Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Miss My Old Camper!

Posted by: Jenn Latino
The heat of SC has started to make me delirious! There are still 121 days till the event and I am already dreaming about the 3-Day!

I have always said as I prepare for my annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas that all I want is to meet the “men in the suits!” You know when the machine is squealing and lighting up like Wishes, the men in suits are going to bring you a W-2G form. THAT would be a dream come true!!

I blame my obsession with meeting the men in suits for part of my 3-Day dream. I blame the rest on paint fumes as I have been painting my guest room.

In my dream, we arrived at the check in desk only to learn that I had not met my minimum fundraising goal. The rule is clear. No $2300, No Walking! Before I could explain, 2 men in black suits (I would expect them to be pink but, maybe the Vegas guys only own one suit) approached the check in table and gave me a form to complete and asked for my credit card.

In this dream, I was all set to start the 60-mile journey. I was wearing my Day 1 walking clothes (black walking capris, pink quick dry shirt, newish but not too new pair of Mizunos, lime green CamelBak, Nike hat), had my overnight gear tightly crammed into my regulation size duffle bag, and in my arms was my sleeping bag/pad. WHAT? Sleeping bag? Was I camping? This dream was becoming a nightmare!

At the end of mile #60 last year, I was certain of 2 things. 1. I WOULD participate in another 3-Day event. 2. I would NOT be camping during the reunion tour.

My veteran fans will recall my ranting and raving (Suppressing My Inner Diva) about the camping component of the Komen 3-Day. I won’t revisit that here but in summary, I had major concerns about my ability to sleep outside, especially after walking 20+ miles a day.

The camping gods were on our side in 2009! During the week leading up to the event, the Atlanta area received a large amount of rain. So much rain that there was flooding in the 3-Day camp area that was so significant we were unable to use the space. The campsite was reassigned to a nearby convention center with concrete floors, electricity, AND air conditioning!
Halleluiah! We still had the “camping” experience as we had to use outdoor port a potties and showered in 18-wheeler trailers, but the sleeping conditions were an incredible upgrade from what we were expecting.

As veteran walkers, we now know that camping is not a requirement for the participants. You have the option of reaching the finish line for the day, signing out, and leaving. Non-campers return the next morning looking refreshed and well rested and join the rest of the walkers at the starting line. THIS was the promise that Team New Kids made at mile #60. We would forgo the camping in the future and join our cheer station crew in their hotel. Best. Idea. Ever!
So why, 8 months later, am I reconsidering this decision? Well, partly because there are a few new New Kids who I think need to experience the 3-Day camping process. Trust me, it IS a process!! I would hate for Michelle and Katie to miss out on all of this after hearing me b*tch and moan about it all last summer. I would hate it even more if they camped without me-I am not one to miss out on any opportunity for group fun!

Besides hazing the new New Kids, some of my fondest memories of the 3-Day happened off the trail-at camp. Here are a few “top” moments from camp.

  • Stuffing the ballot box so that Captain Kim would win the Energizer award on Night 1!
  • Watching Dooley dance (yes, after 20 miles she could still dance), while waiting in line for a massage.
  • The massage.
  • MAIL! I had letters and cards from family and friends every day.
  • Showering in the trailers. How many of you can say that you have been naked in the back of an 18 wheeler??
  • Tent set up and camp decorating. Meredith and I practiced at the Expo in July but it was a lot harder when the pressure was on in October!
  • Exhaustion prompted Laughter. Poor Meredith-she was a great tent mate and tolerated my nightly giggle fest after lights out.
  • HEAD LAMPS!! (Seriously, if we don’t camp, I am still wearing my head lamp around the hotel room.)
Perhaps these “top” moments are enough to make me forget the port a potties, the hard floor, late night chatter from 2000 other campers, and getting lost in a sea of pink tents.
This week while I walk, I will continue to ponder life’s greatest question: To Camp, or Not to Camp. What do you suggest?

Don’t forget to help me squash my dream of meeting the men in the suits at the 3-Day! Let’s keep those jokers in Vegas where they belong. You can make a donation toward my $2300 minimum fundraising goal at:

Have a great week! Happy Stepping!

**By the way, the title to this blog is a shout out to my precious niece, Mary Grace who, when she was about 5 years old, was fighting sleep and in her nearly restful stouper told my sister, “I miss my old camper.” My friends and I still laugh at this. MG would kill us if she knew.


  1. As I told you, I was unfamiliar with the fact that we could elect not to camp. Clearly I am a rookie. As long as I have a partner, I plan to camp. There is no doubt that I am nervous about it, but I think I need to experience it. You KNOW you want to camp with me. Hello ... we've experience other crazy things together, I feel like we need to do this! Love your top moments from camp and hope to have many of my own at the end of this!

  2. All of the photos are of our time "in camp." It really was a blast. So, one vote for camping. Keep em coming!