Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

We must learn to walk before we can run.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It seems odd to start a running blog with a post about three days of walking but like they say, we must learn to walk before we can run...so here goes nothing.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3 Day

3 Days. 60 Miles. 1 Cause...and a ton of rain.

If you have participated in this event before, you know it is a walk that is not for the faint of heart. It is three days of walking an average of 20 miles per day to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer prevention and research. Throw the equivalent to a monsoon into the first day and a half and now you have a real challenge. 

Day 1:

It goes without saying that kicking off an event of this scale in rain can really - pun intended - dampen the spirits of those scheduled to walk over twenty miles on the first day. I am pretty sure that a number of people opted to skip day one and showed up on day two instead - who could blame them. I did not take that option though - what was I thinking - and was among the pink clad women and men scurrying about in the rain trying to get gear checked in, shoot pictures of the opening ceremony, and figure out what was going to keep them as dry as possible. I saw a plethora of options, the majority of which involved duct tape and plastic bags.

My solution - pink poncho. My outcome - epic fail. You would be surprised by how much condensation builds up under a poncho at the end of an eight to ten hour day of walking. Yuck! Soaked! You could have wrung me out. 

I could give you a detailed play by play of the day but one of my fellow walkers, Sara Foley, best summed it up when she referenced the rain scene in Forest Gump
"We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain... and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night..." 
A very long soggy day and four pairs of socks later, I arrived at the DC Armory where I was happy to find that we were camping inside. Unfortunately, base camp, which is where all the meals and action occurs, was outside in a field. Naturally, when you combine water and dirt you end up with, that's right, mud - lots and lots of mud. My freshly showered feet didn't stand a chance. Sigh.

Day 2: 

One of the soldiers from the Army National Guard got his wires crossed and turned on every light inside the armory at 3:30 am, waking the entire camp. I think he's been put into protective custody due to the hordes of angry sore women that wished to do him harm. 

Anyway, we began our walk in - you guessed it - more rain and thanks to the government shut down we had to be rerouted. That meant a four mile walk to our bus pick-up point and a short ride to Alexandria, Virginia where we continued our walk back into DC. 

The rain eventually let up and we actually had a nice walk back to camp. I think the sun even peeked out for a brief moment. 

Side note - Kudos to me for fighting the urge to stop into Georgetown Cupcakes and making myself sick on gluten.  It would have been so worth it though. 

Day 3: 

So I went to bed at the end of day two with a badly swollen foot. Tendinitis really blows. I can not begin to say how afraid I was that I would 1.) not be able to walk, and 2.) would need to call the better half to ask him to come get me. Seriously, I could not bend my foot at all. Thank God for ice, Voltaren® Gel, and a heck of a lot of prayer - I woke up healed! Even better, it wasn't really raining. It was actually a great day for a walk. 

I teamed up with my tent neighbors, Sara and Cindy, to conquer day three. Along the way we met up with some amazing men and women including an artist from Flying Pig Designs. We shared stories and played word games (thank you Kim and Liz for the idea during long runs). We laughed and made jokes about fantasized about our ideal post walk meal. We especially enjoyed all the support from some amazing cheering stations, like New Shiloh Baptist at 9th and P. 

And then it happened, we rounded the corner, and saw the National Guard sign, and knew we were about to complete day three. No matter how many times I complete the walk, I will always tear up as I approach the finish line of the final day - as I pass by the police that hold off the traffic refusing to delay our arrival - as I pass the support crew that is dancing and cheering us on - as I walk down the home stretch lined with my fellow walkers - it is impossible not to cry.


This was by far, the hardest year I have ever walked. Who could have anticipated walking in the conditions we did. How do you train for that? None of it matters though. I set out to raise the money, to build awareness, and to complete the Breast Cancer 3 Day again...and I did. Next year, I will do it again...in Philadelphia. 

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