2011 Rocky Mountain Avon Walk – Day One – Part One.

Day One Before the Walk

At The Opening Ceremony

Day One of the walk started off chilly. I had picked up a nice pink and black walking outfit with loose fitting pants. Knowing that the mornings could be quite cold, I added my Harley Davidson Breast Cancer hoodie and thought I was set – until it came time to head out to the Opening Ceremonies. Tony was taking me on the Harley.  Because it was so cold, I had to borrow his rain gear so I wouldn’t freeze on the ride over.  There are no pictures of me dressed that way – just picture a burnt Stay Puff Marshmallow Man (or woman I guess.)

When the Motorcycle Crew arrives at the Opening Ceremonies it’s a big deal. They ride in formation while everyone cheers and claps.  The Motorcycle Crew is a great team – and I’m not saying that because Tony was part of it.  The energy and support they show for the walkers through out the weekend is amazing. Their job is to help direct traffic where the walk crosses with traffic. But they do so so much more.

We started off with a light breakfast. I decided for this walk to not fret too much (or at least to attempt to not fret too much) about calories.  My weight loss still feels very new to me and I often fret about calories.  Not being able to have my cell phone on during the walk, meant that I couldn’t run the pedometer app on my iPhone and wouldn’t really know how many calories I was burning. Of course because it’s an app on my phone, it’s not entirely accurate – but it’s close.  The night before Tony had run out and picked up a pedometer for me so I could track my actual mileage. The walk for the first day is 26.2 miles – but between walking around the Opening Ceremonies, the lunch and rest stops, you actually walk a few more miles than 26.

Tony had loaned me one of his camelbacks so I wouldn’t have to carry a water bottle, though I did have an empty water bottle in my Avon pack for getting Gatorade at the rest stops.  There were several rest stops along the way. Not only were they needed for bathroom and rest breaks, but they helped break up the long walk.  Without being able to listen to a book while walking that left my mind open to wander and think of all sorts of things. And as you all know for me that can be dangerous.

A few people did strike up conversations along the way, partly because Avon Walkers are very friendly in general and partly because of the sign on the back of my pack.

Just a few of the people for whom I was walking.

These are just a few of the people in my life that have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, I wished I had added Tony’s mom, Patty.  She died from ovarian cancer.  Her mom is a breast cancer survivor. Since the same gene that can mutate and cause breast cancer is the same one that causes ovarian cancer, Tony and I have wondered if maybe if his mom had that gene.  I added myself to the list as an afterthought. It seemed rather vain, but the truth is if I were not a survivor I might not have ever signed up for this walk.

The “and Me” on the sign is what caused most people to strike up a conversation as they asked questions about how long of a survivor (just a few months) and shared their own stories.  I met a woman quite a bit older than me that was a ten year survivor and this was her tenth walk. There were walkers walking for friends, sisters, moms, daughters and spouses.  Everyone had a story.

I set a pretty good pace for the morning portion of the walk. I might have been a little faster, but of course I had my camera and often stopped to take a picture.  I did discover than I can take a picture while still moving, but there were a few landscape/flower shots that did require that I actually stop and think about the shot rather than just pressing the button.

The only wildlife I saw during the walk.

There were a few times I wish I’d had my zoom lens, especially when I saw the sailboats and kayaks on the lake.  But, over all it was a good decision to have left it in the hotel room. My Nikon is a big camera without the long lens.  Even though I had trained while wearing my camera backpack (holds both cameras, flash, the long lens with room for my iPad, a book or two and a water bottle) after wearing it up the Manitou Incline, I had decided it was too heavy for the walk. And it would have been, especially paired with the camel back.

I loved seeing, Tony, Patrick, Jim and Laurel at the intersections and cheering stations.  Tony always had a hug or kiss for me (which of course set off a chorus of comments from my fellow walkers) and Patrick was always ready with a hug as well.  Jim and Laurel made sure I didn’t forget to reapply sunscreen.  Knowing I would see them along the trail gave me small little goals to reach along the walk.

Meeting Tony at one of the intersections on Day 2.

With Patrick at the Day One Lunch Stop

The lunch stop on Day One came earlier than expected. It was well before lunch and before the halfway point.  I was grateful for a chance to rest, but I didn’t really want lunch. Fortunately, I had Laurel to look out for me and make sure I did eat something.  Laurel is an Assistant DA and if one is smart they do what she says.  Once lunch was over it wasn’t long before I reached the halfway point – the Wellness Village.  This was the stop I had been fretting about. I had to be medically evaluated and cleared before I would be given the option of continuing on for the full 26.2 miles.  I was afraid I was going to embarrass myself and not be physically fit enough to do it.  It wasn’t just a matter of being fit, there was also altitude sickness to worry about.  Keystone is about 3000 feet higher than Colorado Springs.

When they cleared me to continue the walk, I almost did the happy dance, but I restrained myself and just continued on.

Day One Halfway Point

I’ll stop here at the halfway point, as the post is already over 1,000 words.  I’ll post more about Day One either later today or tomorrow. There’s just so much to tell. I had actually taken my laptop to the walk with me, because I mistakenly thought I would feel like posting at the end of each day. Ha! Even if I had had the energy, I’m not sure I would have been coherent enough to make a post.

Check back later for more about Day One’s adventures.


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