The Insider’s Peek at the Seattle Route

In February of this year, we treated our readers to The Insider’s Peek at the 3-Day Route, where we gave you a detailed look at the planning, work and execution that goes into creating the routes for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series. While that two-part Insider’s Peek was full of tasty details, it didn’t explicitly address the particulars of any specific Komen 3-Day location.

Until now!

It seemed like a natural progression to go from an expansive overview of 3-Day® route-planning in general to a more pinpointed look at each of the seven 3-Day events. So I’ve been picking the brains of the event planning team and local coaches to get the skinny on what walkers can expect. Sharing this information early in the year will help walkers prepare for their events, train for what’s to come and know what exciting high points to look forward to.

We’re publishing one of these location-specific route peeks for every 2015 3-Day event (we’ve already enjoyed peeks at the Michigan and Twin Cities routes) and today, it’s the Seattle 3-Day’s turn to shine. Let’s see what the Event Planning Manager Emily and Local Events Coach Aubrey had to say:

  • Will there be any major changes to the route from last year? – Emily had this to say: “Nothing major, but there are a couple of changes that past walkers will notice. We have new lunch sites on Day 1 (because of construction) and Day 3 (based on feedback from last year). We’re looking at some stretches that could be longer, gradual hills as opposed to shorter, steeper climbs. Of course, I’m saying that as a local who is used to hills!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • What, if any, geographical challenges does the Seattle route present? (i.e., Are there hills? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?) – All right, Seattle walkers, let’s get right down to it: Seattle = hills. There’s no escaping it. Aubrey had this to say: “Seattle is extremely hilly, particularly on Day 2. Participants should train on hills that are long and winding. If they are near Kirkland or Redmond, those are great hills to train on, but long switchbacks would also help someone get adequately prepared for our hilly terrain.” Emily adds that it’s not just the Seattle route that’s inclined toward inclines, it’s the whole Pacific Northwest region: “We’ve been asked if we can change the route to make it less hilly, and we take the feedback seriously. We see how we could maybe shorten the hills or find ones that aren’t as steep, but there’s no way to get away from them completely. But remember, what goes up must come down!” Emily also added, “We’re keeping the crew aware of the walkers’ needs and prepping the crew to help. For example, on Day 2, when there’s not much going on at camp during the day, we’ll use some of the camp teams and vehicles as extra sweep support.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
    The Day 1 route takes walkers across the I-90 “floating” bridge over Lake Washington (gephyrophobes, be warned) and Emily reminds us, “The bridge is wide open, and if it’s warm out, being over the water will help keep you cool, but there’s no shade and no sweep van access on the bridge.” (Sweep vans will be available before the crossing for anyone who needs them.) Emily continues: “On Day 2 there’s a big hill right as we leave camp. We’re looking at alternate ways to get around the steepness of that hill, but there’s no other way out of camp to go up and over and get to downtown Kirkland and the waterfront.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Aubrey is quick to gush about what her city has to offer the 3-Day walkers: “Day 1 brings great views of downtown, a walk across the I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington and the Botanical Gardens. Day 2 offers fantastic views of lakes, beautiful homes and photo ops at the tops of the hills. Day 3 is great for Gas Works Park on Lake Union, a walk through the funky neighborhoods of Fremont and Ballard, the Ballard Locks (where walkers will likely see seals), the gorgeous homes in Magnolia and a stroll through the downtown waterfront section to close off their weekend.” Emily adds, “Walkers get the best features of what makes Seattle so wonderful: Lakes, green forests, the Space Needle, Seattle Center, Pike Place, the Ballard Locks, Mercer Island, Gas Works Park. We hit so many of the cool little neighborhoods of Seattle: Hippie Fremont, the big beautiful homes of Magnolia, the cool little ‘beach town’ of Kirkland on Lake Washington. Over the years, by trial and error, we’ve tried different routes and sites, and we’ve really come up with the best of Seattle, as great as we can make it (and as flat as we can make it!).”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the Seattle route? – “What I love most is the beauty of the natural landscape: the water, the mountains, the vibrant colors,” says Emily. “The parks are wonderful, but also the unique aspects of the different neighborhoods of the Seattle area. It’s the Pacific Northwest, it’s hilly, but that’s the Northwest! That’s what makes it so unique. That’s what Seattle was founded on, a series of hills, so in essence, that’s what Seattle is, so the more you can embrace it, the better Seattle experience you’re going to have!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route

The Bottom Line: You probably picked up on the major theme from the rest of this post: Seattle has a lot of hills. Our hope is that walkers will look at those climbs as motivating challenges, and reminders that what they’re doing, though difficult, is nothing compared to the uphill battles that too many of them and their loved ones have faced because of breast cancer. Part of the purpose behind these route peeks is to give walkers a heads-up months before their events, so that they can prepare and train the best they can to get themselves ready for their 60-mile journeys, and this is especially true for a challenging route like Seattle. The real bottom line is, if you’re going to be walking in the Emerald City, train on hills. There’s no better way to prepare yourself. Then, when you get there in September, strong and well-conditioned, you’ll be able to really take in the beauty and charm of Seattle, no matter what the elevation is.

The Insider’s Take: If I ever decided to move away from California, I’d head straight for Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful corners of these United States, and I feel like the Seattle 3-Day—which I have walked twice and crewed once—has a little bit of everything: forests and lakes, friendly suburban neighborhoods with incredible community support, and a city-centered Day 3 that will pretty much check off every Seattle tourist site you’d want to see on a trip there. Yeah, it has hills. Lots of hills. I happen to not really mind hills, but if you mind hills (or even if you don’t), you’re definitely going to have to make them a focus of your training, including both steep inclines and slow steady climbs. But you can handle it. I know you can. Keep your eyes up and don’t let gravity get the best of you. Plus: Starbucks. Lots of Starbucks.


Great stuff, right? If you still have questions or concerns about the Seattle 3-Day route, pick up the phone and call Paula, your Seattle 3-Day coach, at 800-996-3DAY (select option 7 for Seattle), or email

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 3 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Crystal, Sheilla and Jodie). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other two First-Timers’ stories; Sheilla’s is here, and Jodie’s here.

Crystal (Michigan 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide crystal

In the grand scheme of things, my life has been what my teenage daughter would refer to as “fluffy.” I grew up in a beautiful suburb and had family vacations where I got to spend quality time with my best friend in the whole world, my grandma. I have a sister whom I cherish with my whole heart. I have two beautiful children. Even though I lost my grandma in 2000 (just months before my daughter was born), all I can think about is how blessed I am to be surrounded by healthy, beautiful women. Breast cancer, fortunately, has not touched my family at all, and I count my blessings every day.  As the mother of an extraordinarily talented soon-to-be lawyer daughter, I want her to live in a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist.

When I was pregnant with my son, on bed rest, a commercial came on for the 3-Day®. I remember stopping in my tracks to watch it, and made a mental note to do that “one day.”

I’m sure you other moms out there can relate to how “one day” can easily turn into a decade without blinking an eye. I’ve dealt with many health problems, resulting in a hysterectomy this past February, but in the 7 years, as I dealt with issue after issue, unknown masses and scary, sleepless nights filled with worry, I made a promise to myself sitting in my doctor’s office that my “one day” would be this year.

I’ve never been one to take a risk or a chance, and certainly not one to ever do anything for myself. I’m selfless, I give all of my time to others. But participating in the 3-Day is something I wanted, a hunger deep within me. Once the decision was made that 2015 would be my year to walk, I didn’t discuss it with anyone, I just signed up on a sunny afternoon in December. I have many reservations about walking: that I’m not fit enough, or strong enough, or ready to do whatever crazy thing I’ve gotten myself into. But I figure I will go in it open-minded and expect nothing, and when I cross that finish line, I know deep within my heart and soul, not only will my grandma be with me in spirit, but I will come out changed forever.

I’ve learned something in my 38 years on this amazing planet: when you decide to make a difference for no other reason than to make a difference, not only do good things happen, but you become someone else and thankfully you can never go back. Life is a beautifully amazing journey, and I am so thankful I can make a difference.



The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 2 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. Sheilla shared her story yesterday (see it here), and today, we’re happy to hear from Jodie.

Jodie (Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide jodie

Participating in the 3-Day® has intrigued me for a number of years. Jean, a dear family friend, took part in this 60 miles of pink (her fave color) several times even though neither she, nor her family, were physically touched by breast cancer. However, she was emotionally touched by the women and men affected by the disease. Jean repeatedly asked me to join her on this endeavor, but I was intimidated by the distance and by the amount of money that needed to be raised, so I declined. Sadly, I will never experience walking with Jean for 20 miles over 3 days. Her generous spirit reached to many facets of her life; while volunteering in a free eye clinic in Haiti with her longtime employers, she perished from injuries sustained in the 2010 earthquake.

Walking the Komen 3-Day with Jean became a heartbreaking lost opportunity, but other doors to the 3-Day continued to open to me. Belinda, one of my Pink Sistas, walked the 3-Day last year, and asked me to walk with her. My hesitations to join the event remained the same: too much walking and too much money to raise. However, when I viewed Belinda’s photos on social media documenting the 3-Day, I SO wanted to be a part of it; her smile said it all! I did not want to be apart from this event any longer. I began to give it serious thought. If I joined the 2015 3-Day, I would be walking it as a 12-year breast cancer survivor. I am not into numerology, but one of my favorite numbers is 12: I was born on the 12th of October, I was married on the 12th of June. I just like the number 12. I had convinced myself that I could do this! One week after Belinda posted those pictures of her and her fellow walkers—images of dedication, pride, strength and lots of pink, I registered online for the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day in November of 2015, where I will walk during my 12th year of survivorship!

I still worry that I am behind on my fundraising; I have emails and letters still to compose and send. I also fear that I’m behind on my training, as I experienced a pulled muscle, the pain and location of which had me overly concerned. On top of that, I’m currently home for a few days, with four prescriptions, and bronchitis. I promise, I truly believe I am younger than I actually am! But I know that these are just minor setbacks, and that my fundraising and training will resume.

When I signed up last November, I did so individually. In February, I was invited to a 3-Day meet-up, where I met Coach Gayla (what an asset to the 3-Day she is!) and some incredibly inspiring walkers, and at that meeting, I found myself being recruited to join the Boxing Babes team. I am extremely impressed with the many opportunities, for individuals and team members alike, to take part in meet-ups, trainings for walking and fundraising, and the varied fundraising events.

Like my fellow pink enthusiasts Jean, Belinda, and my other Pink Sistas, I have close connections to breast cancer as well. I began getting mammograms in my 30s, and on August 8, 2003, during a routine mammogram, I was called back twice for additional views. Further screening confirmed Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Facing this diagnosis, I never thought, “Why me?” Rather, considering the statistics, I thought, “Why NOT me?” Luckily, my breast cancer was caught early, was small, and was treatable. But my connections with breast cancer go so much further than my own diagnosis. Nearly a decade after my diagnosis, my youngest sister Kellie called (from her home eight hours away) to tell me, “I have breast cancer.” It was exponentially more difficult hearing those words from her, 10.5 years younger than myself, than from my physician. When I was the patient, I knew what I had to do; my medical team and I had a plan, etc. With her, I felt helpless and so wanted to take it all away from her! Beyond that, my paternal aunt had breast cancer in her late 60s, and courageously fought for twelve years with several recurrences. Another aunt, by marriage, had breast cancer in her mid-60s. A dear childhood friend had breast cancer in her 30s with two young children under the age of two. An older neighbor had breast cancer. I’ve known several men who have had breast cancer (one 30+ years ago, when my father told us the man had “chest cancer,” because no one spoke of the disease in women, much less in men). Many co-workers and their relatives have had breast cancer. Women with whom I have worshipped, have been diagnosed, and countless current Pink Sistas I’ve met through Survivor/Thriver events have experienced various diagnostic procedures, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatments.

You may have heard those four little words from a loved one or friend. And even if you haven’t yet, you may, as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For all the times I wished I could do something, or something MORE, or wanted to, but lacked the confidence, I did finally accept the 3-Day challenge, for all of the above reasons, and missed opportunities.


Tomorrow, our third First Timer, Crystal, will tell about how and why she got involved with the 3-Day. Are you a first-timer too? Share your story in comments!