Monday, May 10, 2010

The 3-Day: A Few Words On Walking ...

I just read this post about training by the smart 'n' sassy Beckie and it inspired me to whip up a post of my own.

Beckie's post is about whether it's necessary to train. The short answer is: "Yes." But you should read her post. It's really good.

I'll add these thoughts:

A key thing to keep in mind, all you first-timers out there, is that while the event is indeed 60 miles over three days, it is not 20 miles per day. Day 1's distance is the longest, Day 2 is nearly as long, and Day 3 is not as long because you don't have until 7 p.m. to finish the day's route.

Most walkers get through Day 1 because they've trained to some degree and they have adrenaline to help them along. But you may wake up on Day 2 and hear your body say, "Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me. You want to do that AGAIN?!"

Day 2, not surprisingly, is the day that most walkers elect to sweep on the route or catch a coach to lunch or back to camp.

(Does everyone know what we 3-Dayers mean by "sweep"? If not: All day, each day, vans circle the route, available to walkers who need a lift to the next pit stop. If you need a ride, step off the route to allow other walkers to pass, and either cross your arms over your head to form an X or give the thumbs-down sign and the nearest van will pull over and pick you up. Sweep vans will take you to the next stop on the route, be it a pit stop, lunch, or camp. From the morning pit stops, you can board a coach to lunch. From lunch or the afternoon pit stops, you can board a coach to camp. OK, then, back to the post ...)

As I was saying, Day 2 is the day most walkers elect to sweep and I applaud that decision. Of course you should sweep if you feel the need to sweep, whatever day of the three, but personally, I'd recommend sweeping on Day 1 and/or Day 2 with the intention of walking all of Day 3. It's truly awesome to arrive at the end of the event having walked the day.

If you've never felt like a rock star before, you'll feel like a rock star at the end of the route. You can't begin to fathom the cheering!

Of course, some folks may be injured and if they can't walk Day 3, they shouldn't try (if you're really hurt, the 3-Day will "red card" you and prohibit you from walking), but for anyone who is simply finding the event more taxing than they expected, I recommend that they save their energy for Day 3.

For those who don't know about route cards, each day, when you enter the route, you'll be given a route card that you can tuck into your credential holder (your credential will feature a barcode that will be scanned when you enter the route and when you return to camp). The route card lists the total mileage for the day, broken down by the locations of the pit stops, the grab 'n' gos, the cheering stations, and lunch. So, all along the route, you can refer to the route card and know that the next stop is 2.7 miles away, or whatever's listed.

Now then, I cannot stress these three walking points enough, especially for all you Type As out there:

1. Leave the pedometer at home. Do not try to track the distance yourself. Your pedometer probably isn't spot on, anyway – I've yet to find the one that's truly accurate – and all you'll do if you're wearing one is work yourself into a bit of a snit about walking farther than your route card reads.

2. Don't ask anyone how far it is to the next stop. They probably don't really know. Or they'll tell you what they think you want to hear. Either way, you're not going to be happy when someone tells you "It's a mile!" and then you feel like you're walking for two.

The only answer to "How far is it to the next stop?" is "It's as far as it is." Just keep walking. You'll get there.

If you really need to sweep, it doesn't matter if the next stop is a mile away or three miles away. If you need to sweep, sweep.

3. Mileage is relative. Walkers joke about the myth of "Komen miles" versus actual miles, because it will surely feel like you're walking further than the mileage listed on the route card. Just when you're sure the next pit stop must be steps away, you'll spot the sign that reads, "Next Pit Stop 1 Mile!" Just go with the flow. I mean, grumble about it if you want to – most walkers do – but keep walking.

Also, camp is huge. You'll probably log a mile just walking around camp for three days.

And lastly, all those reminders to stretch? Take them seriously. You might think that there's no need, that your muscles couldn't possibly be any warmer than they'll be on a 90-degree day walking for miles on end, but believe me, you want to stretch. Stretch at pit stops. Stretch at stoplights while waiting for green lights. Stretch in camp. Stretch, stretch, stretch.


Blogger Tanya said...

This will be my first walk in DFW...and I just want to Thank All of you vet walkers. Ya'll make me excited, scared, nervous and happy usually all at the same time.

Not to mention hopfully ya'll are getting me prepared for this crazy thing.


4:18 PM  
Blogger Jami said...

Thank you Beth for following on to Beckie's already great post. I agree with Tanya in being so thankful for those you 3-Day pros helping the newbies along so wonderfully. I am training hard and find it funny when the occasional donator says something along the lines of, "You're training for a WALK?!?!" I quickly learned to just laugh and simply say, "Yep!"

Thanks for re-enforcing something so important with. If I ever doubted the importance of my training - those doubts are now a distant memory and...

I can't wait to feel like a ROCK STAR! :)

5:08 PM  
Blogger Charla said...

I'm one of those type A's you mentioned! *lol* Thank you thank you thank you. As a first-time walker, I really appreciate all the tips.

5:45 PM  
Blogger ~*~ Beckie ~*~ said...

You are AWESOME, Beth! Thank you so much! And Jami... you ARE a Rockstar! :-)

7:02 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Your comment made me smile, Tanya. The 3-Day is a crazy thing. Beforehand, it just seems plain-ol' crazy but after, you realize that it's crazy-awesome!

Jami, like Beckie says, you're already a rock star! Just for taking the plunge. But it gets so much better!

Psst!, Charla: I'm a Type A, too! : o )

Beckie: Right back atcha, woman!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever calculated the cost/benefit of "charitable" events like this one? I.e. the cost of the support services for everything from the camps, to the "sweep" vehicles, to the food and water, to the paperwork? Not to mention the cottage industry in all the pink tchotchkes. Plus all the public services that also get called upon: police and emergency medical support. Now, total all those dollars up, and set them against the dollars donated, and you have to wonder what the REAL benefit is to breast cancer reasearch.

Yes, some of the costs are borne by corporate sponsors, but realize that these companies then get sizable tax write-offs that have to be offset eventually by all of us working folk.

I realize that events like this heighten the visibility of the cause, and that people desperately want to believe there's something they can do in memory of a loved one - and precious few of us are oncology researchers (the people who really CAN make a difference). But all things considered, wouldn't it make more sense just to write a bigger check (or make a bigger online donation), and reduce the impact on the environment AND the drain on public services AND the tax write-offs of corporations?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Here you go, Anon:

I don't think the impact on the environment is very big. We're walking. Yes, there's camp to consider and vehicles to transport and such, but consider what a typical worldwide concert tour requires every summer.

As for police and such, many of those services are donated. Cops work on their days off to help us, etc.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Continued thoughts:

There are those things that are measurable and tangible about the 3-Day, but there are also intangibles.

Like, the sense of community. The camaraderie. The empowerment.

Let's assume that some people sign up to do the 3-Day, walk, and then think, "Wow, if I could do this, what else can I do?" And then they go on to do those things.

You can't measure that.

As for people just writing bigger checks, I expect that most of the people who contribute to the 3-Day don't otherwise think to give money to breast cancer research, let alone "bigger" checks.

At the end of the day, it's an event that raises money, raises awareness, builds community, empowers people. It falls into the "good" column.

For those who think it's superfluous or otherwise not valuable, you don't need to support it.

For those of us who believe it in and who give our time and effort to it year after year, we can do without the cynicism.

4:35 PM  
Blogger ~*~ Beckie ~*~ said...

Beth, you're AMAZING! Eloquently put! You have a great way with describing things like this. This walk is amazing... and inspiring... just like the people that participate in it.

"Anonymous", thank you so much for what you are doing to research a cure. I think that's really great! I hope you continue to do what you can in researching a cure. And until you DO find a cure, us crazy 3-Day walkers will continue to do what we can to make a difference. We'll walk 60 blistery miles in 3 life-changing days, raising money and awareness.

Why? Well... because we can!

Breast cancer sux... bottom line. Instead of criticizing people or events, how about we rejoice in the mere fact that so many people are coming together for the same amazing cause?!?!

My mom is a survivor because a 3-Day Walker inspired her to go for a mammogram... so YES, this walk DOES make a difference!

I am proud to wear PINK everyday. I walk for PINK and everything it symbolizes... strong women, powerful communities and most of all, HOPE!

"Because Everyone Deserves A Lifetime!"

7:23 PM  
Blogger ~*~ Beckie ~*~ said...

PS- "Anonymous", why don't you join us this year for a 3-Day walk? It'll change your life and maybe, just maybe, help you appreciate what we're doing!

7:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Beckie, I didn't know that about your mom.


That's it. That is just it. That is why every step is worthwhile.

7:59 PM  

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