Monday, November 22, 2010

0 to 60 in 3 Days!

I have been sitting here for over a week now trying to think of how I am going to put my experience with the Susan G. Komen's 3~day for Cure 60 mile walk I participated in on November 12~14th, into words and I am still having a writer's block. I will be driving thinking to myself, "Oh I need to tell them (meaning my reader's) this, and I can't forget this." So here goes nothing. I know I may leave a few things out, but I promise you if I remember them later down the road, I will blog about them.

Back in March I was asked by my SIL, Ambrosia, to join her in the Susan G. Komen's walk for the cure. Without any hesitation, I hopped on the wagon and said, "Of course I'll do it with you!" We got 2 other girls to join our team, Tessa & Amanda, and began our fundraising right away. Our team raised over $12,000! WOW! That is just simply amazing! I still can't believe it and I am so thankful for EVERYONE that helped us reach our goals and go even further! Every single one of you, who either donated money, their time, supplies, prizes, anything, thank you from the bottom of my he♥rt. You have no idea what it means to me.

When I first agreed to do this walk, I knew I was going to have a great experience and was so excited to be apart of this great cause. I knew our team was doing our job by spreading breast cancer awareness in our small town and we had such a great time doing so. Pink wigs & all! Fundraising was hard at times and training was always hard. I started off pretty good, but then there was just no time. Walking 3 to 4 miles with a 4 year old in a stroller and a baby strapped to your chest was no idea of fun for me and I could only do it so often. I did what I could and I just need to be happy with that.

The week before we left, our team was busy texting each other constantly making sure we had all our gear and supplies we needed for our weekend getaway. The bags were packed, sleeping bags rolled, and shoes were ready for walking.

We hopped in Amber's swagger wagon and left on Thursday morning. We did get in somewhat of a traffic jam on I~10 and I was craving some chocolate. I thought...maybe one of these cars has chocolate, so I decided to ask. :)

 No luck. We stopped at In~and~Out burger and the gals got some grub.

We arrived in Phoenix around 4ish and checked into the hotel. This gets good........when I had made reservations I told the people I had 4 people that would be staying in the room and I would like 2 beds. Makes sense right? Well......when we checked in, the hotel ran out of rooms with 2 beds so we got stuck with a king size bed for 4 full~grown women! EEK! We made it work. 3 of us in the bed and 1 in a cot.+

The morning was going to sneek up on us quick, as we had to board the shuttle at 5:30am. Really? That is super early and ALL of us girls are NOT morning people. We all woke up at 4am, got dressed and headed down stairs to get on the bus.

There were a total of like 6 buses taking everyone that stayed at the hotel to our opening ceremonies. We met our first team on the bus called the North Bay, or maybe it was South Bay...Streetwalkers. What a fun group of ladies. Some of them had been walking since 2002. They were all giving us some pointers and even gave us some bands to wear on our wrists. What a way to start off the day.

We unloaded the bus when we arrived to the opening ceremonies, it was still dark outside, and there was so many people. AND it was sooo cold. We dumped our luggage off at the "E" truck and headed to check~in.

In front of the Opening Ceremony sign

The stage was set up, glowing balls with words of wisdom on them, flags everywhere, and everyone in their beanies and gloves dancing to the music getting ready for the ceremony to begin. Everyone despite the cold, had smiles on their faces and were ready to start walking. People were decked out in pink and there were some great outfits. We came across this gentlemen who dyed his uniform pink. His name badge said, "For my mother", that's when it hit me even harder. This was going to be an experience I was never going to forget. I could already feel the tears swelling up in my eyes.

We took a picture of him when we saw him later walking!

Our team gathered in the area where the ceremony was going to be held and Jenne Fromm, the national spokesperson for the SGK 3~Day, came out on stage. The music played and she spoke to us and told us all why we were here doing what we were doing. The flags strolled in, MY MOTHER, MY HUSBAND, MY AUNT, MY SISTER, MY GRANDMOTHER, MYSELF all being carried by someone.The tears started rolling. They made their way to the center and the flags were placed all around. The people carrying the flags grabbed hands and lifted their hands up high.

What a moment. This is what we were here for. Walking for all those who could and all those who couldn't. Walking for the present and walking for our future. All those people there will continue to walk until breast cancer is no more. To see everyone there was just a blessing. We were all coming together to do the same thing. We were all going to do something BOLD, and spread breast cancer awareness by walking 60 miles all over Phoenix. Then the gates opened and they let us all loose!

♫ I got a feeling.....wooooo....hoooooo.....that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good, good, night♫

We were off! Walking thru a path that was made by all the family and friends that came out to opening ceremonies. All cheering us on telling us we could do it! Clapping and dancing to the music we were on our way to walk our 19.6  miles for the first day.

The first couple of miles went by really fast. I think it was our excitement and momentum that was taking over. We stopped at Pit Stops every 2~4 miles and refilled on water and grabbed snacks. Let me tell you.....they fed us really well. Tessa's knees were starting to bother her so her and Amber took the bus to lunch. Amanda and I kept walking and met them there. Tessa was getting her knees looked at and taped and we were almost the last ones to leave lunch so while Amber stayed with Tessa, Amanda and I went ahead and started walking. Amanda & I were truckin' it. We were passing people left and right. I don't know what it was but we were just going. knee started to hurt. :( Every time I bent it, I was in pain. It wasn't unbearable at that time and I was still able to walk. I wanted to walk. We were about a mile away from the last cheering section and Amanda & I were about ready to give in for the day and take the bus to camp. My knee was killing me and we were getting exhausted. We kept telling each other we could do it, since there was only about 3 more miles left to walk. When we reached the cheering section, the first people we saw was an older couple, probably between the age of 70&80. They were handing out what appeared to be business cards and saying "Thank you" to each and every walker that passed them. I looked down at the card and there was a picture of 2 women. Underneath the picture were the dates of when each of these women were born, and the dates each of these women passed. Below that the words read......

"Thank you for walking for our daughters"

I was speechless. The tears were rolling down my cheek. I couldn't believe this couple lost both of their daughters to breast cancer. One was 40 and the other was 43. Amanda & I both looked at each other and we both knew we had to continue walking. Only 2 more miles to go. The pain in my knee was throbbing and I could barely walk. Many people would have said, why keep walking? You already did the hard part by raising the money. Here is my answer. I know this walk wasn't all about the walking. It was earning the money to be able to go and walk and spreading the awareness. But the sense of accomplishment after walking a full day, 19.6 miles, and walking thru the camp indescribable. I couldn't believe Amanda & I had just walked the full 19.6 miles. I could barely walk and this point and as soon as we got thru the gates we fell to the grass. We just wanted to sit, but we knew we wouldn't be able to get back up. I hobbled over to our tent, and thank God that our wonderful teammates, Amber & Tessa had set up our pink tent for us. I hobbled to the shower and then hobbled over to the medical tent. I was done. My knee hurt so bad that I seriously was ready to throw in the towel and go home. I didn't want to stay. I had texted people who said they would come get me and I told them I would let them know in the morning. I hurt so bad. The lady in the medical tent I possibly sprained my knee. I iced it and headed to dinner.
My hair was wet, it was freezing outside, my knee was killing me and I just wanted to sleep. Lights out was 9pm and it couldn't come fast enough. We listened to the Camp Show, which is basically where Jenne Fromm talks about the events from the day, what to expect for the next day and then their is some entertainment. It was pretty entertaining.

After the Camp Show, we headed to our tent to hit the sack. Now we weren't sleeping in luxurious hotels, on cots or anything comfortable. We were in a small pink tent with our air mattress. But go figure mine & Amber's had a leak in it and it deflated before I was even asleep. So after walking all day and then sleeping on a hard, cold ground, 6am came pretty fast. We were all really tired and my knee was still killing me so we decided to take the bus straight to lunch. This was a big day for miles, 22.4, and there was just no way that I was going to be able to make it. Tessa's knees were still bothering her a little bit so we walked only 4 miles this day.

A little disappointing but we didn't want to hurt ourselves anymore and wanted to participate in the nighttime festivities. The greatest thing about this day, when we walked our 4 miles, we went thru the GREATEST cheering section ever! In downtown Scottsdale, there were tons of people cheering us on. "Way to go Walkers!", "You're almost there!", "Thank you for walking". What a motivation. To see all these generous people out there cheering us on, handing out candy, or wet clothes, otter pops & tattoos, you couldn't help but keep walking.

We arrived to our camp early that day and had a 2 lovely ladies from our hometown waiting for us. Dana & Tessa's mom, Deb. They drove up and greeted us as we hopped off the bus. What a sweet moment. It was so nice having someone we know be there. It really meant a lot to us.

We L♥VE Dana!

We L♥VE Deb!

We all showered, got foot massages, played some bingo, ate dinner, and then headed over to the Remembrance tent. WARNING: bring out the tissues now. This was a white canopy that had about 15 pictures of people that had lost their battle to breast cancer. There were pictures of these loved ones with their families, by themselves, or with their kids. Below the picture showed the date they had lost their battle. It showed if they were walkers or crew members. It was so sad reading they were registered walkers but didn't make it to that day. It broke my heart seeing the mothers with their kids with the biggest smile on their face. In the center of this canopy was a white tent that was labeled Arizona. All around this tent were hand-written messages. Messages to loved ones, mothers, wives, grandmothers, husbands, aunts, sisters, anyone who was fighting breast cancer or who lost their battle. The tears were just rolling down all of our cheeks. It was so sad to read messages that started off with, "I miss you mom," or "I miss you grandma". Or the messages that ended with, "Love your husband" or "Love your daughter". I left that tent knowing our team was making a difference. No one should have to go thru any of this and I hope one day we can live in a world without breast cancer. After bawling our eyes out it was time to go to bed.

We woke up on Sunday morning, packed our tent and hopped on the bus to start our 15.6 mile walk. We all knew it was the last day and we were eager to get to closing ceremonies. My knee was still tender so I wrapped it pretty good. It was hard to walk and before we even reached the first pit stop I could barely walk. I didn't want to give up. I wanted to be able to walk into closing ceremonies and complete another full day. Everyone on my team wanted to do the same. I saw other people out there hobbling from either muscle pain, joint pain, blisters, you name it, and knew if they could do it so could I. We continued on and poor Amanda's knee started to hurt. She needed to break so her and Amber hopped in the sweeper van and headed to lunch. Tessa & I continued on. When we arrived at lunch the pain in my knee was almost unbearable. I had the lady tape it so I couldn't bend it and we walked the rest of the way. We did it! All 15.6 miles. This last day was the hardest. We had to push ourselves to the limit. After not sleeping in cozy beds and walking on hard cement all throughout the Phoenix area, we had to pull from deep inside to walk thru the closing ceremonies. We were in the holding area and received our T~shirts and a pink rose. We sat there in exhaustion waiting for the closing ceremonies to take place. I personally wanted to just lay down and pass out. I was pooped. They gathered us all together and we headed out. Walking thru a crowd that continuously clapped and cheered for us. Jenne Fromm said her closing statement and told all us AZ walkers that we raised $4.4 million dollars! Incredible! Then the survivors came out. Everyone took off one shoe and raised it in the air.

The survivors flooded in and made their way to the centers. The shoe raised in the air was symbolism as to why we were all out their walking, raising the money. It gave me goosebumps. During the whole weekend you had no idea who were survivors, who was battling breast cancer right now, or who was just walking for loved ones unless you had talked to them personally over the weekend. All the walkers wore white shirts and the survivors wore pink. Looking at all these survivors, tears rolling down their cheeks, made me realize that you really need to cherish your life and live your life to the fullest. You never know when something might happen.

The ceremony ended and we headed back to the van. I met up with my husband and kids and couldn't have been more thankful to see them.

I was sore from walking and super tired. Ready to go home and sleep in my nice comfy bed. What an experience. This was definitely 3 days that I will never forget.

Everyone that was out there, the safety crew, medical crew, crew members, firefighters, girl scouts, police department, Harley Davidson fellas, everyone was so supportive. We were constantly hearing, "Thank you for walking." I loved seeing everyone out there decked out in pink, even men! It was awesome! I will never forget this experience. I couldn't thank the girls on my team enough. It was difficult at times, and yes we got on each other's nerves sometimes, but I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else. I am glad I got to experience this with them for the first time. ♥ you girls!

I do plan on participating in more walks and I am wanting to do it again next year. I was thinking of doing San Diego, but I think I am going to stick with Phoenix until I can walk the full 60 miles. This year I walked 39 of the 60. Not too bad for being a "Virgin Walker" (as repeat walkers call us first-timers). Once I can walk all 60 I think I will reward myself and do the San Diego one. I definitely learned a lot that I can use for future walks.....

#1: make sure air mattress works
#2: get more body glide
#3: don't over do it so you can participate in night-time festivities
#4: remember to take time off work for recouping

Thanks again to everyone that helped me & my team in achieving our goals. Be ready for me to come to you again so I can participate next year! Maybe next year we could get a bigger team together! Anyone in?



  1. Wonderful words Kel!
    I am in for next year but I'm leaning strongly towards being on a crew.
    2012...San Diego here I come!

    I'm so glad you hopped righ on board with this as soon as I presented it to you. You were super supportive when I was going through the mess with the doctors and the lump and all...You know that I love you Kelly. I have always loved you no matter what we do to each other. We werent only meant to be friends, we were meant to be family. I cant picture having gone through this experience with any one but you {and Tessa & Amanda, of course!}

    Thank you for you commitment to this cause and for keeping your fire for it burning!


  2. ps...I really like this blog background ALOT!
    The more I look at it, the more it appeals to me =]


Thanks for your sweet words! Hope you have a great day & thanks for stopping by!