Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 MS Challenge Walk Recap

First and foremost I want to thank all of you!  Thank you to my donors, supporters, and cheerleaders who have stuck with me throughout this journey.  What an amazing experience this was and I seriously would not have been able to do it without all of you.  Please know that my thanks to you are sincere.  I know many of you have donated to me many times and I really appreciate it.  {Thank you notes have been ordered and will be arriving in each of your mail boxes in the coming weeks!}

Recap time!  The Bean Team (me, Jenn, my mom and Julie - fellow Fashion Plates model) drove down to the Cape on Thursday (9/6) night to attend the Welcome Party in Hyannis.  We checked in and got our name tags then enjoyed some food and catching up with old friends.  Fortunately we were able to stay at my parent's place in Dennisport to make for a much shorter commute on Friday morning since Day 1 would be starting very early!

The 2012 MS Challenge Walk did not disappoint!  We arrived on the Hyannis Green bright and early for Day 1.  The Opening Ceremony was lovely and got us energized and ready for the first 20 miles.  The weather was HOT and HUMID.  Very humid.  Gross!  Jenn and I were ready to go. . . My mom and Julie went over to the Sea Camps to start their Crew duties.

Day 1 the adrenaline was flowing.  I was feeling good.  It was easy to take photos, send FB and twitter updates, respond to text messages, etc. (this was not the case on the following days)!  Jenn and I kept a pretty good pace and got very excited each time we crossed a town line b/c we knew that meant we were closer to the finish in Brewster.  Some highlights from the day for me were - those GIANT flowers (so pretty), anytime we saw the beach and/or water, the peanut butter and fluff sandwich I ate for lunch and the bomb popsicle (you wouldn't believe how good that tasted when you are sweating buckets)! 

When we finally crossed the street and were within eyesight of family and friends it felt amazing.  Knowing that we were so close to massages and wine just gave us that extra boost to finish at a steady pace!  My mom was an emotional mess and even want to hug us which was surprising since we were super sweaty and gross.  So nice to have my mom and Julie and all the other people cheering us in.  It felt so good to finish Day 1.  

{Special thanks to Sandy B. for taking the photo in the upper right corner}

Our night pretty much looked like this.  Soak feet in epsom salt.  See medical crew for blisters.  Massage.  Shower (not pictured - obviously).  Feet up and drinking wine!  That pretty much sums it up.  Plus I don't think you want details about my blisters being drained.  Gross. 

We also had dinner and attended the evening program at the Big Top Tent.  It was a short but nice program.  A musician then programed which was a nice way to end the night.  Then it was off to bed - early!

Day 2 and ready for another 20 miles!  Let me just tell you that I literally didn't think I was going to be able to walk.  Each time I woke up in the middle of the night to pee (thanks to the gallons of Gatorade I drank all day) I honestly had to hobble to the bathroom.  I was so tight and so sore.  Fortunately once I got moving in the morning (just as Jenn told me) I was feeling much better. 

Day 2 had some of the BEST rest stop themes.  Believe me when you are walking the (boring) Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) the simplest of things will excite you!  The very first rest stop was adorable - Lego people!  Some of the best costumes I've seen in a while and of course we had to stop for a photo.  The "Bee" rest stop was great too with their slogans of bee happy and be strong.  I needed those reminders at that point b/c the blisters were popping up everywhere.  Jenn and I took a quick pit stop and put band-aids all over our feet.

Oh and did I mention that the CCRT is a bit boring?  It is.  Sorry it is the truth.  Beautiful yes.  Boring YES!  For Day 2 we had to walk 10 miles out - eat lunch - and walk 10 miles back.  So you see the same things twice.  All this while dogging the millions of CRAZY bikers.  I was hearing "ON YOUR LEFT" in my nightmares.  Wow they don't know how to "share the trail" ha!

Thankfully just when I was hitting the wall mentally we came upon "Egypt."  These guys know how to do a rest stop.  They get really into it and it makes it so fun.  I was hot and tired and their smiling faces made it all not seem so bad.  Not only that but they literally grab your water bottle out of your hand to fill it for you!  All the rest stop crews are amazing and I literally looked forward to each one! 

Day 2 was tough.  REALLY tough.  From after lunch on I was pretty much a mess.  My blisters were out of control and my legs were really hurting.  I honestly would have given up (and taken a ride back) so many times if it wasn't for my sister-in-law.  She just kept walking and had tunnel visit to the finish.  I was often trailing a few steps behind her but I kept up and stuck with it thanks to her motivating me (not even sure if she knew she was doing that).  I really don't know how people walk this event alone.  I saw so many doing this and it always amazed me.  Good for them but I now know that I need at least one other person to walk with in order to be successful at this event!

Not only were Julie and my mom waiting at the finish line but my dad was there too!  We again got cheered in by all the finish line crew and it felt great to reach the finish line.

{Special thanks to Susan H. for taking the picture on the left}

Notice that are "after" picture is of us sitting.  We literally collapsed sat down as soon as we saw chairs.  The sneakers came off and the flip flops went on!  We still had to walk (what seemed like a mile) down the driveway to get to the Sea Camps!  40 miles done and very tired!

Evening of Day 2 looked similar to the day before.  We soaked our feet, saw the medical people and had massages.  Thank God for the medical people and the massage therapists.  I really really appreciate the fact that there are people who would look at my nasty feet covered in blisters and that there were people who would massage my sweaty body!  Ha!

The Saturday evening program is always the most special and this year did not disappoint.  Every year (for the 3 that I've been involved) I say to myself "this was the best one."  Then the next year it seems even better.  It is a very inspiring and emotional evening and I'm so appreciative of the people who share their stories.

There is also a very special candlelight ceremony.  Even though I know what to expect from doing it in previous years it is still a tear jerker!  It is pretty incredible to know that all the hundreds of people standing under that tent are united b/c of MS.  That is all I can really say about that b/c I'm getting tears in my eyes just thinking about it. 

Day 3 = FINAL DAY = ONLY 10 miles!!!!!!!!!!!  Who would have ever thought that 10 miles would sound easy!?  But ya know what after walking 20 two days in a row, 10 seemed like a piece of cake! 

The weather was a bit cooler but still humid on this day.  The clouds loomed overhead and fortunately it only rained a little while we were walking.  Let me tell you - we walked fast on the final day.  We weren't messing around.  No stopping at rest stops today.  We wanted to not only get done before the rain but we wanted massages and knew they would be done by 12.  That and the fact that my feet were taped up so much I couldn't feel a thing (spent almost an hour at the medical tent before heading out to walk and it was SO worth it)!

Jenn and I walked the last few miles with our friend from high school, Tommy.  He is a power walker so the other two days he would fly past us at mile 1 or 2.  Day 3 he didn't catch up until about mile 7 which made us pretty happy (never mind the fact that he probably left the start line an hour after us)!  Anyways I think he took some pity on us and slowed down his pace to finish the walk w/ us!

This is actually the "pre-finish."  We walk the 10 miles to a school in Dennis.  There we have lunch, get massages, relax a bit and get our "parade" shirts (orange for people w/ MS and blue for everyone else).  We then load yellow school buses and get a ride to Hyannis for the "real" finish parade.  Everyone - walkers, crew, volunteers, staff - all walk together to the Hyannis Green.  Family and friends can watch the parade from Main Street.  My niece thought it was pretty cool that mommy, Jodi and Grammy were in a parade!!

Peyton and Ella were very excited to see mommy!  They were also pretty excited about getting medals!  Someday these two can participate in this event!!

The rain held off again and the closing ceremonies were short and sweet.  We had some photo moments and said our goodbyes to everyone.  Some we will see often and others we won't see until next year!  Yup you read that right. . . I said next year.  I'm doing it again.  I must be crazy!  

So what are you doing September 6-8, 2013?  The Bean Team is accepting new members - walkers, crew and volunteers.  So please join us.  I want a few more people to motivate me to walk 50 miles!!!!

To sum it all up walking 50 miles in 3 days was a unique experience that I cannot compare to anything else I  have ever experienced.  Obviously since it was walking for a cause so important to me it was that much more meaningful but even so. . . WOW.  I walked 50 miles in 3 days.  Incredible.  Outstanding.  Amazing.  If you've ever wanted to be a part of something awesome I highly recommend this event.  You will be changed.  

P.S. Warning - below are pictures of my blisters and heat rash.  Do not look if you will be grossed out.  You've been warned.  But just want to keep it real here.  I did get some nasty blisters on every.single.toe and along the side of my foot.  I also got heat rash on my legs and it proceeded to get worse each day.  Not fun.  Luckily I'm healing well and the feet are almost back to normal (after losing my pinkie toenail)!  

Still interested in being a part of the 2013 MS Challenge Walk?  Email me!!!!


P.P.S.  I didn't proof read this post b/c quite frankly I'm too lazy and it has already taken me long enough to get this recap post written.  So there ya have it.  Deal w/ the typos!