I did it! I walked 60 (Komen) miles…which translates closer to 66 ACTUAL miles, in three days. Hello blisters and shin splints, allow me to introduce myself!
|Crossing I-90 Day One|
I really could go on and on about the logistics of it. How we walked from Seattle to Marymoor Park. Through Redmond, Kirkland, and back through Redmond again. From the UW through Fremont, Ballard, Magnolia, and finished in downtown Seattle. I think the more important thing for me to share would be what I found so SPECIAL about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day.
|Tracy and I on the Kirkland Waterfront Day 2|
First of all I’d like to thank my partner Tracy for being craze enough to volunteer to do this thing with me. I don’t think either of us had ANY CLUE what kind of physical toll this would take on our bodies. We had some great moments and made some great friends at the medical tent (Tracy’s new BFF Holly was the best!). Thank you so much for making me laugh!
The people that organize this event are incredible. The sheer number of volunteers it takes to make something of this magnitude run smoothly was astounding. Every single volunteer I encountered along the route or at camp was kind, encouraging, and helpful. All along the route we had these guys (and a couple of gals) that stood at certain streets to make sure we crossed safely. These guys (and gals) were all dolled up. Pink from head to toe, the men wearing bras (stuffed with balloons and in one case bears), wigs, nothing was off limits for these people. It was so fun to see them all along the route encouraging us to keep moving. Believe me-sometimes seeing those faces was the motivation I needed to keep going. There was this elderly couple that showed up all along the route with these huge homemade signs on canvas. I think they had a different one at each location. They were so cute! There was also this one man who would park his truck and blast his country music and cheer us on. He was great! Apparently his wife walks every year but couldn’t do it this year for some reason, but he still went out and cheered us on. These folks were with us the entire weekend! It was unbelievably selfless.
Let’s talk about the Seattle Bicycle cops. They were THE BEST! They were all dressed up; complete with pink bicycle tires and handcuffs. They started with us in Seattle on day one and rode the entire three day route; making sure we were safe, cheering us on, and making us laugh. The boring Bellevue and Redmond police couldn’t be bothered to “get pink”. I’m seriously considering writing a letter. We gave those poor cops a hard time though, and I'm sure they felt pretty bad. Anyway, the Seattle cops were wonderful. It was so great at the finish line too because they were all lined up as we came down the home stretch, it was so sweet.
What was really touching were the many, many, people who came out of their homes or set up tables with snacks and water all along the way. Like I said before, when you’ve walked 18 miles and you’re exhausted and sore, seeing these people smiling and cheering for you was so inspirational. At the end of day two when my shin splints were starting to really kill me, it meant the world to have that support. My dear friend Becky met up with me in Juanita to cheer me on, as did my friend Christine as I passed her condo in Kirkland. My buddy Don tracked me down in Kirkland and walked with me for three miles. It was so sweet! That was towards the end of a VERY long 13 mile stretch for me and I was hurting big time. He totally kept my mind off of the pain and I was able to keep going. At the end of day two my mom and aunt met me at camp and I was able to relax and visit with them for a while. Again, the support was unbelievable. Even my friend Kimberly’s husband Dan set up our tent for us on the first day so we wouldn’t have to worry about it when we got to camp. Things like that meant so much! Of course I told my husband to stay away because they tell you not to bring family and friends in, but later we saw husband’s bringing their wives coffee and meals. Now I know for next time!
I’d like to give a major shout out to the medical staff. This team of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, etc. did an incredible job of taking care of us. I’m sure none of them want to look at another blister in their lives! I personally had them lanced multiple times and they have it down to a science. At one point they were threatening to bus everyone who hadn’t been treated yet (the line was very long) to lunch. Excuse me, you aren’t bussing me anywhere. But they turned it up a notch and breezed through a line of several people and we all got out on the route in the nick of time. The medical staff was all volunteer, and although they did have their share of people passing out and others with more emergent symptoms, the majority of their time was spent on blister care. God bless ‘em!
|Supporters in Magnolia|
Day three was the best day (and the worst) for me. I could not take a single step without pain from my shin splints, and as the day wore on both of my pinky toes were complete blisters. The blisters were tolerable enough, but there were a few times that the shin splints almost did me in. By the time I got to our first pit stop which was about 6.5 miles in, I was pretty miserable. The medical staff taped my left leg up and it made just enough of a difference that I was able to keep going. I am so glad I did! We walked from Ballard through Discovery Park, and down through Magnolia. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Magnolia and it was beautiful. The people in the neighborhood were great, some blasting their music for us since we weren’t allowed to wear headphones. And as always, a slew of supporters clapping and cheering us as we passed. That part of the route was beautiful. The views were amazing, the weather was beautiful, and we were almost done!
|Kimberly and I|
The last four miles of day three were a breeze! I had my blisters lanced at lunch and the ibuprofen was kicking in and dulled the pain of the shin splints. We could see the space needle and knew we were so close to being done. I practically ran that last part! Luckily I was able to hook up with my friend Kimberly ( a fellow boot camper and survivor) and her group “Kimberly’s Breast Friends” for a celebratory Margarita on the water down by the new Ferris Wheel. We all walked the remaining couple of miles and crossed the finish line together. Waiting for me were my amazing husband Jeff, my beautiful daughter Mandi, and her sweet boyfriend Logan. Wow, we did it.
The closing ceremony was by far the most emotional moment for me. They had all of the survivors come in last as a group. The other walkers were all in a circle and we walked into the center of it. The speaker talked about how we didn’t just give up after being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment. We all made a decision to be part of finding the cure. That did me in. Less than a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I endured surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. I had no idea if I would be alive or what my life would be like. And here I was. Standing in a group of survivors and we just walked 60 miles in three days and we were happy about it! Screw you cancer!!!!
My goal going into this was to walk every single inch of that course. That’s just me. I was very determined to finish the entire thing-even if it meant dragging my broken leg behind me. I was determined to do it. And I did; every inch of every mile. It was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done…and I loved every minute of it. Maybe not EVERY minute, but you know what I mean. Would I do it again knowing what I know now? ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT!
If you ever have the chance to walk in the three day, do it. If you don't, go out and cheer the walkers on.
I would not have been able to do any of it without the emotional support of my friends and family, but also the financial support from my wonderful and generous sponsors. I was able to raise $3,180 but you also gave me the opportunity to create an incredible memory, an experience I will never forget. I will forever be grateful for your gift.
- Diane Johnson
- Michelle Paige
- Fred and Kesti Miller
- Debbie George
- Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf
- Debbie Mickschl
- April Van Assche
- Lyndal Balliet
- The Queen of Kong
- Scott Hagen
- Debbi Grieser
- Linda Strand
- Vickie Ravenscroft
- Christine Reatz
- Bill and Kathy-the best neighbor's ever!
- Laura Main
- Rebecca Hettich
- Lisa Howard
- Peg Ogle
- Arlene Escobar
- Pat Gilosa-DeAngelis
- Gayle Robinson
- Sylvia Randal
- Neil Roche
Seriously, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Oh...check out my new tattoo! Yes, I love cats. Isn't that clever...the tail turns into the breast cancer awareness ribbon?!