Archive for the ‘Susan G. Komen 3-day for the cure’ Category

The 3-Day

18 October 2010

Over the past three days I walked 55 miles.  Yeah, not 60.  But that is OK with me.  My feet still hurt.  But it was amazing and I’m glad I did it!  I might even do it again!


At Willow Grove Mall, ready to start walking and warm up!


On Friday morning, my teammate Stacy and I met at the Willow Grove Mall, which is where the walk started.  It was dark and cold out, but thank goodness not raining!  (It poured on Thursday.)  We were given the day off by our principal (so we didn’t have to use up any personal or sick days) and our classes were covered by fellow teachers who volunteered their time (i.e they didn’t “blue card” the time so our principal didn’t have to pay for coverage out of the building budget).  Thanks, everyone who helped out!

At the opening ceremony, we got pumped up by the music and cheered on by the crew and volunteers, and Stacy and I were on TV as we walked past the TV cameras.  That was really nice because Stacy’s kids got to see her on the news!


One family supported us with a huge bra display!


The first day took us through the northeastern suburbs before entering Philadelphia and arriving at Fairmount Park.  We passed through Abington and Springfield (MontCo), walking through residential neighborhoods who had been warned ahead of time of our passage.  There were families cheering for us from their porches; people offering water bottles, baked goods, and candy; homes decorated in pink—we felt great!  In addition, there were designated “cheering zones” where families and friends had gathered, and there were volunteers who cheered at other places along the way.  As we passed through Manayunk and were walking down “the wall” (bicyclists ride up it in the annual bike race), for example, we passed by our favorite cheer team, “high five,” “woo,” and “hooray.”  Wearing matching green t-shirts and striped black-and-green socks, these three gave personal high fives (and high tens), woo!’s, and hoorays to EACH walker and kept us going!  We walked past them twice each day, and they gave us something to look forward to as we approached the end of each day’s course.


Stacy and "high five"


We arrived at our original camping spot (Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park) at the ends of days 1 and 2 to be loaded on buses to our indoor (and therefore warmer) campsite: the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  We camped on the ground floor and had meals on the upper floor.  Thank goodness for escalators!  Also thanks to the Temple University football team for carrying our baggage from the upper floor where it was stacked to the lower floor where we camped!

Breakfasts and dinners were served by women in costumes (bathrobes, fuzzy slippers, hair rollers at breakfast!) and when our hands were full of plates and cutlery, boy scouts and girl scouts carried our drinks to the table for us.  Country singer Candy Coburn serenaded us (well, it was a lot louder than a serenade, I guess) and sang her song Pink Warrior, which is the theme song for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  It makes me tear up, though I am not really a fan of her music.  There were areas for medical help, for buying NewBalance or Susan G. Komen merchandise, getting a mechanical foot-and-back massage from Energizer, and signing up for the 2011 walk (I didn’t sign up…yet).  Showers were provided in trucks parked out in back of the convention center.  If you got to the showers at the right time, there was no line!


In the bus line on Day 3


In the morning, there was no need for an alarm clock.  The room we camped in started getting noisy before 5:30 am, though the buses didn’t leave until later to get us back to Fairmount Park, where we began walking on both Day 2 and Day 3.  There was plenty of time for breakfast, and Stacy had the people at medical wrap her feet since her arches were bothering her.

On Day 2 we walked through the Main Line, passing through Narberth, Ardmore, Lower Merion, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Havertown.  We were cheered on at Suburban Square and lunched by the duck pond at Haverford College.  It was very familiar territory for me, as I have lived in both Narberth and Ardmore and I’ve driven on Lancaster Avenue and Montgomery Avenue more times than I can count!


By the giraffe enclosure at the zoo


Day 3 was all in the city, starting with the zoo!  Very cool!  We also walked right by our Convention Center “home” and by many tourist sites including City Hall,  the National Constitution Center, Elfreth’s Alley, Headhouse Square (where the farmer’s market was in full swing), South Street, and Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s Steaks!  We saw many of our fellow walkers stopping at the local eateries and pubs (including both Geno’s and Pat’s) and I have to admit Stacy and I did stop into a South Street bar for a beer!  Some other walkers came in for shots while we were finishing our drinks.  A slightly premature celebration, but we felt we deserved it!

We finally arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, to be greeted by hundreds of cheering families and of course “high five,” “woo,” and “hooray!”  After walking through the throngs of people who had walked in before us and who had lined up to continue the high-five’s, we were given our victory shirts and long-stemmed roses.  Wow.  It was an amazing experience, and Philadelphia’s walkers raised $5.7 million for the cause.  A Susan G. Komen official announced it, along with the fact that even in these tough financial times the foundation has been able to award over $59 million in research grants this year!  Thank you to all of you who donated!  You rock!

PS you can see the rest of my photos on flickr:


17 June 2010

Today I reached my 200th mile in training walks! Woooooooooooeeeeee!

I am celebrating by buying new walking shoes yet again. I have become dissatisfied with my wonderful Merrill trail walking shoes, which are just not quite wide enough for comfort on a long walk. The Etonics that I got at the Chester County Running Store are great, however, so I am ordering another pair of those, same size but the alternate color scheme so I can tell them apart, because I want to be sure not to wear the same pair two days in a row. I’ve heard that if you wear a pair of shoes only every OTHER day, they last twice as long!

(I had to say that. It makes me giggle. I heard it on NPR some number of years ago, said in all seriousness.)


4 June 2010

As part of my training for the 3-Day in October, in addition to doing lots of walking I am supposed to be cross-training.  In other words, doing some non-walking form of exercise.  I have re-started doing Dance Dance Revolution, which I have not done very much at all lately.  I prefer one of the older versions, DDR MAX2.

This version has what is called “Endless” mode, though it does end as soon as you fail a song.  What it does is play a prescribed sequence of songs in batches of 5, without much pause between songs.  In the usual game mode, you play a song and dance to it, then you get a grade/score, and then you choose another song yourself.  In Endless mode, there is no choosing.  That is done for you.  Today I made it all the way to song 25 before failing.  Why have I had trouble getting that far, when I used to be super-good at this?  Well, not as good at it as my husband, but pretty darn good at the level I was used to.

It’s all in reading the moving arrows fast enough to put your feet in the right place at the right time, and knowing the music well enough so that it is obvious to you when the right time is.  And the arrows can move pretty darned fast.  You need to have a neural connection that allows your feet to move to the correct location on the dance pad without having to parse it out in your mind first.

I have some connections like that in other situations.  Reading English, certainly.  And in the past few years I discovered that I have a connection like that for doing jigsaw puzzles.  When I am doing a jigsaw puzzle I feel as though I am not even thinking, my eyes see the puzzle piece and my hand puts it in the place it belongs.  Touch typing is like this too.  You know what words you want to come out onto the page or screen, and your fingers go to the right places to form those words.  You may even find that if you DO start thinking about it, you start hitting incorrect keys.

Anyway, I’m having difficulty with getting my groove back in DDR because I haven’t been keeping up the neural connection that lets my feet go to the right place at the right time, and I haven’t been listening to the songs to keep the rhythms in my mind.

I was thinking that I really want to get to this stage with the hiragana and katakana in Japanese. Every so often I play a little game on the computer to match the symbols to their sounds, and I can generally match all of them in under 2 minutes, but I still take what feels like forever to sound out a word.  I remember sounding out words when learning to read, as a child, but I don’t remember how long it took me to be able to just read.  This process feels agonizingly slow, and I need to get it done so I can start learning kanji (the more complicated symbols that are usually used in place of spelling out entire words.)  Meanwhile I plod my way along, kana by kana, through words that usually turn out to be something like “com-pyu-ta” (computer) and I feel both proud that I got it and sad that it is a word borrowed from English instead of a “real” Japanese word that I might know.  Oh well, the words I know are most likely to be written as kanji instead of hiragana or katakana anyway.

I gotta go back to those flash cards.  Maybe after a walk.

Learning while listening Part 2

31 May 2010

I’ve been spending a lot of hours walking.  A LOT of hours.  I’ve walked over 150 miles in training for the 3-Day, and at three to three-and-a-half miles per hour, that’s between 40 and 50 hours.  Mostly, I’ve been walking without companions.  That’s dull.

To remedy the dullness, I have been listening to my iPod.  I know that this isn’t the safest practice in the world, but it is certainly accepted practice.  Why else would so many people have those arm bands to carry their music players?  Anyway, I am very careful and I always watch where I am walking and look both ways before crossing any streets, Mom.  It is OK, I PROMISE.

I don’t listen to music, for the most part.  Certainly music can be very motivating and energizing, but I have instead been listening to audio courses from The Teaching Company.  These people charge huge sums of money for their audio courses, but they do have very regular reduced-price sales.  I recommend you wait for a sale before buying any.

The first course I listened to was The Old Testament, and the lectures were given by Amy-Jill (AJ) Levine, a former Swarthmore professor.  I never managed to take a course with her in college (too many physics and education courses in my schedule, plus I wasn’t sure I was interested in religion, despite how much everyone LOVED her courses.

I thought the course sounded interesting, and there was a lot I had never learned about the Old Testament.  I never read it, for one thing, having been scared off by the language and uninspired by the plot.  I had a marginal understanding based on a children’s book of bible stories my mom bought for me to prevent me growing up in complete ignorance (the Unitarian Universalist Sunday School I attended taught us about childbirth and non-Christian religions and sharing and personal growth, but was lacking in catechism) of the basis of much of Western literature and art.  But the main things I remembered were the story of Jonah and the story of the writing on the wall.  Both of which are actually pretty minor.

I really liked this course, especially learning about the archeological and historical evidence for the various events, rulers, and battles.  I finally learned what is meant by “the twelve tribes of Israel” and learned WAY more about Moses than I ever did at friends’ seder dinners.  What is a prophet?  I never really understood that until listening to these lectures.

The second course I listened to was The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter.  This was absolutely fascinating, and I will probably put some of his recommended books on my summer library list.  There were sooo many fascinating topics, from ancient languages like proto-Indo-European, to modern pidgins and creoles (and what the difference is between them).  How do languages change over time?  Words are acquired from other languages, vowel sounds change, consonants fall off or change from difficult sounds to easier sounds.  Why do some languages have clicks, some have tones, and some have a zillion word endings depending on tense, person, location, or mode of information?  Can dying languages be revived?  Why do we spell words one way and pronounce them another way?

Now that I am out of lectures, I am considering whether I want to get some more.  I’m not sure.  They ARE awfully pricey, but I have a lot more hours of walking ahead of me.  In the meantime, I am listening to unabridged recordings of some really long novels…the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Each novel is about 3 inches thick, and the audio versions are over 33 hours each.  I’m on the second one, out of seven novels in the series (so far).  So, I can go about 110 miles per book.  Woo hoo!

[UPDATE 6/6/10: I have now purchased (at a great discount) the audio course “The Wisdom of History” and listened to the first two lectures on a 5-mile walk.  More learning!]

More new shoes.

29 March 2010

[This post has been adapted from the most recent post on my blog at the 3-Day website.  To view my page there, go to and search for my name]

On Saturday, I went to a walking clinic and a short, 2.5-mile training walk. It was great! It was really amazing to meet other walkers, each with his or her own reason for doing the walk. One survivor in our group had just finished treatment two weeks ago! She felt a little tired by the end of the 2.5 miles, but she made it!  Plus, the time goes by quickly when you are talking to other people and getting to know them!

The clinic afterward was at a running store, and the guys there were able to watch us each walk barefoot and tell us what kind of shoes would be best for us. I have a mild overpronation, which if you know feet means that my shoes tend to be worn down at the outside of the heel and I need a shoe with some arch support. So they recommended a shoe for me, and it is indeed a very comfortable shoe!  The women in the group I had just walked with all approved it as well, commenting that the shoes matched my outfit!  And since I am supposed to bring two pairs of broken-in shoes on the walk in October, I figured I would get them.

I had them hold the shoes for me, as I had a gift card I wanted to use, and today I picked them up. I am looking forward to better weather before using them, though…they are lightweight running shoes with a lot of mesh, and will let my feet get soaked in the rain!  It is supposed to stop raining by Wednesday…

Anyway, I have walked nearly 25 miles in training so far.

These are the new shoes: Etonic Kendari in 7 wide.  For reference, behind them is one of my trusty Merrills that I love, but which I fully expect to wear out this summer with training.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day for the Cure!

Spring training

21 March 2010

I have a feeling training in the Spring is going to be a lot more pleasant than Summer training later this year.

The weather has been beautiful this weekend and we have been taking advantage. I have been walking, and Greg has been gardening. Today I saw two magnolia trees in full bloom, a lot of magnolias in bud and partial bloom, many crocuses, tiny daffodils smaller than crocuses, pansies, and lots of people out working in their gardens! This was on a walk of about 3.5 miles, which I did in a little over an hour. It was a good walk!

On Friday I took a personal day from school to attend the NSTA convention in Philadelphia. I planned ahead to get of the train at University City, so I would have a two mile walk to the Convention Center before attending any events. All worked perfectly, and I wore my pedometer to count my steps. It is half a mile between my house and the train station, adding another mile to my day’s total. The one thing is I can’t figure is how far I walked on the floor of the vast exhibit hall, or going back and forth between sessions at the convention center, the Marriott, and the Loews Hotel. I am guessing, since my pedometer read 17914 at the end of the day that I must have gone at least an extra 2 miles while at NSTA, but I cannot truly tell.

Saturday I had initially planned to attend NSTA, but after the past several weekends being very busy and really only “1-day” weekends, I decided to give myself a 2-day weekend and stayed home.  I managed to get in 40 minutes of DDR, and a LOT of good sleep!  I feel much better for all the extra sleep!  Last weekend I was at our local AAPT meeting on Saturday, the weekend before that I spent all day Saturday in Brooklyn with Science Bowl, the weekend before that I enjoyed my friend Sarah’s company on Sunday, and the weekend before that was Physics Olympics on Saturday.  So even though I am looking forward to Spring Break next week (starts March 27!), I felt like I really needed two days of weekend. It was great!

Now if only I had finished all this grading…

PS: you can keep track of my walking training on my new Training Log page.  Click on the link on the upper right when you are on the home page!


9 March 2010

This evening I had a country dancing gig with the performance team of the dance group I belong to.  We earn money for our dance group by performing English Country Dancing at senior centers, summer colonial festivals, “Washington slept here” houses, and the occasional ice cream social.  For once, the gig was actually near home, at a community center only 1.6 miles away according to Google Maps walking directions.  Yes, they do walking directions in addition to driving directions!

So I walked there, did the dances I was in (which is exercise in itself) and then walked home!  When you do an exercise that isn’t what you are training for (dancing as opposed to walking), it is cross-training.  It is an important part of my training schedule!  I am looking forward to adding DDR as cross training, hoping to add in another zumba class at school, and swimming in the summer.

3.2 miles for the day logged.

Total miles walked in training to date: about 5

Around the block

8 March 2010

NOTE: This blog entry also appears on my Susan G. Komen 3-day for the cure page.  Click on “Please Donate!” at the end of this post to see it there and to make a donation!  Thank you!

OK, so I am still not walking very far. But the snow is mostly gone, the sun is visible later in the day, and I bought a new pair of walking shoes on last week. They arrived today so I took them for a spin.

These are “Nordic walking shoes” with “dorsiflexion technology” by Springboost (, and while I probably won’t actually use poles (as Nordic walkers do)while walking these are definitely heavy-duty walking shoes. There is a very lug-ful outer sole made of vibram, so the traction will be very good and if I ever step in dog doo it will take forever to clean it off. There are two interchangeable inner soles, one for 0° and one for 2° walking angle. The pamphlet advises starting out for a couple of weeks at 0 and then switching to 2, which puts your heel closer to the ground then your toes while standing and supposedly improves your posture and works more muscles. Whatever. I got them on sale. The shoelace system is a little over-complicated, but I really like the top lace-grommets, which are shaped to let you pull the lace through easily and then grip the lace before you tie them.

I meant to go just around the block but I got a little excited and went around several blocks. I could definitely feel my calf muscles being stretched even with the 0° insoles, and I felt them a lot when I went up a mild hill. But then, I also did not stretch before walking and I am out of shape.

So the conclusion? I will have to walk some more in these shoes, but there are pluses and minuses. They are very toasty shoes, probably from being waterproof, and they are a little tight (my feet are wide) so they are probably not “all-day” shoes for the 3-Day unless it pours on one or more days. They feel very supportive and I like the idea of exercising more muscle groups, whether it is really that effective or not. I did manage to get them for $100 off the original price, or I probably never would have bought them.

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