I'm so pissed blogger pictures isn't working. Argh. I wanted to have this illustrated. I'll make a slideshow and link it in a bit.
I stepped out of the cab Friday at 6:00 AM and was greeted by three young girls in yellow tee shirts and headbands with yellow hands protruding from them on springs, who put beads around my neck. "Welcome to the 3-Day," they said with smiles. I learned later that evening that they were part of the Youth Corps, a group of kids who had lost someone to breast cancer, and had written essays and interviewed for the job of official "cheerleader-ambassador" to the 3-Day walkers. They were only some of the many wonderful people I had the pleasure to meet during this most amazing journey.
The opening ceremonies were like a giant pep rally, reminding us how beautiful and amazing we are, and how great the task in front of us. There were stories of survivors, and the raising of the "3Day Flag", and with that we were off—1750 women and men down Rt.135 in Framingham in the drizzle. I unfortunately had chosen to leave my poncho in my duffle instead of putting it in my fanny pack, since the forecast had absolutely no mention of rain in it when I went to bed. Within the first ¼ mile I met Kaori, Tou Tou and Lauren, and the four of us became an "ad hoc" team for the rest of the weekend.
The rain was actually good, it kept us cool, though I'm a wus and when it began to pour I wasn't thrilled.
Pit stops were a riot. The crew was so great; they had a theme at each one, and they were usually dressed in outfits, had music blaring, and were waiting for you with cheers, stickers, beads, etc. They had one on average about every three miles or so, and had snacks, water/Gatorade, a medical tent, and a chance to stretch and pee. I swear, I think I used a porta-potty more this weekend than I have my entire life. We had to pee at each stop, at lunch, through the night… I think a real toilet was what I most excited to see when I got home.
Day One was actually almost 22 miles. The first view of camp was quite the site. Like I said in my audio post, (and yes that is me, and yes I talk funny with this hybrid Queens/Bostonian accent I have going on) I have to be the luckiest woman on this Earth, because I didn't have a tent mate. These tents were small! The only drawback to that was that I had to put it up myself. The girls next to me quickly offered to help, and they were so nice, it seemed like I ended up being the one doing the helping as they put it all together.
There was this immense and driving feeling of community, camaraderie, and support with each step, and each moment of the weekend. Everyone asked "How're you doing?" (Which of course often led to a round of "How you doin'?" ala Joey from Friends LOL) The karma ebbed and flowed. I gave my bottle of trial sized body wash to a woman in the shower who had no soap; and a woman at lunch Day 3 offered me her hat when she heard I'd lost mine and had a head ache. We shared bug spray, sunscreen and body glide. We looked out for each other. Poor Lauren had such bad blisters the second day, I can't believe she could even walk. I kept pace with her since at that point I was teasingly calling Tou Tou "Lightening McQueen" On Sunday I was the one falling behind but the girls never left me, we would cross the finish together.
This is a lot to read already, so I'll stop here, and write more about the people and stories in another post later or tomorrow.