Sunday, November 25, 2012

The San Diego 3 day - DAY ONE - Del Mar to Mission Bay

Team Are We There Yet? San Diego all joined forces to attack the 3 day walk with a vigor and determination that some would consider unusual. After all, what were these four sorority sisters doing after all these years, walking 60 miles, risking blisters and strained muscles or worse. We aren't the 20 years olds we were when we first met. We aren't athletes with a burning desire to go farther, faster be stronger than our peers. We are people who have full lives. A producer with a packed schedule, a Realtor with a busy year, a small business owner with orders to fill and a retiree who is traveling the country with her husband struck with wanderlust and itchy feet. We have families and commitments beyond our work. But somehow here we were with a resolve to walk 60 miles to end Breast Cancer once and for all.
 These feet have trained over 500 miles in walks in different places in the country. They take on this challenge with excitement and a feeling of celebration.
 Our stalkers are ready to hit the road to show us their support, through little unexpected acts of kindness that will ease the toll of the miles ahead. As the sun rose, and we looked at the people who were gathering on the Del Mar race track, we knew we weren't alone in these feelings. Yet for each one of us there has to be very personal and compelling reasons to walk this walk.
 Certainly part of the reason is friendship. There is something so life affirming about the presence of those people who have come to be so much a part of our lives.
 Those people willing to brave the early hours and sometimes uncomfortable conditions that are the 3 day.
 As the ceremony begins the flags of those who have inspired walkers line the barriers that hold the walkers. For some it was their mother,for others their wife or daughter or father. For many of us it is our friends.
 Emotions are just under the surface during these ceremonies and can't help but sneak out. These feelings have to be big - huge infact - to motivate people to walk this walk. The challenges are so many to get to this place, standing at the beginning of this event.
Our national spokesperson knows something about challenges. Dr. Sheri Philips was a practicing physician when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 4 years ago. The surgery left her with lymphedema in her arm so that she could not perform the tasks that she needed to continue to be a doctor. To Sheri, she was at a crossroad that she didn't choose.

Why would God have given her the skills and determination she needed to become a Doctor only to have it taken away by Cancer.

I don't think there is one person who hears Sheri speak who doesn't feel God had a bigger mission for her. Especially after the challenging year Komen has had, Sheri is the perfect person to remind us why we all are here. And she reminds us that one person can and does make a difference.

   Flag bearers were nominated this year and each of these people have been called to be here for their own reason. Many are here after walking many other 3 day walks. One man walked in all 14 this year.

As the banner which carries the names of people we have lost to Cancer rises in the sky - we all remember why we are here. As we call out the names of those who cannot be with us we are reaching out in an attempt to bring them closer. Each step we take on this walk we feel their presence on our shoulders. I feel my mother everyday of the training and the walk. I always do.  I carry her with me and I reflect on others who I have lost. I reflect on my own battle with Cancer and I picture my children and their children and all of this makes me stronger than I have ever been.

 I am energized as I see other eyes well up with tears as they search the skies for answers.
We hold each other - we hold each other up - we are ready to own this walk.

 San Diego more than any other walk I have participated in is awash with community support. From little children, to dogs to people in retirement homes, nearly every step we took was cheered on by the people of San Diego.
 The woman who checked us out and scanned our credentials gave every person a hug. THAT was a lot of hugs.
 The San Diego cops have taken up what the San Jose cops had started. They rode with us every mile.
 They cheered us, they cheered us up and kept us distracted on the hills and long stretches.
 Walkers here seem to carry things a bit further than others. These two men in their onesies had a team name of Save Areolia 51.
 2500 people all walking with their hearts filled with passion.
 The number of walkers made walking at times a little congested. That is a good problem to have and one I wish we could see in San Francisco.
 Knowing some walkers will NOT be able to walk the entire 60 miles the 3 day has sweep vans. Each van has its own theme and they dress accordingly. On the other walks I have done there was never a time when we saw all of the vans at once. They basically drive by and if you get on one I suppose you see the driver and crew, but in San Diego they lined up for us to see on our way out of the race track.
 As you walk you see some photos of people who are missed beyond words. Each time you see a phtoo of someone's mother or wife or daughter or friend, you are reminded again why you are here. 

 This year I received support from people I didn't even know. Kathey Cox donated to me and asked me to please say hello to Smiley Guy and Little Grin. I saw them first in the village of Del Mar and then later on every day of the walk.
 The village at Del Mar was the first town that we walked through. There were businesses all decked out in pink and people lining the streets, including the Melon Men.
 You cannot know what it means to see this kind of support, especially after the year we had raising funds sometimes with confrontational moments. WE know why we are here. THEY know why we are here and by God we are NOT going to stop until we find a cure to this thing.

 The team basked in the glow of the San Diego sun and smiles and cheers.
 Some of the supporters were VERY clever. This man in disguise surprised us as we walked along.
 Patti had a very pressing project that somehow invaded the walk on day one. I know it made the day a little stressful for her. Partially because here you are walking where they get it... and back there at work.... not so much.
 Walking down the hill we got our first glimspe of the hill up to Torrey Pines. I had heard about this hill and knew we would be getting our first real test early. A long long hill....
 But before we climbed there, we saw the Hookers for Hooters - all the way from San Francisco. At times in SF they seemed to be the only cheerers out there!

 The sights along this route are beautiful. We were blessed to be able to have blue skies and no rain during the walk so we could fully enjoy it. In past years it has poured rain (AND STILL THEY WALK). It takes a lot to stop a 3 day walker.
 It helps the climb that Torrey Pines is beautiful. I remember that my brother did very well at a golf championship at Torrey Pines when he was in High School. I heard "We are the Champions" in my head.
 The San Diego cops got increasingly loose on the walk. The dancing started and each day it seemed more and more pink came out.

 At the top of the hill the trail flattened out  and we kept our eyes open for our stalkers.
 You can tell our stalkers by their boas.... Here's Curtiss....
 And Alicia.....
 You have to love those hula for hooter girls they coudl move their booties!
 Patti can move some too!
 The 3 day event people did a great job with the number of porta potties (often though they put them on the far side of the pit stop so we had to walk further than we might like!).
 Down into some neighborhoods we saw other folks come out. This gentleman was out cheering on all the 3 days in his folding chair with his pom poms.

 But here is my boa boy. He is and will always be THE supreme walker stalker.
 Lunch time with the standard panera sandwich, cookie, chips and fruit.
 This young gal was part of the youth corp (ages 10-16) who were everywhere trying to make things easier.At camp at night they take your food on a tray to your table for you. At pit stops they fill your water bottles.
 Check out her lower lip!
 Certainly it lifts your heart to see an archway of baloons on the way.
 Outside La jolla there is a great cove (smelly but great) with pelicans and seal.

 Patti is using her birthday gift from Allison already BIOFREEZE!

 Look at those faces... We are walking so they won't have to.
 This is a retirement home and they came out to cheer.
 And dance!

 All along the way people handed out waters and stickers, candy and cookies. Signs were everywhere.
 And the dogs many sporting pink dye graciously allowed the walkers to pet them and take pictures.


 ON the home stretch to camp we walk around a point. People kept saying "It's just around the next corner" the trouble was.... it was all corners!
 The shadows we lengthening and I thought we better get there soon so we coudl set up our tents before the sun set.
 The last final "corner" brought us to camp and the pink tents were spread far and wide.
 Our sherpa boa boys helped us set us the tents. I decorated Patti's and mine with inserts from my New Balance shoes and shoe laces with beads.
 The walker stalkers were prepared with icy beers just in time. (Another good cold rememedy).

 In 2009 Glenn bought all the team Energizer Bunny slippers. Patti and I brought ours along..
We took showers (another great set up by the event folks, there was hardly a wait).
That night at camp we watched as a couple of our Motor Crew guys swung bananas from their belts and ate pasta while people grabbed for cash on stage.

No question we were ready for bed. Patti already had blisters on her feet. I took my Nyquil and settled in for the evening knowing, we would be up and at it early for our next 20 miles.

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