Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Challenge Completed

. . . that's what the long-sleeved shirts we were given yesterday have printed on them. When you register to walk or work crew, you receive a t-shirt that has the challenge walk logo and motto on the front and "Challenge accepted" on the back. Walkers and crew alike received the long-sleeved "Challenge completed" shirt as we entered the pre-finish area, about 1.5 miles away from the end of the route. Those with MS received red shirts, and other participants received blue. Everyone waited together at the prefinish area and welcomed the arriving walkers with cheers and lots of noise - there were a lot of cowbell-ringers out yesterday. After everyone arrived at the prefinish, we all lined uop and walked, together, to Midway Stadium, where there was a final ceremony, and where all participants were recognized by name and given a medal. The ceremony itself was very moving, and because it represented the end of this three-day-long, emotionally intense event, it was even more touching.

Days 2 and 3 were surprisingly smooth, from my vantage point inside Chariot (supprt vehicle) #3. A few scooters needed to be picked up and taken to a rest stop where they could be recharged, and on Day 2 I had a few people with blistered/bruised feet requesting rides, but fewer on Day 2 than Day 1, and on Day 3 I only picked up one woman on a scooter who was worried that her batteries woudln't make it from the final rest-stop to the pre-finish and from pre-finish to the end. Overall, though, I drove around waving, honking, and trying to encourage people. The last day was only 10 miles (plus the walk to the finish), which was nothing in comparison to the 38 the walkers had already completed, and everyone was determined to make it to the pre-finish and finish areas under their own power.

I spent Sunday night on a racquetball court. I did so for a few reasons, number one being that I stayed at home Saturday night and I completely overslept Sunday morning. So I ended up setting up my air mattress in the racquetball court, along with four other people also working crew. If you are ever faced with the possibility of sleeping on a racquetball court, my advice would be: DON'T!!!! Every little sound, from both inside and outside of the court, echoed crazily off the walls all night long. Conversations outside of the court doors were amplified and bounced all over the room. Every toss, turn, snore, sigh, or nose-whistle from other folks sleeping on the court echoed as well. I slept with my pillow over my head. Top that all off with the slow deflation of my mattress throughout the night, and you get a picture of he sleepless state in which I passed the majority of the wee hours of Monday. I finally gave up around 4:15 and just got up.

I drove over 500 miles between 5:15 Friday and 5:15 yesterday. I never left the Twin Cities metro area.

I had such an awesome time this weekend. I met a lot of friendly, warm, and in many cases, inspiring people. I am definitely walking next year! I said so in my last post, as well, but I'm saying it again today, even more emphatically than I did Saturday: I will walk next year! I might even have a team already!

I've got to go get ready for teaching and for class: it's back to reality now. No more sleeping on health club floors and eating catered meals at long tables set up on indoor tennis and basketball courts. No more driving around in a conversion van. No more jokes over the walkie-talkies. Nope, gotta get ready to teach tech. comm. and to talk about Plato.

- posted by laurie @ 9/23/2003 08:18:00 AM
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