Tuesday, July 26, 2011

EXTREME 3-DAY 2011--Day 1

Another year, another 3-Day.  Once again, this year's 3-Day was one of a kind.  In the four years I have been doing this event, each one has been so different from the others.  This year's walk is being deemed the "EXTREME 3-DAY" for me because, well that's what it was--extreme.

Anyone who lives in Boston knows that yes, it can be very hot in July.  We were expecting temps in the high 90's with a heat index even higher.  During the week leading up to the event as I ran into friends around town at baseball games or soccer, they were all sending their well wishes, but each one had an edge of concern about the heat.  "Make sure you drink lots!"  "Potato chips are your best friend!"  "Listen to your body!"  "Sunscreen!"  Personally, I was thrilled that there was really no rain predicted in the forecast.  I had walked in high 90's before, but that rain--it gets me every time.  However, as the week wore on and the team kept posting about tent ceiling fans, and how nervous they were about the heat, I, too, began to feel concern.  I did my best to hydrate all week long.  There was nothing else I could do--I had prepared as well as I could.

Allison and Sarah at camp
On Thursday at 5:00PM I had to pick up Allison at the library.  Allison was a newbie (I say "was" because she is now a lifer!) and was planning to spend the night at my house with Sarah, another teammate. Sarah and Allison are best friends. These two young ladies are simply amazing.  They have brought a vitality to this team of 40-somethings. They were definitely extreme walkers, and came in at the front of the pack every day.  On Thursday night, we made pizza, chatted, and finished making bracelets that M & M had planned to give all of the teammates.  (The girls made 23 and then gave up.  I thought 23 was pretty good for 9 year olds.)

At 3:15AM, Friday morning, my alarm goes off.  It really didn't need to, because I honestly didn't sleep much. We quickly dressed and headed out.  As I opened the door, I was hit with a brick wall.  The air was so oppressive and thick.  On any other day like this, I would not even leave my home--A/C all day long!  Instead, we picked up Sandy and headed to Cheryl's house to board the bus.  If you remember, last year we took a small "party bus" to the 3-Day.  Well, this year, it was a Coach bus.  It was so cool driving down the street to Cheryl and Bob's and seeing this huge bus w/all these cars parked around like it was 2 in the afternoon.  We were so efficient loading up that we were on the road by 4:15!

The ride in was pretty uneventful except for the passing out of bracelets, cards, and the cutting of shirts.  Barbara had this ingenious idea of cutting the sleeves off of our NB shirts.  She did it so well, that they looked like they were supposed to be that way.  With the sleeves off our shirts, it only felt like it was 101, not 105!

We arrived on time to be greeted by Patty and Maurine who had spent the night in Framingham.  We loaded our gear bags onto the truck and made the short walk over to Opening Ceremonies. Last year Opening and Closing were so emotional for me because I was in the Survivor Circle.  This year, Maurine was given that opportunity.  I was absolutely thrilled to be able to stand there and watch her walk in with that flag.  She is more than an inspiration.  On top of that, Patty was a flag bearer as well, carrying the "My Daughter" flag in honor of Katie and Alexa.  The most amazing part of the whole thing was that Patty and Maurine stood directly across from each other.  In a sea of people, you could see the connection between these two women.  It almost took my breath away.

After we wiped our tears, it was onto the route.  It was 7AM, and man was it HOT!!!  We started off, and figured it would be slow and steady. That it was.  When you have 2000 participants leaving one place at the same time, it has to take a while to get where you want to go.  We were slow to get on the route as well, so it seemed to take extra long.  By the time we reached the first pit stop, the lines were absolutely out of control.  I hit the porta-potties, grabbed some water and was on my way with the others.  About 7 miles into the walk I started to feel yucky.  I have done this enough to know when I am starting to get dehydrated.  The headache was coming on, and I felt a little nauseous.  I NEEDED Gatorade.  Dana handed me a snack then Connie gave me some peanuts.  It still didn't do the trick.  For the first time in four years, I questioned whether I would be able to complete this walk.  Fortunately, the next pit stop was just ahead.  As we rested for a few, I drank almost 32 ounces of Gatorade and felt much better.  I knew this day was extremely hot,
but thanks to my former friend, Mother Nature (I have since severed ties with her because she never cooperates on my 3-Day), Boston experienced record high temps on Friday--We are talking Africa hot--triple digits!!!

We left the pit stop at the fire station, and were on our way through Wellesley toward the next pit stop and cheering station.  It was about 3 miles.  We trudged on through, but just as we arrived, they announced that the route was closing.  10 miles in, and we were done for the day.  The temperatures were too extreme, and it appeared that it was difficult to keep up with the physical needs of walkers.  Medical was swamped!  I had never seen so many ambulances.  I heard some people complaining saying walkers should be able to make their own decisions, but I believe that Komen made the absolute right decision.  There were more first time walkers than ever in Boston this year.  To me, that is reason enough to close the route in these temperatures.  You really don't know what a toll this takes on your body until you have done it.  Walking 20 miles is difficult enough, but doing it in 105 degree weather is absolutely insane.  That being said, I do feel for those for whom this is a personal journey.  For me, I have been there and done that.  I understand how frustrating it must have been that your goal was just moved out of your reach by no fault of your own.  

So the waiting began.  Half of our group had been on the cooling buses, and were immediately transported to lunch which was moved to Pit 5, 3 miles from camp.  The rest of us had to wait until the people along the route where there was no shade were rallied together and transported to lunch as well.  Meanwhile, I was supposed to be meeting Andy and the kids a half mile up the road at the cheering station.  If you know my stalkarazzi husband, you know that if we can't come to the cheering station, the cheering station will come to us.  Soon after my phone conversation, he arrived with the kids, cherries, and drinks.  It definitely helped to pass the time.

While we waited, texts went back and forth between team members making sure that everyone was accounted for.  The crew came by with candy, ice, and Gatorade.  They were doing their best to keep everyone comfortable.  During this time, someone created a sign and was passing it around to different teams.  I agree, I think we were the champions that day!

We missed several buses, because we didn't stampede everyone, and ended up waiting almost 2 hours before we were picked up.  We had talked to the rest of the group and they had eaten lunch and were waiting for transport back to camp.  When our bus finally arrived, we piled in refreshed by the cool air that greeted us.  Almost immediately after sitting down, many of us dozed off.  It was an eight mile ride to lunch.  We awoke to see a ginormous line waiting to board the exact bus that we are on.  Hell no!  We were not getting off this bus only to wait for two hours for another bus.  We would forgo lunch so that we could arrive at camp at a reasonable hour.  As we looked closely at the line, the 9 missing TWPs were at the front of it.  As several people climbed off heading to lunch, we waited in anticipation for our fellow teammates to board.  As soon as we saw the first one, we started, "TWP!  TWP!  TWP!"  Yes, we were together again!

As we arrived back to camp they had an air-conditioned gymnasium waiting for us.  We were one of the first groups there, so we were the lucky ones with chairs.  The dining tent and 3-Day Main St. were open so we all decided to get our legacy pins.  Legacy pins are earned by doing different things during your 3-Day experience.  There is a team captain pin, a survivor pin, a 5K pin, a Power Team pin (which thanks to our donors, we were able to receive) and many others.  On this day I received a pin I never thought I would--the Sag bus pin!  You hop on the Sag bus if you feel you cannot walk anymore.  Well, this year, I had to get it because they closed the route.  From there we went to the Camp Post Office where we retrieved all of the mail that was sent to us.  Thank you all so much for your kind words of encouragement and support.  It meant the world to me.  I even received letters from fellow walkers that were so moved by our video!  Absolutely unbelievable.  My best letter that I received was from my mom.  Every year she writes me a mushy letter telling me how proud she is of me.  Well, at this point she had been telling me how great I was for 4 years.  She needed to change it up a bit for fear of my head exploding.  She decided to write a song to the tune of Gilligan's Island.  I have included it below for you to see:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of the TWPs.  
Who would've guessed when two girls met,
That this would come to be.

One day Sherri took a walk,
A walk of 60 miles.
At the end when she looked up,
She saw a great big smile.

Patty said, "I know your beat,
And tired to the bone,
But this day I will promise you,
You'll never walk alone."

So Cheryl turned her hair to pink,
Sue's hubby took the twins.
Theresa and Gretchen put down their books,
And Vicky said, "I"M IN!"

Then Tina joined, and Kaitlyn too,
And pretty soon Maurine.
Ten strong women side by side,
Make an incredible team.

New Balance came a-calling,
The news had spread so far,
You said yes, we'll do your show,
We want to be the stars.
We want to be the stars.

We will walk.
We will run
We'll do a dash, 
With ease.
We'll work for sure.
We'll find a cure...

Cuz we're the TWPs!!!! 

 Isn't that awesome? Thanks Mom!

At around 5:45 they finally allowed us into the showers.  They were fearful that with the heat people would pass out.  Believe me.  You don't want to pass out in the showers.  They will drag your butt out naked.  We weren't even allowed to set up our tents until 7:00.  I guess they figured we would just bake in them.  After we showered, we ate dinner, got ourselves settled and decorated tents.  They looked pretty awesome.  Lots of tiaras, photos, and blinkie lights.  By the way, don't even ask about tent decorating.  I'll fill you on that on Day 2. 

At around 9:00 we tried settling in.  It still had to be in the 90's.  I was happy that I broke down and bought a personal fan.  I climbed onto my air mattress, pointed it directly at my face, and tried my best to rest up for the day ahead.

Stay tuned for Day 2...

Royally yours,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sherri! Reading along, makes me miss walking. Yes, even the heat! Your team seems incredible. I'm now a lifer, too.