Climbing out of that nice warm van, before the sun had completely cleared the horizon and knowing that I had 60 long miles of walking before me, was a tough pill to swallow. Especially since I was sick. And cold. And tired. And would be sleeping in a tent for the next two nights. And wah!
What did I sign up for?
Our fifth teammate, Jessica, had come down with a virus earlier in the week and since she was still not fully recovered, had decided late Thursday night not to walk. Our teammates Terrell and Cheryl had decided that there was no way they could sleep in a tent. So it was just Debbie and I dropping off our camping supplies and luggage at the appropriate locations, while questioning if we were totally out of our minds to be sleeping outside, on the verge of winter, when we were both sick, after full days of walking.
(Answer: Yes, we are out of our minds.)
We rejoined our two teammates and although we were all chattering, we were soon warmed by the sea of pink that surrounded us and the inspiring messages that were everywhere.
When the motivational opening ceremonies concluded, we were ready to join the pink force of 4,000 people that would sweep 60 miles through San Diego over the next three days.
We were ready to walk.
But unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to leave the start for almost an hour, because unbeknown to us, when we filed in to the staging area, we were at the absolute back of the crowd.
So instead of hitting the pavement, we stood and high-fived at least two-thirds of the 3,800 walkers that slowly filed past us.
While we waited and waited (and waited and waited and waited) for our turn to walk down the chute and under the "Hoofin it for the High Beams" sign.
We saw all kinds of people ...
Dressed in all kinds of garb...
And wearing t-shirts that made us laugh... (this one reads: "Help Save 2nd Base")
And t-shirts that made us cry.
After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally out walking and we received our first dose of what would come over the next three days. There was this man, who turned up several times along our walk and would later be referred to as the "Brown Jeep Guy."
We were escorted by the most amazing people, including this sweet woman on her mountain bike. She was with us for the entire duration of the course - all sixty miles - and she never once stopped smiling or giving us words of encouragement.
We were escorted by bikers on Harleys wearing pink chaps and hot pink safety vests.
And we were escorted by pink-shoe-laced and pink-bandana-wearing police officers who had traveled down from San Jose, to not only provide us with security, but to show their support for a loved one.
We walked down the coast.
And past the hospital where my dear friend Deana was admitted last year.
We walked past people who made us laugh out loud at their costumes...
And we posed with people who had hilariously large ... uh, tats?
We continued our walk down the beautiful coast and I wondered, aloud, if I was out of my mind to ever consider leaving this place.
We walked past an assisted living facility and were touched by the sight of seniors that were lining the sidewalk in wheelchairs and holding up signs to encourage us. And that little lady in the purple pants to the right, was busting out dance moves that would make J-Lo blush.
It's no easy task to wait for hours along a walking course. Especially when you have a two-year-old named Henry that likes to run off in various directions and bolt particularly fast in the direction of traffic and jagged cliffs. Let me tell you, walking 60 miles is a whole lot easier than keeping track of that little spit fire.
All told, that first day was a tremendous success.
Even though it took us 11 hours to walk 20 miles and we didn't arrive in to camp until dark.
We were blister free, our legs felt good and since I had totally lost my voice by mile 10, I was able to hear a lot of good stories.
Next up: Day Two.
It gets even better.
(Edit: So awesome that the font changes text and size throughout this entire post. If I wasn't feeling totally zapped of all energy, I might actually go back and fix it. So let's just pretend I was going for an eclectic look. OK?)