Friday, October 1, 2010

Avon 40 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer Recap

Happy October and Happy Breast Cancer Awareness month!!
If you're new to my blog, I am a HUGE advocate for breast cancer awareness.  My Grammie (now approaching 92 years!) is a survivor, and I have seen far too many people suffer from this disease in one way or another.  I love posting about *pink* things, such as what I've posted here and here.  In honor of Breast Cancer Month, here is my Breast Cancer Walk recap:

A few weeks ago on September 11th and 12th, my friend Amanda and I walked the Avon 40 mile Walk for Breast Cancer for our 2nd time.  We first walked it in 2008 and were completely moved and humbled and we knew we wanted to walk again.  So this year, we walked 39.3 miles for the second time to fight breast cancer.
This year the walk was in Santa Barbara (in 2008 it was in Long Beach which was so convenient for us!) so we cruised up Friday afternoon to check into our hotel and scope out the expo.  We walked along the beach path and it was the most beautiful day ever!  We saw the opening ceremony site being set up and were overcome with excitement!

We picked up our complimentary hat for raising a minimum of $2,200 and decided it was time to eat.  So we walked to Sharkeez down the street from our hotel and had some of the best fish tacos I'd ever had and an iced cold beer.  Totally hit the spot.  Since we had to wake up at 4:30am, we walked back to our hotel, laid out our attire for the next day including my fabulous Team Sparkle skirt (which I got literally 100s of compliments on!), and I packed up my backpack and we hit the hay.
SIDENOTE:  In 2008, I had the gnarliest blister the medics had ever seen.  Yes, the medic treating me after day 1 at the Wellness Village called all the medics over to check out the monstrosity of a blister that plagued almost my entire foot.  It hurt like a bitch!  But now it's actually quite funny.  It was HUGE!  In order to prevent that from happening this time, I decided to change socks every hour or so, and to also bring a change of shoes if needed. 
So I packed my backpack with 8 pairs of socks (extras just in case), spare shoes, sandals (you never know), and the necessary bandaids, water, snacks, ID, camera, phone, etc.  So everything was ready to go!  The gray hat you see here was our freebie for raising $$$!
Day 1:  26.2 miles

4:30am and I wake up to Dashboard Confessional "Stolen".  Why not start my day on a good note, right?  :)  So we got dressed and headed outside.  Realizing it was too dang cold to walk to the opening ceremony, we hailed a cab that just happened to be driving by and he brought us to the site free of charge.  We tipped him generously.
Immediately at the site we walked over to the "I walk for..." table to pick up our bib and write who we walk for.
Then we had some time to kill before the opening ceremony started...
So we signed the giant pillar:
We jumped around:
We showed our guns to give breast cancer a warning:
And then the opening ceremony started.
The day was September 11, 2010.  Nine years after the 9/11 attacks.  *Never forget*
The beach left me speechless (pic taken later in the day):
During the opening ceremony, they announced that the 2,800 walkers raised more than $6.4 MILLION!!!!!
Then the tears came...there were 6 speakers, all of whom had been affected by breast cancer.  One husband's wife died from it and his daughter was recently diagnosed, one woman was a survivor herself, a 15-year old boy was volunteering for his mom, etc.  All stories were so very touching.  I couldn't stop thinking about my Grammie and her battle, and remembering my Uncle and his battle against lung cancer that he eventually lost.  Despite the sadness, I was overcome with a powerful feeling of hope.  2,800 people and $6.4 million dollars.  Wow.  In this troubled economy, those numbers are staggering!  That's roughly $23,000 for every walker.  The numbers alone tell me there is hope.  Hope that we can beat cancer together.
Once the tears dried up, we were off!  It was so foggy being on the water, and the path was so narrow that it created a bottleneck for walkers to get through.  We finally got through the bottleneck and were totally amped up!
We took pictures at every mile marker, but I won't post all of them because that's a lot :)
Mile 5 and feeling like a million bucks!
We goofed off the entire time!  Singing and laughing, dancing and talking!  For us, it was the least we can do to walk while so many people are enduring chemo and radiation (I've seen both first hand in severe cases...I can't even imagine).
Sock change!
This sign wasn't for me, but I was stoked there was another Maggie walking!  I've only met two other Maggie's in my life and the lady saw how excited I was and held out the sign for a pic.  I like to think it's for me hahaha!  Either way, it gave me a surge of energy!
Howdy!  Getting a little John Wayne action at mile 12!  Still feeling like a Walk-star...
Half way for day 1!!!
At the rest stop at the Santa Barbara Mission.  Time to refill our H20 bottles, reapply sunscreen, eat some Red Vines and take some pictures!
The majority of the course was uphill.  And I mean UPHILL!  We walked up into the Santa Barbara mountains!  It was crazy!  And a lot of it was off-road on gravel and dirt paths.  At this point we were so tired of the uphills that when we heard a lady at this rest stop shouting that it was all down hill from here we were so relieved.  Well, the lady LIED!!!  We kept going uphill until about mile 22!!!!  Like I said, walking is the least I can do :)  But I think the course was poorly planned in that a majority of the walkers said that it was pretty strenuous, too strenuous for a lot of people.  We saw several women fall, including one woman in her 50s fall on the gravel and bust her chin and mouth open.  The EMT arrived promptly to take her to the ER.  I think the course planner should reconsider the "off-roading" for next time.  A lot of the chatter Amanda and I were hearing on the route was "Ugh this is ridiculous.  Why'd they move it from Long Beach anyways?" "Long Beach was flat and scenic.  What's the deal with all the hills and off-the-beaten path and walking along freeways?"  "Did you see that woman fall?  She's the 5th person I've seen take a tumble!"  Things like that.  Oh well!  It was still fun!  And the views once at the top were beautiful.

Mile 20 and welcome to Montecito!  And what a site it was!  To our right was the beautiful ocean
And to the left...the *MANSIONS OF MONTECITO* including Oprah Winfrey's house!!!  Oh man, were they gorgeous.  One house was having a photo shoot in the backyard.  Did I say backyard?  I mean countryside!
Onward we walked!
We both were feeling surprisingly good!  I could feel a couple blisters forming though.  It was kind of perfect timing because Amanda's friend who is a nurse was volunteering as a medic and happened to be stationed at the mile 20 rest stop!  She fixed me up and I was as good as new.  Well, almost.  We were starting to get a little tight, and my hip was getting stiff.
Just about a 5K to go!
These ladies were awesome!
Around mile 25 Amanda's boyfriend and her son who had been cheering for us along the course, parked and walked with us.  Almost there...almost there....Just about there....26 mile marker!!! Only 0.2 miles to go...
26.2 miles DONE!!!  We did it!  Day 1 complete!
By this point we were pretty tired.  First order of business at the Wellness Village was stretching foot massages!  After a heavenly foot massage, we picked up some free goodies, and off to dinner we went!!
After dinner we went back to the hotel and showered, and I think I fell asleep around 8:30pm while watching Snow White with Amanda, her bf, and her son in the hotel room.

Day 2:  13.1 miles

Luckily Day 2 had a later start than the previous day so we were able to "sleep in" a little.  I woke up feeling pretty sore, but not nearly as bad as I expected.  We hobbled around the room getting ready, and as we moved, we loosened up a bit.  We put on our matching pink shirts and black capris (we actually did NOT plan to match, we just happened to pack the same outfits), and Amanda's bf drove us back to the course from our hotel.
Mile 8 and feeling {surprisingly} great!
Even the ambulance was pink :)
Seriously, this girl made the miles pass so quickly!!  I <3 her!
We stopped just after mile 10 where they served "lunch" (it was like breakfast time).
After the lunch stop, we walked along the Seal Reserve.  It was beautiful!  It was a dirt trail along the cliffs and beside a train track (which we totally walked on before a train came!).
Just before a train came!  Yikes!
Only one more mile to go...
Almost to the FINISH!!!!
We did it!!  13.1 miles on day 2 done!!!
We walked 39.3 miles and it was incredible!!!  We grabbed some snacks and ice at the respective tents, stretched, and relaxed before heading home.
On my way home I stopped at the gas station and picked up 2 bags of ice and as soon as I arrived home I took a dreadful (yet totally helpful) ice bath.  I was worried about how I'd feel the next day because I had an 8am flight to New York for business, but I felt GREAT!  And no blisters!!  I really attribute the lack of soreness to my running.  Two years ago I wasn't running like I am now, and I think that gave me a solid foundation.  The ice bath helped a ton too :)

That weekend was another memorable and inspirational weekend, and I am ecstatic that Amanda and I were able to be a part of it.  Together we have raised close to $10,000!  I am so proud of us!  I am eternally thankful to everyone who supported me, both economically and emotionally, on my journey.  The power of hope is incredible, and power in numbers is a force to be reckoned with.  So watch out cancer, we're going to kick your ass!!!!

On another breast cancer note, tomorrow I am walking with my Aunt in a 10K for breast cancer to kick off pink ribbon month and to kick cancer's butt!


Me and Grammie (1986):

Me and Grammie (2010):


  1. I have so much admiration for you doing this amazing thing. I love that you also had a good time along the way.

  2. Hey Maggie!

    Heard you're running the Long Beach 1/2. Come say Hi to us at the Team Sparkle booth at the expo. You totally rocked the skirt at the Revlon Walk. Proud to have you part of the "Team" and would love to meet you in person!

  3. Can't believe I mispoke - I mean you rocked it at the Avon Walk. I did the Revlon walk in NYC when I lived there but it's nothing close to the distance of the Avon Walk!