60 miles over 3 days just seems like too easy of a way to describe the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. There is so much more to it than that, even before you get to the event. A lot of people have tried to explain what the 3-Day is and what to expect when you get on the walk. I wanted to take a shot and explain what MY 3-Day involves. Everyone has different experiences that come together to make their event one to remember and I wanted to focus this post on what makes the 3-Day special for me. I’m going to try and avoid re-hashing a lot of things that are just what to expect on the walk and stick to the things that really keep me coming back to this remarkable event every year.
I have thought over and over about how best to write about my 3-Day. At first I thought about talking about how this event has changed what it means to me over the years, starting with it being an awesome physical challenge and something to do with my sister the first year to a meaningful event with tons of people that I’m walking for now. But as I focused on that, I realized that there were several different aspects of the walk that didn’t change that I enjoy, even though my reasons for continuing on have changed. So, with that in mind, here are the aspects of my 3-Day that I love.
When talking about an event like the 3-Day, most people won’t mention that training was anywhere in their top X number of favorite things about it. A lot of people wouldn’t even consider training as a part of the 3-Day because it happens before you actually get on event. In my mind the two go hand in hand together. I was never one to go out and go to the gym or exercise fo the heck of it on my own. In fact, the first training walk that I went on for the 3-Day was the first time I had actually gone out and walked just to walk probably since I had to do it in my college physical education class. So the reason I am out there training is because of the 3-Day for the Cure and the reason that I can do the walking on the 3-Day is because of the training. Without one, there would not be the other (or at least the other wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable).
I will fully admit that getting started training is really hard for me. Just getting motivated at the beginning of a 3-Day season is difficult to do, but when I start walking and get training, there is something wonderful about being there. I do a lot of training on my own. Which means, when I go out and walk there is a lot of alone time for me to think things over, come up with things to write on this page, think of fund raising ideas and also think through general things that are going on in my life. It’s just some private time to mull things over. Sure there can be distractions, cell phone calls, text messages, traffic, other walkers, etc, but in general it’s time I get to myself.
On the occasions that I get to walk with other 3-Day participants, it’s really nice too. Often I’m walking with people I haven’t met before and sometimes I’m walking with people I don’t see that often. It’s nice to have new conversations with new people and to hear their stories and to be able to tell the stories that people you know are tired of hearing!
So yes, training is one of the things that makes the 3-Day for the Cure what it is for me. I know it’s not part of the actual event, but if it weren’t for training then I would not have nearly as good a time on event. I would just be sore and blistered!
Probably the number one reason for everyone to participate in the 3-Day is to find a cure for breast cancer. This can’t be done without monetary donations that walkers like me collect from friends, family, co-workers and ourselves. Looking back after a 3-Day for the Cure event and seeing what funds you have raised is a great thing. If you ask her, my wife will probably tell you that I enjoy fund raising and that it’s just something I can do. Just like training though, it’s really hard for me to get started and go out and ask people for money. I have to get over the initial jitters and remind myself that I’m not asking for the money for me, I’m asking for it to help find a cure.
So by now you may be thinking, “Geez, this guy only considers things that are A. Before the actual walk and B. One of my least favorite things to do to be part of his 3-Day, why would I want to do a 3-Day for the Cure?? We’re getting to some of the things you might think are more pleasant, or at least less unpleasant than walking and asking people for money. Every year that I have walked in the 3-Day I have walked with a family member. I did one walk last year that didn’t include a family member and it was kind of weird. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it was the first time walking without them and I definitely missed them. Family is one of those things that is an important part of the 3-Day for me.
For the last three years my sister has walked with me in the DFW 3-Day for the cure and I have always looked at that time as special in a way more that the 3-Day already is special. We both have kids now and we live in different states, so the time that Julie and I get to spend together just the two of us is few and far between. Being on the 3-Day is one of those chances where yes, even though there are thousands of other walkers out there with us, feels kind of like this special thing that we get to share. I enjoy poking fun at her sighs when she comes to a hill that she doesn’t want to go up, or laughing when she gets goofy when she’s tired. Having family on the 3-Day is just one of those things that makes the 3-Day for the Cure even more special for me.
This year, I’m excited to have not only my sister, but my sister-in law, niece and my wife on the 3-Day. They all decided to join up and I’m excited for the memories that will be made together!
Everyone that has walked with me on the 3-Day will tell you that I go all in for the phrase that “there is no such thing as a stranger on the 3-Day”. I enjoy meeting new people on the walk (or on training walks!) and even keeping in touch with them after the event. I’ll freely admit that I’m the best at remembering names from day to day, especially when I meet so many new people in three days, but I assure you that everyone I meet holds a special place in my heart.
If you happen to meet me on a walk and you want me to remember you, give me a card with your name and e-mail address on it! I can assure you that, while it may take a little bit of refreshing, I will remember you in the long run. I still keep in touch with several people I met two and three years ago. My first year walking, I was so overwhelmed that I honestly didn’t really meet that many people!
The Impromptu Cheering Stations
I will say that the normal cheering stations are great and that everyone will tell you that, so I’m not excluding them from my list because I don’t like them, I just feel that it’s pretty normal for people to mention them as something great about the 3-Day. The impromptu cheering stations are what really blow me away though. When I say “impromptu” I mean the cheering stations that aren’t on the route card and you just come around the corner and there’s people there cheering you on. The schools really rock at doing this and walker stalkers are good at organizing these as well. It’s really great to be surprised by people cheering you on, especially when it looks so organized!
I STILL to this day think about the students at W.T. White High School that came out and made SO much noise on both sides of the sidewalk when we came by their school. It was after normal school hours and they were still out there cheering everyone on. What an awesome impromptu cheering station that was, I was so glad to be able to see that last year!
The truth is, I could name hundreds of things that make the 3-Day special for me. There are plenty that other people have pointed out that are just as important: opening and closing ceremonies, people dressing up, crying (yes, crying), camp life and so much more. They are all very important to me. But when I came up with the idea to write about what makes a 3-Day a 3-Day for me, these things readily came to mind. I’m sure that if I gave myself all the space I could ever want then I would never get this post done and it would just go on forever and you wouldn’t be reading it now. So what are your maybe out of the norm favorite things about the 3-Day?