My daughter Beth Alexander Wrote on September 15, 2008

First of all I have to shout out another THANK YOU for all of your support and generosity. There were almost 1,800 walkers and 300 volunteers at this event, and collectively we raised over $5,000,000 (yes that is 5 million dollars!) for the cause! Good job everyone!

And I made it! All 39 miles. And believe me when I say, 39 miles is a long freakin way to walk! J With all the walking and hiking and exercising I do, I thought I was totally prepared for this event. However, I know now that I did not do enough training. But I made it though, and the weather was perfect, overcast and cool for most of the day. Perfect walking weather.

The first day we walked 26 miles, a full marathon. I was up at 4am, showered, coffee’d up and ready to go at 5:30. Then it was off to the opening ceremonies at the Queen Mary. The ceremony was very emotional, with speeches given by survivors and members of the organization.

After breakfast, at 7am we started the walk. I met a very nice lady named Debbie that I walked with for the first half of the day. She is 70 years old, and she was keeping pace with me with no problem. She completed a half marathon, and then took the shuttle over to the Wellness Center for the rest of the day.

So I continued on my own for the second half of the day.

There were lots of cheering teams along the way, both from the organization and just people sitting out side their houses cheering us on. It was absolutely amazing the amount of support we received from the local community. People honking as they drove by all day, kids standing if their front yard with bowls of candy and bottles of water and lemon aide stands. One guy was even making hot dogs! People went though a lot of effort they didn’t have to go though. It was awesome. And it kept us going. Just when you thought you couldn’t go on, you’d come upon another group of people waving banners and clapping as you go by, and you were again inspired to keep going.

Some of the walkers and the people cheering got pretty creative with their slogans! One guy even had his hair shaved into a pink ribbon!

And then there was traffic control. These guys rode their Harleys and parked at all the major intersections to help us safely across, blaring music from their bikes and making sure we were all ok throughout the weekend.

I have to say that the last 5 miles were the hardest. During those last 5 miles, every muscle in my hips and legs just hurt and ached! I mean like I have never felt before. There was no amount of stretching or resting that seemed to help at that point, so I just pushed on, very slowly at the end. I completed the course the first day at about 5pm, 10 hours after I started. The good thing was that I did not get one blister.

The second day we walked 13 miles, a half marathon. When I woke up at 4am on the second morning, by legs hurt so bad that I actually thought there was no way I could go another 13 miles. But, I got up and started moving around, and as my legs started feeling a little better, I thought, well I can probably do it. I’ll just get out there and give it all I’ve got. But by the time I had coffee and breakfast, I was ready to try! Again, the last five miles (although this day was half the distance) was a repeat of the day before. Everything hurt! It’s hard to explain, but you are saying “ouch” with every step you take.

The course opened at 7:30am, I met some really nice people to walk with the second day, Kristy and Rita. They are both in much better condition than I, in fact they finished in the top 50 on the first day! Very impressive! And Rita actually pushed ahead of Kristy and I by about an hour on Sunday, but Kristy was ready to take it slower the second day after pushing so hard the first. So we just kept a comfortable pace.

We crossed the finish line together. At about 1pm. 5 ½ hours after we started.

It was an experience like no other. There are no words to describe the emotion and spirit that are in the air for the entire two days.

I think I am going to do it again next year!