Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Official Recap - Day 3

Well, quite a bit of time has passed since we did the DC 3-day in early October, and I'm just now getting around to finishing up the recap.  Sorry about that, for those who are following the saga. I'm not going to be able to remember details now, oh well.

Day 3 we awoke before dawn again.  I got dressed and headed over to the medical tent to have my blisters treated.  At this point I knew that the day was going to be painful - not only because of the blisters, but also I had developed very painful tendonitis in my feet (Plantar Fasciitis) and behind my left knee.  But I wasn't going to let this stop me from walking the course today.  We had approximately 15 miles to do, and I was determined to do them all!

Went back to the tent to pack up and take the tent down.  This was a challenge in the cold, dark, dewey morning, but we managed.  I headed over for breakfast.  Eventually the rest of our team finished their morning chores as well, and we got in line for the bus to the start of the route.   At the beginning of the walking route, we sang a quick song or two, then started out walking.

Today the plan was to stay ahead of the middle of the pack.  We all felt that the trick is to shorten our time in the pit stops and lunch - that was where we lost a lot of time in the first two days.  We did NOT want to be in any threat of being swept by the van.

Pretty soon after starting out, our team of 9 found ourselves spread out into pairs, triples, and a few singles walking each at our own pace.  I enjoyed walking with Lori C for a while, then I walked alone for a while.  As I was walking alone, I pushed myself to keep a rapid pace - frankly, I felt like I was speed-walking.  However, in reality, I was just keeping a 3 mph pace, which should have been a piece of cake, but by Day 3 was a real challenge.

So here is a list of all the ways I was in physical pain:   My blisters all over both my feet hurt.  The tendonitis throughout my feet, shins and knees hurt like crazy.  I was limping, favoring my right foot due to the Plantar Fasciitis, which caused extra stress on my left knee and caused huge blisters to form on my left foot.  My muscles from hip to toe were aching and tight no matter how much stretching I did. I was developing a head ache and I was exhausted.  All this before the first pit stop at mile 3.  This was going to be a long, challenging day.

OK, whining over.  The fact was, the pain was not getting worse, it was just staying constant.  And so it was something that was going to either make me stop now, or I could live with it and over come it.  This was, I would recognize later, the most powerful lesson for me of the whole walk.  I could deal with pain, and I did not have to let it scare me or stop me.

After the first pit stop, I paired up and walked with Lori D for the entire rest of the day.  Lori and I chatted about all kinds of things throughout the day.  She kept pace with me and helped keep my mind off of the reality of how my body felt.  Sometimes our other team mates were with us, sometimes it was just the two of us. She was wonderful - I'm so thankful to her for staying with me!

The route on Day 3 was once again a beautiful one - we went through lovely neighborhoods in Bethesda and Chevy Chase, and then down Connecticut Avenue, past the National Zoo, and to Dupont Circle.  Once we go there, Dave and Mike were there cheering for us again.  I was never so happy to see them as I was that day, in that moment.  They gave me a big morale boost and bit hugs, and then we were off again.

Later, they were are the next cheering station too.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Thank you for being there!

Toward the end of the route we were once again in the heart of downtown DC. We walked right in front of the White House, where Dave and Mike made a surprise appearance and walked a few blocks with us.  Then it was just a couple more miles to the end.

Finally we were at holding.  The 3-day organizers have everyone gather about a 1/2 mile before the closing ceremonies, so that everyone can march into the ceremonies together. We waited for all of our team members to arrive, and then had this great photo taken.  What a team!

Once all the walkers arrived from the route, we all lined up and marched en masse over to the Washington Monument for closing ceremonies.

The ceremonies were wonderful - so moving, so rewarding.  Words really can't describe the emotions that I felt - pride in my accomplishment, happiness for all the survivors, sadness for the victims.  I was exhausted, and overwhelmed.  What a moment!

After the ceremonies, Dave and Mike met up with us and together we walked over to the Metro station to take a train out to where they had parked the car.

Soon we were home, and it was all over.

What an experience this was.  I'm so grateful for all the support that I received, from my husband and kids, to my friends, to my extended family.  And I'm so grateful for all the donors who contributed the fundraising efforts.

Thank you all so much!