2011 Rocky Mountain Avon Walk – Day Two

Day Two before the walk.

After a not so good night’s sleep I was up and ready for a second day of walking.  The heat rash was still bothering me, but I was hoping the pink scrubs would be enough protection to get me through the day. Still not up to riding on the Harley, Jim gave me a quick ride over to the Wellness Village with strict instructions from Tony to go back to the medical tent so they could take another look at my blisters before the walk.

Breakfast with the Motorcycle Crew

Breakfast on Sunday was a hot breakfast – eggs and sausage. I know I ate, but I couldn’t tell you what it tasted like.  The gentleman wearing the hat is the one who graciously gave me his bandanna for my leg.

Fortunately, as I was eating breakfast I noticed “The Rack Pack” sitting at a nearby table and I was able to join up with them again for the beginning of the walk.  Our ill friend from the day before was feeling much better and had been cleared to walk.  One of the other girls though was having some serious problems with her asthma.  The medics told her she couldn’t do the entire 13 miles, but that she should be able to join her friends for the last mile or two.

And the second day of walking begins.

Everyone was moving quite a bit slower on Day Two, but for the most part everyone’s spirits seemed pretty good. I was a little distracted and missed Mile Marker 1. I had been taking pictures as we passed each marker.  Because I missed the marker for Mile 1, I was thinking that the first mile seemed really long and that was a sign that it was going to be a very long day.  I felt much better when reached Mile Marker 2 and I realized that the reason it seemed like such a long mile was that it was in fact two miles.

The path took us back to what had been the Margaritaville Breast Stop the day before.  We were all muttering under our breaths, hoping that once we crossed the bridge that we would be turning left (away from Copper Mountain) and not right.  Walking across the bridge was an experience. For some reason the bridge started swinging and all four of us thought we were either hallucinating or about to be very ill or both.  Once across the bridge, the path did turn to the left towards Breckinridge, which meant that most of Sunday’s walk was either level or just on a slight incline.

Mile 5

I know it was all in our heads, but it really did seem as though the miles were shorter on Day 2. And even though my legs felt pretty good I did notice that I was beginning to slow down again.  A few times I lost my group – but they were always good about waiting for me at the next stop.

Patrick

Somewhere after Mile 7, Patrick joined me. He said he was going to finish the day with me. He was rather excited about doing a “half, half-marathon.” That is the longest walk he’s ever done.  He said he wanted to be able to cross the finish line with me.  It’s a good thing I had my sun glasses on so no one would see the tears.  He’s such a good Battle Buddy.

Having him with me, made it easier for The Rack Pack to continue their walk. I just kept getting slower and slower. With Patrick with me, the other ladies were able to keep their pace without worrying about leaving me behind. We caught up with them at lunch. They were worried about me, but I told them I was ok – just slow. Part of it was just being tired. Part of it was I would stop from time to time to take a picture.  I wasn’t worried about making good time anymore. I just wanted to finish and the best way to do that was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Patrick was a big help as he carried my pack for me as well as my camera, only handing the camera back to me if I wanted to get a picture.

Mile 13

The closer we got to the finish line the more emotional I got. I was wearing my sunglasses, so Patrick couldn’t see.  Patrick doesn’t like it when I cry.  I had signed up for this walk while laying in bed recuperating from one of the surgeries. I’d talked a good game for about five months, but deep down I wasn’t totally convinced I could do it. Everyone else had faith in me, but I guess my faith in myself was not that deep.  It really took me by surprise that just five months after the second surgery and just about two months after completing radiation, I walked 39.3 miles! Wow!

When Tony met us right before the finish line and took my hand so he could cross the line with me there were even more tears.  Again, thank goodness for sun glasses so no one could see the tears.

For most of the walk, I had been walking on my own (physically), but I was never alone. There were times when I’d see someone in the crowd that reminded me of a friend.  (I swear I saw Sharon Kircher and Jolene Lofy about five times. Maybe I was seeing their doppelgangers.) There were a lot of people who supported me with donations, good advice, and encouragement. We did this walk together.

Just before the finish line.

Getting ready to cross the line.

Almost there.

The Finish Line.

I did it!

After crossing the finish line, I ran into The Rack Pack just as they were having their victory picture taken.  We took a couple of quick pictures together. I wish I had traded email addresses with them. Maybe I’ll see them again next year.

I picked up my T-shirt – “In It To End It Because I’m a Survivor ” and headed to the medical tent to have my new blisters treated.  Then I headed to a nearby stream to duck my feet in.  It was like sticking them in an bucket of ice, but oh did it feel good.  Then Tony and I headed over to the registration tent and signed up for the 2012 Walk. Tony was the 300th person to sign up.

Once all the walkers had crossed the finish line, it was time for the Closing Ceremony – another emotional experience.  They gather all the walkers together, then bring in the survivors who walked, and the the various volunteer crews.  This is also when they award grants to various facilities in Colorado that are involved in the fight against breast cancer.  The Rocky Mountain Walk raised $1.9 million! Almost $1 million of that was awarded to Colorado organizations. What an amazing accomplishment!

 

Once the Closing Ceremony ended it was time to head back to the hotel for another shower and a celebratory dinner and then a nap!  I treated myself to a Skinny Lavender Lemon Drop Martini and Tony treated himself to a Sam Adams. Patrick’s treat was a bacon cheeseburger. The boy cannot get enough burgers.  Jim and Laurel headed back to Colorado Springs in hopes of  beating traffic. I think I heard Jim saying something about getting his motorcycle endorsement so he could be on next year’s Motorcycle Crew.

And that’s how it ended. Tomorrow I will post some additional pictures that I took during the walk, but not all 300 plus pictures!

This was such an accomplishment for me and I can’t thank enough all of you who helped to make it happen. You are truly heroes in the fight against breast cancer. Thanks to you and all the others who are involved in this fight a cure is just around the corner.

Skinny Lavender Lemon Drop Martini

The Rack Pack

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