The last Insider’s Guide post delved into the ways that the 3-Day keeps you moving and keeps you safe. Now, let’s jump into the ways for you to stay nourished, stay well and stay motivated.
Rest, Refuel, Relieve Yourself – No, that’s not just a catchy headline I just made up, that really is the unofficial motto of the 3-Day pit stops. Pit stops are magical little worlds—themed, decorated, and costumed—that are strategically located along the route every 2-4 miles, so you’re never very far from the next one. Read on to see what you’ll find at a 3-Day pit stop…
Right this way, mama
A time warp, or just your typical 3-Day pit stop?
Food – You will be many things while you are a 3-Day walker, and one of them definitely is well-fed. Good thing too. Keeping your energy up is crucial to sustain your physical activity for 6, 8, 10 hours a day, and your body needs constant fuel to do that. On average, walkers burn about 100 calories per mile of walking, so you should absolutely permit yourself to indulge in the delectable assortment of all-you-can-eat goodies offered at the pit stops. You’ll find packaged snacks (chips and pretzels, peanuts, baby carrots, granola bars), fresh fare (oranges and bananas, bagels), and the 3-Day community at large would never forgive me if I failed to give a shout-out to the grahamwiches. I know for a fact that there are walkers out there who wait all year to get their hands on those sweet PB&J treats. So dig in, walkers, and hit the road when you’re ready. Noshing while walking is totally permitted. And since there will be snacks for you every 2-4 miles along your way, you don’t ever have to worry about going hungry.
Some Youth Corps kids pass out snacks
Quite a variety of tasty treats
Arrrrrrgh ye hungry?
Orange you glad we have snacks? (Okay, I’ll stop now.)
Hydration – You’ll also refill your water bottle at the pit stops – at every pit stop. Dehydration is one of the most frequently treated medical issues on the 3-Day, and remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So drink your water, even if you feel like you don’t need it. Consume the entire bottle between pit stops. Alternate with sports drink at every other stop, so you keep your electrolytes up too. If you have trouble remembering to drink (not usually an issue if it’s hot, but a more common problem in cooler temps), you and your teammates can play the Orange Shirt Drinking Game, a little something I picked up walking in the very hot Twin Cities in 2013. Unlike the drinking games you may have played in college, this one will actually result in your good health and well-being. It’s simple: any time you spot an orange-shirted Route Safety crew member (or even an orange sign along the route), take a drink of your water/sports drink. They’re out among you all day, so you’re sure to get plenty of drink reminders. See? You didn’t know staying hydrated could be so much fun, did you?
1) Refill bottle; 2) Keep being fabulous; 3) Repeat.
Deluxe Accommodation Portable Toilets – So now you’re out there, hydrating like a champ, and it naturally follows that when you get to the next pit stop, you’ll be making “a beeline for the pee line” (you can thank my 16 year old daughter for the rhyming reminder). I know what you’re thinking. Porta-potties? Ugh! I thought the same at first, but believe me when I say that these are not the foul, stinky, oh-dear-heavens-what-is-that-on-the-seat? outhouses you may be imagining. I swear, on my last square of TP (which you won’t have to fret about, since there are always spare rolls within reach), that these are the cleanest, most well-maintained mobile commodes you’re likely to come across. The pit stop crew teams even go the extra mile to make your…ahem, “alone time”…a bit more enjoyable, by hanging entertaining pictures, comics, trivia, or jokes inside the doors. Bottom (no pun intended) line, when nature calls, you’ll answer from the inside of the nicest portable facilities you’ve ever used.
See? They aren’t so bad! Look how happy we are!
Medical attention – Oh, how I seethe when someone dismisses what we 3-Dayers do: “Well, it’s just walking, right? How hard can it be?” Yeah! 20 miles of walking a day, times 3! Make no mistake, the physical impact that walkers endure from all those miles is real. Training is vital, and in a perfect world, your body will be as prepared as it can be for the 60-mile demands you’re putting on it. That said, if you do find yourself with a troubling muscle ache, joint pain, blister (the other most frequently treated medical issue), or some other feeling of unwellness, seek out the red shirts, and you will find the incredible medical crew members ready to take care of you at every pit stop. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and paramedic/EMTs, these saints on earth volunteer to spend the weekend with your sweaty feet in their hands, working small miracles with moleskin, trainer’s tape, and cooling ointments so you can get back out on the route. After you grab one more grahamwich for the road…
The medical crew is SO happy to take care of you!
You’ll find a medical tent at every pit stop, just in case you need it.
Trust the medical crew’s advice.They know their stuff.