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Tracey Feels On Top of The World at The MoonWalk London!

I apparently smiled more, my gait was much more fluid. I was sleeping much better, I had more energy. I even lost some weight.

I’ll bring myself but don’t ask me to read a map…………….

Trainers are those things that you wear outside the house instead of slippers because they are very comfortable (and slippers on the tube are not a good look!). I like Walking, preferably down a street that has something interesting to look at as I walk by; I am fascinated by old buildings and the stories behind them. I queued for 2 hours to get in to the Bank of England during “Open House” a few years ago. I like people, a colleague introduced me to a new coffee truck on Strutton Ground. She was surprised to hear that the coffee truck owner and I are now on first name terms; I always ask about his frequent trips to Spain, he always asks am I working too hard! Bear with me, there is a point I am trying to make.

My Oyster card had made me a tad dependent on jumping on buses, no matter how short the route and although I have been going to yoga for 12 years, my cardio exercises were on the lacking side.  Bizarrely as much as I love people I have always been drawn to solitary quiet classes such as Pilates and body conditioning rather than team sports (so please do not ask me to join the netball team.) I then have the option to talk to people or not.

So it was a bit of a shock to the family and colleagues when in October, I announced that I had signed up to do The MoonWalk London in May 2016. 26.2 miles with thousands of other Walkers! TWENTY SIX MILES, my family kept repeating to me as if it was some mantra. Then they would repeat it in kilometres as if I would understand more. That’s like a marathon! “I know” I would respond grumpily! Sounding like a teenager being told to finish her homework.

Over a glass of wine I started to mention it to friends, you know what it’s like, if you say something out loud, it means you are committed; you have to do it now. I’ll Walk with you, said a friend in the first week of January. My sister had bumped into this friend the night before the Walk. “Tracey doesn’t do maps, that is your job”. My poor friend stressed all night on the planned route and met me on a cold Sunday morning outside Loughton Tube station; off we Walked around Epping Forrest. We got lost – the GPS signal was lousy. But how we laughed, we talked about everything from politics to worrying about our parents getting old.

The following week another friend arranged a Walk from Richmond to Hampton Court. Her map reading skills were perfect (she also brought a paper map with her), she became my chief map reading person. We started to find that other people wanted to come Walking with us. My sister invested in a pair of walking boots to come out with me. Mum and Dad would phone every day to check on my progress (telling me about the latest relative that had died of diabetes or something, it was their clumsy way of saying this is really good for you) and I would have another friend who would take me to the treadmill at her gym to help me quicken my pace. 

Friends would volunteer to Walk with me at weekends, planning scenic routes that they knew would keep my interest going. I would Walk with colleagues to train stations in the City of London after work along the river. Some friends planned a Saturday where we Walked along the Regent and Union Canal and on her map could identify the history of the buildings we passed including London Zoo. We share a love of long queues each year on Open House!

So the night arrived; as I approached my local tube station there was the sound of ‘hellos’ and cheers from other women dressed suspiciously just like me in feathers, flowers and loads of sticky back plastic thingies! As we exited at Clapham, it was like some massive call to arms where we all Walked towards the Common and were greeted by the sight of the Big Pink Tent with flags waving in the gentle night breeze. The tent was filled with loads of different activities, face painting, warm up exercises, inspirational stories, glow in the dark jewellery; it was abuzz with energy!

I was nervous, a list of worries ran through my mind; suppose I tripped and fell on my face, suppose I went too slow and the MoonWalk team packed up and left me behind, suppose I lose my way (we all know I have a poor sense of direction and am bad at reading road signs). Obviously all the “supposes” were a nonsense; the start was a whirl of cheers and whistles. My friends had held a dinner in my honour but skipped the dessert when I texted to say that I had started and they all raced to line the Walking route with my husband throughout the night, screaming and clapping me on.

“The Wall” I hit it right in the middle of St James Park, my body temperature had dropped (how do the young go clubbing in only a bra and shorts) as had my energy levels, I was tired and cold. My husband was wonderful, he had known this was my next stop and found me hobbling outside the loos and said a simple “you CAN do it”! I drank some water and ate an energy bar and started to build up pace!  

As I limped to the Finish Line, cameras snapping and people tapping you on the back yelling well done; I felt numb but when some lovely person puts a medal around your neck, for a brief moment, you are “on top of the world.”

I learnt something new from those Walks from my friends; their goals, worries that we all shared about being a woman in an ever changing work place but... best of all we laughed a lot. Family and close friends noticed small differences in me. I apparently smiled more, my gait was much more fluid.  I was sleeping much better, I had more energy. I even lost some weight.

As for Walking boots... I will have you know...  I have 3 pairs that have seen real Walking!!

Tracey

Join us on the 13th May 2017 as we celebrate The 20th MoonWalk London with a ‘Roaring Twenties’ theme... unite with us against breast cancer and help make a difference.

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