| A Journal of the 3-Day - California
For all of my wonderful donors, I wanted to give you a journal of my experience on the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day. So here goes.
DAY 0 - Registration Day
Registration day started out in a mad rush. I missed my alarm and nearly missed catching the bus to Santa Barbara. On the two-hour ride, I met two other participants, Karen and her mom. They had traveled from the east coast to walk the 3-Day. When we arrived at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara, it started to rain. I took off my sneakers, and changed into "soccer" sandals (the type that massage your feet while you walk). On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. However, I soon learned otherwise. I was bitten by something on my foot and it proceeded to swell so large I was certain I would never get it out of the sandal, much less into my sneaker. The day consisted of a lot of walking around to various tables setup in the park, including check in, registration, and tent assignment. Oh, I did not tell you yet, we were sleeping in tents. By tent assignment, it was pouring rain. I was so wet that the thought actually crossed my mind that I would rather have been at work. Then I caught myself thinking that, and decided I must be getting sick. After I was assigned a complete stranger for a tent mate, I made my way to my hotel for the evening. I stayed at the Radisson, and given the room price, you would figure I could expect fantastic service.
Dana and Wendy on the 3-Day
Nope. No service for me. I could not get my clothes dried. I had to hang them all over the room and air dry them all night.
DAY 1 - Santa Barbara to Buenaventura
Luckily, most of my clothes dried over night, and I packed them in about ten plastic bags to prevent any further weather mishaps. The swelling from the bite went down and I successfully got my foot in my sneaker. The Opening Ceremony started at 6:30 am. I am not sure how to describe it. Dan Pollata, the founder of Pollata Teamworks - the company that produced the 3-Day, spoke about the journey ahead and women who had signed up for the 3-Day but had passed away from cancer just days prior to the event. From the first steps until the lunch stop at 10.5 miles, I was in a daze. Just the idea that I was going to walk 60 miles over 3 days seemed surreal, and I was wondering where my mind had been when I decided to do it. We reached the coastline at about mile 5 and it was a beautiful walk for the rest of the day. 18.5 miles, and I did not feel a thing. My longest training walk was 15 miles, so I was well prepared for day 1.
DAY 2 - Buenaventura to Oxnard
Day 2 started out at 7 am. It was smooth sailing until mile 9 when the sun started beating down so strongly, I felt like I was going to faint. We were walking in what is known out here in CA as "the valley". It is a notoriously hot concrete suburban sprawl, and this day proved to be difficult for those with fair skin like mine. I poured water on my head, but to no avail. Luckily there was a pit stop at mile 11, where I grabbed some PowerAde, meet up with Karen and her mom, and pressed on. Lunch on Day 2 was a grueling 13.7 miles from the starting line. I say grueling because I was starving by mile 10. After lunch, the three of us headed out for what we thought would be an easy 6 miles to the finish line. In retrospect, it wasn't that bad, but my right shin started hurting, and every step until camp was painful. Of course, by some miracle, as soon as I hit camp, it felt better.
DAY 3 Ė Oxnard to Malibu
Day 3 was a trial by water. From the first step to the time I got home, it poured rain. I was drenched for 14 hours. Talk about turning into a prune. Day 3 was also a trial of will power. Each and every step on Day 3 was painful. My left knee and Achilles tendon were swollen from the 38 miles of pounding on the two prior days. I downed Advil, but it did not even touch the pain. At mile 3, I mistakenly thought that I had walked it off as they say. Boy was I wrong. So picture me, limping along, in the pouring rain, with a trash bag over me in a futile attempt to stay dry, squishing my way uphill through the Santa Monica Mountains for 22.5 miles. Is that a great mental image or what.
Lunch on day 3 was at 10.5 miles, but it did not matter. I was hungry, of course, but it was raining so hard and there was no place to escape it, so all of my food just became wet. A wet sandwich does not taste good, no matter how hungry you are. Trust me on this one. You now have no need to run your sandwich under the faucet. See you didnít think you were going to learn anything today did you? For the remaining 12 miles, I just wondered why I had signed myself up for this torture. I thought I might have been crazy on the first day when I was wondering how I got myself into this. On Day 3, I knew for sure. I just kept saying to myself, "I am never going to do this again. I am never going to do this again." I even looked up at the sky and asked for just a little sunshine, but no answer.
Trailing behind the long line of marchers was a group of busses. If you couldn't go any farther, they'd stop and give you a ride. This was called "sweeping". I was determined I wasn't going to be swept. I wanted to finish. On the last day, they wanted everyone to be at the closing ceremonies, so the sweepers came earlier. It was a race against time. The last mile, I was in so much pain, I was on the verge of tears. I think that last mile must have taken me 30 minutes to complete (normally a mile takes me 15 minutes). I was barely moving and basically just dragging my left leg beside me. The people on the side of the road said, "Smile, you made it." All I could think was leave me alone, I am in pain.
After crossing the finish line, and collecting my victory t-shirt, I made my way to the medical tent to get ice for my knee. The volunteer thought I was kidding because they were frantically trying to warm other participants up. They were having to send people to the hospital with hypothermia. Needless to say, I did not get any ice.
Closing ceremonies started at 3:30 pm. I was impressed by how many survivors had walked. At least half of the 3500 people who walked were survivors of Breast Cancer. It gave me great hope. After waiting for the buses, riding back to my car, and helping Karen and her mom get a taxi, I finally made it home at 8 PM Keep in mind I was still in wet clothes. I took a hot shower, cranked up the heat, and had chicken noodle soup for dinner. I passed out from exhaustion at about 9:30 PM
THE FOLLOWING WEEK
This past week, I did not do any exercise. I let my body have much needed rest. On Monday both my knees hurt and my body was sore overall. My co-workers teased me that they needed to push me to lunch in a wheelchair, because I could not walk without being hunched over in pain. Tuesday was better, and of course, my condition improved the rest of the week. Now there is only slight pain in my left knee when I try to stretch it. Otherwise, I am healed.
THE BIG QUESTION
So the big question - Will I do it again? If you had asked me on Day 3 or the Monday after, my immediate and definite response would have been a resounding NO. However, now that the pain has subsided, I think I would. My friend and I are looking into the 3-Days that are still open for next year. If I do one, I will be known as a "3-Peater", and I hope I can count on all of you for your continued support.
Once again, thanks for the donations.
DONATION TOTAL = $ 2,235.00
Another 3-Day - Oh My! - Florida
Yes, that's right. I have now completed another Avon Breast Cancer 3-day walk-a-thon. I can't believe it either. Here is the tale of blistering hot days, cheering supporters, my own private tent, a 1000 pictures, and mom and dad to the rescue.
Day 0 - Registration in Boca Raton
I landed at Fort Lauderdale Airport at about 1 pm, and my dad carted me to registration. They used laptops to check everyone in, which was a major improvement over last time. Registration took only a few hours, and I was off to buy some last minute items. Walgreens, (CVS equivalent for you Yankees), was the store of choice to get a big sun hat and some very dark sunglasses. Day 0 had been so hot, I knew I was in for it and I needed a sun hat in place of the little ball cap I had brought. My dad and I found the Walgreens version of a "Worth Avenue" $4.99 sun hat and some oversized dark sunglasses, so I would look like I had big bug eyes. I was so styling.
Day 1- Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale
Opening ceremonies were a slight tear jerker, and then we were off. Day 1 was 18.45 miles starting at Florida Atlantic University and wondering along the beach and through some of the ritzy neighborhoods on beach front property. Of course, I fit right in with my Worth Avenue sun hat and Jackie O sunglasses.
During the last few miles, there was not much in the way of shade. About mile 15 I found myself ranking houses by their landscaping. Yard with lots of shade trees = great house. Yard with no trees = bad house. Whenever I buy a house, it will have to have shade trees just because of this 3-day experience. Outside if the heat Day 1 was not too bad.
Camp was at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium next to a small airport. Luckily, I have a friend that lives in Fort Lauderdale, and she came to get me from camp. I was able to take a shower in a real bathtub, not a port-a-shower (oh yes, there is such a thing as a port-a-shower), and I slept in a real bed instead of in a tent. I was so glad I got to stay with her because apparently those who stayed at camp did not get a wink of sleep. They told me planes were taking off all night including one that woke up the whole camp at 3:45 am. Can you imagine walking 18 miles and then not being able to rest?
Day 2 - Fort Lauderdale to North Miami
Day 2 was both the best day and the worst day for me on the 3-day. I started out at 8 am after my parents dropped me at the starting gate. Then they stopped every mile or so and cheered me on with signs. My mom also took about 1000 pictures. Ok, maybe 999. It was like she popped out of the sidewalk. Snap .. snap . .snap.. and before the day was done, she had them out to my entire family via e-mail. I lost them at about mile 3 (no, not on purpose ha ha), but by mile 9, I was feeling a little heat exhaustion and I wanted to be swept. (Sidebar: to be swept means taken into camp on a bus and not walking the whole way). I called them to let them know not to wait for me anywhere else. They came and took me to lunch in air conditioning for a rest, and I felt better. My parents were the best part of the day.
I continued on and made it to about mile 14 when I decided I did not want to get skin cancer fighting breast cancer and I better get my pale skin out of the sun. During miles 11, 12, 13, and 14, I had to stop 3 times per mile to stand in the shade and cool off. This was the worst part of the day. I can battle sore muscles, fatigue, and aching joints, but I won't battle the sun, because it will win everytime. And so I was swept.
When I got to camp, I tried to find a way to go to a hotel or a friend's house for the night, but no such luck. So I went to find my assigned tent and tent partner. The tents are supposed to be setup by letter and then by number. I went to D, my letter assignment, and asked two ladies there what tent number they were. They said 27. I was supposed to be in 40, so I asked which way that was. They said the tents were not setup in number order that day because no one could find their number. Well, this was a problem for me. Since I had not stayed at camp on the first night, I did not know who my tentmate was. So there was no way for me to identify where I was supposed to sleep. They suggested I get my own tent, and I took their advice. And on Day 2, I had my own private tent. It was great. Just because I could, I took all of my junk out of my gear bag and left it all over the tent all night. I had so much room.
Day 3 - North Miami to the Miami Arena
As far as Day 3s go, this one was an easy one. It was 14.7 miles along Miami Beach. For most of the day, the hotels provided shade to the sidewalk, and the day flew by. The afternoon proved hot, but I was not in pain this time. I skated across the finish line at 1:45pm - almost exactly 7 hours after I began.
The finish line was at the top of the stairs at the American Airlines Arena. Yes, you read that right. After nearly 60 miles, they put the finish line at the top of what equates to 3 flights of stairs. Cruel and unusual punishment I would say. I collected my victory t-shirt, and darted to my hotel for a hot shower and a nap.
Believe it or not I was not even sore after the event. I guess because there were no mountains to climb. I spent the next day on the beach, getting my nails done, and resting. I could not have asked for a better rest day.
Will I do another 3-day? You bet. I have already been on the site to scout for the next location I will do. This time I want to find one that is flat, and has a temperate climate.
Donation Total = $1987.50