Friday morning we began with opening ceremonies in downtown Cleveland with lots of rain. Fortunately the rain stopped by about 7:30 am. It rained again Saturday night and for part of Sunday's walk. Aside from that the weather was fairly pleasant.
There were 500 of these pink tents all lined up at the Westlake Recreation Center. The 3-Day also brings in mobile showers, a dining tent, a full-fledged medical center, a lounge-type area, etc. Its quite impressive.
Reminders of why we walk.
We walked through many suburbs of the west side of Cleveland. This was fun for me because I am very unfamiliar with the west side. We saw some beautiful homes and some great views of the Lake. Westlake put up these signs for us, and when we entered Westlake for the first time, we were greeted by an official looking man in a tie. Nice touch, Westlake!
This was my tent-mate, and six year Breast Cancer survivor, Sandy. This was the beginning of the third day. We had 43 miles behind us at this point. In this picture my face was a little sunburned. I didn't even realize it until I returned home, because I hadn't looked into a mirror once the entire weekend.
This is my friend, and Crew Member, Polly. The Crew is an amazing group of over 250 volunteers who make the event happen. They hydrate us, feed us, bandage our blistered feet, throw away our garbage, watch for traffic as we cross the street, etc. They get up at the crack of dawn and go to bed long after we do. I think they work much harder than the walkers, and no one is cheering for them every step of the way.
By the way, this picture was snapped at the last pit stop (places along the route where we could stop to drink, eat, stretch, etc.) on Day 3. It was Mile 58. Trust me, at that point I felt like I had walked 58 miles. The last 2 miles were the longest 2 miles ever! On Day 3 we walked 17 miles. It took me 3 hours to walk 11 miles to lunch. It took me another 3 hours to walk the 6 miles to the finish. You do the math.
Energizer is a fitting sponsor. The bunny was always there to remind us to Keep Going.....
One element of the event that I didn't get many pictures of was the amazing crowd and community support. People were constantly out in their front yards cheering, handing out candy and lemonade, inviting us in their homes to use 'real' bathrooms, and more! My walking days are going to be a little bit more uneventful in the future because I won't receive a standing ovation, or hugs from an elderly lady in her pink survivor t-shirt, every time I cross an intersection.
I'm recovering well. I feel pretty good today. My muscles aren't sore at all, which must mean my training paid off. I still need to carefully select what shoes I wear for the next few days because of the last remnants of the blisters on my feet. At this point, I'm maybe 75% certain I'll sign up to do it again sometime in the future. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again for your support. The Cleveland event, alone, raised over $2.3 million dollars for breast cancer education, research and treatment. Plus, the experience was definitely worth it.