3-Day Besties, Tracie and Kristen

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We say it often, but the 3-Day truly is better with friends. It’s a journey that we all take together, but having your bestie by your side for the 60 miles makes the journey even more fun. Sunday is International Day of Friendship, so it’s the perfect time to ask a friend to walk with you this year! If you need more reasons to convince your best friend to walk with you, we have two: Tracie Audifferen and Kristin Naour Duvall.

These two ladies have been walking the San Diego 3-Day for five years, and, after meeting on a training walk, they’re now also best friends!

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Tracie began walking years ago, after a sorority sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.

“I had always seen the commercials, but this was someone who made it real for me,” she says.

In her second-year walking, she joined the Powered by Optimism team, where she met Kristin.

Previously, Kristen’s connection to the 3-Day came from supporting her mom, aunts and cousins who all participated. She began walking in 2012, initially planning to only walk for one day. She joined Powered by Optimism and changed her mind one hour into her first training walk.

“It was the most fun day and most fun walk ever! I knew I couldn’t miss out on this, and immediately changed my status from walking one day to all 3 days!”

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From there, both she and Tracie were hooked members of the Powered by Optimism team. So much so that they were both, separately, driving 25 miles each way to the team’s training walks. Until they met each other…

“We were commiserating about the drive to the walks, and both were looking for someone to carpool with! And all this time we were driving the same streets!” Tracie explains.

“We really got to know each other through driving to our training walks!” Kristin echoes. “It was early mornings, and we were all exhausted on the way there, and then on the rides back we would pop a couple Pepsis and be goofy and fun!”

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From there, the friendship grew. Tracie credits her friendship with Kristin for bringing her out from the sadness of losing her sorority sister.

“Kristin is just a light, and I am like a moth to that light. She was instantly engaging and joyful and spirited. It took me out of the sadness of why I was walking to be with this person who is just joyful!”

Tracie continued, “I was blessed to find a brand new friend in the midst in that sadness! Over the past almost 5 years, our friendship has just grown. Komen was always the hub, but outside of that, our friendship grew. Everything else were just spokes to that hub.”

That hub is reinforced every year that they walk the 3-Day together.

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“You have over 2,000 people in San Diego, but if you’re walking with a friend, you can allay any fears and concerns you might have about this journey. And on the other hand, you get to experience everything with someone else who knows you!” Tracie says.

“You’re also celebrating! You celebrate in the evening in your pajamas and in the mess hall tent and when it’s 6 am and you’re crawling out of this pink tent but you’re already laughing. You celebrate dealing with blisters and meeting new people, and getting stickers and treats and fun from people along the route. Those memories are so clear, and you get to experience them with friends!

It also makes the fundraising easier, and those days when you don’t want to train easier. Your friends get why you’re involved, and they understand what you need to keep pushing yourself to be better.”

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It also gives their personal friendship new depth, per Kristin.

“Our friendships because of 3-Day are deeper. We share so much on walks that has transferred into our personal friendship off the walk. Those deep connections that you make on the walk, it makes those friendships so much stronger because you have shared the deepest parts of your soul. You share things that you wouldn’t normally share when you’re out walking and you’re tired and vulnerable.”

Both women are looking forward to continuing to share these emotions with each other, and their team mates, on this year’s 3-Day. One team mate will be especially important for Kristin: her new husband!

“This year is really special for me. My mom’s first year, I had just started dating someone, so his first experience with it was my first experience of the 3-Day. Two years ago, right before the 3-Day we got engaged, and last year we got married! He’s been a pseudo member of our 3-Day team for years, and this year he’s walking with us! This is the coolest thing ever! Our team has been on this journey with us.”

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Of course her husband is a special case, but Kristin says this feeling of inclusivity is at the heart of her 3-Day experience.

“That’s my favorite part of the 3-Day: Sharing it with new people. Seeing them see it for the first time is just amazing.”

Tracie agrees, and invites every San Diego 3-Dayer to join their bestie crew this year!

“My goal for our team is, I want us to be the most joyful and magnetic team! I want people who are walking alone or just walking with one friend, I want them to join us. I don’t want to be a team that’s exclusive of itself.

I want our team to be what Kirstin has been to me. To be that light that others are attracted to.”

Kristin and Tracie are both sources of friendship and light for each other, and all they meet on the 3-Day. We can’t wait to see them out on the trail again this year!

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Meet Your Michigan 3-Day Coaches

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Hey Michigan—are you ready? With just a little over two weeks to go, we’re preparing to give you the best 3-Day experience, which will be led by your amazing Michigan 3-Day coaches team. Get to know this rock star team who will be guiding your sixty miles of greatness!

Coach Gina Guerreso says she and her fellow coaches “are compassionate and dedicated with a little bit of spunk! Who doesn’t like a little spunk?”

We certainly do!

Especially when it comes in the form of Coach Gina, and her fellow Coaches Heather Snyder and Jennifer Hanskat.

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

Gina says, “Both Jennifer and Heather are so relatable as coaches. They pour their heart and sprinkle love into everything they do and ensure an incredible experience for our Michigan 3-Day participants.”

This dedication to the 3-Day began at different times and locations for all the ladies.

Heather says the 3-Day was “always something I wanted to do. Then, in the February of 2015, when a friend formed a team, I jumped on board. I started training ASAP and fundraising PDQ (that’s ‘Pretty Darn Quick’). I’m so glad I did! I completed all 60 miles with no injuries and raised $4500. After that, I was hooked!”

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Jennifer and her husband

Gina and Jennifer got hooked a few years earlier, Gina in 2004 and Jennifer in 2002. Then, in 2003, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she returned to the 3-Day in 2004. She has been walking and/or crewing since, joining our 3-Day staff in 2005. They make a key part of our Michigan 3-Day family! And they truly are a family.

“The love and support our 3-Day family gives to each other all year long is nothing to be taken lightly. We are a family, and like many families, we share the same values, passion and beliefs which propel us forward in our 3-Day journey,” Gina explained.

Heather, who is the newest member of the team, echoes that sentiment, saying, “Jennifer is a “get it done” personality. She will offer to help, take on extra tasks, and make it happen. Then Gina is always comforting, compassionate, and the soft touch on the team. But clearly she is a “can do” little spirit as she leads hundreds of crew and volunteers. I’m lucky to have been accepted into this awesome circle of women!”

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches pause and pose on event with other staff members.

What else propels them? All three coaches love music (Heather especially recommends “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit for your walking playlist), a good dance party or sing along, and bright colors! All three would love to have the superpower of flight, but Jennifer would also choose the power of invisibility or being able to “be able to heal, both physical wounds and emotional wounds.”

In her new home state of Michigan, Jennifer recommends stopping by The Library and Buddy’s Pizza. However, if you need a chocolate fix, she says you have to visit Twelve Oaks Mall and the Sanders store! All the coaches have serious Michigan pride, but still have some far-off destinations on their next vacation list.

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Jennifer and her husband when they finished the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2014.

Heather has Fiji and a future birthday spent in Italy on her list, while Jennifer wants to plan an extended visit to Australia. Gina has her eye on Europe, with Italy and Spain at the top of her list!

Before they can jet off though, they are working hard to have the Michigan 3-Day all ready for their tremendous walkers and crew! Stay tuned for more memories from the coaches this week on the blog, and be sure to follow along with them on Facebook too!

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

Motivation Monday: Words of Wisdom to Include in your 3-Day Mail

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It’s the beginning of another new week, and we are just a few weeks away from the Michigan 3-Day! If you’re participating in one of our events, we know you will be hitting the trails and following up with potential donors to make the most of this week. We wish you luck and send all our support!

If you’re looking for ways to send your own support to a 3-Dayer on-event, we can help with that, too! You can send 3-Dayers mail directly to them on their event, and show your love and encouragement. If you’re walking or crewing, be sure to send this link to all of your friends and family who want to support you while you’re on the 3-Day.

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Don’t know just what to say when you write to your 3-Dayer? Here are some words of wisdom to put in your letters to your favorite walker:

Today is the day!

Blisters are temporary. Strength is forever.

If it was easy, then everyone would do it.

There’s a grahamwhich waiting for you at the next pit stop.

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Choose to keep going.

Dream big and think pink!

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Good things come to those who hustle.

Every step brings you closer to that mac n’ cheese at dinner.

Take it step by step, mile by mile and day by day.

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If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Every blister saves a sister!

Go the extra (60!) miles. They’re never as crowded.

You. Have. Got. This.

What are your favorite words of encouragement, 3-Day cheers or inspirational quotes to include in your 3-Day letters? Tell us in the comments!

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