Last year, I registered for the Atlanta 2 day walk while I was undergoing chemotherapy. I had no idea how I would manage to complete at 3 miles let alone 30 mile trek in Metro Atlanta. What I did know is that the cause was important enough for me to take the next several months to figure it out and work hard to build stamina and endurance.
By now, you have read, heard or followed my triathlon journey as well. When I completed the tri in August, I knew that my next challenge would be as demanding ~ 30 miles in 2 days. Over the course of the year, I'd participated in training walks coordinated by It's The Journey Atlanta 2 day walk staffers. But, I had never done as many as 20 miles in one day. Like most people, we think about walking almost as much of a natural occurrence as breathing.
Think about it. On any given day, you may easily do 10,000 steps and feel no real physical impact. But, I knew that it would be challenging after the 13 mile practice walk.
What was really special is that I didn't have to do this alone! I had an opportunity to captain a team of 12 other walkers (including 3 other survivors). We called ourselves, "Simply the Breast". We raised over $17,000 for breast cancer research and programs in Georgia. We went into the weekend with so much excitement. We met up a weekend prior to the event to have a team fundraiser at "Paint-N-Party". It was sooooooooooooooooooooo much fun.
When we arrived at the hotel Friday, Keurig surprised survivors with a PINK KEURIG. NICE, right?!?!?! My friend, Nina and I, spent a couple of hours shopping in the lobby. We found bracelets, hats, pins for our lanyards, etc. Before we knew it, two hours has passed. I really wanted to get a good night's rest, so I made an extra effort to be in bed before 10p. Lights out!
We met up as a team Saturday morning and headed to Hard Rock for breakfast. Yummy. The atmosphere was festive and full of anticipation. Lots of pink ~~ inspirational tshirts, funny logos, and outlandish costumes....the music was blaring and Peachtree Street was SHUTDOWN just for us! When the ceremony opened, suriviors were asked to pass through two pink streamers that carved out a lane for us between two super supportive crowds of folk. Yes, I was teary eyed.
We were off .. step 1 of the 1st mile toward 20.
Our first 10 miles concluded at Agnes Scott College for lunch. Since we all had different paces, some of the group split up along the way. But, we had an opportunity to get together for lunch. By then, my muscles realized FULLY the undertaking and what was to come. When we headed back for the final 10 miles of the day, clouds were rolling in ... with about 6 miles to go, the Heavens opened up and gave us a good drenching for pretty much the rest of the way. My picture above is the conclusion of day 1 at the mile 20 sign. Boy, was I happy to see that sign.
Ankle & Foot specialists, massage therapists, and medical staffers awaited us. I took at stop at each station ;-). Blood presure, check. Foot check, check, and massage, check. We had dinner and a Pajama party Saturday with all the other fellow walkers. Thank goodness for nice fluffy and comfy houseshoes! I joked with my team that I felt like I'd been riding shotgun with Fred Flinstone (you know in his floorless car) LOL.
It was a bit more difficult to sleep with some of the pains I experienced in my feet and legs. But, when Sunday morning arrived, I was eager to get the final 10 miles underway. Again, they asked for the survivors to lead out the other walkers. There were supporters everywhere clapping for us and wishing us well. It was an extremely moving tribute to us. I shed more tears! But, it was a perfect way to kickoff the day.
It was cloudy from the start and rain soon followed. I was selected as one of three survivors to hold the survivor sign and lead the other survivors and walkers into Atlantic Station. What an honor! But, as a walker to hold the sign, I was told that I needed to be at the last Bre(a)st stop by 11:30am. With the honor came a bit of added pressure, I had to finish the 10 miles an hour faster than the day before. So, my great teammates had the job to keep me on pace & THAT THEY DID! We finished the last 10 miles with some minutes to spare.
Escorting the survivors and walkers into Atlantic Station with the supporters along the street was a real highlight. It almost made me forget the pain in my feet and entire body! :-D. I saw Kevin and Kj almost immediately. It's a great feeling to see your loved ones who have watched you on some of your hardest days also witness triumphant moments like crossing a triathlon finish line or a 30 mile marker.
I am thankful for continued support from friends and family. This year has been my rebound year. I live out loud on and with purpose because tomorrow is not promised.
What's up next? Winter tennis season ... and I certainly need to get back into TRI trianing. My bike is sitting on a stationary training waiting for me to put it to work .. my swimgear has been dry for way too long.
Keep it moving ... Love & Hugs, CC