Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk - Day 1

I can't believe that it has been almost 2 weeks since I finished the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk and I am just now blogging about it! (Please don't think that my delay in posting diminishes The Walk for me, it's just that I was deployed to a new work assignment 5 days later, changed a time zone and have been in two different states since then!) So here goes my attempt to put my story in words...

I arrived at the Plano Convention Centre during the wee hours the morning of November 6th. I was there early for two reasons: 1) I had to secure a weekend long term parking space , and 2) I was so excited that The Walk was finally here!

Soon after I arrived more and more people began to arrive. Many people had friends and family there to drop them off. Soon I found members of my team, and we began to get in line (the first of many lines that I would stand in over the weekend!) for the Opening Ceremony. Standing there in the dark, I could just feel the excitement mounting. I met ladies from all over the country, and each one had a story to share about why they were there.

After the emotional Opening Ceremony, we were finally released to begin The Walk! Not long after leaving the convention center, there were already people on the side of the road to cheer us on, along with car honking their horns at us. This is one of the first signs that I saw that made me smile:

Little did I know what a journey I would be on for the next 59.5 miles!

Walking that day I felt like such a celebrity! There were so many people out to cheer us on! And since it was a Friday, I was really surprised at the number of people that were out. One of the great things was that we walked past a lot of schools and the children were outside to cheer us on. Although I don't know if they really understood what we were doing and why, seeing them gave me so much encouragement. Me and my teammates wore angel wings (our team is Angels for the Cure, and yes, I wore the wings most of the weekend) and the kids really liked that. More than once I heard someone say 'I just touched an angel!'

During the walk, there were flags available that we could carry. The flags represented a person to honor (mother, daughter, best friend, aunt, etc.) or a word of encouragement (hope, commitment, cure, etc.). If I had one goal for the weekend, I secretly had hoped that I would have the honor of walking with the Grandmother flag. During the first 3 miles I was able to get that flag! It was nice to walk with it so early on because I felt like my Grandmother (who was a breast cancer survivor) was there with me during this journey.

Speaking of family, my family made it in town just in time to see me at the last cheering station for Day 1, and this really made my day more than they know!

I believe Day 1 of the walk I was fueled by all of the anticipation that had been leading up to this weekend. But by the end of the day, I was so happy to finally see our camp insight. Even though it meant I would be sleeping under the stars!

My tent mate and I put up our tent (OK, we did have help from some other teammates!) and settled into our new home for the next two nights. After that it was off to the mobile showers. The mobile showers were quite the experience because you couldn't find privacy if you want to. And to be honest, at that post I just wanted to feel some hot water on my body and change into something less smelly.

As I walked around camp after dinner, I ran into Barbara and Nancy sitting in the cafe reading! I was so excited to see them since I didn't know if we would get the opportunity to spend any time together during the weekend. Being the fast walkers they are, they had been at camp since early in the afternoon. Nancy had taken a bit of a spill and scrapped up one of her knees pretty bad. But it was so great to catch up with the two of them!

By time lights out came at 9 p.m., I was ready to hit the sack (or the air mattress) and call it a night. Little did I know what Day 2 would bring...


Zelda said...

i do RFTC every year. This year marked our 10th year! TEN YEARS!!! my bonus mom is a survivor. it's an amazing emotional experience!! I would love to do the three day thing...someday.
Happy ICLW!

Stacie said...

It sounds like a lot of fun. I have to come back to read the rest of your story. :-)

We do the relay for life here, and I know how hard a 24 hour event is on my body. I can't even begin to fathom how I'd manage 3 days. You are a superwoman!

Here via ICLW.

Shannon said...

My family does Relay for Life and the Susan G. Komen events (mainly RFTC) have always been my thing. The 3-Day was a first for me, but I have already signed up again for next year! Thanks for stopping by!

Lou said...

Oh wow, what a fantastic idea, and congrats to you for taking part in this. I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of the walk :-)

Elizabeth said...

What an awesome way to honor your grandmother!

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