Friday, November 19, 2010

More Than 60 Miles...

Most of you know that this past weekend myself and 3 other awesome girls went to Phoenix to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 60 mile walk. We each had to raise at least $2300 to be able to walk. Together the 4 of us raised $12,114!!! All going straight to Breast Cancer Research.

Let me just break down the weekend for you day by day because each day was so amazing and such a great experience.

Day 1~
We woke up at 4:00am to get on the bus at 5:00am that took us to opening ceremonies. When we got to the park there were beautiful pink lit balloons, a big stage and free hot beverages! We went to the stage where they had us stretch first and then Janea the motivational speaker came out and talked to us about the walk and our journey from raising money to being at the walk. Survivors got on the center stage and had flags and raised another flag that had the names of survivors and of those that did not make it. We began our walk up a hill with lots of people cheering us on, they made a path for us and there were so many of them. It was a beautiful sight. To look back and see all of the walkers behind us and forward to see all of the walkers in front of us was amazing.

Every 2-3 miles there is a pit stop. They provide snacks (delicious snacks I might add!), LOTS of porta-pots, water and Gatorade. Along with a super supportive crew. Every single person we met, whether it was the medic or the snack ladies or the cheering crowds we met along the way, was so incredibly positive and encouraging, they kept us going even when it got hard.

Also, as we were walking we got to meet Elvis, Kiss, Michael Jackson, Super Hero's, and so many more. The communities along the way were just AWESOME!

Anyway the first day we walked about 9 miles and my knee was really hurting me so at lunch I had it checked out. Got taped up and kept going. Amber walked with me while the other 2 girls walked ahead. We walked 2 more miles and my knee just couldn't do it. So on Day 1 we walked 11 miles! Amanda and Kelly were troopers and walked the whole thing which was a little over 19 miles!!! Way to go girls!! When they got back they were hurting though, Kelly found out she sprained her knee, she was almost ready to throw in the towel and go home but she didn't, she toughed it out and stayed! :o)
That night we had a great dinner, chicken (I thought it was pork...) rice, veggies and salad, plus dessert! Yum!! They made sure NOBODY went hungry! Then there was Camp show where Amber went on stage and played a game, a minute to win it and then Tracy went up and played a game. It was so funny and the the lady Janae is just hilarious. She really knows how to make you laugh so hard and then cry so hard.
9:00 is lights out so we all went to our home away from home and passed out hard!

Day 2~

On day two we decided to take it easy, we didn't want to push ourselves so hard that we couldn't walk on the last day into closing ceremonies so we decided to take the bus straight to lunch. We got there and nobody was really there yet so we all saw the medic's. Kelly and I got our knee's tapped up and all four of us saw the chiropractor. Which I must say, the girl chiropractor really helped my hip and the guy helped my knee...:o) I was ready to walk! We ate lunch and were off! We walked 4 miles and the girls were ready to go back to camp, I know.. not a great day for us but by Sunday we were really happy we slacked on Sat! OH but in the 4 miles we did walk we went through the best cheering section in old Scottsdale! It was soooo amazing! All of the people that came out and everything they gave us. It was by far the best part of the day! Everyone makes you feel like a super star and even though we slacked that day I reminded myself that its not about the walking, its about the money we raised and everything else that we did in our journey to get there. When we got off the bus back to camp we were surprised by my mom and Dana!! It was so nice to see familiar face's and for them to come up just to cheer us on! At camp we took showers, got back and foot massages, played BINGO, ate some delish steak and potatoes and enjoyed a fun night of camp show! When the very last walker of the day came in everyone went out and cheered them on it was a really cool thing!

Also at Camp Show a man got up and told his wife's story. She was a 9 year breast cancer survivor and did the walk every year. About 2 years ago right after the walk she found out she had a brain tumor. That summer as they laid in bed together she squeezed her husbands hand and took her last breath. It is such a sad story, but it is something that happens way too often and until we find a cure for cancer it will keep happening. people think that since they or a loved one has not dealt with it that they have no obligation to it. But I can't tell you how many stories I heard this weekend of woman saying that they started doing this walk just because they wanted to and later either they themselves were diagnosed with breast cancer or a loved one was. 1 in 8 women WILL get breast cancer... think about everyone you know, and someone close to you is likely to get it.  Ok so one more really sad part of the walk and then that's it for the tears. They set up these tents, they are tents from the previous states who have already walked and they are tents that people can write on. Inside another big tent is the AZ tent that all of AZ could write on and there are pictures up of previous walkers within the last year to 3 years that have passed away. Seeing pictures of woman with no hair but the biggest smiles is just so.. inspiring... seeing women with their families, their children just had me bawling. Then you read what people write on the tents and oh my goodness there is not a dry eye in this tent. One message was from a husband to his wife who had passed, there were several that started off "mommy,..." long messages that people wrote to their loved one's who are no longer here because of this terrible, horrible thing. I just want everyone to understand how important this is and how much of an affect this had on me. We walk the 60 miles to honor and remember these people and to fight for them since they no longer can. This is not just their fight, it is everyone's!

Day 3~

Last day was bitter sweet... we were all ready for nice warm beds and real toilets. Especially me, I couldn't even go in a porta pot at this point, I came very close to vomiting several times. We got on a bus and they dropped us off in Scottsdale by Camelback Mountain. I had already decided on Sat. that I was going to push myself to do the full 15 miles this day. If I had to be in pain all night and for the next week then so be it! We walked through some beautiful places, houses, resorts, over a big scary bridge. Kelly, in all of her pain, walked the full 15 miles with me! Man that girl is a trooper!! Amanda and Amber only missed out on 2 miles because Amanda's knee was hurting, but they still did amazing! The last couple of miles to closing ceremonies seemed like FOREVER. Let me tell you, the miles they tell you are so not accurate.. they even said you will be asking.."is that a regular mile or a Komen mile?"

We FINALLY made it though! You go inside the building, get your shirt and a rose and wait for the last walker (Which we were VERY close to being the last walkers). Finally they get everyone lined up and everyone walks out as friends, family, crew members, EVERYONE, tons of people cheer you through. Then the ceremony begins, I couldn't see anything so..when I can't see I kind of tune out, plus my legs were killing me so I am not sure what was said at the closing. BUT I do know that when the survivors come out everyone takes off one shoe and lifts it in the air to honor them.

And that's it! Soo I walked a total of 30 miles... that's half.. I figure next year I will push harder and train much harder now that I know what to expect. I want to walk the full 60 miles because it is the most fun part of the whole experience. Having people cheer you on the whole way and the way the community gets involved is just amazing.

Now that it is over I find myself a little sad... not sure what to do... I know that I have next year and that it will be even better then this year but I am still bummed out that it is all over. I guess now I can really start to concentrate on Relay For Life... I hope I can make relay as amazing for everyone next year, as the 60 mile walk was for me. I hope that Myself and my team have inspired atleast one person and I hope that everyone has a better understanding of what this whole thing was really about.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in every single way! Donations of money, time, supplies, emotions, walks, everything. It kept me going and it will keep me going for the future years!

God bless you all,



The Clark Clan said...

You had me in tears Tessa! I can't believe it's all over already either. What an amazing experience & journey. I wouldn't have wanted to do it with any other group of gals. Love ya lady!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Tessa.
It really was an amazing experience and what made it even more amazing was the girls we walked with <3
I would love to help out with your Relay for Life in any way that I can! Love ya lady <3

Christina said...

That is such an amazing story and experience!! You girls are incredible! This makes your realize the things you take for grated in life. You ladies are such an inspiration. You ROCK!!