I have a just walked sixty- plus miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk For the Cure.
The actual total was 61.5. Thank you to my sponsors. Everytime I thought it would be easier to take the sweep van, I thought of you, and how I was representing you and the money you invested in my participation. It kept me strong and helped me finish. Thank You.
Yes, I walked every single mile, and the half-mile too. This does not include all of the walking we had to do at camp in order to get through the thousands of tents to the one end of camp to get dinner…and to the other end of camp to get a shower…and then again in the morning for breakfast, medical tent the get blisters properly lanced and taped, etc.
The rest of my team finished as well:
Suzie Andert (three-time veteran of the 3-day; friend, advisor, coach, and the prettiest darned supply pack-mule Ive ever seen)
Leslie Dwight (Who gets my "super-trooper of the year" award. This woman is a walking machine)
Susan Grove (Who got swept once due to her sprained ankle, but the extra mileage made up for it..and anyway, getting swept takes nothing away from the fact that she walked around thirty miles with a sprained ankle…and was only taped for 17 of them)
About half-way through, my ankle started hurting so I went to the medical tent and had it adjusted by a chiropractor. Apparently, I’d walked 15 miles with it out of joint. I’m glad the chiropractor knew what to do…all I knew was that I had a large purple-and-magenta bruise on the blade of my foot, and my ankle was swelling. And adjustment and some support tape made all the difference. Then I just had the pain from the inflammation to deal with…but it was less than half what I’d been dealing with the day before.
The bottom of my right foot has three large blisters…one that actually covers the entire ball of my foot, and two the size of quarters on either side of the heel. There is no epidermis left between any of my toes. On my left foot, I have two small blisters on either side of my heel.
I’m not stiff and sore, though…a testament to a well-designed training schedule and the power of frequent, disciplined stretching. Also, I think the fact that I slept on the hard ground rather than an air mattress helps. Don’t know why, but I find that I am less stiff and sore after a big physical event if I sleep somewhere firm. Air mattresses or soft mattresses kill my back and hips!
#1 important re-cap point! Rocky watched the kids all weekend, including our God-daughter (Sue's daughter). He managed the house very well. It looked great when I got home. He got all of the kids to all of their events (some of them 25 miles away), got the kids to do chores, had dinner waiting for us when we got home....etc. He's so wonderful!
He also brought the kids to see us and cheer us. They waited for several hours until we walked past. Sue almost cried. I was so happy. For the moment, all of the pain went away...and actually the last 2.5 miles went much easier because they were there for us. Then, they also went forward and were there to see us finish as well!
Factoid: Did you know that your feet can swell up so much that your toe-nails turn black and fall off? No, that didn't happen to me, or anyone on our team, but I heard at least a dozen people say it happened to them...and more who said that it had happened to them one of the other times they did the walk. One lady said she only had three toenails left, and was pondering whether or not she could get a discount on her next pedicure.
At one point during the last half of the second day, Sue and I both had ankle injuries (we later found out that she had a sprain from twisting it on a bit of uneven ground. I had a bone out of joint) were Marching along in grim silence, just putting one foot in front of the other, feeling the pain each time, and moving through it one step at a time.
Sue: "What's that up there?"
Me: "Nothing. Just more people."
Sue: "No...no. I think I see Bataan."
Of course, while she was historically accurate in that the Bataan death march was sixty miles long...technically, Bataan would have been BEHIND us, and there would have been soldiers yelling in Japanese and shooting the stragglers, rather than "sweep vans". Oh yeah, and no "Pit Stops" with food, water and port-a-potties.
Still, the analogy FELT accurate enough.
Another snippet of conversation with Suzie (not to be confused with Sue)
Suzie: "Uh-oh, what's wrong."
Me: "Nothing. Sorry. One just escaped.
Suzie: "An ouch escaped?"
Me: "Yeah. I try to keep them in a little corral so they don't get out and bother you. I've got a little collie that runs around herding them into the corral."
Suzie: "The inside of your brain makes me laugh."
There was a little boy visiting his mother at the lunch stop, and he ran over to a crew member with his mom's empty water bottle:
Boy: "Can I have some water for my mom?"
Crew: "Sure. Hey kid, do you know why I work crew?"
Crew: "So when you grow up, you won't have to." (because breast cancer will have a cure)
I’ll post about this again, and do a much better job of it, but I wanted to give you some idea about what went on.
When we have pictures, I will post again. I especially need to show you the picture of, and tell you about “mullet pig”. He was one of the volunteer crew members that helped us (and entertained and encouraged us) at street-crossings.
One last thought: THIS is the strength of our nation. These women are housewives and office workers and beauty consultants and three-time cancer survivors...and yes, some figherfighters and police officers, and personal trainers...but mostly ordinary everyday women.
And they can walk sixty miles on sprained ankles and feet that have lost toenails, and taped-up knees.
They can walk and sing funny filk songs about "I'm walking on blisters (to the tune of "Im walking on Sunshine")" and they can stay up an extra hour and dance like there's no tomorrow on day two.
And if they start to falter, all it takes to keep them going is a sign that reminds them that "blisters don't need chemo" (that one worked for me), or a thought about their sponsors, or a funny man dressed up in a pig mask and magenta hair weaves (I'll tell you about him later).
If they think a cause is worth it. You might say that it isn't important to finish, because we raised the money whether we finish or not...but that isn't true.
See...many people say that it is impossible to find a cure for breast cancer. Many people also say that it is impossible for an average suburban housewife to walk sixty miles.
Well, here's news to them. The "impossible" is NOT impossible.
Now, Im going to the gym.