Nice photo-op with the porta-potties in the background, huh? Good job picking that spot, Nick.
But, before I get there, I'd like to share with you the "WHY" part of the walk. Here's my why:
Yes, it's of my wedding. RIP wedding. :(
In early 1997, my mom, Helen Jeanette (DeRousse) Basler was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was just a couple of months before my wedding. During this bout with one of the most awful diseases known, she underwent radiation treatments. The treatment worked--until a few years later. She relapsed, and had to go through chemo AND radiation this time through. She was clean for a couple years, and the damn disease came back again. Ironically (or maybe by design depending on how deep your quinky-dink radar runs) it was just a few months after the mismanagement of my marriage surfaced. It was seven years post initial diagnosis that the wickedest battle ensued. For seven months my mom fought in the nastiest battle I'd witnessed. On a quiet, cool April day, we buried my mom just the way she asked us to. My sisters, my dad and I stood at the cemetery and watched her ashes return to the earth. After nearly eight years of the fight, at the spry age of 68, the f*&%($g cancer took her from us. Too soon. It took her from us too soon. My kids, so young, barely knew her. The cancer took her from them. From my sisters and I. It took her from me. And I'm still angry about it. It still hurts. Everyday. It hurts to the core. So that's why I walked. For her. For my mom. For my hero.
Now back to the details of the walk. Whatever psychosis had set in when I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal to walk that far, must have completely taken over all reality because that walk was the most mentally challenging and physically exhausting thing that I have EVER done. To keep walking in spite of the pain in my feet and my knee was nearly impossible...especially when the "sweeper van" is beckoning you. What kept me walking, especially that first day, was an anonymous older woman. She was probably 60 years old and walked with a walking stick and a sway in her hips that looked as if every step was painful. And that woman just kept walking. At nearly every pit stop that we took to use the porta-potties, munch on some yummy snacks (holy crap the PB&J on graham crackers were to die for), rub on some Ben-Gay, pop some Advil, or cover a blister with MoleSkin, we would see her. And she just kept walking. No complaints, no whining, no wimpering in pain like my pansy ass. She was motivation to just keep going. For crying out loud, if she could do it, I certainly could. And I did! We did. In Charlotte, NC, starting a o'dark thirty, we walked 26.2 miles on a brisk, rainy October Saturday and followed it up with 13.1 miles on a milder Sunday. Through the blisters, the wet shoes and the constipation pangs slicing through my gut, I just kept walking. We all just kept going, to the end.
Me, Jules, TK, and Mich at the finish line!
If you ever have an opportunity to do something for a cause that's special to you, please do it. It's SO worth the blisters, the muscle aches, and the uncomfortable situation of fundraising. The inner voice is a powerful motivator. As are you, Mom. You're my inspiration to just keep walking.