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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.