Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 0

Posted by: Jenn Latino

Thursday Morning, 4:30am and I am wide awake! This is the day that the training schedule reads “REST.” Tomorrow I will begin the 60-mile journey through the Atlanta area and I am too excited to sleep!

When we return from our amazing adventure, Team New Kids will be a group of women who have shared a life changing experience. Some of us will immediately commit to doing this again in 2011. Others will blog about the spectacle of the Komen For the Cure experience-whether it’s a 5K or a 60 mile trek, Komen puts on a fantastic show! We will all remember the 3 days that are ahead of us for the rest of our lives and our many fans and supporters who have made this possible are the foundation for helping us build these memories. Thank You!

After two summers of weekly blogging, I find myself with very few new ideas or stories to share. But in the early morning hours, I realize that previous blogs have kept you up to date on Days 1, 2, and 3 of the 3-Day experience, but I haven’t given you a glimpse into Day 0. Here it is!

The day begins at 4:30am, apparently. There is a large red duffle bag filled with all of my walking and camping treasures sitting in the kitchen ready to be loaded into the car. These treasures include my daily needs of clothing, shoes, and toiletries but also the motivation to get me through this incredible challenge. My most precious 3-Day swag, my pink ribbons bearing the names of every person who has donated to my fundraising efforts and the names of the women and men who our team honors with every step we take, are secured to my backpack, within arms reach. When things get tough, I just have to put my hand on your names for an instant boost. This year I am also carrying a small journal and pen to help me remember the important details (like what variety of Girl Scout cookies I find at the cheer stations) that I want to share with you when I return.

Jenn Latino, You Just Walked 60 Miles! What are you going to do now? “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!” Beside the duffle bag is a smaller suitcase all packed and ready for my post-walk adventure! It would be rude to rub it in so I’ll leave it at that.

A third bag is packed for Riley who is off to spend 7 days at Camp Bow Wow! This is her treat for the many miles we have shared since May getting ready for this walk. I estimate that Riley has walked over 250 miles in preparation for the 3-Day. She deserves a week at Camp!

When the sun comes up, my day will start like any other Thursday (minus my usual training walk). I will get ready for work, drop Riley off, and spend the day doing my normal activities. I will teach my class for the last time until November 2nd (they aren’t too disappointed about that). I have a meeting with a student who is interested in graduate school. There are tasks on the To Do that need to be checked off before I go. Day 0 is nothing extraordinary for most people. All the while I will be aware of the butterflies in my stomach, reminding me that today is indeed a special day!

While I am going through my normal motions, my #1 cheerleader will be making her way to Columbia! Mama Linda will not be packed light-35 pounds? PLEASE! She will pack more than that just in snacks! At 3pm I will leave work and head back home to meet up with Mom and consolidate our crap, I mean gear, into one car and begin the journey west! I have the new Sugarland album to keep us company. She has our Disney World itinerary. Perfect combination.

The rest of Team New Kids will spend the day making the journey to Atlanta from North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida. Meredith will spend her day running all over Atlanta to collect our goodies-most of us rented gear from REI to avoid having to carry it from our far away homes (and because some of us are NOT campers and don’t own appropriate sleeping gear). Kim will be playing housekeeper, chauffeur, and caterer making airport runs and playing hostess for the Day 0 festivities.

By car or plane, we will all converge at Casa Sterritt-the official headquarters of Team New Kids on the Walk-for a hearty team dinner. Team dinner is one of my favorite 3-Day traditions. This is when all of the teammates get together with their families. There is a lot of food, a lot of laughter, strategizing about cheer stations and car pools, and confessions of nervousness and anxiety. And, if you aren’t properly packed, there may be some “un” and “re” packing as well. (35 lbs folks! And, yes, your sleeping bag has to fit INSIDE the bag, within the weight limit.) After dinner we will turn Kim and Adam’s house into a shantytown. Their 3-bedroom space will sleep 11 on couches and air mattresses.

By this time tomorrow, the alarm clocks will be ringing and Team New Kids will begin making their way to Lake Lanier for the opening ceremonies and the first steps to an amazing adventure!

I’m excited and nervous about what is ahead. Most importantly, I am confident that I can and will complete a 60-mile journey. Every bold step will raise awareness that we must find a cure for Breast Cancer. We have to-because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime!

If you want to follow our journey, keep an eye on my Facebook page. We’ll make periodic updates during our journey. You can also follow me (JennLatino) and Michelle (MLAshcraft) on Twitter. How do you explain this unique experience in 140 characters or less? I expect the most commonly tweeted word will be “Amazing!”

I hope your weekends are also amazing! Thanks to all of you for your cheers, prayers, and high fives! If you aren’t in the Atlanta area this weekend, you can still be part of our cheering team. Tell your friends about what we are doing. Keep raising awareness. While you are talking, we’ll be walking. Our way of saying, “Thank You” for all of your support.

Happy Stepping!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One last Intro of our NEWEST New Kid!

Posted By: Kim Sterritt

While I realize that it is Walk Week, I also realized that I have failed to introduce you all to our Newest New Kid! Please help me officially welcome Priscilla Nunez to Team New Kids on the Walk!

Priscilla Nunez
Status: Walker
Location: Marietta, GA

Are you a NEW New Kid or a New Kid With Experience?
NEW New Kid

What made you decide to take the plunge and sign up for the 2010 3 Day?

I first heard about the 3 Day my last semester in college when 3 of my sorority sisters decided to walk the 2006 3-Day. Every year since then I would consider doing the walk but I kept putting it off because doubted that I could raise the money and no one else I knew wanted to do it with me. I finally decided to do it this year even if at 1st it meant getting out there by myself (again none of my friends want to do the walk). It's my way of giving back and having a memorable 25th birthday that I can always look back on.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adoring Fan Post #5

Posted by: Kim Sterritt

Please note, tears were shed during this interview.

Adam Sterritt
Status: Walker Stalker
Location: Decatur, GA

What is your connection to Team New Kids on the Walk?

I am Kim's husband as well as a longtime friend of Jenn Latino and Meredith Perlman.

What one 3 Day moment sticks in your brain most?

As anyone who was with me during the walk knows, I found a lot of moments from the weekend pretty overwhelming. The opening ceremony was very memorable as was the closing ceremony, especially as the survivors entered and the walkers saluted them with their shoes in the air. Watching Kim and her team cross the finish line was probably the best memory, I was so proud and happy for Kim and the team.

What did you do to support the New Kids before, during and after the 3 Day?

When Kim started talking about participating in the 3 Day early last year, I told her that I would train with her if she signed up. In early June we started with a 3 mile walk (which nearly killed me) and by the end of the summer we were getting up at 5am to get in 15+ miles before the sun got too hot. It was an incredible experience and I value the physical benefits of training (I'm not afraid to walk ANYWHERE now) as well as the great benefit of spending so much time walking and talking with Kim. As only the walkers know, it is not very easy to get up early on a Saturday and walk for 5 or 6 hours and it was very meaningful to share those challenges with Kim. During the weekend I acted as Team New Kids Driver and drove the Smith Family Minivan to every cheer station to help cheer on our ladies.

What words of encouragement do you have for the New Kids, both New and Experienced?

Another moment that sticks in my brain is the announcement of how much money was raised at the end of the walk. It is important for all walkers to remember the phenomenal amount of good that their fund raising has done and will do in the fight against breast cancer. I know that all of the New Kids will be able complete the walk if they keep the spirit of the whole event in their minds. Plus, they will be able to eat Girl Scout Cookies out of season.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Taste of the Good Life

Last week I got to "taste the good life" on multiple occasions!

First, last weekend I started out on my training walk and went my normal route. Less than a mile into my route, I saw a huge sign that said "Welcome to Mile 8" with the Avon 2-Day symbol on it. I had encountered the Avon 2-Day for the Cure route! I saw women dressed in pink and with pom poms and walking equipment. I kept on the route and ended up walking on the 2-Day route for several miles. I got to experience some of my favorite things about the walk during that Saturday training walk. There were crossing guards on motorcycles helping you at the intersections! I saw the guy in the Sponge Bob outfit and the kilt guy. I mentioned to them that I was a 3-Day walker and they said they would be there too and I should have fun training. There were cheerleaders along the way. I felt kind of guilty as they said "Good job!" and "Congratulations!" There were also sweeper vans...What are sweeper vans you ask? If you get injured or can't walk any more, you can climb into a sweeper van and they will take you to the next pit stop or rest area. My taste of the good life was fabulous! It made me remember my favorite things about the 3-Day and look forward to next weekend even more!

My second "Taste of the Good Life" involved food...and a LOT of it! My fundraiser at Rosebud restaurant in Atlanta was a huge success. Thanks go to Chef Ron Eyester! Teammates Kim Sterritt and Karen Wagner also joined us in their 80s finest. Chef Ron did not disappoint. They had a sampler platter that included fried homemade mozzarella, potato skins and chicken wings. Then there was baked brie and a ramen noodle bowl with a shrimp and shellfish broth. The 4th course was a Monte Cristo and it was delish! Then Chicken Francese with great 80s whipped potatoes and the rage of the day...capers. Then they made their own blizzard that was...dare I say it...better than Dairy Queens! Chef Ron and his team also made some great cocktails that included tab and homemade winecoolers. It was a night to remember and photos can be seen here. Thanks again to Chef Ron for such a memorable night and providing such great food. Thanks also to my "walk widow" of a husband, Ben, for being the DJ and playing such good music...even if people stayed and danced until 11:30 pm!

One more week until the 3-Day....I just got an email saying we could print out our credentials and it is such a scary feeling. Here's to a great 3-Day with great teammates. Thank you to everyone that has donated to me and my teammates. We have raised over $19,000 so far and just need a little more to each reach our fundraising goals. Thank you for supporting us on this journey!

Adoring Fans Interview #4

Posted By: Kim Sterritt

Brad Smith
Status: Surprise Walker Stalker
Location: Perrysburg, OH

What is your connection to Team New Kids on the Walk?

Brother of participant, Kim Smith (editor's note: My brother apparently takes after my father. See Monday's interview question number 1 for comparison!)

What one 3 Day moment sticks in your brain most?

On the morning of Day 2, myself, my wife Shannon, and my two daughters Sydney and Taylor greeted Kim at their first cheering station of the day. Kim was unaware of the fact that we were going to be driving down to support her that weekend. Her response to our surprise is the moment from that weekend that I will remember the most. She could not hide how much it meant to her to have our support. (editor's note: Again, my family LOVES to remember my heart palpitations and sobbing quite fondly.)

What did you do to support the New Kids before, during and after the 3 Day?

To support Kim in the 3 Day event we financially sponsored her, we traveled to Atlanta to support her that weekend, and for Christmas this past year my wife made a scrapbook for Kim that commemorated the 3 Day event. (editor's note: An amazing scrapbook by the way! Really captures the emotional and physical roller coaster of the experience!)

What words of encouragement do you have for the New Kids, both New and Experienced?

This event is for a terrific cause and it was amazing to hear the amount of money that was raised to fight breast cancer. Seeing it first hand, you get a real sense that for the participants, this is a life changing experience.

Brad will not be attending the walk this year as their newest addition, Madelyn Grace, reason #4 that I am participating in the 3 Day, arrived in July and traveling 12 hours with 3 kids under 5 years old is too crazy to attempt! Brad will be taking on his own physical challenge this weekend by running the Columbus Marathon. He may think walking 60 miles is crazy but I think running 26.2 is just plain NUTS!!! Go Brad! I am so proud of you!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Adoring Fans Interview #3

Posted By: Kim Sterritt

This interviewee became better known as the Mamarazzi for the countless number of amazing photos she took! She did a terrific job of capturing the many memories of last year.

Linda Latino
Status: Walker Stalker/Mamarazzi
Location: Raeford, NC

What is your connection to Team New Kids on the Walk? Mom of Jennifer (Latino), and friends of other teammates

What one 3 Day moment sticks in your brain most? The beginning in the dark, meeting the entire team of NEW Kids On The Walk, the meeting places, the finale of seeing the entire team walk into the Atlanta Braves Stadium. I guess the highlight was seeing all the walkers, during closing ceremony take off a shoe and hold it high. I still look at that today and it chokes me up.

What did you do to support the New Kids before, during and after the 3 Day? I walked with Jennifer on some of her training walks, monetary donations, goodie bags for the entire team, and for Christmas, presented Jennifer with a scrapbook of the walk, that included pictures and all of the postings that she did every week. She walked 60 miles and I rode with Tina 570 miles to meet the team at every break point and would not change one minute. Each meeting was very emotional. Sitting in the rain, being cold, but meeting other Moms and we kind of formed our own team and met up with each other and made plans for ourselves.

What words of encouragement do you have for the New Kids, both New and Experienced? Be sure you spend the money and buy good shoes. You are going to spend lots of time in them. Jennifer said that was something she did not skip on.

Anything else you would like to add? The bond that the Moms and support team had was extremely important. Where all the girls knew each other, all the Mom's got to spend time and share stories. Jenn's Mom was a very courageous lady to come out and always be there for her daughter and so was Stu. Loved meeting Ms. Buckeye. Enjoyed her goodies that she made to share. Also the dinner that we had as a group was a nice treat. Hopefully that can be done again this year. (editor's note: final arrangements for this are in the works!)

Linda most likely already has her bags packed and will be again making the trip to cheer us on! Thanks, Linda! Can't wait to see you!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adoring Fans Interview #2

Posted by: Kim Sterritt

I will allow this interviewee to speak for himself!

Ben Perlman
Status: Self Described “Walk Widow”
Location: Atlanta, GA

What is your connection to Team New Kids on the Walk?
My wife, Meredith, is a walker. And she stole all of my friends from graduate school and now they’re on the team with her.

What one 3 Day moment sticks in your brain most?
Actually, selfishly, I think how much fun I had with the families and loved ones of the team.

What did you do to support the New Kids before, during and after the 3 Day?
Not much? I dunno, Meredith said I was too slow to walk with her in training. I bought stuff. I lot of stuff. I’m good at that. Not as good as Meredith. I cheered people on.

What words of encouragement do you have for the New Kids, both New and Experienced?
Train hard! And figure out what it means for you personally, that seems to help a lot of folks during the tough times.

Anything else you would like to add?
Looking forward to being a walk widow again!

Ben will be there again this year to cheer us on! Thanks for your support, Ben!