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.

One Response to “Wugga!”

  1. Dalek Says:

    Yay you!!! I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures – and to see more pictures. :mrgreen:

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