Thursday, May 13, 2010

Train with it, walk with it.

If you talk to an experienced 3-day walker, one of the best pieces of advice they will give is, "train with everything that you plan on walking with." I completely agree with this advice, and with good reason:  what works for you (or the thousands of other walkers) might not work for me.  And just because it works while I walk my dog, doesn't mean it works at mile 18.

Case One: The Pack and Bottle

There is a split camp on the pack - to use a fanny-pack or a camelbak pack.  Both have their pros and cons.  Like a good newbie, before my first walk, I tired both.  The fanny pack rode up on my hips from the moment I set out.  Unfortunately, I was given "birthin' hips" and no matter how much I tried, the pack always ended up ... um ... right under the "girls."  Not comfy.

So I tried the camelbak.  Again I thank my genetics for a lovely attribute - I perspire.  (Well, lets be honest and less lady-like: I sweat, a lot.)  The camelback did not help with that problem, as my back quickly resembled a rain forest - humid, hot, and wet.  I also felt like I wasn't drinking enough with it on.  Not good either.

Then, I lucked out and found an awesome hand-held water bottle.  It was a constant reminder to "Drink!" plus, it had a little pocket for my chapstick and a tissue.  Awesome.

Then I decided to go against advice and try one of those draw-string gym bags - the kind a lot of people use to take their stuff into the shower.  It was comfortable, in didn't make me sweat, and it was just the right size.  Every training walk I went on I would wear it - from the 3-milers to the double whammy of 18/15.  Turns out, it was perfect.

Case Two: The Clothing

I must have tried a bazillion different shirt/shoe/sock/pant/undergarment combo's before I found the right one.  I took all the advice I could get - but again, "child-birthin' hips" got in the way.  Shirts rolled up, were too short, etc. etc.  Pants rode up, or were too hot.  Socks - oh lord, I could do a whole post on socks.  One day I thought I had hit the jackpot of a good clothing combo.  Then, 5 miles into a training walk, I almost had a mental breakdown (resembling The Shinning) due to rubbing that came from a tiny little tag that stuck out of the side seam.  Never. Again.

And one last thing before I digress: don't forget the underwear.  Right before the 2008 walk I found a perfect pair of dry-wicking undies.  Everyone on my last training walk swore by them!  Ummmm, yeah.  Did you see me at the mall ducking into the bathroom stall and changing them out at mile ONE?  Enough said.

Cases 3 - 8 Million

Every single one of the walkers who have come before you tell you the same advice because they have a story of their own.  I've heard from a woman whose pink costume turned her skin into a lovely shade of fuchsia, another who had an allergic reaction from her skin glide, and a guy who realized quickly how bad his shoes felt - on the morning of day one.

Don't be one of us.

Wear everything you plan to wear/use on the walk while you are training.
No exceptions.
The end.

PS - if you would like to try a new workout shirt come over to my other blog and enter to win a free Thriv natural performance shirt!  They get rave reviews.  Come enter here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top 5: Why you should be using the Message Boards

Since I officially started my training walks this past Saturday, it's time to start posting some more 3-day goodness!  Today you get 5 reasons why you should be using the 3-day message boards - especially if you haven't  started yet.

Just in case you don't obsessive check like I do know where it is, you can find the message boards by:

1) Logging into the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure website
2) Hover over the grey "Participant Center" button at the top of the screen
3) Scroll down and click on "Message Board"

Here's a screen shot:
Now you know how to go there, let me tell you why to go there!

  • Inspiration.  We all have days when we just don't want to roll out of bed to take that 15 mile walk. "It's hot, it's early, it takes a long time."  Do you need a push?  Go to the message boards, read the stories of survivors or read the reasons why other participants walk or crew.  It will remind you why you are doing this, why it is important, and why you should just keep moving!
  • Connections.  Want to find someone to train with?  Want to find a team?  Want to find a person to fundraise with?  All can be found through the message board!  I have been lucky enough to find some great people that way for my walks and it made it so nice to see a familiar face while on the walk.  Even better is being able to meet someone you have chatted with a dozen times in person!
  • Fundraising.  My fellow walkers are brilliant.  They have wonderful fundraising ideas and resources - and to top it all off, they are willing to share!  From the most profitable event, to the easiest to put together, chances are there has been someone who has written about it on the boards.  And if not, just put out the call for information, and I can almost guarantee someone will get back to you within the day.
  • Training.  Blisters, clothing, fanny packs, oh my!  On the boards, there are walkers who have walked 5, 7, 11 times or more.  They can definitely lead you in the right direction for all of your training needs, and tell you things you never would have considered.  They know what the route might look like, they know the value of a good uncrustable.  They will help show you the way.
  • The 3-day Spirit.  There is something indescribable that goes along with joining the 3-day.  It's a feeling of camaraderie, of family.  You can get your first taste of it when you connect on the message boards.  I broke my foot 2 months before my first walk, and people I barely knew, from across the country were there to cheer me on and give advice.  Whether you are a walking vet or a newbie, a techie or not so much, they will welcome you with open arms - and trust me, you won't ever want to leave.
    Go forth now, and chat!