The Letter to TNT Walkers …

23 12 2007

Oh my … I’ve got a lot to catch up on, don’t I? How about this … I wrote a letter to inspire the 12 Rocky Mountain TNT Walkers … we’re all girls … fancy that!

Hello Walker Ladies!!!

I’m listening to that Christmas Special on TV:  Put One Foot In Front Of The Other … And Soon You’ll Be Walking out the Door!!!  

Are we ready to Have Fun, Walk a ½ or Full Marathon and SMILE WHILE DOING IT?!  Oh yes we are!!!  In January, across two states, we will be walking with our heads held high in our purple singlets … sweating through our endurance event … and making it look like cake!  A-ha!  We’ve got an amazing group here and we’re all going to be out there within a day of each other! Check it OUT!  We Walk and We Rock! 

I think many of you guys have done an event before, but if you haven’t … I found my notes from last year … my first walking Marathon … and added to them through the events I’ve done this year … here’s the list … and it also comes from some of your questions.  Please laugh here and there because it’s really pretty funny … I hope!

  1. YOU ROCK!!!!  Anyone who looks at you and says you “only walked” a ½ or a full Marathon … deserves to be invited out for a walk … preferably on your long day!  You’re doing the same distance as people are running or jogging … but it takes a bit longer … but we get to look around, have more fun, and realize we actually do get to pass people as they poop out!
  2. If you’ve never done a huge event, realize you’re in a ‘staging area’ with something like 13,000 of your closest friends.  To get a little practice – hit the local indoor mall in these days leading up to Christmas and through the madness of New Years called returns.  People are usually a lot nicer in a race, however.
  3. How you’re timed:  You’ll have a little chip that you zip tie to your sneaker.  When that foot with the chip crosses the start line, you’re clock is started.  So – if it takes you 20 minutes to get to the start line, you aren’t penalized.  This DOES mean that the digital clocks you’ll see along the way aren’t exactly right for you.  It’s a really wonderful surprise when you think you did great just by finishing then find out your actual time is faster because of the chip! YEAH!  The clocks start when the ‘gun’ goes off and those speedy sneakers in the front row go across the start finish line.  Enjoy the fireworks if you’re at Disney … not sure what they do in Phoenix.  You’ve got to keep moving forward to the start line … I’m sure Coach Jenn has told you about having a watch with a timer on it.  If you’re really interested, you start the watch as you go under the Start line and stop it when you go under the Finish … that’s roughly your actual time.  If you’re a geek like me … nah … you guys are too smart to be a geek like me! J  I do keep a $20 in my hat because at some events you can have your medal engraved with the actual time right when you’re done … I don’t think all that clearly after events, but it’s nice to have … and you can brag *immediately* about your time to whomever is picking you up from the airport … hand them the medal and Whoo Hoo there’s your time right on the back … one less thing to think about as you waddle across Denver International Airport!  (ok – as *I* waddle across DIA, you guys are fine!)
  4. Leading into the Race:  Whatever the liquid product is on the race, start practicing with it NOW!  I had a really nasty thing happen to me where my stomach couldn’t tolerate the drink that they were serving in San Francisco.  Experimenting on a race is … not bright … and you guys are shiny bright stars!  Whatever gel you have been practicing with, that’s what you use.  They sometimes give out a packet here or there, but if you’ve been practicing with Hammer Gel, STICK WITH IT … I’m a Cliff Girl … Some folks like Power Gels … You *might* not have a problem … but why risk it if you don’t have to?
  5. Night Before: If you’re sharing a room, you’ll decide who gets what part then lay out your clothes.  Get the chip on the shoe, pin on the number and all that.  I had to laugh at a friend of mine because although she’d done tons of events … she took forever in the morning because she couldn’t find things in the dark!  I’ve got my water belt loaded with water and gels, skirt, shirt, sox, jog-bra, watch and shoes (with chip) all laid out with body glide and sunscreen right next to it all … in the order I’m going to put things on!  If you’re putting after stuff in that bag they give you to check, get it all ready to go!
  6. Check Bag: Ok – both events will give you this clear bag.  Your bib number will have another piece that you zip tie to the bag.  You can put a few things in the bag and check it before you go … and pick it up when you get done.  If you’re wearing a jacket but don’t want to walk in it, you check it by stuffing it in your bag.  I keep the following in my bag: flip-flops (I want out of my beloved Brooks and Socks as fast as possible!), Granola bar, Fig Newtons, Towel.  You’ll be handed some water and snacks in the Security Area, but I like knowing I’ve got something anyway.  I’ve got no clue what I’ll be putting in at Disney … pop by my room!  Remember – don’t put anything in there that you’ll freak out if it gets lost.  It happens. 
  7. Breakfast Race Morning:  Ok – with my previous career, I spent a lot of time in hotels having to make my own meals … see 4 above … I don’t like messing with my stomach.  Here’s how I’ve been described: “Here’s how Lis handles things.  The night before the race, she cleans out the coffee pot and fills it with water.  She’s got three packs of instant oatmeal and raisins in one cup and instant coffee in the other along with a banana and a bagel.  We just watched as she went about her morning on autopilot:  She started the coffee pot, took a shower and got dressed, made oatmeal and coffee, ate it while stretching then offered us each a cup while she did more stretches and munched a bagel.  You’d think she’d been doing this for forever, but it’s been only a year!”  It works for me!
  8. There are a LOT of people there!  I remembered being amazed at the amassed amount of people so early in the morning when we were at Disney last year. One of the guys pointed me to the potties and said “Go early and go often so you don’t have to go on the road.”  Ok … There are potties right there … get in the line!  The last thing you want to do is have to go potty only a couple of miles into the race … because everyone else is lined up!  It takes time and you can get swept because you’ve spent a lot of time in potty lines!
  9. Swept: That’s when the van at the end says “You’re coming with us…” meaning that you didn’t keep the minimum pace and you’re being taken to the end.  IT HAPPENS!  A friend of mine said she could feel the sweep van ‘breathing down’ her neck through Disney last year.  She did her best and it didn’t ‘catch her’ but why was she in that position – the friend she was walking with spent forever in the potties.  Disney is really serious about their time cut-offs.  Don’t freak out, just stay in front of the van and ‘manage your race’ …
  10. When the race starts, you might want to just keep up with all those fast people around you.  I waved my team-mates good-bye last year because I got a really good chunk of advice – Walk Your Own Race.  I didn’t care if I came in last … and still don’t … but prefer not to!  You know what you’ve been doing and how your training has been going.  You will meet some really neat people to walk with, but keep true to yourself.  Know your limits.  You’ve got x number of hours to get this done in and remember, YOU ARE HAVING FUN!  Check in with your body from time to time and remember there are TNT coaches from around the world out there with you … you’re going to be OK.  Remember – You and the Speedy Sneaker who breaks the tape in some insane speed will get the same medal … enjoy the walk … but keep putting that one foot in front of the other … (oh my – that song is stuck in my head!)
  11. The BEST piece of on course advice came from Teammate and Mentor Cindy H.  We were both doing our first Marathon last year and she said “You know, when you get half way, you’re on your way home.”  It makes sense and I think of it on every event I do!  When you get to just after mile 6 or 13.1, you’ve conquered the first half and the rest is gravy!  When you’re training that 2nd half of the work out always seems to fly by!  Thanks Cindy!!!
  12. They do take pictures along the way … and as walkers we tend to be able to see the cameras!  Practice smiling when you’re walking … make yourself laugh along the way!  You will have no problem with this crossing the finish line because you’ll be so happy!  My buddy who got me in to all this laughs because most of my photos have me smiling … Keep them guessing, Gang!  You might be sore, but you’ll look Fa-bul-lous!
  13. Always, Always, ALWAYS remember that you’re a WINNER just by doing this and sticking with it.  You’ve fundraised. You’ve sweat. You fundraised some more.  You’ve cried (or maybe that’s just me).  You’ve pushed yourself harder than you ever might have in the past … but you’re there!  You’ve found shoes, socks, shorts/skirt, clothes etc race ‘food’ that work.  You’ve done it … and EVERY SINGLE MILE is something amazing!  This all being said … sometimes stuff happens.  A really dear friend of mine had trained like crazy and he’s in amazing shape, but the heat got to him and he had to stop.  Another friend had the cold cause problems.  A third did something to his knee at mile 10 and that was it.  A fourth literally ran out of air!  These guys/gals all have years of running and walking behind them and know two things: One – if they have to, they stop and Two – they are winners for taking care of themselves out there.  Sometimes things happen and you might not be able to finish your event.  RIGHT HERE AND NOW REMEMBER THIS … YOU ARE A WINNER NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!  If you have to, write it on the back of your hand before your event!  I’m injured right now and I’m going to write a note to put in my hat!  Whatever it takes!  YOU ARE A WINNER!!!!  I have a story on my blog from last year’s Disney that makes me cry every time I think of it … but this girl is the ultimate winner … and she couldn’t finish her ½ marathon!

 Gang – we are the little walking engines that CAN and WILL!  Sure there will be people that pass you … but just keep chugging along because you just might pass them right back!  Make some new race friends because when you’re out there, we’re all in the same boat!  Arizona: Dance with the bands … it’s great stretching time!  Disney: We get bands too!  Dancing loosens up stuff and stretching makes you feel WONDERFUL during those long miles.  When it gets hard, think of Janie and your personal connection with this fight to find cures for Blood Cancers … and you’ll find you’ve got a little bit more inside to go just a little bit farther … if our patient honorees can continue to survive and thrive with their cancers, we can plug away and get a few more miles done … one step at a time!   Last year, all I wanted to do was finish my Marathon … and that’s a great feeling!  It doesn’t matter where we are or even if we’ve never met each other … we’re the ROCKY MOUNTAIN TEAM IN TRAINING WONDERFUL WALKING WOMEN!!  We’ve earned the bragging rights! As ever, I’m more than happy to babble answers using my year of events as a walker …  Walk On!   “Dizzy Ms. Lizzy”

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