Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reflections on a Walk

Well I did it. I completed this year's Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk. I have not had any type of shoes on except for flip flops since Sunday and have taken advantage of a quiet house to put my feet up and recuperate.

The organization provides cheering locations so that friends and family can come and cheer the walkers on. On Day 2 my wonderful husband and children waited 4 hours just so they could cheer me on. I started to cry as soon as I saw them running to me. After the initial hugging and hello's, my youngest daughter asked me if I was going to do it again next year. A bit like asking someone who is in labor if they are going to have more children, but here are my thoughts on that question:

Cons of the walk:

-9 long months of fund-raising
-9 long months of training
-3 full days away from my family
-1 very large time commitment
-Sunburned cheeks
-Sore muscles
-Several (and I do mean several) trips to the medical tent
-Loss of one toenail

While the first day was full of emotion and uplifting spirit, by the second day I was seriously wondering who had come up with this cruel and unusual punishment. Several blisters decided to make an appearance and each and every step of the 21.6 miles that were included in the second day were painful. My good humor and positive attitude were diminishing quickly. When I saw a sign that said "No Whining" I had to quit talking because I couldn't think of anything else to say.

Pros of the Walk

-Being part of the opening and closing ceremonies
-Meeting other survivors
-Seeing the amazing dedication of the walkers
-Being part of a truly inspiring team
-Walking with my sister who means the world to me
-Walking with my friend Matt, one of the finest people on the planet
-Being pampered and spoiled by the entire 3 day crew from the people helping us cross streets to the angels disguised as medical volunteers in the medical tents
-Looking out into the crowd during opening and closing ceremonies and seeing the smiles and the tears of my teammates, friends and family
-Seeing the incredible community support in the way of stickers, water, cheers, food (and more food)
-Feeling supported in every way
-Raising over 8200.00 personally
-Raising over 137,000.00 as a team
-Raising over 5.5 million as a community

I had a couple of defining moments throughout the walk that I wasn't expecting.

1. On day 2 when my feet were well past cooperating and it was 86 degrees and I didn't know if I could take another step, a stranger stepped off of the sidelines and asked if he could throw away my garbage-a cup that I was carrying. I teared up because someone who didn't know anything about me was willing to do something as menial as throw my garbage out for me so that I could continue putting one foot in front of another.

2. At the end of day 2 when we had 2 miles left to go, I realized that I just couldn't do it. I thought that I wanted to complete the entire 60 miles without having to take one of the many shuttle vans that were available. I took the van for the last 2 miles and realized that I didn't feel an ounce of guilt about it. There is nothing heroic in torturing myself. I realized that my success was not defined by the ability to walk 60 miles, nor was it defined by doing it in the fastest time possible. It was defined by the fact that I raised money for a cause that is immensely important to me.

3. On day 3 I saw a small pink sign stuck in the grass of someone's yard that gave me the reason why it was all worth it. It said this:

My Grandma thanks you for walking
Stage 4
Still Fighting

So will I do it again? My feet will pipe up with a resounding "NO!" but my head and heart will supercede my feet and say yes. There is still work to be done. People are still being diagnosed with cancer every day. 1 in 8 women. That is just too many. I will sign up for 2010 and do it all again-hopefully without blisters.

Thank you to my Grandma, my cousin Dale, friends Mary Kay, Annie, Jill, Paul, Tara, Robert, Marcia, Terry, Tristi, Shannon, Mike, Bailey, Kylie, Connor, Taryn, Jim, Heidi, Grace (and Coco), my husband and my daughters for coming out to cheer us on. Can I count on you again next year??


Annie Searle said...

Tracy, I'm so proud of you. I know how hard that walk is. I think you laid out the pros and cons just right. I'm not sure if my feet will be able to walk next year, but if they are, then walking with you will be a pleasure. If not, i'll be there to cheer you on like I did this year.

Lots of love,


Daria said...