Walk the walk: My Komen 3-Day Experience, Day 3

We woke up on Day 3 and I was thinking, “Already? How is it Sunday already?” While elated to seal the deal on 60 miles, part of me was sad to see the weekend go, because after all, you don’t just sign up for the 3-Day and forget about it until the day before. You fundraise, you train, you anticipate, you get nervous, you get ready.

We got ourselves prepped and once again, headed out the door to the camp (most people sleep in pink tents, but because we’re primadonnas (myself included), we opted for a hotel room instead). We made it several miles in before I decided it was time for another blister pack, and got myself fixed up. Then, we made it to the Pit Stop where the famous Juan Street hill lurked in the foreground. I’ve heard lots of lore about this hill, and my teammates decided to ride the sweep for this hill as we had all been hobbling along. I had a sudden flash of ambition and decided that damnit, I was going to conquer that hill. Hills have been a big part of my fat to fit journey, because as I wrote about here, when you go up hill, you feel the weight of every extra pound you carry. I knew I had to do that hill.

The view from the bottom of Juan Street Hill

The view from the bottom of Juan Street Hill

I started on my way and knew within the first ten minutes, I knew that I had made the right choice as a Mexican restaurant had set up a tortilla chip buffet with three different kinds of salsa. Y’all know chips and salsa (and popcorn) are my kryptonite, so I considered this an omen of good luck. I passed another cheering station handing out cold diet cokes, and I grabbed myself some caffeination for the way up.

I was half way up when I had the realization that the hill was not nearly as bad as I’d expected. Although I was sweating like a beast, I just kept going, one foot in front of the other, thinking about the reasons why I was walking. I was tired, sure. I was sore, sure. I was a little bit grumpy that it was a Sunday morning and I’d been up at 5 AM three days in a row, sure. But all of those things fell to the ground like the small, insignificant things they were when I saw this woman, and particularly, the sign she was holding.

 

Inspiration at the top of the hill.

Inspiration at the top of the hill.

 

 

When you hear people talk about what it means to make an impact: this was that moment. Sore, hot, tired; these feelings all vanished for one new one: inspired.

I finished the giant hill and was greeted with more chips and salsa, and then was lucky enough to see my friend Margo! Margo from Nacho Mamma’s Blog is one of my FitBloggin’ buddies. I’m so grateful that she came out to cheer me on. We snapped a quick selfie and then I met up with my team to feast on a sandwich, sit down, and prepare for the final miles.

Alyssa and Margo!

Alyssa and Margo!

Except… we were a little too leisurely with our lunch, as we spent time writing the names of our angels, fighters, and survivors on our “Always in our heart” banner. So we took another sweep van, met ladies from all over the country, and got dropped off at the next pit stop. There, our team united and we set out for the final three miles of the day.

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The atmosphere of the final 3 miles was awesome: everywhere we turned there were people cheering us on, handing out candy and snacks, blaring music and dancing. I felt a little bit cold as we walked through the shady downtown, so I wrapped myself in the banner we had signed. While sad and symbolic to be carrying the names of so many loved ones, I felt proud to be carrying them in my heart and on my shoulders for the final leg of this journey. Who would have known that such a thin piece of fabric would have provided such warmth?

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With each painful step towards the Closing Ceremony, I thought about what it meant to be out there. Every donation you sent in. Every rallying piece of encouragement you gave me. Every smile, every nod, every dancing spectator. I couldn’t have done this walk without those things. As the sun sank into the clouds to reveal a brilliant pink sunset, we learned that with your help, we raised over seven million dollars in the fight against breast cancer.

That money won’t be buying lattes, paying electricity bills, buying a souvenir t-shirt, fixing a fence, sitting in a savings account, or burning a hole in your pocket. That money will be making a difference in the noblest way you can imagine; it will be saving lives.

Thank you, Susan G. Komen, the 3-Day, and my supporters: because of you, I proved once again that the limits I place on myself, both mental and physical, can be easily overcome …with the love and support of an amazing community.

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography

Walk the Walk: My Komen 3-Day Experience, Day 2

Day 2 started at 5:50 a.m., with the alarm clock blaring and my feet begging me to just stay in bed. But, all four of us got up and headed to camp, where we’d start day 2 of our 60-mile journey. Monique and I used a photo opp as a chance stay in bed for another couple seconds!

Monique and Alyssa press snooze.

Monique and Alyssa press snooze.

We got to camp, joined the moving sea of pink, and started walking! We walked past Sea World, and got to see a cool pink bird of some kind posing for pictures, as well as Sea World staff in wet suits cheering us on. We all remarked about why there wasn’t a whale jumping out of the water to greet us, but ya know, budget and stuff. A few miles in is when the problems started. Aubrey and I had been initiated as the blister sisters on Friday, and sure enough, our blisters began popping and throbbing. We opted to hitch a ride to the next Pit Stop, where we caught some amazing ocean views and then headed to lunch.

Team DCD started Day 2 PUMPED UP!

Team DCD started Day 2 PUMPED UP!

We ended up getting lunch with one of our awesome coworkers from a taco shop called Roberto’s. Holy cow. Mexican food is up there in my top three favorite kinds of food (Thai and Italian round out the list, if you’re wondering), and I eat a lot of great Mexican food living in LA County. But – this carnitas taco was off the chain! So flavorful, so simple, so fresh, so perfect on my tired tootsies and hungry belly. I also had a potato taco, which was so yummy, and basically like a fried shell of mashed potatoes. Perfect walking fuel!

It's Taco Time!

It’s Taco Time!

As we strolled out of the lunch stop, we walked by some amazing beach front apartments, and even better, DOGS! A therapy dog group had come out to cheer us on, and all of the pooches were decked out in pink bows, vests, or tutus. I fell in love with this fellow, a Great Pyrenese. He was so fluffy! After lots of head pets and scratches, we kept on walking.

I wanted to steal him.

I wanted to steal him.

I made it to Pit Stop 3, where I decided to go to the medical tent again and get fixed up. At that point I was having some random dizziness (dehydration), so I decided to hang out and wait for Monique and April, who were a little bit behind us since we had taken the van earlier. I caught up with them, and after surveying all of our various states of ailment, we decided to grab a ride back to camp. While I initially struggled with not walking close to a full day, I quickly decided that making myself feel crummy, either mentally or physically, wouldn’t change the fact that the money I raised would be making an impact. So, I looked on the sunny side, which was making it to camp before dark and having more time to explore. Once I got to camp, I was greeted by a beaming husband and smiling father-in-law with the coolest signs ever!

MEOW!

MEOW!

Once we caught up about the adventures of the day, we headed into the Remembrance Tent. The Remembrance Tent is a very special place on the 3-Day. It’s set apart from the hustle and bustle of camp, and is a beautiful, private white tent with soft music, soft lighting, and framed photos of those we’ve lost to breast cancer. In the center is an illuminated white tent that you can sign and write messages on for your loved ones. Outside of the tent are the white tents from every other city the 3-Day is, a traveling tribute to the lives lost. While difficult to be in the Remembrance Tent, it’s also cathartic. We all wrote my mother in law Shirley’s name on the tent, sniffled, and hugged. I know she was with me that weekend.

Photo Via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook Page

Photo Via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook Page

Later that day, I was exploring posts on the official 3-Day Facebook page when I saw the above photo. Coincidentally, the man standing directly in front of the tent is my father in law. It’s amazing to think that out of 2,000+ people at this event, he happened to be the one captured in this photo, right before our family had a very touching moment inside that tent. Call it hocus pocus, but I like to think that was Shirley’s way of saying, “Hey guys, I’m here, too.” 🙂 My mom and dad came down to San Diego to cheer us on too, so it was great to show the family what the 3-Day is like.

We wrapped up at camp, and then the very tired Double Chin Divas crawled into bed for another 5:50 AM wake up call (Ugh!). I had been warned several times that Day 2 was the hardest day of the walk, and I found it to be true. You have the exhaustion and soreness from Day 1, and the adrenaline surge you had in Day 1 has come down a bit. While initially I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to walk all 20 on Day 2, I decided that feeling crummy mentally or physically wasn’t going to change the fact that we raised lots of money, money that changes lives. Every step I took was a step toward victory; for myself and embracing fitness, and for the thousands of women and men fighting breast cancer.