August 28, 2010

3-Day Recap

The walk was two weeks ago, but it is still really hard for me to put the entire experience into words. There are a few words that come to mind: Inspiring, motivating, humbling, exciting, emotional, amazing, exhausting...but those don't even seem to do it justice. The people who had done the walk before had told Allen and I that this would be a life-changing experience.

They were right - without any doubt in my mind.

First and foremost, we walked with over 1900 of the most amazing people I think I have met in my life. We were crewed and tended to by over 500 volunteers who came out just to make sure that we, the walkers, were kept comfortable and healthy. I've never seen anything like it! Crew members up at the crack of dawn making us breakfast; medical staff tending to every blister, headache, ache and pain; and a security team made up of big guys on Harley's with pink mohawks and beards.

The one unfortunate piece of all of it was the extent of the blisters that I ended up getting due to the 90 degree heat for three days in a row. My feet are still in recovery! The heat made a lot of things unbearable for a lot of people - the blisters, heat stroke, dehydration, etc. We saw at least 7 ambulances take people away from camp because of how extensive the heat was. Those blisters also prevented me from doing the entire walk - I was only able to do about 45 miles in total. I know, I know, only 45 miles. But when you have a 78 year old man who is doing the walk with you, and beating you into camp every day, you realize exactly how humbling of an experience this is! However, crew members definitely made it a point to remind us that we already did what we came to do - raise the money, and bring awareness to the cause. The walking was just icing on the cake.

Downtown Plymouth - our new favorite city

The best and coolest part of the entire walk was the amount of people in the community that came out to support us. It was as simple as walking by a house on the route that had a sign up saying "Please Run Through Our Sprinklers" (something that was very much appreciated at high noon!).  There were families that sat out in their front yards handing us cups of fruit and bottles of water. It seemed like the entire city of Plymouth came out to celebrate our walking through the downtown area - they had to put barricades up so we actually had room to walk! There was a woman (we called her the dancing lady) that comes out to the walk every year with a giant speaker and an iPod, and she just stands out there every day all day blasting her music for us along the route, dancing and singing. She's a 28-year survivor. And just the amount of people that came out to support us, telling us we're making a difference, holding signs that say "You Hold Our Hopes" - it's hard to hold it together even thinking about it now.

The Dancing Lady! Still there on Day 3

Looking back on the walk, it's hard to pick a moment that is really my favorite. It could be walking through downtown Plymouth, or the rainbow that came up over camp on Saturday night, or maybe all of the walkers raising our shoes to the breast cancer survivors that walked with us. But if I had to pick one, it would be walking into closing ceremony with Allen. Just him and I, walking through the field in front of Ford Headquarters, overhearing on the loudspeaker that we had finished. I wouldn't have made it the entire last day without Allen and his support. We laugh trying to think about it now, but it's hard to look back on the walk and remember every mile - mostly because I think we blocked most of it out! But we do remember snippets, snapshots, and flashing moments that I know will stay with us forever.

Team Juggernauts

Rainbow over camp on Day 2

Raising our shoes to the survivors

Everyone keeps asking us if we're going to walk again next year. I can say with all honesty that we wouldn't be able to walk next year because of the wedding, but we will be out there supporting. This year's Michigan event alone raised over 5.4 million dollars toward breast cancer treatments, research and community outreach programs - but it still isn't enough until there's a cure. So yes, we will be financially supporting, but we will also physically go out and support those that choose to walk again. The people that came out and supported us on the walk are incredibly selfless and amazing, and we would like to give back what was given to us throughout the walk - inspiration.

The love of my life :)

Thanks again to everyone who followed and supported us on this amazing event - you guys are all incredible :)

August 10, 2010

Let the countdown begin

In a little over 60 hours, Allen and I will be starting our journey for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure. The 60 mile route starts us at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills on Friday, has us looping and camping in Livonia for two nights, and ending at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn on Sunday.

Everyone, repeat after me: Please don't rain, please don't rain, please don't rain.

Thank you.

I'll be trying to report in from the walk (at least through Twitter or Facebook) to let everyone know how it's going, but I will for sure be keeping track of the entire experience while we're there, and I can't wait to share it all with you guys.

So far, I can tell you at least this much: This has been quite a commitment - and we haven't even started the walk yet! Ironically enough, that actually feels like the easy part! The fundraising piece of it has definitely been the most exhausting, stressful, and trying piece of this so far. A $4,600 required donation to raise between Allen and I is a lot of money. The rest is just endurance. We're not quite at our goal yet, (and you can still donate at the links above!) but I have hope that we'll get there.

A quick note to those who have supported us so far:

We know our emails out to everyone have been annoying, along with all of the events, the Facebook alerts, Evites, raffle tickets, everything. But many of you not only supported us emotionally through all of this, you have put in your own time and money, and that has taught Allen and I lot about what great friends and family we have. We are very, very lucky.

If you're here in the metro Detroit area this upcoming weekend, and would like to come see what all of this is about, please click here to get all of the spectator information you need - including cheering areas all throughout the Farmington Hills, Livonia, Plymouth, and Redford areas. Also, from what we understand, the Closing Ceremony is a very cool and emotional experience, and friends and family are also welcome to that. All of the information is in that link.

Everyone I know who has done the walk has said it is an experience that changes your life. I'll have to wait to see that for myself, and I know that we'll have lots of pains and blisters when we get done with this thing, but I also know we'll also have a lot of love to carry us through it. Wish us luck!

August 3, 2010

Introducing Urban Blue

Alright everyone, I'd like to introduce you to our wedding reception site, affectionately called "Urban Blue":

Photo courtesy of Orchestrated Grace

Now it doesn't look like much now, but believe me, it's going to be fabulous. Picture in your mind a crisp white tent spanning the lawn you see above, with tables overlooking the sunset over Grand Traverse Bay (if you're going off of this picture, the beach would be all the way down at the bottom past the picture). Isn't it awesome?! Eeeeeeee! This whole space is like a blank canvas just waiting for us, I am so excited!

There are a ton of perks and great things about this location. One thing I love is the small cottage that you see at the top of the picture. It will be rented to us for the week prior to the wedding, perfect for our early arrival for preparations (but sorry, not open to everyone else!).

And this is probably the best perk ever: Guests can walk (or stumble, if you prefer) out to the beach, walk down the beach to their left, and about a half block later, they arrive at one of the hotels we'll be reserving rooms at! We'll be offering up other hotels to people as well of course, but how could you not take advantage of that?!

So many great were accomplished this weekend - meeting with our tent and equipment rental company, meeting with photographers (nothing decided officially on that yet), meetings at the church, and meetings with hotels in the area. Let the planning begin!