Author Archives: john

Application

January 25th, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (5 Comments)

Less than two weeks ago, many of you saw the e-mail that the 3-Day for the Cure sent out.  It was titled “Could You be the National Spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure?”.  I had to stop for a moment when I read the title for that e-mail.  I had only seen it once before and it was in 2007 when I was walking in my first 3-Day for the Cure.  At the time, they were looking for the national spokesperson that ended up being Jenne Fromme.

This e-mail meant a couple of things:

First, Jenne Fromme who had, for all intents and purposes, helped focus our pinkness for the past four years was no longer going to be up there on stage year after year.  As she has been the only national spokesperson for this event that I have known, I was a little bit sad about this.  I know that she has her reasons for stepping down, I’m sure it will be nice for her to get back to her regular job.  I sincerely hope that she has much success in the years to come, we’ll miss her at the 3-Day, but we will continue on.

The second thing that the e-mail meant was that this time I could actually apply for the job.  As I said, the first time that I saw the call go out for the national spokesperson was my first year walking.  There was no way that I was going to apply when I hadn’t even done the walk yet.  This time I had a number of years doing this.  I love the 3-Day community and I strongly believe in what we are all fighting for.  I felt that while I may not have the best experience in motivational speaking my passion for the cause might just help me to get through.

So I clicked through the link with instructions on how to apply and found that there were a few requirements that they wanted fulfilled.  One of which was an audition video and the other was an application.  The application would not be accepted without a video.  In the video, the 3-Day for the Cure people wanted you to read through a script which was basically an excerpt from the opening and closing ceremonies.  It was a lot to do and the schedule was tight, there were only 12 short days to get everything turned in.  To add to that, I was traveling almost every single one of those 12 days.  Add to all of that the fact that the job would require a significant part of my time for half of the year.  I would either have to find a new job that didn’t mind me being gone for that long or make some significant changes with my current job or somehow make enough money as the national spokesperson to not have to have another job (which I didn’t believe was possible).

Despite all these odds, I was still going to go for it.  I figured that I could read through the script and do some memorization while I was travelling and then do the recording the day before it was due and turn it all in on the day it was due just in time.  Of course, plans don’t always work out like we hope they will.

I got home on the day that the announcement was made and I told my wife that Jenne had stepped down as the spokesperson to which she replied, “Oh, you should apply for that job!”

Well, one hurdle down, or so I thought.  I replied that I was going to but that there would be a lot of stuff to be worked out if I happened to get it because of the time commitment required.  She hadn’t at first realized that this involved going to each of the 3-Day events.  When she realized that she said, “there’s no way you’ll be able to do that.”  I just told her that if it got that far then I would figure out what to do.  I pressed onward.

Travel did not provide as many opportunities to review as I thought it would.  I drove to Dallas, did work, back to Austin for a day and a half which I spent enjoying my family.  Drove back to Dallas, then flew to Orlando.  Each time I thought I would have the opportunity either ended up being nothing or significantly less time for me to review the script.  I flew back to Dallas on the 21st and then had to drive to Austin.  I got in at 1:30 in the morning on the 22nd and went to sleep.  And when I woke up I was still tired.  The focus that I had counted on having to be able to complete the video the day before the deadline was missing.  There was no way I was going to get this done.  By this time, I was pretty bummed.  Aside from the obstacles that seemed like the hardest, I had not even managed to get past the obstacle that I thought would be the easiest:  getting a video of me recorded.

While I was in Orlando a package had come for me from the 3-Day.  I had been really curious about what it was, Kristen had offered to open it for me and send a picture, but I opted to wait until I got home and see it for myself.  I posted about it on Twitter and several of the 3-Day Tweeps really wanted me to have my wife go ahead and open it so that they could see what it was.  I waited and on Saturday I was really glad that I did.  I opened it once I was a little more coherent and here’s what I found:

It’s a framed “flag” with information about when I was top fund raiser last year.  When I opened it I stopped worrying about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete the application.  This was sort of like my sign that I needed to keep pushing to raise more funds so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  Yeah, it would be pretty cool to be the spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure.  I would LOVE to be able to do it, but this isn’t my year.  There were too many obstacles in my way and I wasn’t really willing to concede, not defeat, to reality.  Maybe someday in the future it will be my time, but I’m hoping that time never comes.  Not because I don’t want the job, but because I hope that we find a cure and we won’t need a national spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure before that time gets here.

 

Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive

January 3rd, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

I was in DisneyWorld a few weeks ago.  I realize that since I focus on the 3-Day for the Cure here this may not sound like it fits with what I usually post, but bear with me.  As in any amusement park, there were lines and lots of them.  The week right before Christmas is a busy one for Disney and this year was no exception.  We went for a ride on one of the safari rides in the Animal Kingdom and the people that sat behind us were not happy.  Every time I heard them they were complaining about something: that we had to stop for an ostrich, that the bus they rode to the park was crappy, that their kids smelled and much more.  It got me to thinking, I know that it’s a marketing thing but here we are in what is called the happiest place on earth, couldn’t we be a little more positive?

No, I’m not going all rose colored glasses on you.  There were a couple of times on the trip that I got tired and tired of dealing with things and snapped at people when I probably shouldn’t have.  I think I was pretty good about realizing when that happened and making amends to the person I had snapped at.  We were at this place that we had spent a decent amount of money to get to and a decent amount of time planning for and I just didn’t see the point of being pissed off the whole time we were there.  Yes, there were things I would have changed if it was in my power, but at that point it wasn’t so there was no need for me to dwell on it.  Staying negative about those things I couldn’t change would just have made my trip less enjoyable not only for me, but my family as well.

This is the part where I turn it around and apply what I’m talking about to the 3-Day, are you ready?  Good.

All of what has been said above about a trip to Disney can be easily said about the 3-Day as well.  I’m sure that if you think about it hard enough you can find several examples on your own, but here’s some of my own that I think can probably be applied to your 3-Day experience:


Food

I distinctly remember the first year that I participated in the 3-Day I was pleasantly surprised in the quality of the food.  A lot of people are going to be taken aback at that statement.  Let me clear it up.  When you’re feeding 2,000 or more people on a fairly tight budget (we’re doing this for charity, not a four star meal) in the middle of a field, there are definitely some questionable things that you could do for the food.  Frankly, I think that for serving that many people in that amount of time in that setting with the goal of raising money for charity the food was great.  That’s a lot of qualifiers I know.

That first year, I was amazed at the number of people I heard grumbling about the food.  As I said in the first paragraph, it wasn’t superb food, but it was definitely a step or two above what I had expected for an “institutional dining” event.  So I was surprised that these people were harping on the food so much.

Skip forward a few years and I unwittingly joined the band.  I mainly joined because of the big C word.  Not cancer, at least not this time.  Change was it.  When they changed the food options in Boston last year I complained a lot more than necessary.  I realize that if you don’t like something sometimes you just need to say something.  You don’t need to say it over and over again.  After a little while, I realized what I was doing and stopped.  When I walked Dallas later in the year I stopped complaining and the food tasted better.  It’s funny how that happened.  I was a little more positive and because of that (at least that’s what I think) the food tasted better.


Fund Raising

Of all the things that you can be negative about, fund raising is probably the easiest to slip into those thoughts.  Let’s face it, $2300 can seem like a lot of money especially if you don’t start early enough.  Here’s some stuff that I have heard (and some that I have maybe said) about the fund raising:

  • It’s just too much money.  I don’t know how they expect us to raise all of this!
  • I don’t have enough time to raise that much money.
  • I don’t feel comfortable asking people to donate $2300!
  • Why do they make us raise so much money?

I don’t have any hard facts, but I would be willing to place a bet that the number one reason that people decide not to sign up for the 3-Day for the Cure is fund raising.  Most people have walked at least a couple of miles in their life.  It’s not hard to go from there to saying that you’ll be able to walk 60.  There are probably a decent amount of people, myself included, who have never done ANY fund raising before signing up for the 3-Day.  I’m not saying that they themselves haven’t donated to something, but donating and asking people for donations are two entirely different things.  It’s also easy to stay negative on the money side because it is the thing that is present the WHOLE time before the walk.  You need to keep fund raising and fund raising and fund raising in order to meet your minimum.  But staying negative about raising the money makes it that much harder to actually raise the money.

So try not to get negative on the fund raising.  That’s the real reason that we’re walking in the 3-Day.  It’s not to prove to the world that we can walk 60 miles.  It’s not to lose weight.  It’s not so that we can hang out with these awesome people for three days and camp in pink tents.  All that stuff is bonus stuff.  We’re all there so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  So let’s not complain about the fund raising, let’s embrace it!  I know it’s a lot of money, but you just have to start early and keep plugging away at it until you’ve exceeded that little minimum number.


Teammates

When you signed up the previous year, you were probably on fantastic terms with your teammates.  I hope that you still will be when your event is up, but I have seen a fair number of teams that seem to have a lot of infighting and end up completely staying away from each other during the walk if they end up doing the walk at all.  It could be any reason:  maybe there was some disagreement about how team fund raising should be distributed.  Maybe someone is mad about how much someone else is training.  Maybe you don’t like how the team captain is managing the team.

Whatever the reason is, I have to plead with you to let it drop.  I know that once the shiny happiness of signing up for the 3-Day has faded that it’s easier to find fault in your teammates, but let’s be honest.  Your negativity in this case can ruin the 3-Day experience for more than just you.  Maybe if it’s you that has the problem with the team, you should consider dropping out of the team to get some perspective.  Notice, I didn’t say drop out of the 3-Day.  We still have a cause to do.  But if people are just annoying you so much, or you them, then maybe it’s time to go your separate ways so that when it comes time to walk in the 3-Day you can be friends instead of bitter enemies.  Definitely try to work things out with your team first.  But if it is apparent that you can’t maintain the positive energy between everyone, that might be the signal to go ahead and go your separate ways for now.  That time away from each other may be just what you need to be able to walk into opening and closing ceremonies together.

Remember, the 3-Day isn’t about eating at 4-star restaurants.  It’s not about complaining to everyone you see about how much money you have to raise.  It’s definitely not about seeing who can win the power struggle in your team.  The 3-Day is about winning the fight against breast cancer.  There’s a lot of good stuff that comes along with fighting that fight, but you have to get your head out of the negative cloud so that you can enjoy it.

 

The First Goal

December 13th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (Comments Off on The First Goal)

I have recently, if not always, said that in order to succeed in the 3-Day for both training and fund raising you need to start early.  It’s not even 2011 yet and I’m already starting to fund raise for my walk next year.  If I remember to do it this year, I’m going to try and post periodic goals that I will try to hit to not only accomplish my fund raising, but to help my team stay motivated to accomplish theirs as well.  Hopefully by posting this it will also help another 3-Day walker to keep their fund raising in mind and meet and exceed their fund raising requirements.  I’m walking in San Diego in 2011, so the pace at which I am intending to raise money may not be exactly what you are looking to hit, but you can definitely up the monetary goals to adjust them for what you need.  Remember, these are just goals and exceeding goals is an fantastic thing, so don’t just stop when you hit the goal!

The goal this month is more difficult than it might seem at first glance.  The goal is to raise $100 in the next 30 days.  Sounds simple enough, and really since in a previous post I said that you needed to average about $200 per month in order to hit the minimum, this is below average.  But that’s alright.  $100 is something that I think everyone can accomplish if they put their mind to it.

Here’s the twist that makes it a little difficult.  Part of the goal this month is HOW you communicate and raise those funds.  Sure it’s easy to send out a bazillion e-mails or Facebook posts or letters and raise some quick cash, but wouldn’t it be great if you had some starting money before you actually relied on those e-mail contacts and Facebook friends?  And yes, you could probably pretty easily get these funds by asking several of your family members or even donating some yourself.  But all of those things are not allowed this month.  Yes, if a family member wants to send in a donation, definitely accept it, but don’t count it as part of your $100 goal.  Count it as bonus.

But wait!  If you can’t e-mail or social network and you can’t ask family, how the heck will you raise the money and who will you raise it from?  Let’s start with the how first.  The answer is simple and I’m sure you’ve guessed it already.  Talk to people.  Whether it be on the phone or talking to them face to face I find that talking to people has a MUCH higher percentage of success than any of the other methods of fund raising.  It’s a little harder because you do actually have to talk to someone, but it’s also much harder for the person you are asking to not pay attention and just hit delete if you’re standing there right in front of them or are on the other end of the telephone line.  To be honest, most people want to help you.  But they don’t necessarily want to read your e-mail.

Now on to who you’re going to contact.  That’s simple.  Anyone and everyone that is not in your family!  If you haven’t relied upon them in the past for donations, then even better because it just widens your fund raising reach.  This could be co-workers, friends, neighbors, people in your book club, cub scout den or knitting circle, local businesses or even total strangers.  If you only have a certain amount of time, then try to focus on the people that you know you won’t be able to e-mail for one reason or another, that way when we get to the e-mail goal a little later on, you will still have plenty of people left to e-mail.  Remember these two important things when you’re asking these people for a donation:

1. You are not asking for yourself.  You’re asking for money to help save the lives of women and help eradicate breast cancer.  It’s a lot easier to ask for money when you think of it that way instead of asking people to give “you” money.

2. You’re not just asking for a donation.  You’re spreading awareness.  Make sure that people know why you’re walking.  Tell them what this money is going towards and how much you have to raise to participate.  If you happen to run into someone who seems a little more interested in most, take the time to talk to them about what you’re doing and then if they still seem pretty interested you might think about asking them to walk with you.  Let’s face it, having one more person raising $2300 for the cause is a lot better than having one more person donate $20 to the cause (though either is hugely welcome!)

The last thing I will talk about is the average.  I’m big on thinking about the average.  If I say that I have to raise $100 then that means that if I try to get every person that I ask to donate at least $20 then that means I only have to have 5 people donate.  Wow, that’s not bad.  Now, even if I only get 1 person out of every 5 that I ask to donate, I could ask 5 people a day for 5 days and be done with the $100 goal.  How awesome would that be to accomplish your first month’s goal in 5 days?  The important thing to note here is that it does require you to go out and talk to five people about the 3-Day every day for five days in order to achieve those results.

I wish you luck in achieving your goal over the next month.  Good luck, remember the earlier you start with your fund raising, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals!

 

What Now?

November 22nd, 2010 | Posted by john in General - (Comments Off on What Now?)

This past weekend the 2010 series of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure came to an end.  If you participated any time this year, give yourself a big hand, you did an awesome job!  But now that it’s over, you may be thinking to yourself, “What now?” and I have been there myself.  When you spend a good portion of a year training, fund raising and generally preparing to walk and then having it come to the culmination of this amazing experience you can kind of feel like you have no direction once it’s all over.  I have been thinking about just that thing for several months and decided that I would write about some of the stuff that I do once my 3-Day year is over.


Relax!

This section seems pretty self-explanatory if you look at it on the surface, but as we continue to the next things that I do, you will see that sometimes it’s not as easy as it seems.  But the point is that you have accomplished something huge and you deserve a relaxing time.  If it’s your thing, get a massage to help with the relaxation process.  I’ve seen some people take vacations while others just slide back into their daily routine.  Whatever helps you relax, focus on that.


Get Ready

I have seen many people comment about having 3-Day Withdrawal.  So much so, I think that you could probably classify it as a medical condition.  After walking 3 days with all of these wonderful people where kindness rules the day, it may be a little bit of a shock to your system to go back into normal every day life.  You’re not going to have people lined up waiting to give you high fives.  You’re not going to walk by schools with hundreds of kids out screaming just because you’re there.  I know that it’s a little overdramatic to talk about this as a big let down, but it can be kind of eye-opening to get back into your everyday life after three days where everyone acts just a little different.


Sign up?

If you didn’t sign up to walk next year while you were at the 3-Day camp you may be thinking about signing up for it again in the weeks following your walk.  I know that for some of you, signing up to walk again may be the furthest thing from your mind.  I know that walking year after year is not for everyone and that sometimes fund raising is tough.  But despite all that I am still going to ask you, to plead with you to walk again next year and do the good that you have done this year.

I know that it can be a tough decision to make and after my first year it took me a couple of months to finally come to that decision, but after that it was easy.  I signed up for my sixth walk this past weekend and I will continue walking until breast cancer is eliminated.  I hope that you will join me in continuing the fight.  If you think you will walk, then sign up soon because there is a discount code for your registration fees that expires November 23rd.  If you use the code CURE2011 you will get $35 off of your registration fees.


Get Fund Raising!

Is it a little too soon to start fund raising?  To answer this question, the first thing I need you to remember is what we talked about firt: relax!  Now, while you are relaxing it wouldn’t hurt to think about some fund raising ideas for when you are ready to start fund raising.  Not to scare you or anything, but if you walk the same walk every year then you have to average about $200 a month in fund raising in order to get to the minimum fund raising amount.  That being said, you will probably have months that will raise much more than $200, but it is definitely something to keep in mind so that you are aware of the deadline and the amount.


Training

Most people will tell you that you should continue walking, just at reduced distances, in order to keep yourself in shape for future walks.  I agree that this is a completely rational way of thinking about training, but I have to be honest and say that I have yet to be able to maintain my dedication to training once the actual walk is over, even when I know that another one is coming up in a year’s time.

That being said, you should try to stay in with it, I don’t lose a ton of weight when I do my training, but when I stop I gain everything that I lost back so that should be a motivator.  Also, staying healthy is never a bad thing.  So try and keep training, it doesn’t have to be walking.  You can start or continue your cross-training by lifting weights or cycling or something else just to give you a little change up from the walking.


Enjoy!

I have said several times before that one of the reasons that we all walk is so that we can have more time with the ones that we love.  Now that you have completed the 3-Day and aren’t out training or fund raising every weekend, take some time and enjoy those loved ones you are fighting for.  I know that a 3-Day training schedule can be hectic, so if you are planning on doing the walk again you really need to take advantage of this downtime to enjoy the company of the people that you are doing this for.  Remember, your life is worth living and if it wasn’t then you wouldn’t be walking.  So go out there and live it.  Know that you can live your life and still plan to walk in another 3-Day for the Cure event.

 

DFW 3-Day for the Cure 2010 Recap

November 15th, 2010 | Posted by john in At the Walk - (1 Comments)

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been over a week since my latest phenomenal 3-Day for the Cure experience.  This year I met more wonderful people, got to walk with people from previous years and had a very busy first day! I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself, to talk about this 3-Day for the Cure, I kind of have to step back to the Wednesday before the walk.

Wednesday

If you have my post on setting goals then you’re probably aware of two lofty goals that I set for myself this year.  One was to be the top fund raiser in Dallas and one was to raise over $20,000 this year for the 3-Day for the cure.  Wednesday morning it looked like I was probably not going to hit either of those goals, though it was very close.  I was pretty sure that I had stretched my fund raising network as far as it would go and I was happy with the amount I had raised.  I thought it would have been nice to have reached them but I could definitely be proud of what had been raised.

The family drove up to Dallas on Wednesday evening.  My wife was on crew and had to be at crew training on Thursday and I had to be at flag bearer rehearsal as well, more on that later.  When we got to my mother-in-law’s house (she’s one of the reasons that I walk, she’s a 10-year survivor!) she asked how close I was to the top fund raiser.  When I told her it was about $500 short, she instantly said, “Well, I can make that up for you, no problem.”  At first I was taken aback, I wanted to say something, but my mouth just wouldn’t work.  My wife said what I wanted to say:  That she didn’t need to do that.  She had, just a couple of months before, contributed $300 to my sister’s fund raising.  She insisted and said, “I know that you do it for me and my girls, I know it would mean a lot to you to be the top fund raiser, I want to do this.”

That was the final word.  She made a donation and got me in the lead and then said, “Now, if you need another donation before this closes out, you get me up and I’ll make another donation.”  Long story short, I stayed up that night and when it was done I had stayed in the top fund raiser position.

Thursday

This year I was selected to carry the “Turning Points” flag from the Lifetime flag series during the opening ceremonies of the 3-Day.  I have tried several ways to write to explain what the flags are, but I think that Jay Furr’s post, Raise the Flag, does a much better job than I could of explaining the flags and what they mean in an opening ceremony.  Thursday was the rehearsal for the flag bearers.  I arrived at the opening ceremonies site just before 4.  I had always thought about how much work had to go into putting together a 3-Day for the Cure event, but it didn’t really dawn on me how much work was done before a walker arrived at opening ceremonies until then.  There were a lot of cars parked there and when you looked around you could see a lot of work being done just about everywhere.  Crew meetings on one spot, staff carrying a part for a setup this way and up by the stage, the group of people that I would be carrying a flag with the next morning.

Karen checked me in and congratulated me on achieving the top fund raiser spot and suggested that I go talk to Dan.  Dan was one of the two other people that had leap frogged for the top spot throughout the year.  I think I mentioned him, but not by name, in an earlier post.  He was carrying an honor flag for his wife who had lost hear 18 year battle with breast cancer earlier this year.  As we stood there waiting for the rehearsals to start, he was able to tell me about how they met and that they had been married for 43 years.  I was very close to tears.  You see, I know I have mentioned that I walk for my wife so that she doesn’t have to fight breast cancer, but every year I get more reasons to continue walking.  When I hear a story like Dan’s where they fought breast cancer for almost half their marriage it brings a lot of thoughts to the surface.  It makes me angry and upset that people still lose their loved ones to breast cancer, but at the same time it renews my determination to stay in the fight to try and get rid of this disease.  Thank you so much for sharing your wife’s story with me Dan, I hope that you had a wonderful walk.

When you go to the flag bearer rehearsals, you go through an abbreviated opening ceremony.  Jenne Fromme does a shortened version of what she will say so that the staff can make sure that all of the flag bearers know what to do and when to do it.  I have to say that even with no one in the audience and her speech shortened, it still makes for a moving experience.

Friday

Waking up early is not something I enjoy doing.  On a training walk recently I told one of the walkers that was with me that I usually only wake up really early (before 5:30) for training walks and the 3-Day.  I’m not even sure what time we got up on Friday, but it was early and after picking my sister up from her hotel and getting some breakfast we got to the opening ceremonies at 6.  Huge thanks go out to my niece for getting up early and taking us there.

It was still dark and very cold and I was wearing my Keep Going® Blogger t-shirt and shorts.  I had still not decided at what point I would lose the shirt and be in just a bra for the top.  With the cold as it was, I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen at all.  My sister and I wandered around for a little bit and tried to stay in larger groups of people for a little break from the wind.  At 7, I was supposed to report behind the stage to be ready to carry my flag out.

While I was backstage I met up with Sandy Villetti, my contact for the walk with Energizer®.  We talked for a little bit and then the ceremony started.  It seemed like no time until I was walking across the stage with my flag and next to no time until the opening ceremony was over and I was walking out.  One of those things I never really knew about being a flag bearer is that you lead everyone else out to the route.  This was the closest to the front that I had EVER been on a 3-Day walk.  It actually made it so that we weren’t concerned about time at all for the rest of the day.  We would get to pit stops or lunch and have plenty of time left.  It made for a very worry free day (I tend to worry a little bit when I get to pit stops and only have 10-15 minutes until they close).

Julie caught up to me and I found out that she had, purely by accident, met up with her tent mate at opening ceremonies.  Since my wife was walking with crew and tenting with me, she got a random tent mate and it turns out that they got along really well for the whole walk.  I took the shirt of and went in the bra.  It was cold, but I adjusted to the cold pretty quickly.  For a little while there we didn’t think that we were going to be able to get anywhere because every ten feet or so, someone wanted another picture.  Eventually I told Julie and Rachel to go ahead and I would catch up between pictures.

Friday at the Dallas 3-Day for the Cure is always my favorite.  There are a couple of reasons.  First is that you are fresh and your muscles aren’t tired.  That’s pretty minor to the main reason: the schools.  We walked by at least two schools that had the kids and teachers out cheering.  I won’t go into too much detail since I wrote about this over the weekend in the post titled Community.  Go there and check it out because these schools were awesome at keeping us motivated!

When we came into camp around 4, I really felt like the day had just flown by.  It was a great day and I felt really good after walking 19.3 miles.  When I got back to camp, I found my tent.  Now, there’s a few words about the tent that I want to say.  Being the top fund raiser, I was given a larger tent with some goodies inside.  First, here’s a picture of the tent:

So the first thing to note about it is that it is larger than the pink tents that you normally sleep in.  Second, it has a little covered “porch” area that we were able to stow our stuff in without risk of it getting wet.  On the inside of the tent we were provided with a queen size air mattress and lots of comfy bedding and it was all on a platform so it was normal bed height.  That made it a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning when your muscles were stiff.  It had a camp chair and foot rest right outside the door and the final thing it had was a space heater.  That’s right, a space heater.  If you checked the weather for this past weekend, you may have noticed that the temperatures at night on Friday dipped into the 30s, so a heater was a welcome addition to the tent, but more on that later.

The night was pretty busy.  After showering and eating, I got set up in the Energizer tent to start blogging and met most of the 3-Day Tweeps that were in Dallas.  Then Sandy and I went in to do the drawing for the Energizer giveaway in the dining tent.  I was able to work on my blog a little bit more before heading back to the dining tent for the announcement of the top fund raiser by New Balance.  Then I headed back to work on the blog and read some of my camp mail before finally heading to bed.  A busy night, but it was a lot of fun.

When we headed back to the tent, it was nice and warm from the heater running.  We settled in for the night to sleep until the next day of walking.

Saturday

Right around midnight on Saturday morning the heater stopped working.  More appropriately, the generator stopped working, it was apparently out of fuel.  Now, before I go on with Saturday I want to say that later on in the day we talked to Kendra with New Balance about it going out and she was super about getting a resolution in place and a different generator for us to use on Saturday night.  Thank you Kendra for all of your help!

With the heater dying, it changed things quite a bit.  When we originally came to bed, we didn’t wear hats or long sleeved shirts because the heater kept the tent pretty warm.  Once it cut off, it took about 45 seconds for all of that heat to leave the tent.  No, I’m not complaining about having heat for half the night when everyone else had no heat, I’m just explaining what happened.  We ended up pulling out warmer clothes, cuddling up some more and making it through the night just fine, if a little colder.  We got up Saturday morning, had breakfast and were ready to do it all over again.

Walking on Saturday, I felt like I was going considerably slower than I did on Friday.  I know what the problem was though, I didn’t start off with the early pack, I started somewhere in the middle to back.  We started getting to pit stops 20 minutes before they would close.  I tried not to stress out about it, but in the back of my head I was saying to myself that I didn’t want to get swept because I was moving too slowly.  We made it through just fine though.  The cheering stations on Saturday are always a lot bigger because people don’t have to skip work to make them, so the cheering stations on this day were awesome.  The Valley View mall cheering station just seemed to go on forever!

Right when I was done with walking on the Addison suspension bridge, I got a call from Sandy (with Energizer).  She wanted to make sure that I was scheduled for one of the chair massages in the tent later that night.  What a fantastic surprise!  I can honestly say that I have never been able to get a massage at camp in the other walks that I have done simply because I forget to sign up for it until all of the spots are taken.  Sandy goes in my awesome book for setting this up!

Got back to camp a little more sore than the first day and really no blisters to speak of.  I showered, ate dinner and had my massage.  It was great!  You use a lot more muscles than just your legs when you walk 20 miles a day.  All the muscle groups are involved just to keep you upright and moving in the right direction.  The massage was a welcome relief to those muscles that I don’t ever think about when walking.

After the massage, I got to working on my next blog.  I know it’s a little silly to write in your blog about writing about your last entry, but there’s a little something that kinda makes me smile now that I look back at this and I feel I should mention it.  I wrote the post about checking the mail.  Several of the mail items that I got made me tear up a little bit.  I should have known before I wrote that post that I would get a little emotional again.  As I was writing the post (and quoting one particular letter) I started to cry.  In the Energizer tent, especially on Saturday night there is a long line of people waiting to borrow portable phone chargers.  Here was this line of people and off to the side of them on my computer I’m sitting there crying.  Several asked me if I was alright and I had to explain to them that I was crying from reading letters and then again writing about them.  In fact, when Kendra from New Balance came by later to make sure that everything was fine with the tent, she stopped mid sentence and said, “Are you ok?  You look really upset.”

Sunday

Sunday was when some hurt started coming in.  I think I bruised my right foot and did something to the tendon or muscle on the back of my left leg.  Walking was a bit more painful, but despite that the day seemed to go better.  The thing that really sticks out for me on Sunday during the walk was the cheering station at the West End in Dallas.  There were tons of people there, it went on for quite awhile and before the end of the cheering station I was in tears.  I don’t know why this cheering station hit me more than others, maybe it was because I hadn’t seen my kids since Friday, maybe it was some of the pain I was in, or some other un-thought of reason.  Whatever it was, by the end of the cheering station, my sister was looking over at me trying to make sure that I was ok.

We went through some downtown areas and came into Fair Park, the annual site for the State Fair of Texas.  This year was a little different than others I had walked in Dallas in that the holding area (the place where walkers go after they are finished, but before closing ceremonies) was indoors.  At first I thought this would be great.  In Boston when they did this it was nice and cool in the holding area and it was great for after walking in the sun.  When we first walked in here, I was actually kind of hot.  After I had some time to adjust it was fine, but I didn’t want to put on my victory shirt for awhile.

I checked in, got my shirt and then went to cheer on other walkers that were coming in after me.  I really enjoy doing this, you get to see everyone coming in, many who you met over the course of the walk, and you get to see them at their happiest.  They did it and they are at the finish line.  I didn’t get to cheer many people on in Boston because we were pretty close to the end of the line of walkers when we came in, so it was really good to be able to cheer on so many when we got in on the Dallas walk.  I even got to cheer my wife on as she came in with the rest of the crew.  When I saw her I gave her the biggest hug I could, and that was one of my favorite 3-Day moments from this year.

I could go on to explain about closing ceremonies, but I like ending on that note.  I’ll have videos from throughout the walk to post as soon as I get a little organized and you’ll be able to see some of the closing ceremonies and some cheering school kids, but this is where I want to end now.  Thanks to everyone that made this year’s Dallas 3-Day for the Cure walk an amazing event.