Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Do We Walk

I was talking with a mom who I volunteer with in my son's class. She asked me about the lanyard I've taken to wearing around my neck on a regular basis and I mentioned that I'd signed up to do a 60-mile walk in 3 days in November to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. "You're crazy!" was her response. I smiled a big smile. "Yes, you're right," I replied. It is a bit crazy, but it's such a good kind of crazy. Normal people do not pledge to raise at least $2,300 to have the privilege of walking 60 miles in 3 days. Normal people do not want to walk 60 miles in 3 days. But we all know that 3-day walkers are not quite normal. I am proud to say that I am not quite normal and just a little crazy --- in what I think is a very good kind of way.

I was also recently talking with a friend of mine who is on the verge of signing up to walk with me in November (she's just a bit of the right kind of crazy too). She was asking me what her "story" should be as she's concerned that fundraising won't go well because she is lucky enough to have NO ONE in her inner circle of family and friends who have yet been touched by breast cancer. Not that she doesn't know a few folks who have faced it, just that she can't immediately point to "the" person who she is walking for.

My advice to her was to just dig deep and look at why she is signing up and be honest about why she is doing this. Why is she choosing this instead of some other walk/run/event? I know in talking with her a big part of her motivation is to get herself in shape. That's part of my motivation too. Both of us are not so good at taking care of ourselves just for our own sake. It helps to have an external motivator to get you moving on a regular basis when that is not something you're in the habit of doing. I can't tell you how many weekend mornings I've woken up and NOT wanted to go on my walk, but made myself get out there and do it anyway. I have yet to regret making myself do it. The walks almost always make me feel good. I have more energy since I started walking on a regular basis and I certainly can walk farther than I did when I first signed up.

She likes the idea of the challenge of it. She likes that it's doing something bigger than herself. She likes the idea that she won't have to do this journey alone, since I'm already signed up. She LOVES the color pink and can't wait to deck herself and her house out in more pink in the name of the cause. She does know people who have faced this monster. She undoubtedly has many more reasons in her head why she is signing up to walk that I haven't heard yet. I really hope that she takes the plunge soon.

As I was walking this morning I was moved to tears thinking about what my mom and other breast cancer survivors have been through. When you're out walking so often, you do a lot of thinking. I can't help but think about the fact that I may have to face it myself some day. I don't want to. I desperately don't want my daughter to ever have to face it. I don't want any of my girlfriends, Aunts, cousins, my husband, male-friends, brothers, Uncles, my kids' friends, my acquaintances or people I don't even know facing this. No one. I don't want anyone to have to face this. Ultimately, that is why *I* walk. I have a feeling I will sign up to do this again next year! (and the year after that, and the year after that...)

Every person has their own story. Every person has their own motivation and there are not any bad reasons for deciding to do something this big and crazy and full of hope. To quote one of my favorite children's authors: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -The Lorax

Fundraising: Total: $2,725.00
Training: 3.9 miles in 1 hour 15 minutes
Total miles to date: 151.5

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