In 2009 my speedwalking sister and I were essentially walking the 57th mile alone. No sag wagons. Very few other participants. Even cheering stations were nearly deserted. (I tell you, we were walking FAST!) On the 57th mile I couldn't hold it together anymore. My shins were swollen and I was in incredible pain. I tried thinking about my pain my grandmother must have gone through with her battle with breast cancer. I thought about young friends who were currently battling breast cancer. I thought about how blisters don't need chemo. And then I cried.
I hurt. I wanted to quit. I couldn't be strong anymore. I was so done. I did NOT want to keep walking. I was throwing a dramatic, grown-up temper tantrum...while I continued putting one foot in front of the other because it was all I knew how to do. Picture me and Courtney, both in our 20s, hobbling down the street in a very urban part of Dallas. And I'm crying. This is not my finest moment! My sister offered support, but there wasn't much to say. We'd already said it all. It was mile 57!
I remembered each and every one of my donors. I remembered every woman battling breast cancer, every survivor, every angel. I remembered the cheering stations and the importance of finding a cure. I still cried. I was in a dark place and none of my traditional methods were working. I couldn't get out.
Then I remembered my dearest inspiration.
While Courtney tried to calm me down in the midst of my meltdown, I remembered John. I continued crying, but now for completely different reasons. I was no longer frustrated. I no longer wanted to quit. I cried because I was ashamed of myself for giving up, even if just in my mind. I cried because I knew that I was walking to find a cure not just for breast cancer, but for all cancer. I knew that the pain that I was experiencing would be over soon, but John undergoes chemo every week, for weeks at a time. He continues going with a smile on his face. The least I could do was finish the 60 miles with a smile on mine!
What's my point? My point is that walking 60 miles is hard. I make sure that this blog is honest and accurate. I don't want to frighten any first time walkers, but I cannot sugarcoat the event. Walking is hard. Even when you train. But remember that even after my temper tantrum on mile 57 last year, I still signed up again to do TWO events in 2010. Hard, but worth it.
Make sure your list of inspiration is long. Dig deep on that 57th mile to keep a smile on your face. As you train and fundraise, remember to prepare your soul for the event as well. Emotionally prepare by having a list of all the reasons you are walking. John is on my list. Who is on yours?