Monday, June 29, 2009

Riley and the Flying Squirrels

*Addie and Riley-they look too precious to be fierce!  

Goodbye June!  The first entry on my walking log is June 3rd.  I can hardly believe there is already one month behind me and only 116 days till the main event!  This week I was thrilled to receive 6 donations made to the Komen Foundation in support of my efforts.  Special thanks to the Connolly family from Connecticut, my sorority sister and long time confidante Angie “Hooch” and partner Kim in North Carolina, and a wonderful collection of colleagues from USC including Viki Fecas, Dottie Weigel, and Karen Pettus.  I also want to recognize the Gurkin Family (who welcomed their +1, precious Clementine, just last week) for putting me over the $1000 mark giving me just the motivation I needed for the long weekend walks. 

Thanks also to Katie and Adrienne, two friends and co-workers who joined me on my Thursday night 5-mile trek.  I may have bribed them with dinner and a bit of vino but they were champs hiking in the heat and through the sand-my first “off road” adventure. 

It is summertime, which, in the Latino household, means a stream of visitors-mostly of the canine variety.  Many of my friends take advantage of the summer months to squeeze in a family vacation and since Riley loves a play date, Camp Jenn is wide open!   Joplin kicked things off arriving on Memorial Day weekend and staying until the first weekend in June when I returned her to Raleigh and picked up Addie.  Addie had a two-week stay that ended the third weekend of June when I returned her to Raleigh and picked Joplin up for Round 2!  She will go home the weekend of July 17th just in time for the arrival of Cookie, who has a reservation beginning July 23rd.  The revolving door of doggies means lots of fun for Riley and a variety of walking partners for me!

I typically drag Riley-well, she drags me-and whoever else comes running when I pick up a leash, for the first 3 miles of my walk.  This is a win-win situation since they get the exercise they need and it gives me a stretch break/pit stop part way through my walk.   We knock out the first 3 miles; return home, tongues dragging the ground (theirs and mine); throw a few ice cubes in their water bowl; a quick drink of water for me; and I’m back out to finish my walk. 

If only it was that easy!  Those of you who know Riley know that she has the strength of an ox!  She is 75lbs of pure muscle.  I’m certain she could tow an 18-wheeler out of 10 feet of mud with the right incentive dangled before her.  And, nothing gets her going like--a SQUIRREL! 

Riley and all of her friends seem to share my hatred of the neighborhood sprinklers (see last week’s blog) and when we they see a spray up ahead, she dodges the water with the agility of a chameleon (Wikipedia says that the most agile animal in the world is a chameleon-I would have guessed a cheetah or fox).  But see a squirrel and same dog that spends hours laying on the AC vent in the house, moving only to allow her opposite side a turn at the personal cooling system, is off from 1.5-60 miles per hour in less than 1 second!  It is my biggest fear, and my loudest warning, that she will one day drag my precious dog sitter, Spencer, (who weighs 100 lbs dripping wet) to his death!  My notes for him always include, “Enjoy your walks, and remember to HANG ON!”

After two years of walking Riley, I have developed a survival strategy-I work diligently to see the squirrel first! I am much like a super sleuth, scanning the environment with every step as we approach a wooded area…scan left, scan right, scan high, scan in the shrubs (Mission Impossible theme song playing in my head).  This is the only way I can win!  Grandma Linda got Riley a leash with two hand loops, one close to her collar, and if I see one of these frisky critters first, I grab the lower loop, plant my feet firmly on the pavement-all weight on my heels, and hold on for dear life while she barks and lurches forward with a furry-fury!  This usually goes on for 5-10 seconds until the squirrel finds refuge in a tall tree and, feeling defeated, Riley returns to her sloth like pace, forging ahead on the sidewalk.

When traveling with two dogs, this is further complicated by the extra leash. I am sure I look like a marionette puppet operator.  (This is not what I meant by my childhood dream of joining the Von Trapp family Lonely Goatherd production). With an extra dog on our walk, I often end up straddling a tree, one arm stretched out to the far left, one to the right, and the dogs impossibly tangled together somewhere in the middle.  I notice that some of my neighbors linger outside, pretending to tend to their flowerbeds or sweep the front porch in hopes that “that girl with all the dogs” will come by and give them a show!  Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of someone peeking out of their dining room window.  I’m sure they have a video camera poised and waiting for me to walk by.  One day I will see myself on the “Funny Videos” show (Go-Go always called them the “Funny Videos” show whether it was the Bob Sagat version, the new AFV, or the Animal Planet edition) in the “Animals Misbehaving at Human’s Expense” segment. 

On our Saturday morning walk this week there were 4 squirrel “episodes.”  The chaos of the final sighting ended in Riley and Joplin successfully dragging me, heels firmly planted, using every muscle in my arms and back to hold on, for at least 6 inches.  The bottom of my shoes, my precious training kicks, have a worn area from the friction of the pavement against rubber.  I’m certain that smoke flew from beneath my feet.  After that, we went straight home and I finished the walk solo.    

I’m sure that this will somehow prepare me for the 60-miles that are ahead of us in October.  When Kim, Jenn, and Meredith try to keep a pace that is beyond what I prefer to walk, I have full intentions of hooking them to a nylon leash and pulling back with a hearty “Whoa!” 

I wish you all a great week.  Enjoy your walks, and remember to HANG ON!



This weeks total miles= 20  Total steps= 41,525

Total miles so far=69  Total steps= 145, 441

Congratulations are in order!

The New Kids met some major milestones this weekend! Congrats to Jenn Latino who is off to a GREAT start toward her fundraising goal and crossed the $1000 mark! Mere & Kim both met the $500 mark on Saturday, and the whole team has raised 26% of their team goal! Thank you to all of our contributors!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

NEW Angels & Fears!

Before I post, Welcome to the blog, J Dooley! Love you, sister!

First the GOOD news! I have two more shout outs to make to my peeps! Thanks to our wonderful, BC-lovin' cousins, Kathy, Steve, Ben & Alex, in Boston, Mass! Kathy has even generously offered to be my walk spokeswoman to possibly drum up some support from our less computer savvy family members in Maine. How have I lived life without a spokeswoman?! I think everyone should go out and get a spokesman/woman immediately! My second shout out goes to Chi-Town to Amy, Ron & the Libster! I got an e-mail that they are coming to visit in September followed by an e-mail about their contribution and I am pretty sure my day couldn't get better! So for those of you keeping score, that is TWO new states represented! Massachusetts & Illinois. (Calling all of my FL & GA peeps! Here's your chance!)

Now the not so good news. I admit, I contemplated this walk a LONG time before making the leap to register. When I mentioned that I was VERY afraid of the challenge, my colleague Rachael asked "What exactly are you afraid of?" I didn't have a specific answer. It was this that finally pushed me over the edge.

Well, after hearing stories from a veteran walker at yesterday's Walk Gear on a Budget, I can now answer that question! My fears in no particular order:
A blister that covers the entire bottom of my foot
A foot full of blisters that have blisters
Loosing a toenail because a blood blister develops under the nail and causes it to fall off
Passing out while holding my dinner tray, falling face first to the ground, & slicing my chin open which would require stitches and take me out of the walk
Passing out in the shower and being dragged naked by paramedics in front of the line of walkers waiting for a shower
Going BROKE due to the amount of gear it will take to walk in order to avoid the above blister & passing out stories

But still in light of these VERY identifiable fears, my greatest is "Not reaching my fundraising goal and not being able to walk". Thanks to Kathy, Steve, Ben, Alex, Amy, Ron, & Libby for helping me fight that greatest fear!

With love, hope & LOTS of Walking,

Friday, June 26, 2009

My first {walk} post.

Jenn DOOLEY here.  Not to be confused with Jenn LATINO.  

This is my very first New Kids on the Walk post.  I have another blog that I write in {almost} daily.  But have not yet ventured over here.

To be quite honest, I have been a little nervous about posting here.  I don't know quite what to write.  I should probably give a little background on me and this event in my first post, right? Here goes:

I walked in the 3 Day last year. I did it to honor my Grams, who died 5 years before due to Breast Cancer.  I walked alone.  But with 3500 other women and men who were stepping out for the same cause.  It was a very powerful, very emotional journey.  Those 60 miles were difficult.  But through the support of my family, friends, donors and fellow walkers - I made it through.  I signed up again.  Just  a month or so after the walk.  I knew that I wanted to be part of  that experience again.  Something so powerful.

My husband (Stu) and my son (Michael) were with me every step of the way.  They were at every cheering station along the walk. They bought me Icy Hot and blister band-aids.  They made me signs.  They gave me hugs.  For one of my training walks, I walked 15 miles on my treadmill.  On a Saturday.  Michael was there to cheer me along.  To tell me to keep going.  To bring me water when I needed it.  I called him my little trainer.  He was proud of that title.

On April 9th,  just 11 weeks ago, I was told something that no mother should ever hear.  We did everything for your son ... but he didn't make it.  My sweet Michael died due to complications from his congenital heart defect.  In short, his little 9 year old heart gave out.

To say that I am devastated isn't enough. I am heartbroken.  I am sad.  I am lost.

I thought that I wouldn't do this walk again.  That I couldn't do this walk again.  Michael was with me every step of the way last year.  He was such a huge part of my experience.  I couldn't imagine doing it without him.  He wanted to complete the walk with me when he was older.  

And now he can't.
But I can.

I am going to participate in this walk.  I imagine that Michael will be with me at every step of the way this year as well.   I made a promise to do it.  And we don't take lightly the breaking of promises in our house.

So I am in.  It will be hard.  I will cry.  I will talk of quitting.  But I am determined to push forward.  For my Michael.  For my Grams.  And for me.

I am so glad to have teammates this year ... with both old friends (Kim) and new friends (Jenn Latino and Meredith).  I have two friends in Tallahassee that have also signed up (and will hopefully join our team as well).  This experience will be different.  And I am glad for friends to help me along the way.

Congrats team on your training and fundraising thus far.  Awesome stuff.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Super Special Shout Outs to my Peeps!

I have been overwhelmed by to response to my very 1st request for support on this journey! My first donation came all the way from Oregon, from fellow Nole, Amber. We will be honored to walk in honor of both of her grandmothers and her great aunt who are all survivors.

My next donations pushed me toward my goal fast! Special thanks to my rock star of an aunt, Judy, our friends Bill & Mary in NYC who found time to donate while moving to a new house, chasing a 2 year old and waiting for their twins to be born, and my far away friend, Amy, who must promise me that it will not be as hot on the 3Day as it was when she hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on Mother's Day (although it feels close to that hot right now on training walks). And my new contributions didn't end there with contributions from the Connolly crew from CT, our great family friends, the Neals, & my FSU Visiting Days buddy forever, Alise. That means I have gotten support from Oregon, Ohio, New York, Arizona, Connecticut, and Virginia. If you don't see your state represented or want your state represented even MORE, feel free to get involved! See our links to the right!

Thanks once again to Amber, Judy, Bill, Mary & Otis, Amy & Isaac, Sara, Pat, Brenna, & Rian, Pam & Randy, and Alise. I truly appreciate your support!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How can it be this bloody hot in just June?!?

This blog thing is pretty interesting...I enjoy reading other people's blogs but have never had one of my own. Jenn L. said I needed to start my weekly postings so here very first blog post! (I'm not as funny as Jenn)

I have received my first 2 walking injuries...shocking I know. My first, a small blister (well not really a blister but the skin just rubbed off) on the sole of my right foot. The second, some sunburn on my face from forgetting to put on sunscreen. Now, I have a great reason for forgetting to put on the sunscreen. I was all ready to walk my first 7 miles on Saturday. I even had a slight spring in my step. Ben was planning on working out with me for a bit while I worked out. So we packed up the dogs and headed next door to Complex, the other building Ben supervises, to use the gym. As I started to put our key into the door to Complex, I noticed all the work out equipment lining the little hallway and not in the gym....ummm....they turned the gym into a computer lab for some camp! Well, it's already 11:00 in the morning and hot as blazes (like 97 degrees without the heat index) but I had to get my miles in. So, off I went by myself. I did a 3.5 mile loop twice. I ran out of water after the first loop and was making a deal with myself in my head that if I found water, I'd continue and if not, I'd head home. Well, I found the Glenn Church School Building open, filled my water bottle, took it as a sign and headed back to my loop.

Now, I'd take the dogs with me but it is too hot for them. I did that the weekend before with Ben for 4 miles. While I love my dear husband, I think he almost doubled my time! He was complaining about hills the whole time! Charlie, our Jack Russell/Australian Shepherd mix, was sooooo happy to walking so far (and I was so happy he'd sleep the whole night that night). I would pour water in my hand and Charlie would drink it. He didn't care it was in the high 80s. He was more interested in the squirrels. Hutch, on the other hand, was not happy. He was marching along in a silent protest. When I poured him water, he turned his head and refused it. When we slowed down a little, he would try to start walking in the opposite direction. And, he tried to pee on a bush every 5 feet...I am not even kidding. The poor dog had nothing left to give but he still tried! So, while I love the company of both my husband and dogs, I walk alone for right least until the weather gets cooler or I get up in the middle of the night for my walks.

I do want to follow Jenn's example and give huge shout outs to those who have donated so far. I know $2300 is a lot of money but I really want to walk in October and know that without these donations I won't be allowed to even start the race. So, thanks to my law school buddies, Charles (Potato) Insler and Jeff Brooks. Thanks to Chris and Sabrina Fitze (Bree - go back to studying :)). Thanks to my dear friend Sherry, who is always funny and has the cutest kids. Thanks to my Jessup friend, Jason Johns, who's twin girls are pretty darn cute themselves. Thanks to one of my dearest friend, Rachel, who is super smart and almost done with her PhD (woohoo!). Last but not least, thanks to Dan Hootman, who I didn't even solicit! With the help of these friends, I am now in the double digits of my percentage towards my goal!

So far, I've walked 41.5 miles in snazzy Brooks shoes and special Thorlos walking socks (that supposedly will keep me from losing toenails on the 60 mile walk - who knew you could lose a toenail from walking!?!). Here's to walking many more...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Playing Frogger with the Devil's Strip

Welcome Summer!  The official start of summer was yesterday, which means only one season to go before the October 3-Day Walk event (123 days to be exact). Team University 101 really represented this week! I would like to thank my co-workers Adrienne Mojzik and Penny Smoak and two of the spunkiest University 101 instructors on campus, Jeannie Weingarth and Casey Goldston, for making a financial contribution to the Komen Foundation in support of my efforts.  Also, all the way from “The Sun” (also known as Tallahassee, FL) the Dorn Family made a commitment to find a cure for Breast Cancer.   Thanks to all of you!  I have raised $690 so far, 30% of my goal! 

If the calendar weren’t confirmation enough that summer is here, there is evidence from the sudden ambush on walkers everywhere-SPRINKLERS! You’ll remember from last week that I am stepping out in some snazzy sneakers.  Nothing sucks that “snazzy” out of your kicks like soggy socks. 

I have a personal grudge against sprinkler systems.  There is one in my yard and I have no idea how to even turn the thing on.  My thought is that if you water the grass, the grass will grow.  If it grows, you have to mow it.  My mission in life is to find ways to avoid mowing the grass!  I am a stanch supporter of the idea that we should all have Astroturf in our yard-green year round, soft for running and playing, bug resistant, not itchy…

To strengthen my grudge against the water spewing spouts, I think that my neighbors are in a conspiracy to drown me.  They water at the most random times of day-always when I am walking.  I walk between 6am-8am on the weekends.  Sprinklers are WIDE OPEN!  I walk between 6:30pm-8:30pm during the week.  Again, sprinklers are raining on the yards like an afternoon in Ireland.

When I am on my walk, I’m not always fully aware of what is happening around me.  I may have a little Boom Boom Pow blaring in my ears, or I could be deeply engaged in the most recent episode of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.  The distractions of Fergie and Carl Kasell may preclude me from noticing that I am fast approaching a home of horticulture hugers.  I often have to make a fast dodge to avoid getting caught up in the spray!  I am sure that the neighbors are fully entertained by my quick step motion to jump over the spray, or my effort to stall my steps and time things just right so that as the water starts to spin right I quickly spin left. There are usually 3-4 spouts per yard so I am likened to a game of Frogger…dodge, jump, jump back, forward, dodge, jump…before I land safely on dry concrete beyond the splash. 

I am not sure why the sprinklers are designed to reach the sidewalk anyway.  It is a dreadful waste of water.  I suppose they are trying to nurture the small strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  I recently learned on one of my walks that folks in a small region of Ohio, from Akron to Canton, refer to this as the Devil’s Strip.  Seems some guy left a ransom note that indicated they were to leave the money “…on the devil’s strip.”  The victim’s family had no idea what that meant but it made it pretty easy to identify the kidnapper-clearly someone from a small area in Ohio.  (Thank you MeShell Norris and the “All Things Considered” team.) The residents of The Summit neighborhood in Northeast Columbia have the healthiest Devil’s Strips in America! It is 26 evenly cut inches of thick crabgrass in a deep shade of green.

This week I logged 19 miles and 39,782 steps-all in dry socks and shoes!

That brings the total miles so far to 49 and the total steps taken to 103,916!

This week I tackle the 7-mile walk on Saturday.  That will be my longest in one session yet.  If it is as challenging as I expect, I may just take a quick run through the neighbor’s sprinkler to cool me off as I make the final stretch back home.  Hey, if you can’t beat them…

Happy Stepping!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick Math

I have had the same conversation with each of the New Kids on the Walk about the large $2,300 Fundraising goal which we have accepted but not accomplished. I thought I might channel the math geniuses I work with every day at Georgia Tech to make this goal less scary! Here it goes:

23 contributions of $100 = $2,300
100 contributions of $23 = $2,300
46 contributions of $50 = $2,300
92 contributions of $25 = $2,300
10 contributions of $100 PLUS 26 contributions of $50 = $2,300

10 contributions of $100 PLUS
13 contributions of $50 PLUS
26 contributions of $25 = $2,300

See, with the generous support of our many family & friends, this is a totally achievable goal! And if we each individually raise $3,3000, we will be considered a SUPER TEAM!

New Found Understanding

Remember the song "My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard..."? Well I never understood exactly what that meant until this morning. Kellis, the songtress herself, apparently was wearing a waist pack (remember yesterday's post?) just like mine. As I took each step of my four miles this morning, hearing the water in my 2 water bottles slosh from side to side, I could only imagine the delicious milkshake I could be making with the right ingredients in those water bottles and had the strong desire to download that song. iTunes here I come!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Like to Call it a Waist Pack

After reading blog post after blog post about the gear needed for the 3 Day, my stubborn side (which some may question the use of the singular version of side) determined that I would NOT need to fold to the fanny pack pressure. I figured I could get by with a backpack instead. Backpacks are WAY cooler, right? Well, after one 4 mile walk with a backpack on my back trapping all of the heat and sweat, my "function over form" self beat down my stubborn self and a trip to Target and $20 later, I am the proud owner of a new Waist Pack! Go ahead admit it, you're jealous!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Silent Partner Breaks His Silence

Today's blog is a tribute to the Horizon T701 Treadmill, which has quickly jumped to the front of the race for MVP of the 3 Day Training process, ahead of Big Peach Running Co. and those cool socks I bought at Dick's last weekend. It was 98 degrees last night at 7pm and Kim and I couldn't imagine having Nick Lachey chase us through the rolling hills of Decatur as we tried to get our walk on. So the Horizon (which we got an a ridiculously great sale) stepped in and saved us as we both finished off our four miles. Saturday morning will be an early start as we try to get in 5 miles before melting. I am currently considering bringing some eggs with me so we can stop half way and fry them on the pavement for breakfast.

PS - Ladies, THIS is a blog post. STEP IT UP!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Steppin' Out!

Welcome to week 2!! I must start by recognizing everyone who was so quick to offer a financial gift to the Komen Foundation in support of my efforts!  You have donated $470 so far-that’s 20% of my goal!! I was only a registered participant for 30 minutes when I received my first gift from Amber who is a former classmate and wonderful friend.  Amber participated in a 3-Day event last year and has been a cheerleader for Kim and I!   I’m moved by the generosity that folks from work like the Hunter and Friedman families and Erin Morris have shown! The award for furthest distance traveled for a gift goes to the Houston family!  Julie, Matt and precious Savannah sent their donation from Germany!  Danke, Houstons!  

With the support of these donors on my mind and in my heart, I have made 9 training walks and I feel great!  Getting started was quite a process.  Who knew you needed so much gear.  Everyone recommended that we purchase some good walking shoes to get us started on the right foot (pun intended).  I visited the Strictly Running store in Columbia and exclaimed to the sales guy, who was about 16 years old and skinny as a rail-clearly a runner, “I am training for a 60-mile walk!”  I was so proud of my news!  Certainly a runner, such as himself, would appreciate the feat that is before me.  I gave him the “I’m one of YOUR people now” look and waited for his applause, fist bump, thumbs up, any sign of admiration or respect.  He put his laptop down, came from behind the counter and greeted me with a “Take off your shoes and stand flat on the floor over there.”  With one look he determined that I was flat footed (thanks, Dad) and would need a stability shoe.  He pulled from the shelf an atrocious Brooks brand shoe and asked me what size I wore.  Again, I proudly exclaimed “I used to wear an 11 but I recently lost some weight and now I am a 10!”  Perhaps this news would remind him that I am an athlete now-like him!  60-miles, losing weight…this screams OLYMPIAN!  He left me there, in my bare feet, and headed to the stock room.  They didn’t have the Brooks in a 10 but he brought a 10.5 and claimed that the extra room would allow for swelling.  Swelling?  Hmmmm….  They felt good.  “This is a textbook fit” skinny boy said.  Done!  A quick swipe of the credit card and I was headed home for my first training walk. 

I felt good in my new kicks!  They weren’t pretty but surely the other runners and walkers in my neighborhood would recognize that these were high quality sneakers, reserved only for the most serious of walkers…60-mile walkers.  I was headed out for a 3-mile walk.  The blister on my heel formed at about 1.25 miles.  Textbook?  Humph!

My second visit to the shoe store was much more pleasant.  I was more modest with my arrival sharing with the young woman at the counter that I had been in the day before and the sales person recommended these.   She asked if I was new to walking and I told her that I tended to walk on a daily basis (sans the 11 weeks when I was in a cast) but not to this extent.  I timidly shared that I was preparing for a “Big walk” and I wanted to find a shoe that would not cause a blister so early on.  She asked me how far the walk was.  Here we go…chest partially out, voice not as proud as the day before, “60-miles.”  “Wow!” she responded. Oh yes, this was MY girl!  She fitted me in a size 10 Mizuno shoe built for stability and a wee bit cuter than the bulky Brooks from the day before. 

That night I gave my newer shoes a 3-mile spin around the neighborhood and since then we have logged 30 blissful miles!  (I took a picture of my fantastic shoes but the blog won’t let us post photos.  If you are on Facebook check them out in my 3-Day album.)

In other training news, we are up one teammate!  Meredith Perlman took the plunge! When we met she was the girlfriend of our friend Ben.  Since then she and Ben have married and live in Atlanta. Meredith is the epitome of “Marrying Up!” Lucky Ben!  I am thrilled to have her join us!  Good teammates are a MUST!  We can’t wear iPods on the actual walk so I’ll be relying on my kimPod, jenndPod and merePod to help the time pass.  

I would like to end each blog with a running total of my miles logged in the training process.  I’m not tracking the time it takes me since we have all day when the walk actually gets here.  It’s not about speed, it’s about endurance!  But, I did start wearing my pedometer to track the steps.

Distance so far:  30 miles

Estimated steps (I didn’t log the first few walks):  64,134

It’s time for me to grab my shoes and get to gettin’!  

My First Solo Walk

Saturday was full of firsts. I took my first walk around the neighborhood without my WTP and I rocked out to a new playlist on my iPod. Normally, I have a Safety First mentality and feel that iPods only distract and could cause a pedestrian to get hit by a car. My compromise on Saturday was to only use 1 ear bud. Not a bad solution!

In any case, we are not allowed to walk with iPods, cell phones or any other electronic device during the 3 Day. (for safety reasons, thank you very much) After my 4 miles, bee-bopping through the streets of Decatur, I will never walk without music again! It was life changing! I took my first step to the theme song to the A-Team and was ready to take on the challenge and perhaps take on the rest of the world when I had completed the 4 miles! I walked through the portion of the neighborhood behind the middle school, where the houses that are for sale are listed WELL above the $500 mark, feeling gangsta with Snoop’s “Drop it Like It’s Hot” in my ear. I was reminded by the Fresh Prince that “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and I persevered up the final hill to get to our house with Springsteen’s “Glory Days” as my victorious anthem. It was fantastic.

What did I take from this experience? Well, my teammates had better start learning LOTS of songs now because we have 60 miles to fill with music, ladies!

Breaking News: We have a NEW New Kid on the Walk!!!

Please join Dooley, Latino and I in welcoming our newest team mate, Meredith Perlman. Latino and I went to Florida State with Meredith's husband, Ben. We have MANY Ben stories, my favorite being the first time my mom met Adam. What does Ben have to do with that? Well…

Ben: Mrs. Smith, are you offended by dead baby jokes? (I was pretty sure this was not going to be good!)

My mom: I am not sure I have ever heard a dead baby joke.

Ben: Well then, you are in for a treat! What is the difference between a red corvette and a pile of dead babies?

My mom: I don't know. (I at this point KNEW that this was not going to be good!)

Ben: I don't have a red corvette in my garage.

Really, after that, Adam could do no wrong. Ben was the wing man, Adam never knew he always needed. Although the boys from the Club DownUnder have gotten themselves into trouble since!

I am sure you are thinking, Meredith is the new team member, why are you telling a Ben story. The truth is Meredith is DEFINTELY Ben's better half and her stories are not nearly as scandalous!

So again, Welcome Mere! We are delighted to have you on the Walk!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breaking News: Monday is my Favorite Day!

Monday is the new Friday. Well, maybe not, but as I reflect on my first week of training, there are definitely new perks to Mondays! Mondays, for the next 20 weeks, are Rest Days. Ahhh, rest.

Last week, my wonderful training partner (WTP) and I walked 3 miles on Together Tuesday, 3 miles on Do your Own Thing Thursday, 4 miles on Sweaty Saturday and 3 miles on Survive the Week Sunday. That’s 13 miles more than we walked the previous week but is NOT the number of miles we will walk on ONE day during the Big Event, not to mention the 18 mile days in the last few weeks of training. Yikes.

This week we add cross training on Wednesday and Friday. This means 15-20 minutes on the Elliptical or on a bike or in the pool. This is the cardio to support the legs through the distance. Well, see how this week goes.

I am looking forward to the day when my legs do not need to be heavily convinced to take those first few steps. I look forward to the day when I feel like doing something besides sleeping after a 4 mile walk. My body will get conditioned as we progress but we are certainly not there quite yet.

Monday, June 8, 2009

An ounce of faith is just enough!


This was not an easy decision.  I know that is a surprising statement coming from me-I usually am a “decide fast and deal with the consequences later” kind of gal. 

I was on the lot for 4 minutes before I told the sales person “I want THAT one!” about my car (9 years and 230,000 miles later, still a good choice);

I chose which institution to attend for my doctorate through a game of rock-paper-scissors (Rock Won!  Great choice, rock!  Great choice!);

I bought my house because I liked the way that it smelled (looking back, I probably could have gotten this same smell in my much cheaper apartment with a $6 visit to Bath and Body Works). 

But, the decision to train for and participate in the 3-Day 60 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer weighed on my mind for weeks!  When Kim first mentioned the idea to me last year, I quickly said, “If you do it, I’ll walk with you.”  However, six months later, when it came time to make the commitment, my confidence waivered! 

My apprehensions were multi-fold. 

First, I doubted (and still have only an ounce of faith-but that may be just enough) my ability to physically train for this event.  I am committing to a 21-week training program that will involve some kind of activity, 6 days a week, with some weeks logging as many as 44 miles.  In the heat of SC in the summer, this would challenge even someone in great physical condition.  I am not in great physical condition.  Could I really withstand the muscle strain, blisters, cramps, and sweat that will go into this?

Second, the time commitment to train in a responsible way and ensure that I am prepared to safely complete the 60-mile trek is significant!  When the training plan calls for a 14- or 22-mile walk, this could be as much as 10 hours of a Saturday and Sunday (My training calendar includes shorter walks on Tuesday and Thursday; long distances on Saturday and Sunday; Cross training of 30 minutes-1 hour on Wednesday and Friday).  Between July and October, most weeknights my routine would be, come home, make dinner, eat, change clothes, WALK, cool down, go to bed.  Any socializing, recreation, and my much loved TV binges, would have to be put on hold until after the race!

Third, and this was my biggest worry, was my desperate concern that raising $2300 would be an overwhelming task!  $2300 is a substantial amount of money!  Given the current economic times, my friends and family may not able to offer financial support-regardless of how much emotional support they may provide.  This amount is critical to the success of the 3-Day program.  If I don’t reach my goal, I don’t walk! 

Despite these reservations, when I was kept up at night worrying about whether to complete the registration form, I always woke up knowing that these challenges were what make the 3-Day program such a success!  The commitment that the walkers make is BOLD!  Breast cancer is BOLD!  The training will be rigorous but the pay off will be precious.  The fundraising will be difficult, but the rewards from each of those 2300 dollars will be worth millions to the women (and men) suffering with this disease. 

I share these reservations not in an effort to gain sympathy or bring any glory to my decision to participate in the race.  I share these because they are an honest representation of my fears and so that you will know my concerns.  When the times get tough, you can offer your support in whatever way you can!   If you are not able to contribute to my fundraising efforts, you can offer your support by:

Reading my weekly blog-I have always been a girl with a lot to say and you know I love an audience who will listen (in this case, read).

Offer your suggestions for podcasts, fun walking tunes, digital books, etc. to keep me company on my journey.

Share your own stories and those of your loved ones who have been touched by cancer.  Strong women in my life inspired me to take on this challenge and the stories of others will keep me going!

We are looking for fun ways to celebrate on the 3-Day journey!  If you have suggestions for fun t-shirt slogans, camp decorations, team themes or chants, etc.  please share them!  The 3-Day race is a wonderful celebration and we want our team to be recognized as one of the most fun and decorated among the thousands!

I am making a commitment to make a difference in the lives of many who have been and will be affected by breast cancer.  I hope that you will make a commitment to support me in my efforts.  I plan to post a blog update once a week so visit this site on Tuesdays, starting June 16th, for the weekly entry. 

Thank you all for your support and for taking the time to read my messages.  It’s time to put on my walking shoes and get started!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

My Two Jenns

(For those of you who have already been to my 3Day page - this will be a rerun. My apologies!)

I thought you all should know a little about the 2 AMAZING women with whom I will be walking. Before giving insight into each of them individually, I must preface those descriptions with the fact that they are 2 of the funniest people I know! I am quite certain that the 3 of us will laugh our way through each of the 60 miles and that is something about which I am quite exited!


Jennifer Dooley
Jenn D and I worked together for a blissful 9 months at the Florida State University School of Theatre (SOT). I was the Academic Advisor there then and she was and still is the Marketing Manager for the SOT. Saying that we were fast friends is an understatement and yet is also inaccurate. We actually started at the School of Theatre at the same time in January of 2006 but did not see each other on a regular basis until my office was moved down the hall from her's during the summer of 2007 and THEN we were thick as thieves!! We were the only 2 female owners in the SOT Fantasy Football League, spent MANY a lunches at the Loop, and often tried to talk each other into our newest hobbies. Jenn has in the past tried to convince me to take up scrapbooking and clogging while I tried to get her to shake it with me at Zumba. We actually thought about doing the 2008 Atlanta 3 Day together but I bailed on her to go to the Penn State-Ohio State Football game that weekend. (If you recall the score, perhaps I should have walked instead!) This will be her second walk and she will be our Yoda! Jenn and I have a very similar sense of humor and have NO SHAME when it comes to the popular culture that we consume. Jenn was my 24/7 Tally confidant, partner in crime and is one of the bravest people I know. I am SO fortunate that our friendship has lasted beyond our time together at FSU and look forward to enjoying it for years to come!

Jennifer Latino
JLa and I go all the way back to FSU Higher Education Visiting Days in February 2003. The Higher Ed program brought us together that fall and we were inseparable until she left Tally for Columbia, SC in the spring of 2006. I started as her honorary roommate then became her real roommate. She witnessed the first sparks between Adam and I before we even knew what they were and honored us by performing our wedding ceremony in November 2007. Together, we survived FSU Orientation 2004, have walked every inch of the Walt Disney World parks SEVERAL times over, have narrowly escaped various hurricanes, and have found ourselves in many a precarious situation because of Joe Bechley. This 3 Day is by far our most physcially challenging adventure together though those who have visited Disneyworld with us may say differently. I deeply value our friendship and I so excited to walk beside her as we walk each step. Oh and she has already determined that the winners pin for Rock Star Karaoke Contest during the 3 Day is OURS!

Some people aren't even lucky enough to have 1 Jenn in their lives but I have TWO!

Friday, June 5, 2009


60 miles. 3 Days. 1 Cure....2 Jenns. 1 Kim. And a Partridge in a Pair Tree.

This blog will document each step of the prep and journey of the Atlanta Breast Cancer 3-Day.
Viewer Discretion is advised.