Just realized I never really finished the Tale of the 3-Day.
Day Three we woke up just a little stiffer and creakier than the previous morning. We ate a 5am breakfast again and then spent a good half hour or so doctoring and prepping our feet. I should have bought stock in BodyGlide, Blister Blocker and moleskin. It was a nice dark, clear morning, and I got to take a great picture of the moon with a few nice neighborly celestial bodies.
This day we left Fairmount Park for the last time (well, until next year's walk). We headed down through neighborhoods I don't know well ... through what's known as the Main Line (on the west side of Philly). Nice rich homes.
The people along the route were awesome today, too. Families set up pink plastic tableclothed tabled with pink-frosted sugar cookies and bowls of tootsie rolls. One woman even opened up her two bathrooms to walkers (which I took advantage of ... dang Gatorade. They tell you to push the Gatorade and not just drink water, to keep your electrolytes inbalance, but what they don't tell you is that when you drink it while your electrolytes are basically already in balance, well ... your body flushes out all the salts in a hurry).
The day quickly grew quite hot. Remember, a clear dawn may be beautiful to look at, but it bodes for a sun-beating-down-on-the-sidewalk kind of day. We pased by a closed Rita's Water Ice stand and almost cried. Then we saw "Pop's Water Ice" open for business! Wooo! Jen got lemon and I had strawberry lemonade. Just enough cool and refreshing to get us to our last Pit Stop of the walk.
Lunch was late this day. Not until mile 13. And after the longest stretch of unbroken walk of the whole weekend (3.5 miles). And after a series of long uphills. We were beat by then. And were happy to take the advice of experienced walkers. We figured how long the last 2.5 miles ot the finish were going to take and hung out at lunch until it was time to go. There's really nothing to do at the finish but wait for the final walkers so the Closing Ceremony can commence, and there's limited shade. Not somewhere good to hang out for a long time.
Jen and I left there with my friend, Dana's, team. It was really fun to walk with Dana for awhile.
The last mile or so was lined with cheering friends and family. We saw Lisa, the yellow car lady, one last time. I was starting to feel pretty proud and emotional. Jen looked beat and I kept being as chipper as I could. But I could really start to feel the emotion rising up. Finally we saw the finish area just ahead. I took a quick picture and kept going, trying not to burst into tears.
Then I saw the Odd Couple/Pink-Haired Guys. I lost it. Completely. As I sobbed (with joy? relief?), they both gave me a giant hug and told me how proud they were. WAAAAA!
Jen and I walked through the finish together, got scanned for one last time and picked up our Victory Shirts and pink roses. Then we both took turns on her cell trying to reach our significant others who were to meet us for the Closing Ceremonies. For the record, her Tom was there WAY early and came to visit us. Joe underestimated the traffic, so I didn't get to see him and the kids until after everything ended (though they did make it in time for the ceremonies).
We all lined up (6 people wide), with the survivors in their pink shirts in a separate group. The crew formed a sort of hallway for us to pass through while they cheered madly and then we entered a longer "hallway" of supporters also cheering madly while upbeat Celtic-ish music played everywhere. We waved to the supporters we'd recognized throughout the walk, we hugged, we cried a bit, and then we all shuffled into a big standing space in front of a stage (with a smaller round stage in the middle of the area, just like in the Opening Ceremonies).
Then the crew entered, and we all cheered madly for them. Then the survivors were announced. There was still cheering, but it definitely had a different quality to it. It kind of got quieter and then we all noticed people removing and holding up one sneaker (so, being lemmings, we did it too). It was an incredibly moving salute. I mean, after all ... the survivors are the inspiration for all of us, why we were all there.
Moving speeches, "you're all amazing" type talk (which we are). Jokes about portapotties, etc. Then it was over.
I finally made my way over to Joe and the kids and started crying again.
The rest is serious denouement. Dana and I waited outside the parking garage for about 35 minutes while Joe went for the van. We drove the hour or so home and went to Lonestar Steakhouse for a congratulatory meal. Looking mighty scrungy, I might add. I explained to the hostesses that we'd just, *just* walked 60 miles in 3 days to beat breast cancer and they were all, "Really???? No way!"
Mick, the manager, bought us each a drink. It did wonderful things to relax all those stiff muscles made even stiffer by the ride in the van.
It was weird. One solid night's sleep in my own bed later, and I hardly felt as though I'd done it. It was already fading a bit. My legs were a bit stiff and my feet were a bit sore, but nothing bad. By the second day when I returned to work (thank you Christopher Columbus!), I really felt basically fine. That whole next week I fell asleep watching tv by about 9pm, so I know I was recuperating. And I caught a cold or something and stayed home from work on Friday. But basically ... I kind of feel like I could already do it all over again.
Which I'm going to do. But not until October 2008.