Avon Walk Boston 2012 Recap

The Avon Walk powers that be were smiling down on the Boston walkers last weekend. We had AMAZING weather for a 40 mile walk. The ~1850 walkers raised over $4.8 million for the Avon Foundation through the Avon Walk Boston 2012!! It was great to once again be a part of something so inspiring and humbling at the same time.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m apparently addicted to doing nothing but walking for an entire weekend every couple of months! When I set out to walk my first Avon Walk back in 2010, I told Hubby that I wanted to walk all nine Avon Walk cities. I’ve decided to kick things up a notch and do two per year to help meet that goal.

So here’s my current list of walks, past and upcoming:
Boston (Crew) – May 2009
San Francisco – July 2010
NYC – Oct 2011
Boston – May 2012
Charlotte – Oct 2012 (already signed up!)
DC – May 2013 (already signed up!)

Enough about me, let’s talk about the walk. As I mentioned the weather was beautiful. It was sunny and in the 70s all weekend. The sun was even up before opening ceremonies began this year.

As always, we started off the weekend by signing the big inflatable Avon Walk tower that travels from city to city. Charlotte was up at the top and I look forward to signing it this coming October. Tip: I always carry a Sharpie in my bag. It’s nice to have just in case and I use it to sign the tower so I don’t have to wait for a marker. Sometimes there is quite a line.

Then they corralled us into a fenced off area for the opening ceremonies. Having walked before, I knew this wasn’t a good idea. Fiona and I stood outside the fence so that once they let us go, we could get going at our own pace.

I always forget how emotional opening ceremonies are… It’s a very moving 20 minutes that really reminds you why you’re getting ready to embark on this adventure of walking 40 miles. They reminded us that every 3 minutes someone new is diagnosed with breast cancer. Can you believe that? 3 minutes. So in the time it takes me to drive home from work, 10 people have heard the words “You have breast cancer”

After the emotional ceremony, they let us loose on the sidewalks of South Boston. The Avon Walk is not a race, but I do like to get towards the front of the pack on Saturday. In the beginning, where everyone is clumped together, it’s just nice to not be in the back of the crowd. We estimated that we were in the front 1/3 of the pack at the beginning.

We turned a corner and could see Boston in the distance. Look how small those building look! A lot of people stopped for a photo at this point.

Here we are walking into the financial district. The buildings are much bigger in this picture! I don’t think I did as good of a job taking pictures this year since Boston is my hometown and I’ve seen a lot of the sights already!

The Zachem is one of my favorite Boston landmarks. It’s just so pretty! This was at around mile 5 or 6 and we were still feeling great at that point.

Next up we walked by the State House and through the Boston Common and the Boston Public Gardens. We arrived in the Common around 9am so it was pretty dead in there.

Even though there weren’t many people around, it was still a beautiful morning to be walking through Boston. After that, we walked along Beacon toward Fenway. Lunch was in a park in the Fens at around mile 9 and then we headed toward Brookline.

Once we got into Brookline the Boston sights diminished. We walked through Brookline and into Dedham. From there I’m not sure what other towns we walked through to get to the Wellness Village located at the Reebok Headquarters in Canton.

We finished Day 1 with big smiles on our faces! Fiona and I were both feeling pretty good at that point. Obviously exhausted, but it was only about 5pm and our spirits were high. We walked around the Wellness Village a bit, chatted with trainers about stretching, hit up the Reebok store, and then headed home. For dinner, we hit up a local sports bar for burgers and beer. That was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

Did I mention that Reebok is a national sponsor of the Avon Walk? Their facility in Canton is gorgeous!! It’s seriously amazing. The pink in the fountain pool there are little light and dark pink rubber duckies. I have a dark pink rubber ducky from my first year with the walk when I was on crew. I grabbed a light pink one to take to work to put with the dark pink one. They’re very cute.

On Sunday, we headed back out to Canton to start the walk. I had some blisters that I got looked at by the medical staff and we were off. Unfortunately the walk on Sunday was mostly through residential areas and I didn’t take any pictures. Fiona and I were both a bit more quiet, and definitely walking slower than Day 1. Listening to Pandora and talking to other random walkers helped us make it to the finish line.

Actually, about 2 miles before the finish line, we ran into the women that I crewed with back in 2009. So we ended up walking the last 2 miles with their team. We had seen them at the end of Day 1 as well and it was great to run in to some familiar faces on the walk.

One of the great improvements they made with the walk this year is adding cumulative mile markers for Sunday. In the past, the highest number you see on Sunday is 13 miles. But really that doesn’t do any amount of justice to how you’re feeling at that point. I cannot tell you how happy we were to see that Mile 39 marker!

When we turned the last corner, we were surprised to see a back up to get to the finish line. EVERYONE loves to get a picture under the pink arch seen in the distance there. This obviously can cause a back up. It was pretty long this year. I took off my socks and shoes and enjoyed being barefoot in the plush grass.

Once we made it through the finish line, we headed over to the booth to sign up for next year! We decided to skip the closing ceremonies because we were all physically and emotionally exhausted. Instead, we headed to an outdoor patio bar and drank some champagne and beer to celebrate! (notice the Tylonel on the table too)

I really enjoy these walks and look forward to seeing the various cities that the Avon Walk visits. If anyone feels up to the challenge of walking 40 miles, I’d love to have a walking buddy!

I need to give a special shout-out to Fiona for walking with me this year (and signing up to Crew in Charlotte), Katie for training with us and joining us on Day 1 for 17 miles, and of course Hubby for all his support and willingness to Crew all these walks while I walk. He had a dozen pink roses for me when I finished Day 1 and a huge hug that I really needed! And last but not least, thanks to you guys for all your support. All the emails, FB comments, Bloggers Bake for Hope participation, and donations are appreciated more than I can express.

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