I am so thrilled to announce that I actually have team MEMBERS for my next breast cancer event!!!
Being a team of one for the 3-Day was fine, once I met up with other teams of one, we buddied together. But it's easier to make friends when you're walking 20 miles a day for three days.
But, thanks to my boyfriend and his family and friends, who I told about the team a couple of weeks ago, there are now six of us participating For Carol's Joy. I am most excited that Kevin's mom, the one and only Carol Joy, is getting to participate with us!
So far we have raised $160 towards our goal of $500. The Race is in 8 days and I've got a good feeling. My training is going fairly well, but my determination is what matters most. I WILL run the entire 5k and we WILL find a cure. I PROMISE!!!
Ok, so I did the thing - walked 60 miles in 3 days and raised more than $2300 in the fight against breast cancer.
So, now what?
After thinking long and hard about it, I have decided to take my breast cancer fight and focus it locally. The 3-Day was an amazing time for me, but I want to focus my efforts on local involvement.
To that end, I am running (yes, running!) in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Wichita, Kansas. I joined this movement because my boyfriend's mom is currently battling breast cancer. Since she lives in the Wichita area, I am thrilled to run in her name and focus on raising funds that will directly benefit her friends and family.
There's just one little hitch in this plan. I'm not a runner. In fact, even as far back as grade school, I was always told to walk instead of run because I had crooked knee caps and was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 11.
But I don't care. I want to become a runner, so I'm gonna!
So, three weeks ago I put a plan into action. I signed up for the race and bought a new iPhone app: Get Running. It follows the Couch to 5k program and I love it! Yesterday I ran a total of 16 minutes in intervals and felt on top of the world (maybe not during, but definitely after!).
Following the 5k Race for the Cure, I have a list of races I am going to run in the next 8 months - I'm hoping to get up to a marathon by April!
Here is a slideshow put to Hold Your Head Up High by Colbie Caillat. This song popped up on my iPod during a training walk once and I just knew it was the right one for anything 3-Day-related. Now that the 3-Day is over, the meanings in the song have taken on new layers.
Thanks to everyone who went so far with me - before and during the actual walk! You are all WALK STARS!
I've thought a long time about the word that best applies to Day 3.
If "overwhelming" covers Day One and "energy" applies to Day Two, then "persevere" aptly describes Day 3.
I went to the 3-Day with one goal: Finish. I had already met the goal of raising money, so I had contributed all I could to ending cancer - the 3-Day itself, for me, was about proving the amount of fight in me.
The last day of walking took every ounce of fight I had.
I was hurting so badly the night before that I didn't even bother hitting the medic tent (it was just muscle pains), I turned to prayer. "Dear Lord, please give me the strength to finish what I started. I can do this, I know it. Please be with me as I take each step tomorrow."
I awoke on Day 3 ready to go. Sure, I was stiff, but who wasn't? The first thought I had that day was "Why are y'all awake and taking down your tent so early?" (it was 4:30 a.m.). But then, as consciousness hit me, so did another thought, "You can persevere."
It was a mantra I pulled out whenever I felt the next step would be impossible.
When it started raining and I couldn't see or hear anything beyond the hood of my poncho, "You can persevere."
When the rain stopped and my right foot was suddenly on fire, "You can persevere."
When the sun came out and turned Chicago into a sauna, "You can persevere."
When the last two miles seemed to go on forever and I thought I would never see that One Mile to Holding sign, "You can persevere."
Oh how I wish I was a better writer. Then, maybe I could begin to describe my experiences these past two days.
I could tell you how I felt when I met Mel - a 17-year survivor - who was diagnosed at the age of 29. Her battle began when she was just two years older than I am.
I could describe the chills that covered my body during the emotionally charged Opening Ceremony.
I could express the gratitude I felt at meeting Nicole. She's walking because she lost her mom to this illness. Since neither of us has done the 3-Day before and don't have teams, we've buddied with a couple of other singles.
I could explain how wonderful it was to walk with Tracy, the breast friend a girl could have. Without her by my side, I never would have made it to the last 11 miles of Day One's 22 mile trek.
I could even tell you how blessed I felt to carry the "Belief" flag for 5 miles this morning.
Only two words come to mind as I try to describe Days One and Two.
Day One was overwhelming. Everything - the emotions, the people, the walk itself - even the camp, a sea of pink tents was overwhelming.
Day Two was energetic. I was rested and found a the energy to walk 3 mph most of the day - even the four miles I walked alone. The spectators were full of energy - especially Mt. Prospect residents. Policemen and fire fighters decked out in pink helped spur me on.
I'm not sure yet what word will describe Day 3, but I can hardly wait to find out. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to welcome the last walker to camp!!!!! WOO!!!!!
The 3-Day is a mere two days away and I'm sitting on a Chicago-bound train. I'll be there in abort 11 hours and couldn't be more excited!
I can hardly believe I've actually done everything necessary to embark on this amazing journey. Through the generosity of friends, family and stranger, I've raised more than $2300. I've walked more than 250 miles across Kansas City. Friends have helps me hawk lemonade, sell the castoffs of strangers, hawk shirts and throw a major benefit concert all to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.
Blood, sweat, tears, pride, skin - a bit of each has been shed throughout the past 6 months. But in two days I will gain it all back and more. Thanks to everything and everyone who has made this possible! Because of you, I am able to proudly wear the name of a woman who is battling this terrible illness. I can help others be strong knowing we are fighting to find them a cure.
When I signed up for the 3-Day, I did it to support my boyfriend and his mom as she battled breast cancer. But back then - six months seems so long ago! - I had no idea that I would find so many people willing to support me.
I've never been a quitter, but I've also never taken on something I wasn't certain I could achieve. The 3-Day is different. I had no idea how I was going to raise the money and complete the training. I was never a good fund raiser and was even worse at athletic activities. I was 30 pounds heavier and working with arthritic knees and hips. But even if I'd wanted to, the moment that first donation came in, I wouldn't have let myself quit.
I started this for Kevin and his mom, Carol, but I have added so many others to my reasons - my mother, my aunts, my neices, my unborn daughters, and myself. I've spent a lot of time with myself while training and have gelt my soul grow. I've watched friends I haven't seen in years donate money to my cause and have felt deep warmth in my soul to know I am surrounded by amazing, generous friends.
Some people have called me crazy - and maybe I am. But that's ok. It takes drastic measures to change the world. Walking 60 miles in three days and begging everyone you know (and many you don't) to help you IS crazy. But I raised that money and now I'm on a train to show everyone, myself included, that I can walk those 60 miles.
Even if I have to crawl, I'm walking it all, too. For many who particiate, it is about the people they meet more than the physical feat. For me, it's about both. This in the grandest physical challenge of my life and I've worked my tail off to be able to do it.
So much rides on this weekend for me.
I want to look into the eyes of my nieces and say, "I promise you a world without breast cancer."
I want to look at my boyfriend and say, "I will fight anything that hurts you."
I want look at each of my supporters and say, "You have helped find the cure."
I want to look at myself and say, "You did it."
thanks to my supporters, I have no doubt I'll be able to say all of that. Thank you so very, very much.
I was really nervous about the 3-Day a month ago. Really nervous. When July came, with less than 6 weeks until the Chicago event, I had not even raised $400. What if I didn't make it? I'd been training for months! I didn't want it all to be for nothing.
Have you noticed my use of the past tense? Desperation has departed and left nothing but gratitude in it's wake. In the past month I have raised about $1200 and I have two major fund raisers planned for this week. The generosity that has surrounded me in this home stretch has been amazing! I haven't hit my goal yet, but I'm only shy by about $550 and the next two fund raisers are big ones!
I'm a student and my resources are somewhat limited - to say the least. I sent out emails, made daily Facebook pleas, and planned many fund raising events - a difficult task for a team of one. But, I've learned a few lessons from my fund raising efforts and I thought I'd share them.
(I could have also called this blog "Facebook fundraising for co-eds")
1. Ask Mom and Dad. I know, I know - independence means never asking them anything ... but they money, and you don't. And their friends have money, and yours don't. My mom sent an email to her friends telling them what I was doing and I received $450 in donations!
2. So, your friends are broke and can't donate, but that doesn't mean they are off the hook! Ask them to donate sweat equity - get them to work a lemonade stand with you, or help you gather donations for a garage sale. Maybe even loan you their iPod for a training walk - a change up to your playlist can keep a walk interesting (though I am not condoning headphone use on walks ...).
3. Work your butt off - and post a million status updates chronicling that work. You might not raise a lot of money (between the garage sales and lemonade stands, I only raised $196.25), but people will see your hard work, be impressed, and understand your commitment to the cause. In my case, this led to friends telling friends about me and lots of donations. It helps if you also write numerous updates about your training walks.
4. Talk about breast cancer and how much it sucks, a lot. Honestly, the cynics probably think Pink has thrown up on my Facebook page as much as I post links and "share" breast-cancer related charities and articles. My friends now think of me whenever they see something pink!
5. Tell people WHY you are holding a fund raiser. Don't just hold a garage sale - post pink posters EVERY WHERE. Don't just have a lemonade stand, make it a pink lemonade stand and tell people the money is going to find a cure! I made my lemonade free and was just handed donations. They didn't want the lemonade, they just wanted to donate to the cause!
6. Be gracious. This should go without saying, but, alas, it must be said. Even if you are handed coins as a donations, smile and say thank you - that's one step closer, baby! Smile. Smile. SMILE! Trust me - it's worth it's weight in donations on the street.
7. Don't count yourself out until the last minute. Seriously, did you look at my chart? The majority of the money I have raised has come in the last 4 weeks! As you get closer to the date, people who said to themselves "I'll donate later" realize that "later" is now. Don't give up and keep posting your Facebook pleas.
8. Do you have a friend with a little sister or a daughter? Yeah - use them! Who can resist a little girl's flirtatious grins? They are the future after all and we want them to have a breast-cancer free future!
9. If you're in college, then you know someone in a band. Talk to them about holding a benefit gig. They know other musicians and if you're lucky - you've got a benefit on your hands! Seriously that's one of the big fundraisers I have coming up. Check it out. My neighbors are in band and when I approached them about a benefit concert they didn't even think about it - they just started nodding (the cool name of the benefit helped) and then spent the next weekend finding a venue and getting their friends involved. When we sent out the Facebook invite it went to more than 1750 people!!!
9a. Even if they don't know a lot of other bands, they can still dedicate a gig to you. One of my friends, Tater of Tater and the Gravy Train is doing that - and told his Facebook fans (seriously, good musicians have lots of fans!) that he is making a $250 dollar donation to me!
10. If you plead the cause well, you may find that those friends who can donate might just do it more than once. I have a few friends who threw $10 my way whenever they found they had it to spare - usually around the time student loans were disbursed. Go back to #s 6 and 7 - if you give your friends grief about "only" donating a little then they most likely won't donate anymore! But if you treat a $5 donation like a $500 donation then I bet you'll see a repeat from them.
The 3-Day is a huge commitment. Not only does your choice to participate affect you, but it affects your friends and family as well. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of doing the 3-Day - it was the best decision I've ever made. However, before you sign up, think long and hard about your ability to put in the time and effort it takes to train and raise the money. Had my event not worked out with my school schedule (and it's a miracle it did because I didn't even check when I registered!), I wouldn't have been able to train OR raise funds! It's ok to wait until you graduate - at least then you will have coworkers you can beg!
Until then, there are many other ways to be involved: You can volunteer at the 3-Day, help a team in training raise funds, or check out another Susan G. Komen event. There are many Susan G. Komen events you can join that don't take the time commitment that the 3-Day requires. Do what is right for you so that you can represent yourself, your school and the Susan G. Komen charity in the best way possible!
It's so close I can taste it as clearly as I can taste the coffee I'm drinking.
When I signed up for the 3-Day I didn't realize how much inspiration was involved. Sure, I was inspired to do something in the name of my boyfriend's mother.
Along the way, however, I have found so many separate sources of inspiration!
The woman I met on a training walk last month who happened to be wearing a 3-Day hat ... Turns out she is a survivor and she's walked before. She gave me a great pep talk that carried me through the next few weeks of solitary training walks.
The woman I blogged about a couple of weeks ago who just wouldn't give up ... though she's earned the right to stop, in my opinion ...
The pink flowers planted along my walking routes ...
But now, I've finished the longest walks of my training regimen, have raised almost 75% of the money I need, have several fundraisers in line for the final weekend, and all I can think about is that fact that it's almost here! I didn't need any extra inspiration - in fact, I wouldn't have thought it possible to get any more inspired. Seeing the smiles on the faces in Boston, however, did it. I am so blessed to be part of such an amazing experience. And each step I take in Chicago will be an inspired one.
Here are words I CANNOT say to anyone in this universe enough: WEAR SUNSCREEN.
As a fair-skinned, auburn-headed individual, I am sensitive to the issue. However, everyone, no matter your complexion, should take care of your skin!
I'm not always the best about reapplication of sunscreen. For some reason, I tend to forget I'm a red-head and need sunscreen like most people need oxygen. And this is what I end up with ...
I'm making it my #2 cause during the 3-Day. In fact, if you are in Chicago with me next month and I think you need it, I will probably offer to help you with sunscreen! How silly would it be to end up with skin cancer because you didn't take care while trying to end breast cancer????
With the recent heat indexes being national news, it's easy to remember sunscreen when walking. But this is also important on overcast days! Seriously. The sun is still casting out those UVs and they are, as always, in attack mode.
As far as sunscreen goes: Use the CDC recommends SPF 15 or higher. Most shirts provide less than SPF 15 protection, so put sun screen on under them. Darker shirts provide more UV protection, but can also make you feel hotter.
Despite popular belief, a tan is not a sign of health. It's an injury! When UV rays get inside the skin, the skin makes more melanin - the pigment that colors the skin. That melanin moves toward the outer layers of the skin and becomes visible as a tan. That tan is your skin cells signaling that they have been hurt by the sun's UV rays.
It's not practical for us to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while walking - but it is practical to wear sunscreen - and look out for each other. If we get burned on Day 1, can you imagine how much harder Days 2 & 3 will be?
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99 If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it." - Baz Luhrmann: Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Here are recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control: * Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. * Wear clothing to protect exposed skin. * Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck. * Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. * Seek shade, especially during midday hours. Source: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm
I volunteered to run an aid station for a 15m/50k ultra run (runners could choose between one lap at 15 miles or 2 making it a 50k) this weekend. At first, I was disappointed to be missing my training walk, but by the end of the day I felt so blessed by what I'd witnessed that I can't imagine a training walk being a better way to prepare for the 3-Day.
Ultrarunners are incredible. I was amazed by the physical prowess, insane determination and overall dedication to athleticism that I saw on display. But, mostly, I was impressed by the slowest "runner" out there: Number 13.
You see, Number 13 was the last one to visit our Aid Station at mile 5 - more than 3 hours into the race. In fact, several runners had passed by our station a second time before 13 showed up.
I could see right away that she was having problems. I walked out from my shady pavilion and met her beneath a tree. She was ashen, but talking lucidly. She was complaining about the course - a rocky trail that involved climbing up muddy inclines using ropes at some places. Having run marathons before, she was shocked at the difficulty she was having.
But what shocked me was that she was no spring chicken. In fact, I later found out, she was 63 years young.
I'd be lying if I said we weren't worried about her. She'd been out in the heat for hours and only had a small water bottle. Plus, it was obvious she wasn't prepared for the physical challenge she had undertaken.
But it was when I heard her mutter under her breath, "If cancer can't stop me, this can't" that I melted for her and became her silent cheerleader. I also understood the stubbornness that made her bark at us every time we tried to talk her into sitting, resting, and quitting.
We talked her into sitting and resting, but the quitting part was a much harder sale.
Once she had rested a bit, she looked up at me, read the "End Breast Cancer" shirt I was wearing and told me that she was a survivor.
At that moment I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.
It wasn't until later, after we cleared her to continue on the trail (the next aid station was about 2 miles away and we let them know to keep an eye out for her) that her friend told me the real motivation behind Number 13. She lost her daughter this past year and her daughter had registered for the run. Number 13 was doing it for her.
She finished too - and not even in last place! I was thrilled when I learned that.
I am still so overwhelmed when I think about all this woman has survived. And she still sets out to prove things! After all she had endured, shouldn't she be the one we are doing things for?
Number 13, feel free to rest - you've earned it! This walk's for you!
A month or so ago I volunteered to help out at a local race because it is my dream to join the runner's world one day and I wasn't thinking about my schedule, I was just thinking it would be awesome to watch someone run 30 miles as motivation.
You know, when it's so darn hot you can barely stand it but you still have 9 miles to walk? Well, ultrarunners RUN more than 20 miles in a day. Then they get up and do it again the next day. Like us - only faster and possibly more in shape (though I have plenty of arguments in our favor!).
Anyway, the run falls on my 18/15 weekend and I am super bummed. I can't miss the run because they are counting on the volunteers. But I have been looking forward to this weekend!
I have really grown to love my long walks. I love the pride I feel when I finish them. I love the peace in my mind as I turn it off and just listen to whatever audio book is on my iPhone. I love discovering the little treasures my city offers me as I stroll the streets.
And missing the walks has me bummed. Maybe I can do 18 on Sunday and try to squeeze 15 in on Monday.
I believe in what we are doing with all of my heart.
I support anything that will help rid our world of breast cancer (any cancer, for that matter).
I believe a cure is on it's way.
I'm proud to be part of the solution.
But I hate fundraising.
I'm sorry to say it out loud, but it's true. I feel icky inside every time I post another message begging for money - even though it goes to such an amazing cause. I've done it so often at this point that I'm sure most of my Facebook friends have hidden me and those who haven't are two seconds away from pushing that button.
I am more comfortable working for the money I raise. Garage sales, lemonade stands, portrait sessions - anything but flat out asking for cash. But, so far, the begging is what has made the difference. My garage sale raised $122. My lemonade stand raised $12 (rainy day), and my portraits have raised $50. But between training, school and, well, breathing, there just isn't enough time.
I've seen it written a hundred times now - the fundraising is the hardest part of this challenge - and it truly, truly is. This is a scary time to ask people for money. The economy is yucky and most of my friends are in school living on loans.
But I keep doing it, no matter what it does to my insides, because when I see another friend has donated it warms my heart and my faith is renewed. Because I love calling my boyfriend to tell him about the latest person who showed they care about what his mother has endured.
Because I believe in what we are doing with all my heart.
An amazing part of this 3-Day journey for me has been the success I feel each week.
When I first walked 10 miles, I was excited. When I walked 15, I was thrilled and when I walked 17 miles last Sunday, I was ecstatic.
As I train for the 3-Day, I keep climbing mountains and reaching new heights!
I reached a new one today, too.
Because of various fundraisers and final exams, I haven't been able to devote both weekend days to training walks. While I've been adding distance one day each week, I'm behind in my multiple-day endurance training. Since the schedule called for 10/6 this weekend and I found myself with two open days in a row, I altered the plan and walked 12/10 instead - and had lots of energy left over!
My boyfriend's mother is having surgery again today.
It's the biggie - the mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. She will be in the hospital for the next two days and then home recovering for the next 6 weeks.
I'm staring at a card to put on the flowers we are sending her and I just don't know what to say. What are the appropriate words for times like these?
Breast cancer really sucks, you know? And it scares me. I can't imagine waking up one day knowing that one of your breasts will be taken away and the next time you look down you'll be looking at something filled with silicon.
As the son's girlfriend, I'm not privy to a lot of details, but I'm pretty sure they got all of the cancer through other surgeries and chemotherapy. And all I can say is: Praise Jesus! And if they didn't, Please Lord, may today be the day.
I still remember the moment he told me about his mom's cancer. I was speechless for the first time in my life. There was a time when breast cancer was a death sentence. But thankfully, we are no longer in that time. Thankfully, her cancer was found early. But what if her annual exam wasn't scheduled for that December day? What if it was scheduled for June? Where would she be now?
I love writing blog posts like this. I hit the pavement at 7 a.m. and ended my walk just before 2 p.m. I was toasty, tired and thrilled.
When I started on the 11th mile, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I was hot and sweaty and realized it was noon - and the heat was just going to get worse. But instead of giving up, I sat in the shade for about 10 minutes and drank a lot of water. I happened to be at a park at the time so I slowly walked to a water fountain and refilled my hydrating backpack. Then, still walking slow, I hit the restrooms.
When you know you have several hours to walk and a laundry list of chores waiting on you when you finish, it can be easy to feel rushed and stressed about how long the walk might take. But that just makes it harder!
So, I gave myself permission to amble for a bit. Then I took a shot of Gu (wow!) and found a second wind. My pace returned to normal and I finished the planned route.
Gu is something my boyfriend showed me. He is a marathon runner and has been a GREAT asset to my training plans. I've heard they have it at the pit stops for us - but if you're new to this long-distance world, like me, that doesn't mean anything to you, right?
Well, Gu is flavored energy in a little packet - with pudding-like consistency. After you've been sweating and walking for hours it can be the tastiest stuff ever. I've tried strawberry banana, chocolate and lemon lime so far. Not a fan of the lemon-lime, but the rest are yummy! I started taking Gu with me as an emergency energy jolt, but now I take a packet or two for every long walk!
I wore my new socks, but still had the same redness at the end of the walk. Hours later, it's faded a bit, but still has be baffled.
I didn't apply enough sunscreen so I'm nice and toasted - bad, Natalie! But besides those ailments, I feel fantastic. It really is hard to believe how far I walked by myself!
I'll be honest - cross training between scheduled walks is really hard. Especially since sitting on the couch watching movies is so much easier! But, alas, it must be done - and I've found the perfect solution!!!
It's a house chore that must be done - and one I usually do on the weekends, but with 15-mile training walks, who has the time anymore?
So, on Wednesdays I mow the front yard and I get the back done of Fridays. Each takes me a bit less than an hour to mow.
Did you know that mowing with a power push mower for 50 minutes burns 270 calories??? Score!
It keeps my leg muscles warm and is a great arm workout too - especially when I tackle the incline in the yard. Once I finish, I pop inside and do some ab work then hop in the shower.
I'm all about efficient use of time so this is a great solution - two birds with one stone, baby!
I walked 15 miles today! It was pretty awesome, too. The last three miles were a bit hard - I found joints I never knew I had, but it's amazing how quickly you forget the pain when you are reveling in success. I can't imagine how good it will feel when I hit the next milestone in training.
While spiritually, I feel like I can do anything. Today's walk reinforced the importance of training.
To anyone who thinks training for this thing is unnecessary, please, please, please, think again. While walking may sound easy and leisurely, long distance walking like this takes endurance and muscle strength. This isn't just a walk in the park - it's twenty walks in the park - every day for three days.
The past couple of weeks have found me a bit off schedule. Bad weather, fundraising plans and summer finals have all conspired to derail my training a bit. While I was able to fit in most of my mid-week walks, the longest I've walked in the past two weeks was 7 miles. I'm in decent shape and today was not easy. By the end, I was my own cheerleader, loudly motivating myself to the amusement of my neighbors. I probably shouldn't have pushed myself to do the full 15 today, but I want back to the regimen as quickly as possible.
When I finished the walk, I made sure to stretch everything in triplicate. And then again. I drank a wonderful glass of cold milk (studies show this hydrates better than water! It also helps with muscle reparation), then took a bottle of G2 with me into the bathroom. I turned the water on hot and soaked my poor muscles for about 20 minutes.
Now, hours later, my muscles are fine, but my joints are creaky. Also, something happened to my feet while I was out there. I'm blaming my socks, but am putting these pics out there in case someone else can tell me what's up. There are splotchy red patches on my heels, the top of my feet and the arches.
It isn't athlete's feet - there is no itchiness, the spots just hurt if I touch them. I'm fairly certain these are places that were rubbed by my socks (evil, evil socks that have already been replaced!). Any recommendations for combating this???
But joint pains and weird rashes aside, I WALKED 15 MILES today and nothing is going to bring me down. Besides that, I put an ad out for donations for a fundraising garage sale and spent the afternoon picking up stuff from generous people in the area. All in all, it was a great 3-Day Day!!!
Lately, on my longer walks, I have noticed a sharp pain in my upper right shoulder-blade area.
It's persistent, it's annoying and it needs to stop.
When it first started, it was just on my walks. More recently, however, the pain has been creeping into my everyday life. I'll be sitting in class or walking to my internship and suddenly, there it is.
Because I'm studying to be a criminal lawyer, I'm into finding the guilty party. I'm all about the who-dun-it, in fact.
The evidence points to two possible culprits: 1) poor walking posture and 2) weak abdominal muscles. I have decided, your honors, that both are acting in concert and should be arrested.
Ok, legal jokes aside - there is something wrong and I'm working to fix it. Already, I am seeing signs of improvement, too!
First, whenever I feel that pain, I immediately correct my posture. I have a tendency to watch my feet as I walk. We are all guilty of it, I know. But looking down like that is terrible for your back!
Throw your shoulders back, hold your head up high, perks the girls and WALK WITH PRIDE!
Then, when you are on your off days, work your core! Muscles balance each other, if you only work one group, you can throw things off balance and end up hurting yourself. All of the walking involved in training means you are stressing out a certain group of muscles. By working your core, you can balance the work load a bit. I use a stability ball to work my core - following a regimen designed by Women's Health to give me a bikini-worthy body. I also use it when I'm studying. I just sit on it - keeping yourself balanced subtly works those core muscles without you even knowing it!
Since I started working my core, I've noticed that the pain doesn't show up quite so much. Maybe I'm wrong and there is another culprit lurking in the shadows (if you know of a possible suspect let me know!), but in this case, correcting these other problems will only be beneficial anyway.
I learned a couple of interesting and important lessons regarding route-planning and life yesterday. 1) There is a big difference between a hiking trail and a walking trail! 2) Family-time matters, too.
Lesson one: Walking trails, at least in my area, are generally paved, sometimes shaded, mostly well-lit, and wide enough for several people to walk together. Hiking trails around here, however, are dirt paths, littered with rocks, in the brush and rarely lit.
I think I mentioned we had a bit of rain yesterday - like 6 inches in 3 hours. So, when the planned walk I routed turned into an unpaved hiking trail a mile in, I was very disappointed! It was muddy and riddled with slippery, treacherous rocks devoting themselves to tripping me and trying their hardest to twist my ankles. I had to give up.
It just wasn't worth risking injury!
Lesson two: Once I stopped focusing on the walk as a training exercise, it became a great "family" outting. My boyfriend usually comes for the first few miles and he brought my dog Sadie with him yesterday. We had so much fun watching her splash around the trail! She had a blast too and I could tell she loved spending the time with us. I enjoyed it too.
Training for the 3-Day involves a lot of alone time for me. So, it was nice to spend the time with my loved ones after expecting to be along for 5 hours on new trails. No, I didn't do the suggested 14 miles, but I ended up doing something even more important: spending much-needed quality time with my family.
On the way home from the trails, we picked up some ice cream and just really enjoyed each other for the rest of the evening. I'll be back out pounding the ground this afternoon, but I don't feel bad at all for giving my afternoon and evening to my boyfriend and our four-legged daughter.
We are training because everyone deserves a lifetime. And that's what yesterday was - a wonderful moment in my lifetime.
I needed to get to work breaking in a second pair of shoes for the walk, and the running store I frequent sells every pair for about $100. Well, looking through my 3-Day packet, I saw a New Balance ad for customizable shoes. The price was a bit steep for me (though I wanted a pair VERY BADLY!).
When I saw this pair, I knew I had to have them. Not only were they less expensive than the shoes I would get at my local running store, but five percent of the proceeds goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure - double win!
When I signed up for the 3-Day, I was acting under a wave of emotion and fueled by an intense desire to support to my boyfriend and his mother. I expected a couple of my friends to join and honestly never thought I would be alone in this.
But I have been.
No one joined my team and only a handful of my friends have even been able to support me financially (we are broke law students, I get it). But I've been training for several months now and it's been completely alone. It was nice to have a friend join me on my walk last week. While her support really warmed my heart, her company was only temporary.
There are several reasons I feel so disconnected:
1. I'm walking in a city that is an 8-hour drive from where I live. 2. There have been no Get Started meetings in my area. 3. The phone meetings start during peak cell phone times and I can't afford that many minutes on my phone. 4. The one group training walk in my area is mid-week and more than a half-hour's drive for me.
I realize I may be a special circumstance and don't blame anyone for my feelings, but am happy to say everything has changed!
I finally feel connected!
Since fellow-walkers have been commenting on my dehydration experience and sharing their own on my blog and on Facebook, I finally feel connected with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.
I want to thank the online community for welcoming me to the Walkers World. Y'all rock!
Let me tell you about my 12-mile training walk yesterday - and the issue that hit me fast and furious.
A friend of mine (who happens to do triathlons, so she's in pretty good shape) offered to join me on my walk yesterday. We planned a route and planned to meet at my house at 7:30. I knew it was late - I would have preferred starting the walk before 7, but since she was joining me, I didn't want to ask too much of her on a Saturday, you know?
Anyway, we got started on our walk at about 8 and I was a little worried - the high for the day was 92 and it was already a bit sticky outside. Plus, I knew the walk would take about 4 hours and that had us ending at noon.
Honestly, the first 11 miles weren't too terrible. In the midst of miles 10 and 11 I started getting a bit cranky because of the heat - the trail we were walking had very little shade. Also, we were running out of water. But otherwise, I was feeling fine. Sore muscles, but no cramps or anything - I felt like I could comfortable finish the 12 miles.
But it was right as we started the 12th mile that things began going terribly wrong. Out of the blue, I was struck with waves of nausea.
As a kid, I was very susceptible to heat stroke. I never drank enough water and lived in Texas. Plus, I was too ashamed to wear shorts in public, so I was always clad in unforgiving jeans during the height of the Texas summers. To say I passed out a few times growing up would be sadly accurate. So, I knew what that queasy feeling meant as I was overcome by it yesterday: Dehydration and potential heat stroke.
We stopped in a bit of shade for a few minutes - painfully close to the trail head and my friend's air conditioned vehicle, but there was still a mile to walk and less than 8 ounces of water in my bottle.
The key to my issue was water. The heat didn't help, but would have been bearable if I had brought enough water. I drank about 5 ounces, keeping the last three in case of a dire emergency. We slowed down the pace and continued on the walk, but I honestly had to stop every tenth of a mile or so to stand in whatever shade I could find.
It was truly a blessing from God when we saw a water fountain at a church that abuts the walking trail. They put it there for the walkers and it saved me, it truly did. I rested on a bench near the fountain and sipped water for about five minutes before we again began hobbling our way to the end of the trail.
A trail head never looked so good, let me tell you!
Since I have a 9-mile walk scheduled today and many more long walks ahead of me, I went to the sporting goods store last night and bought a hydrating backpack. It holds 50 ounces of water and I am really looking forward to testing it out this evening. I overslept today, sadly, and missed my window to start the 9-mile trek this morning. Luckily, the high is only 82 today and I'm planning to walk at the lake where it should feel cooler.
I just finished walking 11.5 miles! It's the farthest I have ever knowingly walked and it was not nearly as tough as I would have thought - even when I realized my last mile was up and down hills!
According to my calculations, I burned 1400 calories - that's more than I eat in a day!
I played with a couple of apps on my phone - Walkjogrun and iTreadmill. Both are good individually, but together are just a big mess of annoying.
Maybe most people can rely on just one, but not me. I was following someone's route on Walkjogrun and wasn't familiar with each turn so I had to keep reloading the app to track it - and ended up losing the route. Finally, I just decided to walk by time rather than a tracked route and turned my 10-mile training walk into 11.5 . I need to find an app with a route planner AND a pedometer.
Also, I've discovered that 32 ounces isn't nearly enough water for long walks. I came home and researched Camelbaks only to find they cost $50!
The weather on my walk was perfect - a gentle breeze carried me the entire way and made it so that I barely felt my sweat at all. It was pretty awesome taking my training out of the gym and into the real world.
I saw many urban animals and beautiful homes I've never seen before. I even found a few shops that I plan to visit later! All in all, I'd say it was a lovely way to spend a quiet Saturday morning.
In order to fit in a five-mile walk today, I had to go to the gym super early. In fact, I was so early the gym wasn't even open yet!
At first I started to panic - I have every minute planned out because things are so busy and I didn't have time to waste 30 minutes. Luckily, logic popped in pretty quickly.
Hello, you're just here to walk. You can do that anywhere!
So I did. For 20 minutes until the gym opened I walked the parking lot and really did enjoy the breeze that surrounded me. Not a fan of the stares, but I was able to block those out.
Then, once the gym opened, I hopped on the treadmill and noticed something immediately. Time drags on the treadmill!
Prior to today, I wasn't really looking forward to tackling Saturday's 10-mile walk sans treadmill, but it's kinda nice to just turn on the iPod (audio books rock!) and not constantly be thinking about how far you've gone or how long the walk has been.
I haven't picked my route yet, but I think it should end somewhere greasy! I know I'll be starving after a ten mile walk!
I've been struggling for months with how to explain why I am participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. To stress to friends and family why I have chosen to train for months in order to walk 60 miles for charity and raise money for a wonderful cause. Finally, I've found the words.
Kevin and I have been dating more than two and a half years and we have seen each other through many difficult times. But when Kevin called me and said, "My mother has breast cancer," I was, for the first time in my life, speechless.
What do you say to your boyfriend when he calls with such terrible news? I asked for any information he had and I prayed the right words would come. We talked about what the doctors told his mom and what would happen next.
This was last December. She has had surgery and is undergoing chemotherapy and, although there have been a few setbacks, she is doing well.
The week we found out that Carol was sick, I felt helpless and afraid - I am a fixer, but I couldn't fix her. I don't have a lot of money, and I can't find a cure for cancer, but I found out that there was something that I could do to help. I saw an ad for the Susan G. Komen event and decided that spending 6 months training for the 60-day walk was the least I could do.
There are times when the training is tough - when my feet and ankles hurt so badly I can barely stand it, but then I think about Carol and the sickness she feels after each round of chemotherapy. I think about Kevin and the desolation in his voice as he said those fateful words, "My mother has breast cancer."
I think about others who have heard those words, or said those words, and I find a new stride. I keep walking and praying that someday we can beat this terrible, terrible illness.
It's been tough to fit fundraising and training into my schedule but I'm doing the best I can. Finals set me back a bit, but now that summer is here, I'm back to my training regimen.
I'll be honest, I feel uncomfortable sharing Carol and Kevin's story. Kevin didn't tell many people, and if you are his friend, this is probably news to you. He isn't comfortable with the attention, but it's important that his friends know what he's been dealing with this year. He knows that I have written this and am sharing it.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is only 3 months away and I am walking in Carol's name. To do so, I need to raise $2300. It's important to me that I represent Carol and Kevin to the best of my abilities and I need your help.
You can support them and the cause by making a donation. Just go to The3Day.org, click Donate Now, and enter my name to search for my personal fundraising page.
Thanks to finals, I had to take a 4-week hiatus from my training - but I'm back on the treadmill, baby!
My summer schedule has really opened up a big time slot for me to train and I was in the gym after classes yesterday, trying to get back on track. I went 3.19 miles to get my muscles used to all the movement again and am going back for 4 miles today. Tomorrow will be 6 miles and I will walk through the weekend too. Next week I hope to jump to the Week 11 recommendation from the 16-week training schedule.
I sent out a dozen fundraising emails this past weekend - and didn't get a single reply. To be honest, I am beginning to panic about the chances of raising $2300. I'm thrilled with the $95 I've raised so far, but it's not nearly enough!
So few of my friends have money - and those that do are donating to their own charity.
I certainly don't have the money needed to host a block party or the connections to plan a silent auction. I sold some jackets on ebay and won a whopping $3 (better than nothing!). I have 8 friends in Kansas City and only two know that I am doing this for Kevin's mother - and it doesn't feel right to use her situation as the catalyst to get people to donate. My family isn't one to beg each other for fundraising efforts - unless cookies or wrapping paper is involved. Should I sell candy on the street corner?
Today was the first day I've been able to go outside and do my training and it was glorious.
Props to Kevin for coming over early and telling me he was going for a run, inducing me to close the law book I had just opened and get into my own workout gear.
I grabbed my new pedometer and iPod, turned on the iPod and saw that it was dead, and hooked up the radio for the pedometer and set out. I didn't know where I was going, just walking. I don't really rely on the pedometer and by now I know how 3 miles feels so I was happy.
It was a wonderful walk! Kids were playing, runners nodded and smiled hello, Kevin and I met for a brief smile and howdy, daffodils were everywhere and a wonderful breeze followed me up and down the hills of Kansas City.
All in all, I went 3.5 miles. Add the .5 miles I walked at school today and I went a mile over the training recommendation. I'm sore in a new way (hello hills!), but feel great.
While school kept me off the treadmill most of the week (I usually go between classes, but had a lot of work to do the past few days), and I wasn't able to get the recommended 5 and 7-mile walks in this past week.
However, things are warming up outside and a couple of times I managed to get in a neighborhood walk!
First, on Tuesday, I REALLY wanted a McDonald's ice cream cone. McDonald's is less than a block away and my rule is that I have to walk if I want a cone. However, instead of turning right and heading straight to the golden arches, I turned left and went the "long" way - a mile out of my way to be exact! It felt great to move my muscles after a few days off and made that cone pretty darn tasty!
Friday night is date night for me and the boyfriend - especially on pay Fridays like this was. So, when he asked where I wanted to go, I suggested we walk to the nearby restaurants and decide when we got there. The restaurants, a walk we hadn't before tried, turned out to be a mile and a half away. I got in three miles without even realizing it!
I am so excited for Spring! Now, I am not tied to my school schedule for my training walks. As the days get longer, I have more time to come home and hit the street!
Six inches of snow is currently falling outside - putting a damper on my plans to walk a few miles around the neighborhood.
Instead, Kevin suggested we bundle up and take the dogs for a stroll to the local coffee shop. Sadly, it was closed, but we kept strolling and ended up walking 1.14 miles through the 'hood. Add in the 5 inches of snow and it was quite a workout!
I went to Maryland this weekend to visit my friend Renee and meet her fiance. Since it was a 4-day visit, I was a bit worried about my training program. But I shouldn't have been.
Friday was spent traveling - 8 hours of plane switching and airport navigation and I made it to Baltimore at 7:30 (Eastern time). While I may not have walked the recommended mileage, at least I was still walking hard and fast for awhile.
Saturday was spent shopping wedding dresses and walking around downtown Frederick, MD. Pretty light stuff. Then Sunday was a day of vegging and watching movies, but we decided to walk, rather than drive, to the store to rent the movie. Renee says it was a 2 or 3 mile walk. It was perfectly fitting to the lazy day we had.
The best day, however, training-wise was Monday. We went to Dc, for my first time, and had 6 hours to see as much as possible before I had to catch my flight.
I knew there would be a lot of walking, so I packed my training shoes. Good thing!
Here is the path we took ... at the "end" point, we hopped a cab (for time purposes!) and flew to the Supreme Court building, then walked back to Union Station for the car.
I checked the last leg of our trip (the short walk from the Supreme Court building to Union Station) and it rounded our walk out to a nice five miles! Yay!
Then ... I flew to the Minneapolis airport and had a one hour layover - just enough time to get to my terminal more than a mile away (I looked it up).
Overall, I don't think I missed a step this past weekend.
Thanks to a blog entry I wrote for my main 50n50 blog, I went to the gym this afternoon more motivated than I expected. I was so motivated, in fact, that I decided to hit the treadmill and go three miles at 4 mph. Bad idea.
It was vastly too much too fast. You see, there has been a lovely thunderstorm sitting on Kansas City this week, and more importantly, my chest. I stayed home sick yesterday because I was having such a hard time breathing.
I felt much better today. So much better, in fact, that I forgot about my oxygen issues and was huffing and puffing before I even reached a mile! I eventually slowed it down to 3.6 mph for the duration and checked my heart rate several times: 156, right where it should be for the cardio workout I was after.
I made it through my workout, though, and am glad to add 4.01 miles to my log!
My iPod was dead today I grabbed a case I printed out for my Constitutional Law paper and took it with me to the gym hoping I could use the time to study and am proud to say that tt worked out really well!
I couldn't take detailed notes, but the case is long and managed to distract me from the passage of time. I read 25 pages into the case and suddenly the treadmill was forcing me to start my cool-down period!
As I get deeper into my training for the walk, there will be a deeper time commitment than the current 1-2 hours three times a week. Walking 12 miles, if I can maintain 4 miles per hour, takes 3 hours! So, I'm glad to know that I can fit studying into that time.
It's a half mile walk to the gym ... information I kinda wish I'd known a couple of hours ago.
I popped over for a walk session between classes and was able to squeeze in 3.98 of the requisite 4 miles for today's training. Then, I walked back to the building that houses my classes.
I was really feeling it by the time I made it to my class so I decided to look up how far I walked to get to the rec center. And then I understood my pains.
I walked 5 miles today!
I'm pretty proud of myself, I'll tell ya. It's a bit more than the training program specifies, and I'm sure I will feel it tomorrow, but there is a part of me that is happy to know I can make it 25% of the way and I still have months of training to go!
It seems everyone has a cause these days ... AIDS, earthquakes, breast cancer.
Just this week I have received four requests via email for donations to someone's (worthy!) cause. Don't get me wrong, I think this is great and I wish I could contribute to them all. However, I can barely contribute to my own cause and don't know how to tell my friends that, because I have chosen to take up a charity and raise money, everything I can spare is going to my cause.
I am not good with fundraising, to be honest. The economic times make it harder, but so does my inherent hatred of begging. My family has never been one to ask each for money for any causes so I don't feel comfortable asking them and most of my friends are barely making ends meet - don't feel comfortable asking them.
My plan is to ask strangers. I am hoping my local coffee shop will let me sell cookies in their store for a week and that I can get something set up at school.
I have set up a change jar in my house and every time I see change on the floor, it goes in the jar. I'm thinking I will make up similar jars for friends and ask them to donate their lose change to me. What do you think?
Most of my fundraising efforts, however will happen this summer - closer to the actual event. I will have more miles under my belt, training-wise and will be able to better show my commitment to the cause.
Anyone think street performing would be a good idea for me???
I tried to walk 4 mph for at least two miles of it, but had to drop back to 3.9 mph. And even that was giving me problems. I just couldn't find my stride and then my ankle started spiking with pain. There I had a cramp in my side. Then I was having trouble getting enough oxygen.
When I found myself thinking of going slower than 3.9 mph, however, I suddenly remembered that today is Thursday - the day my friend's mother has her Chemo treatments.
A "moderate" workout is nothing compared to what she is dealing with!
Once that clicked in my silly little brain things went a lot easier. I finally found my stride and pumped out the last mile with few problems. My ankle is still smarting, but I won't worry about that until tomorrow.
I was all set to go to the gym between classes today. I was even in my car and had given up my coveted parking space in order to drive to the gym (yes, it's funny I wasn't walking, but it's booger-freezing cold outside!).
However, while en route, I realized that I left my student id at home this morning. Without it, I am denied access to my treadmills and my 3-mile walk today.
I am truly frustrated by this because I was all set to go! So, I am going to cross train today and hit it tomorrow. I'm not sure how things will pan out since I am supposed to walk 4 miles on Friday and another 3 Saturday, but I won't let myself do any damage this early on.
So, I shall take today to tell you about the training schedule I am following.
It is available here(pages 31-32), thanks to the Susan G. Komen organizers.
I have adjusted the plan to my own schedule. Instead of taking Monday as my day of rest, I take Sunday (call me traditional). This means that the longest walk of the week isn't on Saturdays, but Friday afternoons. It works best with my schedule because I am free most Friday afternoons and can walk worry-free.
So, technically, I have not hit the training regime since Friday afternoon. However, the past weekend was spent moving so I know I have worked out my muscles plenty!
There is still a lot to do at home and I just joined a carpool (thanks to my new location!) so it will mean working out a workout schedule between classes rather than after.
Last Monday I was shocked by the time that it took to walk three miles. It just seemed weird to think it would be almost an hour. But now, I understand why. I just wasn't doing the basic math. At 4 mph, it takes 15 minutes to walk a mile. Duh.
When things warm up, I fully intend to conduct my workouts outside - not only will it be more pleasant, but it will be more like the actual 3Day and it will give me a bit more scheduling freedom.
You know, going into today's workout I wasn't too excited.
I stayed up late and woke up early to finish a paper due this morning and only had one class. When my freedom was granted at 12:20 I was really tempted to go home and take a nap.
But, today is the first day all week I haven't had something else to do later, so really there was no excuse.
And when I stepped on the treadmill and set my course I realized just how nice it was to have nowhere to run off to after my workout. There was no rush and no worry. So I set the treadmill for an hour, started at 3 mph and worked my way up to 3.5 mph.
I wouldn't call it leisurely, but it certainly wasn't the same pounding session as Monday's 4 mph session. Overall, I walked 3.34 miles today.
I checked my heart rate throughout and it was always between 130 and 145.
Today was Day 2 (or 3, depending on your perspective) of Week 1 in my 3-Day training.
I almost didn't make it to the gym, I was just so busy, but I knew I would be upset with myself if I slacked this early in the program. I was only able to squeeze in 20 minutes of treadmill time (1.52 miles), but that is definitely better than none and I am proud of myself for making it a priority in a really busy day.
It would be a lot easier if I had a treadmill at home, but as it is I used the gym at school. There are a lot of young 'uns there, but I just remind myself that I am doing this for a good cause and have no reason to be embarrassed by my shiny, new shoes or the fact that I walk rather than run.
I am thinking of having a shirt made that says "I'm walking to fight breast cancer. You?"
Physically, things today weren't nearly as hard as Monday. It only took me half a mile to get up to my 4 mph speed and the time flew by pretty quickly, considering I forgot my iPod.
My shins are sore right now, but I know of better ways to stretch them tomorrow.
Yep, tomorrow I start training for the most athletic event of my life: the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure!
Since August 6 will find me stretching my muscles in Chicago, prepping to walk 60 miles in three days, tomorrow will find me starting the first workout of my 24-week training.
In order to be fully prepared for training (and limit the possible medical issues I may encounter), I visited a specialty store for runners this afternoon. For the first time in YEARS, I was fitted for a new pair of training shoes. The sales woman was a VERY pregnant former cross country coach who told me all about the issues I might encounter (including chafing on my boobs ... ouch). She also taught me things I never knew about the way running shoes should fit. It truly was fascinating.
Apparently, I have been buying the wrong size all along. Traditionally, I am a size 8.5. However, this means that I should buy size 9.5 in running shoes. Reasons: feet swell and you need more wiggle room for toes in running shoes. Most of the shoes I tried were just too loose in the heel. I felt like my feet were flopping around, but there was a certain pair that fit almost perfectly. Toe room was great, width was perfect (apparently, I am an 8.5 wide - the idea of having fat feet is depressing), but the heel was just a tad too loose.
Then I was shown a trick ... using the last eyelet hole, make a loop of the shoe string to make a hole for lacing. Lace the string through that and it will tighten the fit on the heel. Kevin, who has run 4 marathons, didn't even know this trick, so I made a slide show to share.
So, new shoes in hand, gym bag packed for a week of workouts (that way I can't say I forgot my clothes and skip a day), I am ready to start this newest challenge.
When my boyfriend told me his mother has breast cancer, I began a long search for a way to help. When I read about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, I knew I had to do it.
After months of fundraising, I raised more than $2300 and walked 60 miles in the Chicago 3-Day!
Now, I'm learning to be a runner and just finished my first 5k!
All in all, I am participating in 100 miles of events in order to raise $5000 to find a cure. I've walked 60 miles, run a 5k (3.1 miles), have a half marathon planned for February (13.1 miles) and will end by running a marathon for the cure in April!
Chicago 3-Day for the Cure: 60 miles Wichita, KS Race for the Cure: 3.1 miles Breast Cancer Half-Marathon: 13.1 miles Texas Marathon for the Cure: 26.2 miles Total miles for a Cure: 102.4
Aiming for $5000
This year I want to raise $5000 in the fight for a cure
Boobs Rock: $250 3-Day: $2325 Race for the Cure: $260 Boobs Rock 2.0: $750