It’s a few days after the fact, so I’ve had time to just about fully process it all. I think it’s fair to say that I won’t ever completely process it, because it’s such a magnificent time of my life, so this is as close as it gets. It will probably get long and detailed and eventually jumbled because I’ll be overcome by emotions, but I don’t want to make the mistake of not writing about it. Please read what you can/want. You know how important this is to me, and that’s why I want to make sure it’s all here for me to see next year.
For starters, here are the pictures. There are almost 100 and I’ve captioned them all. For me, not you. But if you look at them start to finish, it’ll really give you an idea of what it’s all about.
FYI: There are 2800 walkers and we raised $6.4 million. Thank you for that.
If I’m getting up at 4:30 a.m., you know it’s gotta be for something special. And really? This is the only thing I’d get up that early for. We got to the Minnesota Zoo just about 6:00, and since we took the back way in, we missed the miles of vehicles lined up to drop off walkers. It was a tear-jerking opening ceremony, which is par for the course with The 3 Day. As the walk started, we noticed our friends had gotten up just as early as us to surprise with a huge banner saying “We â™¥ boobylicious”. It made me realize just how awesome my friends are. I wanted to take them all with me for the rest of the walk!
We walked through the zoo, where we saw baboons, moose, and some paddleboats in the shape of ducks. Most of the walk on Friday was through Eagan (my town) and Bloomington (my work town). When they announced the walk location, they weren’t kidding when they mentioned “the rolling hills of Eagan”.
There were two cheering stations during the first day, and we had people there for both of him. Bill, Cindi, and Sean brought the boobylicious banner to the first stop. And Stephanie made it to the 2nd one just as we were getting there. Seeing or knowing you’ll see people you know can get you pretty far along the way.
Despite some intense muscle spasming at lunch, Day 1 went smoothly. We got back to camp and picked up our mail that people had sent to us on our way to dinner. We ate, showered, and then wrapped our tent in painter’s plastic because threats of a storm were announced at dinner. With the amount of clothes pins Jenni used, there was no way in hell we would get wet. And we didn’t.
Everyone starts moving a little more slowly at the start of Day 2. After finishing over 20 miles, what else can you expect? Because of the storm warnings that were in the forecast for the day, we had to pack up our gear and our tents, knowing eight hours laters we’d have to do the whole thing again.
Day 2 was 21.6 miles of walking through Bloomington. Bloomington is a suburb that has the Mall of America, my work, and a whole hell of a lot of hills. My quote for the day regarding these hills? “Why is Bloomington so [expletive] obsessed with all of these [expletive] hills?” Some teams sang songs or played games to pass the time. Jenni and I used profanity. It’s what we’re best at.
We walked past a Caribou coffee, my work, through the Hyland Lake Park Reserve (where we had lunch), through residential Bloomington and back to camp. We showered before dinner, and had chicken marsala in our pajamas. The results of a drawing we’d all entered earlier in the day had me winning an overnight stay to Treasure Island Resport & Casino in Red Wing, MN. The lady sitting next to me won the trip to Vegas. She wouldn’t trade.
After dinner, I spent the next 75 minutes working my way through the line at the medical tent to get a couple of large blisters lanced. Stephanie dropped by camp with contraband brownies that were more than spirit-lifting. She zipped Jenni and I in for the night before she left. The entire team seemed to have hit the delirious point, because we giggled about the smell of Ben Gay until we all passed out for the night.
This is where it gets hard. It gets hard mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Despite the work I’d had done on my blisters the night before, it seemed like even more were popping up by the minute. My heels and bottoms of my feet were covered in blisters that would start out small, but end up the size of a tennis ball. At breakfast, I discovered I couldn’t walk. At all. Lanced or not, my shoes and socks rubbing against bandaged blisters was bringing tears to my eyes.
Jane had gotten her walking credentials pulled and been given a red card, meaning she was done walking, due to an incident that apparently involved her passing out in a bus the day before. She and I cheered the rest of our team on as they started out Day 3. Leaving Jenni and the rest of the team to continue hurt more than the blisters. The day before, I’d been able to work through the pain without a problem, but on Sunday, I just couldn’t do it.
We met up with the team again at lunch after hearing the stories of some of the survivors that were doing the walk. Some were barely out of treatment and others had been free of cancer much longer. They were walking just like me.
Bonnie had been diagnosed with a stress fracture in her right food (the same place mine hurts now) and made the call not to finish walking, so she joined Jane and I for the ride to the end. The most disconcerting and heartbreaking feeling I’d experienced all weekend was sitting in a bus while we drove past the walkers. I couldn’t even look, because I’d trained so hard and fundraised so hard only to, in my mind at the time, be defeated by something as miniscule as a few blisters.
The three of us met up with Amanda, Suzanne, and Jenni just before the finish line. We walked through the outstretched arms of walkers that’d finished before us as they cheered us on, and we walked through as a team. With all the hardwork we’d put into everything, that was the most important to us. And we did it.
Closing ceremonies was an emotional experience that’s impossible to describe. Spectators that don’t really get why we do the walk probably didn’t appreciate the ceremonies as much as we did. I wanted to cry when they announced the crew volunteers and didn’t want to stop crying until I was home. But without any water in my body, no tears came. It was just that kind of weekend.
Jenni and I already signed up to do it again next year. We did that on the first night of camp. There’s not a doubt that I won’t do it every year until I don’t have to anymore, regardless of the consequence it might take on my body.
The night after the walk I had a 102.4 temperature and chills all night. By the time I went to urgent care the next morning, it’d dropped down to 98.4. They gave me 2 liters of a sugar/saline solution, drew some blood, and took a urine sample. I was mildly dehydrated which led to my severe bladder infection.
That same night, I went back to urgent care for the outside of my right foot. The doctor couldn’t find a break by feeling it, and since the only time it hurt was when I walked on it, he determined it must be a ligament issue. He gave me a walking cast and a prescription for painkillers, along with an order to come back in three weeks if it still hurts because it could potentially be a stress fracture.
I’m not mad about the injuries or the pain. It’s nothing. I’m mad I couldn’t finish. I’m mad I let my team and my sponsors down. I’m mad my body gave out before I wanted it to. Mad’s not even the right word. I guess disappointed is.
Once again, just like last year, these three days will be added to the list of three of the best days of my life.