Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wanderings in Marin...or so the blister forms.....

We were very tired when we climbed into our sleeping bags. The early evening winds kept me awake for at least an hour. The drone of the traffic on Doyle Drive woke me at times. I regretted not buying some ear plugs, but in the end I fell sound asleep and woke Allison around 4am with my snoring. So, when we gathered our troops to head to breakfast, I could see we all were a wee bit tired at the start of Day 2.

Barbara enjoyed her breakfast, while.... I was less than impressed. But once again as you look around the big dining tent you see a collection of optimistic, committed people that makes even soggy potatoes palatable.

The plan was to meet Jill at 7am at our tents. We unfortunately had taken off to grab breakfast before they closed down for the morning. Jill saw that we were gone and assumed (poor girl) we had gotten an early start. Everyone knows I don't like to hang around, and I want to get going, so it was a fair assumption, but....no....

We waited for a bit and then decided she must have started chasing us. She had told me if we wanted to leave early to wait for her at the beverage tables at the first pit stop. You can guess correctly, this would be a day of chase that no one would win. We left late not early, and Jill was assuming we were ahead, but we were behind. She let me know later this was a blessing in disguise since without this "fire in her gut" to catch us, she is convinced she wouldn't have completed Day 2.
I felt we had to hurry along, and it wasn't until the lunch stop that I finally slowed down. I had a very vague hope we could close the gap with Jill...But.... it never happened. She was too fast!

So let me take you on a walk, over the Golden Gate Bridge, on to Fort Baker, through Sausalito, down the MULTI use path, through Mill Valley's Sycamore and Tamalpais Park, through the village of Mill Valley, by Park school and the cheering section, a non-lunch stop at Mill Valley Middle School, back down the path, through Sausalito, through Fort Baker, over the bridge and to our Crissy Camp. 22.5 "Komen " miles in all.

It was a chilly morning as the sky had been clear all night. When we got to the bridge we had someone take our photo. I still fell as if I won this bridge, and I could hear people, not so familiar with the bridge delight in seeing it, and express some concern for the height and water below. It became clear to me that the organizers weren't kidding that some people have a fear of bridges, and for that reason there was a bus that would take people to the other side, where they could begin their walk there. But to me walking on the bridge was literally like walking home from school.The first sight we saw when we came down off the bridge was my friend Susan standing with a magic wand. She had been asked about 100 times to move her car, but she had decided that was where she was going to be until she saw us. Like a lot of people who may have come to cheer us on, they had to wait longer than they may have anticipated since Team: Are We There Yet? was not one for early starts. I wish I had taken a photo of Susan when she lit up seeing us all come down the path.

Photo by MargiL from Flickr

The gentlemen at the Coast Guard station stood at their fence just like a perfect photo opportunity. I guarantee, we were not the only ones who took advantage of it. They even had their dog in a pink bandanna, just for us. I am guessing they preferred doing this to giving out tickets for missing registration stickers!

Another reason to walk...Photo by MargiL on Flickr

As we came down in to Sausalito, you could hear the excitement from the walkers from other places. There were walkers from all over the country. And who could blame them? I spoke with one walker from Chicago who said she crewed at the 3 day in Chicago this year - 95 degrees and a day of rain. Nope, I wouldn't walk there either. Our weather was perfect. I dare say, I haven't seen three such glorious days in a long long time.

The next pitstop was a park in Sausalito. At many of these stops cheer leaders and pom pom chicks would form a entry for us and cheer us into the pit stop. At pit stops you can find potapotties, food like pb&j, chips, trail bars, fruit, water and gatoraide. They each had themes, some were carried out more successfully than others. At every stop we were treated like heroes. The volunteers are too good to be true.

We stopped for lunch with the guys at the Bayside Cafe in Sausalito. This place has been the rendezvous spot for many of my walks with Patti since it is right next to her houseboat. Since John has a broken ankle, we thought having lunch here would be ideal. Not to mention, none of us were too keen on the lunch yesterday.

As we sat eating there were many walkers who came and used the restrooms here. I have to say THANKS to the Bayside for letting them do this. When you are walking so far, for such a great cause, its the right thing to do, unfortunately not all establishments would agree! But THANKS BAYSIDE!
After leaving Bayside, the day was getting away from us. We had time to make up. In fact the past pit stop we hit was closing down for the day. I was determined to get to the cheer section at Park School just in case there were some people waiting. After all this is my town. Allison and I walked at break neck speed trying to get there. We walked through Sycamore Park, and I was really disappointed there was not visible signs of support here for the walk. It would be so perfect if the neighborhood would decorate the streets in pink or put out signs of welcome. The streets are narrow and tree lined, and they were made for this kind of acknowledgement. I swear, in the future, if I am not walking, I am cheering somewhere. It means so much.

We practically ran through downtown Mill Valley. Once again an opportunity lost to cheer on the walkers. By the time we got to Park school many of the cheerers had left, a few remained and they lifted my spirits. By this time I was feeling a blister developing on my left foot. But... onward we pressed. Allison had a very sore right foot (the foot would get progressively worse and I worry she may have a stress fracture).

We slowed our pace when we left Park School. We passed a soccer game where there were people watching their children play. I would have hoped for a few shout outs from the sidelines to the walkers. I hope there had been earlier, but we were basically ignored.

We got to the lunch stop and waited for Patti and Barbara to arrive. Instead of eating, we used the stop for beverages and stretching.... and well you know. The Mill Valley Middle School field was a great spot to rest.

I am noticing a little complaining going on in this blog post. Maybe it was because I was tired, or maybe the blister coming on, but here's something else that really bothered me. The pathway from Sausalito through the marshlands of Mill Valley is a Multi-use path. Bikers call it a Bike path, and they tend to act like they are the only ones with rights to this path. Here we are on a 60 mile walk to end Breast Cancer. The vast majority of the walkers tried very hard to provide at least half of the path to allow bikers to speed by. Still, I couldn't count the number of rude bikers who sped by, yelling "This is a bike path!" One I even saw veer purposefully toward a walker. If I walk again in this walk (which I am 90% sure I will) I might carry a placard that says "THIS IS A MULTI USE PATH!"
Every once in a while though a biker would yell out "Thank you for walking" or "Good job girls" and once again...spirits would soar, our faith in mankind restored.

Back to the Bayside where our cheering boys awaited.

Looking ready for another 15?

Dana wins the prize for the #1 rooter for Team: Are We There Yet? Our husbands come in a close 2nd. Dana had even talked about walking in this walk. Next year maybe?! I would love to have him join the team as a walker. Right now, he is an honorary member of Are We There Yet 2009!

I got a lot of compliments on my shirts for the walk from other walkers. This day's shirt "Be fierce in the face of overwhelming odds, end cancer now!"

4/5th of Team:Are We There Yet is ready to go!

Pit stop! At the playing fields by Martin Luther King School, next to the Sausalito Dog Park.

Potties anyone?!

And back on Bridgeway heading into the town. Not far from here we would have a visitor.Dana stopped us and walked with us for a few blocks. He told us we had to go into Smitty's on Caledonia. Not knowing the route I thought he was suggesting a stop for a beer, and I said I didn't think I wanted to stop. He said "Oh you want to go and its on your way. the guys are in there." So off we headed down Caledonia.

And.., There they were. the expressions were priceless. They all looked like we caught them with their hands in the cookie jar. Actually to five guys on a hot day, a bar is better than a cookie jar isn't it!

Can you see that guy peering through the door. He was sitting outside and told us before we went in that we couldn't use their restrooms. Ok...Smitty's I have your number...and I have Team" Are we There Yet? husbands' numbers too. Slackers! Thanks Dana, this tip was what earned you your honorary membership in this years team!

Patti and Barbara were behind us and stopped in.

Curtiss loves his walker.

Patti and John. Hey Patti, I didn't know this is what they meant by hydrate!

Everyone looks happy!

Meanwhile Allison and I are further along, off the Sausaltio shore.
You can see the city behind me, but not the bridge or Crissy, which was our destination for today. So off we go....

It was approrpiate that as we made the turn to the Vahalla, Sally Stanford's old haunt/bordello/restaurant we ran into the Hookers for Hooters. Time to dance again.
Along East Road, Allison strikes a pose.
When we got back to Fort Baker, we waited for the rest of the team to arrive. The guys were there as well, passing out mardi gras beads to pretty ladies. I told Glenn... "Look for the ones who look really tired and need a smile." I saw as he looped a string over one woman's head and saw how her eyes lit up.

See the bridge in the distance? There's a hill to et up there.

I do believe we may be getting a little tired.....
I know Patti appreciated John being there, especially with his broken ankle.

As did Allison appreciate Chris beign there as well. I think Chris is beginning to understand his dirven wife a little better asfter this walk. With a very bad foot, the idea of taking a sweep van was not in question. The suggestion was more like an insult to her... Too much like her mother for her own good.

Glenn describes Curtiss as someone who is "born again on life!" He is the most optimsitic fellow you could meet. And there is no denying he is madly in love with his wife.

Enough of that. let get this done! Up the hill to bridge. The uys had let us know that there was a gale warning flay flying form the coast guard station. The forecast was for gale winds until 10 pm. Dana suggested we go home and sleep there and come back early in the morning. I looked at him llike Allison looked at Chris when he suggested the sweep van. "No", I said "It's cool if anyone else wants to go back to the house, but I am stay at Crissy."

I had doubted that I could make the climb without stopping to catch my breath, but somehow up I went along with Allison to the top.

Three walkers on the bridge. The wind is blowing pretty hard in the middel of the bridge, but here, there was just a cool breeze. Earlier I made a turn on the hill and my hat flew off, the first time in all the days of training that that happened. I took off my hat and held it tight for the walk across the bridge. I wlaked pretty fast as Ihad given up my long sleeved shirt and sweatshirt and sent them along to the camp. It was cold by now! Flagman met us at camp. I ran to the tent to get my sweathirt and returned to meet the guys at our clandestined meeting spot, on the edge of camp.

Since I knew you would prefer I spare you this, I am not showing you the enormous blister I develped on my heel. I headedo ver to medical, as did Allison. She had forgotten her particiapnt number though and they couldn't see her without it for liablity reasons. I had my blister attended to along with dozens of other people. Even with all those blisters she was seeing, I was somewhat pleased to know, my blister which was the largest one I had ever seen, still impressed the sweet volunteer who was assiting me. I was told to come back in the morning to have it redressed before heading out.

The guys await.

Allison has to feel better with her slippers.

Patti looks relieved and proud to be there in one piece! No blisters for her and NEW shoes in the past week!

Our daughter Katie had come down from Seattle to cheer us on. It was great to see her in the group and guess who else??? JILL! She was huddled in the midst of the warm and welcoming team. It was cold and windy. Remember the gale force winds????

Huddling was appropriate! As was wine!

Those are some happy girls there.

A new woman I return from medical and quickly grab my glass of wine.

Allison's slippers.

Dana Jill Curtiss and Barbara... a warm and happy like of people. Kate looks on....

Dana is whispering.... You want to go for dinner at the St Francis? You could use showers.....and the sauna....and hair dryers.......
And so we left camp for the eveing to eat at the grill at St Francis. The luxury of the hot shower (not in a truck) and the hair dryer (so we didn't have to speep in wet hair) was only matched by the pure joy of being together with our guys and Kate. The idea of sleeping at home came up again, but we decided we would see what sleeping in a gale would be like. If we could walk 40 miles in two days...we could sleep in a gale. Besides, I suggest... it would be good for the blog.

In tomorrow's entry find out how it went...did we survive the gale....walk with us through the streets of San Francisco...and see what it feels like to finish the 3-day 60 mile walk for a cure.
Video from today
Along the Sausalito Multi-Use Path....

Soon to be busted...


Fort Baker....


Back at Crissy... ouch