Over three days this November, I will be walking 60 miles in the Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day. This walk will be much more than “just a walk” – it will be raising money to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

Over the next several months, I will be spending many, many, many hours in training (By the time the walk starts, I will have logged enough miles to take me from Phoenix to my hometown of Houston!

I have committed to raising $2,200 to participate in this walk. Please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation to help me achieve this goal. I’ll be doing all the walking...all you need to do is follow this link to my fundraising headquarters to submit your contribution.

You may know someone who has been affected by breast cancer and I would be proud to walk in her honor as well. Please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment with their name. I will create a ribbon just for them and attach it to my backpack.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for all women, and the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. Both its cause and the means for its cure remain undiscovered. I’m taking on this challenge to do something big that will help raise awareness and help in finding a cure.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you’ll share in this incredible adventure with me. Please leave comments or email me (txaggie02@hotmail.com) if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Rest Day

I had all intentions of working out today. I packed my gym bag this morning. When I got off work I went directly to the gym. I changed into my workout clothes and was ready to go. Then I realized that I forgot my tennis shoes. =( I guess today will be my rest day and I will try it again tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2008

And Then It Came To Me

I made the cupcakes pictured above and gave them to my co-workers for a donation. I enjoy decorating cakes and cupcakes. The donations are just an added bonus. I realize I won't be able to reach my fundraising goal by only doing this though. While I was at the gym walking on the treadmill I thought of another fundraising idea. I can host a benefit luncheon and sell tickets. All profit will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I need to start planning the logistics and recruiting help soon. I thought about some options in my head and how this might work. It made my walk go by so fast. Before I knew it I had completed 5 miles.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing holiday. I sure did. I slacked a little today on my training but it was a holiday so what do you expect. I managed to walk 5 miles but I ate a lot of food so I probably should have walked more. Today concludes week 2 of my training. So far I've walked a total of 86.2 miles. I was just short of the distance between my hometown of Houston and College Station, Texas (88 miles), home of the Fightin' Texas Aggies (my alma matter).

By the way did any of you happen to catch the A&M vs. UCLA basketball game yesterday? It was a great game until the very end. I thought the Aggies had it in the bag. Unfortunately they gave up a 10 point lead and UCLA beat them in the last minute of the game. I'm still proud of my boys. They've come a long way since the 2002 season when I graduated.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What a day!

I am exhausted! I got up this morning and went to the post office to mail a care package to Chase's friend Aris who is currently serving in the Army in Iraq. Then I went to the YMCA to get in a short workout. I only had time to walk about 30 minutes on the treadmill. They were having an Easter celebration so I had to take part in the concessions and buy a delicious burger. It smelled so good that I couldn't resist. Then I went to my cupcake decorating class at Joann's. We made some really cute cupcakes that would be perfect for a baby shower. I might try to adapt the design to make it less baby so I can sell them as a fundraiser. I also talked to the instructor about a fundraiser idea I have and she thought it would be good and she told me to write something up and talk to the coordinator about getting it on the schedule. Then I came home and walked around the neighborhood for 6 miles. I cooked dinner and also boiled eggs for coloring and making deviled eggs tomorrow. I finally have a chance to sit down and relax. Somehow I was able to get in 8 miles of walking today. Woohoo!

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Training Partner

Today is National Puppy Day so in honor of Puppy Day I am dedicating this post to my puppy and training partner Molly. Well she's not really a puppy anymore but she thinks she is and she is little and cute like a puppy. Molly is my 5 year old Jack Russell "Terror". She loves to go for walks and play fetch. Today I took her with me for the first 2.5 miles of the 6 total miles I walked. She was more interested in chasing lizards and peeing on every bush we passed than doing any serious training. Its embarrassing that my girl dog marks territory and lifts her leg to pee. I don't know where she learns this from. I know she enjoyed the walk and she enjoyed getting out of the house on this gorgeous day we had today. Happy Puppy Day and Happy Good Friday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tips Round 1

I need to start a list of all the great tips 3 Day veterans have told me. Thanks ladies for all your wonderful advice! Please leave me a comment if you have anymore tips.

- use arnica tablets or gel if you get bruises, aches, etc.
- put moleskin on any potential blister areas
- break in at least two pairs of shoes and swap them every other day
- when camping, an air mattress is a must
- train in the same conditions you plan to walk; wear the same shoes, socks, clothes, gear, etc.
- bring an extra pair of socks with you during the walk. Take a safety pin and pin them to your backpack so they dry and you can switch back to them later if needed.
- if you train, train, train, you will be less likely to get blisters

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wake Up Call

This article is kind of scary and definitely a wake up call. Yet another reason to train for the 3 day walk or get out and exercise in general.

The Facts on Weight Management and Cancer

--By The American Institute of Cancer Research

Many pressing reasons exist to avoid being overweight or obese and, unfortunately, cancer is one of them. It has long been known that excess weight increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. But, fewer people know about the frightening link between cancer and obesity. In a recent survey conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), only 25 percent were aware of the cancer-obesity association.

Yet science clearly demonstrates that obesity increases cancer risk. A recent report by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that being overweight and inactive accounts for one-fifth to one-third of all breast, colon, endometrial, kidney and esophageal cancers. In the U.S. alone, that estimate represents between 102,000 and 135,000 cases each year. Strong evidence also associates obesity with higher risk of cancers of the pancreas, uterus, prostate and ovary.

The Cancer-Obesity Link
Researchers predict that the epidemic growth in rates of obesity and overweight will cause cancer rates to soar 50 percent worldwide by 2020.

Why? Cancer is a complex disease, and many factors probably explain the increased cancer risk caused by excess weight. New findings suggest that fat cells constantly secrete a variety of hormones and other growth factors into the bloodstream. In obese and overweight individuals, greater amounts of these hormones and growth factors are continually pumped into the bloodstream. Cells are urged to grow and divide at an accelerated rate. Thus, according to this theory, the random mutations that can lead to cancer are more likely.

Are You at Risk?
How should you determine if you're at risk? Most of us know when we gain weight. Clothes no longer fit. The mirror becomes an irritating reminder, and the scale is permanently hidden under the bed.

Many of us, however, learn to overlook these signs. Fortunately, science currently offers two methods of assessing body weight. Neither is perfect, but they both tell you whether you need to take steps to control your weight and, consequently, lower your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
  1. Body Mass Index (BMI) is one common method used to measure overweight and obesity levels. This BMI chart shows the range of healthy and unhealthy weights for different heights. (BMI may not be an accurate indicator for athletes, the elderly, children or people less than 5 feet tall.)
  2. Waist Circumference is a second, complementary means of assessing possible risk due to excess body fat. Place a tape measure around your waist immediately above the tip of your hipbone. Measure right after exhaling. For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates high risk. For men, the significant figure is 40 inches or more.
In most cases, the BMI and waist measurements will confirm each other. But some people with a BMI of 30 or below whose waist measurement indicates high risk should consider themselves at high risk.

Practice Precaution
Even if both of your measurements show that you're in a healthy range, don't become complacent. In our modern society, eating temptations abound. Remember that the easiest way to manage overweight is to never let it happen. After reviewing the existing research on the subject, a panel of scientists assembled by AICR concluded that everyone should avoid being overweight. They suggest limiting weight gain during adulthood to 11 pounds in order to reduce the risk of cancer.

If your BMI or waist measurement indicates excess weight, it's time to take steps to lower your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases. Forget about previous, unsuccessful attempts. Aim for a modest reduction. Even the loss of a few pounds will reduce the risk of disease.

A Healthy, Longer Life
If you're concerned about lowering your cancer risk and avoiding other chronic diseases associated with excess body fat, you should be concerned about your weight. All adults who have a BMI above 24.9 are considered at risk for premature death and disability.

By gradually incorporating AICR's recommendations into your daily habits, you should be able to reach and maintain a healthier weight. That will mean reduced risk for chronic diseases, a greater sense of well being and the pleasure that comes from regular exercise and varied, healthy eating.

AICR Diet and Health Guidelines for Cancer Prevention
  1. Choose a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods.
  2. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
  4. Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all.
  5. Select foods low in fat and salt
  6. Prepare and store foods safely.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day

I held my first fundraising activity today. I made clover cupcakes in honor of St. Patty's day and brought them to work. I made a sign announcing that I was walking in the 2008 Breast Cancer 3 Day and all money raised would be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This was just a small fundraiser to kickoff a very long road ahead.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We Be Jammin'

Walking for many hours can get boring. I decided it was time to load my IPOD with some new tunes yesterday. I have 42 songs on it right now with 2.6 hours of music. I think my little shuffle can actually hold double that number but this will be a good start. I picked a few songs by Fergie, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, 3 Doors Down, and several others. These are some of my favorite upbeat songs that I hear a lot on the radio and at the gym. I will add a link to my playlist on the right side of my blog. If you have suggestions please leave me a comment.

Shoe Shopping

One of the most important things you need to have for marathon walking are several pairs of good, comfortable shoes. I attended a shoe fitting clinic last weekend in Tempe. Erin, the speaker, gave some really good tips. Here are a few:

- Get at least two pairs and wear them every other day. This gives the cushions a chance to bounce back and your shoes will last longer.

- Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. With my training plan I figure I will go through 3 to 5 pairs of shoes in the next 8 months.

- Try on shoes in the evening because your feet will swell after you've been on them all day. Try them on with the socks or insoles you plan to wear because if you want to wear thicker socks you might need a bigger shoe.

- Get a shoe that has mesh around the top. This will help your feet "breathe".

- Go with a light weight shoe. It doesn't matter if they are specifically walking shoes or running shoes as long as they support your feet.

- If your feet roll inward when you walk you want to look for a shoe with a sturdy inside sole (look for the gray rubber).

Some specialty shoe stores like Performance Footwear, the place sponsoring the clinic, have equipment to help fit you in the right shoes. Basically you put on some shoes they provide, you walk on the treadmill, and a machine video tapes your stride. The salesperson analyzes the video and tells you what kind of shoe you should be wearing based on if your feet roll in, roll out, or don't roll when you walk.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay to have my shoes analyzed and get fitted but I might go back later. In the meantime I found some awesome sales this week at Kohls and Ross and I picked up some new shoes and workout pants. Now I am ready to take on the world of marathon walking.

Signing Up

I attended a "Getting Started Meeting" in east Phoenix on 3/8. This was when I signed my name on the dotted line and officially committed to participating in the 3 Day. Gina was the presenter. She was fabulous. She talked about training, fund raising, and the 3 Day experience. Then she showed a 15 minute video.

An abridged version of the video can be found on the 3 Day website (follow this link). It was very emotional and there was not a dry eye in the room. Gina asked for a few volunteers to talk about why they were walking. The first lady said she was walking because she had lost a friend to breast cancer and she knew several others who currently had the disease and were going through treatments. The next lady said she was a breast cancer survivor and just had surgery in January of this year. Every person in that room had their own story for why they were walking. Some had friends and family members who were survivors or who lost the fight. Others personally experienced the disease. There were a few who didn't know anyone personally affected by breast cancer but they wanted to make a difference. I met some great people at this meeting and I hope I will see them again at training walks or at the 3 Day in November.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Spring Training Debut

I'm not a newbie to working out or walking. I go to the gym 5-7 days a week and you can find me in a step class, hip hop, zumba, sculpt, pilates, on a treadmill, or on an elliptical. I would consider myself in decent shape but I have to admit walking 60 miles in 3 days does scare me.

The recommended 3 Day Walk training program doesn't start until May but with the beautiful weather we are currently having in Arizona I wanted to take advantage of it and start my own version of spring training like the baseball pro teams have.

In honor of starting my spring training, I went to my first spring training baseball game on Friday with my friend Sandy.
We watched the Diamond Backs lose to the Padres 3-6. It was a good game anyway and we had awesome seats. One of the great things about spring training games is that you can get tickets at a fraction of the price of regular game tickets. We were right behind the back stop. So close that we could spit on the players if we wanted to (but never on the D-Backs).

I heart the D-Backs!!!

I also heart the Fried Twinkie Man!! But I was very good this time and I didn't chow down on any fried twinkies or other ball park cuisine.

After the game I had all intentions of starting my spring training but I ran into a little problem. I got to the gym and changed into my workout clothes but my pants didn't fit. They were way too big and I didn't have any rope to tie them onto me. I tried to overcome this issue by holding onto them while I walked. I barely finished a mile when I decided this was not a good idea. I had to go home before an embarrassing incident occurred. I changed into some shorts at home and managed another 2 miles before I called it quits for the day. I guess I will try it again tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Inpiring Recap of the 2007 Walk

I keep hearing that the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk "will change your life" but what does that mean?

Well I was curious and I stumbled across this FABULOUS recap from Debs who walked last year in Arizona. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it got me really excited about participating this year. Here is a very touching paragraph from Deb's blog:

"These people waited out in the heat for everyone of us just to thank US for walking. When in fact it was them we were trying to thank. Families of breast cancer survivors thanking us for walking and making a difference. They came with a hope that due to the funds we raised and the miles we were putting in that there was a cure coming. They had hope. I had a child come and thank me for helping make their mommy get better. It was impossible to go through a cheer station and not be changed forever."

While reading Deb's synopsis I almost felt like I was there. The biker and safety crew pics are hilarious. It is wonderful that so many people in this world are willing to give so much for people they have never met before. Thanks Debs for inspiring me to walk this year!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Top 10 Reasons for Walking in the Breast Cancer 3 Day

Some are silly and some are serious but these are my top 10 personal reasons for signing up for the 2008 Arizona Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.

10. I pink puffy heart Reese Witherspoon and she supports the Breast Cancer Walks. Some of my favorite movies are Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and Walk the Line. I could watch these movies over and over again. If Reese supports it I will support it.

9. I want a haute body like Mary and Lynda who walked in prior 3 Day Walks. These ladies are an inspiration to me. I inspire to be as kind, giving, and self-less as these women as well as be in top physical shape like they are. Anyone who can complete the 3 Day Walk during an Arizona summer like Lynda or not get a single blister after 60 miles like Mary deserve some respect. Thanks ladies for inspiring me to take on this challenge.

8. 10 million women around the world could die from breast cancer in the next 25
years without the cure, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day
to save every life.

7. Pink is my second favorite color after purple.

6. Every woman is at risk for breast cancer – a disease that strikes at random and for which the causes and cures are still unknown – we know that every moment counts.

5. I've heard that it is an experience of a lifetime and I want to experience it for my self.

4. The people on the 3 Day website and in the brochures always look like they are having tons of fun!

3. Without a cure, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer – a devastating disease with physical, emotional, psychological and financial pain that can last a lifetime.

2. I want to walk for those who cannot be here to walk themselves like my grandmothers Luciana Lieber, a.k.a "Nona", who died from cancer in 1994, and Nina Erminger, a.k.a "Grandnina", who died from cancer in 2008.