Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day One – Walk on!

After mooooving out of the bull pen, we headed out of Del Mar and walked through the neighborhood.  We became experts at scouting at bathrooms off the beaten path.  This became increasingly important when we realized that a wait at the Port-a-Potties could waste 30 minutes and potentially cause a very embarrassing accident!  We were soon on our way to Torrey Pines.  Torrey Pines could be considered my arch-nemesis. The Torrey Pines hill is well known for being steep…and long.  Have I mentioned that I have exercise-induced Asthma?  Actually, it should be correctly diagnoses as incline-induced asthma.  I only feel it on the way up a hill.  Flat ground is my friend.  Just as we all develop coping skills to deal with our “issues”, I have developed mine.  On a hill, I am very focused….I don’t talk….I only step and breath or maybe that is step and wheeze…and Lord help anyone that gets in my way.  I heard several times from my teammates…..”Do you want to stop?” Nope…..keep going…. “Did you bring an inhaler? “  Nope…what do I look like….a nurse?  Oh yeah……I am.  But we know from past experience that on the 13.5 mile train walk, I was also the one that forgot the sunscreen, a hat and to drink consistently.  This would be the embarrassing day that I almost passed out on the way to the car.  So is it any surprise that I forgot the inhaler?   Nope!   Did I make it up the hill?   Yep!   Every day…and in the same manner….walk and wheeze all the way, baby!

I could have done the over-40 white woman dance at the top but I was surrounded by 4000 of my best friends and my hips can become a lethal weapon when not controlled effectively.  I have to say that there is something powerful about seeing a solid line of people in front of you and behind you.  It was amazing.  Even more amazing were the people on the side lines….everywhere…and many of them for the full three days.  We picked up chocolate, Twizzlers, mints and other tasty treats from the ever present community members that cheered us on.  People of all ages and cultures were out in packs – we affectionately called them the Walker Stalkers.  God love them!  They yelled, whooped and overall kept the mood happy and light.

We were also surrounded by the San Jose Police and SD Police – all in bunny ears and pink tutu’s. They rode their bikes next to us, playing music and joking with everyone.  Some of them men had baskets full of feminine hygiene products…just in case.  One of my favorite moments was when one officer ran down the row of Port-a-Potties yelling “San Diego PD…Open up!”  We got to see them dance with the Cheering groups and give a struggling walker a hug at a tough moment.  The trip would not have been the same without them. 

We stopped for lunch at La Jolla Shores…11.5 miles in.  A quick sandwich and change of socks and we were back on the trail to see the Seals, the community of Bird Rock and eventually….the camp.  As we drew close, one of our 3Day crossing guards let us know that we were within 2 miles of being done.  I cheerfully stated…”Well, heck….let’s just run it!” Eight faces turned towards me in disbelief!  I wish I would have had a camera!

We returned to camp to pick up our luggage and our little pink tent.  Two boy scouts wandering past offered to help – we kept them within close reach lest they be hijacked by another walker!  Since only one of us was a camper, tent construction promised to be very challenging without some outside help.  We ended up with beach front property at the end of the row!  Fabulous and a wonderful view in the morning.  We grabbed dinner and hit the showers – very interesting, I must add, to shower in a semi-truck.  Hot water and privacy….I would have never thought it was possible!  Bedtime came quickly – fortunately at the same time that the Karaoke ended.  We were very close to the dining tent and I’m assuming that the final singers were just tired….or were only able to sing when alcohol is involved!  Our heads hit the pillow and day 1 was complete!

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