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I walked 60 miles…

November 11, 2008

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to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. It was moving, exhausting, and absolutely incredible. It has taken me all day today to rest before I was ready to write about my experiences.

Day 1:

dscn0108Megan, Paul, and I woke up at 4:15am to get ready to head to South Fork Ranch. Megan’s dad and dscn0123friend came to pick us up, which was an incredible blessing. They loved being there and were so positive even though it was long before the crack of dawn. We arrived at South Fork at about 6am. It was COLD! We dropped off our bags at the trucks and headed to meet the team. We found the Rack Pack and waited to head into opening ceremonies. Meg and I made our first of MANY port-o-potty trips before heading to the stage. Of course during the opening ceremony I cried uncontrollably. Laurie HR and Laurie O both carried flags, which was incredible. I was so excited to see them doing something so honorable.

After closing ceremonies we hit the path. I shivered for about 2 miles. It was VERY cold. We were such a huge group (over 3,000 walkers!) that we walked in a pretty tight pack the first day. I was stuck towards the back of the group, which was frustrating on the narrow sidewalks. I saw Jason coming back from lunch that afternoon. It was so exciting! dscn0127I also saw Joyce and Stephanie, all decked out in their bras. They knew the importance of entertaining cheering stations because they walked last year. They were AWESOME!

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Day one was long. We started walking at about 7am and didn’t get to camp until after 5pm. We walked about almost 22 miles. It was hard for me to be in the back of the pack. We were rushed from pit stop to lunch with the threat of getting swept. They wanted to make sure that everyone was at camp before it got dark, so they were rushing the back of the pack to hurry. We were hurrying but you cannot walk faster than the 200 people in front of you on a narrow sidewalk. At the final cheering station, just a few miles from camp, my friend Heather was there with baby Abby. They had been there for hours, I’m sure, cheering for everyone. Abby was tired by the time I got there from all of her cheering. Heather’s hug and the sweet text messages she sent all weekend were an incredible gift to me. The last couple of miles really hurt my spirit. I was exhausted and feeling pretty down. I had no idea how I was going to keep going. How was I going to walk in the morning if I felt this horrible now? I hurt pretty bad and was worried about feeling worse in the morning. After a shower, a chat with my boy, and dinner, I climbed in my tent feeling moderately defeated. Meg passed out before dinner and had to go to the med tent. I was worried for her and my anxiety was growing. Jarrod tried to comfort me by saying there were only 2 more days. This just made me cry harder. I couldn’t make it 2 more days.

Day 2:

dscn0138The joy comes in the morning. After a decent sleep (and a runny nose because of the cold!) I got ready to head out early, in front of the crowd. We lined up at the gate at about 6:30am. The trail opened at 6:50am and we were off. We walked in the crowd for a few miles before the first pit stop split us up. I was drinking a ton of water and using the port-o-potties every singe time I could. We walked at a good pace and had a decent time. I was thrilled to see Jarrod’s mom and aunt at the first cheering station of the day. After seeing them I cried for about 2 blocks. This whole experience is overwhelming for me. I was thinking about my grandma Shirley, his Grandma Jo, and our families. I carried a picture of the two of us all weekend as inspiration. I needed to remember that I’m walking for our family. At lunch Vicki and I hit the road to walk fast. We walked through a couple of cheering stations and I got to see some great friends. dscn0140You may recognize these ladies from the 3-day commercials, print ads, and website. Megan and Amy are totally awesome. Their husbands, Andy and Trent walked this year and the girls cheered with their boys. Great to see them. This cheering station was two blocks long, packed with people. It was absolutely incredible. The cheering stations gave me the motivation to keep walking. The balloons, signs, candy, and quiet thank yous were all I needed. I saw children holding signs, “Thank you for walking for my mom.” I saw an older woman with a scarf on her head sitting in a chair quietly say thank you. I shook hands with men, women, and kids. I saw the same families over and over again all three days out supporting us. That was incredibly moving. I saw lots of inspirational things this weekend. A man walked in front of me for a while with a picture of his wife on the back. She died on 11/2/08. That was less than a week before we started walking. On day two I saw two women hugging him saying, “She’d be so proud of you.” I saw several women in wheel chairs being pushed by their teammates. I saw several survivors still fighting. I cried as I watched a bald woman climbing into a sweeper van. She didn’t want to quit, but her body couldn’t take anymore walking. She was fighting too hard. I especially felt Janet’s spirit with me on Day two. Her memorial service was that morning at 11am. Janet was busy in heaven watching out for all of us this weekend. When I hurt so bad and wanted to quit, I remembered how she kept fighting even when it hurt to breathe. I’d take a big deep breath of clean, beautiful air. It didn’t hurt to breathe. I could keep on walking. If you came out to cheer, honked as you saw us walking, or lifted up a prayer or positive thought, thank you. It is because of you that I got through the three days. Vicki and I booked it home on day two and got to camp at 3pm. 21 more miles down. dscn0143Back at camp, we sat around between the tents and rested. Laughing and telling stories. I thought my toes were going to explode so I elevated them for a good while. I was honestly worried about hat happened if your toes filled with so much blood. dscn0144My feet were on fire and my two hot spots from the day before had turned to small blisters. Nothing like what I experienced in training, but painful nonetheless. I showered, shopped, and ate dinner, all by 5:30pm! Meg was feeling better and we were having a good time. It was nice to get back with time to relax before the sun went down. I was in bed by 8pm or so and asleep as soon as the dance party ended in the dining tent. 🙂

Day 3:

I knew I would need a little extra encouragement on Day 3 to keep moving. I picked the perfect group to walk with! We hit the road at 6:50am and started out with the rest of the pack. I spent the entire day walking with Paul, Parrish, Vicki, Carrie, and Melinda. We pushed each other, encouraged each other, and hurt together. It was painful. It was awesome. We booked it to lunch and got there about 10am. We stopped only momentarily to eat a delicious sandwich, refill, potty, and stretch. I was really starting to feel the pain. My blisters were holding up. I was body gliding pretty regularly and had bandaged my left foot the night before. But my muscles were sore. Blisters and sore muscles don’t need chemo, though. Keep walking. We walked, talked, laughed, and kept our spirits up. As we got closer to SMU I predicted that we’d be stopping at Sorority Park. We held hands as we entered the park. I cried. Then I saw LHR and lost it.dscn0153 I couldn’t believe I’d walked ever step of the 60 miles. I would never had done this had she not done it three years ago. I was so thankful for her. She congratulated me and said I’d done it. I went and got my walker t-shirt. I had really walked 60 miles! And it was only 2pm! Closing ceremonies weren’t until 4:30pm. We relaxed, cheered for our fellow walkers, ate more cookies, and rested. And took lots of pictures! dscn0152dscn0154After a while we began to line up or closing ceremonies. That was interesting, but neat. We stuck together as a team and lined up 5 across. Remember, there are over 3,000 walkers trying to do all of this in sorority park…dscn0155

We walked to Dallas Hall. There were people cheering from sorority park all the way through SMU to Dallas Hall. They were EVERYWHERE. It was incredibly overwhelming. I cannot believe how many people were there. Thousands of people covered the campus. Overwhelming doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. Closing ceremonies was beautiful. I’ll post more pictures tomorrow. I don’t want this post to be too picture-heavy! 🙂 After closing ceremonies Megan’s folks took us (plus Kevin, Allison, Jeanne and Heath) to IHOP. It was fantastic. I was a bottomless pit and ate an omlet and pancakes. Then we went home, I unpacked, talked with my boy, and got in bed. I was clean. I’d showered in my own shower. My bed was cozy and warm. I was in pain and took some advil PM to help me sleep. I slept for 10 hours or so before waking up rested and feeling stiff and sore this morning. I’ll write more about my experiences on day 4 tomorrow. For now, it’s time for bed. Thank you, each of you, who was apart of my success. I couldn’t have done this without you. Ready to sign up for next year? The Rack Pack is already up and running! Sign up today! dscn0160dscn0156dscn0162dscn0163dscn0161

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2008 12:38 pm

    oh, leanne, I am sitting here at my desk with tears on my cheeks. I am so proud of you! And as a woman I am so thankful for all of you that participated!

    While you were on the walk I prayed that you would get some smiles and laughs on your way. It looks like you did. 🙂 Thank you for sharing all about it!

  2. May 15, 2009 1:02 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write down the details of your walk.

    Choked up,
    Vickie, will be a first-time walker in ’09

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