After an okay night's sleep, we woke at 5AM. We had to pack up all our gear, take down the tent, and eat breakfast before leaving camp. As we were packing, wouldn't you know it, it started to rain again. What is up with that? They told us sunny skies for Sunday! We debated whether to bring jackets, but opted for ponchos. If you bring ponchos then it doesn't rain. If you don't, then it does.
We crammed everything into our suitcases--it never fits as well on the way home as it does on the way there--and headed to breakfast. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns and cheese blintzes. By 7AM we were on the road.
Tracy was feeling great, and I was happy for that. I was definitely more sore than the day before--those hills did me in. We started off slowly, but were able to pick up the pace a little once my body stopped hurting. We started heading down Rte. 60 through Watertown and into Cambridge. No hills--Yay!!! It was an area I knew well, so it helped to gear how long it would take to get to pit stops. We continued through Harvard Square where it began to rain again. Ugh! I walked for about 10 minutes then decided to put my poncho on. The day was definitely not like Friday; it was hot and muggy, so the poncho stuck to my arms and legs. I couldn't take it; I would rather be wet. So in to the trash it went, which is a very risky move. I, however, felt confident with my actions.
Cambridge City Hall brought some great fans, as only Cambridge can.
While stopping to take a photo, I noticed a woman carrying the "my neighbor" flag. I immediately went up to her. I had to have that flag. I currently have 2 extremely strong neighbors, Sandy and Patty (I have mentioned them before), who both recently finished treatment. This walk was for them as well. I had to have that sign! The woman carrying it was kind enough to pass it on to me. Yay!
Shortly after, we entered the campus of MIT where the Youth Corp had the best cheering yet. While at that pit stop I looked at the flags waiting to be carried, and there was "myself." I had to carry it; even though it was very breezy, it was calling my name. I picked it up, and on we went.
We crossed the Mass Ave. bridge, too in awe of the sights to bother to count the smoots. From there we traveled up the center of Comm. Ave. and into the Public Gardens. It was beautiful, and shady. After the next pit stop we headed toward Downtown Crossing, but not before stopping for Tracy to take a picture in front the Park St. church which is where her friend Bridgette's mass was. Bridgette was one of the main reasons that Tracy walked.
From Downtown Crossing we continued into Southie. Still no hills, and we were both feeling great. I am sure that Tracy got sick of me telling her to drink, and asking her if she was okay, but she was going to have to deal with it. I did not want to finish this alone.
As we arrived at lunch down by the water, Tracy's friend Nilda and her husband Sean were there to cheer us on. Nilda is also a survivor. I had heard so much about her, it was great to finally meet her. They hung out with us at lunch and decided to walk with us for a while after--which ended up being right up until the end. It made those last 3 miles fly by.
Upon leaving lunch we met up with the "Honey, I'm Home" guy. He is an older gentleman, who has been doing the walk for the last 6 years. His daughter passed away from breast cancer, and his wife is currently battling cancer. Every time he walks into a pit stop, lunch, or camp, he yells, "Honey, I'm home!" at the top of his lungs. Everyone immediately responds with a hearty cheer. We were talking with him about how great it was that he did this. Come to find out, he lives in Amesbury! Can you believe it? How funny.
When we were one mile from camp, I called Andy to let him know that we would be on our way. Upon reaching UMASS, we said good-bye to Nilda and Sean, and started the journey in. It is so emotional. There are just lines and lines of people cheering you on, many of whom you have seen all along the way. I frantically began looking for my family, and found them quickly as my kids almost knocked me over as they ran toward me. I looked at Andy who was filming, then looked at the sign he was holding. Remember I said he made great signs? Well, this exceeded all expectations. It was a small sign with a large heart in the middle. The words on the sign simply said, "In sickness and in health." I just lost it. Wow, that said it all.
When I got myself together we headed up further and saw Tracy's family. Her mom and sister were volunteering that day, so they were there. Her kids raced to her as well. As we looked over, we saw Tommy's signs--they were awesome!
These signs are so them--I loved them!
Walking a little further we walked through the the large blow up signs which are posted at Opening, Closing, and at camp. This feels like a finish line, but actually isn't.
It was here that I found my parents. After grabbing a few photos, Tracy and I got scanned and grabbed our victory shirts--pink for survivors, white for walkers. I immediately took off my sneakers and put on my Birkenstocks. Only one teeny blister--not too bad for one day of complete rain. My feet felt so much better compared to the year before. After that we just sat and waited for Closing Ceremonies to start. I hung out with my parents for a few and just relaxed.
The whole time I was sitting there, I was scanning the crowd for my friend Patty. She said she would be at Closing, but there were so many people. I was never going to be able to find her. Just as we were getting ready to line up, I spot her. You can't imagine the feeling that rushed over me. Patty has had a difficult year, and this walk was for her. I just hugged her and didn't want to let go. We were cut short because I had to go line up, but it still meant the world to see her there. Thanks Patty! You're the best!
I walked over to line up with survivors, and Tracy went with the rest of the walkers. That is the only problem with the 3Day. You give so much of yourself to finish, only to be separated into two categories at the end. For the past two years I wish I had someone close by my side in the Survivor Circle. The ceremony is such a tear-fest, it would be nice to have your friend on whom to wipe your nose. Another surprising fact about this year's Closing is that it was significantly smaller than last year. I think there were about 3000 walkers last year, and this year there were only 1600. Economy? Probably. We still raised over $4 million for breast cancer research. Not too shabby for 3 day's worth of work.
I arrived home to balloons and a plant on my porch--thanks Katie! and signs and a basket full of goodies from my family. I was so happy to be home. I immediately showered and my mom and dad came by to hear all about the details of the weekend. Last year Mom and Dad presented me with a beautiful ring to commemorate my walk; it has 3 small diamonds to represent the 3 days. This year they gave me the earrings to match. There is still a necklace--next year?
Later that night I called Patty because our time together was cut short. I thanked her for coming and asked her what she thought. She agreed that it was very emotional. The 3Day just sucks you in. I think I may get that necklace next year, and I won't be standing alone in the Survivor Circle.
Ta-Ta for now!