Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 3 - Sunday

Another early day today but it was much easier to wake up knowing that it would be over soon! I had to be at camp right on time today because the start of Day 3 wasn't a regular get-up-and-walk event. After meeting the rest of the team at the dining tent and having a little bit of breakfast, we were BUSED to our starting location. It was a process that they really had down pat so I don't think Denver is the only city they do this in. The bus ride gave us extra time (15 minutes) for stretching, taking Motrin, applying BioFreeze or just to talk with other walkers.

We were dropped off at Littleton High School and started our walk through Cherry Hills. It was a REALLY nice neighbourhood and we all kept saying things like "look at those windows" or "what a cool door!"... ok it was early and when you're that tired, you're easily impressed. But those houses were super nice. I'm not really sure where we went after that but we ended up at a cheering station on Denver University's campus. Jason was there to meet us and collect our jackets (it was quite cool this morning) and I spent a few minutes on the phone with my sister-in-law Courtney. She wanted to cheer us on even though she couldn't get down to Denver from Fort Collins and it was a really nice surprise for Jason to have her on the phone when we got to the stop.

Lunch today was really early so we didn't spend much time there. In fact, the lunch ladies changed their names to the Brunch Ladies for today! Even though it was early, and we thought we had been making pretty good time, we barely made it out of that stop before it closed. For those of you who have never done this before, each stop has a closing time and if you're not back on the route by the closing time, a big bus takes you to the end (they call it being swept)! We were not going to let that happen and we made it out with 5 minutes to spare.

I'm not sure if it was just the determination not to be swept or the knowledge that we only had 9 miles to go but we really picked up the pace after lunch... We made it to the next two stops in record time!! We were going to stop at the last stop and sit for a while but we knew that Gwyn and Sue were going to be waiting for Patti, Wendy and I at the 1-mile-to-go point so we just kept on trucking. To our delight that mile marker was right in front of a well placed Starbucks that had an outdoor patio. Jason's Dad and Stepmom were waiting for us there with Jason, Sue, Gwyn and Gwyn's husband Robbin. We took a few pictures, had an iced carmel macchiato (the weather had warmed up substantially since the morning) and soon the 5 team members took the final mile walking together.

In what felt like a distance that was much shorter than 1 mile, we saw the finish line!!! And to the right of the finish line we saw Jason's Aunt Merikay and Uncle Robb! That was a huge surprise because we weren't expecting them to come down at all. After some hellos we 5 walkers joined hands and crossed the finish line as one team. It was the girls first time going through "the gauntlet" and was a very emotional experience. All the walkers who have already finished line the path from the finish line to the shirt tent and cheer and high-five and congratulate you on what you have just accomplished. It is a very overwhelming experience, especially for those who are doing it for the first time.

With victory shirts in hand, we sat down in the holding area and were joined by all the previously mentioned supporters, including two new ones for the day. Jason's mom and her good friend Susan were there as well! I was on such a yay-for-being-done high that I wasn't hurting at all and even got a little dancing in! Eventually, the friends and family were kicked out so that they could go get ready for the closing ceremonies. The walkers lined up for the final victory lap and the closing ceremonies started.

Closing ceremonies are always a very emotional experience. The very funny national spokesperson that I mentioned in other blogs put on her "3-Day voice" and is always quite successful at making everyone within ear shot burst into tears. I wish I could properly explain what closing ceremonies feels like, but there really are no words. Those of you in San Diego really should come to closing in November and you'll see what I'm talking about.

After closing we went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner and although it was only 7:30 pm when we finished, I felt like it was at least 11! It was then back to the hotel for a nice long hot shower, warm cozy PJs and the knowledge that I now have at least 12 hours to sleep!!

We fly home tomorrow and should arrive at the house around 7:30 pacific time.

I'll let you know how I feel then!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 2 - Friday

Rolled out of bed at 5:30 this morning... and I do mean rolled. My legs were sooo stiff but I was supposed to meet the girls at camp at 6:15 so I couldn't linger for long. After the traditional starbucks run, I was sitting at the table at camp with my breakfast and the other girls. We were joined this morning by our 5th team-mate Patti (Wendy's sister and Gwyn's daughter). She couldn't walk yesterday 'cause she had to work but we were happy she could at least come out for today and tomorrow.

As with yesterday, I can't tell you exactly where we walked. All I know is that we did a loop that went through Littleton and Centenial. It didn't take long for us walking to warm up and get those muscles loosened up again. It also didn't take long to realize we were not going to move at quite the quick pace we were walking at yesterday. That's ok... we weren't in any rush. The funniest part was that we walked up a hill (which for you San Diego walkers was actually more of a steep incline) called Jackass Hill that brought us right up to Southpark. Maybe I was just tired but I thought that was hilarious!

Many of the supporters that were out yesterday were also out today including a group of cheerleaders who had some... interesting... cheers to share concerning boobs, the bubbles for boobs van, the How The Breast Was Won van, the dancing ladies and of course our moto crew crossing guards. There were some new and interesing community supporters as well, including a guy all dressed up like Elvis singing on the street!

Our cheering station visitors today were Soap and Debbie (Jason's uncle and his uncle's girlfriend). They even walked to lunch with us and we were able to visit for a while. The next cheering station was only4.5 miles away and they stayed for that too... AND they met us at the end of the day's route along with Shari (Jason's mom) and Gwyn and her hubby Robbin.

As for us walkers, all of us walked into camp.... we are definitely sore and tired but I'm pretty sure we all came out of it knowing that we can do it tomorrow! My toes have taken on their usual 3-Day appearance being red and blistered but I've absolutely experienced worse...

Thank you guys so much for your comments, emails and texts. I may not be able to respond during the day but I promise that I read them all and it so helps me keep going.

40 miles down... 1 day to go!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 1 - Friday

We woke up this morning at o'dark hundred, as we usually do on Day 1 of event, and headed over to get Gwyn and Wendy before heading to opening ceremonies (with a much needed stop at Starbucks, of course). Opening ceremonies was to take place in the parking lot of a pretty huge mall called Colorado Mills. I wasn't too worried about the exact location in the parking lot because, well, with all those people, it'll be easy to find! So you can imagine my concern on turning into the main gate and not seeing a single gear truck, stage, walker, car, anything. There were, however, the motorcycle guys there pointing us in the right direction (phew, we weren't actually lost!). When we finally came up on the gear trucks and opening ceremony location I realized how much smaller this walk was really going to be. Now, don't get me wrong, I recognize that San Diego holds the largest walk (with approximately 4500 walkers) so I was expecting something smaller, but this beat those expectations by a mile. All totalled, this walk has 700 walkers. This had it's good and bad which I'll get to as I take you through my day.

So, there we were standing right in front of the stage waiting for the ceremonies to start (by this point our 4th team mate Sue had joined us). The familiarity returned the second the opening ceremonies started. First was the group stretch and then the flags and then the national spokesperson who always makes us cry. It was just as emotional and moving as it always is and we all couldn't wait to get started. It took about 5 minutes to get out on the route (one of the good parts of being so small!). Gwyn, who ended up not being able to walk, and Jason went ahead to figure out where the cheering stations were and Sue, Wendy and I started our journey. I wish I could tell you were we went but the truth is I have absolutely no idea. There were a lot of walking paths and mountain views, but all I can tell you is that they started in Lakewood and ended up in Littleton.

The overall feel of the walk here is quite different. Those of you who have seen the San Diego one know that there are people EVERYWHERE. From the thousands of walkers you can see for miles to the equally thousands of supporters who come out to give out candy and play music, you are surrounded by people all the time. Not so here (the one not-so-good thing about being so small). However, it was pretty quiet and peaceful for most of the walk. Kinda fitting with the surroundings.

The first cheering station - mile 10.2 - was at about 10:45 am. Jason and Gwyn were there, of course, but we were also surprised by seeing Jason's mom and stepdad (Shari and Tim) there!! That was really cool... Shari even decided to walk with us for the mile between the cheering station and lunch. She and Sue hadn't seen each other in decades and they seemed to be having quite the fun time catching up.

Lunch - mile 11.3 - was the same grilled chicken breast sandwich that it always is but we were definitely thankful for the rest. Over all we felt fine, but taking off our shoes just felt so good! Sue decided to head back to camp after lunch as she hadn't been feeling well and had already walked longer than she thought she would and so I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Wendy, just the two of us. We had never really hung out like that before but we soon found ourselves in the midst of wonderful conversations and I am really very thankful to have had the time with her.

At the second cheering station - mile 14.7 - we again met up with Jason and Gwyn, shortly after our arrival we were joined by Matt and the twins. Wendy and I then realized that we were only 6 miles to the end of the day and it was only 2:30 pm (another benefit of being so small). We took our time for the rest of the walk, making sure to stop, pee, eat and drink - that is the 3-Day mantra after all - and walked into camp around 5. Camp is equally as tiny but it has exactly the same things as the camp in San Diego... with one quite formidable exception. Right behind the 3-Day gear store, nestled discretely into the park, is the Columbine Memorial. I took pictures but I think I'll try again tomorrow when there's more light.

Dinner was the usual spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread and we pretty much just sat there for a while. The national spokesperson lady was back on the stage MCing the evening's entertainment and we completely forgot that this was the same person who just this morning made us all cry! She was hilarious!!! Either that or we were all so delirious that we thought she was hilarious. Once they started the 3-Day Karaoke, it was time to go.

Oh and my feet... so far so good! Only a small number of hot spots! I'm sure my baby toe is still destined for blisterdom but for now I'm doing great.

20.7 miles down!

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 0 - Thursday

Hello! Welcome to my 3-Day journey. We left Greeley late this afternoon and headed down to Lakewood where we checked into our hotel. The drive was ok (aside from some rush hour traffic) and we got there a little bit later than we had anticipated but it turned out to be perfect anyway. We walked across the street to the Old Chicago for our team dinner and immediate met up with Jason's cousins, Matt and Kalisa and their twin baby girls. As luck (or fate) would have it, it turned out that they live less than a mile from our hotel!! Gwyn and Wendy are staying with them tonight so that's going to make things really easy when we pick them up in the morning.

This hotel (the Holiday Inn) seems to be a pretty popular place for 3-Dayers... there are 3 motorcycles parked out front all decked out in pink bras. We also saw a couple of people roaming around who had to be walkers...

I had given the girls their presents earlier in the week (can't say what it is 'cause I still need the San Diego folks to be surprised) and in return, Gwyn and Wendy put together some shirts with our team logo on it. It came out amazing! Shannon, please thank your friend again for doing that...

Well, I'd better be getting to sleep. I have to be awake at 4:45 am to make sure I have time to go get coffee before opening ceremonies...

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 24, 2009

4 Days to Go

Hello and thanks for sharing my journey at the Denver Breast Cancer 3-Day 2009. I will be posting summaries of my day each evening and will have a link to my pictures when I finally get home. I am really looking forward to sharing this experiece with you!