The excitement is building. I’m seeing PINK, I’m breathing PINK, I’m living PINK.
The color pink has taken on a whole new meaning to me now. pink isn’t in my wardrobe, it’s not a color that I wear, it is a color that I have begun to feel though and for me, it’s become a symbol of awareness, hope, survival and loss.
Last year I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to something great, to make a difference in people’s lives and have a cause that would be near to me personally. I had run a few half marathons, I enjoyed having the metals and the push that keeps me in constant training mode. Running isn’t good for my body though, I ache all over, it’s painful, yet I continue to want to challenge myself, to better myself and stay healthy. I had done a 5K to help support melanoma and it felt good to not only train personally but to support a cause.
I heard of the Avon39 and thought – hmmm 39 miles, in 2 days. Yes, I can do that. A friend of mine did this walk the year before so I messaged her to see what her thoughts were on it. She said it would be challenging but mostly rewarding. My motivation was not only driven by the challenge it’s self, but more importantly, my mother in law is a Breast Cancer Survivor – she’s one of my favorite people on this planet, her kindness and generosity extends to everyone she meets and I couldn’t be luckier to have her in my life. When she was diagnosed and told my husband and I, she was so strong and confident that everything would be all right, she knew, yet I sat there trying to hold my tears back but could not. There’s a hopeless feeling for loved ones unable to do anything except watch the treatment process and travel the path laid out in front of your loved one. This goes for any cancer, cancer does not discriminate. My dad had prostate cancer, my father in law too, there’s nothing you can do but sit and wait for news, hope for the best and be there as much as possible. That is why it’s so important to find a cure.
The more research I did, the less it became about the challenge of walking 39 miles, and the more it became about finding a cure.
Here are 5 of my thoughts on the AVON 39
- FUNDRAISING – pain in the pass – but necessary, why else are we walking? The first year, I raised my $1800 in three days. Thanks to all of the wonderful support of people I never thought would donate. They too, have been affected by Breast Cancer. 1:8 women will be diagnosed, this hit me hard. I work with many women, professionally and have somewhat of a large social network, I think about how many women I know and the numbers are staggering to think that 1:8 of my friends will have breast cancer. So back to the Pain in the Ass fundraising, this is my second year, I signed up last year after the walk, it took me over 7 months to raise my $1800, much harder this year, but I’ve raised the required amount. As of today, I’ve raised $2500. If I’ve learned anything at all about fundraising and asking people for donations, it’s that I have to remember that this is MY CAUSE, and that it may not be your cause. I’m relying on the generosity of my friends and family to help, but I have to be understanding that some people don’t want to donate, or can’t donate due to financial constraints. Some of my closest family and friends have not donated one penny and I have to respect that and not set expectations upon them. Expectations are the killer of all relationships. When money is involved, people get weird. It’s hard to not take it personally because you see so clearly why you’re doing this, and it doesn’t make sense why the ones who are closest to you aren’t supporting you. So, my advice: don’t expect and you won’t get let down. The fundraising is easier than you think and sadly, you’ll be surprised at how many people are affected by Breast Cancer, you’ll earn your dollars.
- FIND A TEAM: I signed up on my own, I had asked a few people if they wanted to walk with me, one of my old coworkers agreed to walk with me, but I’d be training on my own. So, another one of my friends introduced me to someone who was affiliated with a team and they invited us both to join. I was reluctant at first, I thought “I don’t want to walk with a bunch of ladies” at the first meeting, they explained how we’d cry all day, that it was SO emotional and I thought – “Lovely, now I get to walk with a bunch of strangers, and cry all day” what in the world did I get myself into? Turns out, this was the best decision I ever made. My team is Walkers For Knockers. We have a wonderful group of people who I’ve truly grown fond of and have the up-most respect for.
Our Team Captain, Beth is incredibly supportive and has become a dear friend. The other ladies I’ve walked with on several occasions and we’ve created wonderful bonds, there’s a special shout out to my girl Liz!! She’s my walking partner and have spent many hours chatting and bonding, we’re at the same pace, so this year, she’s stuck with me again! I’m so thankful for each of them. So, advice: Find a team, Walk with a cause, walk with like minded people who will support you. I don’t know if I’d be walking again this year without them.
- TRAINING – ugh!!! I love a great challenge, but walking – wow! it takes SO MUCH TIME. Running is fast, or in my case, faster than walking. I’m a slow runner with an average of 12 min miles. This year I decided I’d walk and not run at all, easier on my body, not as easy on the time though. Every free moment in the mornings before work, I walk. The weekends are spent walking. Train, Train Train. My average walking is around 17 min miles on a good day if the dogs aren’t stopping every second to pee or poop. This is a commitment and thanks to my partner and team mates and their partners, training wasn’t too bad.
Here’s a great quote that sums it all up “There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.” Edward Abbey. I’ve tried to embrace this thought process as best as I can, I’ve had plenty of time on my own to think about it too.
- THINK ABOUT WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS. Who are you walking for? Last year, my bib read: Maryann. This year, in addition to Maryann, I’m adding 8 more names. One of my biggest supporters and dear friend, Patty Delaney, she has been deeply affected by breast cancer: In honor of the Robinson Family, I’m adding Patty’s Mom Linda, sisters Connie and Debbie who are survivors and her Aunt Kathy who was lost to Breast Cancer. Another one of my supporters and sister in Kenpo, Amy Strader asked me to walk for her Mom Lucy Hartney who is a 54 year cancer survivor and her good friend Lisa Goodrich who is also an 18 survivor and a champion of genetic testing. I will also add Karen Davis a fellow black belt who lost her battle to breast cancer a few years ago.
- PREPARE TO BE MOVED! I don’t say this lightly. Opening Ceremonies, your adrenaline is pumping, you have this overwhelming sense of aw to be involved in such an awesome event. Throughout the day, walking mile after mile, you’ll see the cheer leaders at each of the 13 Cheer Stations on Day one and 8 Cheer Stations on Day two, some of the same ones, the Pink Ladies dressed in 50’s clothes, these cheering squads have amazing energy, every time I’d see them, they’d be dancing, singing, and pushing you to move forward. I did well up with tears several times because it’s SO POWERFUL. Walking through the decorated neighborhoods and seeing children hand out waters, clapping, saying “you can do it” and hearing countless “thank you”s. Unless you’ve experienced, it, you’ll not understand.
Tips for day of the Walk:
- a refillable water bottle
- chap stick
- There’s hydration stops all over, so you don’t need to bring a ton of water
- There’s lunch on Day 1, so you don’t need to bring food
- Maybe a couple of dollars for an espresso as you’re walking in downtown Santa Barbara
- if you have a chance to wear a 2nd set of shoes 1/2 way through day 1 and 2, do so, this year I’m switching as i had a bad heat rash last year -I’ll also add that it’s incredibly important to take care of your feet choose the right socks, I lost both of my big toe nails, a year later, they’ve both grown back.
- Our team cheer squad was awesome bringing us ice cold towels to cool off
For after the walk:
EPSON SALT – This I promise will be your life saver for after the first 26 miles. soak your feet, soak your body. Feel better the next day. 20 minutes. that’s all!
Bottom line: If you’re wondering whether or not if you want to do this walk – DO IT.. make the commitment, you’ll not regret it! Do this for yourself, for your loved one.. do it to find a cure. See Pink.