The walk is over. You’ve done 60 miles, you’ve got the shirt to prove it, so what happens now? The answer largely depends on what type of person you are and how you feel after the walk. This week I’m going to write about what you might think about doing, what to plan and what not to and also some hints for the family of walkers on what they can do to make transition back to non-3-Day life easier.
I’m going to start by saying that it is probably a good idea to not have any solid plans for after the walk. I didn’t really think about this until this year because I had never taken the time to plan anything. But this year, Jen Hammel, who has shared her 3-Day moment on here, had a fund raiser at a pub that sounded like a lot of fun. I made plans in advance and really wanted to go. In years past I hadn’t had many issues with injuries so I figured that it wouldn’t be a huge problem. If you read my 3-Day recap for the Boston walk this year then you know that I developed a case of painful shin splints. At the end of the walk I just wanted to spend some time with my wife and have a quiet dinner with just the two of us.
Really, I have found that the best plans are made with your team during the last five miles or so of the walk. That way, you know pretty much how you are feeling and can make the appropriate choice. By doing it then, you still have enough time to discuss exactly what it is that you want to do and get word out to friends and family that you want there.
All that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to go home and crawl into bed after the walk. It’s a tough event and no one will fault you with wanting to take the night off.
So hopefully by now you’ve gotten through the night let’s touch briefly on Monday. If this is your first walk, I would seriously consider taking Monday off of work if you go to work. As I said above, you don’t really have an idea how your body is going to feel after the wall, so plan for the worst and hope that it feels better than that. If you really feel good, you can always go into work anyway, but you don’t have to. I won’t tell anyone you feel great.
Hopefully as a family member you also read the walker section of this post as well, because a lot of it still applies. I know that for the first year that I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure, my wife wasn’t sure what to do when I got home. She went to a site online and found some suggestions that she thought sounded very good to help take care of someone who just walked 60 miles.
I really appreciated the work that she put into it and there were many things that she did for me that were great. There were also several things that weren’t for me. I think the key thing here is to use some sense. Things like getting the house clean for when they come home is a no-brainer. Maybe your walker likes hot baths normally, now might be a good time to offer to run a bath.
I think that the key thing is not necessarily providing everything that a walker could possibly want, I think it’s more offering to do the things that you think they will want. I know that as a walker, while it’s nice to be pampered after the walk I also don’t want to be treated like an invalid. My wife has done a really good job of striking that balance. I’ll say that there is not specific formula for all walkers since we are all different. With that being said, here are some things to keep in mind with your walker:
- If they want to go to bed when they get home, it’s not because they don’t want to spend time with you. They have just had a very long three days and were most likely sleeping on the ground during it.
- If they are willing to stay awake with you, invite them to talk about the 3-Day. Personally, I could probably talk about it until I’m blue in the face but I don’t want to overwhelm my wife with details so I try not to talk about it a ton unless she asks. Even doing that, I probably still talk about it too much. As a supporter, don’t take all this talk as something that you’re excluded from. Quite the opposite, all the experiences that we talk about for the 3-Day wouldn’t be possible without the help and support from our family and friends, you’re a part of it and we want to share it with you.
- If you have kids, be prepared to relate all the details of their lives over the past three days. This is pretty simple and I think goes without saying, but we miss the whole family while we are out walking.
- I think I can generally say that all the walkers and crew would love a massage. If it’s possible, talk to them about the possibility of scheduling a massage for them a day or two after the walk. Then schedule it and pay for it so that they don’t have to do anything other than show up!
- This last one really isn’t necessarily post-walk, but it is important. Come to closing ceremonies. Bring your family and friends to closing ceremonies! Bring their family and friends to closing ceremonies! Bring all those people to the cheering stations! Your support is a huge thing to help us get through this, having you there is amazing!
So to sum up, for walkers don’t plan until the end of the walk. This is one area where failing to plan is not planning to fail, it’s just practical for what you’re going through. Family of walkers: show your support and run things by your walker to see what they want to do and don’t take offense if all they want is to curl up in bed!