Day 1 Done! And Then the Rain Came…

23 Jul

Day 1 of the Boston Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure is complete! It felt great to walk up the hill and see camp in the distance! It’s been a long, but awesome day here in the outskirts of Boston. Opening ceremony was inspiring and got everyone ramped up to hit the road! I was so honored to have been asked to carry a flag during the opening ceremony, and I got to carry Discoveries.

My walk experience thus far is a lot different than what I experienced last year. Last year I was on a team and Paul walked with me; this year I’m walking solo. It’s been wonderful to meet so many of the different walkers on the route. My Vibrams have made a lot of new friends for me! I get asked a lot what kind of shoes they are and how my feet feel walking in them. Towards the end of the day, I had to be honest and tell them that my feet had felt better days. The first 10 miles went really well, and then I started to feel the blisters forming and the soreness setting in. I also seem to have pulled a muscle in my thigh, so for the last 10 miles I was puttering along at a slower pace which was just fine by me. Reached camp at about 3pm, just when it started to rain.

And as I said, along the way I met some really great people. First, before the walk even started, I met John. John is from Hamden, CT and we met in the New Haven train station. He recognized my gear and sat down and started chatting. This is his 3rd walk so he was telling me the ins and out of Boston. Turns out he was going to carry an opening ceremony flag as well so we’ve become good buddies.

There was Vicky from X Team who is from Newton and a survivor. She was telling me about her 12 year old son who came to opening ceremony practice and looked a little bored. She said she walked over and asked how he was doing and he paused and then said, “You’re a survivor. I’m only 12. This is kind of tough” about watching a ceremony about being a survivor and losing loved ones.

I met George, who is something of a legend around these parts. This is his 7th Boston 3-Day for the Cure walk and his signature, the thing everyone knows him for, is that when he arrives at any Pit Stop or Grab N Go and especially at camp, he walks to the center of the crowd and yells, “Honey!! I’m hooooome!” and everyone cheers. He walks for his wife, who lost her battle with breast cancer.

I met Jill and Christie; Jill from Kentucky and Christie from Texas and they’re walking for Jill’s family. Three of Jill’s sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer within two years, her mom is a survivor, diagnosed twenty years ago.

Of course Men With Heart is here! Great guys in bright yellow shirts who are supportive and really embody the Keep Going® spirit! They stood at the finish line in the rain cheering everyone in.

I think the person who best represents everything the Energizer Bunny® is about and the Keep Going® spirit would be Kevin. I met him during practice for opening ceremonies, and Kevin is walking ALL 15 walks this year! He did one walk in 2008, two in 2009 and decided to do all 15 this year. He said he just wanted to step it up a bit… a bit. But he’s always excited and in the front of the pack, very energetic and ready to Keep Going®. Make sure you find Kevin if you’re doing one of the other 14 walks!!

Looking forward to tomorrow! I need to go do something about my blisters and think about if I’ll keep my Vibrams on tomorrow or if I’ll use the sneakers that I brought with me. Decisions, decisions. Thank you EVERYONE for your supportive tweets during the day! They were so great and really inspired me to Keep Going® as the day was coming to a close!

Donations accepted until 30 days after the walk! Would love your support! http://bit.ly/caitlin3day

3-Day Giveaways!

22 Jul

A few posts back I talked about how much I love the Energizer® Energi-To-Go portable phone charger that I got from Energizer®. I’ve only had it for about two weeks and I can already tell you about how it’s come in super handy when I was in a pinch. Yesterday there was a pretty bad storm making its way through Connecticut. I was driving home from a meeting and all of a sudden there was torrential rain, wind whipping through and I could barely see. I had to take three different routes to get home because of trees that had been blown over and into the road. At points I was driving in water that must have been at least a foot deep. I kept hearing reports on the radio that there were possible tornado touchdowns in the area. I finally pulled onto my road only to find it blocked by a large branch that my neighbors were trying to drag out of the way. When I finally made it to my driveway and got out of the car, my phone was ringing off the hook with my family calling because they heard the reports of tornados in Bristol (where I live). I told them I was fine, the neighborhood was a mess and we had no power but I was OK. As I was on the phone I heard that really annoying beep that tells me my phone is about to die. And I had no power. I got a little nervous because I knew Paul wasn’t home yet and my parents would be calling back again to make sure everything was OK, and I needed my phone!

Then I remembered about my Energizer® Energi-To-Go charger! I plugged that in and I was back in business. I was able to take Lily (our dog) out for a walk and stand outside with the neighbors and not have to worry about Paul being able to get in touch with me. It was such a relief to have it when I needed it most.

And you can have one of your very own Energizer® Energi-To-Go portable chargers because I’m giving one away, compliments of  Energizer®! I’m in Boston ready for the 3-Day for the Cure and starting tomorrow morning I’ll be walking 60 miles with thousands of other dedicated walkers! When I get back to Connecticut on Sunday night I’ll add up the points and announce a winner!

So here’s how you get points, and in order for you to be awarded points you have to comment below so I know you’ve subscribed or tweeted or Facebooked!

For 3 points

*Subscribe to my blog

For 2 points

*Like the Energizer Bunny on Facebook (And as an added bonus, for every new member they have, Energizer® will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen!!): http://www.facebook.com/EnergizerBunny

*Follow the Energizer Bunny on Twitter: @EnergizerBunny

*Follow Energizer on Twitter: @Energizer

*Like Thayer Consulting, LLC (my social media company) on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thayermedia

*Follow me on Twitter (@CTinCT)

For 1 point

*Tweet this: “@CTinCT is giving away an @Energizer Energi-To-Go portable charger! http://ow.ly/2flKW
@EnergizerBunny #KeepGoing”

*Tag Thayer Consulting in your status on Facebook. (i.e. Caitlin from Thayer Consulting is giving away an Energizer® Energi-To-Go portable charger! http://ow.ly/2flKW) If you need to know how to tag on Facebook, click here.

By tweeting and Facebooking more than once, you can get multiple points! I’ll count up the points on Sunday night and announce a winner at 9am on Monday morning! In the event of a tie, I’ll announce both winners and whichever person comments first will win the Energizer® Energi-To-Go portable charger!

Good luck!

Packing Pink

20 Jul

The day has come to start packing for the 3-Day for the Cure! Packing is exciting and anxious at the same time. Exciting, because it means I’m only a few days away from the walk!  Anxious because we have to fit 3 days worth of clothes, toiletries, shoes and camping gear into a bag that weighs less than 35 pounds! So first things first, take a breath.

The second thing I do after breathing is re-read the Underground Guide section on packing. This always makes me feel better. There are a TON of great tips and ideas on packing in here, it made my life so much simpler last year when I was packing for the first time. I’ll write about what I’m packing for this trip and hopefully that will help you with your packing! I’ll talk about clothes, gear and miscellaneous things.

Clothes/Toiletries

I’ve checked the weather for Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Boston and here’s what I’ve been told. All three sites (AccuWeather.com, Weather.com, WeatherBug.com) said it will be about 85° on Friday. For Saturday, 90°+ and potential rain. And on Sunday, about 85° and two reports say sunny, one says rain. So we’ll see. This means that I’ll pack shorts for each day and a poncho. I lay out an outfit for each day and make sure I have everything I need. Shorts, underwear, shirt, sports bra. For those of you wearing sneakers, you should pack at least 2 pairs of socks per day. One to put on in the morning and one to bring with you so that if it does rain, you can change your socks at a Pit Stop. I’m also setting out sleeping clothes. In this pile, I’ll include a pair of pants and a long sleeved shirt because sometimes it gets chilly at night, especially when you’re getting up at 3am to pee! Bring comfy shoes for camp. I saw everything last year from flip flops to bunny slippers (unfortunately not Energizer Bunny® slippers!). You’ll want a pair of flip flops dedicated for shower use.

Once I’ve laid everything out, I get my big Ziploc freezer bags from the kitchen and write FRIDAY on one bag, SATURDAY on another and so forth until I have all of my clothes bagged separately. This sounds silly, but if it rains and your bag is on the ground waiting for you to finish your Day 1 walking, you’ll be so glad you bagged everything and kept the clothes inside dry! Plus it’s so much easier to get dressed when everything is picked out ahead of time and separated. You won’t have to dig through your gear pack in a cramped tent.

Toiletries should be travel size. Shampoo, conditioner if needed, body wash, deodorant, face wash, toothbrush and tooth paste. If you haven’t done online check-in yet, when you do it, opt in for the $12 towel service! It might be the best $12 you’ve ever spent. Imagine coming back from Day 2 of walking, getting to your tent to grab your towel, and you find it still wet from the night before and starting to smell. Now imagine getting back from Day 2 and getting a clean, fresh towel. The only reason I say this is because I didn’t opt in for towel service last year and I regretted it.

Gear

I highly recommend getting a fanny pack or a lumbar pack and NOT a backpack. Your shoulder will thank you on Day 3. Last year I had a CamelBak hip pack and I found that there wasn’t enough pocket space to carry everything I wanted to carry, and ended up having to buy an extra bag to attach. Get one that’s big enough with enough space to carry everything you need, with holsters for water bottles. In my pack: my Gu, first aid kit, Moleskin, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, sunglasses, a bandanna, my camera, Flip video camera, cell phone, extra batteries, pre-moistened face wipes, nail clippers and file, extra hair ties, poncho if rain, chap stick, my RoadID, my watch and I almost forgot… TISSUES! You’ll cry at least once during these 3 days, so be prepared. This year I’m also bringing my sneakers just in case the Vibrams don’t work out, so if you’re wearing sneakers don’t forget your extra socks! I’m also bringing a small notepad and pen so I can write down names of everyone I meet (I’m terrible at remembering names). Ladies, if it’s that time of the month don’t forget your pads/tampons! Also make sure you have any medications you need, keep them with you.

Miscellaneous

Sleeping bag… I recommend getting a bag large enough to fit your sleeping back inside it, I don’t recommend trying to tie it to the outside. When your bag gets tossed into the trailer truck with 1000 other bags, you can’t be sure you’re sleeping back will come out still attached. Use the pair of pants you’ve brought for your pillow. You can also bring a sleeping pad if you have enough room. Pillows take up a lot of room. Or get a travel size pillow like you get on a plane. Bring extra trash bags so that if your tent is cramped you can put your gear bag the trash bags and put it out side. If you stick it outside sans trash bags it will be wet by morning with the dew on the ground. Bring 2 clear tarps/shower curtains. These you’ll put on the bottom of your tent and on top of your tent. It will help keep you dry as dew seeps in and if it rains, the rain tarps aren’t terribly helpful. Pack something to decorate your tent with, it’s fun and it will help you find your tent when it’s 3:05am and you’re trying to find your way back from the bathroom! And make sure you bring a flashlight, that will help you find your tent! If you’re a Keep Going® Blogger, don’t forget to pack your Energizer Bunny!

Feel free to share your own packing tips below! And check back on Thursday for a giveaway!!

Don’t forget your credentials! Bring a great attitude, an open mind for meeting new people and your 3-Day for the Cure spirit! It’s an amazing 3 days, I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

The Countdown Begins!

13 Jul

The countdown really began the day I signed up for the 3-Day for the Cure® but now that we’re down to 10 DAYS it’s much easier to keep track of! Only 10 days until the 3-Day for the Cure season kicks off, and it’s all starting in Boston! This is the time when everything starts to come together, and all of the training and fundraising feels like it’s paying off. When you’re fundraising months and months in advance, it feels like you have SO MUCH TIME to get everything done, and you’re telling people that you’re walking in July which feels like an eternity away. Now it’s July and the walk starts in 10 days. It’s reality.

My memories of last year’s walk keep flooding back as I’m thinking about packing my overnight bag, as I’m packing and re-packing my hip bag that I’ll take on the walk with me, as I’m contemplating how many pairs of socks to bring (not this year! No socks with my Vibrams), and running last minute errands to make sure I have everything. If you’re starting to think about packing, make sure you read The Underground Guide to the Breast Cancer Walks. It saved my life last year in telling me the do’s and don’t’s of packing. Seriously, read it.

To all of my Boston friends, I hope you’ll come to cheer on not only me, but the other walkers who have taken on this challenge as well! There are designated cheering stations throughout the walk, and I hope you’ll take the time to hang out at one or two sometime during the weekend:

Friday, July 23:

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
St. Paul’s Church
502 Washington St.
Wellesley, MA 02482

12:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Yolanda’s parking lot
355 SR-60 Waverly Oaks Rd.
Waltham, MA 02452

Saturday, July 24:

7:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Robins Farm Park
51 Eastern Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476

9:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
YMCA-Greater Boston Area:
North Suburban Family Branch
138 Lexington St.
Woburn, MA 01801

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Parker Field Playground
81 Worthen Rd.
Lexington, MA 02420

Sunday, July 25:

7:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Shaw’s Supermarket
699 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

8:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

9:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Boston Public Garden
(between Paul Revere and Swan Boats)
Commonwealth & Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02127

And for all of those walking the Boston 3-Day for the Cure… I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU! One of the absolute best parts of the walk is just meeting all of the other walkers!! Everyone comes for a different reason; whether it’s to support a loved one, remember someone they’ve lost, support the cause or just to get themselves in better shape, everyone has a great story to tell. So Boston walkers, keep in mind that if you talk to me, you just may end up in my blog!

My advice to all walkers; enjoy every second. Enjoy the soreness, the tired, the pain. Enjoy meeting everyone, make an effort to talk to a lot of people, walk with different groups. Enjoy the port-a-potties (it’s better than a bush!), the shower trucks, the dining tent. Thank every crew member you meet, everyone who serves you breakfast, lunch and dinner and thank the other walkers around you. The words “thank you” were one of my biggest motivators last year. Every time someone said it to me it propelled me further.

10 days!

Shout-Out to Energizer

12 Jul

The big thanks to Energizer is of course for choosing me as a Keep Going blogger! I’ve gotten to meet so many awesome people as the Keep Going® bloggers connect on Twitter and Facebook and support each others training and blogging. I’m having a great time sharing my stories with everyone, and having people actually read them. 🙂

The other thanks is for the cool Energizer stuff they’ve sent me! I LOVE the Energizer Bunny® I got, we’re twins in our matching sunglasses! I also have enough batteries to last for a few years, an awesome Keep Going® journal, water bottle, pedometer, bag and a 3-Day for the Cure board game!! One of my absolute favorite things that I got was an Energizer power pack that will give my cell phone or laptop a boost when I need it! It’s super small and gives my Blackberry extra hours of power when it dies. I love my Blackberry but the battery dies so quickly! It never would have lasted throughout the 3-Day for the Cure® so I’m really happy and excited to have this little power pack to help me get through the weekend. I would totally recommend getting one for yourself if you have a smart phone. (Full disclosure: Energizer sent me the product but the review is completely mine.)

I hope you’ll all come visit me in the Energizer tent at camp, I’ll be there on Friday and Saturday nights after the walk ends. See you in Boston!

To Karin – Don’t Give Up, Keep Going®

7 Jul

There are times during training walks when you’re halfway through mile whatever and you realize that you’re tired. And sore. And hungry. And you think that no one would know if you just went straight home rather than continue on for the next 4 miles to complete the walk. You could still tell everyone that you finished it. But then you remember why you’re walking. You’re training for a 60-mile walk that supports breast cancer and you realize that no matter how hard the walk is, it is infinitely harder to live with breast cancer. So you Keep Going®.

For the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of 3-Day for the Cure tweets about how it’s too hot to walk outside. In some respects, I agree. You have to be careful when it’s this hot and take care of yourself. But most of the tweets didn’t have safety in mind, they had comfort. It’s not fun and enjoyable to walk 5 miles when it’s 100 degrees out. But what’s 2 hours sweating in the heat when you can come home and take a cold shower and turn the air conditioning back on? Our friends with cancer can’t get away from what makes them uncomfortable and causes them pain.

I started really thinking about all of this last night when I was laying in bed (in the air conditioning) and I went on Facebook and saw a post from a friend of mine, Karin Diamond. Karin is only a few years older than I am, but for the past year she’s been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was diagnosed in May of 2009, cleared December 2009, diagnosed for the 2nd time in January 2010, cleared in June 2010 and diagnosed for the third time yesterday. It puts everything in perspective when you think of someone so young who has gone through so much. More than anyone her age, our age, should ever go through. It makes 60 miles look like a stroll, $2300 some pocket change (compared to the bills she has gotten over the last year ), and the 100 degree heat bearable at the least. This is not to say that what the 3-Day walkers do is an easy feat, because I can attest that the 3-Day for the Cure is one of the hardest things I’ve done. But in perspective, it doesn’t come anywhere near what Karin has gone through. What those living with breast cancer are currently going through, survivors and their families has persevered through.

I hope you’ll all take a few moments to read her blog. She’s documented every step of her journey in great detail over the last year. She had just started the blog in April of 2009 when she was diagnosed. Even if you don’t know her, write some words of encouragement in the comments. Tell her to persevere, to stay strong, to keep fighting, to Keep Going.

Update: Vibram Training

3 Jul

My training lately has been a bit sporadic, I’m finding it difficult to find the time! I recently gave notice at my job so it’s been busy days trying to leave things as organized as possible for the next person. But I managed a 5 mile training walk last week in the Vibrams, my longest walk yet in them.

During the walk I had all of the usual soreness that I’ve had during any other training walk including a bit of soreness on the bottom of my feet, which I can’t say is surprising. I got my two blisters EVER from training on my left foot, both right in the space between the pad of my foot and my toes. Because of the toe separation in the Vibrams I expect there was a bit of extra chafing going on. It all makes my feet stronger and more ready for the walk! They do make socks for Vibrams, which I thought would help at first, but after thinking about it more I think it would actually make it worse because I don’t think they’re wicking socks. (If you walk in sneakers, I HIGHLY recommend wicking socks. I believe they were a big part of why I didn’t get even one blister last year.) So I’ll tough it out sockless and just let my feet toughen up naturally!

Paul and I at the end of the 2009 3-Day for the Cure!

The wonderful part about this walk was that my knees didn’t hurt one bit! My biggest problem during last year’s walk was the strain I put on my knees. By day 3, Paul (my boyfriend and walking partner) had to pull me along for most of it. I found this video (thanks to @Vibram5Fingers on Twitter!) that explains why my knees don’t hurt in the Vibrams, and while it talks about running in Vibrams the same goes for walking! When wearing Vibrams you naturally run and walk differently than you do in sneakers, with a fore foot strike rather than a heel strike.

So hopefully I’ll be able to train more in the next 20 days before the Boston 3-Day for the Cure.. EEK!!! 20 days!! Just gotta remind myself, Keep Going!!