Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You for Being a Friend!

Posted by: Jenn Latino
Week 5! WHEW! Summer has arrived a little early. In SC we saw temperatures in the triple digits this week-Brutal! It can be hard to stay motivated when the sun is so bright but I was not discouraged this week because I had great company on 14 of my 17 training miles! It is amazing what a walking partner can do for your motivation.

On Thursday, I walked with Nicci, a co worker at USC. I met Nicci at a workshop in May on the first day of the 2010 training season. I shared with the group that I was beginning a 24-week preparation for the Komen 3-Day and Nicci immediately offered to join me for a few walks. This is the 2nd Thursday that we have walked together. The first week, we were joined by Bates, her precious (and very energetic) puppy. This week we had to leave Bates behind because of the heat but Nicci met me after work with a smile, a bottle of iced water, and a perfect (and mostly shaded) 4 mile route through a downtown neighborhood. What a great walking buddy!! I enjoy walking in new neighborhoods and even more enjoyed not having to think about the route. She led, I followed. Sharing a few walks is a fun way to get to know a new friend and I look forward to many more walks with Nicci and Bates.

This weekend I was in Raleigh for Shawn’s housewarming party! Before we could celebrate homeownership, we had to fit in a 6-mile walk. Shawn and Danielle have a 3.5 mile route so we decided to do 2 loops. Overachievers. We took the first 3.5 as a quartet: Me, Shawn, Danielle, and the furry contingency: Riley and Addie. We dropped our canine couple for the 2nd lap because the heat was becoming intense. For the 2nd time during the week, I didn’t have to think about the route. They led, I followed. During our walk we talked about the 3-Day, what Shawn can expect, how the training was going so far, important things like sneakers and quick dry shirts…and doughnuts! During our walk I learned that their beautiful new home was perfectly situated only a few miles from a Daylight Donuts. Nothing puts the pep in my step like the promise of the doughy goodness of a doughnut! 7 miles-CHECK! 7 donuts-CHECK!

Valerie was in town for the housewarming party too and she had a sleepover with me at Dana’s. Valerie, my friend who has only owned a pair of sneakers for about 8 months, volunteered to join me for my Sunday walk! It was a scheduled 4 but since we did 7 on Saturday, we settled for 3. I have a familiar 3-mile route at Dana’s from last year so it was an early morning for me, the newly married V-Lowe (well, now V-Young), and Riley. We knocked out the 3 miles in no time!! After all, there were leftover doughnuts at the house. The highlight of our walk wasn’t that we relived every moment of Valerie’s recent wedding weekend; or our discussion about her upcoming honeymoon in Brazil; or the near death experience I had when Riley spotted a squirrel just a split second before I did.

The HIGHLIGHT was the love fest we saw as we came past the lake on the home stretch back to the house. Duck #1 (a male duck-we’ll call him Donald) was chasing Duck #2 (I presume a lady duck-we’ll call her Daisy) and Daisy was having nothing to do with it. Donald did not give up, running circles around several other lady ducks, determined to “score” with Daisy. We stopped walking. This was definitely a “we gotta see how this ends up” kind of adventure. I moved behind a shrub to keep Riley from ruining Donald’s game and we watched as he continued to pursue his love. Just as Daisy started to escape, Donald made a final pounce and SCORED! I don’t know if you have ever seen the “spring awakening” between 2 ducks but---it was better than anything I have seen on National Geographic (maybe because I don’t have HD). Donald held Daisy down by placing his beak in the back of her neck and pinning her to the ground! Once he had her in the proper position, the event only took about 15 seconds and he was off. Daisy, finally freed, took off to the lake-ready for a bath! Donald straightened his feathers, held his head up high, and strutted off to where several other ducks were gathered. Show off-just like a man! We laughed the rest of the way back to the house certain that people have paid money to see less action live and up close.

Just when I thought that Week 5 would be nothing but hot and dull, a few great friends and a little mother nature and it turned out to be a pretty eventful 17 miles!

I am grateful for new donations this week that put me over the $550 mark! Two co-workers, Dottie and Bert, made donations. I am always grateful for my University 101 family. They cheer me on every day. I also was thrilled to see donations from Tina and Missy for a couple of the New Kids! Thanks, ladies, for thinking of Shawn and me and for being so generous. We missed you at the party! Finally, my aunt and uncle, Bunkie and Lee, sent their support, pushing me over the $550 mark! I am off to a great start with my fundraising.

Check out the progress that all of the New Kids on the Walk are making-especially Michelle who has already reached her goal!-by clicking “donate here” at the top right of this page. You will also see some additions to our blog page including a list of the men and women we are honoring with our walk this year.

I’m back in Columbia for my walks this week. If you are up for a few miles, I can promise you some serious heat, and maybe a little live wildlife action! Wherever your weekend takes you, I hope it is a great one!

Keep Stepping!

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