Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 72: 2011 San Diego SGK 3-Day recap (Day 2)

Somehow,  despite not going to bed until after 10:30 Friday night I managed to pop up wide awake at 4:45! What even. Happily that was 5 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. We ate and stopped by medical (and ran into my friend Lisa on the way! I was so happy to get to have breakfast with her). My toe socks were an amazing investment. No, I did not enjoy spending $13 PER PAIR on socks but it was well worth it. I'm really prone to blisters, and as any 3-Day walker knows, blisters are a result of friction. Toe socks BY DEFINITION eliminate friction between your toes. However I still had some blisters on my heels that needed attention at medical. I think next year I will be switching to walking sandals for that purpose. I had blisters lanced and drained on my left foot and a chain of second skin wrapped around my right heel.

We lined up with the masses to get out of camp and then after being scanned out were back on our way! And once again I am envious of those people who wind up at the very front of the pack. You just know they get up at like 3:30 and don't have blisters or any pain so don't need to go to medical, lol. They just eat and go sit at the front of the line to get scanned out. I'm also half convinced their legs are 14 feet long and they take huge strides to get back to camp at like 2 in the afternoon. Luckily we were pretty middle of the pack. I felt good but not great and knew it might be a loooong 20 miles.

After the skies had stayed gray and ominous all day on Friday it was a hugely welcome sight to see the sun shining on us pretty much all day Saturday! In 2010 San Diego was MISERABLE. It rained in a way I can only refer to as "biblically." If you know me AT ALL you know how important this cause is to me. I only started in 2009, but luckily it was beautiful and sunny and glorious that whole time. If 2010 had been my first walk I would have had to think about coming back a lot more. Coming back into camp on Day 2 of 2010 I looked more like I'd swam the last 3 miles and found my tent ON IT'S SIDE, with pretty much everything inside it soaking wet. I wrapped my pillow in a hefty bag, avoided the wet quadrant of my blanket and basically froze trying to sleep that night. It was bad. So this? This was a glorious sight. I swear you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief!

The first leg of Day 2 took us past the across the bay neighbors that I mentioned last night -- Sea World! Janae and I made a couple of new friends (I am also convinced those people who finish very early in the day don't stop to take pictures with everyone/thing along the route -- I feel sorry for those people!). Sea World was less that 5 miles into Day 2 and I was already starting to feel "it" in my shorter leg, but as I kept telling myself, I was just sore. I knew nothing was seriously wrong with me and I would be fine, so I kept going. I really, really had the goal of all 60 miles in my head. I wanted it. I watched some of my best friends do it the month before, including my friend Allie of So I Had Cancer, Now What?. I wanted to do all 60 for me, for Allie (because my GOD girl has been through so much more than walking 60 miles), for my nana. . . but mostly for me.

Every day (at least on the San Diego route) there is a pretty good hill. Torrey Pines is obviously my everest, but the hill on Day 2 is pretty good too. Not as steep, but longer. We made our way up the hill as San Diego and San Jose PD rode their bikes alongside us (their legs must have been killing them by the end too!). I know that I'm a lucky fatty, I don't have anything seriously wrong with me health wise, but like I said about Torrey Pines it sucks to haul extra you up a hill. I get really ferklempt when they do the "putting the weight back on" challenge on The Biggest Loser because the contestants are always amazed they were carrying all that extra around and I totally feel that way. I know that when I lose weight I feel better and it is less work to just EXIST. I can't wait to feel a noticeable change in that way. Anyway, we got through that hill and were rewarded with some gorgeous views like this one. Oh, no big deal, just the ocean looking all gorgeous and inviting. ;)

After the Day 2 hill my leg was really giving me trouble. There is a noticeable discrepancy in the lengths of my legs. Close to an inch. It's a lingering side effect from a surgery I had when I was 11. Most people never notice it, but I always stand with my right leg to the side and slightly bent at the knee to balance myself out. However when I have on Uggs or Creepers (yes yes I used to be all up in the punk scene, lol!) if I take off my left shoe and leave the right one on I can swing my left leg pretty freely and it won't touch the ground (I'm a fun party trick). This NEVER really bothers me until I'm at the 3-Day. Basically I never put my body through the same kinds of physical rigors that I do when I'm walking 20+ miles a day. We got into Pit stop 2 a few minutes before it was scheduled to close and I hobbled to medical where a glorious physical therapist gave me a 10 minute massage with BioFreeze (liquid gold). I was still hurting but felt WORLDS better than I had before.

Janae was in a bit of pain too, but we egged each other on, saying "let's just get to the next pit stop." Lunch was really late on Day 2, around 14 miles in. So when we came to the top of a small incline and saw the swarms of people still at lunch we knew we'd be okay. We grabbed our food and sat down to eat. Less than five minutes later a member of lunch crew walked up to us and said "I'm a massage therapist, do you want a 2 minute shoulder massage?" Well yes, yes I did. It felt so great. We finished eating, changed our socks and went back on our way. Less than 6 miles to go back to camp! And if you're curious what direction we needed to turn, well. . .

Those 6 miles sucked. I was so sore. Day 2 is the hardest day because you don't have the exhilaration of Days 1 and 3. You're tired. You've put your body through it's paces and know you'll be doing it again the next day. Janae's pains were lessened by walking a little quicker than me, so she was a little bit ahead of me while I was feeling every step. I spent a good portion of those last 6 miles talking with Jesus. And my grandma. And thinking about my survivor sister Allie. The last mile and a half to camp there is no sweep access, so you make that decision and are stuck with it. I didn't hesitate when I saw the sign, but it was purely pride that decided it for me. I was on the verge of (okay, past the verge of) tears. I was mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I was cursing my sweet boyfriend for not being available and in my tent to hug me while I cried out everything I was feeling, I was pissed off at my stupid legs for being different lengths, I was pissed off at myself for not losing more weight before this walk because I KNOW I'd feel better with less of me. . . everything was coming to a head. One of the San Jose bike cops was riding alongside me. I was in the last handful of walkers. She told me that she knew I was in physical pain. It was obvious (limping is sexy). But then she told me that the last walker (who was only a quarter mile behind me) was walking for her sister and her mom. Both of whom were battling breast cancer. Earlier that day she'd gotten the call that her mom had died. The police officer looked at me and said "honey, I know you're hurting, but that poor girl is drowning in hurt." Really puts it in perspective, huh?

I kept crying (duh. You must know by now that this is a pattern). But it wasn't for me, it was for her. I can't imagine what she was feeling. So I sucked it up for the last half mile and got home! I couldn't believe that I'd walked ALL of another day. Over 40 miles down. I was SO damn proud. We took our picture by the 40 mile sign (and I like that you can just TELL from my grimace that I'm hurting!). The sign is pretty close to the entrance of camp. As we walked back towards the dining tent Janae and I both were on our phones with our moms. I called my mom to cry. I freaked her out quite a bit, even though I prefaced it all with "after I take a shower and eat I'll feel better but [insert all the tears]." I must have been more of a mess than I thought because she insisted I call her again AFTER the shower and getting to eat. I really did feel like a new person after that. I called her and was fine.

In the dining tent that night we heard from Jim Hillmann. I first met Jim last year in San Diego when he told me he was walking all 14 events in 2011. I was flummoxed. That was a commitment. He'd have to raise over $30,000. He'd have to fly to 13 events (San Francisco being his "home" event). But in true 3-Day fashion, Jim did it. He raised all the money, got to all the events and touched over 40,000 lives in 2011. He is a remarkable representative of the 3-Day. An ordinary person who decides they want to do something extraordinary, then doing it. I love Jim. I've gotten to see him a handful of times this year, and hearing about his journey always brings a smile to my face. When I stop and think about all the people that I wouldn't know without this event, it takes my breath away. Saying my life is better because of the 3-Day is a huge understatement. It defines me, and what a definition.

While I was in the shower truck earlier one of the bandaids I had on my heel flopped off and I was greeted with this sight. Yes, I am fairly certain that blister could support it's own zip code, and yes, my feet were crazy swollen. After we ate and listened to Jim's speech I laughed and told Janae I wanted to go to medical so they could look at this bad boy for me (even though I was pretty sure they'd tell me to come back in the morning for blisters), plus I needed to see a physical therapist again. Sure enough, after a PT massaged my leg for almost half an hour in the sports medicine tent I walked over to the blister tent and was told to return in the morning. Most of you are probably cringing at the size of these, but as long as they're not blisters in between my toes I can handle blisters. Lance them, wrap them tight and I'm set. So after getting turned away from blisters I went back to the tent, packed as much as I could so I wouldn't have to worry about as much of it Sunday morning and crawled into bed, cautiously optimistic about doing all of Day 3.

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