day 3

Finally, day 3! This is officially the last blog update about our 3-Day walk, I promise!

It was another early morning, except this time we had to pack-up camp.

Our guardian angel, who hugged everyone each morning as they left camp.

A view from the route of camp.

A view leaving camp in front of us.

And another behind us. Walkers everywhere!

And of course, one of the Harley crossing guards.

After 5 miles on day 3, we saw this sign, which brought a smile to our faces. We were still limping, our feet were still aching, but it was the last day, so the energy was different than day 2. There was a bright light at the end of the tunnel that was so close!

By day 3, we were all wise to this lie...the next pit stop was really 2 miles away. But I loved the little pink sign attached, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Walking 60 miles seemed impossible at the start, but by this time, we knew we could do it.

Amber and her blue monkey buddy.

While we wore basically the same outfit each day, some girls got creative. I think the gentlemen on the walk appreciated this little number.

The support on day 3 was as great as ever! This was perhaps my favorite cheering family. Wouldn't this be a fun surprise if you were these kids mom and this guys wife? So supportive and so creative!

I'm not sure I've mentioned the San Jose Police Department. There were about 5 police bikers who took personal time off to join the San Diego walkers along the walk route. I'm not sure if they had a specific job other than being police cheerleaders. Each day they rode the 2o miles with the walkers, and actually, they probably rode twice that each day because they'd back track to cheer everyone on. Some had little portable CD players on their bikes and others had mini medicine cabinets on the back of their bikes, but they all were full of fun, spirit, and encouragement. Seriously, without them, it would have been really hard. I say this about every single person who donated their time to cheer us on.

Here they are dancing on their bikes.

We had to take a picture with them. They were the hit of the walk!

And then, the LONGEST 3 miles of the walk - the last nature walk of the weekend. No joke, this was the hardest part for me. My feet hurt, but worse, I had to pee so badly and there was not a porta-potty in sight and wouldn't be for 3 more miles. I think as soon as we left the previous pit stop, I had to pee again. The bushes were lookin' pretty darn good, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Everywhere you looked, there were walkers and the freeway was on the other side of us. I decided to suffer through.

Occasionally, I'd have a break to keep my mind off my bladder.

As soon as we entered the city again, I used a hotel bathroom. I've never been so happy to see a toilet! And on the other side of the nature walk, my family joined the cheerers!

Then, it was through a beautiful neighborhood in Old Town. The young and old supported. It was around this time that we met up with our new friends.

This guys sign says, "I'm a breast man"

Finally, lunch, and our last couple bags of Lays.

This was another classic sign!

This little girl doesn't just look cute, but she also is a future professional cheerleader. She had the best cheer of the weekend! We saw her and her family throughout the route on the last day.

In Hill Crest, the honking hit an all-time high and the cheering outfits were pretty awesome, too!

A sign that made us giggle! There were clever signs like this all through the route.

The hookers were in full force on day 3.

The final few miles, Amber finally got a hold of a sign that perfectly represents why she was walking.

3 little singing angels that brought tears to all of our eyes.

The last several miles were incredible! Beginning in about Balboa Park, the streets were packed with people cheering the walkers on, several rows deep. It was so amazing! I can't even describe what it felt like.

Walking the last mile in downtown San Diego, this is what the street looked like.

Finally, the sign we've been longing for!

Again, I can't describe was it was like entering the holding area. This is where the walkers and volunteers waited for the closing ceremonies to begin. As we entered the holding area, we were surrounded by the other walkers cheering us in and giving us high-fives. After we picked up our victory t-shirt and took a few pictures, we joined the rest of the walkers cheering crew. Absolutely incredible! I actually walked back through so I could video the experience. Lots of laughs and tons of tears!

Someone celebrated their 60-mile walk by dumping their walking shoes.

Happily picking up my victory shirt. Walkers received white, survivors pink, and volunteers grey. At this point, we were often thanked by some men and women who wore pink and in return, would say, "thank you and congratulations." What can you really say to a survivor?

Our final curtsy.

Our friends.

All of us.

This was what it looked like cheering everyone in. Crazy, happy, madness!

A couple different pcitures of everyone in the holding area.

The closing ceremonies were just as emotional as the opening cermonies, if not more so, since we actually completed our journey. We walked into the closing cermony area in rows of 7 with looped arms, symbolizing what we had just accomplished together.

And as the survivors walked in together, we raised a shoe in honor of the journey they have all experienced.

Finally, the signs that were carried throughout the weekend, that made their debut during the opening ceremonies, were waved as we said farewell to our new friends and congratulated one another on accomplishing the impossible.

We were reminded during the closing ceremonies that once we left and were reuninted with reality, we would no longer be cheered on or honked at as we walked through the streets or we wouldn't be escorted while crossing the streets. It was funny, but very true. For 3 {long} days, we lived in the perfect world, almost what I imagine heaven to be like, where everyone unconditionally helped and supported one another, encouraged those who appeared weak, and smiled and high-fived strangers. There were no fights and rarely did we see the homeless {and it's not like the homeless don't exist in San Diego}. It was literally the perfect world.

After the walk, the Tucker family took me to dinner in downtown San Diego and that was my abrupt entrance back in reality. Nobody looked at me twice as I crossed the streets {still wearing my pink gear and tutu} and we were immediately asked by a homeless person if we could help purchase their medicine. It was really hard for me to adjust, but it also was a wonderful reminder of how incredible my weekend was. I smile when I think about participating next year.

Thank you, blogging buddies, for your love, support, and prayers! Especially, thank you, Amber for asking me to do this with you. It was such an honor!


merry {belated} christmas

Yesterday was a great Christmas filled with {more} family and food! After our Christmas Eve service on Wednesday, we hosted dinner for Rob's family, which was also great {the company and the food, if I do say so myself}. I'm not a cook, but I made homemade rolls, fiery chicken chili - thank you, Rachel Ray, and chocolate pecan pie courtesy of Domino Magazine. This is the second year I've made this pie and it's the new family favorite!

The service was especially touching with the song Rob sang. At the last minute before leaving our house, I decided to grab my camera so I could record his song. I'm glad I did...he did an amazing job, but I may be biased.

Merry {belated} Christmas, Blogger friends! I hope you've had a magical season!


day 2

Day 2 also started off bright and early.

Our humble abode for 2 nights. We had a great tent location - very close to the toilets and far enough away from the food area so we wouldn't hear the super early risers. As we took this picture on day 2, we were still limping from day 1 and we weren't really sure how we'd get through the day with all our aches and pains. All we knew is that we would need to walk slow and steady. Our goal was to not get on the Titty Taxi.

Amber hitting the pavement around 7:30am.

As we started the route, we saw this dude and his chaps. He protected us the entire weekend from cars as we crossed the streets. A Harley Davidson group volunteered and not only did they deck out their bikes, but they also dressed to impress...or dressed to give us a much needed giggle.

A house across the street from camp.

Crossing the first bridge of the morning. Still very hazy and chilly!

Here's the guy that followed the route all weekend and each time we saw him, he wore a different themed costume. We always knew it was him because of his Jeep.

And this guy was a charmer, too.

And another charmer as we walked into the first rest stop of the day.

At the rest stop, we ran into this beauty of a t-shirt. They became our favorite team name and also our walk buddies along the route.

Heading into Ocean Beach. The first "nature walk" of the day. The nature walks became really long, boring, and dreaded! Because there was nothing much to look at, I tended to really notice the pains in my feet and left knee.

Fortunately, there were some cheerers to get us through, though.

Bored out of my mind and only able to focus on my pains. Next time, we are totally going to have a small stereo attached to our backpacks. Music would have definitely helped!

But, as bad as we hurt, we never took the Titty Taxi!

Or the Snaggin' Wagon.

And just when we needed inspiration, we'd see something like this {thankfully, neither one of us got any blisters}.

And who can resist tween cheerleaders!

My absolute favorite outfit from our walk buddy! His sign said "Free Mammograms, No Waiting."

And there were tons of furry friends on day 2. This one was my favorite. She was beautiful!

Seriously, these ladies were totally necessary and their outfits carried you to the next mile.

Come on! Stop the war in my rack!!!

Another Harley Davidson crossing guard in a tutu.

This sign was hysterical and then 500 feet up we saw...

Some booby lovin' guys chillin' with cocktails and cheering on the walkers. They were so generous - they were even handing out some Bud Light so we wouldn't get dehydrated.

We saw these ladies earlier in the day. It's incredible how people dedicate an entire day to cheering and making the walkers laugh. It makes me get teary-eyed just thinking about it...

I walk for...

The Smile Guy. Where's Little Grin?

And, our friend in his Pirate costume.

By this time in the walk, we started thanking the cheerers for being there after they thanked us for walking.

Mission Beach. It was so nice of people to open up their homes for us.

Some shoe decorations Amber captured as I used someone's bathroom.

A survivor taking a cocktail break and holding out the "That was Easy" Staples button.

Had to stop to support the firemen.

The creativity was non-stop!

Mission Bay was fun, but still very long and hard. It was about 15 miles in and we still had 5 to go. We are so glad we ran into the "Yes We Cans" team. They were awesome and encouraging! We walked with them the final 5 miles into camp and even joined them for the evening festivities.

For the foodies...

There was entertainment both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night we went to bed right after dinner and didn't stick around for the fun. Saturday night though we didn't want to miss anything. This woman was our host and reminded all of us of Ellen DeGeneres. Hysterical!

Friday night there was a talent show {participants and volunteers could enter} and Saturday we voted for the winner by cheering. I can't remember if he won, but he was really good.

After the talent competition, the guys got on stage to dance.

Then it was the ladies turn.

After some fun, we wanted to take some time before bed to remember why we were there. We visited the "Remembrance Tent" where walkers could sign a white tent in memory of a loved one who lost their battle with breast cancer. The white tents signed by walkers from all of the other 3-Day cities lined the entrance. It was very emotional.

Amber signing the tent in honor of her grandmother.

The view from the top of the hill.

One last photograph before heading to bed...

Day 3, our last day, up next...