Posted by: Jenn Latino
Thursday Morning, 4:30am and I am wide awake! This is the day that the training schedule reads “REST.” Tomorrow I will begin the 60-mile journey through the Atlanta area and I am too excited to sleep!
When we return from our amazing adventure, Team New Kids will be a group of women who have shared a life changing experience. Some of us will immediately commit to doing this again in 2011. Others will blog about the spectacle of the Komen For the Cure experience-whether it’s a 5K or a 60 mile trek, Komen puts on a fantastic show! We will all remember the 3 days that are ahead of us for the rest of our lives and our many fans and supporters who have made this possible are the foundation for helping us build these memories. Thank You!
After two summers of weekly blogging, I find myself with very few new ideas or stories to share. But in the early morning hours, I realize that previous blogs have kept you up to date on Days 1, 2, and 3 of the 3-Day experience, but I haven’t given you a glimpse into Day 0. Here it is!
The day begins at 4:30am, apparently. There is a large red duffle bag filled with all of my walking and camping treasures sitting in the kitchen ready to be loaded into the car. These treasures include my daily needs of clothing, shoes, and toiletries but also the motivation to get me through this incredible challenge. My most precious 3-Day swag, my pink ribbons bearing the names of every person who has donated to my fundraising efforts and the names of the women and men who our team honors with every step we take, are secured to my backpack, within arms reach. When things get tough, I just have to put my hand on your names for an instant boost. This year I am also carrying a small journal and pen to help me remember the important details (like what variety of Girl Scout cookies I find at the cheer stations) that I want to share with you when I return.
Jenn Latino, You Just Walked 60 Miles! What are you going to do now? “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!” Beside the duffle bag is a smaller suitcase all packed and ready for my post-walk adventure! It would be rude to rub it in so I’ll leave it at that.
A third bag is packed for Riley who is off to spend 7 days at Camp Bow Wow! This is her treat for the many miles we have shared since May getting ready for this walk. I estimate that Riley has walked over 250 miles in preparation for the 3-Day. She deserves a week at Camp!
When the sun comes up, my day will start like any other Thursday (minus my usual training walk). I will get ready for work, drop Riley off, and spend the day doing my normal activities. I will teach my class for the last time until November 2nd (they aren’t too disappointed about that). I have a meeting with a student who is interested in graduate school. There are tasks on the To Do that need to be checked off before I go. Day 0 is nothing extraordinary for most people. All the while I will be aware of the butterflies in my stomach, reminding me that today is indeed a special day!
While I am going through my normal motions, my #1 cheerleader will be making her way to Columbia! Mama Linda will not be packed light-35 pounds? PLEASE! She will pack more than that just in snacks! At 3pm I will leave work and head back home to meet up with Mom and consolidate our crap, I mean gear, into one car and begin the journey west! I have the new Sugarland album to keep us company. She has our Disney World itinerary. Perfect combination.
The rest of Team New Kids will spend the day making the journey to Atlanta from North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida. Meredith will spend her day running all over Atlanta to collect our goodies-most of us rented gear from REI to avoid having to carry it from our far away homes (and because some of us are NOT campers and don’t own appropriate sleeping gear). Kim will be playing housekeeper, chauffeur, and caterer making airport runs and playing hostess for the Day 0 festivities.
By car or plane, we will all converge at Casa Sterritt-the official headquarters of Team New Kids on the Walk-for a hearty team dinner. Team dinner is one of my favorite 3-Day traditions. This is when all of the teammates get together with their families. There is a lot of food, a lot of laughter, strategizing about cheer stations and car pools, and confessions of nervousness and anxiety. And, if you aren’t properly packed, there may be some “un” and “re” packing as well. (35 lbs folks! And, yes, your sleeping bag has to fit INSIDE the bag, within the weight limit.) After dinner we will turn Kim and Adam’s house into a shantytown. Their 3-bedroom space will sleep 11 on couches and air mattresses.
By this time tomorrow, the alarm clocks will be ringing and Team New Kids will begin making their way to Lake Lanier for the opening ceremonies and the first steps to an amazing adventure!
I’m excited and nervous about what is ahead. Most importantly, I am confident that I can and will complete a 60-mile journey. Every bold step will raise awareness that we must find a cure for Breast Cancer. We have to-because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime!
If you want to follow our journey, keep an eye on my Facebook page. We’ll make periodic updates during our journey. You can also follow me (JennLatino) and Michelle (MLAshcraft) on Twitter. How do you explain this unique experience in 140 characters or less? I expect the most commonly tweeted word will be “Amazing!”
I hope your weekends are also amazing! Thanks to all of you for your cheers, prayers, and high fives! If you aren’t in the Atlanta area this weekend, you can still be part of our cheering team. Tell your friends about what we are doing. Keep raising awareness. While you are talking, we’ll be walking. Our way of saying, “Thank You” for all of your support.