Word invitations that I spewed out on the photocopier at work and stuffed into shitty old brown envelopes. Why why why? DUDES, if I had my time again I’d make things classy. With lashings of bacon!
  • I’ve just spent half an hour trying to take a picture, re-lipsticking and running back and forth with the self timer.  Now I’m even more sweaty. Frocked Shiny calves ahoy!
  • This frock is a perfect metaphor for my state of mind lately. Everything looks alright if you stand very still, dodgy bits disguised, but as soon as you move things around it’s all a wobbly mess!

(I wrote this on Saturday morning but neglected to hit publish and then I went down to the Wickerman and forgot. I’ll never be one of them professional blogger types. Sniff.)

Results Not Typical

Many thanks to the eagle-eyed folk who wrote to say my Before and After photos have been pilfered to flog dodgy diet products. This time I’m singing the praises of a miraculous green tea concoction:

i reckon green tea tastes like brewed dirt

Another version of the site offers this glowing testimonial:

eeek

This has happened a few times before and no doubt will continue to happen so long as nicking images is as simple as right click, Save As. In the past I’ve got these types to desist simply by bombarding them with bossy emails. But these these jerks aren’t paying attention. I started out firm and polite and now I’m all SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS TAKE MY PICTURE DOWN Or I’ll Call My Squadron Of Imaginary Lawyers, but they ain’t scared!

yeah huh so what you gonna do about it

It’s a wee bit annoying to work your arse off for half a decade and see Doctor Dodgy’s Amazing Green Tea Goo try to steal the credit. Fer shame.   If any beverages deserve applause here it would be water, vodka, and Nambarrie tea.

So in conclusion, if you see my ginger mug beside a rapturous endorsement, please don’t gasp in horror, "She lied on her blog! For seven years! It was the green tea all along!" It ain’t me! It ain’t meeee heeee!

. .  .

Twitter update: My page is working again! Just in time for another Twitter bug to wipe out 75% of my followers. If you like pointless missives of 140 characters or less, I’m your lady!

Recipe Corner: Spinach & Feta Frittata

Depending which definition you choose, you could call this recipe a frittata, a tortilla or a Spanish omelette. After my mathematical debacle in the last entry I'm unwilling to commit to an answer. Hehehe.

In this household it has been known variously as:

  • There's A Vegetarian At My Table WTF Should I Do
  • I'm Too Lazy To Cook But Realistically This Is Quicker Than Getting A Takeaway
  • Refrigerator Graveyard In A Pan

Reason for today's culinary diversion: I found this Leftover Recipe Competition on Weight Loss Resources. I raided the fridge for the most shriveled ingredients and got all geeked up to enter. But then realised that might be a bit dodgy, since they kindly pimped the heck out of my book. So I thought I'd share it here instead.

Like everything I cook this is stupidly easy and awfully vague. It's one many reasons my food blog venture failed a few years back – I felt silly adding half-arsed primary school recipes to the blogosphere while other folks did precision flambéed goat trotters and Peruvian gooseberry parfaits.

Step 1 – Take some Spuds of Yesteryear
… that is, some leftover cooked potatoes, or the skanky raw potatoes lurking in your cupboard with seventeen eyes each. I had about 500 grams/1lb of new potatoes, so I removed the eyes, sliced em up then microwaved until juuuust tender.

If you're a member of the Potatoes Are Evil OOGA BOOGA camp, chunks of other firm veggies work well, like sweet potato or butternut squash.

Spuds

Step 2 – Get yer non-starchy veggies ready
First, something oniony – leeks, spring onions or even… ONIONS. In this case half an onion leftover from pita pizzas the night before.

Second, something colourful and worthy. Asparagus or artichoke hearts are dead tasty, but here we have two handfuls of near-death English spinach. Most of it had turned to pulp in the bottom of the Tupperware container but these leaves were salvagable.

Spinach

Step 3 – Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a nice round pan with a handle (ETA: I have the hotplate on the highest heat, but our stove is utterly rubbish. If you've got a decent one I'd probably go with a medium heat so you don't burn the eggs later on).

Sauté your onion, then add the tatties. Gently stir now and then so they get a nice golden colour but don't break up. This takes at least ten minutes on my shithouse stovetop but I hope you get a swifter response!

Stir

Step 4 – Meanwhile crack some eggs into a bowl. I used half a dozen – the amount of eggs of course depends on how many veggies you've got, how many mouths you're feeding, and/or how many eggs are left in the carton. Season with some dried chili flakes and black pepper then whisk to combine. You don't need any salt.

Step 5 – Once the spuds are done, add the spinach then carefully stir until it wilts. Again, you don't want to bust your spuds.

Step 6 – Make sure the veggie mixture is spaced out evenly over the pan, then pour over the egg mixture. Kinda smooth and poke at the whole thing with wooden spoon to make sure the egg gets between the gaps and you get a relatively even surface.

Let it cook for awhile you get preheat your grill. Is that a broiler to Americans? It's that thing with the heat that you slide things beneath in order to get them nice and toasty.

Pour

Step 7 – Once it's started to cook around the edges, I plop on about 150 grams/5oz feta cheese or similar strong and crumbly cheese. I used Wensleydale once and it was nae bad. You could be virtuous and skip the cheese altogether but… BORRRRRRING!

Feta

Step 8 – I don't know exactly how long you cook this on the stove before you whack it under the grill. Usually its about five minutes, til the edges are looking cooked and it doesn't move much when you shoogle the pan, but there's still eggy liquid around.

Anyway, whop it under the grill for about five minutes until the eggy bits look puffy and the feta looks lovely and golden.

Thingy Step 9 – Let it rest for at least ten minutes, otherwise it's too hot for you to truly appreciate the full flavour of the tasty, tasty feta.

Actually don't let it rest too long or you'll start picking off chunks of tasty, tasty feta and then you'll have to shame-facedly serve up it up to your friends with big feta dents in it.

Nice with a wee salad – here we have mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and strawberries.

Also very tasty eaten cold the next day, but a little dull if you've picked off all the cheese!

For the nerds: Serves 4. 338 calories per serve. nerdy nutritional info Click for details!

Astounding Feats of Arithmetic

The Scottish Government is running a campaign for a healthier nation called Take Life On. Billboard sayz: change your life by swapping plate of flaccid chips for plate of pasta.

Soon

Some folks will get all snobby about it and suggest refined white pasta with a token blob of tomato goo isn’t particularly nutritious. Then there’s the billboard with a beer on it, imploring you try one night per week without a pint. But the campaign is all about the value of small changes adding up to a healthier you and I’m all for that. You gotta start somewhere, says she who once Drove Thru four times a week.

Must say though, first time I walked past that billboard I thought, "Ooh. Quite fancy chips for my dinner." I’ve been living here too long!

. . .

100 PushUps Update

Good news: I can now do 12 consecutive proper push-ups! (started out at 3)

Slightly crappy news: I needed to do 16 in order to progress to Week 3. FAIL!

Now I have to repeat Week 2, which had already taken 3.5 weeks to complete. At this rate I will be the World’s Oldest Blogger by the time I get to 100.  But my goal for six weeks was to get to 20, so I’m on my way to being able to respond if someone barks, "drop and give me twenty!"

Well… at this stage I’m only any good if conditions are perfect – properly hydrated, well rested, no kickboxing class the night before, not in a bad mood, etc. One day I’ll work up to a Spontaneous Show-off level of pushup prowess and I’ll drop to the floor in supermarket queues just because I can.

. . .

Any mathemagicians out there? Dr G and I have been having a heated debate about my push up statistics, namely by what percentage I have increased my ability. Could do 3, can now do 12. One of us says 300%, the other 400%. We’veve been sitting here scratching our heads for an embarrassingly long time!

Our excuse is that it’s 1AM and we also had a very very late Friday night. Actually Gareth has that PhD so he really has no excuse at all. I am so brain dead that I just asked him, "Is magician spelled with a J?"

Shauna used to be able to do just 3 push-ups, but can now do 12.
By what % has her push-up ability increased?






Bubble and Squeak

Tonight I went to my pal V's house to practice kickboxing in her back yard. When she called up with the invitation I automatically said, I caaaan't. But then I remembered – no Moonwalking, no DIY… I'm free! I'm freeeeee! I dropped to my knees, Tim Robbins in Shawshank style.

We were joined by fellow kickboxing fiend H, and the three of us literally kicked each others arses in the fading light while Max the Dog growled at nothing in particular.

The love affair with kickboxing grows hotter every day. I'm clobbering people in my dreams. I've added in another class too, more advanced and full of intimidating fighter chicks. But it's like what Gareth says to me when I don't want to order in restaurants because I worry they won't understand my accent, "It's good for your development!"

. . .

Things that don't make much sense

#1 – How I can persuade myself to go for walks lasting up to eight consecutive hours, yet at the end of every working day I struggle to walk eight seconds to the kitchen to wash my revolting coffee mug.

#2 – How I have a website with my weight posted on it and a book with my weight written in it, yet I run away screaming when invited to a WiiFit Gathering because I don't want everyone seeing my BMI.

. . .

Dudes, we have CARPET! After bare chipboard for nine months, every step now feels like we're bouncing on the moon. It's added a pleasant dimension to the 100 PushUps Challenge; it smells fantastic when I collapse to the deck. Only downside is I have to re-learn how to be cautious with wine and beetroot.

We also have a COUCH! Although I kind of miss the fold-up camping chairs, the way they make you stink like an Arbroath Smokie.

. . .

I also unpacked the new scanner that we've had for three months, which means I've finally scanned my List of Dinners Dinners as some folks kindly requested. You'll see it's a total dog's breakfast but it's purely designed to jog my memory when doing the weekly meal planning, because I always forget what the options are.

Note: "Dr. G Soup" is a recipe that Gareth devised. I haven't chopped him up and turned him into soup.

. . .

Rhiannon and I were in the queue at H&M yesterday when a girl came over and asked politely, "Are you Shauna Reid?"

I tell you what, my heart hammered ninety to the dozen. Have I stolen something by mistake? Have I parked illegally? But I don't even have a car!

Then she said, "I read your blog!" My face burned and words deserted me and I think I might have said something really stupid. But I did manage ask the lovely lass her name. It was Sarah and she said she has a blog too.

HELLO Sarah, if you're out there! Thank you for saying hi! I'm sorry for being a gibbering fool. I was just a wee bit embarrassed because I knew when you came over I had truly slovenly posture and a surly I Am So Over This Shopping Trip expression. If I'd been more organised I would have been doing bicep curls with those 6-pack socks they always have at the checkouts, to be more inspirational blogger-like!

D’oh

I thought today would be fabulous because of my new shoes that only cost TWO POUNDS. That’s cheap in any currency! Then I spent ages writing a very helpful post to answer all the vegetarian questions I’ve been getting but then I clicked the wrong thing and next thing I know my near-finished draft is GONE and my bare bones scribbles were published. My apologies to the folks reading via feed reader! Arrrrgh.

People have also asked why my Twitter page doesn’t work. I’ve logged a help desk ticket but until then, you can still find me by searching for Dietgirl on the Twitter homepage.

Your most grumpy servant,
DG

Update: I got whacked in the face at kickboxing tonight and I think it was just what I needed. Feeling much chirpier now! Endorphins rule 🙂

Update 2: Here are my Shoes_2 dinky £2 shoes!

Moonwalk Report – Part II

Alternative Title: The Flaming Calves of DOOM!

After the Crotch Whacking Cones, Miles 9 through 12 were a blur. It was so dark as we trudged along Queensferry Road, plastic ponchos whooshing like a lullaby. I drifted in and out of conversations, trying to ignore the ache in the ball of my left foot. At Mile 10 the people doing the Half Moon turned left and headed back towards the city centre. They only had another 3.1 miles to go, lucky bastards.

Now we headed away from the big roads and down towards the sea…

Mile 12 – Did I tell you we had support vehicles? Just like the Tour de France! It consisted of Dave (Claire's fella) and Bruce (Lorraine's fella) on bicycles. They'd decided to go for a few pints then pedal around the course throughout the night. They popped up at random intervals like a ray of sunshine to shout words of encouragement and/or offer snacks.

At Mile 12 they were joined by our colleague Tara. She'd Moonwalked last year with Claire, so she knew from experience we'd need a small chocolate ration at that precise moment. Just when my calves had started to twinge and my morale nosedived, she appeared like a confectionery goddess. With one bite of a wee ASDA chocolate caramelly can't-remember-the-name I was REBORN!

3.30AM, Mile 13 – HALFWAY!

I remember thinking, now would a good time to become a Glass Half Full Person. Only thirteen miles to go, it's all downhill from here! As opposed to, Bloody hellfire thirteen stinking evil miles to go and I want to dieeeeeee.

We were down by the water now. To our left, the Firth of Forth. To our right, a discreet wall of leafy trees and many Moonwalkers darting behind them. Already the sun was starting to rise.

Mile 14 – Pee pressure: when you're dacks down in the bushes with your team and desperate not to be the last one squatting. C'MON LIL BLADDER!

By now my left foot hurt every time I put weight on it. Which is quite bloody often when one is walking. My calves also had the same "tennis balls trapped under the skin" sensation that I'd experienced on the first 16 mile training walk. I stopped for a proper stretch.

4.21AM, Mile 15 – The quietness of the seafront was replaced by the shiteness of an industrial estate. But there was a water station with giant buckets of chopped up bananas and oranges! I'd never been so glad to see a slightly shriveled piece of fruit in my life. This is where I took the Orange In Gob photo Moonwalk0421.

Brain boosted by the power of Vitamin C, I calculated that we'd been walking for 4.5 hours, an average of 18 minutes per mile. So if we kept that up, we only had 3-ish hours to go!

HA!

Ha ha.

Aye, right.

4.29AM – The sky grew pink over Leith.

Sunrise

Mile 16 – Calf pain levels upgraded to Flaming Tennis Balls With Metal Spikes. Described my symptoms to my team and they said, "That sounds like cramp". Nooo! Too many miles to go for cramp. So more stretching. A bite of Snickers bar.

Mile 17 – Ocean Terminal shopping centre. My legs refused to straighten properly so I walked in a semi-squat, cossack-esque position.

During that mile we reached the five hour mark. My longest training walk had been five hours, so it was all virgin territory now. That's when I overheard Sarah say something along the lines of, "I've just accepted that every step is going to be painful from now until the end, and there's nothing I can do but keep on walking".

I thought that was a very classy attitude and felt determined to adopt the same. Although I quite fancied throwing myself to the pavement and wailing like a big baby.

5.17AM, Mile 18 – Our amazing support crew were waiting for us with a silver platter full of goodies. Now that's service! Once again, oranges had never tasted so good.

Silverservice_2

I felt completely rubbish at this point. The last three miles had taken almost an hour. My calves were totally seized up, same with the left foot. No amount of stretching helped. The general consensus was cramp and I needed salt. I also switched back to an energy drink (I'd been sipping one for the first few miles but had changed to water). The saltiest food I had was a wee bag of Hula Hoops but I was just so sick of food – I know, can you believe it – that it was difficult to get any down.

Miles 19 – We played Eye Spy. I tried to remember my Classy Attitude vow but when someone said, "I spy something something start with… S", I immediately whined, "Shauna's Flaming Calves of DOOM!"

I fell into step with Sarah. Our other teammates were still chatty and bright but she said, "I don't think I should waste energy talking" and that suited me perfectly. We plodded along the Portobello promenade in silence.

You can communicate a lot with eyebrows. Like when you're stuck behind someone who's wearing alarmingly transparent tights and a thong, and their buttocks are wrestling like socks in a washing machine. Mutual eyebrows raised in alarm is a signal to do some rapid overtaking.

Mile 20, 21, 22 – This is when things got really really really dodgy. How can I put it delicately? I was crook in the guts. Experiencing intestinal turmoil. That overwhelming about-to-explode feeling is bad enough in the comfort of your own home, but when you're out on the town, having been awake for almost 24 hours and walking for six of them… it's no exaggeration to say it was hell on earth.

Three miles was plenty of time to analyse my predicament. Was it something I ate? Was it last Tuesday's  IKEA hot dog? Was it the Official Moonwalk Flapjack? Most likely it was the energy drink. I'd never drunk one before and the sickly sweetness was overpowering. In hindsight it was a very stupid time to introduced my stomach to something so foreign.

The more my stomach rumbled like Vesuvius the more my mental state declined. It was quite fascinating to witness the brain rotate through such a negative array of emotions. Fierce jealousy of my faster team members, half a block ahead. Annoyance at my stupid flaming calves. Bitterness at myself for being the unathletic owner of said stupid flaming calves. Resentment at Edinburgh City Council for having pavements instead of moving walkways.

But soon that was replaced by sheer bloody panic. What if I couldn't find a loo? How much longer could I hold out? Should I just hammer on a random door and beg them to let me in? Oh Lordy I really cannot hold out much longer. Don't cry don't cry don't cry BE CLASSY!

Behind me a girl was talking about food. "I just want to get a big fuck-off chicken leg," she moaned, "and gnaw on it like a caveman."

Mile 23 – Miracle on London Road! A block of flats covered in scaffolding. A dusty port-a-loo, sitting sweetly beside the footpath.

"That looks like a loo," said Sarah.

"Could it really be?"

It was. And it was unlocked!

Oh people! The joy. The relief. I still cannot find the words to express it.

Now back to the silent, slo-mo action. I was still doing my painful cossack walk but mile 23 was bliss.

Mile 24 – Called Gareth. Jenny answered; they were in the car on their way to the finish line. "Could you ask him to park as close to The Meadows as humanly possible? Just look for the big pink tent. Drive on the grass if you have to."

Mile 25, 7.32AM – Down in the Cowgate. A weary snap of the Mile 25 marker.

Mile25

The last 1.2 miles took eighteen minutes but it felt like an eternity, all numb and fuzzy like sleepwalking. The Castle came into view again as we shuffled through the Grassmarket.

Grassmarket

Along Lauriston Place there were people walking in the opposite direction with medals round their necks and silver blankets round their shoulders. They were finished and I wanted to stab them.

Mile 26 – The mile marker was at the top of The Meadows. 0.2 miles to go.

Mile 26.2, 7.50AM – Crossed the Finish Line with the lovely Sarah. WE ARE DONE BABY DONE! Eight hours neat. We had walked for an entire working day!

I'd thought I'd get all emotional like my 5k race but I was too knackered to feel anything but relief that it finally, finally over. My legs pinged and twinged like harp strings. Managed to collect the goody bags and find the rest of the team before flopping on the grass.

8.02AM – I was looking through our group photos the other day and found these two, taken a few seconds apart.

Whinge1
Frame #1 – The whiny face of reality

Whinge2
Frame #2 – FAKE! FAKE! FAKE!

This is where I attempted to stand up for the Triumphant Medal Pose but my legs failed halfway up.

Tumble

Take #2 with port-a-loos in the background providing a poignant reminder of the ordeal. Too tired to open eyes properly. The effort to arrange mouth in an upturned manner was a marathon in itself.

Finish
FYI, those lines across my boobs are from my bra decorations,
just in case you thought I had long, squiggly nipples.

Aftermath

Gareth had parked at Haymarket train station, one mile away. I tried to walk there, I really did. But after moving twenty metres in twenty minutes we gave up and jumped into a taxi. Or Gareth and Jenny jumped, I collapsed into. Half an hour later were home, another half an hour later I maneuvered myself out of the car and into the flat. You think I exaggerate, but my legs had just decided ENOUGH! We are not going to work anymore! They completely seized up; stretching was impossible. I'd never known such pain and fatigue and it was bloody hilarious. I had to wheel myself around the flat in an office chair!

Then my whole body started shaking and shivering so I wheeled myself into a hot bath. Then I slept for four hours. Then I felt quite triumphant. Then I ate the tastiest bacon sandwich of my life.

Wheels On Fire

How are you all 100 Pushups people going? I confess I only got round to starting this past Sunday. So far, so shaky! But what a novelty to have a challenge that takes 15 minutes instead of your entire bloody day. It’s so quick that it’s not even worth making excuses not to do it. Last night I did my pushups at midnight in Lancashire in a sad hotel room. My train had got in late as one of the engines CAUGHT FIRE… but I pressed on despite my brush with death*. How’s that for commitment!?

Continue reading

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!]