For the second year in a row, my teammmates and I also known as "Simply the Breast" conquered the hills and rain of the Atlanta 2 day breast cancer walk. When not even rain can dampen the spirit of hundreds of walkers and crew, you know the event is spectacular.
We collectively raised almost $14,000 for breast cancer research and programs in Georgia.
There's nothing simple or easy about walking 30 miles. For anyone who's ever been active in Georgia, you know there are hills and more hills. But, when you add in a cause that is so very important to me and many others, the challenge is only part of the story. The Why .. They cause .... that's what makes it all worthwhile. We walked in memory and honor of those we know and love & even those we don't. You see when you spend 2 days with hundreds of women/men their reasons for walking become your reason for walking. We are a united front against breast cancer.
We arrived Friday night. As our 2nd year, we definitely knew things that we should do differently. Most of the team arrived early Friday. We had dinner together. It was a fabulous way to kick off the weekend. Our team was made up of 13 women (12 2 day walkers and 1 Sunday walker). Our team also has 4 survivors. I absolutely love captaining this team of women who inspire me in so many ways.
My roommate for the weekend, Brenda, is a dear dear heart. She showed me an incredible amount of love and care during my time in the hospital and afterward. She and I were possibly the last of our team to get settled in for bed after delivering thank you, goodie bag to the team from me.
When we awoke Saturday, it was so dark & you could hear the rain failling (from 23 floors up). It looked so dismal. But, we dressed and headed downstairs at 6am to meet the rest of the team. As the team begin to gather, my excitiement grew (in spite of the rain). Saturday morning breakfast at Hard Rock is yummy. We received word that we'd do the opening ceremonies inside because of the rain. As they do with every start of the walk, survivors lead out. It's very touching to walk through a tunnel of people who are cheering you on...many of whom have their own personal stories about how breast cancer has touched them.
A united front .... the whole weekend is much like warriors heading into battle but the difference is we see and know the enemy. We have one another's back to defeat it. It's all very overwhelming .. but in a very good way.
Well, this year - I'd made up my mind that I wanted to be back at the hotel by 4pm. IN 2014, I think we arrived back at around 5:30pm. Wayyyyyyyyyyyy to late. So, this year - I walked with purpose and a plan. As the walk started, the team kind of split off into different groups. Our team is made up of all different paced walkers. Melanie and I did the entire first day together - 20 miles. After lunch, we joined Telisa, Nina, and Brenda. There's something about mile 17 that kicks butt. This year, it was the same. We stopped to take a picture there to show our elation (and tiredNESS).
By mile 20, every part of your body feels like you've been walking for 8 hours. But, as they say, it hurt so good :-). When we arrived back to the hotel, I went directly to the foot and ankle specialists. One of the volunteers rubbed my feet down with biofreeze. Oh my goodness! I told her that she had no idea what she was doing for me .. lol !
Since dinner was not for a couple more hours, we had more time to shower and relax before heading down to the pajama party. What better way to go to dinner after 20 miles and alot of soreness, then house shoes (or slippers as the northerners say ... :0)) and pajamas!!! Tennis Nina made a beatiful centerpiece for our table. She incorporated the team "Around the State" & our team name.
I bid and won a few auction items.
Saturday night sleep was a restless one for both Brenda and I. When it was time to get up Sunday, we were both moving a bit more slowly. But, after getting all packed up, we headed down to meet the team for breakfast.
As we headed out for day 2 - 10 miles, the rain started again. We were ready for it & headed on our way. We spent day 2 in more of a group but some of us had disbursed. Tennis Nina was asked to hold a Survivor sign. So, she had to be at the last rest stop by a certain time. Faster walkers were ahead of us. Running Nina, Telisa, Brandi, Yolanda, and I were together much of the 10 miles. Toward the last 1/2 mile, Running Nina and I were asked to get into the van with other survivors because we had to get back to walk the last 1/2 mile with all the other survivors.
I really like our last stop GA State University practice field. But, we were there only a few minutes before heading out. Next year, day 2 will need to be faster :-).
Loved, Loved the finish line at Liberty Plaza across the street from the State Capitol. It's always an emotional ending. Shedding tears through huge smiles is not out of the ordinary when you cross through the finish line! It's a Journey organized a fantastic event. I love the staff and crew.
We will be back for another round ... 2016 .. Simply the Breast will see ya again. CC