Showing posts with label Avon Walk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Avon Walk. Show all posts

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Avon Walk Interview and 10th Birthday Celebration!

I was approached by the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer with an opportunity to interview one of their executives. Since I wasn't able to fit an in-person interview into my schedule, I did an email interview with Eloise Caggiano, Program Director, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Before I get to the interview, I wanted to let everyone know about the Avon Walk's 10th Birthday Party coming up on Saturday, February 4th. The Avon Walk is celebrating in all of the nine walk cities nationwide. If you're interested in learning more about walking, participating as a crew member, or even if you're an alum, the party will be a great opportunity to kick off the 2012 Avon Walk season. You can also register at a discounted rate! I've already signed up to attend in Boston. More information can be found here about the locations of the celebration.

And now, on to the interview. I hope you find it informative and interesting. If you have any questions about the Avon Walk, feel free to email me. If you'd like to donate to my walk, you can do so here.


How did you become involved in the Avon Walk?
Going through something like breast cancer really helps put things in perspective. I was working very hard at the time I was diagnosed, and thought to myself: “If I'm going to work this hard, I want to feel really good about it at the end of the day.” I was looking for a more rewarding, fulfilling career and a way to give back. I knew I wanted to move into the non-profit world and while it wasn't a requirement that my new job be breast cancer related, I was hoping it would be. It took a little while to find the right thing, but when the position at the Avon Foundation for Women became available, I knew I wanted it! It is so rewarding to be able to take my experience with breast cancer and put it to good use in my career. To know that the work we do is helping women and men who are facing a diagnosis have a better chance for survival, is really special to me.

How are the cities chosen for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer?
It’s more complicated than you’d think! We currently have nine Walks across the country in some really fantastic cities. We make some tough choices in determining where to schedule the Avon Walk events, creating a schedule that allows us to produce enjoyable, safe and successful events within our resources and in areas that can support an event of this magnitude (choosing the perfect venues for our Opening and Closing Ceremonies, an overnight campsite, coordinating 39 miles of safe and interesting walking routes, etc.), while giving as many people as possible a chance to participate. Even if there is an Avon Walk in their own city, many of our participants choose to travel to different Avon Walks -- what a great way to experience a new city!

What's your favorite walk city?
As the program director for the Avon Walk events, I don’t think I’m allowed to play favorites! I travel to all nine of our Walks each year and can truly say each one is incredible in its own way. For example, our Rocky Mountains Walk is absolutely gorgeous, the scenery is breathtaking; our Washington DC Walk gives you a great tour of an incredibly historic city; our Avon Walk Charlotte takes you through some of the most charming and beautiful neighborhoods; our New York Walk is our biggest of the season (and it’s my hometown!) so that’s always an exciting one for me…but no matter which city you choose, you are going to have an amazing Avon Walk weekend and most importantly, you’ll be raising money and awareness that will help in the fight against breast cancer.

Who lays out the routes? Are they the same from year to year? How is the route mileage measured?
All of the Avon Walks are two days and 39.3 miles. We work with the local police departments, city organizations and parks departments to develop a safe and interesting route for our participants. We try hard to give you a really nice tour of the city you are in and we are always looking for ways to improve the experience, so while our routes are often similar form year to year, we are always trying to fine-tune the route to make it the best it can be.

How much money has the Avon Walk raised since its first year?
This is our 10th birthday season this year! Since the Walks’ launch in 2003, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Series has raised more than $423 million, which is fantastic. The Avon Foundation for Women has donated $47 million to organizations and institutions in New England alone, which is really nice for our Boston Walkers and Crew to know that so much money stays in their area.

How many people have walked the Avon Walk since the beginning?
Nearly 160,000 participating women and men across the country that have walked a total of 5.3 million miles since 2003 – the equivalent of 210 times around Earth!

What's the best advice you've given or heard for first-time walkers?
Oh there are so many good things I can tell them! Here are just a few:
• “You can do it!” Many people think they can’t walk all of the miles or raise all of the money, but they can! We provide a lot of support along the way, from training walks to fundraising clinics, to help set each person up for success. And the good thing is, the Avon Walk is not a race and it is not competitive – you can walk at your own pace and if you don’t finish all the miles, that’s okay with us!
• “Don’t ask…don’t get!” Many people are shy about asking for donations. But I always remind them of two things. 1) they are not asking for themselves, they are asking for money that will help so many other people, and 2) you will likely need to ask people more than once. Many people intend to donate, but then it slips their mind. Don’t hold back! Ask, and ask again. You’ll be surprised at how many people truly want to support the cause. And if you don’t ask….you don’t get any donations!
• “You’ll never walk alone” Some people hesitate to register for an Avon Walk if they don’t have someone to do it with them. But rest assured that we have MANY walkers who sign up on their own and by the end of the experience they will have met so many amazing people and made new friends. One of my favorite parts of being at these events is getting out on the route and talking to people! There is always someone to talk to and walk with. Many of our teams welcome in our “solo” Walkers – it’s such a great community of people!

How often do you wear pink?
It’s a good thing I like pink, because I wear a LOT of it! At our nine Avon Walk events, for three days straight I’m wearing pink, usually several layers of pink because we start very early in the morning when it is often chilly so I’m always layered up! When I’m not at the Avon Walks, I wear some pink, and have a lot of pink accessories (everything from socks, to my phone case). But I am also surrounded in pink at my office, with Avon Walk pictures, posters, and more everywhere. I even have a big ribbon made out of pink Christmas lights hanging by my desk!

What about those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Why do some walks not have them?
The peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwiches are so addicting! Our participants go crazy for them! I even have a friend who has asked me to smuggle a few home from a Walk for her! On the rare (and very sad) occasion, the company we get them from runs out of inventory, we have to substitute them with another snack. The first time it happened, I was worried there would be riots! (I’m only half kidding!) We do our best to keep our Walkers happy.

What's your favorite part of walk weekend? 
Well, I already mentioned how I love being out on the route in each city walking with everyone and meeting new people. I get to hear such amazing and inspiring stories, and also just get to meet some really interesting folks. But another favorite of mine is our Closing Ceremony. Once everyone completes the walk, they have such an amazing sense of accomplishment - not only because of the miles they walked, or the money they raised, but also because they know they’re making a difference, what they just did will help saves people's lives. Our Ceremony is a great celebration of all they’ve accomplished and when they see the big checks presented on stage to our beneficiaries who are literally fighting breast cancer right now, it is so rewarding! For two days and 39 miles we all come together with one shared mission—to end breast cancer once and for all—and the Closing Ceremony is a great way to end our special weekend together.

What are some of the most creative fundraising tactics you've seen?
Our Avon Walk participants are some pretty savvy and creative fundraisers! Some keep it simple and stick to traditional fundraising letters and emails. Others have parties at their house and charge everyone $20 that goes towards their fundraising. Some will do a car wash, or bake sale, or make jewelry to sell. Some will do raffles or auctions. The ideas are endless! And if someone is in need of ideas, we have tons of them! We also try to make fundraising as easy as possible by giving each participant their own personal web page. We also have social media tools that help you raise money via Facebook or your iPhone, we offer fundraising clinics, and more!

Do people get more nervous about the training for the 39.3 miles or raising the $1800? Which do you think is harder? 
 It really varies for each person. For some, the physical challenge of walking up to 39.3 miles is an accomplishment they never thought they could achieve. For others--especially those who have never fundraised before -- the idea of raising money is daunting. But one thing is common among them all: there is such a feeling of pride knowing that the money and awareness they raised is going to help people get the breast cancer care they need, regardless of their ability to pay for it and will help researchers continue their quest for a cure.

For some, the challenge of completing the Avon Walk is their way to pay tribute to those who are battling breast cancer right now, and you will often hear people saying “Sure, I'm exhausted, but what I'm feeling now is nothing compared to what my mom went through with chemo.” The hundreds of breast cancer survivors walking by their sides (some of whom are in the midst of their treatments) are a source of inspiration and a reminder of why we need to keep walking. For others the accomplishment lies in knowing they have done a wonderful thing in memory of someone they've lost to this disease. When you learn that someone you love has been diagnosed, you can feel helpless, and for many of those people, participating in an Avon Walk is a way to help, a way to do something and a way to show their support. Whether they walk 9 miles or 39 miles; whether they raise $1,800 or $18,000 -- every single Avon Walk participant is making a difference.

Which crew job is the most fun (or most requested)?
It depends on who you ask! Some of our Crew are so loyal and come back year after year and want the same Crew job – even if it’s a tough one! Some of them love to be on our Food Service team and feed the hungry and tired Walkers a hot meal. Some of them love to be on the Gear and Tent Crew because they know how much the Walkers appreciate not having to lug their own stuff around. The Walkers are so appreciative of all the Crew teams. They especially love our Moto Crew – these are great men and women who are on their motorcycles at some of the bigger intersections to make sure Walkers get across safely. They are fantastic--some of them wear crazy costumes, or tell silly jokes, anything to put a big smile on the Walkers faces!

What is your favorite memory from being involved with the Avon Walk?
Oh gosh - there have been so many amazing moments! I wish I could list the name of every single person I've met at an Avon Walk, because each of them has made this a special experience for me. Their stories, their dedication, their passion -- it's just incredible! I absolutely love when I meet someone who has benefited from the programs we fund with money raised at the Avon Walks -- like a survivor who was able to get the breast cancer treatment she needed or a mammogram even though she did not have insurance. It is living proof that we are doing amazing work, that we are making a difference! Meeting the other survivors is always significant for me -- especially when I meet the "big number" survivors, like this fabulous woman Deb who is a 25 year survivor! It gives me such hope, and they are so inspiring! Recently, I was talking to a women who was very recently diagnosed and she was asking a lot of questions about my experience and my perspective now as compared to how I felt 6 years ago when I first went though it and she said, "Wow - I'm so glad I'm talking to you. You are making me feel so much better! Knowing that you went through all of these same things, worried about the same things is making me feel less crazy!" So knowing that just by talking to people that I'm helping them in some small way, means so much to me.

What do you think makes the walk different from other fundraising activities?
I think it is the incredible sense of community at the Avon Walk that really makes it special. All of these amazing people coming from all walks of life, all parts of the country (and beyond), all ages, shapes and sizes – they would likely never cross paths otherwise, but for one weekend they are united, one big family, knowing that together they are an unstoppable force in the fight against breast cancer.

What percent of walkers have walked before? What about crew members?
We love our Avon Walk “alumni”! We have Walkers and Crew who come back year after year after year…starting with our very first Walk in 2003! We have some participants who do several Avon Walks per year, some who chose a different city each year – they are a wonderful and loyal group! It varies per city and from year to year, but a fair estimate would be that at least 25% of our participants each year are alumni.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Every three minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every three minutes! If you don't know someone who has been affected by this disease, then chances are, you will. Every person diagnosed is someone's mother, sister, best friend, or even brother. We have to change these statistics and we are really trying, but we need your help. Participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Boston (or any of our other cities!) is a way to help raise much-needed money and awareness for this deadly disease. For two days you will walk and you will laugh. You will meet amazing people with amazing stories, who really, really want to hear your story too. You will make new friends and become closer to those you already have. Whether you walk 20 miles, or finish all 39.3 miles of the Avon Walk, you will feel an incredible sense of accomplishment not only for what you physically achieved, but because you know that you are making a difference. The money you raise will help researchers continue their quest for better treatments, preventions and a cure. And it will help people get the breast cancer care and treatment they need, regardless of their ability to pay for it. It sounds cliché, but I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true: participating in the Avon Walk is a life-changing experience. I see it time and time again.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Tips for Walking an Avon Walk

Since I've crewed a walk one and walked two Avon Walks now, I thought I'd put together a list of advice. Here are my 5 Tips for Walking an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer:

Training is Worth the Effort - This may seem obvious, but it seems that a lot of people don't train enough for these long walks. Each year, I get in at least one ~20 mile training walk along with numerous other 8-12 mile walks. I see the point of training as a way to test out your gear and learn how your body reacts to walking such a long distance. Be sure to wear any clothing or gear that you plan to wear on walk weekend during your training walks. Also be sure to train in weather similar to what you'll expect the weekend of your walk if possible. If you have trained well, you will know what works and what doesn't work for you. You'll also hopefully have fully broken in your shoes and won't get any blisters!

Have a great Team of Supporters by Your Side - For me, the 13.1 miles on Sunday is mostly a mental challenge. Yes, my body is sore and I'm tired, but I can power through that knowing what a great cause I'm supporting. Hubby has joined me to walk the last mile or so for both walks that I've done. It's nice to have someone there encouraging me through to the end. Whether it's a teammate, friend, or family member, I recommend having someone there to cheer you on at the end. It's great to get a big hug when it's all said and done.

Listen to Your Body - This is another seemingly obvious point. It is very important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you're starting to tighten up, stop to stretch. Don't wait until the next stop, do it right away. If you're not peeing at every rest stop, you're probably not drinking enough and could risk getting dehydrated. Training walks will help you to be able to identify the signals your body is sending you.

Skip the Tenting - I know a lot of people will disagree with this tip. But I stand by it. I tented when I crewed Boston in 2009. I was tired and sore the next day. I remember thinking that I could never get up and walk 13 miles after sleeping on the ground. Both of the walks I have done have been out of town, so there's also the factor of traveling with all the gear necessary to tent at the Wellness Village. I think it's worth it to be able to take a long hot shower, have a cold beer at a bar, and sleep in a bed on Saturday night.

Enjoy your Walk! - The walks go through some amazing parts of some amazing cities. Take the time to see the sights. Take pictures. Read the little snipets about the landmarks you walk by. Stop in Chinatown for a dumpling. Or at a famous bakery for a cupcake. Talk to the other walkers and ask them why they're walking. Remember that you should be proud of this amazing accomplishment and enjoy yourself!

If you've been thinking about joining me for a walk, now is your chance! I will be walking the Avon Walk in Boston 2012 on May 19-20. If you'd like to join my email, email me. If you'd like to donate to my walk, you can do so by clicking here.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Avon Walk NYC 2011 Recap

Well, I did it! I walked the Avon Walk NYC 2011. It was a great weekend with great weather. The walk raised over $9 million for the Avon Foundation. I'm obviously crazy because I signed up to walk the Boston Avon Walk in 2012, which is just a little over 6 months away. If anyone is interested in walking with me, let me know! I'd love to have people to walk with... Maybe we could even create a Boston Bloggers team...

I'm going to go through the pictures from the weekend. Be sure to check out the post I wrote to recap the San Francisco walk in 2010 as well.


We were towards the end of the group to start things off for the day on Saturday. We left from Pier 84 and got to walk by an old aircraft carrier and some cool planes on the flight deck.


A little later, the sun started to come up in full force. We were getting a cool reflection off the buildings across the water.


I was kind of obsessed with the tall building ahead.


My friends and I really enjoyed a lot of the architecture along the walk through Manhattan.


Right after the 16 mile marker, we headed off to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. After walking into Brooklyn, we would return to Manhattan on the Manhattan bridge, which you can see to the left. I don't really like walking across bridges, but walking across the Brooklyn bridge was definitely a pretty neat experience.


Such a cool bridge.


Looking back on Manhattan from the bridge.


All throughout the walk, there were these pink signs from Team California. We got really excited when we saw one with our team name on it! The Power Of Pink sign was around mile 20 on Saturday. It definitely brightened our spirits.


This bridge was the 3rd bridge we crossed on Saturday and the first (and only) bridge that we crossed on Sunday. It was a pedestrian only bridge and wasn't too tall, so I didn't mind it too much.


More fun buildings on Sunday.


We walked along the edge of Central Park, but never actually got to go into the park. We were a little bummed about that.


The flat iron building was a pretty cool sight to see.


At the end of the walk, I was going at a pretty slow pace. I was joking with Hubby (who joined me for the last mile and a half) that I was getting passed by a 1 year old. But it was worth it to see her mom's sweatshirt, which seriously brought tears to my eyes. It said: " I'm walking for my daughter so she can wear pink ribbons in her hair and not on her shirt".

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Help Me Help My Friends

One of the items on my 30-while-30 list is to walk another Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I have signed up to walk in New York City the weekend of October 15-16. And to help me with the walk, two of my friends, Katie and Lisa agreed to walk with me.



This is a huge committment that they are making with me. Not only are we going to walk 40 miles that weekend in October, but we'll also be doing lots of training in the weeks and months leading up to the walk (in fact, Katie and I walked 10 miles on Saturday!).

Along with the training, comes the fundraising. The minimum fundraising requirement is $1800 per person. I had an easy time getting to my minimum since I did the walk last year and have a great deal of support from my family and friends.

I want to help my friends get to their minimums since they're helping me by joining me on the walk. Here's where you come in. I'm asking you guys to make a donation to my friend's walk. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated.

What's in it for you?
  • I will be baking up some of my favorite cookies and brownies to send to one of you. 
  • If you donate $5 or more to either Katie or Lisa during the month of July, you will be entered to win this package of goodies from me (you'll get one entry for every $5 you donate, so if you donate $25, that's five entries).
To sweeten the deal:
  • If you guys, my readers, donate a cumulative total of $50 to both Katie and Lisa, I will match your donations! So your $50 will turn into a $100 donation.
And the cherry on top:
  • To raise the stakes even higher, since my company matches donations, my $50 will turn into a $100 donation. That means that your $50 will actually turn into $150! If you guys get up to $100 apiece, those donations will turn into a $300 donation! 
  • So please consider making a $5 donation to my teammates, Katie and Lisa.
Note:
  • My offer to match your cumulative donations does not kick in until the total is $50 to both Katie and Lisa. I will cap out my donations at $100 each for Katie and Lisa.
  • Once you have made your donation, email me so that you can be entered to win the box of baked goods!
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Avon Walk 2010 Recap

I did it! I completed the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer! Whew, all that training paid off. Actually, I didn't even train as much as the recommended program suggested, but I wasn't too concerned. I did get a bit nervous the day before the walk though. Oh and I had a LOT of anxiety about walking across the Golden Gate bridge twice! I convinced myself that I could just take the van across if I really couldn't handle the heights. But I did ok both ways. Granted the first time we crossed it, it was so foggy you could barely tell we were on a bridge... And on the way back, I just looked down most of the time. My fear of heights comes and goes, but it wasn't too bad.


This is what it looked like when we got to Fort Mason. There was so much fog it looked like it was raining out!

Enough about that... The walk was amazing. I have to thank Asha for agreeing to walk with me, Hubby for supporting me throughout the whole process, J (Asha's Hubby) for supporting her, K for training with me including an 18 mile walk back in May, and of course everyone who donated.


This is after crossing the bridge the first time. It was SO FOGGY!

In the end, I raised nearly $2800 which is awesome!! The 2200 walkers in San Fran raised over $5.5 Million for the Avon Foundation for Women. How awesome is that?!?


The sun came out while we were in Sausalito

Walk weekend came upon us quickly. We were staying at the host hotel which was nice because all the events Friday night were at that hotel. Asha and I had registered online so we just went downstairs to check everything out. I ended up buying a new shirt and pair of socks. The boys finished their registration and had a crew meeting.


Looking at the bridge from the halfway point. The fog had cleared up.

After that we went out for a quick bite to eat. Hubby and I have three rules about eating on vacation

1. No hotel restaurants
2. No repeats
3. Nothing we can get at home

We broke rule 3 that night because Asha and I both wanted a salad but something more than just a garden salad. The boys wanted a beer, and we wanted something nearby. So we went to Cheesecake Factory. It fit the bill and our stomachs were happy with the fiber boost before our walk.


A and I called this place Weed Park. It had a very strong aroma when we entered the park... Great views of the city though!

Saturday morning was an early one. Asha and I needed to get on the shuttle at 4:30 AM. We both showered the night before so our hair wouldn't be wet. We packed our bags the night before as well. We had to bundle up because it was downright CHILLY in SF that week.

I wore dry-fit capri pants with a dry-fit v-neck pink shirt. Then I had a zip up fleece over that and a rain coat. I also wore a visor to keep the sun out of my eyes. Oh and I had a scarf, gloves, and fleece ear warmer on that morning too. I shed all my layers throughout the day at some point and bundled back up by the end of the walk. The fog in SF did crazy things to the temperature there!


The church from Sister Act

In my backpack, I had a pair of sandals to put on at the end of the day, 2 pairs of clean socks (I changed socks at lunchtime), sunscreen, chapstick, my cell phone, my camera, medication (advil, lactaid, and TUMS) and my wallet with my ID, insurance, 1 credit card, and some cash.


Starting out on Sunday

I used my phone's Cardio Trainer app (love that app!) to track our mileage as we walked. My phone died at mile marker 20 and it was reading 21.5 miles. All the walkers we talked to agreed that at the end of the day we walked more like 30 miles than 26.2 and the last few miles were all uphill. The route was pretty brutal (apparently it was a new route this year).


I walked by City Hall on Sunday. They were showing the World Cup Finals on a huge screen out front.

The route itself, while brutal, was a lot of fun. We started in Fort Mason and headed up through the Presidio to cross the GG bridge. Then we walked down the hill into Sausalito and continued east a few miles. We had lunch in Sausalito and then headed back the way we came. I was a bit disappointed that we were backtracking along the same route, but it was probably the only way back to the GG bridge. The halfway point was just before crossing the bridge and Asha and I were both feeling really good at that point.


Walking up Market Street towards the Ferry Building.

After crossing the bridge again, we headed south towards GG park. We walked through parts of the park and then south into the Castro. We walked by some beautiful houses and churches on our way to Crocker Amazon park. That's where we finished for the day.

Once we came into Wellness Village, we got in line for a massage and the boys got us food. We didn't have much time until the last shuttle left for the hotel. At that point it was very cold again and I was glad they had mylar blankets for us and to be going back to the hotel to sleep in a real bed.


There's the Ferry Building. I had 3 miles to go at this point.

On Sunday it was a later start time, so we got the shuttle at 6:30AM. A went to medical to get a blister taken care of and I waited in line for breakfast. After we ate, we hit the road. We started by walking through a park (the name escapes me now). Thinking back on the walk, it all kind of blurs together. We had lunch at the park across from the painted ladies (think of the beginning of Full House).

Asha called it quits at that point because her knee was really starting to bother her but I kept trucking along for the last ~6 miles myself. At the next quick stop, I changed into flip flops. My toes had had enough and were cramping up. Plus I knew the rest of the walk because Hubby and I had done it previously. I knew it would be flat and flip flops would be fine.


Walking up the Embarcadero

On Saturday we actually sat down for about 30 minutes for lunch. However, I knew if I sat down with Asha it would be really hard for me to get up and do the rest myself. So I ate my lunch as I walked. We walked right by Union Sq and I have to admit I really wanted to just run up to our hotel room and get off my feet. But I kept on trucking.

We walked up market towards the Ferry Building then up the Embarcadero towards Fisherman's Wharf. At around mile 12, Hubby met me for the last mile. I was glad to see him and was walking pretty slow at that point. There was one last hill to climb as entering Fort Mason again. Crossing the finish line was a great feeling. Asha met me just before then and walked across with me. Hubby had run ahead to take a pic of us crossing. My GPS held on all day Sunday and registered 13.9 miles.


Getting ready to cross the finish line. Hubby claims I'm in this picture, but I can't find myself...

After I was done, there were lots of hugs. Then I got in line for the chiropractor. My hips had been hurting the last few miles even after doing extra stretching the night before. She was able to make all the pain go away and I was almost as good as new!


The police officers were awesome. They rode bikes blaring tunes from boomboxes to help keep us all motivated!

After closing ceremonies, we grabbed a shuttle back to the hotel. Asha and I had scheduled 60 minute massages and we went straight to that. Then we drank some pink champagne to celebrate our accomplishment.


We were able to sign our names on this huge tube thingy at opening ceremonies on Saturday.

A lot of people were asking me how I was feeling on Monday. Honestly, I was ok. My muscles were glad that I did all that training and stretching! The massage really helped too! The only bad part was that my calves got burnt pretty bad. I put sunscreen on my arms and ears, but didn't even think of my legs (duh) so I'm rocking a pretty sweet tan line now.

Overall, it was a great experience and I signed up to do it again next year! Not sure which city I'll do it in... It'll depend who agrees to walk with me. Any takers?

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