Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's Over... Now I am sad

We are back at the hotel and I am not quite sure where to put my emotion.
For the last 9 months we have been preparing for this day... for the last weekend
this day has been our carrot. What now?

Closing ceremony was moving. They had us all march in hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm
to an area across the street where our friends, family and 3day staff were. The spokesperson rallied us and the crowd. We were clapping, chanting and even crying.

The most emotional part was when the survivors walked in. We could not see them but could feel their presence through the screaming. Everyone held up a shoe. (I had heard at my last pit stop that this was tradition.) Just like in the Opening Ceremony, the flag was raised by the circle of survivors. In the circle I saw a gal, looks to be in her 30s that I had seen earlier in the weekend and had wondered with her short hair whether or not she was a breast cancer survivor. She was walking with her husband and friends... It made me sad and lucky, this could be me or Jill up there. It puts things into perspective.

This by far will be the most memorable weekend in my life (thus far). I am happy to not be walking anymore, to be soaking my feet (in a trash can not a bathtub) and to be getting ready to enjoy two days in DC... I guess walking more.

Thank you for your emails. texts, phone messages, letters, cards, snack bags, sleeping bags, duffle bags and donations. I grew this weekend thanks to you and your encouragement. I really can say that I WILL do this again, but not without my village. MERCI! MERCI! MERCI!

10 Minutes til Closing!

The last 2 miles seemed to go on forever. Our feet are so sore (or as my friend Rick used to say, "My Dogs Were Barking") but we are really excited. We start to pass women with their victory shirts on and we know we are close by. One more real bathroom stop and Jill calls Mark. The boys are at the finish line and I feel a little nervous to be reunited with non-3Day people. We have been in an alternate-universe over the last couple of days. I am beginning to think I may need some time to adjust.

Suddenly someone says two blocks to go. We hear music. Loud music. I think it is Carol King and "I Feel the Earth Move." At last, we reach the holding area and there are all the walkers and crew that have made it before us on either side of the stairs welcoming us, cheering and high-fiving us.

Again, another sea of pink. Just this time it is people!

"Way to Go!" "You did it!" "It's Over!" It is a little overwhelming, empowering and definitely emotional. I looked at Jill with teary, tired eyes. It was by far my favorite part.

Finally we see the boys.

They are so excited! Scott is taking pictures left and right and later I find that he took some video. Just as I had thought, I was having trouble re-adjusting and he could tell. They headed to the Closing Ceremony and I got my space. Jill and I got our victory shirts and roses. I changed in a parking lot... I know now I am a changed woman.

Zoe gathers us and seperates the survivors and the walkers and tries to explain the closing ceremony logistics. I think we are all too tired, excited and emotional to understand. Jill and I are a little sad she does not give us her stretching reutine we grew to love.

We are almost ready to leave holding, arm and arm, when U2 and Mary J come on the loud speaker. I will miss U2, Sting and Seal... the sounds I will now associate with my 3 Day Adventure.

The LONGEST bathroom line EVER!

Okay... we have 2.5 more miles to go and we have hit a wall. Not only have we stopped at the longest bathroom line ever but I realize we have not eaten much and may need some nourishment and hydration. Jill is holding our place in line and I head for snacks. So far today we have walked through Arlington, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, by the White House and now we are in the Capital Hill area near the lot. It has been so nice to see all the sights but are seeing less of our support crew. I am beginning to miss the cheers. (However at the last crosswalk my favorite crew member had us doing the YMCA- See Below)

Shop Gals Take the White House

On the way to snacks I see my man, Barack Obama (okay, he is a cut-out but I am glad that his cut-out supports the 3day and have to have my picture with him). We receive an announcement that we have 1 hour to get to closing ceremony. Jill has talked to Mark and they are on there way there. Suddenly this is all becoming a reality... we are almost done.

Day Three- Mile 10... only 6 more to go!!!!!

So far we have walked through Arlington and over the Potomac. After our coffee stop we hit a hill... you always create a lot of noise when you give the 3Day walkers a hill. Nothing builds camaraderie like a challenge!

Jill and I are really taking our time today. So far we have stopped at three real bathrooms and for coffee. Today is my favorite lunch, Turkey Sandwich and Sun Chips (Jill has a Black Bean Burger). I am thinking I might miss all the snacks :)

Our last 3day Bag Lunch Stop
Right before we walked over the Key Bridge to Georgetown we were passed by a convertible with two guys dressed in pink boas and Redskins shirts playing Journey's, "Don't Stop Believing"--- it really got me going. For those of you who know me you know I love Journey! :) When walking over the Key Bridge we asked a man on a bike to take our picture. He said that he started at the finish line and backtracked to meet us today.

Walking over Key Bridge

Georgetown University to left

The support from the people around us has really kept us going-- whether is was the honkers or the people that set up a block neighborhood party to support us. I love it when the kids come out. I probably have high fived more people this weekend than I have in my entire life. Jill says that this has taught her to support causes more... cheer on events that are nearby to us. I have to agree.

This sweet lady was at atleast 5 cheering stations over the 3 day... I love her!

Day Three... Mile 2 and we found COFFEE :)

. . . and a bathroom! (We are over the Port-a-Potties!)
So happy... enjoying our last 16 miles.
This morning had us up- and-at-em' at 4:30 a.m. We packed up
our 3day home, managed to get our tent in the baggy and dropped off
our bags. I went to the medical self-help to bandage my lone blister and
while Jill stretched. We grabbed some breakfast and heard Zoe's stretching
ruetine one last time before heading onto the bus. It is still dark but we feel good!
It's our last day and there is only 16 miles. . . how bad can that be???

Long Line to Buses

Betsy Ross (See above- Crew is dressed very Americana today in lieu of our trip into DC) loads us onto the bus at 6 a.m. for a 40 minute ride to Arlington. Since there
are 3,000 of us, Jill and I estimate 30 buses for transport. . . this may take a while! Looks like we will be divided up today.
The bus drops us at the 1st pit stop where we stretch again (stretching and ibuprofen are our best friends this weekend) and fuel up on water. Within the 1st 2 miles Jill and I find our own pit stop--- Caribou Coffee! We sit outside, people watch and take our time...soaking in what the past two days have meant to us and our sore little feet. We both are VERY excited to see Scott and Mark and also a little nervous that they can make it, check in, get our bags and make it to the ceremony on time. Yes, I know, have more faith in the men :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 2--- 45 Miles Down!

. . . and a foot soak to boot! Who can ask for more?

Day two was physically harder on the feet but much more enjoyable. The beginning and the end started on trails with residential neighborhoods in-between. After lunch the sun was pounding and fellow walkers were worried I was getting sunburned (they are not used to how red my skin can get with heat, emotion or wine).
Still loving my cross walk guys! Their music, outfits and spirit--- sure wish we knew their story.

We hit another hard stretch where we did not have a pit stop for over 5 miles (it said 4) and either way it was too long. When I about lost it encountering a "Walker Stalker" I knew I needed a break. We took over a GIANT's bathroom and recooped in their air conditioning. Our feet were giving out and so was our patience. Jill and I could barely move but we were not the only ones in this boat. We purchased foot soak for camp... what we hoped was close by.

The next 5 miles (the last) were probably the hardest thus far. They seemed to last forever!
We pushed on through and took our time at the last two pit stops, our bodies were telling us to rest.

an example of a super fun walker at pit stop 3. Yes, those are snacks in her bossum!

At 5:3o we were back in camp soaking our feet in ziplock bags... this seemed to help. Mentally I felt more coherent and less tired. We were able to enjoy the 3day surroundings a little more before dinner. They had a lounging area set up with magazines and crossword puzzles. Jill even scored a new Rachel Ray recipe.

Dinner was more of the same... Carb filled Carbs. Jill ate her 1st Vegan Cutlet, that we giggled about so much the night before, while I ate some form of chicken they called cutlet. Not sure if I would have eaten it if I did not need the fuel.

At this point I can hardly walk. My feet are swollen and my calves are so tight. I am contemplating BioFreeze but I take more pain meds instead.

Showers were better tonight... no lines and warm water. It is 8:15 p.m. and we are back in the tent trying to wind down. We know tomorrow is the last day and we will see the boys... kind of hard to fall asleep when you have so much to look forward to.

Day Two...I cannot believe my feet are allowing this!

We are half way through Day 2 (35 miles) and I just got treated for my first blister. So far Jill is still a blister virgin and maybe the only one. When I went to the medical tent to get bandaged up they were almost out of moleskin. The gal on the left of me was getting a lacerated and the gal to the right was completely bandanged up. With one blister, I feel lucky!

We got a pretty good nights sleep, tent and all. We both had to wake in the middle of the night to find the port-a-john (they warned us this would happen atleast once during the night). This was my least favorite part so far. I forgot my glasses and had a heck of a time finding our tent! I have, however, been a trooper about using the facilities. I think this surprises Jill :)

By 6:30 we are at breakfast eating eggs, potatoes, yogurt and a biscuit. You would think that this is too much food or it is too early but we are starved and having no problem forcing it down.
The people serving are so cheerful and I am amazed with the energy and attitudes of all the crew. Walk I can, but crew I am thinking, I cannot.

This is the start of our day leaving camp grounds... our new home really is beautiful!

The beginning of our trail leads us through the park and onto more trails. The path is a little uneven and is hard for our still stiff legs. One of the crew men thinks he is funny... "Watch out for the poison ivy!" "I see a snake up there." I am thinking he needs to be retrained. After 2 miles and stretching we start to feel more nimble.

Jill stretching

We passed this amazing piece of property... looks like an old jail but it is now vacant. This route is much better and today is a lot hotter. We shed our jackets at 9 a.m.

Part of the Department of Corrections Property... Note- Google Historic Jail, Occoquan

My favorite part of the day was the Pit Stop with the HighSchool Cheerleaders

and the Lorton Shopping Center where Jill and I scored iced coffee.
Caffeine and Spirit are keeping us going!

Day One- It's Over

The 1st time walkers are learning that the route cards are WRONG!!!! When it says 2 miles it often means 4. Our route card says 2o miles but we have been 25 if you count the walk into camp, and beleive me, we count every step.
See our smiles? We are fine :)

Jill and I were fine until mile 15... we were even talking about how we were not going to be sore. What a nice dream that would be... a body with no soreness. I did not realize that this would take such a toll on my body. I feet are blister free but swollen. I can barely walk to the showers. I am wondering... "Can I do this tomorrow?"
We are staying hydrated and eating LOTS of Carbs...

The rest of the day was a loop on the highway and some neighborhoods in Daleville and Woodbridge. The highlight of the route was walking through historic downtown Occoquan, which was festooned with pink ribbons, balloons and posters throughout town. We took a break and shopped (imagine that, two Shop Gals shopping) at a couple local boutiques. It was a nice diversion.

Occuquan is a quaint warf town in NOVA.

This was the coolest shop, PolkaDotDiva that's window is concave... She told us that it is from an old ship. Needless to say we had to support her super cute business.

After the shops we crossed a bridge and hiked up a VERY steep hill that lead us through the Occoquan National Park and to our camp. Jill and I after shopping a little. .. We are ready to conquer that last hill!

Watch out ladies... Shop Girls are Heading to the Wilderness!

We all cheered as we saw white tents...

Jill began to understand why we would not move camp nightly... this was quite the event!

We did not realize that it would be another mile before we got to our bags and our own tent area.

We are finally here!!!!! We are scanned and ready to set up home... Home, Sweet Tent?!

We both hit a wall as we drug our bags and tent to I-73. I snapped at Jill, she was pretty out of it and I wondered how we would get this tent pitched. Despite the crankiness and lathargy we did it. I now know that we both were a little off in electrolytes. After dinner and a shower* we started to feel like ourselves.

*Shower- Just so you know, we shower in a tractor trailer with 6 other slots. There are shower curtains but the open area is just like a junior high locker room, except more crammed. The water was hot and I was clean. This is all that matters.

Lights in the camp are out at 9 p.m... I think Jill and I are asleep by 8:15 p.m.