Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 241

It's been 2 weeks since I completed my first 3Day walk. My feet are getting back to normal, my duffle bag is unpacked (well mostly anyway), I've looked at lots of 3Day pictures from the event, shared stories with friends and families ... and now I wonder 'what do I do next?'.

I received an email from another walker over the weekend. It was nice to hear from her. She said her feet were nearly healed and wanted to know what I thought of my first walk (I think it was her 2nd). She said she promised herself that she wouldn't decide about the 2011 walk on an impulse. She said it'd be like being in the delivery room and trying to decide if you wanted to have another baby. I loved the anology. I had promised myself and my husband before I went on this year's walk that I would NOT commit to the next one while being under the emotional (& hormonal) effects of the current one. Of course ... then I also got an email last week from Susan G. Komen reminding me that I can apply a $35 discount to my registration fee if I register before November 23rd ... no pressure huh?

I admit I had a bit of a rough time getting through the whole walk because of the heat. I'd walked more than 500 miles in my training, but only got in about 38 of the 60 on the walk. To say I was disappointed would be a HUGE understatement. The fighter in me is ready to jump right back in and say 'let's give it another whirl and try to do better on the next one'. Then the doubter in me (I hate when it rears its ugly head) says 'maybe you should try crewing next year instead of taking on the walk'. I must admit I'm a bit confused. Of course I do have plenty of time to make that decision (well ... at least til November 23rd).

Any suggestions? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 230

The Michigan 2010 Susan G. Komen 3Day for the Cure walk is now complete. Ironically enough it was one of Michigan's hottest weekends of the summer so far. To share a bit of the experience with you, it's probably best to just start at the beginning.

Thursday I headed out to Farmington Hills to the site of the Opening Cermonies for the rehearsal. I was nominated and chosen to carry an 'In Honor Of' flag. I carried the 'In Honor of Myself' flag, symbolizing to me that I am indeed a survivor. We were given instructions as to which flag we would carry, which side of the stage we would enter from, where we would post our flag, etc. It was all very helpful. Next I headed to my sister Cindy's house to help her pack her duffle bag before our two other teammates (Kristen & Stefanie) would arrive later for our Pre-3Day slumber party (it was most helpful that my sister lived just a couple of miles from the opening ceremony and the 3Day campsite.

Friday morning we were all up bright and early. We arrived at the Opening Ceremony site just a little past 5:30am. The ceremonies were energizing. The 1800+ walkers were dressed in varying shades of pink, feather boas, every combination of clothing you can imagine. The energy level was definately on the high side. The 21+ mile walk for Day One began. We walked through the Farmington Hills & Livonia area through business districts & residential neighborhoods. Cheering stations were filled with clapping supporters, sprinklers, bottles of water, snacks, ice water for dipping our bandana scarves, and A LOT OF SIGNS AND PINK!! Everyone from the crew & volunteers to the supporters were amazing. The weather was HOT & HUMID which made for an exhausting first day. I made it through 20.5 miles the first day, but the heat apparently got the best of me. My heart was all 'aflutter' ... literally. I made it back to camp and saw the medics to find my heartrate & BP were way too high. For me it meant a discouraging detour to the local emergency room. 3 IV bags & a potassium cocktail later and I was heading home (or at least back to my sister's air conditioned house) for the night. The doctors said my electrolytes were good and I wasn't dehydrated, but the heat had temporarily stressed my heart. I felt pretty defeated when the doctor said I couldn't walk on Saturday. I felt like a hormonal failure who was letting my donors down. Everyone reminded me that the $5000 in donations I had raised were just that ... 'donations to breast cancer research' - they were NOT 'per mile pledges'. Of course try telling that to someone who is about to watch her teammates walk through the Plymouth cheering station on Saturday. The doctors tried to remind me of the 500+ training miles I had already walked during the past several months. I assured them that I would agree with them (later ... after I got home).

Saturday (Day Two) I went (like a good little soldier) to the cheering station and cheered my teammates on with their families. It was difficult to do, but the most sensible thing nonetheless. By Saturday evening I arrived back at the 3day camp and was finally cleared by the medics to walk again on Sunday if I promised to watch for the warning signs and take it easy in the heat. I had dinner at camp with my teammates and enjoyed a mini concert from Candy Coburn (who sings the 3day theme song 'She's A Pink Warrior'.) It was an enjoyable evening, then back to my sister's air conditioned house for the night.

Sunday (Day Three) I was feeling much stronger and was able to walk 14 of the 16.6 miles en route to the closing ceremonies. We walked through Livonia, Redford, Hines Park, Dearborn Heights and Dearborn. Overall it was a great day! By Day 3 I discovered that while many were fortunate enough to walk all 60 miles many others (for various reasons) were not able to do the whole thing ... which let me know that I was no longer a failure. We can train correctly for months, hydrate-hydrate-hydrate, eat our prescribed salty snacks, slather on our SPF50 sunscreen ... basically do everything that we can control. But there will still be those things like the hot weather or rainstorms that we simply cannot control. Gosh I hate the fact that I'm not the Wonder Woman that I like to think I am.

The closing ceremonies were at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. There was a great turnout from family and friends. I was on stage with my 'In Honor Flag' while Candy Coburn sang the 'Pink Warrior' theme song. It was a wonderful ending to an overall great weekend. The Michigan event alone raised $5.4 million dollars for breast cancer research and community awareness programs. Well done everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 221

Well it's almost here ... the Michigan 3Day journey is now just 3 days away. 221 days ago when I started this blog it seemed so far away and now it's really just around the corner. Last night I started my preliminary packing and found that to be a little bit overwhelming. I'm notorious for being an 'over packer' and think that as I was trying to follow all of my checklists for what to pack, how much to pack, how to pack it, etc. I found myself feeling anxious. Finally I decided to call it quits for the night and turned on some 'mindless' TV. Lucky for me 'Dating in the Dark' was on and I found that to be just what I needed. Watching 6 young people having first time meetings in total darkness (so as not to judge each other on their appearances), then progress was interesting - but enough of a distraction to help get me past my first round of packing dilemmas. Tonight I will start fresh and dig in again.

Tonight I will also do my last training walk before the weekend. 4-5 miles. If the weatherman is right (well he has a 50-50 chance) after work it should still be muggy and in the mid 80s, so I brought my walking clothes with me to work. My logical husband suggested a cooler walk in the mall. And who said he wasn't smart? Certainly not me.

Thursday I will head out for the rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies (since I'll be carrying a banner), then have a nice dinner with my sister, before the rest of our team shows up at my sister's house for a pre-3Day slumber party. We're fortunate that my sister (also on the team) lives about 15 minutes from the opening ceremonies. We figured that made more sense than the other 3 of us driving the hour+ ride in on Friday morning (especially when we need to arrive by 5:30am!).

Once again, I want to thank everyone for your support during this journey. I've had tremendous support with my fundraising, my training, and motivating me when I needed it most. I couldn't have done any of this without all of you. At this point all I can ask for is your prayers for good health for all of the 2500 participants (walkers & crew members), NO rain, not TOO HOT of temperatures, and perhaps some cooler nights for sleeping in our little itty bitty pink tents.

If any of you are in the area Friday, Saturday or Sunday we'd love to see you on the route, at a cheering station or at the closing ceremonies. Just go to and click on 'event information'. It gives you times, locations, directions, parking suggestions, basically all you need to come by and show your support.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 213

I can't believe the 3Day walk will be here next week ... only 11 more days. On one hand I'm nervous and a bit anxious (Have I trained enough? Can I handle the heat? Am I really strong enough to tackle this 60 mile journey?). On the other hand I'm excited and a bit anxious (hmmm ... anxious again?). I can't wait to finally experience the walk, meet the other walkers, see first-hand the exhiliaration of a cheering station, and be a flag bearer for the opening and closing ceremonies.

I did my 18 mile training walk on the weekend and got through it pretty well this time. No 'new' aches or pains or blisters. Of course the weather helped. It was in the mid 70s (maybe 80) and the sun rarely showed its face. Made for a welcome change to the routine training walks I've been doing. Now I just read on the 3Day message boards that the expected weather for the Michigan 3Day is 90 degrees, humid and sunny. Wow ... when it rains it pours (figuritively speaking, of course). The good news is Michigan weather tends to change at least every other day, if not daily. So it'll be whatever it'll be. Time will tell. But saying an extra prayer or two for no rain and no heat exhaustion certainly wouldn't hurt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 207

A lot has happened in a week since my last blog entry. I took a small training break and let my knee and heels heal (no pun intended). My feet are feeling much better this week. So my training is on track.

My fundraising hit a huge milestone this week. I went over $5,000. Thank you to everyone who has supported me (in so many ways).

I also received some great news this week. I was invited to carry one of the 'inspiration flags' for both the opening and closing ceremonies at the 3Day event. There will be close to 50 flags all with messages of 'hope', 'dreams', 'events' and several 'honor flags'. Walking in honor of a 'mother', 'sister', 'friend', 'aunt', 'neighbor', etc. I will be carrying the flag marked 'myself'. I feel very honored to carry a flag that indicates that I am survivor. If you are at either of the ceremonies watch for me.

The 3Day event is now less that 3 weeks away. I've been prepping my packing list, washing & wearing my walking clothes and socks, etc. We have our new team hats ready to go. At this point there's just lots and lots of details and excitement.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 200

It's been more than a week since my last post and I apologize. What can I say? It's been busy, it's been tiring, it's been eventful ... basically just more of the same.
This past weekend was the 2nd of our 2 long back-to-back weekend training walks. Last weekend was 18 & 15. I managed the 18 on Friday without too much difficulty, but settled for 12 (of the 15) on Saturday.

I am still nursing the blisters on my heals (mostly my right foot). I was so proud of my training so far and the fact that I was blister-free ... I'm hoping I didn't jinx myself. Until 3 weeks ago I was doing awesome, then I tried breaking in a new pair of shoes for the walk. The salesman insisted I needed a 1/2 size larger and I figured he was the expert, so I listened to him. Obviously it didn't turn out so well. After about 10-12 miles (I never wore them for more than 6 miles a day) I discovered that they were slipping just enough around my heals that I was getting friction. I tried tieing the shoes differently, etc. but the damage was already done. I returned the shoes and went back to another pair that was a 1/2 size smaller and they seem to be working. My problem now seems to be that I keep re-inflaming the existing blisters each week when I walk. In a perfect world I would take a few weeks to let them properly heal, but my world isn't perfect.

I need to find a way to protect them the best I can while still walking & training. I'm using vaseline, moleskin, good socks, good shoes. I just need help finding the right combination I guess.

The walk is now only 4 weeks away. I'm hoping that we will catch a break with the heat. We should be accustomed to walking in the heat by now that we'll be used to it, but it would still be kind of nice to not be so hot & humid for the 3 days. Although it will be August and it's still Michigan (which can be unpredictable), so we kind of already have 2 strikes against us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 189

Sorry, it's been over a week since my last post. It was a busy and crazy week - that's for sure. Last weekend I walked my 17 miles & 12 miles back to back on Friday & Saturday. I fared pretty good on the 17. I mapped out 4.25 miles in my subdivision and walked it 4 times with 10 minute breaks at home in between. It was a pretty good pace. At the end of the day my feet were tired and my heals had a couple of borderline blisters. I was attempting to break in my new shoes that I'd purchased at the Preview Expo. I was being smart and only wore them for the 1st half of the walk, then changed into my back up pair. On Saturday I walked the first 6 miles in the new ones, then changed socks and shoes for the 2nd 6. I made it about 3 miles and discovered that not only were both heels killing me but my right knee was really starting to hurt. I was having shooting pains up and down my leg with each step. I sent the rest of our walking group on without me and took a break at the 1/2 way point. Unfortunately it was 3 miles back to my car. I made it back but with a lot of limping and at a record-slow pace. By the time I got home I was limping badly and my heels looked horrible. Ouch, not a good experience (physically or mentally)!

I decided the new shoes (which the salesman had insisted I buy a 1/2 size larger than my other pair) were too big and causing too much sliding around my heal. Needless to say I took the week off of walking to give my feet and knee a chance to heal up & I exchanged my shoes last night. I walked 3 miles in the new ones tonight. They're a bit stiff yet, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that I can break them in. This weekend I'm supposed to walk 10 & 6. I'm gonna shoot for 6 tomorrow and then maybe do another 4 later in the afternoon - maybe break it up in shifts. Next weekend is a big 18 & 15. I need to pace myself this week, but build back up to it at the same time. Let's hope for a better week.