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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To buy or not to buy...

So...  What do you need to buy to walk 60 miles?

I can only tell you what I did, and what I wished I had done differently.  There is no one who could tell you EXACTLY what you should have.  I guess if you read enough experiences from enough different people you may come up with the best idea yet...

Let me start with shoes and socks.  The 3 Day coaches recommend that you have 2 pairs of shoes, and that you have 2 pairs of moisture wicking socks for each of the 3 days you are walking.  Good advice.  What I had were 1 pair of decent running shoes, and 1 pair of old running shoes that I brought just in case it rained and I prayed I wouldn't have to use them.  These were a pair I'd had for too long, and they were not comfortable enough to use for 20 miles.  I also brought 3 pairs of socks for each of the 3 days; after my tentmate told me she brought multiple pairs to change throughout the day I figured an extra pair wouldn't hurt.   Here's what I wished I had done:  I wish I'd had 2 pairs of shoes that are equally comfortable but that are NOT the exact same kind.  I think I may have gotten less blisters if I could have switched shoes for day 2, so that the shoes weren't rubbing in the exact same way in the exact same spot for the entire 60 miles. This is definately what I will try this time around!   This year I will also look into better insoles for those 2 pairs as well.  As for socks, I think if we had extremely warm weather I may have opted to bring even more socks, and changed them more often.  This year having 2 changes throughout the day was perfectly fine for me.  I changed them at lunch and later in the afternoon after having to re-glide my feet and put new skin on my blisters.  I guess I will have to see what the weather will be at the time of my walk to make that decision.

My favorite/most comfortable outfit

Next we will move on to clothes for the walk.  This one was tricky for me, since weather at the beginning of October in the DC area can vary greatly and is difficult to predict, so we had trouble shopping for our walking clothes.  To start with I bought a running skirt (which became my absolute favorite), and 2 pairs of moisture wicking capri pants.  I also bought 2 moisture wicking short sleeve shirts.  After walking my first 3 day this is my recommendation: buy shirts that are made of the silky material, because the dry wicking cotton one I wore on day 2 chaffed something awful under my armpit on one side, and one of my teammates had the same problem with hers.  The other 2 days I had the moisture wicking kind that were silky, and didn't have that problem.  Our team had t-shirts made as well, and so I had another moisture wicking short sleeve shirt and a long sleeve cotton t-shirt to wear over top on the chilly fall mornings.  I liked the idea of a long sleeve team t-shirt, and wore it for a few hours in the mornings on day 1 and 2.  To me it was better than a sweatshirt since I would have to wear it around my waist after taking it off, and with a hippack on a sweatshirt felt a little too bulky. The downside was that even though I only wore it for a few hours before getting sweaty, the shirt got sweaty anyway from wearing it around my waist and under my hippack.  Next time I will buy a new long sleeve shirt for each morning.  I believe I will also buy leg warmers for 2011, those mornings were really cold but later in the day it was warm enough for shorts.  Besides a fun pair of pink polka dotted ones would be cute!

The hippack vs. the backpack.  This is something each person definately has to try out for themselves.  To start out we all had backpacks, which was OK for carrying lots of things we thought we needed.  But as we increased the miles we were walking we didn't like how sore it made our shoulders and how sweaty our backs were getting.  So I read the message boards on the 3 day site and found a lot of people recommended the hippack that you could find in Walmart.  I figured at least this one is cheap ($10!) so if I didn't want to use it I wouldn't feel bad, other ones were going for up to $40!  I bought this one, and loved it.  It was light, padded and comfortable, and came with 2 large water bottles.  My teammates borrowed mine to try out and liked it too, so we all got the same kind.  On the 3 Day event it turned out many other people liked them too, because we saw lots of people with the Walmart hippack.  I will definately use the same one next time, it was perfect!

We had a lot of ideas as to what to sleep on at night in the tents, from those egg crate blue things that older people put on their mattresses, to mats you can buy in outdoor stores, to air mattresses.  In the end, we opted for the air mattress, because we believed we would need as comfortable a bed as possible, so we could get some serious sleep at night.  I bought a twin mattress at Walmart which was only about $13, and they also had battery powered pumps available for about $15.  I was as comfortable as I could be with the air mattress, and 2 twin mattresses fit fine in the tent.  I will be bringing my air mattress again next year.  We also used sleeping bags, though that caused problems when it came to actually packing them.  I will be debating on whether to bring warm blankets, bring the old sleeping bag again, or purchase a compact sleeping bag from one of the outdoor outfitters.  So sorry, have no definite opinion when it comes to what to use to keep warm...

trying to find YOUR tent can be difficult...

Misc. stuff: - Loved new skin for blisters, since it never moved around and created more blisters - I believe a form of Body Glide to be a necessity, for those who don't know what it is, it's a kind of lubricant that you put on your feet to keep friction down to a minimum, and it comes in a "stick" like a deodorant - Trial sized toiletries, much easier to deal with when packing is such a challenge - A flashlight that you can use "hands free" (ex: attach to a had, wear around your neck, etc.) for when you are using a port o pot in the dark - And finally some sort of light or glow in the dark thingy that you can put on your tent when decorating, so that you can find it in the sea of tents at night when you had to get up to go to the bathroom!

I guess it boils down to taking everyone's advice, combining it, and trying out what you like ahead of time.  That way you can see what will best work for you!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walking... walking... and more walking...

Showing off my pack bling!
I read on the 3 day message boards that some people don't train for the 60 mile walk.  ???  I have absolutely no idea how they do it!  I trained with my teammates for many months, and a few weeks before the walk I still wasn't sure if I had trained enough to walk all 60 miles.  I know my teammates expressed feeling the same way, and we were all a little nervous about it.  But we also knew that with the time our busy lives allotted us to walk, we couldn't have done much more than we did.

I remember at some point in the middle of August reality hit.  Less than 2 months left!  I was floored!  I remember thinking back to when it was May and I felt like October was so far away it would never come.  So my team and I definitely felt it was time to "step it up a notch" with our training.  Time to do some serious mileage!  On the weekday evenings that we walked, we couldn't really add more miles than we were doing, so we kept those to 5-6 mile walks.  On the weekend walks though, we started trying to add more.  I must take my hat off to my sister-in-law Lisa here.  She was an absolutely wonderful training walk planner.  I don't know how many hours she spent total, but she worked very hard to plan walks that gave us choices in which way to go depending on how we felt that day, plenty of bathroom breaks (not easy when you are walking on a trail and through residential neighborhoods unless you wanted to stop at a stranger's house and knock on the door...) since we were doing our best to keep well hydrated, and of course we had to have our little breaks near our car so that we could refill our water bottles (which luckily was parked at my teammates' brother's house so we had a bathroom as well).  She was our logistical genius, and I will take this moment to thank her again:  THANK YOU LISA YOU ROCK!!

Gettysburg - the big 20!
So we steadily increased our miles to doing 12-15 miles.  Not easy, at least for me.  But at least I had my teammates to walk with, and talking with them while walking made me forget about how tired I felt or any of my little aches and pains I was finding as the miles stretched on.  I applaud  those people who trained doing this many miles on their own (as I may be doing this coming year), because having people to talk to and share the misery some days (I didn't always feel like walking that many miles early on a Sat. morning!) made it easier.  Anyway we continued this for a few more weeks, looking forward to our final big challenge before the event itself:  the recommended 20 mile/18 mile back-to-back walk.  Some days I couldn't wait for the challenge, some days I was nervous, and I'd even spent a few days dreading it.  And then all of a sudden that weekend we set aside for our big walk had arrived...

The horseback maneuvers
We did the 20 mile walk around Gettysburg, and it was a terrific idea.  It was really helpful to have a beautiful place to walk when you are doing 20 miles!   It was a perfect Sept. Maryland weather day too, which helped as well.  We walked all around the downtown area in our pink glory, and were able to restrain ourselves from stopping at an outdoor stall serving cinnamon rolls and from stopping at a flea market we passed.  We took a million pictures, and I learned a way to keep my camera handy by strapping it to the outside of my pack so that I didn't continuously have to keep taking it in and out all day long (this was a great idea since at the 60 mile event I also wanted to take lots of pics!).   Then we were on to the battlefields where we dodged motorcycle gangs and watched a little show of civil war soldiers doing horseback maneuvers.  And we learned that 5 mile stretches between bathroom breaks was pushing it a little, and we were very grateful for the port-a-pot we found that was there for some construction workers...

The battlefield cemetery
By about mile 18 I was getting what I like to call "stupid tired."  I remember that for some reason we debated on crossing an area that was fenced, and I said something about not wanting to climb over a fence again.  Where that came from I'm not sure, since we never climbed a fence that day...  We finished our last few miles walking through the peaceful battlefield cemetery, and actually (due to getting a tiny bit lost earlier) we walked closer to 21 miles that day.  We were all dead tired, but I felt a great sense of accomplishment at finishing our 20 miles.  But the next day we planned on walking 15 more miles and I can't say I looked forward to that...

A much needed stretching break
It turned out that one of our teammates was unable to join us for the 15 mile walk the next morning, due to a family medical emergency.  So it was only 2 of us for the 2nd day of our long walk weekend.  And the 2 of us barely made it.  We were not used to starting out already aching and exhausted from the day before, and we had to stop and stretch a lot more often, especially near the end.  How were we possibly going to make it through the 20 miles on the 2nd day of the 3 day event?  So feeling beat up and exhausted and having some serious doubts, we actually ended after 14 miles.  I didn't feel that same sense of accomplishment I had felt the day before.  I could only hope and pray that at the event the adrenaline, the people around me, and God would see me finish every mile...

Luckily, our excitement and enthusiasm returned as the weeks turned into days before our event!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few misc. things that worked, and didn't...

There were a few smaller fundraising ideas that we tried.  Some worked...  some didn't...

One of those things that did work:  One of my teammates had a friend that sold Tastefully Simple.  She was extremely generous, and agreed to give us a large portion of her open house sales.  She was absolutely wonderful!  She and my teammate did all the prep for the open house day (thanks Lisa!), and everything we tried was delicious!  Sadly, I was only able to sell to my mother-in-law and one of my sister-in-laws, and I of course purchased something.  I felt really bad, especially when both my teammates seemed to have sold a lot of her products.  I am not sure why no one I asked wanted anything; this didn't go well for me personally.  But my 2 teammates sold like crazy, and even though I barely contributed anything, they graciously allowed me to split the donation money with them.  We raised $50 each from this!  Overall a success story!

Another idea we had was to sell candles, right around Mother's Day.  This one did not work for us, and we sold NO candles in 3 weeks!  We tried this one online, so that it wasn't an extreme amount of work (since we were planning for our first bake sale and selling bracelets at the same time).  I really don't know why (like my attempt at selling Tastefully Simple) this didn't work, because when I read things from the 3 Day message boards this idea seemed to work very well for other people.

 Here was a good one - along with my pink hair challenge, I had a firefighter that worked with my husband offer an insane amount of donation money to dye ALL my hair pink!  He offered me $250 to do it!  How could I say no?  So I looked online for some pink hair dye again, and wrote to the company that had previously donated the hair dye for my streaks, Streakers.  They told me they don't sell that kind of hair dye, and pointed me in the right direction to a  couple of companies that did.  So once again I emailed the 2 companies I had found to see if they would be willing to donate the hair dye.  This time though I had no luck.  Oh well!  But of course I ran into the same issue as with my pink hair streaks; my employer would not allow me to come to work with pink hair.  I looked for a type of dye that would wash out after 3-5 times, but it does not exist (that I found anyway).  My choices were then either the pink hair spray, or a type of dye that washed out somewhere between 10-30 washings.  Well as much as I would have loved to try the latter, I figured my luck would have been that it took 30 washings.  I couldn't take off of work for a month (wouldn't that have been nice) so I had to go with the pink hair spray.  What a mess!!!  My hair was definitely neon pink and stiff as a board!  LOL!  So after I sprayed it all off I went to visit my husband's friend at the firehouse.  And true to his word, he gave me a $250 donation, and another firefighter donated $20 as well.  They were wonderful!

And one last idea that worked for another woman quite well but didn't go quite as successfully for me was a facebook challenge.  I got the idea from another walker on the 3 Day message boards.  I modified it a little bit so it wasn't EXACTLY the same, but it was the same idea.  It was my $3, 30 day for my 3 Day question-a-day challenge.  The plan was to ask one question everyday for a month to which if someone answered yes, they "owed" a $3 donation.  I was hoping to get people who I knew didn't have a lot of money to donate involved, by giving them a way to give only a small amount of money without feeling embarrassed or guilty about it.  It was a minimal amount of work, and it was a fun challenge for me to come up with 30 questions related to the 3 Day for the Cure, or the color pink, or relating to me in some way.  It didn't raise a lot of money towards a cure, but for the minimal amount of work it took I think I may attempt it again this year...

I am glad I tried all of these ideas out, because this time around I will spend more time doing what worked, trying completely different ideas that I didn't have a chance to do last year, and discarding the ideas that really didn't go too well. I hope I was able to help someone out there with their fundraising, too.  I feel very blessed that I was able to raise over $2,800 in 2010 towards a world without breast cancer.  Hopefully this year will be a wonderful success for me and for the Susan G. Komen Foundation again!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Auction...part 2

I learned that getting people to come to your event sounds easier than it really is.  I decided to ask my teammates to help with this part, and in return I would share the "dine-out nite" money raised with them.  So we once again printed out a billion flyers.  I placed flyers around town in establishments that either donated an item or had a sports theme (ex:  Sports Clips barber shop).  I gave them out at work, and emailed copies to anyone who showed any interest in attending.  I used Evite and made it an "event" on facebook.  I asked a local vet hospital that owns a sign facing the main road that goes thru town if we could advertise the auction on their sign.  I did everything I could think of to get people to come!

My husband and oldest son at the auction
I even went as far as doing a short interview at a local radio station and having a front page article in the local newspaper trying to get people to come.  That was an experience...  I had never before been on the radio or on the front page!  I couldn't believe this was shy little me doing all these things!

In my daydreams, hundreds of people attended bidding on everything as I mingled with perfect ease...  Reality turned out to be something entirely different though.  There was not one person that attended that someone on the team didn't know.  There were only 1-2 bids on most items, and quite a few with no bids at all.  But even though the turnout was disappointing, the money raised was not!  It turned out that I had raised over $600 from the auction items and the raffle for the Buffalo Wild Wings basket to go toward my fundraising minimum, we raised $160 from the food sales to split, and $80 from the 50/50 raffle to use toward our gear expenses.  Not bad for a slightly sad turnout!!

My daughter and I at the auction
One of our auction tables
Well, lessons were learned once again.  Would I do this again?  Yes, though I would ( I guess I should say WILL since I will try to do it again this year) stress over it a little less.  I would definitely advise having more help than I did, since it was alot for one person and her husband to pull off, though it obviously CAN be done.  I would advise starting earlier, so you don't feel as rushed.  I would look into how others have advertised their auctions, so that maybe there would be a better turn out.  I don't think working any harder would be of any benefit, I would learn from others experiences how to work SMARTER.  This year I am already starting to think of ideas for it!  Anyone who reads this who has had a successful auction, email me what worked and what didn't for you, so maybe I can be smarter about it this time around!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Auction...part 1

Ok, I realized that I needed something BIG to raise the next $1000+ that I needed in order to walk.  Another bake sale or fb challenge was not going to cut it; I needed a big event.  And the only thing I thought I could pull off (after looking into a bunch of ideas from the 3 day message boards) was a silent auction.  The information I found said that it was a big payoff, but ALOT of work.  Sigh.  My teammates were not interested in helping with the enormous amount of preparation work that goes into an auction, since they still had people that were going to donate to them and weren't having trouble meeting their minimum. Sigh.  So I started on my own...

At first, I planned on using a fundraising/ auction company I found online that would ship you sports/ movie memorabilia to use in an auction, on consignment.  Which meant that you got a certain percentage of the things that sold, and you could just return things that didn't for no charge.  While looking into this my husband started to get interested in helping (yay!!)!  It was very nice to have someone helping me, so the feeling of being completely overwhelmed and "in over my head" abated slightly. So anyway, while in the process of communicating w/ this company via email, my husband saw a flyer in the mail about a sports memorabilia store in town that provided the same services!  That sounded so much better, since I could walk into the store and talk face to face w/ someone, and wouldn't have to worry about any shipping problems.  So my husband and I went to the store, and we signed up to do an auction with their merchandise. It was very simple and we even got to hand pick things we wanted to auction off.  Check!  One thing to cross of the list...

Next, we needed to find somewhere to hold the auction.  I was NOT willing to resort to doing this in my backyard!  So in reading about how other people worked their auctions, we saw that most did them in a bar or a rented hall.  Well our attempt at getting a local firehouse (where my husband has volunteered for years) to donate the use of their hall for a night was shot down, so we got the idea of using a sports bar/ restaurant.  So I called Buffalo Wild Wings and spoke to the marketing manager, and arranged a meeting with her to discuss our auction idea. At this point I was so far out of my comfort zone I was physically ill!!   My husband was extremely helpful and volunteered to put together a power point presentation to show, and to go with me to the meeting.   So a few weeks later, with my in-law's laptop and my supportive husband, I met with the manager.  She was intrigued by the idea, and told me BWW had never held an auction before.  She also wanted to hold a "dine-out" nite where we would get a percentage of sales for the night of the auction from people who brought a flyer with them (which we would design), and ok'd our idea of a 50/50 raffle.She even offered to make a BWW basket for us to raffle off as well!  Since this was a new thing for them though, we would have to have a 2nd meeting with the regional marketing manager... Sigh.  Another thing to stress out about!

So as we continued to prepare for meeting number 2, we also continued to email HUNDREDS of hotels, spas, casinos, resorts, adventure places, amusement parks, etc. to try to get more and different auction items. We visited, wrote, and emailed everyone everywhere.  We got very few responses though.  But we were able to get a casino/hotel package in Atlantic City, a family YMCA membership, a local restaurant gift card, and a local shop donated an item from Vera Bradley.  I really thought more places would respond to such a worthy cause, but we were largely ignored.  But I did learn a valuable personal lesson:  the worst thing that can happen by asking is someone will say "no," and that someone saying "no" is not nearly as bad as you think it will be.  In fact you get used to it!  And that for every thousand times you hear/read the word "no," someone is bound to say "yes!"  I know people have told me about this lesson from their experiences, but experiencing it for myself made me feel like a stronger person, and almost a feeling of being liberated.  I no longer got physically ill or embarrassed from asking for a donation, and it felt wonderful!

Meeting number 2 went just as well as the first meeting with Buffalo Wild Wings, and the auction was on!  I still felt overwhelmed, but also wonderful!  I couldn't believe what I had accomplished so far, and I was proud of doing so much by myself.  So now I had a place, and items for my auction.  Now I just had to get people to come!!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training, shoes, and hydration

At this point (the middle of June) my teammates and I were walking 2x/ week together, one week night and one weekend morning.  On weeknights we walked mostly the same 5 mile route, and on the weekends we were up to walking about 8-9 miles.  5 miles was relatively easy for us, though increasing it was getting a little harder.  I affectionately named the 8 mile walk "the Ocho."  I am not sure why it felt so much different,  but it was the point for me where things started hurting, when they didn't even bother me before.  I was really nervous about this, because if my body was starting to hurt at 8 miles, how was it going to be walking 50 more?!?!  So I did 2 things about this:

I decided it was time to get myself that new pair of kicks.  The tennis shoes I had been walking in at this point were a decent pair of addidas running shoes, but they were about 4 yrs old.  Yikes!  For a few weeks I had been trying on some different brands of shoes, and seeing what I liked in my price range.  But it was time to get serious!  I probably annoyed a bunch of sales people by trying on every brand of shoe they had then leaving without buying any...  and then I found them.  I fell in love with a pink pair of Saucony shoes.  They weren't outrageously expensive, and immediately comfortable as soon as I put them on.  They were "the ones."  For anyone who needs to buy shoes for beginning to walk or run, my suggestion is to do what I did, and try on a million different pairs till you find "the ones" for you, and they should be immediately comfortable.  Don't buy ones that you think will feel better after you break them in, since running shoes can be fairly pricey and they may NOT feel better later...

I did get a blister from walking that first time breaking my new kicks in, but in general I felt a few of my aches and pains from increasing my mileage disappear.  So I was glad I put in all that effort in finding shoes I would be happy in!  Happy feet = happy me!

The 2nd thing I did was ask my doc about the recurrent pain I was getting in my groin area and into my hamstrings every time I walked.  The nice thing is, since I work at a hospital I run into my doc from time to time, and I can ask him a simple question like this without making an appointment!  So I explained what I was doing and where my pain was, and he told me I was getting a build up of lactic acid in my muscles and wasn't drinking enough to flush it out. "So bring a water bottle" he said.  I told him, I do.  "Bring 2 then."  I told him, I do.  ( My hippack from Walmart that I really like has 2 pretty large sized water bottles on it.)  Then he just looked at me and said' "So drink them then!"  LOL!

Well I took his advice, and wouldn't you know it he was right.  I started trying to drink more when I walked, even when I wasn't remotely thirsty, and the pain disappeared.  All those messages and recommendations on the 3 day site about hydrating while you walked, you'd think I'd have gotten the point before this!  I kept thinking I was drinking enough and that, well, I was only WALKING, not running a marathon.  But I believed now!  From that day on I drank a lot more than I had thought I needed to, and if the pain even started in my hips and groin I drank even more.  But my days of dealing with at least THAT pain were over...  Only now there was a new problem...  I have to pee a lot more...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Five Below Day!

Well this one had a bittersweet ending...

I routinely checked the 3 day message boards, sometimes needing ideas and sometimes just needing a little inspiration.  I had read that Five Below sponsored fundraising days, where they will contribute 10% of their sales for a day to an organization. Well this sounded simple, so I drafted a letter to the manager and off to Five Below I went!

Turns out I didn't even need to convince anyone of the importance of my cause, which with my letter in hand I was scared but thoroughly prepared to do!  All I had to do was pick the date I wanted to do my fundraiser!  The manager told me we were allowed to have a presence in the store that day, so I asked if it would be acceptable to have a bake sale in front of the store for the day.  She told me that was fine, but we couldn't sell anything that would compete with the merchandise in their store, so no bracelet sales that day.  She handed me a copy of the flyer customers needed to hand to the cashier on the day of our fundraiser to give us the 10%, and told me she'd see me then.  This was MUCH easier than I thought!

So my teammates and I made an insane amount of flyers, and handed them out to everyone.  I even took a chance and "illegally" put them on the table in the break room at work and posted a few on the bulletin board in the library in town.  And of course with the lessons from the 1st bake sale fresh in our minds, we unfroze and baked in preparation of another bakesale.  I still packaged some of the newly baked things in pretty packaging and attached my leftover business cards to them, and we still had our breast cancer awareness themed tablecloth, but we definitely scaled it down this time around.  My daughter once again (God bless her) volunteered to help, so with markers, poster board, yummy food, and lots of enthusiasm in tow we were off to bakesale number 2!

In retrospect, I think this was the day I truly came out of my shell, left my comfort zone, and embraced being a little zany in my fundraising.  It was one thing to fund-raise on facebook, with letters, or at a slightly somber church bake sale, but quite another thing to walk up in down the sidewalk at a strip mall, wearing all pink (including a newly purchased pink boa), with pink streaks in my hair and a pink lanyard adorned in buttons, carrying a sign announcing our bakesale/ Five Below Day!  I handed out flyers to everyone that walked even close to Five Below that day, and even shouted down a co-worker who happened to drive by us!  And I had a blast doing it.

We made a little more money this time around, and of course Five Below had a large stack of flyers that were turned in that day.  So we gave them our donation forms, explained again that we were splitting the money 3 ways (though all 3 checks were of course still made out to SGK), and we were done!  Another relatively easy fundraiser success!

Now for the bittersweet part...  Though I am sure that (because they made the check out to Susan G. Komen and mailed it to the address on the donation form) the money went toward finding a cure, it was never credited to our fundraising "accounts."  We waited to see the numbers on our personal 3Day fundraising pages increase, but after a few months of waiting it never posted the Five Below donation.  I called and talked   to 2 different managers, but they weren't sure if they were mailed as 3 separate checks like they were supposed to be, or one check mailed in.  So due to a failure on the part of Five Below's management, we never did get that straightened out.  Luckily we had already met our minimum donation requirement to participate in the walk, so I didn't hound them on it.

But this was an important one for me personally, because I lost a little of the "fear of fundraising" and actually had fun!  I definitely needed that for the near future with my BIG fundraiser coming up...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Training...the beginning...

I was not sure in the beginning that I would raise enough money to participate in the walk, but I realized 2 things. I'd better train just in case, and I could stand to lose a few pounds and get in better shape anyway.  So I had nothing to lose in starting to train.

So while my fundraising was just beginning,  I started walking.  I learned one thing immediately:  I HATED walking in the cold!  But in February, I started anyway.  Then of course, the big snow storms came.  Well in 4 feet of snow, there are no sidewalks to be found to walk on.  So early training had to be put on hold almost as soon as it started.  But it was a long time till October, so no biggie.

Once the snow FINALLY melted away, I began again.  I started with just doing 3 miles walks.  3 miles was not hard, and didn't take very long, so I was able to do it a few times per week.  A few weeks later my teammates and I started walking together on a weekly basis.

Team Me and The Girls on one of our early training walks
Recommendation:  The Susan G. Komen site has a suggested training schedule starting 24 weeks before the event, which once it started, helped to keep us on track, even if we didn't follow it to the letter.  There was even an option to have the schedule emailed to us on a weekly basis, so we didn't even have to go to the site to check it.  I recommend using this schedule, even if you can't do everything exactly as it is mapped out, you can at least use it as a guide to help you see where in the training you should be.  Another thing that helped us out was the site "map my run," which helped us to map out routes to walk and told us the mileage of those routes.  Worth checking out!


A little before the bakesale, my team and I started selling breast cancer awareness bracelets.  I "met" a woman on the Susan G. Komen facebook page that was making and selling these, and she offered to send me one free, so I could see if I was interested in selling them.  It was really beautiful, and relatively inexpensive, so we decided to give it a try.

Let me tell you how easy this was!  The wonderful woman we worked with asked for NO money up front; she worked on the honor system.  I was really impressed, because that's not something people do anymore.  So she sent us her bracelets and we had 2 weeks to sell them, with the option of mailing back any that we weren't able to sell.  She had assured me that I would not have any leftover to send back, but I wasn't so sure.  So we went to work selling them for $10 each, raising $3 towards our fundraising with each bracelet sold.  Well she was right, they were easily sold, and we needed to order more!  So we mailed her a check for the first batch of bracelets, and before she even received our money she mailed out the next batch!  How refreshing to work with a trusting person.

Things continued like this for a few months, her mailing out bracelets as we mailed her another check.  I didn't sell nearly as many as my teammates did; they seemed to keep needing more of different colors and sizes all throughout the summer.  It was absolutely a wonderful, simple fundraiser.  We did all our communicating on facebook, and NO out of pocket money was needed at all!  So I truly recommend this one for anyone who needs something simple to help raise their minimum to walk.  It did not yield a tremendous amount, but was definitely helpful for me.  I still wear my bracelet everyday!  If you would like to sell these bracelets, find me on facebook and let me know, and I will let my "sales rep" know to friend you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The prettiest bake sale ever...

The next thing I decided to try was a bake sale at my church.  So I wrote an email to my pastor, asking if I could do a bake sale in front of the church to benefit the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure, and put an announcement in the bulletin a week ahead of time to let people know about it.  He told me I could hold it in another church building, after each of the masses one Sunday.  I was also informed that I would need a bake sale permit.  A permit?  For a bake sale?  I had no idea!  Well my teammates and I asked nearly everyone we knew to bake something for that weekend, so we had alot of people that were going to bake things for us!  I was nervous because I read in the church bulletin that we had approx. 3,000 people attend church over the course of 5 masses per Sunday.  That's alot of people that could potentially attend my bake sale!  It was hard to wrap my brain around that number!  One of my sister-in-laws had suggested that presentation was a powerful ally for bake sales, and let me borrow beautiful dishes and cake tiers.  So I ordered tablecloths online with pink ribbons on them, and we bought pretty cellophane and ribbon to make the baked goods packaging attractive.  I also printed out a ton of "business cards" from the 3 day site on hot pink paper to tie and staple to the packages, in hopes that people might take these home and make a donation as well.  We had a beautiful banner made by a local company, Instasigns, to hang up.  We went as far as planning to bring a laptop computer and accessing the church buildings wi-fi for anyone who might want to make a donation with their credit card!  We couldn't have been more prepared!  

So now the night before the bake sale we had a million baked goods to decorate and package.  It took us hours, but we got it all done.  So early the next morning we set up our table in the building across from the church, and set up a sign my daughter made advertising our bake sale on an easel out in front of the building.  It truly was the prettiest bake sale ever.  And my wonderful but shy 11 year old daughter actually went out in front of the church doors each time a mass let out with a container for donations, and told people about the bake sale.  It's a shame more people didn't come to see it, but those who did bought quite a bit.  Our team of 3 raised a little over $30 each that morning.  Not as much as we had hoped for, but at least it was something.  We immediately froze any leftover items that could be frozen, so that we could use them for the next event we had planned a month later.

We learned a valueable lesson from that first beautiful bake sale, about what worked and what didn't. We learned that we didn't really have to take the incredible amount of time we took to package each item so nicely, it didn't seem to increase our sales enough to make it worth the effort.  We also learned that whole and half cakes and pies sold the best, I guess because people took them home to have for dessert after a nice Sunday dinner.  What didn't sell as well as we thought were the smaller packages.  I wish we had packaged some whole pans of brownies or some packs of cookies by the dozen, I believe they would have sold better. But lesson learned for the next time!