Day 1 continued...
As we walked down the street and were scanned onto the route, we saw the rest of the film crew, or "Our Posse," as they became affectionately known to us. I can't explain to you how much these people just intensified this whole experience. They became our friends, and completed almost the entire journey right by our side. They supported us, made us cry, cheered us on, and most of all, made us have fun. They have truly become our friends and I miss them every day.
Once we got on to the route and a little further into Framingham, a still photographer from New Balance came along and wanted to do a team photo. He pulled us off the route and to the only area of trees along this stretch. I hope that the picture comes out well because it set us back at least 10 minutes. The 3Day is not a race, it is a journey; however, you do want to get back early enough to set up your tents and still have time to enjoy yourself.
The beginning of the walk seemed very slow. We jokingly harassed the film crew saying they were holding us back. We had to get mics on, and we had to stop and do interviews every so often. Jarrod, who was working one of the cameras walked backward almost the entire day, a feat I was definitely impressed with. I have said before how difficult it was for me to film training walks with my Flip. Then there was Dave, the sound guy. He had on a huge pack with sound equipment, and he walked carrying the big boom. We were definitely moving slowly, but it was all good. The walk had barely started and we were already a spectacle!
I'm sure that many other walkers looked at us as that obnoxious NB team. With our big pink NB's on our back and the 10 or so people with us all the time, I'm sure we were always in someone's way. We also came up with the idea of counting off before we left every pit stop. Each person was assigned a number so we knew that we were all present and accounted for. I'm sure all of the other walkers loved that! Then there were the times that we would talk with people who were up for the casting call. You just felt terrible. Here you are surrounded by this mass of equipment, unintentionally flaunting it in their faces. As I looked around, I would continually say to myself, that I was doing this for a reason, other than my own fame! LOL!
Day 1 continued on without incident. We made it to the first cheering station in Wellesley to be greeted by some of our favorite TWP supporters, Cheryl's family, Patty's dad--George, and my family. In true 3Day style, my husband amazed me with his signs. At this station, he had taken Zach's 6 foot tall Big Papi from his room and had him hold a sign which said, "SAVE SECOND BASE." Only Andy would think to use Big Papi. Unfortunately we were moving so slowly, they were pretty much the only ones there.
Just before lunch I found my family again. This time it was my extended family. There on the corner was Andy's brother Dave, his wife Cuch, their two kids--Matt, and Ali, and Cuch's mom--Ita. I was so happy to see them, especially considering that Cuch has been wheelchair bound for umpteen weeks after having foot surgery. I know how difficult it is for her to get around, and to come to see me, meant more than she knows. I only wish I could have spent more time with them. Fortunately for Andy, Ali was coming out to help with the kids for the weekend.
Lunch consisted of hanging out with the family and conducting more interviews. The only problem was that there was starting to be a light sprinkle, nothing too heavy, just refreshing. After lunch we walked through Newton and into Waltham. When we hit the center of Waltham it really started to rain. The staff at the 3Day hands out these obnoxious yellow rain ponchos whenever it starts to drizzle. They look absolutely ridiculous and stick to your sweaty body, but they do keep you dry. As we went to do one of our final interviews of the day, we were all wearing our ponchos with hoods up. Paul, the director, looked at us and said, you just can't leave those hoods up, reiterating how attractive we must have looked. Good thing there were no mirrors available.
At this point we had just a few miles left. I was in Waltham, a city I know well because I used to work there. I could tell Kaitlyn was excited too because this was her hometown, and she knew her family would be there cheering her on. It was hard, because by the time we reached Yolanda's where Kaitlyn's family was, it was drizzling pretty steadily and everyone just wanted to get back to camp. We were tired and it was an excessively long day. It was great to see her family, especially her brother Jeff who was also a student of mine. He just returned from the service, so seeing him was even more powerful. Kaitlyn was able to spend a few minutes, then it was up the hill to Gann Academy--camp!
We were taking it slowly because as I said, everyone was exhausted. Camp was up a long hill and we were just beat. I was so proud of everyone, especially Maurine and Theresa. Maurine, in treatment again, was so upbeat and positive. She was always making us laugh. Whenever we asked how she felt, her response was always, "GREAT!" which you knew could not be true. And Theresa, 5 months pregnant. Seriously? You couldn't get me off of the couch at 5 months pregnant, never mind do anything physical. Just think of what she will be able to say to her future son Leo when he is older. Amazing.
During all of our training as a team, we often spoke of coming up with a team cheer or song. It never happened. We always ended up getting side-tracked. As the rain was coming down, and we were a half mile from camp, it finally came to us--our cheer!
"Who are we? We are Tough!"
"What are we? We are Warriors!"
"What else are we? We are Princesses!"
"TWP! TWP! TWP! TWP! TWP! TWP!"
Not too exciting, but it worked for us. We rehearsed a few times to make sure we had it just right as we walked into camp. As we came to the base of camp, there were Men with Heart, lining the entry way. This all male team is always there, every day, rain or shine, cheering on the walkers. We had done it. We walked into camp, arm in arm, saying our cheer. We were so proud of what we had done. Just as we began to relish in our achievement, CJ looked at us and told us to do the same exact thing again at the top of the hill because that was where the cameras were. Seriously? This leads to one of the big jokes of the weekend. You know how you watch TV and someone says something funny? Well little did you know that chances are the first time it was said, it was not picked up on the mic, and the person was asked to say it again. Somehow, it just doesn't seem as funny the second time, but you have to laugh just as hard because it is on camera. I can't tell you how many times we had to repeat things throughout the entire weekend. Needless to say, we were more than happy to repeat this again. We had made it through Day 1.
As we walked past the cameras we were just thrilled beyond compare, and then something happened that will stick with me forever. Just as we let go of each other, Theresa burst into tears. Theresa is always composed and refined, to see her so moved by what she had just done made me cry too. It was one of the most memorable parts of the weekend. We all just sat there hugging and sobbing.
After we wiped our tears and said good-bye to the crew until Day 3, we knew it was time to grab our gear and get our tents set up. The weather appeared to be taking a turn for the worse, and it was crucial that we get situated before that. No such luck. We no sooner got our tents set up and began to blow up our air matresses, than it started to pour! When I say that I laughed more during this walk than I ever had, this is where it starts. For those of you who don't know, when you camp at the 3Day, you sleep in 7X7 hot pink tents. They barely have enough room for two twin air matresses. Normally you would sit outside your tent with your gear, put your air mattress inside, and blow it up. Because of the rain, this was not possible. Patty and I grabbed our gear and mattresses and quickly hopped in the tent. We were sweaty and gross, but we had to close up the tent because of the driving rain. I moved my luggage to her side of the tent and began to blow up my mattress. It was definitely tight in there, and there were lots of giggles, but we did it. Next was Patty's turn. Patty wanted to be sure that she got a good night's sleep, so she purchased a double high, extra long air mattress. When I said the tents were 7X7, I didn't tell you that there is barely enough room to sit up straight in them. I knew this was not going to be good. Patty started to blow up her mattress, and as it got bigger, it started to crush her, and she became trapped underneath. When I tell you that it was hysterical, that is an understatement. I felt like a little girl at summer camp, when you laugh so hard you feel like you are going to wet your pants. Tina and Vicky kept asking what was going on because we couldn't control ourselves. Finally I helped Patty escape but not without my mattress becoming victim to hundreds of little black pellets from the astro-turf.
As the rain continued to pour down, we tried to decide what to do. We really wanted to shower, but at this point we were starving. We didn't get in to camp until after 4:30, and now it was a couple of hours later. We opted for dinner then showers. The unfortunate thing about the rain, is that it really put a damper on camp life that night. There was no way that we could decorate our tents, and we were convinced that we were going to win. Also, everyone was freezing, and we didn't really get the opportunity to relax; however, we did get over to the Bank of America tent to sit in the massage chairs. They even had laptops available so that you could update your facebook status. Wouldn't you know that when I got there the internet was down.
On our way to bed, we picked up our mail. Mail is such an important part of the 3Day. I thank all of you who sent me letters. It means so much, especially when it is pouring rain, and you are wondering why you have chosen to do this walk, yet again. The inspiring words or simple "thank you's" make all the difference.
At this point it was just about 9:00--lights out. I put in my ear plugs, put on my eye mask, and tried to prepare myself for the day ahead.
Next up, Day 2...