Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boston 3-Day in a nut shell

Boston Arrival
My flight arrived Boston Logan about 2 hours prior to Tracy so I waited for her so we could both catch the Framingham Express from the airport together. We decided this year that we would stray from the Thursday night hotel the 3-Day suggested and find our own cheaper hotel. I found one right near where the bus would drop us off and across the street from a fairly large mall. I thought how can we go wrong? That was my first mistake.
When we got off the bus I pulled up my GPS on Google maps and located the hotel we started walking, me with my rolling duffle bag and Tracy carrying her bag. We quickly realized 1) it was hot 2) our bags were awkward and heavy. While strolling through the parking lot Tracy had a brilliant idea… we borrowed a shopping cart that was in the mall parking lot! Awesome idea that is until we ran into mall security and he nicely asked us how far we were going with our cart. We told him not far and promised we would bring it back.

We came to a road that we needed to cross but noticed there were no cross walks on either side of the road. Yikes! I’m sure at this point Tracy was thinking, “Why did I let Cat make the plans?” We watched the lights cycle through a few times so that we could determine the best time to cross (I’m sure this was against the 3-Day rules but it didn’t really start until Friday). We finally thought OK, this is it so off we go. Wait, Stop! The light cycle was different that time. Grr! Next time around we did make it and no casualties. Shoo. On to the hotel we go.

As we turn into the hotel Tracy’s first comment was “is this the Bates Motel,” very creepy and not the best hotel ever. Needless to say I think we may just stick with the 3-Day hotel in the future or at least one we have heard of before. They sure can make a hotel look nice on a website!!

Day 1
The alarm went off at 4:00am and we got up and around and our cab was right on time. We arrived really quickly and there was not any traffic at all. Tracy and I asked the cab driver to drop us off at the row of trucks we saw as we assumed they were the baggage trucks. Boy was that a bad decision. We found out that the baggage trucks were up the hill about a half of a mile. Boo,:( it was already hot, humid and our bags were still heavy and awkward. This time I had the brilliant idea. I noticed 2 3-Day workers sitting in a golf cart with a truck bed (for lack of a better name). I thought why not ask, after all it was the 3-Day and the 3-Day spirit has never failed me yet. I batted my eyes and gave our sob story and sure enough they loaded up our bags and off they went to find Truck F. Our biggest fear was that our bags wouldn’t make Truck F and when we got to camp that night we wouldn’t have luggage but we put that fear to rest as once again we reminded ourselves everyone has the 3-Day spirit!!

To kill time until opening ceremonies began we found some coffee to drink. We later found out that it was decaffeinated which makes sense but so not want we needed that early in the morning. Opening ceremonies finally started and we were introduced to the new 3-Day spokesperson Dr. Sheri Phillips. She did an amazing job all through the 3-Day. She had some big shoes to fill as we so fell in love with the previous spokesperson but she did it with flying colors.

The temperature kept rising and they kept telling us to drink our liquids. It was drilled into our head that we should be stopping at every pit stop to 1) rehydrate 2) relieve ourselves and 3) refuel. Tracy and I were doing just that as we were making our own pit stops in between the planned ones. We were taking the heat seriously and had no plans to make a trip to an emergency room. After leaving Pit Stop 3 11.5 miles into day 1, things started to get a bit confusing. We were told by a Road Crew member (volunteers that keep us safe on the route) that the route had closed and that our Lunch stop at mile 13.7 was being moved to Pit 4 and they would bus us there. We got to the Lunch stop and they still had some lunches so we grabbed one and went and got on the bus they told us to get on. Someone came on and told us we could keep walking to Pit 4 (17 miles) if we wanted to and you are talking about Tracy and I so of course off the bus we came. We continued on our way and I have to tell you the route was very lonely and hot, hot, hot. We did make it Pit 4 at which point we were told the route was definitely closed for the rest of the day. Everyone was being bused back to camp from Pit 4.

We made it back to camp I think around 4pm and found our bags (Yeah!!!). We went to set up our tent but were told that we couldn’t as they didn’t want anyone crawling in their tent and passing out. Oh, and we just happen to be camping on an Astro Turf Soccer field. Yikes, now that’s a hot house.

At the camp show that night we were told that this was the 2nd hottest day on record in Boston, it was 102 with a heat index of 105. I realized that night that on all 4 of my previous 3-Day’s I had never heard any ambulances and this walk I had already heard 4 or 5 and a couple were even at camp. Sleep that night was in between runs to the porta potty. Tracy and I got up at least 4 times and maybe even 5 or 6. We definitely were hydrated!

Day 2
We were up at 5am as they were going to open the route at 6am and we wanted to beat the heat as much as possible. We had heard there might be a chance of rain that day so we put our cover on our tent just in case and then we headed out. Not far into the day the drizzle started. Hmm, Tracy looked at me and I looked at her and we thought, “How smart are we?” We thought to cover the tent up but the 6+ ponchos we brought, we left in the tent. The rain slowly got more intense along with some thunder and lightning. We made it to a Pit Stop at mile 6.9 and they were handing out ponchos just in time as the rain had started coming down hard. We thought they might pull us off the route here but they said we could keep going so on we went. About a mile or so down the road we did get word they were pulling us off the route and having us hold up in a Lawn and Garden business while the storm passed.

Funny thing is by the time we got there and used the restroom they had sent us all back out. The rain was done for the rest of the day and the sun was back. It didn’t take us long to dry back out.

I think the longest part of the 3-Day was right after lunch. It was a stretch of about 3miles that we just felt like we were out there alone, the sun beating down and going up and down hills. I was pleasantly surprised at the community (although few in numbers) as they realized how hot it was for us out there. Many turned their sprinklers on just enough that we could walk through them and get sprinkled on. It’s amazing what will make your day when you are out walking 20 miles.:) They even brought us ice pops and sprayed us with mist along the way. I thought it was very cute how the little kids would ask us for permission before spraying us.

We made it back to camp sometime after 3pm I think and found out that they had closed the route down again for anyone that made it to Pit Stop 5 after 3pm due to the heat. I have to admit that last 2.1 miles was hilly and in the sun so probably a good idea as the heat index had sky rocketed again. Tracy and I hung out in the dining tent out of the sun. We didn’t want to shower that early or eat dinner so we decided to go get a foot/back massage at the Bank of America Tent. It was a machine and was only about 10min but it felt pretty good!

At camp show that night we heard the inspirational story of fellow walker and breast cancer fighter Maurine Turcotte of the Tough Warrior Princesses and the Youth Corps. They have just gone nationally but were started in Boston 10 years ago by the father of a daughter that lost her mom to breast cancer but wanted to help. Very touching.

Day 3
This was the first 3-Day walk that we didn’t have to get up extra early to stand in line to get on a bus for the start of Day 3! Wow, we were actually walking to our final destination from camp. The route opened at 6:30. We packed up our tent and bags, ate and then got in line to start the day. We were told it would be 80 and partly cloudy. Finally the weather we had all thought we would have in Boston. Hmm, but as we stood in line it started to drizzle. Really? You’ve got to be kidding. As you can probably guess our ponchos were in the bags we packed and put on the truck. We stopped at the first CVS and bought some just in case the rain got worse. Luckily, it just stayed a nice cool drizzle and then stopped.

Day 3 took us into Boston and we wound around MIT. I felt smarter just walking through there. OK maybe not! We walked through the park and finished up with a nice walk along the beach and into holding for closing ceremonies.

Every 3-Day brings new experiences (weather this year) and new friends. I met Dan, Steve and Randy of the 60- Mile Men, Rebecca (survivor of 4months) and her friend Jacob of Louisville, KY, and also Debra and Maggie of Tampa, as well as many others. The one thing I will take from this 3-Day is the picture to the left. I don’t think I even need to tell you why I continue to walk.

Now on to training for the Pink Soles 5k in the Park, Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer and the DFW 3-Day.

Until There is a Cure!

Day 4

We didn’t think we walked enough over the weekend so Tracy and I headed out on Monday to walk around Boston. We then took in the Red Sox vs Royals baseball game at Fenway Park and don’t you know it rained and of course we had no ponchos once again. So we bought some more:) Game was delayed but we still had a great evening and end to our Boston journey.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Off to Boston!

Just a quick update to let you all know that I am off to Boston on Thursday for my first 3-Day 60 mile walk of the year. Below is a brief description they gave us for our route. They make it sound like a nice relaxing stroll! Oh and if you are adding up the miles in your head (58.7), trust me we walk way more than 60 miles when it is all said and done. The below are just estimates and don’t include the distance we walk at pit stops, lunch, opening and closing ceremonies, camp and the occasional stray from the route to cross the street to get to Starbucks!!!

Friday: Approximately 20 miles
The Boston 3-Day will begin with an inspirational Opening Ceremony at Farm Pond. We'll walk through several quaint towns filled with interesting architecture, as well as many unique shops and restaurants. As we head towards Boston, the route will travel through many residential neighborhoods filled with typical New England style houses. Just before arriving at camp, the walkers will enjoy a stroll through Waltham, the city known as “Watch City” due to the Waltham Watch Factory established there in 1854. Today, this town is also known for its diverse restaurants. We’ll wrap up our day arriving at camp, your home away from home for the weekend.

Saturday: Approximately 21.2 miles
On Saturday morning, we'll rise and shine, ready to hit the trail. This day is filled with New England history, including Arlington and Lexington, both known for their historic landmarks and beauty. We'll enjoy walking along Mystic Lake and then Woburn Parkway, a walking path surrounded by water on both sides, before heading to lunch. The day will come to a close as we pass the Minuteman Statue, the Old Burying Ground and the Lexington Battle Ground. Then it's back to camp for another night of community, camaraderie and fun. 

Sunday: Approximately 17.5 miles
The final day of our journey will begin with a tour through Cambridge. We'll enjoy the neighborhoods of Brattle Street as we walk through Harvard Square, and then along the border of Harvard University. From there, we will head to MIT before crossing the Charles River. Once in the center of Boston, we will enjoy a stroll through the famous Public Gardens. Continuing through the Financial District we will exit the center of Boston and head to “Southie,” located south of the Fort Point Channel and abutting Dorchester Bay.  Following a walking path along the bay, the route will wind around to our final destination, the University of Massachusetts, where our long, beautiful weekend will end with a celebratory Closing Ceremony.

Can’t wait to get to Boston and I am ready for whatever this 3-Day 60 Mile Journey has in store for me. Never losing site of the reason I walk. Remembering, honoring and fighting for a cure for all our friends and family.