Monday, July 6, 2009

This Ain't Your Momma's Marching Band

This week, I added a few states to the line up of donors (see Kim’s June 25th post for the challenge to see who can get donations from friends and family in the most states) and I am excited to introduce them here!   The Glisson and Skipper/Dong families represented the National Resource Center team (SC) with generous gifts.  I also received support from my friends and former classmates the newly married Katie McGee Barras (LA) and Ella and John Weaver (AL).   Teri Carpenter (NC) and Alisa and Pete Liggett (SC) donated this week.  BUT, they both donated the day that they returned from a vacation!  Teri had been on an Alaskan cruise and made a donation upon returning to dry land.  Alisa and Pete unpacked from a 3-week journey all over the state of California and when they did, they unpacked their leftover spending money to the Komen Foundation.  I would like to argue that donations made within a 24 hour period of having visited a state, qualifies the home state OR the visited state for the competition.  Under that policy, my donation line up is impressive:



South Carolina

Washington, DC (Okay, Virginia but the Gurkins work in DC!)


North Carolina





I propose a college and university competition as well!  Looking at my donors, there are many schools represented by either a student or staff member (current staff or student status required)!

Kaplan University

University of South Carolina

Florida State University

University of Oregon-Eugene

Louisiana State University

Auburn University

Team New Kids on the Walk is well on their way to achieving our fund raising goals. Our supporters are making a difference, all over the map!

I spent the holiday weekend in Raleigh, which meant a much-needed change of scenery for my training walks and my first visit to the REI store.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with REI (I’m sure it’s an anagram for something though I can’t find any proof of that) let me give you a first time visitor’s perspective.  These retail establishments are the Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.  They are located only in urban areas, Columbia, SC not included, and cater to the hobbies of a diverse array of athletes.  Upon entering an REI, you will find a rustic motif and the smell of a campsite-they must pump in the scent of burning wood and s’mores like a Vegas casino pumps in oxygen. 

Much like my first visit to the running shoe store, I felt like a complete outsider.  My pink t-shirt, glass pearls, and knock-off designer tote did not scream “Experienced Outdoors-Woman” to the staff at the REI.  I can understand their judgment; I truly was a fish out of water.  They are more accustomed to serving the needs of “real athletes.” 

I have observed in my 6 weeks of athletic training that “those who sweat for fun” tend to stick together in cliques tighter than the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds.  REI is even organized in such a way to condone this type of clique-i-ness.  Boating gear (boats, oars, life jackets) is in one corner of the store; Hiking gear (ropes, carabineers, helmets) clustered in the upstairs loft (Yes, the store has a loft-and no elevator to get you there, just FYI); Camping equipment takes up the back half of the store (tents, other camping stuff…).  This set up ensures that the boaters can easily find one another and stand around and talk boat talk while the hikers talk hike talk and the campers talk camp talk.  I suppose if you are a boater who hikes or a hiker who camps you have some identity issues when visiting REI. 

After taking note of the adventurer cliques, I noticed that the equipment to fit all of my needs was not organized in the same way.  Where is the area for the “Walkers?”  We don’t have a space!  Our socks are upstairs near the shoes-okay, that makes some sense; our hydration packs are with the hiking supplies;  our head lamps are in the camping area; moleskin and other medical supplies are at the front register.  It’s discrimination!  Clearly “Walkers” are not a recognized group of athletes worthy of our own REI zone!

I would like to make the claim that “Walkers” should be respected athletes equal to that of a Runner, Biker, Kayaker, Hiker, Rock Climber, Camper.  Here is my rationale:

1.  Walkers need GEAR; specific items that are necessary to aid in the SPORT of walking. The packing and preparation list that is provided for our team is at least 2 pages long!  Some of the items that may surprise you include:

Scissors-to cut moleskin

Pedometer-to count your steps (I bet you won’t find these in the boating section)

AstroGlide-this is a family friendly blog so I won’t elaborate here

Fanny pack-to hold all the gear and to only add to the public ridicule from other, more recognized athletes

2.  Walkers work as a team.  I have never been a member of an organized sporting group. (It has taken me many years to comfortably admit that the marching band did not qualify for this category.)  But, the NKOTW are a TEAM of women, working toward a common cause, supporting one another, and engaging in healthy competition to whoop up on each other in the Rep Your State competition.  That, my friends, is how athletes work on a team! 

3.  Our success in our sport is due more in part to our passion to succeed than any natural ability.  Anyone can walk! It takes the passion of an athlete to walk 20-45 miles a week in preparation of a 60-mile journey to support the women and men who have been or will be affected by breast cancer.

As we train for the 3-Day event, I am on a campaign to have walkers, worldwide, be recognized in the community of athletes.  We need a place on the Olympic podium! We need our own channel on cable!  We need our own magazine:  Walker’s World!  I am taking up this cause, pedometer on my hip, water bottle in my fanny pack, with a passion and a drive like that of the students in the Great Biscuit Rebellion--that reference is for my SC friends-student activism at it’s finest.

{I once had a student in a leadership class that I was teaching tell me that she admired me because there were at least 100 causes that I would throw myself in front of a bus to fight for.  I hope that her analogy was just in admiration of my passion for many causes and that she recognized that I wouldn’t really throw myself in front of a bus.} But I will stand up and WALK!

This weekend I will be in Atlanta visiting Kim and Meredith so we can attend the 3-Day Expo (like an orientation for all of the October walkers-excuse me, athletes) and the three of us plan to visit an REI.  We will walk in, heads held high, confident that we are athletes!  We…are…Walkers! 

Note to my fellow athletes and teammates:  After I train this weekend in Atlanta, that will bring the number of states trained in to 3:  South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia!  I challenge the other NKOTW to train in as many states as possible before the October event!  See…competition!  Athletes LOVE competition!

The training load was light this week.  Athletes have to take a break to celebrate the holidays!

Miles this week: 15  Steps taken: 31,473

Miles so far: 84  Steps taken: 176,914

Until next week, keep on steppin’! 

*The dreadful evidence of my days in the marching band. I'm on the right, the short one.


  1. I giggled so much through your post! Walkers are athletes! At least for now we are. However, I think there is a speed walking competition that may or may not be in the Olympics...I will check. Also, don't get a hiking camelbak, get a biking one b/c they are slimer. We'll visit Jessie at REI because she has walked in 8 (count them 8!) 3-day walks. She is my new BFF. I should email her to see when she is working...

  2. LOVE the picture, you athlete! Also, add Oregon to your state list! Keep on going NKOTW!!!! You all are doing great!

  3. I have always enjoyed your many band stories but really the photo is the icing on the cake. Priceless. Oh and we have trained in 2 states now, Georgia & Ohio. Let me say, Ohio, flat, 72 degrees in July. Not too shabby. Georgia cannot say the same! Can't wait for this weekend!

  4. OH MY GOSH! I forgot Oregon!! How could I have forgotten Oregon!