Friday, August 6, 2010

The Real Housewives of the 3Day: Day 2

I awoke earlier than expected on Day 2 (about 5AM) to the sounds of someone in a tent behind us speaking much too loudly for that time of day.  I think I speak for the team when I say that we were all feeling pretty great.  The rain had stopped, and the temperatures were already starting to heat up.  We were determined to make it in to camp earlier than the day before--we no longer had that film crew to hold us back.  We all got dressed, and then went to eat a hearty breakfast to nourish us throughout the morning.

All throughout breakfast I kept thinking about what the day's route would be like.  Yesterday was the same exact route as the year before.  Did that mean that today was going to have that monster hill that last year had?  If you followed my blog last year you will remember the hill that actually caused my lymphedema.  It is one of the biggest hills that I have ever walked up--Prospect Hill in Belmont, and I absolutely hated it.  The year before, we were told about it at camp, and offered a sweep van up it.  This year, I had not heard a thing; maybe that meant they had changed the route.  Either way, I knew what to expect, and I was mentally prepared for it.

As we left camp, we felt like we were missing something.  We didn't have our matching shirts, and we didn't have our crew.  It was like we didn't know what to do with ourselves.  I felt like we were scattered.  You couldn't spot anyone without the big pink NB, but as soon as we started on the street a little before 7AM, our cheer unified us.  The thought that it was going to be another amazing day was only intensified by a sign that I saw just outside of camp.  Not only was it a motivational sign, but it was a sign designed specifically for the TWP's!  TRACY!!! You may remember that Tracy was red carded on Day 2 last year, and was not allowed to walk.  She was very upset by this, and wanted to show her support of me, so she went out at the crack of dawn and hung signs all along the route.  I think Tracy's decision to not walk this year was a difficult one, and she was experiencing feelings similar to those of last year.  Once again, Tracy lined the ENTIRE Day 2 route with motivational, funny, and sometimes inappropriate signs.  They really got us, and many others, through the day.

Our second day had started at a great pace.  We were feeling fabulous, and everyone even made it up that daunting hill.  I felt much better than last year.  I don't think I trained more, maybe I just knew what to expect this time.   Shortly after that we arrived at our first Grab & Go on the route.  Just then Kaitlyn asked if I had seen the tricked out TWP car that just drove by.  Oh crap!  I missed it.  What color was it?  Silver?  Of course--Tracy.  I called her up again (I had already thanked her at 7AM when we saw the first sign) and asked her to drive by us again so that we could all see the car.  She turned around, and came by again.  She had painted her side windows, and the on the back window were the words, "Tough Warrior Princesses."  Where was the camera crew when you needed them?  Our "Posse" appeared to be growing. 

We continued walking through Winchester, and about a mile from the second pit stop our amazing families were waiting once again.  They had actually set up their own mini cheering station.  There were outstanding signs indicating that, "Blisters are this weekend's fashion statement."  But for me, the best part was seeing Tracy.  I was so excited that she was there, but when I saw what she was wearing I almost cracked up.  Tracy had taken our TWP logo and added the word, "wannabe" below it.  She also took her daughter's favorite crown and added the princess to it.  She is the best!  Seeing her refueled my strength.

As the morning wore on, the temperature continually increased.  On our way in to lunch a thermometer at a bank said 93 degrees, but it felt hotter than that.  We seemed to be constantly walking up hill, and there was little shade.  The heat was taking its toll, and so were people's feet.

As we got in to lunch our amazing husbands had set up quite the spread for us.  In my opinion, the food this year at the 3Day was not great.  In past years it had been so good, but this year they hired a new catering company.  Luckily for us, we had a picnic spread with all sorts of fruit and even a blanket to sit on.  I'm sure other walkers were looking at us thinking, "Those damn TWP's again!"

For the brief time you are at lunch, it is important to take off your sneakers and give your feet a break.  Most people reapply moleskin and Vaseline, and change their socks.  It is important to just check your feet to make sure no blisters are forming.  Cheryl and Kaitlyn's feet were really bothering them.  Kaitlyn had already had her blisters taped up, and it didn't seem to help much.  It was during lunch that we first saw Cheryl's blisters.  Yikes!  She had two huge blisters on each of the balls of her feet.  When I say huge, I am talking at least 3 inches in diameter!  On the balls of her feet!  No wonder she was in so much pain!  The worst part of this was that Cheryl had trained harder than anyone else on the team.  Other than her feet, she was feeling fabulous.  She was determined to continue.  That is one thing about this team...we are full of strong, assertive, stubborn women!

Right before we were leaving lunch we received a message from one of the producers, Ben.  He planned to stop by to drop off a new Flip camera for us because one was not working.  He showed up with his adorable daughter minutes later.  It was so great to see him.  We were really missing the crew, and I dare think they were missing us as well.  After a brief visit, we were off again.

To me, the afternoon on Day 2 was the toughest part of the walk.  It continued to be uphill, and it was never-ending.  When they divide the 60 miles between the 3 days, Day 2 is always the longest.  If I remember correctly it was over 22 miles.  You may not realize it, but those 3-4 miles can make a huge difference.  As the afternoon continued, our team began to dwindle.  Cheryl's blisters became unbearable, as did Kaitlyn's.  Maurine had also walked much further than she should have considering that she had treatment scheduled for Monday.  We encouraged people to take sweep vans so that we would all be able to walk across that finish line together.  To me, that was what was truly important.  I think others agreed.

We made it back to camp, albeit short a few people.  Reunited with everyone, we immediately wanted to get our tents decorated.  Because of the rain the night before, we were not able to decorate Friday night.  We knew that we would win the contest.  We pulled out all of our materials and went to town.  We had crowns, flags, lanterns, our noodle princesses, and of course our incredible sign that so many of you signed.  That sign was going to win us tent decorating.  As we were busy at work, a fellow walker came by and asked us if we were trying to win tent decorating.  Of course was our response.  Then she hung her head and said she didn't know how to tell us this, but the tents had already been judged and her friend had won.  What!?!  No way!  Not fair, not fair, not fair!  She did say that we totally would have won.  Although we were feeling dejected, we continued to make our mark, by letting the 3Day know that the TWP's were here to stay!

 After we finished decorating, we took showers and went to dinner.  Dinner was chicken cacciatore, and was very dry--not too great; however, the entertainment at the tent was fabulous.  Jenne, who is the national spokesperson for the 3Day is AMAZING!  She is funny and caring, all rolled into one.  She just recently wrote a blog about "The Pink" and the Boston 3Day.  It is truly worth reading.  After the silly games that are played, my favorite part of the 3Day happens.  Youth Corps, 20 kids ages 10-16 stand up and speak about why they are part of the 3Day.  I've said it before, but these kids are something else.  They sacrifice 4 days of their lives, raise a ton of money, and work their tails off for something that many their age never even think of.  These are the kids that realize that life is precious.  They all have a story, a reason they are there, and their stories are always the most powerful.  No one wants to see a child affected by cancer, but each and every one of these 20 kids has had their lives changed forever because of it.  Some of the stories are uplifting and talk about survival, others are just the opposite and talk about the loss of a mother, grandmother, or aunt.  This was when Alexa and Dylan stood up and spoke about their moms.  They were phenomenal!  All of these kids are unbelievable, and there was not a dry eye in the place after they finished. 
While the 3Day is filled with lots of tears, it is also filled with so much laughter.  After Youth Corp spoke, it was time to lighten the mood again with a dance party.  Yup, you heard correctly.  After walking 40 miles, you get up and dance your butt off.  Believe it or not, it feels great.  It stretches your body, and makes you use muscles you haven't been using all weekend.  The TWP's were psyched.  We had been dancing the entire weekend.  We would dance at pit stops, along the route, anywhere there was music.  This was right up our alley.  We got out our Flips and were having a blast.  Sue was filming Patty and I dancing to FloRida--"Low."  If you've ever heard the song, you know that it says, "low, low, low, low."  Well, that's exactly what Patty and I were doing on our exhausted legs.  You can probably guess where this is going, and if you have read Patty's blog, you already know where this is going.  Unfortunately my legs decided to take that opportunity to stop working, and I fell flat on my tush!  It was hysterical.  Through my tears streaming down my face, I looked up to see Sue standing there with the Flip focused right on me.  Oh no!  It was captured on film, and I wasn't even drinking!  I then did what every TWP would do--got up, brushed myself off, and started dancing again.  I figured it would provide some entertainment for the editing crew.

As the dance party ended we decided to walk over to the Remembrance tent before going to bed.  There is a Remembrance tent in every city of the 3Day.  It is a white illuminated tent where walkers can write messages to loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer, or a place where you can write words of encouragement to fellow walkers.  We knew that this would be difficult for Patty, but we wanted to be there for her as a team.  We walked in together and it was completely still--a group of loud boisterous women had been moved to silence.  It was such a feeling.  It was here that Patty wrote about her mom, Tina wrote about her grandmother, and Maurine wrote about us.  Reading how Maurine hopes her team, the TWP's, will never have to walk in her memory just made me lose it.  Tears, laughter, now tears again. 

As we walked over to our tents, it was past "lights out" time, but that didn't matter to us.  We switched back to laughter again as we tried to get comfortable in our tiny tents when it was still at least 85 degrees out.  We all unzipped them and decided to go to sleep with our heads sticking out.  Cheryl had done it the night before, and it seemed like a good idea.  As Patty and I were laying there, we had another fit of the giggles when we were debating climbing out of the tents to cool off.  It seemed like it would take too much effort, so I suggested to Patty that she do a forward roll dismount off her 3 foot tall air mattress, and that was all it took.  Laughter erupted from the TWP's, and once again, I'm sure we probably aggravated somebody somewhere.

After about 20 minutes we finally settled in, only to be woken by the zip, zip, zip sound of all the tents as the rain once again started to fall.  Fortunately it was just a passing shower, and we were all able to get much rest before our final day.

Royally yours,

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