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Monday, September 18, 2006

A2D Walk - Day One

Each day of the Atlanta 2 Day is a story within itself so I am going to break it down into two posts.

First off let me admit something -- this was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have given birth to two kids and been through a few surgeries, but those were NOTHING compared to attempting to walk 30 miles in two days. It was a roller coaster ride complete with ups and downs - both physically AND emotionally.

I got up at 4 a.m. to head to the walk. The route was about an hour from my house so I wanted to make sure I got there by 6 a.m. Went to QT for my coffee and met Carl there for my good luck kiss (he had to work this weekend). I was on the road at 4:55 and at the hotel just in time.

After signing in and eating a little breakfast I had a few minutes to kill. I was there all alone and didn't know one single person. It was kind of intimidating to see all of these women - there were over 700 walkers this year (I think that is what they said) - so being alone was... well... lonely.

One young lady came up to me and asked if I was with a team. I told her I was with Q100 but was walking alone. She and I (her name was Jen) decided we would walk together. Soon, we had gravitated to a few more "singles" and our walking crew consisted of Erin, Karen, Jen, Kim, Laura, and me. We were ready to go!

Leaving day one - part of the motorcycle crew

As we left the tent to begin the walk, we were greeted by the sound of motorcycles revving their engines and lots of people clapping and cheering us on. The motorcycle folks followed the walkers on the route and helped us at busy streets. They were GREAT and so entertaining. They all had on costumes or had decorated their bikes... they were playing music and dancing in the streets... they kept our energy up and encouraged us the whole time.

One of the MANY hills

For the first 7 miles I kept up with my crew; the pace was easy and we were making great time. Then I started wearing out. I couldn't help it. I told them to go on without me... I didn't want to hold them back. They took off -- but did keep looking back to check on me. I'm grateful for that...

We all went through several neighborhoods - up and down some rough hills - but I kept going. Ladies would pass me by and would all say "Good morning" and "How ya doin'?" I was really starting to wear out. I was determined to make it to the lunch tent though; that was mile 10.26.

Around mile 9 I was done. I was exhausted. My feet hurt, my head hurt, and my heart was SO heavy. I didn't want to quit but I didn't think I could go on much more. I called my mom and asked her if she would be disappointed if I stopped. I was bawling - standing on the side of the road crying but trying to hide it from the other walkers. I didn't want to disappoint my mom or my family, and I didn't want the other ladies to see me break down. Mom told me she was proud of me no matter what... I sucked it up and kept going.

I made it to the lunch tent - YAY! After resting for a few minutes and getting some food in my belly I decided to push on. I decided to take it one stop at a time. I started off again.

Then it happened. A pain I couldn't explain. It started in my foot and shot up to my hip. It made me stumble a little bit. A lady behind me said "Whoa. Are you OK?" I told her I was fine and kept walking. Every time I stepped down on my left foot the pain would shoot up. Then my foot went numb... I knew I was done. One of he motorcycle crew guys - complete in purple fuzzy hat and a big, red clown nose - flagged down a "sweep" van and I headed back to the hotel.

All total, I made it about 12 miles. I wanted to cry because I was so disappointed with myself. I could barely speak, but I reasoned with myself that at least I made it those 12 miles! That is the farthest I have ever walked.

At dinner that night I hooked up with the rest of my crew. All of them - except one - made it the entire 20 miles. (That one had to stop because of blisters and foot pain) I am SO proud of all of those ladies! They are an inspiration and I am so glad they made it! I wish I could have been there with them, but I would have held them back.

The hotel supplied the walkers with dinner, medical treatment and massages. We decided to wait for a massage.

Karen and Erin waiting for their massage

Kim waiting on her massage

Karen and I gave up after about an hour. I decided a shower would be the key, so I went back to my room. My roommate didn't show up so I had the room to myself - which is a good thing since I was given only a king size bed! I watched Fantastic Four and then crashed for the night.

Day One -- done.

Random postings about day one

  • I walked in front of Karyn Greer and Sam Crenshaw for about 3 miles. For those of you not from Atlanta, they are two newscasters from our NBC station -- Karyn does news and Sam reports sports. I would chat with them on occasion, but mostly "eavesdropped"on their conversation. I didn't know anyone they were speaking about and I couldn't begin to tell you what the conversations were about, but they made me chuckle quite a bit.
  • At one point I stood at the bottom of a hill and just stared (this was right before the lunch tent). A lady and her daughter encouraged me to continue up the hill... we even walked up it backwards for a few steps. The mom gave me some Alleve to help me with some aches. They were a couple of angels and I thank them for their encouragement.
  • One lady did the walk in a cast... she amazed me.
  • Saturday night's dinner theme was Disco. There were some funky costumes! I didn't stay for the dancing. Whoever could dance after that walk either didn't complete it all, or were so in shape I couldn't hang with them anyway.
  • I felt like I turned into a stalker. The Q100 ladies were there and I want to be their best friends. Jen Hobby, Melissa, Jen Fallon and Tracey -- please forgive me if I bugged you to death. You guys have the job I have always dreamed of... I live vicariously through you and feel like I know you so well.
  • Thank you to all the Brownie and Girl Scout troops we met along the way. To the Brownies that gave me the A2D pin, I have it on my hat and will always wear it with pride.
  • Thank you to the families from the neighborhoods we walked through. Thank you for letting us walk down your streets and admire your beautiful homes. Thank you for putting pink balloons on your mailboxes and handing out candy. Your encouragement and enthusiasm helped so much!


Pioneer Woman said...

I'm sorry not to comment on today's post. I'll go back and read it.

But the pug. What are you trying to do to me? I', pug-obsessed and I don't have one. I did. Puggy Sue. She died.


Marni said...

Welcome, Ree!

I'm sorry about Puggy Sue! I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost my two boys...

KLee said...

Twleve miles is NOTHING to sneer at! It's a great accomplishment! Whether you completed the whole thing is not the important part -- the fact that you took place at all is wonderful. I'm so proud of you. And I know those in whose memory/hope for a cure you walked are proud of you as well.

You done great, girl!

lulu said...

I started crying just now reading about you on the phone with your mom asking if she would be disappointed if you quit. I am so impressed that you managed o do so well on your own. I did the 60 mile here in Chicago last year, but I did it with my 2 closest friends. I know I would have quit if I had not had them there to support me.

(I do have a question though, you stayed in a hotel?????? We stayed in tents! It was miserable.)

Marni said...

Lulu - I am in awe of ANYONE that completes the 3-day. After this weekend I don't know if I could ever walk 20 miles a day...

Yes, the two day walkers are put up in hotels... no tents for us! COme join me next year - the walk is going to be all through downtown Atlanta...

lulu said...

Would you be less in awe if you knew I was taking a vicodin every four hours? I was so drunged that I really didn't feel anything.

I did lose a total of 3 toenails from the event, 2 right away and 1 much later. It was worth it though.

We trained pretty hard for the 3-day, before we did it, we were up to back to back 18/15 mile walks. There are also almost no hills in Chicago, which made it easier.

I don't know about coming to Georgia, it's HOT there. I don't do so well in the heat.

I am totally going to do the 3-day again, but not until all of my nails grow back.