Monday, July 27, 2009


I woke up on Day 2 feeling pretty well. I had a decent night's sleep--I had the tent to myself. I wasn't really sore, had no blisters, and my plantar fasciitis was not bothering me. I was, however, a little leery of what the day had in store. The staff of the 3Day had told us about a hill between pit stop 1 and 2 that was a bear. They were offering shuttle rides up it. What does that tell you? You're not even 5 miles into the walk, and they are offering you a ride. To me, that was pretty concerning. I'll be honest, the fact that Tracy was not there had me concerned as well. She called me that morning to wish me luck and told me to keep her updated on my status so that she could meet me at the cheering stations. I got up, got dressed, and headed to breakfast.

As soon as I walked out of my tent I heard someone calling my name. It was Helen, the secretary from my kids' school. I know Helen pretty well because I am in the school all the time. I knew she was doing the walk, but I never had a chance to look for her at camp because I was at Medical with Trace. Helen is an 11 year survivor and has done the 3Day every year for the last 4 years. She has traveled to San Diego and Tampa to do it there as well. She was even in the survivor circle at Opening and Closing.

Helen was walking with her daughter Lisa, and I was thrilled to have found someone that I knew. Helen said she had looked for me all night on Friday. I explained to her what happened and she asked me to join them as they walked. After scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and some coffee, we headed out of camp around 7AM. The weather was much better--no ponchos or jackets were needed.

As we started walking I realized something--Helen and Lisa walk really fast. It was good, for a while. Then we encountered "the hill." The hill was actually Belmont Hill. Upon looking at it, I almost cried. How am I ever going to make it up this? It went on and on. You all know how much I love hills. I just put one foot in front of the other and kept going. When we got to the top, we turned to the left and the hill continued, not like the first, but a hill nonetheless. There were several spectators at the top handing out candy and freeze pops. (Point of interest: If you are ever on the route of a long walk and wish to provide "goodies" for participants, frozen chocolate, frozen grapes, watermelon, and freeze pops are general favorites.)

We continued walking for a bit and ended up on Route 2 in the Belmont/Arlington area. We had a beautiful view of Boston. Those of you who have ridden that road know the view I am talking about. It was hard to believe that we were going to be walking all the way over there. It was pretty amazing to think about it.

Continuing on, we walked through Arlington and into Woburn. There was a cheering station posted on the website as being at mile 15.3, but it was actually at mile 11.5. My mom and dad were bringing the girls and planning to meet us at it (Zach was had a playoff game), but were not able to make it because they were expecting me to arrive there an hour and a half later. Fortunately they were able to meet me at lunch, about a mile up the road. I actually think that was better than a cheering station. I felt I was able to spend about 30 minutes with them and didn't feel guilty.

Lunch was a chicken caesar wrap which is something I generally love, but I hardly ate any of it. I didn't say anything at the time, but I was not feeling too well. I felt nauseous, and I felt like Gatorade was sloshing around in my stomach. Maybe I was drinking too much. I knew I had to eat something, so I just ate a little. (Side note: When you partake in an event like this you have to eat constantly. Every 2-3 miles you should be consuming 32oz. of fluid, preferably Gatorade, and eating something with salt. At each pit stop there would be pb&j sandwiches, peanuts, bagels w/cream cheese, bananas, oranges, cheese sticks, carrots, pretzels, chips, granola bars, animal crackers, and I think that I ate all of them at one point.)

We continued 4 miles to Lexington Green for our next cheering station. It seemed that the entire day so far was uphill. I don't understand how you can walk uphill so much, and down so little. I still wasn't feeling great, but I cut back on my water intake and started to feel a little better. I had been talking with Tracy, and I knew she was going to be there and AZ was going to be there with all the kids. It was definitely motivating. As I arrived I saw the whole gang including my brother-in-law and my newest sister-in-law all the way up from CT! How awesome is that? The signs that AZ made were amazing, but Tracy's just cracked me up.

All three little girls were handing out stickers which everyone collects along the way. I told Helen and her daughter that I would see them at camp and stayed with my family for about 20 minutes. It was only 5.5 miles after that, and I could do that by myself. I had a freeze pop, took my sneakers off for a few, and relaxed. Shortly after, I was ready to go. It was 3 miles to the next cheering station, and I knew my family would be there again. John and Jen watched the kids, and Andy walked with me through Lexington Center. We then said good-bye and I was on my way.

As I walked I talked to a few people. The terrain was flat, so I was happy. Up ahead I could see a sign on a telephone pole. As I got closer I realized that it was a sign for me. My eyes filled with tears. Tracy had gone ahead on the route and posted it so that she could be with me the whole day. Who does that? Only an unbelievable person.

Not far after that AZ and the kids were on the side of the road with squirt bottles trying to keep us cool. The pit stop was only a mile after that. I can do this.

Along the way I found more signs from Tracy.

As I rounded into the the final pit stop/cheering station for Day 2, I again saw my family sitting there, but there was someone else with them. I wasn't wearing my glasses, so it was difficult for me to see who it was at first. Imagine my surprise when I saw Kaitlyn, my former student from when I taught at Waltham High. Kaitlyn and I had a very close relationship when she was in my class, and we have kept in touch for the last 9 years. Talk about a powerful moment.

I again found Tracy and she told me that she had ridden the rest of the route and there was a terrible hill. Kaitlyn and I knew the hill she was talking about and Kaitlyn said she wouldn't walk up that hill on a regular day. Yikes! How was I going to make it? Tracy said there was no shame in sweeping, but I was so close--2.5 miles left. I would just take it slowly.

I said good-bye to my family for the final time that day and journeyed forward. Trace was heading to camp to get cleared by Medical so she could walk tomorrow. She looked so much better than she had. She had her color and energy back. I knew they were going to clear her, and we would be able to cross that finish line together.

As I approached the hill I knew it was going to be a tough one--The Pink Angels were there. The Pink Angels are the biggest team in the Boston Breast Cancer 3Day. They have a huge fan base, a man who dresses up as an angel, another who dresses as Cleopatra with pink hair, and just tons of people cheering you on. They always locate themselves in a critical spot, exactly where walkers need the most support. On Day 1 they placed themselves right before you entered into camp.

I trudged on up the hill, knowing I only had a mile left. There continued to be signs from Tracy, one that was absolutely hysterical about the effects of cussing as walking up ginormous hills. At the top of the hill I met Michelle whose teammate had already made it back to camp. Michelle had cancer twice, Hodgkins and thyroid, and was walking for a friend. We found out our tents were right by each other. We had an enjoyable conversation which helped pass the time until we reached our goal.

Walking into camp, Men with Heart was there cheering us on. They are a large all-male team that travel all around the country doing the 3Day. There are actually 3 men who do all 15 walks! Imagine having to raise $34,500!?!

As soon as I passed them and turned the corner, there was Tracy, wearing her credentials and carrying ice in one hand and water in the other. I was thrilled to be reunited and even more thrilled that she would be able to walk with me tomorrow. I showed her to our tent where we relaxed for a few before I headed over to the showers.

At the showers I was greeted by the self-proclaimed "shower Nazi" from Medical. I guess that several people had passed out in the showers that day and we all needed to be cleared by a nurse. I had to list everything that I had consumed in the last hour before I was allowed in. When you arrive to the showering area there are rows and rows of chairs. You move up one by one until you reach the coveted inner circle of 5 chairs, the ones closest to the showers. When a stall is available you walk up the steps into the truck to a changing area. Inside are also 8 individual shower stalls. It is similar to a locker room set up, but on a much smaller scale. The showers are actually pretty good--warm with decent water pressure. Outside the truck are portable sinks with mirrors used to wash your face and brush your teeth.

After showering we headed over to 3Day Main Street. There is a 3Day store, a post office, massage tent, camp chairs to relax in, and the 3Day Cafe. This is where you get the legacy pins I have spoken of before. Tracy and I got our "power team" pins, she got her 3K and I got my 5K. We were hoping to receive the tent decorating one, but they gave it to a much lamer tent--everyone told us we got robbed. It was here that we met the Energizer bunny, one of the sponsors for the event. You can see bunny ears in some of our photos.

From there we walked over to the large tent where there is entertainment while you eat dinner. Dinner was chicken picatta, rice, broccoli, and salad. At 7, the main festivities start. On Saturday night there is a game show based on breast cancer facts. It is actually pretty funny. Then there is a tent folding demonstration where the cutest guy is picked to demonstrate and he "conveniently" needs to bend over facing the audience. The poor guy. The finals of the "Rock Star" (karaoke) competition are also that night. After that there are a few people who speak about why they walk. It is pretty emotional. Then Youth Corp stands up and speaks. Youth Corp is the most amazing group of kids. They are ages 10-15, and they act as crew for the walk. They sleep in tents, they run pit stops, they cheer us on, and they have to raise $500! Each and every kid has a reason to be there, and when they share their stories there is not a dry eye around. Many of them have been doing it for years, and are just waiting for when they are old enough to walk. Zach is in awe of these kids and has expressed an interest in doing it next year. We'll see.

The evening ends with a dance party. Yes, you heard correctly. After walking 42 miles we have a dance party, and believe it or not, almost everyone dances. This year they started the night off with men only on the stage. They were all such good sports. Ladies joined in shortly after and danced until the late hour of 9PM, when it is lights out.

All in all it was a good day.

Ta-Ta for now!

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