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MS Challenge Walk - DONE! I DID IT!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh my gosh! How long can you make a blog? This is going to be a long one! This past weekend was exhausting, difficult and challenging and also rewarding, emotional and awesome. Where do I start?

Took off for the day so my sister, her sister-in-law, Jackie, and I were getting ready. I waited for them to get to my house. I also gave a ride to Cindy, who I met through the doctor's office where I work. She assured me she wanted to walk the entire 50 miles (I wasn't sure Laurie and Jackie would be able to do the entire thing) and she would walk with me. She had done it before and I was happy I wouldn't be alone at all. They all got here and we set off, excited and nervous for the weekend. Door County, Wisconsin is BEAUTIFUL. Any of you who don't live in WI, you should try to get there at least once.

Here's the view from the dining room in our resort:

Very beautiful and there's tons to do. They call it the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Got up there and registered, found our room and then went to dinner. Here's a photo of Jackie and I making out leaves of who we were walking for to put on the trees they had around.

After dinner we went back to the cottage and went to bed since we knew we had to be up early. I got up at 5 and then everyone else got ready after me.

Onto breakfast and day 1. And it was raining. If anyone knows me, I HATE getting wet (except when I have control - like in the shower). Anyway, here's a picture of the first day.

As we walked, we got to mile 1 and said, "That was easy!" We were surprised it was already a mile. But we KNEW it would get harder. There were rest stops about every 3 miles and signs along the route telling us where to go. The first few miles were through Peninsula State Park, which is a beautiful forest (especially in the fall with the color) so the leaves shaded us from the rain very well. It wasn't bad, actually, with my HUGE umbrella!

Got through the park and walked along a golf course, where the "SAG Wagon" (vans that drove around making sure anyone who needed anything was taken care of. They gave rides to people who needed it, radioed for medical attention if needed, and handed out water, sometimes candy and general encouragement) assured us that lunch was "just around the corner." That became our inside joke since they did not specify WHICH corner! Thankfully, the rain had stopped so it was a lot nicer with some sun and wind. But it took FOREVER! Jackie was worried because she didn't train a lot and was set on doing the 30 mile option where people could get a shuttle back to the resort after lunch. But she felt pretty good the first day and so did Laurie (my sister) so they kept going with us. Laurie was getting blisters so she had he medics look at her feet and they wrapped them for her so she felt better.

Then the CORNFIELDS came. And they lasted forever. The roads were very long and somewhat boring, and it became harder to keep going, but we did it. We kept walking for what seemed like FOREVER! And EVER. And EVER.......get the drift? We got to mile 18 and I knew that was the farthest I had ever walked. Kept going, sore, but determined. And crabby. We ended up being ALMOST last with one more walker behind us. It rained the last mile too! I had given my umbrella to one of the SAG wagons so the rain poncho came out and we made it. Tired and cranky, but in one piece.

A friend of Jackie's (Laura) had also come up that day. She didn't register for the walk because she didn't think she could raise the money but came up to walk the second day with us to support the team.

Laurie and Jackie scheduled massages for 30 minutes but I didn't want to do a massage both days so I just went to shower while they did that. They came back to the room and showered and we decided to go out for dinner and skip the dinner program the first night. Jackie wanted to drive the route for the second day so we could see if there were a lot more cornfields so we did that and then went to a bar and grill and had a good meal. We were sore and tired so we went to bed as soon as we got back.

Got up and had a little problem with soreness. Jackie's knee had started hurting and Laurie's blisters were sore so they stood in line for the medics while Laura and I went to get breakfast. After we all had eaten, we set off in the shuttle for day 2. There was a 30% chance of rain and fairly clear skies so I did NOT bring my umbrella because I didn't want to carry it. Here are some pics of the starting point for day 2.

Here we are starting Day 2:

And we were off. It was a different route, not quite as many corn fields, but still long, just like day 1. Got to lunch finally, without incident and Jackie's knee was really hurting. The medic told her it was her IT band from walking on the left side of the road since the road tilts to the left and that was affecting her gait. Laurie's blisters were sore (both Jackie and Laurie had to have their feet rewrapped on the route while I rescued a fuzzy caterpillar in the road). So they both decided they wanted to quit at 10 miles and go back to the resort after lunch.

Laura went with them and Cindy and I set off after lunch. We were LAST again! Grrrrr.......but we ended up passing a couple of people and just wanted to get it done so we really made sure we walked fast the second half. Fast forward to mile 35 or so - it starts to RAIN AGAIN! Ugh! ONE rain cloud and it has to rain on us. We had to struggle to get our rain ponchos on with the rain and wind and started walking again. The rain lasted long enough to get the front of our pants and our shoes and socks wet before stopping. Then we made it to the next rest stop. Here's a picture:

Here's a picture of the rain shower that DIDN'T hit us:

That rest stop was fun but we didn't stay long since we didn't want to be last so we set off again. Just before mile 39 - guess what???? RAIN AGAIN! Ugh! Got out the ponchos again (a little faster this time) and went along. It didn't rain as long this time and finally the sun really came out so we were fine but were so tired and sore we just wanted to be done. This day the end was at the resort so I texted my sister and told her when we were almost done, hoping she would meet us at the finish line. Here's a picture of the road back to the resort - BEAUTIFUL!

Darn! Hit Post Blog Entry without being done. Continued......

We got back to the resort and were met by Laurie, Jackie and Laura with wine. YAY!

My sister had also moved my massage time to just after we got back so I had an awesome massage but was still sore. It was a hard evening but we got through it. I got some advice from the trainers on the medical staff about my foot (they suggested a toe spacer to make my big toe straighter)

There was a silent auction and I won a MS Challenge Walk sweatshirt and an MS Walk blanket. My sister bid on a wine basket for me that I said I wanted or my birthday and she got that too!

Then we went to the dinner program for the evening. They talked about two girls who had been scholarship recipients for the MS Society scholarship and read their application essays. The first one could have been written by me when I graduated High School and I just started crying. I was SOOOOOO tired. Got myself together and then we went straight back to the room and to bed since we were all exhausted. I thought the night would NEVER end! Slept fitfully and couldn't get comfortable since I was so sore. But finally morning came and we were able to sleep a little later.

Start time was later and the start was at the resort so we could get going on our own. We got the car packed and went over to stand in line for the medics. Jackie's bad ankle was acting up and she had that taped and her blisters wrapped and Laurie had her blisters wrapped. Got ready and set off for day 3.

The scenery was better on day 3 and we got to walk past some awesome and beautiful houses. We were all sore and happy it was the last day. We all walked until mile 49 and then had lunch at a beautiful country club. Then we all walked the last mile together, happy that it was almost over. Tired, and ready to go home.

We all got a medal at the end:

We all had our picture taken and then got to hold the Mile 50 marker for pictures:

Then we got a shuttle back to the resort and got to head home. It's about a 3.5 hour drive and about an hour before getting home we decided we should stop and get out to walk around since we had been sitting for a while so we stopped at a McDonald's for a bathroom break and a snack. You should have seen all four of us getting out of the car! We all groaned and limped toward the door, all with our walker numbers still on and our orange t-shirts. We blended really well! Ha ha! Finally got home and got to sit down and rest. I unpacked first, and then sat for the night.

Ken got Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner (take and bake) and made mine first since he wasn't sure how much longer I would be awake! Sure enough, I fell asleep on the couch around 8 and crawled in bed at 9:17 p.m. It was awesome to sleep in my own bed!

I took off today to rest and I DEFINITELY needed it! I'm sore in a few places, but really not as bad as I thought I would be. It was definitely emotional and a HUGE challenge but what kept me going was this thought: "My mom can't even stand up on her own. I can walk. I can finish this. No excuses."

Today I went to breakfast with my sister. Then I renewed my driver's license and got to put 160 down for my weight instead of 211! WOO HOO!

Now we're getting ready for next year and coming up with fundraiser ideas. Yes, we think we're doing it next year too. Crazy, but worth it to get rid of this nasty disease. Thank you to all of my Spark friends and friends and family at home who supported me, donated, and encouraged me. I appreciate all of you more than you know.
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