Wugga Part II

Filed under: @ 3:06 pm

Okay, so where were we?

Oh yes, dead in bed in a room in the Redmond Mariott. Gotta give my props to the Redmond Mariott. Nice room, quiet floor (actually they’d given over the entire floor to walkers), plenty of HOT water, and no one minded half a dozen or so of us contorting ourselves into pretzels on the lobby floor and stretching while we waited for the shuttle bus to show up. And, I didn’t realize this until Sunday morning, all the driveway lights were pink. A class act. I appreciate corporate behemoths that have a sense of humor.

The shuttle cometh.
They rent out these *nice* busses for transport to and from camp. Reclining plush seats, individual vents for the air conditioning, soft ride, the whole nine yards.
I just hope that the bus company can get the smell of Ben Gay out of the busses we were using. I climbed up into the bus on Saturday morning and was met by a wave of camphor and peppermint. Somewhere around thirty sleepy women smeared in sore muscle cream and clutching cups of coffee. It was awesome!
Basically stuff a generous portion of Tiger Balm up your nose then look at this.

Now you’ve got the idea.

They took us directly to camp where we all bumbled off the bus. I bumbled into the dining tent to get some breakfast. At 0615 the idea of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, oatmeal, pastries, and fruit is usually quite nausea inducing.
And it was that day too. At least until I started eating, at which point my visceral reactions took over and my stomach didn’t care that my brain had been protesting the idea of eating anything that complicated at that hour. It is really quite wrong to eat like that at any hour before about 10 a.m., but, as I said, working that hard for that long does really weird things to your metabolism.

Found Kathryn and we wandered off into the mists to wait at the point where the route was going to open. Got ourselves scanned out, got our route cards, and we were off.
Marymoor park at 0700 in mid-September is misty and cold. Lovely, but misty and cold. I could sympathize with the people in the tents and I was really glad I hadn’t been one. 800 pink two person tents makes a much smaller camp than 2000, but it’s still pretty impressive.

So Saturday we knew was going to be spent walking in a bigass circle through Redmond and Kirkland. We started the day walking up through some or another municipal trail which did provide a nice break from street walking. Forest floor is irregular and cushy which was really nice for those of us with sore feet, even though we were going pretty steeply up, but it was providing a bit of a challenge to the dude that won the toughest bastard of the weekend award. I had noticed on Friday that one of the Breastie Boys was missing his right arm. I did not realize that he was also walking on a prosthetic right leg. Map hang!
The ATV pathway was proving a bit difficult for him, I think, but he was also managing to keep ahead of me. Like I said, toughest bastard of the weekend. My hat is perpetually off to that dude!

Through Redmond and the first pit stop of the day….did you know that PortaPotties that have sat all night are DAMN COLD first thing in the morning? A lot of other people know that now too.
I am pleased to note that I spent a good deal of Saturday totally lost. No idea of where I was or where I needed to be to get to somewhere where I knew where I was and, the best part was, that I really didn’t care! It’s a very peaceful thing to be exerting yourself mightily in getting to a destination of which you have no knowledge with the absolute faith that eventually you’ll end up back where you belong with no effort on your part whatsoever. Okay, at least with no mental effort.
It is with that in mind that I present you a photo that I took somewhere on the route on Saturday morning.

It’s a municipal sign, that is to say, it’s not a sign that someone had made and put up just as a lark. And it’s obviously indicating that some sort of waterfowl use that area as a crossing. But gus? I’m going to assume that it translates into “goose” or possibly “duck”, but in what language? And for heaven’s sake why THAT sign somewhere in the middle of suburban Redmond? (or Kirkland. Like I said, I was pretty lost for much of Saturday).

Oh, and Kirkland was the first place we saw the Hello Titty guy. Dude hanging out along the route with tables full of Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin, Tums, Ben Gay, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, Pepcid etc. that he was handing out for free, and selling buttons. I don’t care that he was gouging us, Kathryn pointed out that it probably cost him about 50 cents apiece to make the buttons and he was selling them at $2.50 apiece. If you can come up with something like this

it’s worth a little price gouging.

Snarf! Saturday morning was when we first encountered the cheerleaders too. They need no other explanation or introduction:


Pretty little park on Lake Washington somewhere in Kirkland. And a paddle boarder?

I know, it’s not very obvious, but way back in the background on the left you’ll see him. Who the heck paddle boards in Lake Washington?
Those cheerleaders absolutely took the cake. In the long run, they may be the only thing I remember about Saturday.

Kirkland. And more Kirkland. And still more Kirkland. Lunch at Juanita Beach Park. And up and blessed down through Kirkland. Kirkland is very hilly, did you know that?
It was in Kirkland that I started noticing the back of my right knee hurting. As it turns out, the back of my right knee was hurting because I was walking funny trying to avoid stepping on what turned into a particularly obnoxious blister on the sole of my foot just under my toes. It’s a bad spot for a blister. And it makes you walk funny so you tweak your gastrocnemius and your soelus muscles. Up hills turned into my nemesis for the rest of the weekend.

Meeting at Grasslawn Park on the outskirts of Bellevue and the inskirts of Redmond with…..well, EVERYone at the cheering station. Mom & Dad, Andrew, Eric, Matt & Shannon, Shawn, Annie, Anastasia, and Della. Cheering stations are fun regardless of whether or not you have people coming to see you, but it’s more fun when you have people to visit you. Stickers, candy, fruit, beads, bubbles, bracelets, hand stamps, spray bottles (the knees! hit the knees!) clapping, popsicles, signs, music. Five walks and 30 odd cheering stations into it, I still get teary about people being so honestly enthusiastic, so honestly grateful for me doing something that seems so small to me.
Sometimes people just don’t suck.

But oof! They fed us! Not so much on Friday as on Saturday and Sunday, but often we couldn’t go more than a block or two before someone was offering food. Mostly candy and gum, but the Parrotheads of Puget Sound were out Saturday and Sunday handing out their signature Gatoritas. There were a lovely couple of groups that were handing out fruit kebabs….and baby wipes about half a block later. Fruit is wonderful, but STICKY when you’re eating and walking. There was a group of pathologically hyperactive Girl Scouts who had sold cases and cases and CASES of cookies for donation back in March who then took said cookies and froze them so they could hand them out to us in September. There was a group of Bakers for Boobies who had spent god knows how many hours baking huge batches of cookies and bars. HUGE batches of hand made yummies.
Then there were the Lil’ Smokies guys. I never stopped for long enough to get the lowdown on these guys, but it seemed like Dad and Dad had been left for the weekend with the kids while Moms were walking and they needed something to do to keep everyone busy.
So they set up their stand near the beginning of the route every day, hooked up the propane, the camp stoves, and the Crock Pots, and spent most of the day handing out lil’ smoky wieners on toothpicks. I didn’t notice the kids, but on Sunday morning the adults were wearing big pink terrycloth bathrobes, curlers, and big pink bras.
I would like to state for the record that you would normally never catch me anywhere near a lil’ smoky wiener. However, when you need a protein hit…… Those guys knew what they were doing. And you could smell them for BLOCKS!

And then we wandered back down through the only part of downtown Redmond that I recognize, back into Marymoor Park, along the slough trail and we were done again. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Boom. We’re done.
I had the oddest disconnect walking into camp Saturday afternoon. Despite being sore, gritty, sweaty, and sticky, walking back into camp the first thing that crossed my mind was “Oh! We’re finished already? How odd. That didn’t take any time at all!”

And then I sat down. Never, never NEVER sit down.



Filed under: @ 11:57 am

Okay, so I know my feet will forgive me…… some day. And I know my right knee will forgive me…..at least after it gets over being pissed off that I let my massage therapist and my physical therapist beat on it.
But I’m not sure my cat will forgive me. At least not until I break out with the Very Special Treats, the fishie logs, which, since I handed them out liberally last week, probably won’t happen until next week. In the mean time I’m pinned to a chair with a cat on my lap. Pogo gets very insecure when I’m away. However, since I planned on spending most of today and tomorrow on my butt anyway, having a lap warmer for the majority of that time isn’t going to put me out too much. I’ll just have to get the canned air up here so I can blow the cat hair out of my computer keyboard.

Friday morning 3 a.m.
Why 3 a.m. you ask? Well, because they wanted to have the walkers arrive at Century Link field between 5 and 6 a.m. for opening ceremonies at 630.
Which meant that since we were being dropped off we’d want to leave my house no later than about 415.
And neither my sister nor I can be described as being quick on the aufgesprungen first thing in the morning. Hell at 0300 it takes me at least half an hour before I’m able to speak clearly let alone do anything that requires any brain power.

Century Link field is a. very dark and b. pretty chilly at 0515 which is when we got there. I noticed yesterday morning that they had little warming stations in camp right outside the shower vans. Y’know those cool mega space heaters that are set up on poles and radiate heat in a 5-6 foot diameter circle? In camp they had those set up with (very thoughtful) a circle of chairs around the base.
They should have had them at Century Link.
But what they had was a mysterious little elf that was running around with an enormous garbage bag full of pairs of gloves handing them out to chilly people which worked. At least I bagged a really cool pair of lightweight gloves and my fingers thawed out.
Dozens and hundreds of people streaming into a parking lot when it’s still pitch black outside.
People stretching and yawning and clutching cups of coffee and bumping around like demented bumble bees and taking photos and comparing costumes.
It’s a very surreal scene.

For those lacking context, that’s the clock at King Street Station in the background. I thought it was a nicely composed image.
I hate to say it, because there were a lot of pretty good costumes and t-shirts over the weekend, but I think I saw the best shirt of the weekend at 0615 Friday morning.
These ladies started conversations with an awful lot of people that morning.

The back of the Team Eccentrica shirt reads: We walk for Us All which was my attempt both at saying “I stand with Planned Parenthood” and a nod to Melissa Etheridge, but I didn’t quite hit the mark with it. “I have no room in my bra for politics.” definitely hits the mark. And the thing is, there was a rather spirited debate in the immediate group around us about how the furor in February had affected us with regards to both our determination to walk and our fundraising, but women on both sides of the abortion issue were agreeing that what Komen had done was poorly thought out and selfish. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so precise an example of the process of consensus. (HAH! There’s a good Olympus NW Junior High School word for you!)
Suffice it to say that where there were almost 3500 walkers when I walked in 2008 that raised nearly 15 million dollars, this year there were barely 1300 of us and we only raised $3 million. It’s going to take a while for the Komen Foundation to rehabilitate their reputation.
Enough about that.

Friday morning was also the first morning we saw the firefighters. I thought that the first one I saw was just there as support. He was sitting on the curb talking to a little boy who was just the right age to think that both firemen and big trucks were capital P and capital C Pretty Cool. When we got talking with him after junior had wandered back to his parents the firefighter told us that, no, he wasn’t there in an official capacity, he was a walker.
Say what?
Yup. Full kit, minus the breathing apparatus, but pants, coat, boots, and helmet and he was going to walk in them.
THEN we saw the other three. Pants, coat, boots, and helmets and the woman of this trio was PREGNANT! And walking 60 miles in full kit.
Now, for the record, I didn’t see them walking more than out of the stadium on Friday and across the finish line on Saturday in their kit, but they did do that much. And, for the record, they easily could have walked the whole weekend in their kit. Just because I didn’t see them doing it doesn’t mean that they didn’t. 1300 people is a lot of people after all.
That sort of dedication, especially the pregnant woman, is a kind of hard core crazy that I just don’t have (thank GOD!).
But it was pretty impressive.

So they said some inspirational words at us, we cheered when the bikers left, and we were off. A little more off than was good for most of us, but regardless.
Off through Pioneer Square and in to the south end of the International District. East through the ID, then a quick right and up along Beacon Hill for a short bit until we got to the trail head for the Mountains to Sound trail. Pit Stop 1. Damn, have we walked 3 miles already?

One of the things that I dearly love about doing these events is that I get to see my city, my home, from a perspective that I never get to see otherwise. The view of SoDo and the stadium district from the bridge up by the VA hospital (no, I don’t know what street we were on, I don’t pay attention to street names when I’ve got big arrows to point me in the right direction) was absolutely stunning.

And they shot us off of Beacon Hill and on to the MTS trail across I-90. WHOOPEE! I do love walking across the bridge. It’s LOUD, but again, the best view EVER.
And besides, we were walking east bound on a day when the 520 bridge was closed and on average we were moving faster than the traffic in the east bound lanes. *Smug*.

Across Mercer Island to the second pit stop (YOW! Gotta pee!) and at a crossing before the first cheering station we met Bear Dude.
Now the crew do actually wear credentials with their names on them, but often we’re not in contact with the crew, especially the crossing guards, for long enough to see their credentials or ask their names. Thus, Bear Dude. Bear Dude wore a Utilikilt (there were a lot of those this weekend. I’m happy to say that William, the Utilikilt Guy, was walking this weekend and he was walking on Friday in a PINK Utilikilt. That’s so cool.), a T-shirt of some variety, an orange reflective safety vest with a large, lacy pink bra over the top, and one or another species of bear hat all weekend. Bear Dude had a Fozzie Bear hat, a grizzly bear hat, at one point he was wearing a Bear Hat cam and recording us as we walked past. You get the picture.
And Bear Dude usually had a pair of teddy bears in his bra.
Friday morning I complimented him on the teddy bears and he responded with “Oh, you like my bear breasts?”
Which was so awful that I had to stop at the other side of the crosswalk and shake my finger at him and shame him for a minute or so afterwards. Part of what was so horrid about that was that I’ve seen dudes with bear breasts on several prior events and never caught on. Shame, shame, SHAME on you! That’s AWful! And it’s not only that it’s awful, it’s that I didn’t twig to it and it had to be pointed out to me!

Bear Dude was a hoot.

Through Mercer Island, past the first cheering station and to a brief encounter with Mom & Dad who were on their way to a lecture at the Frye but who were, thank God, willing to take my overshirt so I didn’t have to walk the rest of the day with it tied around my waist. And across the east channel bridge. I LOVE walking across I-90.
Through bits of Bellevue that I’ve not thought about in decades. I also love walking through Bellevue. When I was going to Norwescon regularly we would play a game in the hotel elevators, in the lobby, and wandering around anywhere where the con people weren’t called “Freaking the Mundanes”. It even had its own little song.
Walking through Bellevue in the company of better than a thousand people dressed in pink, with feathers, horns, and bobbles you play a good game of Freaking the Mundanes. It’s a lot of fun to challenge people’s interpretation of what adults should do.

Lunch in Bellevue then stomping through downtown Bellevue, up over and around through the Willburton neighborhood, through the outskirts of Crossroads, sometimes on roads I’d never even known were there, and on to the pit stop being run by…. Well, here.

All the pit crew wearing striped jammies and those striped flat circular hats. Some of them with plastic shackles on their wrists and plastic leg irons on their ankles.
Part of what I cherish about these events is the silliness.
And since that sign was prominently displayed along a major thoroughfare right next door to Interlake High School, I’m sure plenty of people coming or going to the high school got a bit of a shake up in their world view from that too. In fact, I’m strongly hoping that at least one outraged parent of a precious snowflake who attends Interlake writes to someone to vent their outrage regarding how inappropriate it was to place FELONS who are involved in SOMETHING SEXUAL in such close proximity to THEIR CHILDREN.

Then a short swish through the very outskirts of Redmond, down across Lake Sammamish Boulevard, heavens, how long has it been since I’ve been at Idylwood park?, and a sweep along the Sammamish slough to Marymoor.

We started with the crowd at 0700 and with potty stops, stops for snacks, drinks, and lunch, we pulled into camp at 430p.m.
Which is a pretty damn decent day’s walking if you ask me. Especially since I had gone to bed the night before at 10ish and was up at 0300.

I was STUPID tired. I was so tired I could barely keep from lying my head down on the dinner table and crashing out right there. I was so tired my hands were shaking while I was trying to shovel the penne in meat sauce that the lovely kitchen crew had made for us into me. But I was so hungry that if I’d tried to sleep I would have gone searching for food in my sleep.

It’s amazing what working that hard for that long does to your metabolism. I ate dinner with Kathryn at camp and we hopped it to one of the hotel shuttles to get back to the hotel.

Oh, did I mention the hotels? Yeah. Kathryn wasn’t interested in staying in camp since Eric wanted to spend the weekend with her, and, by virtue of my back still being a little hinky, I had been convinced not to try and stay in camp and sleep on the cold ground. So we booked rooms with the host hotels and that was WAY more civilized. I’d definitely go for a hotel if I walk again.

Hitch the shuttle bus (ah, AIR CONDITIONING!) to the hotel for a hot, HOT shower for which I didn’t have to wait. Andrew met me there and, being clean and tired, but hungry again…..we went out so I could have a second dinner. And while Andrew ate his pasta I had a slice of pizza and tried not to fall asleep.

Back to the hotel, collapse with an ice pack on my back then a hot bath (oh yeah, a hotel is the way to go!) and SLEEP.


Here I go again!

Filed under: @ 12:19 pm

6 a.m. tomorrow. Century Link Field.
Three days and sixty miles later I’ll end up at Memorial Stadium Sunday afternoon.

It’s stupid that this should be fun, but god DAMN that’s a lot of fun!

Here’s the route. I’d love to see folks! Andrew, Shawn, and my parents are planning on something for Saturday, but I’m too full of my own details to know the details of that meeting. Y’all will have to talk to Andrew if you’re interested.

Photos and commentary to follow….. Like next week sometime after I’ve recovered.


I walk because I can.

Filed under: @ 4:08 pm

Understand that I am by no means happy with the fuss that the Komen foundation created for themselves earlier this year.
And I wish I could come up with some other way to do this without having monies that are donated go to a foundation with whom I can no longer see directly eye to eye.

But I don’t have the organizational skills to do this safely on my own, and there really is no other commercial organization that has an event that will allow me to do this.

And so I walk.

I walk because I can.

I’m walking this year because I had a cousin who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44 in January 2011 and who died just a few days after her 45th birthday in November 2011. Cheryl left two kids under 10, a husband who adored her, and sisters, parents, aunties, uncles, and cousins who will miss her.
I’ve been distant from that side of my family for a time, mostly because over the years the family gatherings have either interfered with my work schedule or have interfered with my “recovering from work” schedule and I just haven’t been able to go.
I’m walking as a tribute to my cousin and to let the world know that even though I don’t see them often that I still care deeply for that part of my family.

I’m walking this year because I first walked in August 2002. I was 34 years old and I’d never really done anything that physically challenging in my entire life. I walked August 8,9, and 10 little knowing that my father’s mother was in the last days of her life. Grams went on comfort care on the evening of August 7, 2002 and died about 12 hours short of her 90th birthday on the afternoon of the 10th. I was in the medical tent at lunch trying to figure out whether or not my toes would really fall off if I took my shoes off to change my socks.
I’m walking as a tribute to my grandmother who was a smart, tough, loving lady who was quiet and ladylike, but who was an energetic supporter of her family and would have loved hearing me tell about the adventure that is the 3 Day.

I’m walking this year because my sister and I were best friends when we were little. Over the years we’ve grown apart somewhat and our relationship has been kind of stuck. Kathryn and Cheryl were great friends when we were younger and Kathryn wants to walk to memorialize our cousin as well.
I’m walking because I want to take some time with my sister to reconnect, to talk, and to spend some time as adult women in a cooperative effort that we will both enjoy.

I’m walking this year because Andrew’s Gramma Kay was a 25 year breast cancer survivor when she died in 2007. And there’s my mother-in-law, three sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews…..
I’m walking because I don’t want any of them to have to be breast cancer survivors.

I’m not happy with the Komen foundation, but this year I’m going to walk because it’s something I can do.

I stand with Planned Parenthood. *I* walk for us all.

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