Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

July 30th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (8 Comments)

Ok, I know that at the beginning of the week I said I would do a post on the differences between the Dallas and Boston walks and which I liked better, but it’s just not coming out right. I honestly thing I would probably upset people in both cities. So, I’ve changed focus a little bit and instead of comparing the two cities, I’m going to write about some of the changes from last year to this year. As many of you know, in the past year the event has changed from the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a National Philanthropic Trust to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. In addition to the name change came quite a few other operational changes. Here’s the few that I noticed, I’m sure that there are a lot more that I missed. We will start with the changes that I know for sure happened and end with one or two that I think may have happened, but I’m not sure if they were on purpose or not or even if they were changes.


Dinner Time!

The first real change that made me start thinking about things and how they were a-changing was dinner. Over the past three years, I have become accustomed to and even grown to expect spaghetti on the first night. I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed to find that Friday night dinner was not spaghetti, but steak. Ok, so I do admit that the steak was pretty good and the chicken with spaghetti sauce the next night wasn’t all too bad either, but spaghetti was kind of like an institution for me. Friday night spaghetti just kind of said “3-Day” for me.


Get Clean.

Ok, next up in the differences department is the showers. I can wholeheartedly say that I like the change in the showers. Where in years past, there was a public changing area with one large bench to put your stuff on, this year each of the shower stalls had their own attached changing area separated by a curtain. I heard some say that they didn’t like the new arrangement, that they thought it made people take longer in the shower (I can see that, your shower time is now more than just the time in the shower, it’s also getting dressed and undressed) and I heard a couple of people say that it was harder to adjust the water to rinse off the soap. I’m tall, and a guy so I didn’t really experience any of those two gripes since there are far fewer men vying for the showers.


Lunch Time

OK, so far the changes have been good right? Or at least mostly good. Lunch is the first change that I don’t think I’m fully behind. It seemed like there were a lot fewer options when it came to lunch this year. I remember in years past having the regular fare of sandwiches, but in addition to that there was chips, fruit, big soft cookies, fruit cups (which on the year I had it were a little ill fated with the bees in the area) and more. This year seemed more sparse, with a small wrap or sandwich, chips and an apple. I guess when you look at the list that I have presented, maybe I’m just talking about the cookie, but it just seemed like there was more there in previous years. What I had was good, there just wasn’t a bountiful amount.


Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

I can’t believe I waited this long to mention this news. The biggest piece of information that I can pass on to you from this year is that the Peanut Butter, Jelly and Graham Cracker sandwich things are back. Last seen in 2007, these morsels of delight were sorely missed in the following years until now. I was extremely excited about these, so much so that I took a picture to commemorate their return:


So now I will also be totally honest and say that not everyone was thrilled about the change. Just as I had become accustomed to spaghetti Fridays,some people had come to expect crustables (uncrustables? I don’t know). The only thing that I will say I missed about those is that they were more filling, so I could feasibly have them for lunch instead of lunch. But all in all, my opinion is that this is an awesome change!


Route

This is the item that I am not sure of if it was a change and if so, if it was intentional. As we were walking we came across some of the pit stops that were only 1 mile away from the previous pit stop. I don’t know if this was intended or if there was a last minute cancellation on a place that they had originally had staked out for that pit stop, but it was really weird to have them that close together.


Entertainment

I wasn’t present for it at dinner, but I was there at closing ceremonies and I understand that Candy Coburn sang her song “Pink Warrior” at both of these. I heard it was great to have her at dinner. Pretty neat that Susan G. Komen can bring in recording artists like that and have them perform for the walkers.

OK, so that’s what I am pretty sure is different. How about you? Did you notice something different in your 3-Day walk this year that I missed? Share it in a comment!

 

Boston Day 3 Recap

July 25th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (2 Comments)

Day 3 of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is done. Today I’m thankful for all the crew that were involved in making the event happen. Without all the safety, camp and medical crew there is no way this event would happen. Thank you to all the crew! So here’s the recap of the final day of the Boston 3-Day for the Cure.


It Starts With Some Pain

The day started unlike most that I have had on the 3-Day, with a pain in my shin. I think that all of the hill walking from the previous day finally had a bad effect on me. I was still able to walk, and that is exactly what I did. As I walked, I’m pretty sure that I was trying to compensate for the pain and as a result my knee on the other leg started to hurt. Adding one thing to another!

I was able to finish despite the pain, and I have to admit that it was pretty minor compared to the pain some other people are in. Plus, as anyone on the 3-Day will tell you, it’s better than chemo. A nice hot bath after the walk helped with things and I’m feeling much better now.


Parts of Boston

We finally got to walk into some of the locations that Boston is really known for: Boston Commons, Harvard, MIT and the Boston public gardens. Was great to see these locations that I hadn’t seen before. Was a really great day to end the walk.


More People From the Internet!

Met two more people in person that I had previously only met on the Internet too! I saw Lauri Yanis and her husband Matt Goggin, both of whom did interviews previously on the site. As you know, they are both veteran walkers, but in Boston they came out to cheer on the other walkers and do a littler “walker stalking”. They were a welcome relief with their spray bottles to cool us down on a hot day!


Holding and Closing

If you haven’t participated in a 3-Day event before, holding is where the walkers go to wait for everyone to finish the walk so that we can all walk into closing ceremonies together. This year was a little different in that the holding area was actually indoors, with air conditioning. I don’t know if it was because of this, but the victory tunnel, that’s where the walkers that have already finished line up to give high fives and cheer on those who finish after them, was entirely awesome. Tons and tons of people it seemed were participating and it was altogether a great experience.

After we got through the victory tunnel, one of the staff grabbed our team. We were pretty easy to pick out from a crowd because we were all wearing pink cowboy hats and I guess because of that she wanted us. She grabbed us and took us to a small platform and asked us to dance there. Pretty strange, but also kinda fun. I’m sure there are videos that I can post later with this.

We went from holding to the closing ceremonies. Everyone lined up and our team was pretty close to the back of the group which meant that by the time we got into the closing ceremonies area we didn’t have to wait very long. The closing ceremony is always an emotional things, especially the parts where they bring the flag bearers on stage with their loved ones and where the survivors circle raises the final 3-Day flag. The ceremony ended with everyone tired, but what an amazing job. $4.3 MILLION raised!

That’s all for tonight, I’m going for some much needed rest! Stay tuned and I’ll do a whole event overview with some details that I missed in my rush to get these online. I’ll also do a little comparison between the Boston and Dallas walks and let you know what I think. Thanks everyone!

 

Boston Day 2 Recap

July 24th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (2 Comments)

Since I started yesterday with who I was thankful for, I decided to do it again for day two. Today I am thankful for all the other walkers who participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for all of you this event wouldn’t be nearly as awesome as it is. Yeah, I would still be walking and raising money, but it would be a little boring!

Today was a really good day for walking. I’m gonna jump right into the re-cap now becaue it’s already past when I should be going to bed.


The Weather

Talk about a major change from yesterday! Instead of being cool and raining for over half the day it was hot! It got up to 93 today (or 90 depending on who you asked), which is cooler than some of the training walks, but I was out in it for a lot longer. Yesterday I said that I would prefer hot to wet and I still stand by that but it was rough going with sweat in the eyes.


The Companionship

I got to walk with a lot of teams, solo walkers and near solo walkers. For those of you that follow this site fairly regularly, I got to walk for several miles with Kristen Cincotta (who shared her favorite 3-Day moment with me a couple of months ago). She was great company on the walk and I was really glad to meet her in person.

At lunch I met a team named Punk Walkers (now one of my favorite team names!) and walked with them on and off through the rest of the day. Their team captain, Lisa, was unable to walk when she was 13 and now walks in the 3-Day! This year was her fourth walk!

At the final cheering station, I ran into Jen Hammel, who has also done a 3-Day moment video and is doing a fund raiser tomorrow night. I also ran into Lisa from Whining Causes Blisters, the awesome blog that gave me the idea to try and get the men of the 3-Day nominated for the Sexiest Man Alive.

I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, but it’s getting late and I should really go to sleep. I hope you enjoyed this recap!

 

Boston Day 1 Recap

July 23rd, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (2 Comments)

I was out walking today and I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have the wonderful friends and family that I do that helped me raise an AWESOME amount of funds going towards breast cancer research, edutcation and awareness initiatives. I really wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU. With that said, I also wanted to get started with a recap.


Wake Up Wake Up!

4:30 comes early. Very early, but if you’re not in your own time zone and it’s like getting up at 3:30 in your home time zone it’s even earlier! But I did get up and ready in plenty of time, and I was greeted by numerous smiling faces. The pink hair and bra was really popular and I had three or four people want to take pictures with me as we waited out in the lobby. Lots of fun!


To the Ceremony!

We took a bus from the hotel loaded our gear on the gear trucks and then went to the opening ceremonies. Great setting on a lake (pond maybe?) and the thing that I noticed significantly fromt he times that I have done the Dallas walks is that it was actually light outside when I got there! Since the Dallas walk happens in November it’s dark at that time.


Solo Walkers

There was something that really stuck with me from the 3-Day moment that Lauri Yanis showed with me. I remembered her saying that she tries to seek out solo walkers and befriend them so that they don’t have to walk alone. I really liked that thought so I went ahead and followed it through. I approached several walkers and walked with them for a good while. A couple of times they weren’t solo walkers, but they couldn’t do the pace that their team required. I walked with several walkers with and without teams and we all had great conversations, even in the rain.


The Rain

Now that the rain has entered the conversation, I guess I have to address it. It started sprinkling on and off at about lunch time and continued to rain well after I got to camp. I will admit, I didn’t do any rain training and I was a little concerned. It was fine and it turns out that walking in the rain is just like walking without rain, only a little wetter. To be honest, it didn’t rain too hard and it was or a good portion pretty nice to walk in the rain.

When I got to camp was a different story. Luckily my tent mate had set up the tent already when I got there, but there was still a difficulty of getting everything into the tent. I was standing outside of the tent looking at it and wondering how on Earth I should proceed. In the end I got everything in and it was all a bit wet.

I went to take a shower without thinking about the fact that there was no tarp on the tent and when I got back my sheet was VERY wet. There was a leak in the roof. I’m sleeping on the air mattress with a blanket so it’s fine, it was just a hassle.


Sleep Time

That’s all for me tonight. I’m headed to sleep now. Hopefully there will be no rain tomorrow. I’ll try and get some pictures on the web site as soon as I can, but if you want to see them pretty quick, check out the Twitter feed and I will be posting there along the way!

 

Packing Method 101

July 20th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (17 Comments)

I originally planned on writing this post about what I packed for the 3-Day. I thought about it and thought about it and didn’t really think it was that interesting. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people that need some help thinking of what to pack for the 3-Day for the Cure, but I think that there are quite a few sites that have all sorts of lists of what you should bring and it doesn’t really make for much reading. I promised a list last week and I will not go back on what I promised, but I’m going to start off a little differently. I want to start off with how I pack my bag because I think it’s equally important to know how to get all of that stuff into your bag as it is to know what to put in there.


Are You Going to Put a Body in There?

Last year, Ryan Sparks, one of my teammates had this MAMMOTH bag that everyone called the body bag. It was huge and that’s saying something, because I always thought my bag was big. Making sure that you have the right bag for your packing is one of the most important pieces of being able to pack. I prefer a bag with a large main compartment and decent sized front and back compartments. Also, wheels are an absolute must. There is nothing so fantastically bad as finishing a 20 mile walk and then having to lug your bag half a mile to your tent. I may exaggerate when I say half a mile, but after 20, it seems like that.

When I bought my bag a couple of years ago, I had a hard time finding one that I thought was adequate for all of my criteria. I was probably looking in all the wrong stores, but where I ended up was at the luggage section of Academy Sports and Outdoors. I never new there was a luggage section there and it took some looking, but they had several large duffel bags to choose from when I found it. I’m sure that there are plenty of places that I just missed, but if you find that you are having trouble, then take a look there.


It’s Kind of Like a Nesting Doll

Now that you have your bag, it’s going to feel kind of like you are putting together a strange nesting doll with all of the other types of bags you will be dealing with. Keep in mind that moving forward, just about everything you put in your bag should be in another bag. A plastic bag. Here’s a rundown of the different types of bags that I use:

  • Garbage Bags: great for storing your large items like sleeping bags and air mattresses. If there is not room in your tent to put your duffel bag when you get to camp, you can also use two of these bags to put your duffel in outside of your tent so that it doesn’t get wet over night.
  • Gallon Ziploc Bags: Ziploc has in no way compensated me for talking about them in this post, but if they would like to make a donation, I think it would be great. I use the gallon Ziploc bags to store medium sized items like clothes and toiletries. I recommend the bags with the actual zipper mechanism in them, I’ll explain why later.
  • Sandwich Bags:
  • I use sandwich bags for storing all of the sandwiches that I take on the walk. Not really. I use them for smaller items like electronics: flashlights, battery packs, etc.

Make sure that you have plenty of bags and I always pack an extra few just in case I forgot a bag for something.


You Can’t Go Naked

You will need to pack clothes. That goes without saying. When I pack, I choose to put each walking day of clothes in a separate bag. So, for Saturday I will have a gallon bag with underwear, walking shorts, bra (because I’m wearing one as part of a fund raiser) and if I were wearing a shirt it would also be in there. It may seem like a lot of stuff to put in a gallon bag, but I assure you that it can be done. I did it last night. The key is in the rolling. I roll up everything I can so it takes up the absolute least amount of space. Underwear, great. Shorts, great. If you’re taking a bra with underwire, not so much. Once you have everything in the bag, zip it most of the way up and then squeeze it. As long as it is zipped up most of the way this will squeeze out and keep out most of the air, making the bag take up less space in your duffel, which is a very good thing. When you get to camp, you can pull out the bag for the day and keep it in the tent with you overnight so that in the morning you are ready to go without having to search for anything.

You probably noticed that I didn’t include socks on the list of things for walking day clothes. That wasn’t a mistake, thought I make plenty of them. I put my socks in one bag. This is personal preference. Since socks are a very important part of walking in the 3-Day for the Cure, I put them in one bag so that I can select and not forget them.


Let’s Get Packing

Hopefully by now, you have everything in their own respective bags, bet it garbage, gallon or sandwich. I recommend waiting until all this is done before you really start packing. It’s never fun to pack everything and then realize that you need to put something in a bag that is at the bottom of your duffel. When I started this, I mentioned that I had a duffel with a large compartment and two decent sized pockets. When I pack, I try to keep related items together. So, in the main compartment I will put my air mattress, the battery operated pump for that (both in the same garbage bag), my sleeping bag (or sheets/blanket), and pillow. In one of the pockets, I will try to put all my walking clothes. In another pocket, I will put miscellaneous items, like extra panchos, tarps, flashlight, toiletries, etc. Then I finish off the main compartment with my extra shoes (sometimes these will fit in the miscellaneous pocked), camp clothes, after shoes, and this year a plush Energizer┬« Bunny.

The List

As promised, now that I have shared some of my thoughts on packing, here is the list of things that I will bring in my duffel bag on the 3-Day for the Cure. Keep in mind, this is what is in my bag and may not be suitable for you but will hopefully give you a good starting point.

  • Air mattress – I prefer this to camp pads or thermarest and you can get one with a battery pump for $15 at Wal-mart.
  • Sheet and Blanket – This is the first year I am not packing a sleeping bag. The weather in Boston promises to be much hotter than when I have walked in Dallas, so I’ll take a sheet and blanket here and a sleeping bag to Dallas.
  • Camp Pillow – found one from Coleman that folds up pretty nice
  • Flashlight – I use a normal one, but most people recommend a headlight so you don’t have to worry about dropping it in the potty.
  • Energi to Go Charger – I’ll use this to charge my iPhone overnight.
  • Two Tarps – one for on top of the tent and one for under.
  • Emergency Blanket – and let’s hope you don’t have to use it
  • Extra panchos – I use the cheap wal-mart kind that doesn’t take up much space, but they are pretty much single use
  • After Shoes
  • Second pair of walking shoes
  • Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, body gel (I hate carrying soap in those little containers), deodorant, etc.
  • Socks – at least six pair of walking socks, but if it plans to rain, maybe more
  • Walking Clothes – I’m including shorts, underwear and bras in this.
  • Camp clothes – Probably a short sleeved shirt, some jogging pants. Really something comfortable and weather appropriate for you to wear around camp.
  • Batteries – extra batteries doesn’t hurt if you’re bringing an air pump for your bed.
  • Clothespins – to hold the tarp to your tent
  • Energizer Bunny – if you haven’t looked that the gallery on the site you should and then you’ll understand what this is

I think that’s it, but I really don’t have my bag sitting in front of me right now. If I get home later and notice that I’ve missed something I will definitely add to the list. What about you, what packing methods or items do you use that you think people should know about. Comment below!