Resolve to Make 2014 “The Year of the 3-Day”

New Year’s resolutions have long been a source of both inspiration and frustration for millions of people. You start out strong, pumped up to make positive changes when the calendar turns over to January 1, but if you’re like me, many of those commitments fall by the wayside before you hit Groundhog Day.

But the 3-Day is one thing I come back to without fail, every year, so I know a thing or two about sticking to 3-Day-related resolutions. To help get you motivated to make 2014 “The Year of the 3-Day,” here are some easy goals to set for yourself:

1.   Register! – Seems obvious, right? Yes, it may feel scary to commit to such a big challenge, but taking that first step of actually signing up is often the scariest part. It gets better once you’ve jumped in, and January 1 is a beautiful day to jump. Already registered for a 2014 3-Day? Fantastic! Recruit a friend to join you!

2.   Drink more water – I know I don’t drink enough water on a daily basis, but I am absolutely diligent about staying hydrated when I’m training and walking the 3-Day. I think the reason for that is that I always have a water bottle within close reach. You can get in the habit of drinking water throughout the day simply by having some handy.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

3.   Walk more – Yes, 60 miles is a lot of walking, but January is a great time to start small. You don’t have to rush into the big mileages right away. For now, just resolve to walk a little bit more than you currently do. Park a little farther from the entrance, walk the dog around the block one more time, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness.

4.   Get a donation! – So you’re registered, right? Great! New Year’s Day is the perfect time to appeal to the newfound motivation of your donors. They’re eager to start the year on a positive note, so encourage their generosity by asking for a “Hello 2014” donation. Make it a fun challenge on social media by seeing how many of your Facebook friends you can get to make a donation of $20.14 to you – 25 $20.14 donations will get you to your first $500!

5.   Okay…breathe – You’ve got a big year ahead of you, and the full-swing 3-Day season (Meetings! Training walks! Fundraising letters!) will be here before you know it. Allow yourself to stop and take those special quiet moments to remember why you walk. Really breathe in every second of this journey.

Atlanta 3-Day Day 1

2014 is going to be amazing, I just know it. What will you resolve to do in the new year?

A Holiday Greeting from the 3-Day

Our crates are all packed up, our tents are all stowed,
And we’re taking a break after months on the road.
But before we say farewell to twenty-thirteen,
We fondly remember all the things we have seen.
Through the hearts of big cities and quaint little towns,
On sidewalks, twisty trails, up hills then back down,
Feet, by the thousands, all blistered and tired,
Walked mile after mile, each step more inspired.
In fourteen cities, and well over 800 miles,
With tears and embraces, and high fives and smiles,
Each walker gave something that can’t be defined:
A bold, hope-filled spirit that’s a rare thing to find.
Through every challenge, and each pain they endured,
We move that much closer to finding a cure.
So as you gather with loved ones, sharing holiday cheer,
The 3-Day team says, “Thanks for a wonderful year!

Washington DC 3-Day Day 1

“If life puts a roller coaster in your path, ride it!” : The 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2013, Part 3

For the final post in the Coaches’ Favorite Moments series, we hear from Michigan coach Jennifer Hanskat. Jennifer has been a 3-Day coach for 9 years, and has also participated in the 3-Day 17 times. One of her most cherished 3-Day memories happened just this year in San Diego, where a promise made to a friend finally was fulfilled.

b and hanskat

Bridget and Jennifer on the 2008 San Diego 3-Day

“In 2008 I walked with Bridget [Spence] in San Diego. It was the first and only time that both of us were able to participate as walkers in two events within the same year. I had previously walked in Michigan with my family, Bridget in DC with her family, and then we came together in San Diego for the last event of the year. We walked the entire walk together, and on Saturday afternoon we saw the roller coaster at Belmont Park and talked about how fun it would be to ride the coaster.

“By the time we were at the pit stop next to the coaster it was late in the day, we were tired, hungry and just ready to be done. For a variety of reasons we passed up the coaster and didn’t ride it. The very next day we talked about it and decided, we should have done it. The regret of not riding the coaster came up a few times over the next few years and we came up with our very own slogan: ‘If life puts a roller coaster in your path, ride it!’

“When I registered to walk in San Diego this year, I knew I was going to ride that coaster, to honor the memory of my beautiful friend, Bridget, who passed away earlier this year. I discussed this with my team and many were on board with me. A few weeks before the event, I learned that the route may have changed and that we might pass Belmont Park early in the morning before it was opened. I was disappointed but ultimately thought that if it was meant to be, it would work out.

“As we began Day 2 I realized that yes, we were going to pass by Belmont Park later in the afternoon on the way back to camp. I was walking with several members of my team and I told them that I was riding the coaster. As we neared the pit stop close to Belmont Park, several more members of my team ended up at the same location. It was meant to be!

“In the end, 13 of us rode the coaster…I rode in the front car with my dear friend, Nanette, who was also very close with Bridget. We rode that coaster with our hands in the air the entire time, laughing and celebrating the life of Bridget. I am sure that Bridget was smiling and laughing from heaven as she watched us. It worked out exactly like it was supposed to.”

coaster hands up

Jennifer and her teammates rode the Belmont Park roller coaster on the 2013 San Diego walk, to celebrate Bridget’s life.

coaster coming in

The riders come home!

 

I was honored to be one of the 13 coaster riders that day too, and I can’t help but smile at the correlation between that literal roller coaster ride we took and the symbolic roller coaster ride that so many experience on their 3-Day journey. You approach the coaster with excitement and maybe some trepidation. Maybe you made the choice on your own or maybe your friends talked you into it. You wait, you prepare and finally, you board the train. From there, you take off on a thrilling ride that’s exhilarating and sometimes scary. It’s full of ups and downs, unexpected turns and bumps, and in most cases, lots of smiles and laughter. It’s the same with the 3-Day, and I am thankful every day that I said “Yes” to that ride the first time.