Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's next

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!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hold Your Head Up High

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!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 3 - Persevere

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."

And I did. I've got the t-shirt to prove it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

End of Day 2 ...

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!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So Much

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.