Tag Archives: Boston

Starstruck

22 Sep

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write this post, but here we are a week later. Last Wednesday I took the trip up to Boston for the PROMISE ME book tour. I had been talking about it for weeks to my friends and family, so excited that I was going to meet Nancy Brinker. To me, she’s a celebrity. I was way more excited to meet her than I ever would be to meet any actor or actress. My friends who know my passion for breast cancer and Susan G. Komen were really excited for me, but for my friends and co-workers who aren’t as familiar, I think they thought my level of enthusiasm was a bit strange. But oh well. So I took the trip up to Massachusetts, parked in Newton and took the T into Boston. I grabbed a burrito and walked down to the Borders on Boylston Street. I arrived about an hour and a half early (thinking there would be a line of pinked out women and men) but found that the small space the program was to be held in wasn’t set up yet. So I parked myself on the floor and chatted with the employees as they were setting up chairs and bringing in stacks of PROMISE ME. I grabbed myself a front row seat when they finished and then walked to the cafe to grab something to drink. On my way back, I saw her! She was standing with a group of women and I awkwardly stared and walked back to my seat.

A few minutes later the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure got up and introduced Nancy (I’m calling her Nancy because she did). While she was reading a bit of Nancy’s bio, I became aware of the fact that Nancy was standing about a foot away from me to my right (I was sitting on the end of the aisle) and it took every bit of will power I had not to look up at her and stare with starstruck eyes.

After being introduced, she talked for about 20 minutes about why she wrote the book and her experience writing it. How difficult it was to have to re-live some moments of her life and of Suzy’s death. She took questions for about 10 minutes and then signed books. I was so nervous walking up to her that all I could say was “I’m so glad you were able to come to Boston, thank you for being here”, and she smiled and said thank you. I had planned a lot more to say to her, practiced it in my head; but as soon as I was in front of her it all disappeared. I’m actually surprised I came up with that on the spot. After that I left the bookstore and walked through a couple of stores before walking back to the T.

I’m sure there are a few people reading this wondering how I could get so worked up over meeting someone who they may have never heard of. Nancy Brinker may not be a household name, but I think Susan G. Komen is, or it will be. She is someone that I have admired for years as someone who was driven to do something positive for breast cancer during a time when breast cancer was never talked about as something other than a “women’s cancer”. If you read PROMISE ME, you learn that she started the organization with $200. I can’t imagine what it is like to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and I hope that I never find out. But when I read this book, it sheds light on how much scarier it would have been to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s or 80s. She shares with us that in 1974, over 90,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. 33,000 died. Can you imagine that? During that time mammograms were available but not widely utilized; less than 20% of women had regular breast exams.

But the statistic that shocked me the most; she writes, “‘During the ten years of the Vietnam War, about 58,000 American men and women died,’ I told Norman the next morning at breakfast. ‘During that same ten years, 339,000 American women died of breast cancer.'”

Since Susan G. Komen for the Cure came on the scene, statistics like these have changed drastically. Not just because of the money that Komen gives to research to help find the cures, but simply because they were one of the first organizations to talk about breast cancer directly, when previously it had been a taboo subject. She is one of the most driven, passionate women I have ever now had the privilege to meet, and I can’t imagine what this world would be like without her and without Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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Discoveries

27 Jul

The flag that I got to carry during Opening Ceremony said Discoveries on it. It was part of the “Lifetime” series, which includes Birthdays, Reunions, Weddings and so on… thing that everyone should get to participate in during their lifetime. The meaning of the flag continued on throughout the weekend, as I discovered a lot about myself and lot about those I walked with.

In general, Day 1 goes by pretty quickly because you’re fueled by the excitement of all of your training and fundraising finally coming to an end. Day 2 is usually the hardest because it is the longest walking day and you’re tired from Day 1. Day 3 is usually a bit easier but the mileage is shorter and you know the end is in sight! For me, Day 3 was the hardest.  But we walked through beautiful Cambridge, Harvard Square, through the MIT campus and over the Charles into Boston. We walked through the Commons and through the city. I love Boston and this was a great way to see my favorite city. We walked through Southie and right down to the shore and had lunch by the ocean. Having grown up on the coast of Maine and then moving inland to central Connecticut, I miss the ocean.

The heat on Day 3 at times seemed unbearable. I had to stop in the shade every chance I got to catch my breath and cool off. We walked over so many bridges in the full sun I thought I’d never make it, and the last 3 miles after lunch seemed like an eternity. But in retrospect, I know that 3 miles is just 3 miles. That walking in the sun for a few hours is simply that. Hard maybe, but absolutely doable.

I know that walking 60 miles is nothing compared to what breast cancer patients are currently going through. The emotional and physical strain that women and men have to go through when diagnosed with breast cancer is something that could never be described. As I was texting Paul during the walk about the pain I was feeling and how tired I was, he texted me back and said, “When you feel the most tired and the most sore just think of what you’re accomplishing and the statement you’re making. Think of Karin.” And that kept me going.

I am so proud of myself and of my fellow Boston walkers for making it through all 3 days together. Even though I went to the 3-Day by myself, I was never really alone. I walked with others and made friends, I talked, learned and shared. The walkers and survivors who participated in this walk, and those who will participate in the other 14 walks from now through November are AMAZING people. If you know someone who is walking, support them! Donate, cheer them on, go on a training walk with them, make them a sign, share their blog posts, leave them supportive comments on their Facebook page. If you can, go to Closing Ceremony and see why they walk. See it in person. It’s an amazing and touching experience that you are not likely to forget. I am so glad my parents made it to Closing this year. They supported me last year in my first walk in DC and supported me in my decision to walk again, but as I hugged them after Closing this year and saw the tears in their eyes, I knew I would have their unwavering support forever.

Thank you to all of my Facebook and Twitter friends who sent encouraging messages throughout the weekend, your words helped push me along and gave me the energy to Keep Going®. I am so lucky to call you all friends, and to have made so many new friends through the Keep Going program and through #the3day!

Congratulations Boston 3-Day for the Cure walkers, survivors and crew! The 1600 walkers I had the honor to walk with raised $4.3 MILLION for Susan G. Komen for the Cure! WE ARE AMAZING! I am so proud of every single one of you!

Check out my photos on Facebook from the weekend! Donations are still accepted for another month, if you’ve enjoyed my blog posts I hope you’ll consider making a donation.

And now on to the next walk! Check out the Keep Going Blogger page and follow the 3-Day for the Cure around the country! Next stop, Cleveland!

I am the Energizer Bunny®!

24 Jul

Today, I am nominating myself to be the Energizer Bunny®. 21.2 miles today and I started the day with a big blister on each foot, some tenderness in my left foot, and a pulled muscle in my right thigh. At Pit 2  I got my thigh wrapped with an Ace bandage which helped a lot. The med crew told me that I need to pay careful attention to the tenderness in my foot because if I overwork it I could give myself a stress fracture. So I walked alone today, paying close attention to how I was feeling, stopping to stretch whenever I needed to, and taking my shoes off at every Pit. Even with the new pains, today’s walk went MUCH better than yesterday’s did.

Day 2 is usually the hardest of the 3 days because it’s the longest walk and you’re already tired from Day 1. The first 5 miles today were the worst of the 21, and after I worked out my soreness from yesterday I was good to go. I hope you’ve all been enjoying my tweets along the way. I’m still using my Energizer® Energi-To-Go portable charger every time I turn my phone on at a Pit. My phone would be dead at 1pm if I didn’t have it. I highly recommend getting one if you use your phone a lot or travel often, and you can win one here!

We had some REALLY great cheering stations today. I walked through what I think had to have been the longest cheering station I’ve ever seen. It just kept going and going and literally brought me to tears thinking about the number of people that this walk affects. Every time I think about the money that this event raises, and how many people who see us walk that maybe gets involved in some way, I tear up. It’s overwhelming to be thanked over and over for walking and raising money, because the Thank You’s are so sincere, and they’re sincere because it’s personal. The support is amazing.

And tonight, Candy Coburn performed for us! It was SO cool!! She sang a bunch of her songs, and a Janice Joplin song, and of course she sang “Pink Warrior”!! She’s super cool and down to earth and came out into the crowd and had members of the audience finish lyrics of popular classic rock songs. She’s currently in the 3-Day Shop taking pictures with and signing CD’s for walkers. It was AWESOME! Check out the video I took of  “Pink Warrior”!

I’m really excited for tomorrow’s walk; there’s an energy among all of the walkers knowing that the finish line gets closer and closer with every step. If you’re in the Boston area tomorrow and are looking for something to do after the walk, there’s an unofficial post-race party at The Lansdowne Pub from 6-9pm. There will be over $8,800 in raffle prizes, a live performance by B-Suite Band and a special performance by The Boston Babydolls!

I hope that if you’re in the Boston area tomorrow, that you’ll come and cheer us on or check out Closing Ceremony! Here are the cheering stations:

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 Closing Ceremony is at the University of Massachusetts in Dorcester. Here we go, Day 3!!

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!

Boston’s Keep Going® Blogger!!

9 Jun

For those of you who don’t know, Energizer® (the presenting sponsor of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®) held a Facebook promotion encouraging bloggers from around the country to apply to be a Keep Going® Blogger for the 3-Day for the Cure. The Keep Going Blogger will blog all about what it’s like to stay motivated while training, share fund-raising experiences, and give insight about what it’s like to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. They looked to choose 15 bloggers, one to represent each of the 15 3-day walks that are held annually,  and they chose me(!!) to be the Boston 3-Day for the Cure Keep Going Blogger!! I am so excited for this opportunity to share my 3-day experiences with everyone and to meet my fellow Boston walkers!!

If this is your first visit to my blog I encourage you to read on. You’ll learn that I plan to walk this year’s 3-Day for the Cure in my Vibram Five Fingers (barefoot shoes) rather than in sneakers. I hope you’ll subscribe and follow along with my barefoot training journey, and I’ll be sharing my fund-raising tips as well! This is my 2nd year doing the 3-day, last year I was in D.C. If you scroll down far enough you’ll see my blogs from then.

I look forward to meeting you all in Boston, come see me in the  Energizer tent! And if anyone lives in the Hartford, Connecticut area, come see me tomorrow night at the Wood N Tap Hartford for my 3-Day for the Cure fund-raiser! I’ll be there from 5-11pm and 10% of proceeds will benefit my walk!

Check out Energizer on Facebook and Twitter, and say hi to me on Twitter too!