I had heard great things about the walk from Amber (who participated last year), and the cause is near and dear to my heart (no pun intended), so I talked my mom into signing up with me. My mom and both my grandmas have battled breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed right before my senior year of high school, went through aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, and, thank God, has been cancer-free ever since.
So, it was a pretty powerful weekend. Here's us right before the opening ceremony at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
We look so happy and energetic. The energy did not last. :)
They passed out pink bunny ears at the entrance. You will see them in lots of pictures to come...
The Opening Ceremony was very inspirational and powerful. My mom and I got a little emotional when they honored the survivors and those who had lost their lives to breast cancer.
And, we were off! (How cute is my mom?)
I have to say that one of the very best things about the walk is the people on the side of the road that come out to cheer the walkers on. Sometimes referred to as "Walker Stalkers," they show up in crazy outfits, with funny and inspirational signs, and blast music and cheer as you go. It is very motivating and makes the walk even more fun! I took a lot of pictures of the walker stalkers that I plan to post below. Sure enough, there were some awesome people waiting to cheer us on as we left the Opening Ceremony and started the walk.
My mom and Billy. :)
Also, there were a lot of boobs and boob puns on the walk.
Another awesome part of the walk are the bikers and San Jose police officers who volunteer to direct traffic. Nothing like seeing a biker in leather ... and a pink tutu! :)
Mom on the trail.
The route was absolutely stunning.
Some funny cars and sweep vans. Prepare yourself for boob puns.
There were also some crazy spirited outfits by some of the walkers. I took pictures of a few of my favorites...
Every few miles, there is a "pit stop," with food, drinks, and port-a-potties.
After some refueling, it's back on the road.
There are a ton of dogs on the route, too. These were my favorites.
Again, it was a gorgeous, gorgeous walk.
Bikers/cheerers outside of Pit Stop 2.
Walking into Pit Stop 2.
After that pit stop, we hiked up a long, long hill. It was tough. I took no pictures. Looking back through the pictures, I noticed our energy start to drop...
My feet were already hurting and blistering, despite the right socks, shoes, and blister shield. A little icing, and then we pressed on.
Walking through La Jolla, my mom recognized my Grandma's former neighbor and dear friend, Phyllis, sitting on the side of the road cheering the walkers on! It was a very cool coincidence.
We arrived at camp, and set up our tent and sleeping bags.
There aren't very many pictures from Day 2. We were both pretty tired and focused on powering through the day. However, I resolved to take more pictures on Day 3, and so there are a ton from our last day.
Here we are, about to leave camp. Next stop ... the finish line! (By way of lunch, of course.)
More amazing people cheering the walkers on.
Sort of wrong, but made me laugh.
I love this picture so much.
We picked up some buttons along the route.
As I said before, the San Jose Police were so amazing. And funny. There is apparently a waiting list for them to use their vacation time to come down to San Diego to volunteer for the walk. Pretty awesome.
Some had speakers hooked up to the back of their bikes that blasted lots of fun, girly music.
As we neared the end of the third day, we really pushed ourselves. I had a ton of blisters on both feet, but we were determined to finish.
I passed this dog about a mile from finishing, and I believe he felt what I was feeling...
So many people, cheering us on to finish.
And...we made it!!
Walkers got white victory shirts, and survivors were given pink ones. They then had the survivors gather on a hill so they could make a special entrance into the Closing Ceremony. There's my mom, front and center!
When the survivors paraded in, everyone took off one walking shoe and held it up as a tribute to the survivors. It made me tear up. It was very powerful.
I love this picture of my mom walking in with the other survivors.
The Closing Ceremony was awesome. They announced that our event raised $9.5 million for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Pretty awesome.
Overall, the Walk was an incredible experience. After the first day, my mom and I were exhausted and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. But, by Day 3, we agreed that it was an amazing weekend and have been seriously considering signing up for 2010. (Maybe once those blisters heal!)
Many thanks to all of you who sponsored me, wished me luck, and supported me.