Thursday, August 16, 2012

Komen 3-Day, Day 2 Recap

Saturday, August 4
Day 2 – “One Bad Day”:

Saturday morning I woke up to the sounds of fellow walkers stirring, that and a really annoying, old-fashioned ringing alarm clock (the kind with bells) from a nearby tent. I had been fighting a headache all night, and unfortunately, my hopes that it would be gone by morning were quickly dashed. I took some advil and headed off to the lovely port-a-potty line. Now we all know port-a-potties are never pleasant, but with my headache, this trip was just too much. I held my breath and fought off the nausea as best as I could. I remember heading back to the tent, and telling Becca that my trip to the potty was not a good idea. Then fortunately there was an empty Ziploc baggy next to me, because the next thing I know, I was using it as a barf bag. Sorry for the image, but it is what it is.

Again, I was playing the hoping game and hoping that it was a one time thing, so I took a drink of my water and laid back down. And once again, hope was not on my side. Ziploc baggy #2 was put into use. And not long after, baggy #3. (Thank you to our tent neighbors for giving us a couple of bags!). At this point, we decided that I should probably head over to the medical tent.

As we walked over, I couldn’t help but start to cry because here I was, sick, maybe not able to walk, and ruining Becca’s weekend. Being the great friend that she is, Becca of course reassured me that I wasn’t ruining her weekend and that everything was going to work out. We got to the medical tent, and the lady doing triage (all those years of my mom’s nursing career I picked up a few terms ;-) ) took one look at me and said “Are you ok?” I shook my head at the same time Becca said, “no, that why we’re here.”

She took me back, took my vitals, asked a whole bunch of questions, and told me to lie down on the cot while she got a doctor. The doctor came over, asked me a bunch more questions, took my vitals again, and gave me “the look” when I told him I hadn’t eaten yet. (ok here’s the deal – if I had eaten, I would’ve just thrown it up anyway, so it would’ve been pointless at that point.) He then proceeded to tell me that I looked “uncomfortable, but not toxic.” Which I suppose was a good thing. He said I was probably slightly dehydrated and that I should lay down for as long as needed to. He offered me some medicine for the nausea, but at first I didn’t want it. I eventually ended up taking it, and it did wonders. After about 20 more minutes I was feeling better and ready to give the day a new start. So with the instructions to “drink, drink, drink, and when you feel like you’ve had enough, drink some more.” I headed off with Becca to the breakfast tent. Still not sure of how my stomach would react to food, I drank some orange juice and took a bowl of Trix cereal with me as we started to walk.

In addition to my issues, Becca was fighting a sore foot, so the day wasn’t starting out well for either of us. As we exited camp Becca told me the story of her friend Pam, who had passed away from breast cancer. Pam’s philosophy on life was you’re allowed to have “one bad day.” You can scream, you can cry, you can feel sorry for yourself, but only for one day. And this was our “One Bad Day”.

After spending so much time in the medical tent, we were some of the last people to leave camp. The last walker into camp in the evening gets special treatment, but apparently the last to leave in the morning gets nothing. Oh well. One of the drawbacks to being at the far back of the pack is you miss out on all the fun support from the sweep buses, the music, the motivation from the crowds… Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, there were other walkers around, the safety crew was still there, and there were still plenty of signs and support from the community around:

It just didn’t have quite the same vibe as the first day. But it could’ve just been me. Could be I was having trouble because I still wasn’t feeling all that great and my head wasn’t in the game where it needed to be. We walked to Pit 1, grabbed some snacks, filled our water bottles (yes I was drinking), and sat down to rest for a bit. We didn’t get to stay long, because the pit stop was close to closing and they were encouraging us to move on or get on the bus. Since we weren’t quite ready to give up, we didn’t want to get on the bus, so we hit the route again.

I don’t remember much about the walk from Pit 1 to Pit 2 other than it seemed endless. Pit 2 was supposed to be at mile 7.something, and only 3 or so miles from Pit 1. But that was the longest 3-ish miles I’ve ever encountered. Another group we passed were tracking the miles somehow and when we supposedly had 2 miles to go until the pit stop, we had already gone 7.5 miles for the day. So somewhere, somebody’s miles were wacky. Now I know what the pin I saw the day before meant – it said “are those real miles, or Komen miles?” These were definitely some Komen miles. And they were tough. Mentally and physically.

We got to Pit 2 and Becca went to medical to see what they recommended for her foot. But there was only one “medical professional” (for lack of a better term) there and she was pretty backed up. So we decided that we would take the bus to the lunch stop and get her foot looked at there. And since it was hot we thought a nice break in some air conditioning would feel really good. I definitely needed a rest in cool spot because, while I felt better than earlier in the day, I still didn’t feel all that great.

We got the lunch stop, grabbed our lunches, and looked for a shady spot to camp out and eat. I tried to eat my sandwich, but the bread just wasn’t appealing (neither was the swiss cheese or the slightly wilted lettuce.) So I ended up just eating the ham out of it and a bag of potato chips, which equals not enough food, but it was the best I could make my stomach do. Again, the medical peeps were kind of backlogged so Becca still didn’t get her foot looked at. As we were sitting there, me feeling slightly sick, Becca with a sore foot, we decided that maybe our best course of action would be to get back on the bus and ride it to camp instead of walking the rest of the day’s miles. That way we could rest, get something better to eat, she could get her foot taken care of, and we could start again fresh the next day. We would rather miss some miles on Day 2 then not be able to walk at all on Day 3 and miss out on the closing ceremony and the awesomeness of the end.

As we sat on the bus waiting for it to get the “ok” to head to the camp, I started feeling like I was letting everybody down. I felt like all the people who had given me donations and who were rooting for me expected me to walk the 60 miles, not wimp out and ride a bus. This was the 3-Day WALK, not the 3-Day RIDE. People were counting on me to walk the whole way for their friends and family members who had fought the hard fight of breast cancer. I was counting on me to walk the whole way. And here I was, being a wimp and sitting in a bus. I cried. I didn’t want to let anybody down, but as much as I might want to walk, I knew deep down it was a bad idea for me to try. Even though I knew I needed to take care of me, I was still so disappointed in myself. I was definitely not a happy camper.

As we got off the bus at camp, I expected the camp workers to check us in with little fanfare and head back over to the real walkers, to the ones who deserved the congratulations. But no. As we stepped off the bus we were greeted with the same cheers and smiles and shouts as the walkers. We were given the same hero’s welcome as everybody else. I was surprised and it definitely brightened my spirits and made me feel better. I even managed to not feel like an imposter as we posed for our picture with the day 2 banner.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the massage chairs; since there was no one else waiting, there was no 7 minute time limit and we sat there so long, the chairs ran through their whole cycle and turned themselves off. Nice. Then we moved into some other not quite as comfy camp chairs, talked with one of the crew members about some running races, and took a few little cat naps. Also nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to just sit and do nothing without having to worry about what wasn’t getting done. I had nobody who needed anything from me, nothing that I had to do, nowhere I had to be. I was free to just sit and be. Ahhhh…. Felt good.

Eventually we headed to the dining tent to get some dinner. The choices were slightly better this time – grilled chicken, roasted potatoes and some kind of vegetable (I can’t remember what it was now). I actually managed to eat. (ok so maybe not the whole plate, but I did eat all the chicken and some of the potatoes and veggie (now that I think about it, I think it was a salad)).

After dinner we hit the showers, which once again were nice and cool and refreshing. We were hanging out in our super hot tent, when we hear a crew member outside saying: “The weather report for the night is calling for severe storms. Be prepared; if you hear an air horn, leave your tent and your stuff and go to the Rec Center.”

And that warning was just the start of an interesting night; a night so interesting that it deserves its own recap post. Stay tuned.


  1. Melissa - As always I really enjoyed being a part of the 3 day walk. All of you are truly hereos. You may not know this, but some of the sweep vans will stop if they see me so that I can talk to the walkers. My message is always the same, the walking is not the important part. The important part is the funds and the awareness that you and all of the people from Cleveland nail every year. That is why you received the welcome you did back at camp.

    Sincerely your biggest fan