I traveled to Chicago on a Wednesday night, so the Thursday before the 3-day I got to relax a little bit. So what did I do? I went into the city, met a friend for breakfast, did some shopping, met my sister and her husband for lunch, shopped some more, and then watched my sister's volleyball game. Yep. Didn't relax one bit.
But I did get some of these little beauties.
And took the baby's first picture at the bean.
Clearly, Friday morning came early, early, early for us. We were up by 3:45 (yikes!) and arrived at Opening Ceremonies around 5:30 a.m. We took some time to walk around and explore and take a few photos before the event started.
This was our favorite saying of the walk.
It fit well.
Let me just tell you, the crew was amazing. They were so enthusiastic and supportive...always there to give you a push when you needed it. Or, you know, candy.
My goal for the walk: Stay healthy for baby R! Success.
Jessi's goal = Enjoy! Hm. That one's debatable :) Ha!
The Opening Ceremonies were unbelievable. I can't even begin to describe to you how emotional it was to hear more about what Susan G. Komen actually does and what they stand for.
And to see actual breast cancer survivors participating in this event, unreal. What kind of person goes through chemo and then says, hey, you know what sounds fun? Walking 60 miles. Amazing, inspirational people. That's who.
Day 1 started off with a bang. We were fresh, optimistic, and the weather was really nice. It was hot, for sure, but not too bad. We enjoyed pit stops along the way with yummy food, water, and Gatorade. And of course...those blue port-a-potties. Who could forget those?
We finished the day at 15 miles and decided to call it quits. Our feet were killing us. And unfortunately I had developed a major blister on the ball of my right foot which was very painful. So we headed back to camp, showered up, and ate dinner. All before the last walker came in.
We even had time to set up camp. Check out the sea of pink!
This was also the day we learned to never, ever trust a crew member who says, "You're almost there!" You're never almost there. Two miles is NOT almost there. Not even close.
Day 2. We were up early again, deciding to get out on the route as soon as possible to spend the least amount of time in the sun as possible. I expertly taped up my blister and we were on our way. Two miles into the walk, squirt! Blister = popped! Jenny = pain!
I got the medical team to fix me up at the pit stop and I was good to go. So we soldiered on. Plus, Little Caesar's stopped over and gave us free pizza. I wouldn't have wanted to miss that! It was practically the highlight of my walk! And the police and firemen of Mt. Prospect dressed in PINK! Yummy!
We made it 11 miles on Day 2 before we keeled over. How we made it 15 the first day, I will never know. Plus, my blister started growing another blister on top of itself? Didn't know that was possible.
Day 3 was the day we had been looking forward to the most. It was when we finally got to walk in downtown Chicago! We were up bright and early again (4:45!) to pack up our tent and gear and hit the road. Again, we were optimistic about being able to make it the full day!
We were stupid.
We made it to the lake and got to walk all along the beach. Then, it started to rain. We ate lunch in a drizzle and debated catching the bus to the end. But we thought, NO! We'll just start walking and if we can't make it...we'll take a sweep van to the next pit stop and be done.
Again, we were stupid.
This leg consisted of trails where there was no sweep access. AND, it started pouring a monsoon type rain that was so windy and cold we had to laugh at how awful we felt.
I have no idea how we made it to the pit stop, but we did. And we were finished! 12.2 miles for Day 3 put us in at just under 40 miles for the walk. We were ridiculously proud of ourselves. I mean, 40 miles? Insane. There is definitely a part of me that is disappointed I didn't finish the entire 60 miles, but I'm pretty sure the two months prior to the walk that baby R forced me to lay on the couch instead of train did me in. So in reality, I couldn't be happier.
We took the bus to Soldier Field and took the baby's first pictures there!
The finish line was inside the stadium so everyone got to cross it which was such an amazing feeling! We were done!!!
Want to take a little gander at how many people walked this event?
Any ideas yet?
1600 walkers. Isn't that incredible!?!
And we raised over 4.2 million dollars!!
The Closing Ceremonies were just as fabulous as the Opening ones. And we got to celebrate with the family and friends of all the participants.
The survivors were again acknowledged which was so touching.
Overall, participating in the 3-Day was an incredible, life changing experience for me. It was so hard. Much harder than I thought. And my feet hurt more than I ever thought possible. But it was amazing.
People poured out love for us all along the walk and thanked us for doing it. At first, I thought, why the heck are they thanking me? All I'm doing is walking. But then I realized....I'm doing more than that. I raised money. And I'm out here with thousands of people raising awareness for a devastating disease. And it's working! So many people are saved each year because of this organization and their donations...and I got to be a small part of that.
So will I ever do it again?
Hm. Not next year!
I think I'll give crewing a try!
But talk to me in maybe 5 years or so. When the pain finally goes away :)