Monday, September 13, 2010

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer-Day 1

Hi Everyone!!! Well, I did it this weekend!! I walked 39.3 miles in beautiful Santa Barbara for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my supporters who got me to the starting line. Our team raised almost $40,000 for Breast Cancer programs. Amazing!! I'm going to share my photos from Day grab a coffee and get comfy. This is a long post!!

The Avon Walk started on Friday afternoon with check in at the Doubletree Inn in Santa Barbara. All the volunteers were simply amazing. So friendly and helpful.

I met up with teammates from Northern California, Santa Barbara and as far away as Oregon at check-in. We are all smiles!

We had a great team dinner, got our team shirts, laughed and chatted, then tried to sleep for the night. We all stayed with a teammate in her house. It was like a big slumber party!!! Saturday morning the alarm went off 5am early. We got to the start for opening ceremonies, dropped off our luggage and went to sign the pillars. These were super tall pillars where each panel was a city where the Avon Walk is done throughout the year. These were really cool.

We all signed the Santa Barbara panel.

There were some trainers from 24 Hour Fitness on the main stage trying to lead everyone in warm up stretches. They were waaaay too perky for 6am if you ask me!!! Instead, I took more photos. This is of my girlfriend Shannon and I...ready to walk!

Lots of pink signs all over the place reminding us why we are doing this!

Here's my whole team, Walking For The Girls, before the start of the walk!!

Our shirts were awesome. We had the names of loved ones on the back that we were walking for. Pretty humbling seeing all those names in one place.

At opening ceremonies, we heard from a woman who has a double mastecomy...LAST week! And she was walking this weekend. Pretty amazing, there was not a dry eye in the crowd. And then...we walked!!!!

This truck followed us everywhere on Saturday. The man driving would park and blast his music, give us high fives and shout encouragement. He would then drive a few miles up the course, and do the same thing! We saw him all the way until mile 26. Lots of people wearing pink wigs, waving pink poms-poms and honking at us...all day long!!

We started off right by Santa Barbara Pier and walked along the beach for a while before turning up into the neighborhoods of Santa Barbara. The very hilly neighborhoods of Santa Barbara!! I took photos at every single mile marker, but I'll only show you a few.

Mile 5 and feeling fine!!

This guy playing accordian was awesome! We danced in the street to his band.

Mile 13...HALFWAY done!!!

Pink encouragement everywhere...

This was my favorite handheld sign. We saw these 2 women all day, they followed the group through the course. They always had a high five and smile ready for us!

The sun finally broke out in the early afternoon and it was beautiful. This was the best part of the course, right along the beach. We even saw a couple getting married right on the water. So pretty.

Everything after mile 20 was hard. Like, really really hard. Like, what the heck did I sign up for hard. But really, who signs up to get cancer???? I could keep walking, even though I was tired!

Around mile 24 I was super giddy. Slaphappy giddy. Everything was sooo funny. Even this sign that had my name on it made me laugh!!

FINALLY...26.2 miles completed after being on my feet and walking for over 10 and 1/2 hours. I've never been so happy to see this pink finish line arch in my life!!!

After celebrating with my teammates, collapsing on the ground for a while, and finishing my water, it was time for a shower. In a really awesome truck. The whole truck was tilted to one side so the water would drain. One of my teammates was sooo tired that she was in the shower for about 10 minutes before realizing she forgot to take her sports bra off!! We got a good laugh out of that at dinner.

And did I mention we had to set up our own tents??? All the tents are imagine coming back from dinner in the dark and trying to find your tent. Ha ha, not so easy!!!

Everyone on my team made it all 26.2 miles on Saturday. So...after filling our bellies with pasta and using the port-o-potties one last time in the pitch dark and giggling like school girls in our tents...we fell asleep for the night. SO tired, but anticipating the next day. When walking 13.1 miles didn't seem that bad!!

The end of day 1...stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!! Thanks for stopping by!


Cecelia said...

Hello there;0) It is awesome that you did this! I was supposed to be there again this year working Rest Stop #5. I worked Rest Stop #5 last year in LA. But as you may know I was in Kansas with my Dad who is fighting cancer. So unfortunitely I could not make it;0( So glad you made it the whole is tough and last year I saw so many who could not. I loved sleeping in the tents and to be honest the showers were pretty good
Take care;0)

Cecelia B

Samantha Hauzer said...

Oh wow! I got goose bumps reading about your amazing day! I think you and your team are absolutely fabulous!!

Mona Pendleton said...

Congrats Mara! What an accomplishment & for such a great cause! I am a RN in the OR & see all types of cancer everyone from children on up - non-discriminating. KUDOS to you :)

Lee said...

Well done, Mara. This is so awesome and for such a great cause. Looking forward to reading more.

Sue said...

Congrats Mara! I knew you could do it! If I hadn't just had foot surgery(a week ago) I would have loved to do it! I'm only an hour from S.B.:) God bless you!

mustangkayla said...

Wow!! How neat! Way to go! That 'Honk for boobs' sign cracks me up!

Joni M said...

I LOVED reading about your day and this worthy cause! What an amazing experience! How many hours did you walk on the first day?

Rebecca Keppel said...

Awesome photos!

wendipooh13 said...

this totally rocks that you did this and loved all the photos and reading about it!! how cool

JKhaki said...

I'm the chick with the "Stop the War in My Rack" poster, and my friend Carmen Zayas is with me in the pic. We walked the last 2 years but couldn't raise the funds this year. We cheered on Sunday as well. Hope to see you with our walking shoes on next year!!

-Jennifer Khaki, Team Bosom Buddies