Orlaith Carey (orlacarey) wrote,
Orlaith Carey

Komen weekend - now with pictures!

Thursday LLT took off to run some errands in the morning and then go to the Crew training in the afternoon. When I got home I was surprised to find that LLT and Sas were not at home. But eventually they called and said they were on their way home (Sas stayed the night and left his car at our place for the weekend). I ordered Chinese food for dinner and they got home right after the delivery guy came. After we ate I grabbed a shower and did a few last things before going to bed.

The last thing I did was post the date announcement for Privateer Feast 2011 to Facebook. Exciting news – since PF2011 is actually the first weekend in March we can go to A Day in the Middle East – and people from Dun Carriag who want to come to PF can! Yipee! More info
at PF.teamwench.org

Anyway, I finally got to bed only to wake up at 3 am. Crawled out of bed and drove Sas and LLT down to the walk with a quick stop by 7/11 first. There was a slight amount of grumbling because I made them take off their bells – really NO ONE should wear bells at 3 am – heck no one should wear bells while in the same car with me. I feel about bells like some people feel about bagpipes – they are lovely from a distance.

Of course as we were on our way to the stadium LLT realized that she’d already lost her credentials. Luckily they could be reprinted for her once she got there. Then I dropped them off only to have to drive around the block again so I could give LLT the stuff she’d bought at
7/11 which she forgot in the car. I finally made it out of DC and stopped by the house to make sure the cats had food for the weekend and a clean litter box. Couldn’t find LLT’s credentials though. At that point I could have laid down and gone back to sleep but I figured I’d sleep through my alarm and be late for work so instead I headed to Baltimore. On the way I called Mix 107.3, 98.7 WMZQ, and WTOP to remind them that it would be a good idea to warn people that
the Komen walk was going to interfere with rush hour by the stadium. I even got on the air with Boxer for WMZQ.

Once at work I pulled into a parking spot then crawled into my back seat for a nap. At which point I realized that my blanket cloak really needs to live in my car for the winter cause I was cold. But I napped for a bit and then went into work. Since I was still sleepy all day I ended up taking another 45 min nap at lunch time. I’m not sure how I made it through the day – all I wanted to do was head out for the walk. Next year I need to not be working one of the days of the walk.

At last it was time to leave and I headed home. Got there, checked to make sure the cats hadn’t put too much of a dent in the food I’d left them and then waited for museclio to pick me up. She very kindly drove me up to the Gaithersburg area to the camp even though she had plans for the evening.

I got to camp and quickly found LLT and Sas. LLT took me to get dinner (steak!) and we got me settled in to camp. The nice thing about LLT being there before me is she’d taken both bags so everything was basically set up when I got there. All I had to bring was my walk stuff and a small bag of meds/toiletries. Since LLT had been working hard all day and I wanted to be up early the next morning we crashed pretty early – I think we were in bed by 8:30. Sadly that didn’t mean we were asleep. For some reason I just couldn’t sleep Friday night no matter what I did. I must have gotten some sleep because on Saturday people were talking about hearing the sirens go off but I don’t remember hearing them. Still I remember long periods of time being
awake and wishing I could fall asleep. I also remember tossing and turning all night – though LLT says I didn’t move as much as I think I did. I’d learned from last year and brought my mummy sleeping bag which worked out very well for keeping me warm except that the zipper
kept slipping on the top so my arms kept getting loose. LLT had brought her down comforter and we shared the air mattress which worked out well since that was pretty much all the room in the tent.

Saturday morning the crew members in the tents around us started getting up at 5 am and of course I was awake. LLT didn’t have to get up since she had no official duties for the morning but I wanted to get on the road early. So I got up and got dressed then headed out to breakfast. Then I found a place to stretch for a little bit and talked to some people. The knee brace I’d brought with me was already bugging me and my knees weren’t acting up yet so I went back to the tent to drop it off. On the way there I ran into LLT who was on her way to breakfast. Then I ended up in the long line of people waiting to get scanned out of camp. While I was standing there Sas came up to wish me luck.

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I’m not sure what time I left camp but it couldn’t have been much later than 8 am. The sun wasn’t even fully up yet. We walked out of camp and started on our way – having to cross several roads to get really going.

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When we got to the first pit stop several people seemed to decide to skip it, at least in part because in order to get to the pit stop you had to leave the route, go down an incline and curve around into a parking lot then backtrack. It just seemed like a lot of extra walking for people if they didn’t need to use the facilities. I remember getting to the pit stop and being disappointed because I asked what time it was and there was only 20 more minutes left in the pit stop. That meant I wasn’t making as good a time as I wanted to and I was afraid it would cause problems later. But I stopped at the port-a-castles and then refilled my drinks – it was also an issue for me that by that point my Gatorade tasted good – maybe I like purple?
But usually when Gatorade tastes good it means you really need it. Bah. But while I was stretching I took the time to take pictures of my walk hat including the two handmade flower pins that Mom had crocheted for me (she made some for LLT as well).

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I got lots of compliments on my hat over the weekend including at least one specifically on the flowers. I really like my bright pink fedora with its many and assorted walk related pins. I also took off one of my shoes because it felt like it had something in it. Then I continued on my way. Anyway I left the pit stop and continued on. But within a couple of blocks of the stop I actually turned on my ipod and speaker for a little pick me up. I walked about a mile or so then turned off the music and sat down to put some moleskin on the ball of my foot and
take off my over shirt. Then I started off again and made it to the bottom of a valley before turning the music back on. The hill was long but the incline was constant making it seem pretty steep by the bottom. Then we crossed a street and started heading up the next hill. By the time I was halfway up that hill I was starting to really wish for a pit stop so I could hit the port-a-castle again. In the middle of the street there was a turn only lane and I remember there was a Target truck parked in the center with it’s flashers on. I thought that was a weird place for an advertisement until I realized that the driver had run into the woods on the side of the road to “take care of business”. By this time I was really wishing for a port-a-castle and was tempted to do the same but thought it was a bad idea. So I kept walking but since I was also tired and hurting I made up my mind to take the next sweep van that passed. Wouldn’t you know it before I made that decision I saw lots of vans slowing down to check on people (including me). When I decided that I wanted to grab a van the only ones I saw were zipping past because they were full. I passed a sign that said one mile to the pit stop and I was really wishing for a sweep van but I wanted to keep walking until I caught one. Finally I got to the bottom of the hill and there was a bridge where people were taking the time to stretch. A van passed and I was able to flag it down – taking one of the last three seats on the van.

We didn’t go too much longer before we stopped to pick up two more walkers and the driver of the van said that while it wasn’t too far to the pit stop there was another big hill in the way. He dropped us off about 20 feet from the start of the pit stop so we could experience
the cheerleaders who had come to cheer us into the pit stop.

First I hit the port-a-castle then I went over to the blister care station to look at my feet. I ripped off my sock to realize that I forgot to clip my toe nails before the walk – something I just didn’t think about doing. So I ended up ripping the tips of my nails off because they were digging into the toes on either side as I walked. Then I padded the toes with moleskin just to be safe. I also noticed that my hands were swelling so much that one of my fingers developed a blister that is still red four days later. I’m not sure what time I hit that pit stop but they were beginning to shut it down and I heard some of the women at the blister area saying that they were talking about anyone not yet at the pit stop being forced to take the bus to lunch. Being a wuss I decided to take the bus to lunch instead of trying to make it to the 3rd pit. Obviously I was losing time with each section and I remember how it felt last year to hit the caboose – you never feel like you can catch up after that.

Once I got to lunch I grabbed my half a ham sandwich, sunchips and tomato slice then sat down to eat. I ended up deciding that I would go back to camp and rest up for the next day – a decision that means I suck but turned out to be a good thing. Anyway, I’d known that I wasn’t going to walk the whole thing because of my lack of training and I’d come prepared. In my walk bag I had a set of knitting needles and the yarn for some chemo hats that I want to make. The yarn is a variegated cotton of shades between white and bright pink that is being sold for Breast Cancer awareness month. I originally planned on making one hat but bought two balls of it due to the free pattern. Now I’ve decided that I should just make a few children’s hats because the colors are really better suited to a little girl. Anyway – I figured knitting on a cancer related hat was at least in the spirit of the weekend. I didn’t like the start I’d originally made to the hat so I pulled it out and started knitting again. It’s much better this
time. The bus was slow to fill and the bus driver ended up putting in Avatar to keep us entertained while we waited. We got back to camp where I found out that the tent and gear crew had very light duties for the day – just cleaning up around camp and then judging the tent
decorating competition. Neither Sas nor LLT were happy about that situation because they felt like they should have been doing more.

But the fact that I was there meant we could take the time to get some pictures of the team in the daylight.

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We also stopped by the Bank of America tent so I could check out the massage chairs – they had stations set up with a chair a foot massager and a laptop hooked up to the internet – nice! Of course I posted to facebook what I was doing and I mentioned out loud that I wondered how many people were posting the same thing to facebook for the weekend. There was a film crew filming people for internal BoA advertising and they interviewed everyone in the tent who was willing for a few minutes. I did it but of course I stumbled enough that I doubt they’ll use my footage at all. We also went down to the 3 Day Shop and looked around to see if there was anything we wanted. I ended up getting a lanyard – which I wanted anyway. They had some wicking shirts for $9.95 each and LLT and Sas picked up a couple. Not sure what else they got.
At some point we also spent some time taking down tents – apparently the camp angels were having such a good time setting up tents that they set some up that never got used. When the winds kicked up on Saturday afternoon those empty tents went rolling around so we pulled them down and packed them up.

Then we ended up getting dinner – grilled chicken this time.
Sas had brought a card game and he went to go get it so we could play after dinner but just as we were getting to start the night’s entertainment started – a concert by the woman who sings Pink Warrior. The problem was they had it amplified so that people on the other side of the camp could hear it clearly. Seriously, we walked out of the tent and the music was still too loud all the way until we got to the Bank of America tent.

LLT had a crew related call that she went to answer (she had a walkie talkie on all weekend) and Sas went to go upload pictures to facebook. So I sat on the ground for a while and looked at my feet which is when I realized that I’d developed blisters on my heels – not on the bottoms but on the sides. Remember when I said that leaving the walk after lunch was a good plan? This is what I meant. I didn’t even feel the blisters until I’d been in camp for more than two hours and then I had to see them before I realized they were there. I can’t imagine what kind of shape my feet would have been in if I’d kept walking. I stopped by the medical tent for some advice and they said to leave my feet uncovered for the night to dry them out and then come see them in the morning.

I was pretty tired from lack of sleep by this point so we headed back to the tent and sat and talked for a while. Sas and LLT had to go move the gear trucks at 9 pm but they left a bit early so they could go get an autograph from Nancy Brinker. Since she wrote a book this year she’d come to the event to do book signings. Sas had asked about getting an autograph earlier and he was told that she might do it if there was still time after all the books had been signed.

When they left I crawled into bed and I only woke up briefly when LLT crawled in at 10 pm. Then I went back to sleep – still not a great sleep but better than Friday night. I’d set my alarm to go off at 4:30 in the morning since LLT needed to be up and moving then but once again the people in the tents around us woke us up earlier – this time at 4 am. We stubbornly stayed in bed until 4:25 and by the time we got out of the tent several of the tents were already down.
We finished packing our gear and pulled down the tent. While we were doing that we discovered that my camel pak had leaked in the middle of the night, getting several things wet including my work shoes which I’d worn to the event on Friday since my walk shoes were packed. If I’d been thinking I would have kept my walk shoes to change into after work on Friday. Then LLT and Sas carried the gear up to their truck while I took the trash to the end of the row by a trash bag. I have to say that compared to last year we didn’t do a very good job with the trash. Last year the amount of trash that LLT and I threw away at the end of the weekend fit into a gallon zip lock bag with more than half of it to spare. This year we threw away a shower curtain, air mattress and the pump for the mattress. Plus about 1/2 of a gallon zip lock bag of assorted debris.

After things were dropped off at the truck we went and grabbed breakfast and then LLT headed off to do her job. I headed off to the medical tent and stood in the line until it opened at 6 am. When I finally got to the beginning of the line I was advised to go to the self care area and that there were some medical people floating there that I could talk to. They were really busy though so I ended up wrapping my blisters with the advice of some of the other women. First I wiped them with alcohol pads, then covered with skin on skin. Then I cut a donut out of the moleskin and put the moleskin around my blister. Finally I covered all of that with a couple of large bandages.

By the time I got out of medical LLT and Sas had already left site – they were in one of the trucks taking stuff down to the holding area at the Ronald Regan building. They had to leave camp by 6:30 so they could get to the site by 7:30. The lovely FLT agreed to drive downtown and pick LLT up with our gear bags when she was done since LLT was going to be finished before noon.

Then it was time to hang out and take pictures for a while. I’d decided to take the bus to lunch – on the principle that if I was only going to walk half a day I’d prefer it to be the 2nd half of the day. There were enough other people who felt that way that the bus was full between people who had been red carded and people who were going straight to lunch.

While we were waiting on the bus I decided to listen to some music but to my disappointment it looked like my Ipod had drained it’s battery overnight. I tried recharging it but it didn’t work. So no music for me on the walk on Sunday – that is except for the music that people played in the streets for us at cheering stations and street corners. Before we left camp we were told that they were going to hold us at lunch until noon – which didn’t make sense because there was still something like six miles to walk and their reasoning was they didn’t want us to get to the holding area too soon…but the holding area opened at noon. When we got to the lunch stop it was about 8:30 and someone came on the bus to tell us that they would let us walk at 10:30 but that no buses were going to leave the lunch stop until noon. Okay that made more sense. But we still had time to kill so I walked to the CVS across the street with a couple of the other walkers.

While I was there I noticed something I just HAD to take a picture of for my friends - candy blood - I thought it was funny enough to take a picture of but not enough to buy some - didn't even find out the price.

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Right as I was leaving my camel pak lost it’s little yellow plug that controls if the hose works or not. So water started spilling out of the silly thing. One of the other ladies had a camel pack with a similar problem and she’d used a binder clip to fix the problem. Since she wasn’t walking that day (she was going to take a bus to holding) she gave me her binder clip.
Then we headed over to Starbucks to grab a drink and hang out for a while. Then back to the lunch stop. Finally it was time for me to start walking again. I headed out and soon found someone to walk with. We walked all the way from lunch to the next pit stop together and she gave me one of the pins she had been selling as a fundraiser. We split up at the pit stop because she didn’t want to stop for long and I needed to stop at medical to check on my blisters and change my socks. Because we’d made good time since lunch it was still early enough that the medical staff at the pit was pretty free so I got one of them to look at my blisters – she said that I’d wrapped them the same way she would have and then she re-wrapped them for me. They seemed to have grown a bit since the morning but weren’t yet bad enough to need to be lanced in her opinion.

One thing that disturbed me about the pit stop was a sign that said they were filming today (I guess it was too early for the camera to be at that stop so I didn’t see one) and that by entering the pit stop you were consenting to be filmed and have the footage used however the organization wanted to use it.

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When I talked to LLT about it later she said there was a sign like that at camp as well, I just didn’t notice it. I have a problem with this concept because basically what they were saying was that if you wanted to use the support services provided by the Komen organization you had to consent to be filmed. While it’s not that big a deal for me I know people who have issues with being on film for various reasons. And lets be honest here – the participants of the event pay $95 each (although sometimes you can get a $35 discount) and that money is paying for the support services of the event. So basically they were saying if you don’t want to be filmed you couldn’t have the services you paid for. I don’t know about you but I have issues with that. I’d have been okay if they tagged people like they do at Sci-fi cons or if there was a film free area, but to say the entire camp/pit stop was open for filming is a bit much.

Anyway – I moved on to walking the last segment of the course. This took us down to the White House and across E Street to New York Avenue. At the White House another walker offered to take my picture for me and I returned the favor for her and her friend.

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I saw some people doing a Segway tour and was tempted to ask if I could borrow one for about half a mile. I was all excited you see because I knew that holding was at the Regan Building – about 3-4 blocks from the White House. So I thought that we were almost to the end. Little did I know…although I should have, what the Komen organization had in store for us.

We crossed over to New York Avenue and walked up to 12th Street. At this point I thought we’d be turning to walk down 12th Street. Instead there was a sign that said “holding 1 mile”.

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And they proceeded to walk us up to the convention center, take us down 9th street and then walk us back to 12th street along Pennsylvania Avenue. Man was I mad! Yes I know we need to make a certain number of miles but they could easily have made up that extra mile somewhere earlier in the route between lunch and the White House. This is the 2nd year in a row that they’ve taken on a detour at a point where the locals KNEW we were within spitting distance of the end. It actually makes me think I want to stop walking in DC and start walking in cities where I don’t know the local geography. I swear my feet and legs really didn’t start hurting until I passed within two blocks of the holding area. But I did run into a family who was waiting to meet a walker and I was able to give them some info about the route which made things slightly better. I think they decided to wait for her to catch up to them and they were going to walk the last half mile with her.

I made it to the holding area and as I walked in someone told me I was the 350th walker to cross the finish line. I got my shirt and rose (which is still in LLT’s car dang it) and then headed to medical where I checked on one of my blisters just to make sure it looked okay. Since they really didn’t have many supplies at that medical station I decided to not even bother checking the 2nd blister and actually just used some tape to reattach the bandages that I already had. The blister didn’t look like it had grown any during the last bit of the walk so I was okay. Then I sat for a while and tried to decide if I was willing to stick around for the 2 plus hours it would take for closing ceremonies. I have to admit that part of the deciding factor was that if I waited for closing ceremonies I would have to walk to the Washington Monument and back whereas if I didn’t wait the metro was within 100 feet of me. Plus since LLT had already taken our gear bags I didn’t need to stick around to pick mine up.
So after sitting for a while watching the fun I headed onto the metro and out to College Park. I felt less bad about it since there were several other walkers and crew on the train with me – although they were all headed out to the airport to get on planes to head home.

When I got to College Park I called LLT to let her know I was there and I think I woke her up from a nap. While I was waiting for her I stood by the kiss and ride reading my book. Some chickie went up to a guy who was waiting for a friend and asked if he could help her out. It seemed that she was supposed to go to an audition at the Holiday Inn on Route 1 and the next bus wouldn’t even come to the metro station until after her audition was supposed to start. She didn’t have money for cab fare and she was wondering if he would give her a ride. LLT and I ended up giving her a ride to the hotel since it was the one in the Ikea parking lot. I’m not sure we did her any favors though – as she got out of the truck Chicke said it was an audition for a plus sized modeling gig – which tells me it was likely a scam. Anyway we decided to try the new sushi place by the Ikea for dinner. I can’t say I was impressed, but then it’s a take out sushi place, what did I expect?

After that we went home and crashed pretty quickly – but not before I tried charging my ipod and realized that it wouldn’t work. I ended up making an appointment for it at the Apple store in Annapolis on Monday. But that’s another story – thus endith my Komen Walk Report.

Well not quite – I have some thoughts on the event this year. Overall I was not as satisfied with the experience as I was last year. Part of that was that I didn’t walk as far as I did last year (and last year I didn’t walk far enough). Part of it is that Phillips farm – where camp was – is apparently a thistle farm since we were basically camped in a field of thistles (and I later heard that both snakes and BIG spiders were found on site). Nancy Brinker coming to the event didn’t really help things in my eyes because it effected how they timed things for the crews. For example, because they didn’t want the trucks to be in the pictures they didn’t let the truck crew move them until 9:30 on Saturday night when the walkers were all back in camp and it was dark. It would have made far more sense to move them in during the day when camp was deserted. The shower trucks were all the way at the other end of the camp from the tents this year which meant a lot of extra walking if you wanted to get a shower. And as Sas pointed out there just felt like an atmosphere of “how can we get you to spend more money” from the organization. I’m not sure why that vibe was there more than it was last year but it was. Maybe it was Ms. Brinker coming to sign her book? And that the Saturday night concert was by “National Recording Artist” (I didn’t catch her name) blah blah who was singing songs from her new album. Then there was the irritation of being forced to take that lovely detour – which I admit is somewhat my own fault for getting excited about being so close to holding and indeed even knowing the territory well enough to know how close we were. And then the photography
issue. Sigh – there were just a lot of reasons why I was unhappy this year. Next year LLT and I are considering trying an event outside the area. And since the only other walk in Atlantia is an Avon walk in October (Charlotte October 22 - 23, 2011) that is the one I’m leaning toward. It might be nice to see how Avon compares.

If you make it all the way to the end of this and want to see more pictures they're on my flickr account here http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlacarey/sets/72157625011216371/with/5068888129/
Tags: cancer, komen, komen 2010

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