Just one word. BUZZING!!!
What an absolutely amazing experience. Adrenaline. Focus. Commitment. Ecstasy. Exhaustion. I felt them all.
As I drove down to Cardiff Bay for the 5.15 sign on, I wasn’t really sure how I felt. Not yet excited, not yet nervous… non plussed might cover it. Outside Wales Millennium Centre, I gave my name and received my participant’s t-shirt from the organisers – Stroke Association (www.stroke.org.uk). Duly kitted, I and some 40 other walkers watched as the path we were to walk was laid and set alight…suddenly this felt very real.
We were escorted to The Waterguard pub for our ‘training session’ given by Scott Bell from UK Firewalk (www.ukfirewalk.com), who holds a Guinness World Record for firewalking. Scott told us some of the scientific explanations as to why walking on hot coals might even be possible, and also assured us about safety. He was clear that doing a firewalk was in no small part a case of mind over matter, and that if we had the confidence and the intention to walk, we could do it. Walk with purpose, not too slow, but don’t run. Onto the wet grass at the end, wipe your feet. Water buckets available if you feel burning… Everyone listened intently, and at the end of the briefing as we walked back to Roald Dahl Plass the atmosphere amongst the walkers was certainly fired up! I chatted to Catrin, a student who had come to walk because it was on her bucket list, and Emma, who had already found her way to my blog and recognised me from my photos. Hello ladies!
We lined up alongside the smouldering path. Scott took a heat reading – 596°C! The music playing from the speakers was Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’ (amongst other heat related tracks), as Scott revved up the supporters who had come to watch. I was really pleased to catch sight of my two kids amongst the faces, and later my Dad, whose mother (my grandmother, Edna Phillips) I was walking in memory of. My shoes and socks were off and I was edging ever closer to the front of the line. Excitement was the overwhelming emotion, and my inner voice was loud and confident – ‘You can do this’.
And then I was up. I looked down the path, took several deep breaths and walked.
Did it feel hot? Sort of. The sensation was something akin to ‘prickly’. But it was so much more than a walk. As I’ve looked at the photos that Georgia took of that first walk, they sum up perfectly how I felt. Such a thrill, such a feeling of accomplishment… such a BUZZ! At the end of the path, I cheered myself, and was met with hugs from my kids. Priceless. So good, I did it again. Twice.
Certificates. Group photo. And it was all over.
What an experience. I remembered back to the briefing, and to Scott’s promise that by the end of the evening, if we followed his advice we would have three things… a certificate, sooty feet, and a huge smile.
[11 down, 39 to go]
P.S. Thank you so much to all who have supported me by donating to Stroke Association via my justgiving page. It’s still active, and here’s the link if you want to boost my total 🙂 www.justgiving.org/Justine-Swainson