Saturday, August 04, 2012

RECAP: Boston 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure!

Aimee & Liz on Day 2!
Throughout my entire life, my mom and I have been on some pretty crazy adventures. From the 13k hike with river crossings in a thunderstorm in Canada when I was a kid, to the unforgettable nightmare hike in hail for twelve grueling miles on the Fourth of July (2009), to many beautiful hikes across Joshua Tree National Park desert in CA, the Blue Ridge, the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, Eastern Canada, and around my home state Massachusetts. We were dubbed by our family members as the "Walkie Talkies" and even had matching hats and shirts for our adventures! That team spirit followed us on our latest challenge in our 3-Day Team Name: The Walkie Talkies!

Now we can add another milestone: the grueling 4-6 month training and successful completion of the 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event! We trained in separate states, across the country from one another, but were able to have many walks together in Florida in March, in California in April, and during two wedding trips up in New England this past spring. I was so proud that my hesitant mother, who loves walking, trusted me enough to sign up, and then see how many people were willing to support her along the way to raising the $2,300.00 needed to walk (which she did with months to spare.) My mother's energy and enthusiasm was relentless (until about 8:30pm each night of the 3-Day) and I enjoyed watching her delight and emotions all along the 60-mile trail. 
Completing an event like the 3-Day requires intense amounts of support. Waking up at 5am on both days of a weekend for months (while working full time) can be draining and I could not have done this without my best friend, and fellow walker teammate, Rachel. Thank you Rachel! As Co-Captains, Rachel and I had talked in the fall about expanding our team. I coerced convinced my high school life-long friends Jenna and Randi to join us. I was nervous about the fundraising, because $2,300 is daunting, but I knew how inspiring our first 3-Day experience in Tampa Bay in 2010 was, and I knew that if we could do this together, we would make a difference. So the challenge began!

Training for and the 3-Day event was not achieved without obstacles. The grueling physical demands of endurance walking has its own set of problems: blisters, blisters on top of blisters (yes, this exists), shin splints, road rash, hyponatremia, chafing, heat stroke, muscle sprains-pulls-pain, dehydration, hypokalemia, and more. Maintaining energy, strength and happiness is very challenging during the event especially when it rained on the camp for hours after we got in after Day 2. Again, I could not have done this without Rachel for the toughest miles on Day 2, the day I spent four months dreading...

But no 3-Day is without its own personal experiences, (like the 3am sprinklers going off on Day 2 into Day 3 on the '10 walk) and the 2012 was no exception. Rachel and I were pulled off the course at 5pm after ten hours of walking, just shy of Camp, on Day 2 for a ferocious thunder and lightning storm and relocated to the school gym of the complex we were staying at. (I was very excited to earn a "2012: I survived a Relo" button for my lanyard. I LOVE flair!) 

One of the best parts of the 3-Day is meeting new people and hearing their stories. The heartbreak, inspiring strength and resilience of these repeat-walkers always moves me to tears. One man, George, had raised his entire amount in eight days for his 9th WALK on the Komen boards because he was so well liked and remembered as "Honey, I'm hoooo-me!"and a "Man with Heart" (a group of men who carry heavy backpacks filled with anything women walkers might need) shared his heartbreaking story for an hour with me and Rachel while we were waiting for my cell to charge on night 1. After sharing some tears and his nail polish, he solidified himself in my mind as the role model for overcoming any and all adversity and loss. To another mother and her daughters walking for a cure,  my mom's "favorite" Walker-Stalker, to the people we all met individually along the trail or at night in camp, the stories create a bond of  strength and connection to these complete strangers, who have come together from all parts of the country to walk for a cause greater than any one of us. Our team, the Walkie Talkies, successfully raised just under $12,000.00 for breast cancer research and community support. The 2012 Boston Komen walk raised over $3M. It was incredible to be a part of that success. 

Even more incredible than the fundraising success, was the personal success of the journey. Seeing my mom cry as she realized the "Victory Tunnel" was a tunnel of thousands of cheering people and not a plastic football tunnel, as complete strangers saluted her efforts and sacrifices for the cure, was a highlight of my life. I am so proud to call these women, Mom, Rachel, Jenna and Randi my teammates and friends. 

If it's time to do something "bigger than yourself", or to spring board into a feasible and achievable fitness regimen, please contact me, and I'd be happy to tell you more about the 3-Day Walk. (Or any other hikes around the USA!) 

A BIG Thank You to our Sponsors, without whom we would not have been able to achieve this amazing achievement!

And finally: a special shout out to our Walker Fans who showed up along the trail to cheer our team on!
Aunt Beth!
Aunt Sue & Uncle Jim!

Aunt Cheryl & Donna!

Sean and Louise!