Three years ago this weekend, I was waking up on the ground in a sleeping bag inside a little pink tent.
Three years ago this weekend, I walked a marathon on Saturday. 26.2 miles. Then I got up and walked another 13.1 miles on Sunday. For me. For mine. For others.
Through the streets of Washington, D.C. as a part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
At the beginning, it was just a bucket list check. But looking back on it now, three years ago this weekend…It was probably one of the most powerful and beautiful and … frustrating experiences of my life.
Like everyone who walks in this event, I committed to raising at least $1,800 for the cause. So many amazing friends and family donated to help me meet this goal. And I put everyone of their names on a pink ribbon the night before and attached them to my bag to carry along with me. I also added the names of some of the beautiful and inspiring people that I was walking for, that were no longer here.
I had no idea, then, what it would all mean to me, now.
There were so many women. Walking. Walking for themselves, with their chemo-ed smooth heads in their pink bandanas. Walking for their Moms. Walking for their sisters. Walking for their daughters and their friends.
Walking with a common goal. With a common purpose.
There were so many supporters. People on the streets who were cheering us on, watching the parade of pink people make their way through the streets. Holding signs. Signs that made us laugh and signs that made us teary.
And while we were all together, for me, at mile 18, it became a very personal, a very individual journey. I don’t know the significance of mile 18. It was the same on a training walk for me, too. It was the mile that made me emotional. It was the mile that made me mad. Mad that we had to be there. Mad that so many fight this and mad that so many are no longer here. Mad that we have to come out and walk and relay and raise money for research and for help. Mad that it happens at all.
But at the end of 26.2 on Saturday, I took a hot shower and walked my legs back to the tent and slept. And prayed. And thanked. And I got up the next morning and walked another 13.1 miles and popped a blister and put on some moleskin. And at the finish line, I vowed to make some changes and to look at things differently.
And I’m still working on it. Still making changes. Still trying to be present and thankful and mad. Still failing and getting up to try again the next day.
Three years ago this weekend. I’m Still walking (and running). For me. For mine. For others.
So. Get mad. Get past your Mile 18. Then get moving. Everyday.
Let’s all, Go. Do that.