Avon Walk 2011 or “Bust”!

by Angela on May 3, 2011

2011 04 - Avon Walk or Bust The Avon Walk is one of those types of events that I think everyone should experience once in their lives.  It’s the type of event that changes you for the better.  It could be the Avon 2-day Walk, the Susan Komen 3-day, it could be a marathon or a triathlon.  It’s something that makes you feel a personal sense of accomplishment as well as a sense of being involved in something so much bigger than the daily lives we lead.  I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the Avon Walk for two years now and have even already signed up for the Avon Walk DC 2012!  Given how my legs feel right now, I must be insane!  🙂    But in all seriousness, the experiences have been so wonderful despite the pain, that I didn’t even hesitate when given the chance to register again.  Plus Avon got me at my weakest moment…day 2, mile 10, lunch pit stop, 1/2 off registration.  So, I was tired, sore and hungry – like I said, weak! 

Day 1 Walk

The day started bright and early from the Washington Monument. 

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 Opening ceremony was at 6:30am and we started walking at 7am.  The opening ceremony is very emotional because part of it features individuals who have been affected by this disease.  One was a daughter whose mom is on round 2 of the disease, another was a guy whose best friend’s fiancée lost the battle before they got married.  IMG_0755Many times throughout the weekend I would forget that I was a survivor because I felt “lucky” compared to some of the stories I was hearing.  But those same stories are also reminders of why I do the walk…so that one day there will be a cure and no one has to go through what I went through or what any of these people had to go through.

But enough of the sappy stuff.   On day 1 we walked 26.2 miles.  My team, the Step Sisters, consisted of about 40 amazing women but we walked in much smaller groups, depending on pace.  I was with a pretty fast group so we completed day 1 in about 8 hours.

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(by the way, those are my new sunglasses from Sunglass Hut, which I bought using my $20 off birthday coupon!)      

When we got to mile 13 I thought, whoa I have to run this in a month!

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These are the four ladies I stuck with the whole first day…sisters Liz and Kate, and my other friend Kate (lots of Kate’s on our team!).

IMG_0773My other friend Kate was so much more than just “my other friend” this past weekend.  She was one of my four roomies, she stuck by me both days, she slowed down when I needed to slow down, she kept me company, she kept me going.  Love you, girl, thanks for everything!  

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Here we are at the pit stop for day one, also known as the Wellness Village.  We could get massages here, get our blisters treated, get some grub and, for those who chose to camp the whole weekend, this was the campgrounds for the night.

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But I don’t camp…ever, so this was the view from where I stayed 🙂 :

IMG_0748This was one of the shuttle vans that drove around the entire time to pick people up who needed medical attention or had blisters so bad they could no longer walk.  They also cheered us on every time they drove by.  Aren’t you just loving all the colorful bras?!

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One of the great things about doing the walk in the Nation’s Capitol is seeing some of the sites.  Here I am with the Capitol building in the background (don’t mind my silly friend 🙂 ):

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And here’s the Chinatown arch:

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Oh, and do you want to know what happens to your hands after a whole day of speed walking?  Can you say, “snausages??”

IMG_0775Kind of looks cartoonish!  As a comparison, here’s my non-sausage fingers:

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So after a day of walking, we hobbled back to the hotel, but I felt pretty good when my head hit the pillow that night.  I had one small blister forming but I knew I could cushion for day 2 and keep it from getting worse.  I will be writing a separate article on our special little treat at the hotel that night which probably helped me forget about the pain for a bit!

Day 2 Walk

Another bright and early day started with breakfast at the Wellness Village.  It was much colder this morning and we were all just ready to start walking the final 13 miles to ‘get ‘er done’!  As I watched people packing up their tents, I was so happy with our decision not to camp!  Brrrr!!!  IMG_0781

I was hurting on day 2.  My shins were tight and sore and my achilles were sore and bruised.  I thought after walking a mile or two, my legs would start to loosen.  I remember last year once my muscles warmed up I completed the walk with no problem.  This was NOT the case this year.  Again I found myself with the fast group and was struggling to keep up.  Day 2 Mile 4 group shot

The pain was causing me to hold my breath a lot which obviously made me out of breath as I tried to keep up.  At one point I told my friend, Kate, I had to slow down.  I hated slowing her down, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.  Again, she stuck by my side and wouldn’t let me walk alone.  At the lunch pit stop at mile 10 we caught up with the front of the pack again and I toughed it out the rest of the way. 

This was one of the many “characters” we met along the way:

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And one of the breathtaking sites in DC, the National Cathedral:

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Maybe it was breathtaking because I couldn’t breathe from the PAIN I was in!  🙂

This was the back of our team shirt:

   IMG_0757We all submitted names of people who are survivors or lost their battle.  This was our “why we walk” list.  Friends had submitted my name, so I am on the shirt with a pink ribbon beside my name which means survivor.  But the length of the list just shows how many people this disease has touched.    I have several friends and an aunt on this list. 

Anyhow, we walked 13 miles for 3.5 hours on day 2.  And finally, here we are at the finish line! 

Finish LineIt was an emotional finish mainly just because of the sheer accomplishment of the entire weekend, but also seeing my husband and kids and parents at the finish really touched me.  I am truly blessed to have a supportive family.  There’s a great picture of me with my family on my dad’s camera, but it may take a while for him to get the pictures off his new, digital camera!  🙂  I’ll update the post with the picture later.

What I learned from Avon Walk DC 2011:

  • Running uses completely different muscles than walking!  Next year I will be sure to get some walking under my belt before the big weekend!
  • My iPhone takes horrible pictures.
  • Washington DC is such a pretty city (in most parts!).
  • The human body is an amazing machine.  When pushed to its limits it doesn’t usually let you down.
  • I live in an awesome community with some amazing women.
  • You use your shin muscles quite a bit when walking…yowzers.  Every step I take now is painful!
  • When reaching for a goal, a lot of obstacles can be overcome with mind over matter.  I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
  • I am blessed with some of the greatest friends and the most supportive, loving family.

This past weekend will definitely be one of the highlights of the year.  I am so proud to say I was a part of the Step Sisters Team and the Avon Walk DC 2011.  And as for Avon Walk 2012?  Oh, I’ll definitely be there!

Step Sisters at Avon Walk DC 2011

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Comments on this entry are closed.

Sandy May 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Angela – I was the driver of the “Bra-Mobile” with my best friend/navigator, Dee. It is so rewarding to be acknowledged during this walk. It is our 6th year as part of your Sweep Team – and my 10th as a Breast Cancer Survivor. We love our job and you guys for all the work you have done before and during the walk. Having walked in ’04, I can certainly appreciate all that goes along with the event! And, like you, we will see you on the route for 2012! Congratulations on a job well done – Sandy (PS – there were 54 bras on our van!)

admin May 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Sandy – Thank you so much for commenting! Yes, you guys totally rock! Congratulations on being a 10 year survivor. I’m going on 3 years. Yay us! If you are driving the van in 2012, I’ll be sure to flag you down and say hi!

Jess May 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Ang, you ROCKED it! What an awesome and inspiring event and YOU are an inspirational woman!!!

Carol May 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm

For many years I have been proud & happy to be a woman. This past Sunday morning my cup overflowed! Spending time with my son & four precious grandchildren…waiting for Kate to come over the finish line, what a priviledge to watch so many people (especially Kate and Step Sisters) coming in to the finish…It was so joyful…seeing & feeling so much love and encouragement…so much happiness & pride in those who had worked hard for a good cause.THANK YOU!!!

Jason Dhuy May 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

Dad actually bought a digital camera!?! I am surprised I didn’t get a call when he couldn’t figure out where to put the film…haha. Just kidding.

Glad you made it Big Sis!

Tammie Boggs May 4, 2011 at 9:27 am

Great summary of the weekend! Sounds like such a wonderful and inspiring experience.

Liz Levy May 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Love it! Your caption with spiderman should say “Spiderman Meets Wonder Woman!” Congratulations Angela, you continue to inspire all of us!

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