Okay, I'm finally up for posting about the walk.
Thursday night after working all day. I drove to Atlanta. It was raining and icky and the fog was so heavy that I passed so many wrecks it wasn't even funny. What should have been a 3 hour drive turned into over 4 1/2 hours. After arriving in Atlanta, I got to meet my roomie for the night, fab-o author and romance diva Kristen Painter. Kristen is fun, hip, and an absolute diva in every sense of the word. I had a blast getting to know her over the walk. If you enjoy romance and aren't already a member of the Romance Divas' website, be sure to join for great writing tips and much, much more.
Friday morning. Sometime long before the sun came up, Kristen & I headed out on a big Greyhound like bus. The bus brought us to a mall where the opening ceremony for the walk took place. There were people everywhere. I can honestly say I've never seen so many shirts advertising boobs in my life. "Blisters for Boobs" "Save the boobs" "Tutus for Tatas" were just a few of the t-shirt slogans. At the opening ceremony, Kristen and I met up with Deidre Knight, Lynne Simpson, Elaine Spencer, Julie Ramsey, & Lola. Deidre had gotten us Parallel Heat t-shirts made up for the walk so we got to have cool shirts, too. :)
Food took on a new meaning during the walk (which might explain how I gained 2 pounds rather than losing it). They had great snacks for us at each stop-point. My favorite was this graham cracker and peanutbutter and jelly bar that looked like an ice cream sandwich. I could really go for one of those right now...
Lunch was good, too. Mostly because I could take my socks and shoes off and just air my feet out. I did well, though. No blisters or great pains on day one. All the group (except maybe Lola who didn't stay with the group) made it the full 20 miles. Woo hoo.
Friday night. A hot shower has never ever felt so good. They had these 18 wheeler shower houses where about 20 could shower at a time. They had quite a few of these trucks set up so one didn't have to wait too long. Of course, the showers were about the size of my high school locker. Although I whine about my weight (what woman doesn't?) I'm not over-weight, just not the slim size I once was. I could barely turn in the stall. I really don't know how a heavier woman could manage. Drying off was a challenge too as when you turned your water off the water from neighboring stalls splashed as high as up to my thighs. Still, the shower was gooooood.
Sleep...I didn't sleep much Friday night. I brought ear plugs, so it wasn't even so much the noise. (No comment on what those noises might have been ;) It was more just being on the ground after walking 20 miles. I had a camping eggshell and a yummy warm sleeping bag, but it just didn't cushion me well enough to ever really get into a good sleep. I did stay snug and warm. Which is saying something since we woke to a layer of ICE on our tent. Yes, it was that cold.
Saturday morning. Up before the sun AGAIN. Breakfast was buffet style and good. I took off with Julie and Elaine, but by mid day my HIPS hurt badly enough that I knew better than to try to keep up with them for the rest of the walk. When the lunch lady points out where the medical tent is to you, that's a sign to slow down, right? My feet did fairly well again. At the end of the day I did have two bloody toes, but it's my own fault for not having my nails clipped low enough.
Lunch was good again. Supper hot and delicious. Did I mention how heavenly a shower inside a locker can feel???
Sunday morning. My tentmate was put on medical restriction not to walk. I rode the bus with her and didn't get my full 20 miles in. Ack, but as badly as my hips and KNEES hurt on Monday, it's probably a good thing that I didn't.
Crossing the finish line at the walk was an amazing experience. There were people cheering you on everywhere. Along the walk there were people giving out candy, pins, HOMEMADE COOKIES, gum, water, etc. How cool is that????
The walk is an experience I'll never forget--my knee won't let me. Okay, just kidding, although, yes, 3 weeks later my right knee is still messed up and I haven't been cleared to walk (you know, my regular routine trying to be healthy 2 to 3 miles in the mornings walking) again yet. Would I do it again? Yes, doing this walk once is an amazing feat. But next time I'm going to look for one where you sleep in a nice comfy hotel room bed at night and have real showers.
Opening Day Ceremony:Tents, tents, tents everywhere. This photo does little to show you the amazing reality of just how many tents were there. Imagine looking in every direction and seeing this.
Not that anyone I know would ever do this, but this photo is of "Buzz". ((Yes, that's really his name and yes, he admitted to being frequently teased about "Buzz Lightyear". )) Buzz came to my attention when some unnamed women tried to bribe him into going to buy them booze. Buzz was a good sport and even called his girlfriend to try to get her to bring these persistant ladies booze. I'm not too sure the girlfriend was amused. The cute diva on the right shall remained unnamed to protect the not so innocent. ;)
Crossing the finish line!!!!This is a photo of the luggage pick-up area. Again, as with the tents, the photo does little to convey the reality of just how many suitcases were strung out on large tarps on the ground.