Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Philly or Bust

This was my second 60mile/3day event. Last year I participated in the walk in Washington D.C. I was amazed by the magnitude of the event last year and I had trained every weekend for 24 weeks. This year I expected it to be different because I was no longer a “newbie” and I was curious on how I would feel during this event. We got to opening ceremonies as they were starting. I was not as excited as last year, but I was very excited to be with my team. I have spent the entire year with this team fundraising, training and becoming very close friends. What is so wonderful about this event is that no one ever feels uncomfortable because everyone is family. Everyone has been touched in some way shape or form by breast cancer. I think that is one of the best things about this walk, everyone loves at this walk and there is a respect for everyone there.
Last year I was able to finish the entire 60 miles. I was so proud of myself. This year, after the first day, my plantar fasciitis was too much to bear and I ended up in the medical tent the morning of the second day. I was able to walk a few miles more that day and I felt quite let down with myself when I had to ride the van to the next pit stop, or “sweep”. I walked as much as I could day two and day three. On day three, I veered off course a little bit to sight see. I was able to see the Liberty Bell, go to Betsy Ross’ house, and eat a traditional Philly Cheese steak! I was able to walk the last couple of miles into the Navy Yard with the rest of the walkers. At this point I met up with the rest of my team in “holding”. Holding is a place where everyone is kept until closing ceremonies start, so we can all walk in together. I found out that only 3 were able to complete the entire walk I was separated from my team once again when we walked in because I am a survivor and we walk in separately.
Closing Ceremonies are very hard to explain because it is so overwhelming, so emotional, but I will try. First, the crew, medical and safety monitors walk in. Of course as they walk in, we hoot and hollered for them. They kept us safe; they tended to our every need and for some of us (me), kept us walking for a few miles more. Then the walkers walk in. They are all in white shirts. There are about 1600 of them. Then the survivors (in our pink shirts) walk in. This year, for me the walk wasn’t as exciting, wasn’t as emotional. I’m not sure if it was because it was my second walk or whether it was because I had grown hard about whole cause. But then, it was the survivors turn to walked in….

When introducing the survivors and welcoming them home, the commentator said, “For some, this walk didn’t start when you registered, this walk started with a diagnosis. “This is when my walk started for me. December 30th, 2008, was the day I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (breast cancer). As I was standing there, with the group of survivors, holding their hands, bonded by our diagnosis, embraced in our sisterhood, I started to cry. I cried for me, for the friends that are still fighting, for my friends I had lost. As we walked in, the walkers all raised their right shoes in the air as a tribute. As I stood there with my survivor sisters, they raised the flag that said, “NEVER GIVE UP”. The speaker said to look around to the supporters that got you here, the ones that you trained with. At that point I looked around for my team, for the group of women that got me there and I left the survivors to find them. As I maneuvered through the crowd to my team they saw me and we all started to cry as we held onto each other. In end, the only way I can explain my experience is “Excruciatingly Beautiful”.

Philly Or bust!
The Maryland Second base Coaches
My Saviors on Day one!! The SUPER SWEEPERS!
20 miles done!!!

Home Sweet Home
Me and Arlene

Mail!!! I love opening my mail!!! Thank you!!

I did make it to the Rocky Statue!!
This group met us everyday!!!
Not walkers, just cheerers.
Time for a Cheesesteak Stop!!
Lunch time!!!
Sight seeing.

At the Finish Line!!! 

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