This was an amazing experience! I am overwhelmed with emotion, spiritually soaring high and I really don't care that I hurt like hell, though I am hysterically amused by my attempts to climb 14 stairs to shower the previous two nights. DH threatened to video-cam my pathetic crawl up the stairs, but I said that if he did I would leave him - once I could move again.
Despite a brutal hill climb in High Park early on day one (staying there 2/3 of the way up was tempting, but not an option), minor heat stroke and sunburn (you know you’re too hot when the Gatorade actually tastes good!), and walking in the cold rain with a minor chest cold (got some hot herbal tea with honey from Starbucks en route), surprisingly few and minor blisters with potential imminent loss of one toenail (there's a blister under it), other body parts chaffing in places I cannot speak of, and every single muscle and joint aching and stiff with possible exception of one beside my right eyebrow… I am so incredibly glad that I did this I cannot describe the depth of my feelings.
I definitely did NOT do the whole 60km.
Some people do the whole 60km. Many people don't, and even experienced veterans of several previous years sometimes call a halt. I don't know precisely how far I went, but I estimate a total of about 45km. On day one I probably covered about 25km. We started with opening ceremonies shortly after dawn, leaving the CNE grounds by 7:15am. I was feeling pretty good until around 3:30pm I was overcome by extreme heat and my blood pressure was spiking (it crept up through the day, was up to 132/89 mid-day, 138/96 mid-afternoon…), so discretion being the better part of valour, I called it a day shortly before 4pm and got swept to the camp.
There are numerous bike patrols and sweep vans with crews that travel back and forth along the route cheering on the walkers and offering support and water refills and blister care, and if you need a break (or if you fall to far back at the end of either day), they will take you to the next pit-stop (or all the way to camp) where there are snacks and/or meals and water and Gatorade and toilets (incredibly good portables) as well as medical personnel, and all kinds of assistance and support.
On day two I probably did another 20km. I woke up around 4:30am with a cough and fighting a chest cold (but surprisingly limber after the first day, though tired). I suspect the extreme exertion of day one undermined my immunity, as I have noticed that in the past after some extreme bike rides or overdoing other workouts. Nevertheless, I was doing okay once I got warmed up and moving. I twisted my right knee mid-morning and went about another 5km unable to keep it in alignment, then I decided not to risk damaging it further and got swept about 2km to the lunch stop.
After lunch it was hard to get moving, but some bandages and stretching banished the blisters and stiffness and I started to feel pretty good. I actually surprised myself by almost finishing the last 14km, but I completely lost it at the last pit stop just south of the CN tower with 3km to go. I was suddenly unable to even cross about a one block distance to the refreshments tent to replenish my water bottle and I just sank onto the bench and wept. I got swept over to outside the Exhibition grounds and walked one last km in from the Princess Gates and through the closing site and the ceremonies.
The 2007 WEBC is over, but the fight continues.
This year, 5,521 walkers, the largest number in the event’s five year history, and several hundred wonderful volunteer crew and support people, participated AND raised more than $17.3 million for breast cancer research and care! The 6th annual Toronto Weekend to End Breast Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Hospital is already planned for Sept. 5-7, 2008.
I have already registered for The Weekend to End Breast Cancer 2008 AND I am starting a team: "Knitters for Knockers!" Everyone is welcome: knitters and crocheters, weavers and spinners, and even those who are not fibre-fanatical (though we can’t promise not to attempt to lure you over to the yarn side). As we train through the year, we’ll probably set up a flexible buddy system so that faster walkers can go at their pace and slower ones at theirs, but everybody will have someone with them throughout training and the walk for both company and safety. I'll definitely be planning some extended yarn-crawls… downtown like last time but then also to the beaches, etc.
60 more in 2008!!!
If you want to join us in 2008, let me know!
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
-- Anne Frank (12 June 1929 – early March 1945)