Since it was raining during the closing ceremony, there was no official blog/tweet/update, so I shall start from before.
I was in far too much pain to be able to continue past mile 3.7-ish today, so I spent some time with others in pain and hopped from station to station, taking in the scenery, enjoying other people's stories, and absorbing the beautiful day. Our great bus leader, Katie (who Lori introduced me to), dropped us off about 150 yards from the finish line, so we were able to take in the crowd and feel rewarded for our successes. It was very exciting to see so many faces cheering and supporting my accomplishment, it felt great. Even though I was unable to complete the 39.3, I am very proud of my official 13.1 + approx 3.7 (not including the extra random walking around during the ceremonies and during our time at the Wellness Village), so I'm damn proud!
I took a few snapshots at the end, and took in all the excitement.
The closing ceremony was a nice touch. Just before Tamara's speech, it began raining (with almost perfect predictions by Ginger Zee). It was almost a sign that the big man upstairs was feeling our pain and grieving for us, Tamara, and all the survivors. She delivered one hell of a speech, and as soon as she ended, the rain continued but the sun came out. It was a nice touch and brought a smile to my face.
I give a lot of credit to the survivors of this disease, and all cancerous diseases. It was very moving to see so many of them there, supporting the cause. Honestly, i can only imagine what they've all been through or are going through. The disease touches so many people, and I only hope that in my lifetime the Avon Foundation and other breast cancer research centers are able to find a cure and spread the word on how to prevent the disease.
I also had an interesting epiphany... Yes, this is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and with the Chicago walk being so large (3000-4000?) that so much is involved. At times I did feel like I was being herded, but from stepping foot into the host hotel, I felt that the whole experience was very personalized and the volunteers/crew/staff were there to continue the mission of finding a cure by helping us with our needs, and always with a smile. Yes, the fresh food was prepared for the masses and our gear was hauled around, but at no point did I feel like "just a number." I always felt like an individual and was constantly being thanked for doing so much for others. That says a lot about a fundraising event with so many people, don't you think? Every walker was there for someone else, but we were all there to support each other and the volunteers really made it happen. If any Avon volunteers read this, thank you.
And with my final words from the Walk weekend, I repeat myself and mention how blessed I am to feel this pain and how fortunate I am to be in the situation to be able to walk in support of others. Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I'm sure I'll have a few (PG-13) words with myself, but I'll know that the pain I'm feeling is appreciated by so many. Also, the funds my supporters, teammates and I raised are going towards that $7.7 million dollars the Chicago Walk brought in. I'll know that those four nagging blisters are minimal pain compared to those who are fighting, those who have fought, and those who have lost another due to the disease. I'll take four blisters any day.
Thank you to my supporters, friends, family and coworkers, who helped me reach my goal of $1800 to walk this weekend in support of breast cancer.
Update: I have a Garmin watch that I use for my training (with accurate tracking via satellites), and I was able to track the walk (until the battery died). If interested, here's 9 miles from Saturday's walk http://www.mapmyrun.com/route//il/chicago/778127591696065259