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Friday, June 6, 2014

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer: Chicago 2014

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As promised, I thought I would give you an update on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this past weekend in Chicago. If you'd like the backstory of how and why we signed up for this walk, you can read all about it here.

Let's first start with the details of the weekend, shall we? We were required to walk 39.3 miles over two days - Saturday and Sunday. Saturday the route was 26.2 miles, a whole marathon. We started at Soldier Field and were taken up the lakeshore, through downtown and more up north, where we ended the day in Horner Park. Sunday, our walk was a half marathon - 13.1 miles, and it started where we left off at Horner Park and ended back at Soldier Field.


The first 6 miles or so were my personal favorite. The weather was absolutely perfect, if not a little on the chilly side for the first few miles. As you can imagine, we started off slow while the crowd was still very thick, but I couldn't complain because the views were amazing. Chicago is such a great City.



But yeah, it was not all rainbows and unicorns. This was the ABSOLUTE HARDEST, most difficult thing I have ever put my body through. I love walking! I've always said that I could walk forever, and I'm a fast walker by nature. But let me tell you, I quickly realized that this was no leisurely walk in the park.


I really wish I could tell you guys this was mile 20 or something like that. Nope. This was mile 6. SIX! Out of 39.3!!! Right around mile 3, I could feel a blister forming on the pad of my 4th toe on my right foot. I tried to ignore it and tried to carry my weight a little differently. Then I started feeling it form on the same toe on my left foot. Anxiety starts to set in because I know it's just the beginning.

There were rest stops every couple of miles or so. They alternated between "quick stops" which just had drinks and port-a-potties (honestly the nicest port-a-potties you will ever be in, seriously) and full on rest stops with snacks and medical care also. When I saw the "foot fix" station at mile 6, I decided to see if they could do anything for my blisters. These two lovely ladies were so sweet and amazing. Sure enough, blisters were there, and she ended up draining the one in my right foot, but the left didn't quite have any fluid in it yet. Mile six, guys.

By mile 7, I could start feeling it in my legs. What made it even worse was that we were now walking in the heart of the City. They didn't close any streets for this walk so imagine stopping at every. Single. Intersection. The constant starting and stopping on my already fatigued legs made it even harder.



I got a little more pep in my step around mile 9 walking down Oak Street. I mean, seriously. How torturous it was to walk through this shopping district - Barney's, Christian Louboutin, Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo, Chanel?! It was my heaven, except that I couldn't stray off course. Le sigh.

We stopped for lunch after the first of our 3 half marathons. It was right after 12pm - they gave us a sack lunch with a turkey sandwich, chips, carrots, oreos, and an apple. Needless to say that did a great job keeping us fed. I also took 3 Ibuprofen before I ate. I tried getting my blisters drained again after lunch, but they said there was no fluid in them, which I'm not sure was accurate considering how much they hurt. They wrapped them with moleskin "to reduce friction" but friction wasn't really my enemy. It was my body weight every time I stepped down on my toes. Regardless, I felt amazing after lunch. My legs didn't feel at all tired, my attitude was much better after a full belly; I was ready to rock this thing!


As we wove ourselves up north, we made a pact that once we hit mile 18, we would allow ourselves to stop in a Starbucks for an iced coffee. We passed, oh, about 238778263876 Starbucks, but of course, once we hit 18, they were nowhere in sight - not until mile 21. Although the coffee was amazing, there really wasn't anything that was helping at this point. My friend Erin is an avid runner; she's run a couple marathons and a handful of half marathons, but even she hit her wall at mile 18. And if *she* was dying, then there was no hope for me! 

We finally finished our day (which started at 7am) at a little after 6pm. I tried to go to the triage to have them look at my feet again, but there were 20 people ahead of me on the wait list, and I really just wanted to get back to the hotel. The bulk of the walkers actually camped out in the park! In tents! After walking a marathon! I admire those people, but my spoiled tired butt was sleeping in a hotel.

Guys. By the time we got back to the hotel, I could barely walk. I took a shower and the warm water felt great, but it hurt to stand, so I filled the tub with water and just soaked myself. Otherwise, I just took it easy, ordered room service, took some Aleve, and tried to stretch every hour as much as possible.

The next morning, I spent half an hour nursing my blisters, and between my feet and my legs, I could barely move. The thought about quitting crossed my mind many times, I'm not even going to lie. I just didn't know how it would be physically possible to finish feeling as awful as I did. But I just kept thinking about the $7100+ we raised, and about everyone and everything we were walking for, and just out of integrity, I had to do it.


This is a great screenshot to summarize our Sunday walk. As with the first day, we knew the first mile or so would be really slow because the crowd was so thick. But even as it started thinning out, I was still moving slow, and I knew that I was slowing our team down. But then we hit mile 3 and I saw that we were *still* only going 2 miles an hour. I literally got angry and decided, you know what? It hurts whether I walk slow or walk fast, so I may as well get this done sooner.

This extra motivation lasted about 4 miles or so, and I started to really hurt again at mile 7. All of our significant others met us around mile 7, so we took a 15 minute break and I was able to eat a substantial snack, stretch, and take Ibuprofen. The rest of the morning was still pretty trying, especially once we were back crossing intersection after intersection. I honestly thought how great it would be if I fell and hurt myself so I could at least be done with it. It was pretty awful. When we hit the last mile marker - the pole was marked with both a 13 (for the day) and a 39 (cumulative over two days.) The husband was waiting here, and he walked the rest of the way with us. He says, "Only point 3 miles left!" And I say, "NO! It's point 1!! That sign said 13, so we should only have point 1 left!!" Yes, that point 2 miles makes a world of difference.

It was really .3 left, and it was the longest, most excruciating .3 miles I have ever walked. I cried. 


But you know what? We finished. We finished, and as I write this 4 days later, my feet still aren't the same, though I went from 8 blisters down to just 1 now. My legs are still tight, especially my right hamstring, and I likely won't do anything physical for another week. It was horrifying, I can't lie about that. But I'm proud. I'm proud that bitchy and all, I still finished. I'm proud that we were able to exceed our initial goal of $5400 and raise over $7100. I would do anything for my friends, and I just couldn't say no to my friend when she asked me to walk with her to honor her mother in law. The stories we heard, the survivors we saw walking alongside us, the older man rolling 39.3 miles in a wheelchair all inspired me! And I'm happy that we were part of it. Yes, I'm at the point where I can say I'm glad we did it. 

As I close this, I'm sure you're thinking - are they new shoes? Did you not walk that long of distances in those shoes before? Were you wearing different socks? Pretty sure my cousin in law figured it out when she asked me Monday morning (after the walk):

Did you just get a pedicure?

And it all made sense. It had been about 3 weeks since my last pedicure, but about 6 weeks or so ago, I bought thisIt's no secret that I love heels, and naturally, as a result, my feet form calluses. I get pedicures at the salon once or twice a month, but I had been trying to keep my feet soft between pedis, so I bought the Clarisonic Pedi Kit. I didn't even think about the walk or the fact that I actually *needed* my rough feet for the walk. Lesson. Learned.

Anyway, I know this was probably longer and more detailed than it needed to me, but I figured this was good documentation for myself if I ever want to relive the experience! Thanks again for everyone's support! There are some of you out there that I have never even met that contributed to our fundraising, and I am just so touched that you would support me in this! THANK YOU!!!


22 comments :

  1. OH. Mah. Gawwwwww. I cannot believe you finished!!! It just sounds like pure torture every second of the way!! I am so impressed by your dedication and spirit and CONGRATS FOR FINISHING! I did think exactly what you said, "Were they new shoes or something?" Wow, I don't know if I'll ever do a walkathon after reading this but I will definitely NOT get a pedicure for like a year in advance if I do! LOL!
    Gina -- On the Daily Express

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    1. Yes, the pedicure thing was a HUGE learning for me. It's so obvious now, don't know why it never occurred to me before, oh well! That will be my first rule of advice to anyone who tells me they're walking in one!
      And yes, I still can't believe I finished. Seriously.

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  2. Wow!!! I'm proud of you...what an accomplishment!!! You should be proud of yourself on so many levels....sticking it out and finishing, pushing thru the mental and physical pain, supporting such a great cause, raising such a great amount of contributions....all of it is fantastic!!! Awesomness!! I will say that just reading your recap is making me sore...can't imagine what it really felt like, ha!
    Kellie @ www.ie-style.com

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    1. You know, my right knee still doesn't feel the same!! I can't wait to get back on the fitness train. While I welcome the break, I don't like the calories! :) Thanks for the nice note, I appreciate it!!

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  3. You go girl, I still don't know what was harder, the 39 miles or walking by all those shops and not being able to go inside :)
    That is quite an accomplishment.

    Natalia

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    1. Hahaha!!! Exactly! It was brutally tempting!
      Def glad to say I did it… and that it's done!

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  4. Good for you!!! My sister in-law does the 60 mile walk every year. She picks a different city each year and makes a trip out of it. She starts training pretty far in advance. Who would think that you would need to train for walking? She also has problems with the blisters. I don't know if there is any way to avoid it.

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    1. I suppose after months and months of training, you can make your feet tougher? I dunno - but that's awesome of her for being able to do that! I definitely have more respect for walkers!

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  5. Well, I am now exhausted! Way to go, honey!!!

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    1. Oh gosh I know - I was excited all over again writing it!
      Thanks for reading and for the encouragement!

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  6. You go girl! Congratulations!
    http://www.weshopinheels.com

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  7. Great job girls. Thank you for doing this in memory of my much loved sister Peggy.

    Kathy

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  8. So cool, C!! Now I want to do this at some point! I think there's one in Atlanta where it's a total of 60(!!!) miles over 3 days...I'd probably die but I want to say I've done it!

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    1. You could totally do it! You'd be great and it def is an awesome accomplishment!

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  9. I am so super duper proud of you - thanks for sharing this with us at the #WWDParty - have a wonderful week ahead.

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  10. Hi Carylee,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate it! I also did an Avon Breast Cancer Walk about 2 years ago, but I only walked for 1 mile, which was really just leisurely walking, nothing as hard as yours. I LOL about walking past those stores and not being able to go in. I would be like that too.

    Cheresa
    www.misshotcouture.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, the stores were torture to me! haha

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  11. I've been so excited to read this recap ever since I saw you post on Insta about the walk. I just want to say that I am so so proud of you for finishing this! I remember that my second grade teacher used to do the walk every year, and I remember being really impressed. Go Carylee!

    xo, Hima
    Hima Hearts

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    1. Thank you so much for the sweet note and for the support!!

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