It's over. The 3-day has come to a close. I cannot even begin to tell you about this experience.
The 2 big questions I've had in the last 24 hours are:
Will you do it again? And my answer is yes. But as a crew member. I think I want to experience that part of the 3 day before I decide to walk again.
How was it? Here's the answer to that...with photos for added flare!
NOTE: This will be a long blog post....better settle in!
On Friday, we headed to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for opening ceremonies. They said to be there between 6 and 6:30 a.m. I don't think that this was very well planned. The Twin Cities 3-Day had over 3000 walkers.
3000 walkers + one exit ramp to the fairgounds = traffic jam
Needless to say, we got checked in. Here is a shot of the luggage trucks.
Notice how the signs go from A to Z? Each letter represents a row at camp. And in each row there are no more than 100 tents. Our row was A, and we were in tents 89 to 94. And while the actual tent row was not 100 tents long, that's still a lot of tents.
After we checked in, we headed to the opening ceremonies. Because we were at the end of the check-in process, we didn't end up in "the chute" of walkers. We were actually outside of it. Here is a photo of us doing some stretches.
I look pretty chipper at 7:00 a.m.. You will notice that this smile will fade by the end of this post. You will also notice that my hair looks good here. However, it looks like complete crap in Day 2 and Day 3 as there is no outlet for a hairdryer.
And no....I didn't bring a hair dryer anticipating that I'd find an outlet. I did leave it at home.
After stretching, we had the ceremonies. There are flags used in the event to bring home the reason why we walk. This is a photo of some of the signs from the event. Other signs included who you were walking for. It wasn't until Day 2 that I actually go to see the "...for my friend" flag.
Day 1 took us from the Fairgrounds through St Paul, down Summit Ave. and past the governor's mansion.
It was walking down Summit Ave. with Amy that we walked past a house that was playing a little Bon Jovi, including the song "You Give Love a Bad Name." Amy thought that this was particularly funny because this was a song that revolved around a bet between Amy and I. The bet is a long story in itself, but let's just say that if you have a friend who journals, don't say, "I'll give you a $100 if..." because it will come back to get you.
While on Summit, we also hit the first cheering station and I saw my camp friend Tanya. I won't post the photo because I look terrible. But thank you to Tanya for coming out!
While going through the cheering station Amy said to me, "That's so cool! Let's go back and do it again!" Then shortly after that she looked at her route card and said, "OH! That was a cheering station!!"
Even the little things escape Amy sometimes.
After leaving Summit, we started to walk down Sheppard Road. This road goes along the Mississippi River and is quite beautiful.
But there is little shade, and it was over 80 degrees on Friday (it was 85 to be exact). And I don't do well in the heat. At the start of the incline (ugh!) at the end of Sheppard Road we saw this sign:
I would like to point out, for the record, that this was 100% incorrect. One mile to lunch? Yeah right. Try at least 1.5 miles, if not 2.
Oh, and here's a photo of Sheppard Road. At the very end of this photo is the curve in the road.
Yeah. We walked all that way.
After lunch, we walked through more blazing sun and it got to the point that I couldn't go on. I had to catch the sweep van to the next pit stop. I hated doing it but when I was a teenager, I had a case of heat exhaustion (my mom says it was heat stroke, but I'm not so sure...). Therefore, sun and heat don't agree with me so well.
We got to the next pit stop and I tried to go on, but caught the sweep van back to camp. I hated doing it, but have come to terms with the fact that just because I didn't walk 4 miles on Day 1 doesn't mean that our walk was at a loss.
When we got back to camp, we had the opportunity to get a free foot massage thanks to LaCroix Water Company!
Here is a photo of Katie and Amy getting a little massage. They deserve it! They walked all 21.5 miles on Day 1.
On the walk, you do all your business in a porta potty.
Yes. There are that many.
Back at camp, we had all the tents set up. Needless to say, if you didn't put something on your tent to set it apart, you'd be in trouble.
Day 2 began with a chilly morning, but you can see that we ditched the matching outfits, and went with our own personal choices.
Apparently, Amy and I got the memo to wear blue.
While on the walk Day 2, Amanda joined Amy, Katie and myself. As we were walking along, we came across our first cheering station to see a small group of cheerleaders cheering us on. I said to Amy, "You know, Andre' should bring his cheerleaders out here to cheer. They'd be great!" (My friend Andre' from camp is a cheerleading coach)
And as we came upon a pit stop, we hear a group of cheerleaders. And I noticed they were using blue and white pom-poms and had on blue and white skirts. Hummmm....could it be?
I asked the first cheerleader I saw, "What cheer squad do you represent?" Her reply? "The Minnetonka Skippers!"
Yes. That's Andre's squad. They were great to see and a lot of fun. Andre's hard work paid off and those girls did a great job!
GO! FIGHT!! WIN!!!
After we left the pit stop, we came across a path and Jody's couch. If you aren't familiar with the story, please click here. Fair warning....bring your tissues.
Here are some photos of our team on the couch
Amanda, Kelley, Katie and Amy on the couch. And yes, it was hard to get back up!
And here are a few others from the team! Back row: Angie, Alison and Pam L. Front row: Rhonda, Diana and Jennifer.
This man moves this couch from place to place on the route. He takes photos and loves sharing the story. So touching, we couldn't help but stop!
After a long day on the trails and roads, I took the sweep van again. This time, it wasn't the heat, but a blister. I noticed it at lunch and thought I could get it looked at. However, the medical tent was a nightmare. So, I took matters into my own hands.
Is this where I admit that my first aid certification has expired?
I should have waited, because my tape job was a joke. I walked a half mile and caught the van to the next stop. While there, I got right into the medical tent (as I beat the crowd) and went on ahead of Amanda, Katie and Amy.
By pit stop 5, my blister was so bad that I had to go back to camp. Three miles left and I went back.
At the end of the day, I visited the medical tent again to have my blister popped and to also have my hot spot (a spot on your foot that is tender, but no blister has formed) retaped. It did the trick because I felt 100% better and could walk at a normal pace.
We also wanted a team photo in our pink Amy's Angels shirt. Because Amy and Amanda were in line to get their blisters looked at...we went to them.
This photo was taken by some other walkers in line at the medical tent. We don't think that they minded, but we felt bad to barge in on their line. Thank you for those who let us barge in!!
We closed up camp and headed out. And yes, as the camp person, I did give some tips to those who asked. On the way out of camp, we took a photo of the team.
Yes, yes, I know. It says, "Day 2", but honestly, we didn't care.
On the way to the state capital, we saw the Motorcycle Men posing for a photo. These guys were great. They weren't an "official" part of the 3-day, but they drove along the route, honking their horns and encouraging the walkers along the way. Many wanted photos, and since we wanted to get going, we didn't stop. But these guys were awesome!
We did say that a single guy would be stupid not to volunteer for this event. With mostly women walking this walk...you do the math.
Along the way, many signs were posted and we were cheered on by people saying, "Thank you for walking!" I saw this sign and had to take my photo.
We interrupt this blog post for a special announcement:
This sign is personal for me. Everyone has been so supportive of my walk. But I know there were a few out there saying "You go girl" on the outside. But on the inside they were saying, "Yeah. Right."
I so badly wanted to walk every single mile. You read that I took the van on Day 1 and Day 2. But I also took the van on Day 3. All total, I swept out of 10 miles. And I'd be lying if I said that taking the van was OK. Because for me, it was disappointing. I wanted to prove that I could do it. My team was great and just said, "Do what you need to do and we'll see you again soon." Though their encouragement made getting in the van a little easier, it still frustrated me that I did it. I'd also be lying if I didn't think about those who doubted I could do this as I stepped foot in that van. I thought about the reaction of my not walking all 60: a finger pointing at the computer screen with a triumphant "I knew it!"
But let's look at the big picture here. Walking 60 miles (or in my case, 52) doesn't cure breast cancer. But the money that my team raised does go towards that research and education that will one day wipe out breast cancer all together.
Therefore, if you're response is, "I knew you wouldn't walk the full 60 miles" or "Well, you should have drank more water" or "You should have worn better socks", I encourage you to put on a fanny pack filled with various items, two full water bottles, and go outside when it's 85 degrees, walk in little to no shade, and see how you do.
Oh...and don't forget to do it for 18 miles in a row.
**EDITED TO ADD: Some folks have asked me, "Really, you had people who doubted you?" And the answer is yes. Thankfully, they are people who I don't see very often (if at all anymore) and live out of state. WAY out of state.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post....
As the walk continued on Day 3, we headed to some trails. This photo doesn't really do its job. Up that trail (to the top of the photo) is a sea of walkers. No breaks in the group. A huge sea of walkers.
Can you imagine driving by on Highway 61 and seeing that? That would be amazing!
When we finally got to the capital, we were greeted by many people, including Amy's parents and her husband Marty. I missed the Big Guy on the way in, but we did catch up.
Upon our arrival to the group, Diana took this photo of Amy and I.
Pretty much sums up the weekend, don't you think (minus me sticking out my tounge).
Prior to all of us making our way to the capital, this is what it looked like. You can see the stage towards to capital entrance and the holding area for the walkers, crew and survivors.
Within a few hours, this is what the capial grounds looked like. This was taken as we were walking to the ceremonies. We walked from across the street to the capital grounds. We were towards the back...and remember, there were over 3000 walkers.
The best way to describe the ceremonies and how we were all brought in, is to think of rings of a tree. One small inner circle surrounded by 3 additional rings.
The outside ring consisted of the walkers.
The next ring towards the center is the crew.
The next ring is made up of survivors.
The final ring was made of of a stage, where 9 survivors planted the core value flags and raised a flag that said, "A World Without Breast Cancer."
Let's just say it was really moving.
I can't begin to explain how proud I am of our team. We worked hard to raise our money. We took risks. We walked. We had blisters and other medical issues. But we did it. And even if some of us (it wasn't just me!) took the van or the bus back to camp, that doesn't mean that we cheated. It just means that we gave it our best shot.
Thank you again for all of your support! I so apprecaite it!
Here are some final photos of the walk:
The ever famous, "Put your foot in!" photo. My foot is in the tennis shoe next to the Mary Jane crocs.
Katie and Amy walking towards the staging area. I thought this was a great photo of the Hoffarth Sisters. Amy's shirt is pink because she's a survivor!!
The spouses & father of some of the walkers. From left to right: Pam M's husband, Alison's husband, Amanda's husband and son, Amy's husband, Angie's husband, and Amy & Katie's father. The Big Guy asked me, "Hey...how come I don't have an Angel t-shirt." I said, "I honestly didn't think about ordering you one."
Seriously! I didn't!
And finally, the reason why we walked. Our Amy.
Even after 62 miles, she's all smiles.