This weekend, as most of you probably know, I ventured down to Chicago to walk with a new friend (via Twitter, no less!) to join her team for the Avon Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Two days, 39.3 miles. That’s a marathon and a half. THAT? It’s A LOT.
The walk is set up for a marathon (26.2) the first day and a half (13.1 miles) the second. It may be walking – but it’s still extremely hard work.
Throughout the months leading up to this event, my concern had always been for the fundraising portion. Each participant was required to raise $1800 minimum for the walk, and I was concered about whether or not I’d be able to reach that goal. Once I signed up, if I didn’t reach the goal, it’d all have to come out of my pocket. While it’s an amazing cause, I sure didn’t have the extra funds to meet a couple hundred dollars to my goal if that’s the way it turned out. It never really even occured to me to panic about walking nearly 40 miles (Honestly, that part should have occured to me far sooner than it did).
With the help of awesome family, friends and assorted peeps who donated to the cause, I easily met my goal and was able to head off to Chicago for the walk.
It was an amazing experience. It truly was. I adore Chicago anyway – being there always makes me happy (Except when I pull a rookie mistake like I did on Friday — Arriving into town at FIVE P.M. On a Friday, no less. Genius). The hotel was nice enough – even though they gave me the keys to the WRONG ROOM when I arrived, which left me standing in the hallway waiting for someone to come let me in so I wouldn’t have to haul all my gear back downstairs.
Saturday morning, the walk started at Soldier Field. There, I met my team for the first time. I was invited to join the team by someone I met on Twitter – so this was truly the first time I MET everyone. Amazing people – so welcoming. Our team was led by a survivor who was walking her ELEVENTH walk for breast cancer – definitely inspiring.
The walk was hard – but it’s amazing how well it’s put together and how amazing the people are. With staff located at every major intersection to help us get across safely and cheering stations located along the way, it was kind of exhilirating seeing everyone out there – and getting cheered on along the way (I’m already going thru applause withdrawal – need to get my kids going on that). By the end of day one, my right hip flexor was not loving me at all and I had three lovely blisters which were made more huge and ugly thanks to the rain the last two miles of the marathon. Blech.
Everyone had told me Sunday would feel like a cakewalk after Saturday. Wish that had been true. Though I started out feeling alright, after several miles (and lots of rain), I knew that one of the blisters on my left foot had gotten worse, and I was hobbling along. It was starting to feel like the people who set up the mile markers had somehow measured wrong (one mile felt like three), and that we’d never cross the finish line at Solider Field. But we did. We were met with people cheering, lots of music and bottles of ice cold water. And this awesome feeling like we’d just done something pretty amazing. Because we did.