Speed-Walking 26.2 Miles

When Teoh suggested joining the Moonwalk Scotland, I wasn’t sure if she was completely serious. I didn’t doubt her capability of walking 26.2 miles in the pitch black darkness of night for at least 6-7 hours over the hilly terrain of Edinburgh, but I did question her motive(s). Keen to encourage her sudden interest in something completely random and out of her comfort zone, I said yes before she could even start her second sentence.

My personal motive was simple. I hate running. I stopped short after running 13.1 miles because I couldn’t imagine training and running 26.2 miles without my left knee falling apart. But speed-walking the distance? Possible.

I have to admit training for the walk was less strenuous that training for a run. After tracking my daily steps, I realised:

  • I averaged about 12,000 steps on a regular day, thanks to the school and nursery drop offs and pick ups. On busy weekends, because we don’t own a car, I could sometimes hit 16,000 steps in a day.
  • I can’t sit still.
  • I walk pretty quickly.
  • Unlike running, I enjoyed walking!

Adding on to the above, I started doing one long walk a week for 6 weeks before the race, starting at 4 miles and building all the way up to 20 miles, at the speed of 4 miles per hour. My solitary long walks were usually really early on Saturday/Sunday mornings (4am!), as I didn’t want to take too much time away from the kids. The main highlight of training would have to be the 10 mile walk Teoh and I did in Bologna, during our girlie trip away, in the HEAT and Teoh’s adamant refusal to stop for water when we ran out!!

I flew to Edinburgh on the Friday evening before the race, had a lovely catch up with Teoh and some carbo loading at a Malaysian restaurant. The next day, we tried our best to rest and get our kit ready for our big night. One thing I didn’t regret not doing was training with the compulsory Wonderbra that all contestants had to wear during the walk, in support of the breast cancer charity. It was most uncomfortable! We checked in to the race at about 10pm, enjoyed the in-house concert and oohed and aahed at the decorated bras and outfits of other entrants and set off at about midnight.

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Got our final meal and also a free shoulder massage (???)  right before the pre-walk concert.

The race started off at Arthur’s Seat and the walk along the coast was breathtakingly beautiful, even in the dark of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 13 miles of the race (which meant the training had paid off). The warmth and hospitality of the residents of Ediburgh was evident through the countless residents opening up their gardens and handing out sweets, cupcakes and treats and cups of tea to weary walkers. At mile 15, Teoh was tempted by the many black cabs on the streets and a McDonalds, as she tried to convince me to slow down and take a more leisurely stroll. The last 4 miles were tough, my legs felt so heavy and feet so achy that it became almost mechanical – putting one foot in front of the other.

So, how did it end?

  1. We finished jubilantly after 6 hours and 44 minutes.
  2. I raised £755.55 for breast cancer charity. It felt completely alien to ask for sponsorship (not to mention un-Asian). Thank you for all of you who contributed!
  3. It cured me (somewhat) of the fear of the distance – 26.2 miles.
  4. I appreciated all the quiet time I had to my thoughts during training! Special thank you @bicyclez for his continued support of my seemingly random and insane endeavours.
  5. Confirmation that Teoh truly is glass half empty and I’m glass full. Haha!!

Tried asking Teoh if she would do the ultra moon (52 miles) as a next challenge but I think she has stopped taking my calls now.

 

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