And they came out in massess. There were young people. Older people. People my age. Some could have been my siblings or my parents or even my grand parents. There were men and woman. One man walked the miles on a prosthetic leg. A woman was 36 weeks pregnant. But they came and we walked.
And boy, was it a walk! I did it. I finally did it! I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer this past weekend. It was awespiring, it was painful, it was humbling, it was exhausting, it was WOW. And did I say painful.
We set out from the National Stadium in Washington D.C. and walked through D.C., through Georgetown, through Chevy Chase Maryland to Bethesda Maryland. When did D.C. and the outlying towns get so hilly. For the life of me I don't remember them and I've spent a many day and night in D.C and Bethesda. Hey, I used to work at Bethesday Naval. Now granted, I always arrived by car but I would have remembered the mountains of Georgetown and Bethesda.
Friday's walk was tiring but we survived all 20.4 miles of it. I met some really great people immediately upon arriving in D.C. Linda from NY who is a 10 year breast cancer survivor and Heather from Miami. Both had done this walk before. Lavell showed up later and for the life of me I can't remember where she was from. I'd like to say Maryland by way of New England, US by way of England, UK but I could be wrong. Being this was my first 3 day walk they took me under their wings and we suffered, um I meant walked together.
At the end of the route on Friday we were bused to Germantown, MD. Upon arrival to camp I immediately set out to find my place in tent city. For some reason, I decided to partake in the entire 3 day experience and camp with the rest of the nuts, um I meant walkers. I told myself it was an adventure. Now for those who know me, know, I DON'T CAMP. My idea of camping is going to a hotel that doesn't have cable. LOL. But I'm gonna do it for the cause. I grabbed my duffle and sleeping bag and tent. Yes, I said tent. I now had the task of putting up my own tent. This was going to be fun. NOT. Again, I DO NOT CAMP. I dropped my stuff in the empty spot that belonged to me and starred down at it. Now what. How does a non camper put up a pink pup tent. I decided to make an announcement to the people I saw near by. I sorta yelled, "How does one put up a tent if one has never put one up!" What great people. Immediately four people stopped what they were doing and came to my rescue. They helped me get my tent up. No, that's not correct. They put my tent up for me. I stood there like a deer caught in the head lights and held a pole and flash light.
Okay, it was looking up. My tent was up and secure. I unrolled the airmattress and connected the pump and got it inflated and in place in the small two person tent. My tent mate had yet to arrive. I sat my things up for the am since we had to get up before the sun to hit the route for day two. I went to the dinner tent and had dinner, which I might say was wonderful. Steak, tender enough to cut with a plastic knife, potatoes, green beans and apple pie. Yum. After dinner I hit the showers. They had 18 wheelers out fitted with shower stalls. Nice and hot too. I headed to my tent via flash light because now it was 10pm and the lights went out at 9pm. Did I say I didn't camp. It's dark, I'm scared. But hey, I chanted, 'adventure, adventure, adventrue.' but it didn't stop there. I zippered myself into the tent. that way the monsters wouldn't get me. Yeah, right. As soon as I went to lay down on the sleeping bag which was on top of the air mattress my body went straight to the ground. Where the hell did my air go?
I found out the next day, when its cold the air dissepates in the mattresses. I will never understand this. It was locked in tight. There were no holes. Go where. Out of space. Is it magic? what? This is why I never did well in physics. It just doesn't make sense. What am I going to do? It's too late to turn on the pump for the air mattress, so I decide to sleep in the sleeping bag on the ground. Thank God the tent had a vinyl flooring or I would have been in the meal tent on top of a table.
As soon as I doze off I am awakened by a horrific growl. It grumbled, mumbled and spat. I just knew the monsters had come out of the forest to get me. My eyes sprang open and I yelled in my mind, "What's that?" My eyes scanned the darkness and only when it happened again, that I realized someone was snoring. Okay, I can deal with snoring. But then it happened again and again I am jolted from sleep. I had to put my earphones in and turn on the IPod for some music. that's what I needed. Nora Jones lulled me to sleep only to be yanked out of it again with a thigh cramp. Thigh cramps are bad enough when I'm at home and I have to jump out of bed, pound on my thigh muscle, jump around and ice it. How is a girl to do that when you are zippered into a sleeping bag and even if you could get out, you can't stand up. Pup tent means exactly how it sounds. There's enough room for a puppy. Geez, Saturday morning couldn't come fast enough.
Saturday we treked 23 miles through Germantown and Gaithersburg, Maryland. More hills. What happened to the flat lands. Are there any walks in Kansas or Missouri. I've spent a lot of time in Maryland in the past but had never been to Germantown or Gaithersburg. What wonderful scenerie. Before I left camp that am I met another new friend, Desi. she's a one year breast cancer survivor and she has spunk. When her family opposed her doing this walk she stood her ground. My hat goes off to every survivor that took a step this past weekend. They gave me strength.
I had a plan as I stood at the foot of yet another hill. I was gonna make it. And I did. I crawled back into camp at 6:30 that evening. I'm gonna conquer this camping thing. I ate another great dinner. Grabbed my shower. Rubbed down in the analgestic cream I grabbed from the medical tent. Re-inflated the air mattress and made calls to home and friends to check in and check out. I took my medication to include my dear friend Mr. Vicodin and put the earphones in the ears and turned on the music. I was off to lala land in no time. No nightmarish sounds, grunts, growls. No muscle cramps and my body was suspended above the ground. Yeah!
Even though the night temps dropped to 45 degrees each night I can thank my friend Helen for the sleeping bag. I would have been in trouble with the blanket I was taking. Thank God some of my friends know what they are doing when it comes to this camping out gig. I certainly didn't. When I told my friend Yvette the next morning that I slept good Saturday night she commented that happens when you are exhausted. I told her that's what happens when you take vicodin. hehehe.
Sunday was a breeze compared to the other two days. We only needed to walk the remander of the miles on Sunday. A piece of cake. I crossed the finish line Sunday afternoon to see my husband, sister and grand nephew standing there cheering me on. I was told I didn't look like someone who'd just walked 60 miles. Maybe it was because of the broad grin spliting my face or the bounce in my step. I'm not sure but I certainly felt like some one who'd walked 60 miles. My feet hurt, my toes and ankles are swollen. Luckily I didn't get a blister until around mile 40ish. Some people got them early. My hips were very angry at me. I was suprised my knees didn't bother me... yet and my back didn't hurt.
I was humbled by the amount of people who came out to cheer up on. People stood on corners, in their drive ways and leaned out of windows to say thanks for walking. Restaurants posted signs of thanks and telling us there was water inside and clean bathrooms. What a dream. I really missed my bathroom. After spending three days with nothing but port a potties I so much wanted to feel my cushie toilet set against my cushie ass. One should not have to hover to pee. It's just not right. But it was for a good cause. It was all for a good cause. The blisters. The sore and aching muscles. The grinding bones. It was for a wonderful cause and I feel like I walked in a 60 mile walk a thon. Oh yeah, I did and will do it again. I think, next year I'll work in the medical tent. LOL. No hills.