Tonight, Jen and I hosted a workshop for new 3-Day walkers. Our coach asked us if we'd be willing, and well, it's just part of the 3-Day culture to mentor those who are taking their first steps.
When I got home, I typed up "minutes" from the "meeting." I'm posting them here for any 3-Dayers who happen by the blog, but also to illustrate a bit of what goes into an event. There's a whole lot more to it than walking 60 miles:
A big "thank you!" to everyone for coming tonight. Jen and I were thrilled to have such a great turnout. 18 of us! 3-Day walkers are such a special breed. I look forward to walking with all of you.
I mentioned that I'd put together some "minutes" from tonight's chat, and a couple other things popped into my head on the ride home. Isn't that always the way? You think of things you wanted to say when you don't have a chance to say them. But I can mention them here. (I'm gonna try to associate names with suggestions; forgive me if I misattribute something.) Feel free to e-mail me or Jen with any further questions. We'll do our best to answer in the days and weeks ahead.
Here we go:
Food and Drink
-- For the sports drink connoisseurs among us, Jen recommended bringing powdered Gatorade. Sherri mentioned checking out Pedialyte. Hey, if cranky sick kids will drink it, it might be worth a try!
-- The 3-Day folks try to anticipate most every need, so in camp, there will be caffeinated beverages (Coke, coffee, etc.). Just remember that caffeine is a diuretic, so if you drink caffeinated beverages, drink water, too, to offset the effects.
-- If you haven't already checked in, may I recommend that you consider the Vegetarian meal option. I'm not a big meat-eater, so I always go Veg on the 3-Day. The food is good (last year, my walking friends totally wanted my lunch instead of theirs on Day 3) and the lines at dinner are MUCH shorter!
-- Don't forget the mantra of the 3-Day: Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty. This is no time to diet. Eat! The pit stops are loaded with snacks. Have one. Have two. Take something with you to go to eat on the route. If you don't eat it, stick it in your fanny pack. You'll eat it later. Here's what I remember of past pit-stop snacks: Lay's potato chips, Planter's peanuts, Smucker's crustless PB&Js, graham cracker PB&J sandwiches (like an ice-cream sandwich, but different), bagels, oranges, bananas, peanut butter, pretzels, animal crackers, mini chocolate-chip cookies, Pria bars, Luna bars ... You get the idea. There are lots of things to choose from. Be sure to snack on something salty from time to time.
-- Find a water bottle that doesn't leak. Fill it up, put it in your pack. Walk. Let it slosh. See if your shirt gets wet.
-- Mindy loves the $38 duffel at Costco. Whatever luggage you choose, line it with a big black garbage bag for an extra layer of insurance. Jen likes the giant Ziploc bags for packing her clothes. There really is no such thing as too many plastic bags, just in case.
-- Susan says Meijer has fanny packs for 7 bucks. Speaking of fanny packs, don't over-pack 'em. If you're not sure what you'll need and what you won't, pack what you think you'll need for Day 1. If you don't need it on Day 1, chances are you won't need it on Day 2.
-- Tina reminded everyone to pack their extra pair of socks for the day in a Ziploc bag so as not to befoul your fanny pack with your stinky socks from the first half of the day.
-- Tie something recognizable to the outside of your luggage to help you spot it easily.
Clothes and Shoes
-- Yes, DriWick is the miracle fiber it's made out to be. On the 3-Day, 100-percent cotton is NOT your friend. When you sweat, it gets wet and it stays wet.
-- Sherri likes SmartWool socks. I'm rather fond of my free pair of Thorlo socks. I'm not rather fond of spending $13 a pair, but my feet are worth it. So are yours. When it comes to your feet, spare no expense.
-- Mindy mentioned that the New Balance store in Merrillville will give you 10 percent off if you mention you're a 3-Day walker.
-- Yes, you should bring two pairs of shoes.
Stuff and Gear and More Stuff
-- Bring something to mark your tent. Some people put a colorful towel on top. Others use pennant flags. Windmills. Windsocks. Whatever. Just something to help you spot it, especially at night. Thanks, Tina.
-- And speaking of spotting things at night, Tina also recommended a headlamp instead of a flashlight. Handy, indeed, when it comes to doing your business in the dark.
-- OH! Speaking of Port-A-Potties in the nighttime: Please don't let the doors slam.
-- I said it tonight but I'll say it again: Invest in something to sleep on. Be it a self-inflating mattress or one of those big, honkin' queen-size mattresses that blow up with the built-in pump (one fits perfectly in a tent, FYI) or even a cheap little blow-up floaty from the pool, bring something. As JoAnn said, the ground, it's hard. It does not give. A rule I heard on a past walk is every inch of airspace that you can put between you and the ground is a difference of 10 degrees in temperature. Cool earth will suck the heat out of your body.
-- Befriend the dollar store: Cheap rain ponchos, shower curtain liners for "tarps," cute tchotchkes to use in decorating your tent, water bottles. You never know what you'll find. Hong mentioned that Target has rain ponchos in the dollar section.
-- Earplugs. I bring 'em and use 'em. They help me sleep.
-- KLEENEX. The 3-Day is a like watching a 72-hour chick flick while you're hormonal. You will laugh -- a lot -- but you'll also cry. If you don't cry, get yourself to the medical tent and tell them you can't find a pulse.
-- Jen likes to slick up her dogs with BodyGlide. Others use baby powder or cornstarch to keep 'em dry. Some use antiperspirant. Jen also raved about Biofreeze, "BenGay on steroids," says she.
-- Tina mentioned that the 3-Day is no place for sanitary pads. Though I wonder if the pads with "wings" would lessen the chaffing/cutting issue.
-- Go to the bathroom before Opening Ceremonies, Jen says. I heartily second that suggestion. Last year, I had a friend who ducked behind a shrub in front of an apartment building on the route because she just couldn't hold it any longer. Don't be that person. But if you are, I'll block you from view and give you a Kleenex for toilet paper. But when it comes to disposing of said Kleenex, you're on your own.
Camp and Weather
-- As I was driving home, I thought about Jen's camp staying up last year while we had to strike ours each morning. Rain was in the forecast for last year's Chicago 3-Day, so that might be why we had to strike our tents. In the event that rain hit, the crew couldn't have gotten them all down.
-- Speaking of the weather, the rain arrived on Saturday night last year. Yes, you walk in the rain. Short of a dangerous thunderstorm, nothing stops a 3-Day. But if threatening weather does move in overnight, you'll be moved into a school or other large building for safety.
OK, kids. That's all I scrawled down or thought of on the ride home. There's probably more to say. There's three days worth of stuff to say. Toward that end, I'm attaching a PDF to this e-mail. Every year, I write a recounting of the walk and mail it to my contributors as a final thank you. Jen asked me to share it and printed out a handful for you to take tonight, but for those who didn't get one, this is my take on last year's event. You might find a helpful tip inside.
But mostly, I hope you find a bit of inspiration. You're about to embark on a truly life-changing journey. You will meet amazing people all along the route. And they will meet you. Remember: You're amazing, too.
Thank you for walking. Thank you for expanding the circle of hope and love. Thank you for bringing us thousands of steps closer to a cure.
I'll see you at opening ceremonies.