Finally after months of preparation we were finally there! My alarm went off at 4AM, we took quick showers and drove the 20 minutes to Del Mar Racetrack. We parked the car in long-term parking and took the "back way" into opening. That was a new experience even for me! I've always come in the front, but I have to say, long-term parking wasn't bad at all. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We quickly headed over to the Shop3Day.com booth, where Janae and I both picked up one of these seamless head wraps (or buffs, as I'm told they're also called). Great purchase. Keeps your hair out of your eyes and ears warm during the cold early part of the day. I've been meaning to buy one the past couple years.
We waited in line what felt like FOREVER to take out picture at the opening ceremonies sign (yes, Janae is one of those impossibly beautiful girls who doesn't realize how gorgeous she is and therefore isn't a bitch about it (if I didn't love her I'd have to hate her) and I am a blob, lol). I don't know exactly time I'd have to get up and get to opening to get to do EVERYTHING and still get in a great position to get on the route early. Maybe next year we'll figure it out.
Then we filled out our "my personal goal for this weekend is..." stickers. Mine was to try my damnedest to walk all 60 miles. I'd never done even all of one single day before, and after being wildly inspired by one of my best friends (Allie, a 32 year old survivor) who walked EVERY STEP in Atlanta and gave herself stress fractures doing it I was determined to do as much as I could. I know it's not about doing all 60 miles. But still part of me wanted desperately to do all of one.
Despite waiting in lines at the Shop3Day.com booth and at the opening ceremonies sign AND the goal board we still got pretty close to the stage once they opened the gates and let us in the corral. I may have done some fast moving, lol. Here's a 3-Day pro tip: You want to be as close as you can to the front of the stage and as close to the middle as possible. I made that mistake my first year and have been trying not to every year since. 2012 I will get it right! The further back you are in the pack the harder it is to break free and go at your own pace.
We did some group stretching, heard from the local Komen affiliate and from the current 3-Day National Spokesperson, Dr. Sheri Phillips. I cried. I always cry at Opening. This year especially. I've been an online ambassador for the 3-Day this year, and between that and fundraising and this blog I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot. A whole lot. I miss her. In fact, this past Monday marked the 21 year anniversary of her death. My grandmother has been gone for three quarters of my life. What a sad number. Anyway. The sun wasn't quite out yet (and actually wasn't quite out all day on Day 1), but I still had my sunglasses on. No need for 3600 people to see me crying that early.
Then, we were off. We got through Pit Stop 1 pretty quickly, but since we were still in the middle of the pack we were stuck behind a lot of people. Pit Stop 2 is at the base of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Torrey Pines is my arch-nemesis. I walked it in 2009 because I didn't know any better. It killed my back for the rest of the day. I skipped it in 2010 because I had convinced myself I needed to. I decided 2011 was the year of NO EXCUSES. My feet felt great (thank you, toe socks and gold-bond foot powder!). We trucked up the hill.
Since this is a weight loss/fitness/full disclosure blog I'll be honest. It sucked. It sucked hauling my ass and all my extra ass up that hill, but I dug deep with every step and when we got to the top it was SWEET. RELIEF. All of this before the 8 mile mark. Other than being schwetty we were good after conquering the hill (MOUNTAIN). It doesn't hurt to have hot bike cops cheering you on, just saying.
Lunch was at mile 11 on Day 1, from there we walked past the ocean (some of my favorite views!) and through business-y parts of town. The only thing that sucks about the San Diego walk is that it's so late in the year that the darkness really creeps up if you're a slower walker. Janae and I finished when it was pretty dark. But I'm SO PROUD of the fact that we did an entire day! Every single step, didn't look at a sweep van and didn't even think about it. We were exhausted, sweaty, gross rockstars.
We then went over to the shower trucks and took The Best Shower of My Life, swung by the medical tent to have blisters checked out (and I got my short leg worked on by a Physical Therapist -- it's really hard to have two different length legs), then back to the dining tent to grab our phones. My phone's battery sucks so I still needed to let it charge as long as possible, but Janae's was already fully charged. She went to bed and I stayed up past the "official" lights out talking with some volunteers and was rewarded with both a fully charged phone AND a fireworks show! Camp is on Mission Bay -- our across the bay neighbors are this little start up called SEA WORLD. Around 10:00 the sky lit up. What an amazing treat. Half an hour later I crawled into bed with a smile on my face.
Talk about a perfect day in a perfect place.