Monday, October 19, 2009

It's The Final Countdown!

This is it!  We have made it to walk week!  Kim sent out an email this morning that read:  “Happy Walk Week, Ladies!  Can you believe it is finally here?” and I wasn’t sure whether to cheer or puke!  We did it.  We completed 21 weeks of training, made it through 2 seasons, logged in excess of 400 miles each, and raised over $17,000 and a ton of awareness for Breast Cancer!  All that is left to do is take the bold steps to start the 60-mile journey.  My spirits are high and I am anxious to get to Atlanta so I can join the other New Kids and get this adventure underway. 

This week I received more support from two coworkers, Jennie Duval and Jenn Powell.  Both Jennie and Jenn (there have been as many as 5 versions of the name Jennifer in our office at one time-yes, it is terribly confusing) have been amazing cheerleaders for me.  I am honored to add them to the list of folks who have joined me in the fight to find a cure for Breast Cancer.

I will be recognizing all of you and honoring your loved ones during the walk in a very special way. Julianne Dunn and my mom have put their crafty skills to great use and created a pink ribbon bearing the name of every person who made a donation to the Komen Foundation and one for every person that you have honored with your donation and I have chosen to honor with my walk.  There are an impressive 85 ribbons on my Mickey Mouse hook and I will wear it proudly on my backpack throughout the walk.  I can’t wait for my fellow walkers to ask me about my ribbons.  I have 85 unique stories to share-and you KNOW I have the gift for gab and will tell them ALL ABOUT YOU!

The ribbon hook will be the first thing I pack-Inspiration first!  The 2nd item that must make it in the bag arrived this afternoon and was waiting for me on the front porch when I got home.  Michelle Ashcraft made me a beautiful blanket to help keep me going during and after the walk.  She included in the quilted squares the words “Cure” and “Inspire.”  I am in awe at Michelle’s generosity and the time that she must have put in to this project.  With the chilly weather we are expecting, I will definitely be using the blanket in the evenings and, at Michelle’s recommendation, may even cross the finish line wearing it as a cape to celebrate all of the super men and women who have joined me on this journey! 

So I have my inspiration-and a great start to the challenge of packing for the 3-Day.  Now, I only have to figure out how to efficiently pack the remaining 100+ items on the recommended packing list, into 1 bag, that is limited to 35 lbs!  Oh my!  You would be surprised at the many many things that you need on a 60-mile walking/camping journey.  There are some obvious items:  walking shoes, 3 sets of walking shirts, pants, undergarments.  I plan on brining 9 pair of walking socks (3 for each day) so that if it rains, I will at least have a fresh dry pair of socks to change into at the rest stops as well as a rain coat.  Other clothing items include a hat, sunglasses, and 2 new additions due to the recent plunge in temperatures-a long sleeved walking shirt and hot pink leg warmers!  We will be bringing back the best in 80s fashion in our hot pink warmers-but we will be warm!   

Beyond the things that I will wear, other provisions and comfort items include:  Blister care of 2 kinds of blister specific Band-Aids, moleskin, Vaseline, Body Glide, Neosporin. In addition to these items, my backpack will be filled with water and a bottle with electrolyte supplement. Beyond blister care and fluids there are other necessary items such as pain reliever, sun screen (wishful thinking), lip balm, antibacterial wipes, a roll of 300 pink ribbon stickers to share with fellow walkers, pink breast cancer bracelets to share with the friends that we make, camera….the list goes on.

That is the walking gear.  Don’t forget, we also need camping gear!  The tents are provided but in the 35 lb and 1 bag limit we have to include a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, head lamp for evening visits to the porta-potty (see camping blog for more detail), shower shoes (ugh), toiletries, breast cancer bracelet from Shana to give me some flair, warm pjs, tent decorations-so we will know which one is ours, super fun breast cancer socks from Dottie, pillow, flashlight, plastic tarp in case of rain…

The threat of rain comes and goes.  10 days out rain was predicted for all 3 days.  As of today, we are still expecting rain but only on Friday.  Just the possibility of rain adds a fun dimension to the packing challenge.  My strategy is to pack each day’s clothing items in a large Ziploc bag.  I have labeled bags for Saturday, Sunday, Shower, Backpack Supplies, and Misc. My luggage will be filled with a series of plastic, waterproof bags.  Since our luggage is exposed for most of the first day, we have to plan to be sure everything inside stays dry.  The 3-Day handbook recommends that we line the inside of the bag with a heavy-duty garbage bag.  This is some serious layering of plastic-each taking up precious ounces of my 35 lb limit!

There are some items listed as contraband on the 3-Day.  These include jewelry, personal electronics such as iPods, and ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES!  This includes hairdryers and cell phone chargers as there are no electrical outlets at camp.  I have had to take several deep breaths, and am still considering booking a room at the Holiday Inn, when I consider spending 2 nights without my hairdryer, or 2 mornings without my flat iron.  I understand their rationale-60 miles ain’t supposed to be pretty.  But, my concerns are not of vanity but of my wellness!! We are encouraged to shower in the evenings so we have a faster start to the day (and because we will have walked 20 miles and the tents make for tight quarters).  Once we survive the tractor-trailer shower adventure, in plastic shoes, we are off to bed (eh, sleeping bag) where it may get as low as 40 degrees overnight.  I don’t want to have a wet head of hair.  I need my dryer to ensure that I don’t catch a cold!  I am determined to find a hairdryer that runs on batteries.  I would be willing to give up the space and weight of less important things, like a first aid kit or insect repellent, to be able to bring my hairdryer-just a small travel one!  I would be more than willing to share it with my fellow walkers! 

The woes of packing are all that stand between me and a wonderful, life changing adventure this weekend.  Cold weather, blisters, rain, and shower shoes can’t keep my spirits down!  I have a supportive team of women to share every step of the way, and a band of supporters cheering me on from over 25 cities and 2 countries. 

This week I logged 29 miles in 49,576 steps.  That brings the total to:  490 miles and 950,053. With only 1 training walk left (5 miles Tuesday evening), I am looking forward to seeing how many steps I take on the 60-mile journey!

I look forward to posting a final blog, next Tuesday, that I will write from the comfort of Kim and Adam’s sofa, feet propped up, enjoying a relaxing Monday, SITTING DOWN and reflecting on the previous 72 hours!  It’s going to be magical! 

Thanks for cheering me on and Happy Stepping!


  1. If it does rain, your hair dryer woes are solved. There's no reason to dry hair that's just going to get wet. Right?

    The quilt Michelle made is awesome! And I love the pink ribbons on the MM key chain (gotta love the Disney touch from your momma).

    You are going to rock the walk!

  2. Everything is in place. You are ready. Go get 'em! We are all behind you and with you on the walk.

    Love that blanket!