10 days! Just 10 days until we take the first steps on the 3-Day Breast Cancer journey! 10 days to get our heads and our feet in the game of 60 miles. One more weekend of training, 8.5 days of work, 9 sleeps. It’s not far off!
These days nearly everyone is asking me, “Are you ready?” How the heck should I know? I think I’m ready. I’ve followed the formula for “readiness.”
- Raise $2300. CHECK
- Follow the provided training schedule. CHECK
- Study the 50+ page, highly informative handbook. CHECK
- Read the message boards to learn from experienced walkers. CHECK
- Read every Facebook posting from walkers who have participated in 2009 Boston, San Francisco, and Denver walks. CHECK
- Medical check, online check-in, fulfill significant packing supply list, tent mate selection…all CHECK
I am no longer afraid of the physical challenge of 60-miles. I’m prepared. I have built up the stamina to complete 20+ miles in one day. Sunday I walked 8 and didn’t even break a sweat. 10 days from GO and I can honestly say, the 60 miles is not the biggest challenge that lies ahead. It’s camping!
When I first signed up for the walk, I have to admit, I had NO IDEA we would be camping!! We selected the Atlanta walk because Kim and Meredith live in Atlanta. I assumed the New Kids would be picked up every evening and chauffeured to Casa Sterritt or Perlman where we would be treated to luxurious carb heavy dinners, foot rubs, bubble baths, and down-filled bedding.
My realization that the 3-Day participants actually spend the entire 3 days together, as a community of walkers, was bittersweet. I am thrilled to be able to immerse myself in this experience. I understand that from the start line to the finish line, we are All in this Together! However, I am devastated that our immersion will come in the form of an 18 wheeler equipped with exposed shower stalls and the need for plastic shoes rather than a lavish bubble bath.
I’m not a camper….I will pause here for all of you to recover from the shock. Don’t get me wrong, I have camped. But I am by no means, a “camper.”
My camping resume is less than impressive. I was a Girl Scout. I joined because I wanted to sell cookies. I was a hell of a cookie seller! For two consecutive years I sold the most cookies of any scout in our council-earning me a free week-long stay at the overnight camp of my choice! I choose Mary Atkinson one year and Camp Graham the next. (In hindsight, I think it could have been my parents who were such good salespeople! The opportunity to ship your child off for 6 nights must have had some appeal!) Both MA and Graham hosted campers in cabins, not tents, that slept 6-8 girls, on twin sized bunk BEDS. We had indoor showers, plumbing, 3 hot meals a day, nightly bonfires, s’mores, swimming pools, horseback riding, all of the necessary camp elements. I loved summer Girl Scout camp!
During the non cookie selling seasons, there were opportunities for troop camping. We would load up on Friday afternoon and drive 10 miles out of town to Camp McCall or Carver’s Falls and we would camp. Trust me, on these trips, I camped! We cooked on things called Bunsen burners and made or own Dutch ovens. We took turns cleaning the “latrines” and slept in tents, outside, before the days of air mattresses. The bonfires and s’mores were still there, but the amenities of summer camp were significantly lacking.
Post Girl Scouts, my next camping experiences occurred during my adult life, when I knew better! Some of my friends are campers and in a few weak moments, I have caved. My fear that I will miss out on something fun sometimes shadows my rational side. Take, for instance, the time we planned to go camping in the NC mountains but, after leaving Raleigh on a Friday afternoon, decided it was too far to drive and, instead, set up camp in Shawn’s parents’ backyard near Winston-Salem. We honest to goodness pitched tents on the Seuberling’s lawn and slept outside. We had full access to indoor plumbing, their refrigerator, big screen TV…this was my kind of camping!
I vaguely recall a camping experience when I was persuaded by the opportunity to see the Jennifer Nettles Band perform at a small venue in Black Mountain, NC. Tina, Miranda, and Jen (1 N) assured me that camping in the NC mountains was an amazing experience and we would save so much money by not getting a hotel. I demanded that they select a campsite that had showers and toilets, which they did. After a miserable rainy night in the freezing cold I was reconsidering my selection of friends. (FYI-It was one of the best JNB shows EVER! And when V-Lowe and I visited Black Mountain a few weeks ago, I looked for the old music hall where we paid less than $20 to see the now famous JN and it is no longer there.)
A third camping attempt followed the Black Mountain adventure. This time the weather was cooperative but I somehow allowed my fellow campers (Dana, Tina, Teresa) to 1. Take me on a hike through mountainous terrain; and 2. To ride in a canoe! It was the first and last time I have ever paddled a boat.
My dislike of camping does not stem from any Diva-esque mentality! I’m not a hair and make up kind of gal. Okay, I CAN be low maintenance when I need to be. But who doesn’t prefer a sturdy roof of shingles over their head to a thin layer of nylon stretched over a couple of tin poles? And I hate bugs. Hate them! I moved 800 miles north because I am convinced that God never intended for humans to share space with the critters that call Florida home. And I like feather comforters, sleeping with 4 pillows, toilets that flush, showering without shoes, and air conditioning. I don’t hate camping, I just really, really, really like air conditioning (and central heating when necessary)!
My anxiety about the camping aspects of the 3-Day event is calmed by a few things. 1. I have a great tent mate/tent neighbors. The New Kids will be lined up next to one another, and Meredith and I are sharing a pink dome. We “practiced” pitching a tent at the 3-Day orientation. Cross your fingers that the Atlanta area Boy Scouts show up to help raise the 1500+ tents in the 3-Day camp otherwise, we may be sleeping under the stars.
2. 3-Day camp includes a 2-night karaoke contest! I challenge anyone to present a show tune that Kim, Dooley, or I can’t belt out with Broadway level gusto!
3. Head lamps! We have strap to your head lights to wear in case we have to “go” during the night. With these stylish accessories we can easily find the rows of port-a-potties and have a hands free experience. The down side: Finding our way back to the tent, when all 1500+ tents look exactly the same….????
To help maximize the comforts of camp, we have rented sleeping bags from REI and splurged on a sleeping pad to help cushion us from the ground. I’m skeptical that 2 inches of foam will make much of a difference and may try to sneak in my battery-operated air mattress. We also signed up for the daily towel service so that we will have fresh, clean towels to use each evening. This may be the best $12 I ever spent!
I will be practicing positive thinking for the next 10 days. I can do this! I climbed Diamond Back in Honolulu, alone! I worked in a nursery of birth-3 year olds, every Sunday, for 4 years. I completed a doctorate degree. I can spend 2 nights outside.
I’m programming the numbers for an Atlanta cab company and the closest Holiday Inn to my Blackberry just in case. Wait! My Blackberry! How will I…..sigh.
This week I bailed on the 18 mile Saturday suggestion because I was at a conference in Charlotte and didn’t have 6 free hours of daylight but I was cheering for my fellow teammates as they took on the last of our major training walks. My week included 21 miles and 39,436 steps.
The totals are: 461 miles; 900,457 steps. I was hoping to hit 1,000,000 before the event. I think I’ll just miss it.
Only 1 more Tuesday blog entry before the big event! Thanks for reading!