21 November 2017

We survived.

Over the three days of the 3 Day, the Spouse Thingy and I walked 54 of 60 miles. We found it necessary to cut a couple of miles off each day--we hopped on a shuttle or sweep van--just to assure that we'd be able to either walk the next day, or finish on the third. I think the Spouse Thingy has a new appreciation for what it takes to do these walks, and an understanding now of why people do more than one.

He learned that it's not just hard: it's really hard. He learned he could not only do it, but in the end, it meant a lot and being able to finish feels so freaking good. Also...there's a ton of fun to be had in the agony of all those miles.

Fireball Ski Shot. No, I was not passing that up.
Now, this is posted on the route.

They do not want walkers to drink while participating in the event. And we all get it, we all understand why, but, hey...pain relief, you know.

There is a tremendous amount of community support during the San Diego 3 Day--more than I've ever seen before--and a lot of it involves alcohol. It would be rude to pass it up.

Ok, fine, I'll take the excuse. I did partake once or twice or five times.

A day.

There may be a few pictures of me slugging back 3 or 4 of the multiple-times-per-day offering of Jello shots.

And adult gummy bears.

And pink lemonade vodka.

And holy hell, all the Fireball along the way.

Have I ever mentioned that I freaking love Fireball?

I do.

I was not alone.

There was a lot of beer offered along the way, too, and I took the tiny little cups, but I did not drink any of them.

I gave them the to Spouse Thingy, who enjoys beer.

I won't lie: I got a decent buzz at least once a day. Also: I kinda needed it because I was seriously hurting at a few points, and it was medicinal.

One tiny bit of the support...and all those tents had libations

It was, too.

No, for real: I enter every walk knowing I'll be starting with the kind of pain most people have at the end of day one. FMS, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, spinal arthritis, as well as hip and knee arthritis. Not to mention what the pituitary tumor did to how my body processes water and the havoc it plays in keeping my electrolytes in check. I have some genuine issues.

Not mentioning that for sympathy, just a reminder that I take this sucker seriously, the walk is that important, and your donations get my asterisk out there in spite of all that.

The fact that it can also be fun is just a bonus.

And this one was amazingly fun. The community support was All That, and doing it with the Spouse Thingy made it that much better.

The icing on the cake? This team:

I've told you before, I love these ladies (two are missing; one showed up after this was taken. FOR SHAME, JENNA! ;) and DKM was nursing a bad knee at the time.) I didn't walk with them so much as I did behind them because they are freakishly fast and I am not, but we caught up at pit stops and lunch, and I got a lot of reminders why these people are among my favorites. They are welcoming and friendly, and make me laugh. A lot.

DKM = My Enabler
Right at the time I needed it the most--seriously--DKM met us at a pit stop with cold Diet Pepsis.

Mock my addiction if you want, but holy hell, after all the water and Gatorade we were drinking, that Pepsi damn near sang to me.

I wasn't even buzzed yet.

But lest you think this was a three day bender, that the 2200 walkers were just going from drink to drink to drink ( we weren't) there was a steep reminder of the seriousness of what we were doing.

There were firefighters in full gear, walking each and every mile. Those miles included some hills that made people cry, two hills that I did not have the nerve to attempt (even though I went there determined to male Torrey Pines my bitch), and one downhill (I did that one) that will result in the loss of my right big toenail. These men and women marched in boots and uniforms, weighed down by tanks and heavy jackets, and they freaking smiled while doing it.

There were 2200 walkers in the San Diego 3 Day this year, raising a total of $6.5 million. 75-85% of that will go toward research, the rest to running the walk.

While we were walking, the news filtered through that Avon is suspending their 39 mile breast cancer walk. That's the loss of a lot of millions every year in the fight to find a cure. Komen walkers mourn that loss as much as Avon walkers do, because the fight is the same. The goal is the same.

We want women and men to stop dying, and we want a world where our kids grow up seeing pink as a pretty color, and nothing more.

This walk was hard, no doubt about it. The Spouse Thingy and I are still sore, still walking funny, and wondering when we'll feel like normal again. It was harder than he imagined and as tough as I remembered. And it was worth every step.

San Diego is an amazingly beautiful place, and I seriously want to go back and take in all the sights at a more leisurely pace one day. It made me wish I would remember to buy a freaking lottery ticket, because if I win big, I'm buying a house on the beach there, and inviting my 3 Day family to use my potty along the way (hey, a real toilet is a big freaking deal when you've been using port-a-potties.)

And seriously, peoples, thank you. We would not have been at the walk without your support and donations.

It was amazing.

Damn, we look so serious...

I have never taken a mile 59 picture before...this one means the world to me

The 2017 Pink Slips...the most amazing people you could hope to know
My most treasured teammate...he made the miles a hell of a lot easier and all of it way more fun.


12 November 2017

After The Space Between Whens was put to bed, I declared that I was taking a break for a bit. I'd written four books in a year (okay, fine, MAX wrote four books in a year but I helped. A lot.) and my brain needed a break. With the 3 Day looming, it was a good time to take a step back from work, train, and let thinking things happen instead of writing things.

Thinking things tend to happen on long training walks--and, as I have discovered, long bike rides. The best of the Charybdis series, The Flipside of Here, popped into my brain while on a training walk in 2010. I can clearly remember where I was walking, to the exact section of pavement on a bike path here in town, when the opening flashed in front of my eyes. I spent that summer walking and writing in my head, and when the 3 Day was done that sucker poured out of me like water from a hose.

This was my intent, and my hope, for the next book in the Wick After Dark series: I'd walk, I'd ride, and it would form in the back of my brain, then over Thanksgiving weekend while the Spouse Thingy worked and slept, I would start writing. There were a dozen threads to pick from, story ideas that I could weave into something decent; whichever one worked its way forward best, that was the book that would be written.

It was a plan, anyway.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that taking a 100% break was not happening. Writing is a habit carefully cultivated over several decades, something I just don't suddenly stop doing. While I didn't want to work on the actual book until after the 3 Day, I could take notes, get some background stuff down, things upon which I could build.

You see where this is going.

The notes were easier to write as if I were, you know, writing. Complete with snippets of dialog. It was stream of consciousness writing; there was no plot, no real story. Just day to day things in the World of Wick. I wanted to know who would be doing what and when, the minutia of life. Nothing the would make a reader sit down and think, hell yeah, I'm reading the whole thing. Just stuff.

You know, X did Y thing on Tuesday. Q had tea with F on Monday. M might be kind of a tool. W likes cheese.

Well, that's a given.

Somewhere along the way the notes became a several stories unto themselves, and The Story presented itself...and I kept writing. I am now 120,000 words deep with this (42K of The Story, which is being used for NaNoWriMo, because why the hell not?) and I have hit a point where I don't just want to write, I NEED to write.

It wants out of my brain.

It is at the write-for-12-hours-a-day stage. Demanding my attention.

For some reason, he's not helping...
The problem is that we leave on Wednesday. I have things I need to get done around the house before then. Laundry. Packing. At least a little cleaning lest something come alive and swallow DKM's niece while she's here with the cats. I have Things To Do, yet at the same time Wick is pawing at me, demanding that he have a voice.

I am not nearly mature enough to structure my days to accommodate the things that need to be done before we leave and the things my brain is demanding I do.

It might be a good time for the masses to send good thoughts to DKM's niece, because something here just might rise up and eat her...I doubt any cleaning will get done...


10 November 2017

Right about this time, seven days from now, we’ll be making the last push to finish day 1 of the San Diego 3 Day. There’s probably a hill—there’s always a hill—and I’ll probably be whining because my feet hurt and my back hurts and I’m ready to be done. Either that or I’ll just stop talking, because what the hell am I going to say? Ouch? Several hundred other people will be thinking the same thing. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll be thinking Fark, Ouch, but with a much more colorful bent.

Cardio-wise, the Spouse Thingy and I are ready. We’ve been riding our shiny new bikes all over the place, generally long rides hovering around 20 miles…but...we haven’t been walking much. Our hearts will survive, our feet, perhaps no so much. We may be embracing a sweep van or two, because neither one of us is going into it with our egos on the line. I’ve walked all of more than one 3 Day. I’ve learned that it’s not about getting 100% of the miles in; it’s the effort made, the determination to do something to combat cancer. But it’s not about being stupid.

Six years ago today, I was sitting in a podiatrist’s office because early on day 2 of the Atlanta 3 Day I felt a pop in my right foot, and felt searing pain…and kept walking. That was stupid. I didn’t do permanent damage, but I could have. We had a planned trip to Disneyland a month after that to celebrate our 30th anniversary, and I damn near blew that by not paying attention to what my body was telling me.

(Yes, that was the trip I pissed off a whole bunch of people when I said we weren’t going there to play with anyone else. I would have been more upfront about it—MILESTONE ANNIVERSARY Y’ALL—but we hadn’t exactly been honest about when our anniversary really was…it got complicated. And I’m gonna piss people off again in January when we go back, because we’re still not playing. There are, like, 20 of y’all down there* and 2 of us, and one of us needs to be able to crash and burn on a whim, and we’re only there for a short time.)

((That was a longer parenthetical than intended.))

I will listen to my body this time. I will eat more than I usually do, because I tend to not eat much at all on a 3 Day (hyperactive gastrocolic reflex, anyone?) and while I think I’m drinking enough, I’m probably not. I am fully prepared to seek out every Starbucks along the way and buy giant cups of tea, which I will suck down without being prodded to drink. I’m taking 2 water bottles and little packets of flavoring because deep down I am 8 years old and will drink more if it tastes like Kool Aid.

If I hear a pop, I’m stopping.

It’s only taken 7 years and about that many events for me to get my chit together.

I am super excited about this year, though; it’s the Spouse Thingy’s first year as a walker (he crewed medical in 2011) and we’re walking with The Pink Slips, a group of tres spiffy people that I have a massive girl crush on. The only bummer is that I can’t find my team shirts, and Spouse Thingy doesn’t have one at all, so we’ll look a little odd with the rest of them, and shuddup because I can hear the raging chorus mumbling so what else is new? and it hurts my tiny feelings.

I should probably start packing…and I know I’ll forget something.

No, I don’t know where I’m going with this. But the blog is titled Thumper Thinks Out Loud, so…

*but I'm family! Um, yeah, most of you are. Two sides to the family, guys. and that many people are a major social anxiety trigger.