Monday, April 5, 2010

Why the 3-Day is now the highlight of my year

This is a slightly edited version of what I posted on a blog my best friends and I keep so we can stay in each other's lives easily. It's totally wordy and long, but even four months later I'm too emotional to edit it down any more, it was all that important to me.

Okay, so... I'm my mother's daughter in many ways. Including my least favorite, procrastination. I was behind Wednesday but took a nap after my opening shift instead of packing, knowing I still needed a few things from Target before my flight Thursday, but you know. I wound up packing last minute Thursday and. . . wait for it. . . missed my flight. By 30 seconds. Yep. I have a bone to pick with the TSA for needlessly holding me up over a frigging ounce of water in my CamelBak, but whatev. My Southwest connections can't really do anything in that particular situation so I ponied up another $112 to book a later flight because she assured me that it would fill up so it would be quite a risk to take standby (for the record the seat next to me that flight was empty. . . thanks, Southwest!), chilled in the airport for four hours and got into San Diego around 10:00, showered and was in bed by 11:30.

I got up at 4:30 Friday morning, took a cab to the opening ceremonies at Del Mar. I cried like a baby, and then we set off walking! I somehow wound up pretty far back in the group Friday, despite my best efforts to be towards the head of the pack. I'll know better where to position myself next year. The first couple of miles the sidewalk was literally FILLED with people cheering us on. I was itching to go faster but you can't exactly jump ahead of a thousand people, unfortunately. I walked for a mile with a girl named Tiffany who had decided to do the 3-Day THREE WEEKS before the event. She managed to raise all the money necessary, but I don't want to think of what her feet must have felt look or looked like with only three weeks of training. I trained for six months and mine were still killing me by the end. I honestly can't describe the support you feel this whole weekend -- crew and volunteers and cheerleaders (literal and figurative, two high school squads were out on the route too!) cheering for you and high-fiving, motorists leaning on their horns and waving, hot bike cops riding along with you, tough bikers wearing pink directing traffic, young, old, men, women, kids, dogs, other walkers, everyone cheering everyone else on. It was intense, especially for a grumplestiltskin like me!

There were pit-stops along the route every 2-3 miles where you could refill your water bottles, get medical attention if you needed it (mostly blisters and some knee and ankle issues for most people), eat (lots of eating! keeping strength up and keeping the salt balance in check -- the pit stop motto was "eat, drink and pee; no IV!" we ate bagels, bananas, salty chips, string cheese, uncrustables, oranges, animal crackers and other stuff -- just on pit stops.) and stretch. And stretch and stretch and stretch.

After the second pit stop I ran into my old friend and volleyball teammate from high school, Kristin. She walked in a 3-Day a few years ago and now she and her friend come out every year to cheer, dressed all in pink with long blonde wigs, signs that say "my ken wears pink." they go by "barbies love boobies." I think I saw her five times all weekend, she kept my spirits up a lot. It was hard (but don't get me wrong, totally rewarding) to walk alone. I made friends, but most people were part of a team or a group or at least a pair, so I'd walk with them for a bit and I or they would speed up a little and we'd part ways. I didn't meet my new 3-Day family until the last few miles on day 3.