Saturday, November 13, 2010

3 Day Walk - Final Day

Sunday morning arrived and we were lucky enough to "fall back" and get a little extra sleep. It wasn't much because we had to get up, pack up our stuff, get checked out of the hotel and catch a shuttle bus to the start of the walk. Route opened at 6:50 a.m. cause the sun was up! We headed over to camp about 6:45 to get in line for the shuttle.

Day three - we made it! Woo Hoo! It is a short day, just 16.2 miles today to get to the holding area, then another 1/2 mile or so to the real finish line.

Smiles all around. Megan's leg still hurts pretty good, but she is going to walk every mile even if it means she has to drag her leg behind her. She is one determined chick.

This mother/daughter team is raring to go! 16.2 miles! No problem. That is like Day Two without the last five horrible miles. We have got this!

Me and Martha are ready to go. The bus driver has on the heaters full blast and we are getting ready to start stripping out of some clothes. Can I just take a moment here to say that I should never, ever go without mascara. Jeez, do I even have any eyelashes or eyebrows? Scary.
There was a group of girls on the bus that were loudly bragging about staying at the DoubleTree and how they had margaritas and someone came to their room to massage their feet and they soaked them in Epsom Salt. People on the bus were staring daggers through them. I thought there might be a lynching. Our crew was very, very quiet about our hotel stay. It seemed almost mean to bring that up to girls who had spent the night camping in frigid temps. I think one of them may have gotten pushed under a bus. Just saying.

Do you think Callie will like this picture? It just cracks me up. She is trying to stretch and get a little loose before we start walking. It was painful people.

This picture just makes me laugh too. Connie was loading up on snacks in all her little zippered pouches and we of course had to load her down even more for a picture. No worries about going hungry on this walk. They feed you well and often. Did I already say that one girl whose story I read said "We ate like it was our job." Well we did too! We were good at our job too!

We were off. We walked through some spectacular neighborhoods. Crazy beautiful houses. Bigger than you were ever need. Just obscene. But we were sure gawking like we were looking for famous people. It was a lovely distraction.

The beginning of a giant cheering station. Dallas was out in force on Day Three!

DONUTS! Oh yeah! That will be good for another couple of miles!

Pink Fire Truck honking like crazy.

Megan putting one foot in front of the other. Martha, Connie and Brittany were a little bit ahead of us, but we kept meeting up at pit stops!

Pit Stop 2. Sitting down felt so good. Standing up, not so good. Standing up and getting started again was hands down the hardest part of the whole day.

Made it to the lunch stop about five minutes after it opened. We were so far ahead in the pack. It just felt so good to walk fast and know that we were going to get off of our feet sooner rather than later!

Karate Kid stretching it out again!

Callie and Megan take a picture in front of Hooters. Hooters was an awesome sponsor for them. Held a car wash for them and the corporation gave them over $1,000 match.

Karen's feet hindered her walking quite a bit, so she along with Brittany's husband Rick took on the task of getting our cars to the finish line. It was a logistics nightmare and had they not so generously taken care of this, we would have all had to pile into one car and drive 16 miles back to the DoubleTree before we could head home. Their kindness meant we could all walk a short distance to our cars and get on the road to the house. Never loved them more than when we pulled out of Closing Ceremonies within minutes and were on our way home. It was an awesome blessing!!

The last cheering station in Historic West End. As packed as it seems I am pretty sure it was bigger last year. I think the problem was that we were so early!!! The cheering stations were open for three hours and we were through them within 15 minutes of them opening. We were like a horse to the barn. Get out of the way. No lolly gagging, just one foot in front of the other.
Well maybe we lolly gagged for just a second to eat an ice pop! What an awesome yummy treat some complete stranger handed us. Funny how we were just taking random food and drink from anyone. Wouldn't consider doing that on a regular day, and Halloween just FORGET ABOUT IT. But a 3 Day 60 Mile walk with 2800 walkers, give me a Bloody Mary, a bottled water, candy, donuts, ice pops, orange slices, banana - not a problem.

We walked through Pioneer Park and really felt like we were getting so close.
Callie and Megan doing the stop light stretch. I heard someone say it was only one mile from here! We got behind two girls who had music strapped to their backs and we were moving. The music made it easier and before we knew it....

We were at the entrance to Fair Park! The finish line!!! We are going to make it!!!

It was maybe about 2:00 in the afternoon when we entered the holding area. It was a new location this year and was set up inside. We walked in to get our victory shirts! They told me I was number 365 to finish for the day. That is just crazy! Out of 2800 walkers? For real???
While I have this picture up I want you to notice how big the building is. By the time it got to be 3:30 in the afternoon or so, there was a huge line of walkers that made a lane for the new finishers to walk through. Walkers had to be in holding by 4:00. As each new finisher walked by you heard "Way to go ladies! Congratulations! Welcome to the end! You Made It!! You Did It!! There was so much clapping, hollering, congratulating going on it was unbelievable. It was a different experience this year for me. Last year, we were one of the late arrivers and were some of the ones that walked through the huge long line of people. This year, we finished early and were able to cheer on those who were finishing. Both were equally as awesome, just different experiences. This year, you could tell the people who had really struggled. Those that were limping and had tears rolling down their face as they made their way to get their shirts. Some were just overwhelmed with emotions. Some were carrying big bouquets of flowers their loved ones had given them. Some were carrying their children who had met them at the finish line. Many were walking with their teammates beaming with pride about conquering this distance. It was really quite moving.

Yes, three cheers for us!!! Three cheers for sitting down!!! Three cheers for all that hard work and the deep, deep satisfaction of a job well done. AAAAHHH!!

Megan's leg held up...barely. Callie still had a little pep left in her.

Connie and Brittany already talking about doing it again next year!

We are INVINCIBLE!!! Oh yes we are!

Team photo!! What a great group of gals! So lucky to know and love them all!

We had almost 2 1/2 hours to kill before Closing Ceremonies started. Martha catches a cat nap (exactly 16 minutes!) laying on the hard concrete floor. That girl can seriously sleep anywhere, anytime.

Megan also catches a quick little rest before we have to haul ourselves a little further to closing ceremonies.
We all start gathering outside on the plaza to march to closing ceremonies. It was a huge crowd. Matching shirts. Linking arms in rows of ten. Music blasting. Big crowds on either side of the sidewalk.
Once the walkers get around the stage area, the crew marches in. The crew is just amazing. All volunteers with such generous and kind hearts. There were 425 of them and when they walked in the place went crazy with applause of gratitude. Would not have been able to, nor would I have wanted to try to do it without the amazing support of these folks. We clapped for them, they cheered for us, one big love fest!

Then my absolute favorite part! All the walkers take off a shoe and raise it high in the air when the survivors walk in. We did this for you!!! We walked to find a cure so that you can beat this disease!!! Was it hard? You bet. Would we do it again if it meant we could wipe out this terrible disease? In a red hot second. Yeah, I cried even though I knew it was coming.

Then a few of the survivors bring in the 3 Day camp flag and raise it for the final time. It was so awesome. Dallas, TX 3 Day Walk for the Cure raised over $7,000,000!!! Woo Hoo!!!

Candy Coburn comes on stage and belts out a Pink Warrior song and the survivors went wild. The rest of us were kind of done. That was great, but where's the car? Is it far? Can we go now? Would you believe it if I told you I had to pee? There is not a port-a-potty in sight. How are we going to fight this crowd and get out of here?

Karen shows us where the cars are parked and as soon as possible, we are weaving, bobbing, excuse me, pardon me, can I get through, heading this way, grab my hand, don't get separated, making our way through the mob and on to our car. Sweet relief to sit down.

Goodbyes shouted out! It was awesome!! Loved it!! Call me when you get home!!!

Another year - another walk - another sensational experience! Congratulations to all my girls. So proud of my team and the hard work they put in and the money they raised for this amazing cause! Your captain thinks that 3 Days 4 Hope ROCKS!!!

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing. Me and Tia are already discussing walking next year. You are awesome!!