20 Tips for the First-Time 3-Day Walker

Say hello to Jamie Roubinek. On her blog, Roubinek Reality, Jamie writes about momhood, food, travel, DIYs and life in Dallas. On top of all of that, Jamie also stepped up to join the 3-Day in 2015 as a first-time walker in Dallas/Fort Worth. As a newly-graduated expert on the newbie experience, Jamie has some advice to offer other first-timers making their way to the 3-Day.

20151108_122637In November, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day. It was an unforgettable event for several reasons but mostly, the 3-Day was a huge learning experience. It was my very first one, so I learned a lot along the way. I wanted to share 20 tips for first-time 3-Day walkers.

  1. Get fitted for good shoes well ahead of time. They will be one of the most important things you’ll need during the 3-Day. But make sure you’re not wearing brand new shoes for the event. Break them in while training.
  2. Train, train, train. This is an endurance event. You’ll want to be physically prepared. By training ahead of time, you’ll potentially avoid LOTS of pain.
  3. Get a training buddy. Putting in the miles is a lot easier when you have a friend to do it with.
  4. Be equally committed to your fitness and fundraising. Make every day a mission to get yourself ready and to get your friends and family behind you.
  5. Attend the workshops that the 3-Day provides. They are full of tips and great information you’ll want to hear. Plus, you’ll meet fun people preparing for the same thing you are.
  6. Practice packing your bag and stick to the weight limit. Crew members will have to move your bags and they have LOTS of bags to take care of. If you aren’t sure if you’ll need something, you probably won’t.
  7. Jazz up your bag a little to make it easily recognizable.
  8. When packing your bag, put outfits for each day in individual Ziploc baggies. It not only keeps things organized for you, but also keeps clothes from getting wet in the event of rain or heavy dew.
  9. Carry a backpack or a fanny pack while walking. Choosing which one ultimately comes down to personal preference, but there are a couple of things you’ll want to have on you while you walk and you need to decide early what is the best way for you to carry them without weighing yourself down.
  10. Eat well, hydrate, and get lots of sleep before the event. You’ll want to be at the top of your game so you’re not fighting fatigue in the middle of the 60 miles.
  11. Don’t forget your water bottle. There are many drink and snack stations along the way, but they are for refilling your own bottle. I actually forgot my bottle one day. Huge mistake on my part. I won’t do that again. :)
  12. Get the towel service. After using your towel at night, there’s a chance it might not dry by the next day, depending on the weather. It’s worth it to have that nice fresh towel when you need it.
  13. Bring ear plugs. You never know how loud it might be outside of your tent (or maybe inside, if your tentmate is a snorer) when you’re trying to sleep.
  14. Bring Advil or Tylenol to take before going to bed. Your aching feet and muscles will thank you!
  15. Don’t forget sunscreen and lip balm. We started so early in the day and even though I wasn’t walking during the heat of the day, I still managed to get a bit of a sunburn on my face. Not fun.
  16. Pack plenty of socks and carry another pair with you while you’re walking. Think of how miserable it feels to walk around with wet socks. Yuck.
  17. Get there early for the Opening Ceremony and stay for the Closing Ceremony. You’ll want to soak in both of these emotional events, believe me! :)20151106_070829 (1)
  18. Meet people along the way and find out why they’re participating. You’ll love hearing the different stories and finding out what you may have in common with other walkers.
  19. Dress like your teammates or walking buddy with lots of pink. It’s fun to see what everyone is wearing and all of the creativity everyone brings to the event.
  20. Make friends, push yourself, envision yourself crossing the finish line, and just enjoy yourself! Remember why you wanted to participate, who you’re walking for, and let that push you along the way!

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this amazing event and I hope these tips may help another walker who may be taking this 60-mile journey for the very first time. Good luck! You won’t regret it, nor will you forget it.

“We come together for one common goal.” – A Guest Post by Trina O.

Trina O’Boyle is the voice behind O’Boy! Organic, a lifestyle blog which covers healthy eating, style, parenting and more. Trina walked in the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day, her second 3-Day event, and shared her experiences with us.

SGK Walk  (1)I’ve known about Susan G. Komen and the 3-Day for years. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer over 10 years ago, she dedicated countless hours to participating in local breast cancer awareness walks and educating others on the importance of early detection. My mother was fortunate to have discovered her breast cancer early and was in remission for years. Unfortunately, in 2011 a new cancer invaded my mom – lung cancer. Unfortunately, it was not caught early and in 2013 at the age of 75 my mom lost her life.

Losing my mom to cancer was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. A part of me died with her, and I spent a year grieving the loss of my mom and best friend. During my healing process I was reminded of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, and right away I knew this was something I HAD to do, for me and my mom. You see, she had always wanted to do the 3-Day but never could. Now I could do it for her. So in 2014, I tackled my first 3-Day in Philadelphia. It was life changing.

I still remember the first day of the 3-Day in 2014. We were not even halfway through and I was chatting with some other walkers, just meeting for the first time. They asked if this was my first 3-Day. I said yes, and their response surprised me and has stuck with me ever since: “Welcome to the family.” That is truly what the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is: a family. A family made up of all sorts of people volunteering—working as crew members and walkers. We come together for one common goal: to end breast cancer.

We celebrate not the first person that arrives at camp each day but the last, because that is what family does.

I loved the 3-Day so much that I decided to tackle it again in 2015. This time around I was able to share this amazing experience with my best friend. Having the opportunity to experience something like this with someone close to you is truly a special thing that I know we will both remember for a lifetime. We encouraged, pushed and counted on one another throughout the 60 miles like never before and I feel blessed to have had her by my side.MB and 3 Day

I’ve been volunteering since I was in high school. I started out as a candy striper, then after my grandfather passed away I volunteered with my local hospice. As a blogger, I’ve committed to using my online voice to educate others on important causes and issues. As a mother, I include my kids in my volunteering efforts by taking them to soup kitchens and donating items to local charities during the holiday season or when we see the need locally and/or globally. By participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day you are not only experiencing something magical and inspiring but you are also volunteering – your time, your hard work, your fundraising expertise – to end breast cancer.

As a blogger, I’ve been committed to using my online voice to educate others on important causes and issues that we may not have thought twice about. And while most 3-Day walkers probably don’t think of themselves as volunteers for the cause, they are, because they are freely giving their time and energy to doing something good (and of course, the 3-Day crew members and other supporters are world class volunteers too). So why do it, why volunteer? Yes, it makes you feel good but there are a lot of other reasons.

5 Benefits of Volunteering

It Saves Resources – Volunteers are the backbone to many charities. Some studies have found that the estimated value of a volunteer is $23 an hour. People who take time out of their lives to volunteer are providing valuable services so that more money can be spent elsewhere. This is definitely true at the 3-Day, where hundreds of people work on the amazing all-volunteer crew to keep the huge 3-Day event running like clockwork.

It’s Good For Your Health – Volunteering and participating in charitable events like the 3-Day reduces stress, changes your mood and affects your emotions in a positive way. Think about it: When you focus on someone other than yourself, you stop thinking about all your problems which makes you a happier person.

It Brings People Together – When you volunteer or take part in the 3-Day you come together with people of all backgrounds. Everyone is working towards one common goal and it helps build friendships and encourages teamwork.

I met Alaine on the first day. Alaine was welcoming the walkers in at the end of the day. Because of physical issues she wasn’t able to walk but still wanted to be a part of the 3-Day experience, because it means so much to her. Alaine shared a poem that she wrote and now I share it with you.

I met Alaine on the first day. Alaine was welcoming the walkers in at the end of the day. Because of physical issues she wasn’t able to walk but still wanted to be a part of the 3-Day experience, because it means so much to her. Alaine shared a poem that she wrote and now I share it with you.

I recruited my girlfriend from south Florida to join me this year for the 3-Day. Marybeth was a trooper as she dealt with the cold, wind and rain throughout the weekend. It helped that we had crew members who made us laugh along the way.

I recruited my girlfriend from south Florida to join me this year for the 3-Day. Marybeth was a trooper as she dealt with the cold, wind and rain throughout the weekend. It helped that we had crew members who made us laugh along the way.

You Learn A Lot – Besides discovering some hidden talents, volunteering allows people to try new activities that they may not have ever thought they would do. Whether you’re helping out for a few hours or spending three days walking 60 miles, giving your time to a cause can turn into a lifetime of learning and continued opportunities to help others.

So many smiling faces along the way, always upbeat encouraging the walkers to carry on.

So many smiling faces along the way, always upbeat, encouraging the walkers to carry on.

You Make a Difference – Even doing small things can have a huge impact. Volunteers and participant fundraisers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide.

On the 2nd day at mile 16 I was in bad shape. My foot was killing me and I needed to have it wrapped. I went to the medical tent at one of the pit stops and this beautiful nurse encouraged me to sweep but I didn’t listen, because I wanted to carry on with walking. She saw me at a bad time, tears crying and exhausted. She was there for me at a time when I needed it. At the finish line I saw her again and thanked her for helping me the day before. My son noticed us speaking, hugging and crying. He asked me why I was crying, I told him how she had helped me. He then went up to her (with tears in his eyes) and said, “Thank you for helping my mom.”

On the 2nd day at mile 16 I was in bad shape. My foot was killing me and I needed to have it wrapped. I went to the medical tent at one of the pit stops and this beautiful nurse encouraged me to sweep but I didn’t listen, because I wanted to carry on with walking. She saw me at a bad time, tears crying and exhausted. She was there for me at a time when I needed it. At the finish line I saw her again and thanked her for helping me the day before. My son noticed us speaking, hugging and crying. He asked me why I was crying, I told him how she had helped me. He then went up to her (with tears in his eyes) and said, “Thank you for helping my mom.”

By doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, you will push yourself physically and emotionally. Then at the end, when you feel you can’t go one step farther, you get such a sense of accomplishment and self worth that YOU’VE DONE SOMETHING! After completing 60 miles and raising money to end breast cancer you WILL be changed for the better because you will have helped so many.

SGK Finish LineThank you, Susan G. Komen, for giving me the opportunity to experience the 3-Day for two years. It has helped me heal emotionally from the loss of my mother and has given me the courage to have a voice to help others in need.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day Impact Forum: A Look Into 2016

Last year was an incredible 3-Day season for me. I completed my first full year as 3-Day Program Manager and had a chance to interact directly with many participants on the events and build some personal relationships.

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the first-ever Komen Impact Forum, held at Komen’s headquarters in Dallas with more than 120 3-Day participants. We’ll be holding Impact Forums in nine other cities during the next month. I know not everyone will be able to attend, so I wanted to share some of the most important discussions we had yesterday.IMG_9198

It’s clear to me that the 3-Day family is strong. You are the most passionate, dedicated and loyal group of individuals in the Susan G. Komen community. Year round, you are fundraising, training, advocating and educating—doing incredible work for Komen and our shared mission to end breast cancer forever.

You have remained steadfast in your support, even as fundraising has been getting harder and you’ve been left unarmed to answer questions you may have been getting from your donors about Komen.

Komen’s leadership team is committed to providing the transparency you’ve told us is lacking. We want to provide you with better insight into how Komen is working toward our mission and what our plans are for the future.

Here are the first steps we’re taking toward that goal:

  • We’re developing some easy reference tools you can use for fundraising, to show your donors and supporters how their dollars go to work, and to answer the hard questions they have about Komen. These pieces will be posted at The3Day.org/Komen in late January. There are already many great informational links on that page, and we will continue to add to them as the year continues and we hear more from you about what you need.
  • We’re forming an advisory council of 3-Day participants from each region of the country, a team with varying perspectives and participation experience. We want to give the 3-Day community a voice to help us at Komen do a better job of supporting you.
  • We’re reaching out, via email and in person, to connect directly with more 3-Day participants. We also want to give you regular updates on research programs as well as personal stories from the researchers your dollars are supporting. There is a face and story behind every part of the Komen community and we want you to connect with it!

Those of you who have been with the 3-Day since 2003 have seen the series grow and change—expanding and then contracting, both in participation and fundraising. We know you’re concerned. We’ve heard your worries. We, too, want to reverse the trend and see the 3-Day begin to grow again. Our big goal is to double the size of the program. This would put us on track toward a bright and powerful future.

This isn’t going to happen through advertising. Major media buys just don’t make sense in this climate and with the people we’re trying to reach. We looked very closely and strategically at the best way to bring participants to the 3-Day and while TV and radio ads have worked in the past—maybe some of you first heard about the 3-Day on TV—they simply aren’t working anymore.

Instead, we’re investing in you, our 3-Day family. We’re turning our focus toward the future and an awesome milestone we’re on the verge of celebrating: Our 150th walk! We’re kicking off the 2016 season with our 150th 3-Day in Michigan, and continuing the party across seven cities for thousands of past 3-Day participants. To commemorate this anniversary, we’re finding new ways to make it easier to reconnect with our community and also share it with others. Stay tuned—in the first week of February we’ll be announcing two unique programs, here on the blog and also on the 3-Day website.

We all want the same thing—more people, more money raised, and more impact, so that one day no one else has to die from breast cancer. We at Komen are prepared to dig deep to support you. The 3-Day is on its way to raising 1 billion dollars—and we believe we can reach that mark by 2020. We will never give up!

It was great to connect with so many 3-Day participants in Dallas last night, and I look forward to talking with many more of you across the country in the weeks and months to come. It’s inspiring, humbling and heartwarming to be able to talk to you in person. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon, whether it’s at an Impact Forum, at some other gathering, or on a 3-Day event later this year.

– Chrissy Mathews, 3-Day Program Manager

RSVP for a Komen Impact Forum near you:

Wednesday, January 20, Troy, MI
Thursday, January 21, St. Paul, MN
Tuesday, January 26, Bellevue, WA
Thursday, January 28, San Diego, CA
Tuesday, February 2, Dunwoody, GA
Wednesday, February 3, Tampa, FL
Tuesday, February 9, Philadelphia, PA
Thursday, February 11, Arlington, VA
Tuesday, February 16, Phoenix, AZ