It has been over two weeks now since I walked a distance more than around a corner.
After walking 52 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-day (60 mile) breast cancer walk, my feet have needed the break.
While I have been excited to write my re-cap blog post from before I even walked, I feel like I may have been lagging on actually doing the writing because of this reason: I know that my words are not going to do nearly enjoy justice in describing how amazing this event is.
For the sake of keeping this blog post less than 1000 words, I’m breaking them up into two parts, the easy part and the hard part.
As most people probably do, I encountered some difficulties leading up to and during the event. The easiest part was agreeing to it, as I said yes as soon as my sister asked without giving it much thought.
After months of fundraising and training (to be discussed in “The Hard Part”), I was finally ready for my flight to Los Angeles. I conveniently booked my flight to land at the same time as my teammate Aubrey’s flight landed from Seattle, so that was simple. The typically congested drive from Los Angeles to San Diego with my sister and Aubrey flew by and checking into our hotel was a breeze as well.
Flash forward to the next morning, past the night of not being able to sleep, past the waking up at 4:30 am, past the getting four girls out of a hotel room by 5:40 am….
The next easy part came when we finally set foot at the 3-day location at the Del Mar fairgrounds by San Diego. The Double Chin Divas, consisting of Alyssa, Aubrey, Monique, and myself were finally ready to begin our 3-day adventure.
As soon as we set foot in the crowd of people, most all decorated in some sort of pink attire, my heart instantly lifted and maybe even turned a deep shade of pink in spirit of what I was around. I excused myself for the bathroom and while standing in line, it was easy for me to sense the excitement in the air and even more easy for me to start meeting people. I chatted it up with a woman who was going through her second round of treatments for her stage-two breast cancer she’s been fighting. I listened in for tips from walkers who had done it in the past. I smiled at every person who passed me by and was given a big smile back.
I easily knew that I was going to love this event.
After some beautifully spoken words and many sorts of tears, a wave of 2,400 people made way towards accomplishing our first mile set at the sea. As I crept along at a pace of a herd of pink turtles, I must have talked to at least twenty different people within a matter of a mile. As we edged closer to the ocean, a rainbow added the perfect magical touch to the beginning of our journey. In my mind, it was the spirits of all our loved ones sending some extra love and inspiration.
By the time I hit the ocean all the anxiety I had leading up to this event was gone. I was quickly recognizing an intense feeling that I have only experienced in a few sorts of places before. Between all the smiles and conversation, people were unifying themselves at every moment. People driving by in their cars would honk and yell so often at us that Aubrey said eventually I would get tired of waving and yelling back by the end of the walk. I never did.
A man with a dyed pink beard, rocking a pink bra and little tutu, cheered all of us on as we walked by.
Tons of people offered us water.
Even more people offered us candy.
Once I realized where I had experienced that feeling before, I couldn’t help but laugh and let out a few happy tears. There has only been three major event experiences where I have experienced such a glorious feeling of unity: Raves, Burning Man, and now the 3-day breast cancer walk. Haha! All three sorts of events allow and encourage people to dress themselves are creatively as they envision, all three events offer an abundance of emotional and physical gifts, and all three events can bring a massive amount of people together for the same love. The 3-day event was able to capture a very special sort of positive energy that is so rare to find in general life. Everyone there was participating for their own personal reason but yet we all found it so easy to be connected to each other.
Getting through the miles each day was anything but easy but with the help of constant support from people all along our routes, each step became at least a little easier to take. By the end of those 52 miles I had walked/hobbled, it was easy to see that the hardest, but most fun part, of the entire experience had come to an end. When all the goodbyes were said and as I sat at the airport, charging my phone just enough to show my boarding ticket on my screen, I had one of my last 3-day conversations with a woman who had worked crew (the volunteers who make it all happen). She told me something along the lines of this:
“You know, at the event everyone around you is smiling and cheering you on for what you are choosing to do at that moment… and then you leave the event feeling proud and make your way home, a few people may smile brightly or say some kind words as they see you in your 3-day shirt and tons of buttons and ribbons… and finally you get home, your next day starts, and you make your way through life again. No one is cheering you on, no one is saying “thank you” for what you’re doing. It’s just back to normal.” I quickly realized how right she was going to be. When I woke up and went to Trader Joe’s and the bank, no one yelled at me, “You can do it!” or told me “Thank you for walking!”
It was life, back to it’s normal easy self. So… it is an easy choice to make when it comes to whether or not I will choose to be involved next year.
Lots of love and happy feet,
PS – Oops. 1, 098 words.