That's what it felt like to me - A Thousand Miles. Yesterday was The Big Day: Gail's Walk for Haiti, 16 kilometres coast to coast across Auckland, including up and down two volcanic cones.
They came with their cross-trainers and running gear. I strolled up in my casual flats and trackpants. Their mini-backpacks contained sustenance for the journey; my bohemian satchel contained some snacks and my camera (Mr G shook his head when he saw me and said, All the wrong gear, babe!)
But was I worried? Nope. I was here for a good time, a scenic stroll across our beautiful city in great company, for a great cause.
Too bad that as we got involved in our deep-and-meaningfuls, our pace seemed to unconsciously slow even further. Like as if we couldn't move our legs and our mouths at the same time - SO MUCH FOR MULTI-TASKING! Walk fast? No talking. Fast talking? Slow walking. (Stopping to take snaps didn't help either.)
I heard my girl shouting "Go mummy!!" as I inched up the hills. They even had signs.
At the top there was icy cold water waiting, the chance for group photos and a few minutes of blessed sitting. God bless M and his chilly-bin.
And God bless Mr G, who drove back from Up North to come and support me, leaving at 5am to get back in time. The glorious sight of the van pulling alongside with Dash hanging out the window; Mr G topping up my water bottle and passing out some nut bars... ahhhh magic and warm fuzzies big time.
The temptation was there to jump in the van and catch a ride a couple of hundred metres up the road to where the other girls were steaming ahead... but no. Me and Gemz upped our game, dodged some traffic and caught up to the (patiently waiting) main group.
When we spotted the Other Coast in the near-distance, what a surge of hope and relief. It's OK, aching hips, not much longer. There there, blistered feet... not long now.
Limping, I made it to the end. Grateful for Gemma. Grateful for the end. Grateful it was over, and I had made it - even if I was the last.
I was just waiting for ultra-competitive Dash to call out, "Mummy, how come you came last??" I'm sure he thought I was in a race, and I had lost. But I didn't - lose, I mean. I made it the whole way. I am still aching and limping, more than a day later, but together we have raised $1000 for Haiti so far (with more promised).
So it was totally worth it (but I'm totally glad it's over!)
Here's Gail's account of our walk (I borrowed a few of her photos - the kids with the signs, one of me and the group shots!)
You can still donate to our Walk for Haiti. Click here to donate online. All funds raised go directly to the Red Cross.