We did it! All 60 miles!
It all began back in April when my partner Alexis and I went to a 'get started' meeting to gather info and see if we were interested in participating in the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk. We were hooked instantly! So we committed and started our fundraising. My main reason was to show gratitude that my mom is a 20 year breast cancer survivor and also to help raise money for research. So the fundraising and training began but we had no clue what we were about to embark upon.
The weekend began Friday October 31st. My emotions were all over the place as we pulled into the starting area at 6am that morning. Right from the beginning I was impressed with the amount of crew members and the organization for the entire event. Opening ceremomies were extremely emotional, uplifting and motivating! Then once all the celebrating was over, it was time to walk 60 miles, 20 miles at a time.
On Day 1 we were pumped up and spreading the love with all of our other 1600 participants. Being surrounded by members walking in support for loved ones who had passed away and also along with breast cancer survivors set the emotional tone for the entire weekend. Meeting and talking with so many different people was heartwarming and put a smile on my face for the entire walk.
The staff and crew provided us with more than we ever imagined. There were pit stops every 3 miles with unlimited amounts of snacks, drinks and restrooms. We also were provided with a wholesome lunch break at the midpoint on all 3 days. And I can't forget about the medic's! They were so helpful and they were behind us all the way. I definitely have a new respect for blisters and mole skin now. The 3 Day Staff also provided 'pick up' vans that constantly followed the entire course making sure all the walkers were healthy and would pick them up if someone was unable to continue.
The first day we arrived at camp was astonishing. It was like we were in the middle of no where at our own base with absolutely everything we needed to survive. They supplied us with tents, showers, sinks, bathrooms, warm dinners, nightly entertainment and fresh breakfast. We even played bingo one night with the New Balance girls to take our minds off our aches, pain and blisters.
Day 2 seemed to get alittle bit more difficult. By mile 15 it seemed like 5 more miles was an eternity. But the massive amounts of support from all of the crew members and people cheering us along the streets was enough motivation for us to continue on. I can remember at one point, I was amazed at how many people were standing along the streets yelling "thank you" as we passed by. I felt like thanking them for the support, but I had to realize that I was the one contributing to a great cause.
Day 3 arrived and the major point of my motivation to tackle yet another 20 miles was to see my husband at the finish line. A long hug was badly needed simply because of my thankfulness for having him after hearing all the sad stories along the course from fellow walkers about their passed loved ones. The last 10 miles were pretty tough and I saw a great deal of strength in my partner. She had aches, pains, blisters and could have easily given up. I was so proud to see her fight to the end. Crossing the finish line was something that I will never forget. Just 2 days before I was wondering how I was ever going to make all 60 miles. By then 60 miles seemed like such a tiny task after meeting cancer survivors listening to their long and difficult success stories.
To close out the wonderful weekend the Staff provided us with an inspirational closing ceremony. All 1600 walkers lined up, walked through all of our friends and family and entered a staging area. Then survivors were brought into the middle and all of us walkers raised one of our sneakers showing appreciation and thankfulness for their survival.
I can honestly say that participating in the Breast Caner 3 Day Walk was one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. I found emotions inside of me that I never new existed. I also felt so proud of myself for being able to give back to life and to help raise money for research that is badly needed. I am proud to announce that Tampa Bay 2008 Walk raised over 4 million dollars to help research for breast cancer.
Now to ALL MY DONORS....THANK YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART! I couldn't have done it without your help. I kept everyone on my mind and reminded myself how many people were so giving and willing to help with this cause. The knowledge that I gained over 60 miles will always stay with me and I can't wait to tackle more walks in the future! I will cherrish this experience forever and I thank God everyday for all the people I love in my life.
3 Day Walk Pictures!
"Thank You" again to everyone who donated!
A Special Thanks to Celli's Fitness Center! You Are The #1 Sponsor!