San Diego 3-Day – 2016 Route Update!

Last year on the 3-Day® blog, we shared some detailed “Insider’s Peek at the Route” posts with you. We pulled the curtain back on the overall process of planning and executing a 60-mile route, and then got even more in-depth with each individual 3-Day walk’s route.

This year, we didn’t need to dive quite so deep, since most of what we shared last year still applied to the 2016 routes. But updates happen every year, in every 3-Day location, so we definitely wanted to keep the 3-Day community looped-in with the changes that have been made to the 3-Day routes for 2016. We’ve also brought in members of the 3-Day Advisory Council to share their thoughts about this year’s route changes. These participants stand as the “voice” of the 3-Day community and their input has been instrumental in strengthening the communication and camaraderie between Komen and the 3-Day family, so we’ve been thrilled to have their insight on our route updates.

Here we are, at the last route update of the year! We’ve already shared updates for Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth. That leaves San Diego, the finale of the 3-Day season and the star of today’s post!

Need a refresher about what the San Diego 3-Day route was like last year? Read our 2015 “Insider’s Peek” post here.

New for 2016 – I spoke with Emily, the Event Planning Manager for the San Diego 3-Day, and she was happy to share some details about this year’s San Diego 3-Day route. She told me that Day 1 and Day 2 are the same as they’ve been the past several years, which means gorgeous time along the shoreline and in some of San Diego’s nicest neighborhoods. And yes, that also means there are still hills aplenty on the San Diego route, with each day featuring one significant hill (along with some other smaller ones along the way). Emily wanted to remind walkers specifically about Day 1’s hike: “On Friday, walkers climb the big hill through the Torrey Pines Nature Reserve, and this is a good time to remind walkers that certain things are strictly prohibited while in the Reserve: food/food wrappers; feathers (boas); balloons; playing music. We want to be able to return to Torrey Pines each year, so it’s really important that walkers respect this special, protected area.” Luckily, pit stop 2 is located right outside the Torrey Pines Reserve, just before the hill, so you will be able to drop any restricted items there and pick them up back at camp. (We’ll likely have some of our adored San Diego bike cops there to remind you about the restrictions, too). Emily added, “The Torrey Pines hill climb is definitely challenging, but that section of route is a great time for walkers to enjoy the beautiful, hushed surroundings while reflecting on their own journey or a loved one’s journey with breast cancer. Since you have to be quiet there anyway…”

As for changes to the rest of the 2016 San Diego route, there are a few updates in store on Day 3. “We heard your feedback and are bringing back the section of route that goes through Hillcrest on Sunday,” Emily shared. “We are also returning to Balboa Park, but a different part than past years (we’ll go through the west side of the park instead of the east side where we’ve walked before), and we will be doing a short loop through the quaint and unique neighborhood of Little Italy.” Walkers who have trekked San Diego before have come to know (and not exactly love), a certain tedious section of route along a riverside trail near camp, which in past years, we had to repeat on Saturday and Sunday. But no more! “We’ll still walk that section on Day 2, but for Day 3, I’ve found a way to get around and avoid walking the dreaded ‘riverbed’ section to Old Town.” Hooray! Beyond that, San Diego 3-Dayers will enjoy having the Participant Finish Area AND Closing Ceremony at beautiful Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego.

 

In Their Words – Here’s what Anthony, Tina, Marianne and Rainy, four of our 3-Day Advisory Council members, had to say about the 2016 San Diego update:

Anthony (9-time crew member)anthonyAnthony, who lives in Arizona, has been part of the Route Safety crew in various 3-Day cities for nearly a decade, and he is excited about crewing in San Diego for the first time this year. “Since I’m new to the route, I did inquire with some past Arizona walkers who have done San Diego, and all the feedback has been positive.” Even for experienced veterans, it’s difficult to pick a favorite part of the beautiful San Diego route, and for newbies, anything is possible! “I can’t say personally what my favorite part will be, but looking at the pictures, it has to be the beach and of course all the happy walkers. I am SO glad I get to be on Route Safety in San Diego. I just got back from [crewing Route Safety in] Seattle and it was fantastic! Hopefully San Diego is ready for me. Let’s get this party started!”

Tina (16-time participant) komen_3day_seattle-milestone_tina-wave Tina will be heading to San Diego from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives the 3-Day life year-round captaining Seattle 3-Day’s largest team, Valley Girls & Guys. But second to Seattle, the San Diego walk holds a special place in Tina’s heart. “This will be my 6th time walking San Diego, and honestly, I just pinking love the San Diego 3-Day! Valley Girls & Guys has a team of 26 walkers coming to San Diego to walk this year and 2 kids doing Youth Corps. I love San Diego, the weather, the people and all the places along the way, and I welcome any new changes. My favorite parts are all the amazing walker stalkers and walking along Mission Beach on Day 2. I’m excited to share this experience with my youngest daughter this year as she is 13 and doing Youth Corps. My other daughter and husband will be there to cheer us all on.”

Marianne (7-time San Diego walker) 2013-me-and-cathy Marianne, who is the captain of team STRIDE, has six sisters, all of whom have had breast cancer (including one sister who was lost to the disease). She’s a pro at the San Diego 3-Day, and says, “The San Diego event is simply amazing! We have so much community support along the route all three days, and the walkers feel like rock stars. My first time walkers tell me that after the 3-Day when they hear a car horn honk they feel compelled to raise their arms in the air and give a woohoo! My favorite part of the 3-Day is when we near the end of Day 1 and Day 2 and walk along the bayside boardwalk before the end of the day’s route. The entire boardwalk is a cheer station! Our team has had a cheer station there every year and we are joined by family and friends when we are the most tired. And even better, we get to take a moment to stop and cheer on our fellow walkers at our cheer station stop. I can’t wait for the special surprises we have in store for this year and the Survivor Stretch on Saturday!”

Rainy (19-time 3-Dayer) rainy Rainy is a San Diego local and a fixture on the San Diego 3-Day: she has participated in every single San Diego event since it began (she walked her first year and has crewed ever since). She has also expanded her crew resume over the years to include San Francisco, Arizona, Seattle and the Twin Cities. This will be Rainy’s fourth year as the Senior Captain of Route for San Diego, so she pretty much knows every twist and turn of San Diego’s 60 miles. “Day 1 and 2 are the same as the past few years, which is awesome because they rock! The views and the overwhelming community support are my favorite parts of the San Diego 3-Day. Right before pit stop 2 on Day 1, you come out of a section of trees and there is the Pacific Ocean before you with Torrey Pines in the background. It is an amazing view and awesome photo opportunity. As you leave pit stop 2 on Day 2, you’re treated to another sweeping view of the Pacific. Day 2 also features several miles along the Mission Beach boardwalk, which is just a nice flat walk next to the sandy San Diego beaches.”

Rainy gives kudos to Emily and the event team for the updates made to Day 3’s route. “I had the opportunity to walk the second half of Day 3 recently and I think the changes are excellent. The long sections of the ‘dry riverbed’ are gone and I love that the route after lunch returns to Hillcrest and Balboa Park, and goes down through Little Italy.” Rainy is especially excited about the last stretch of Sunday’s route into the Participant Finish Area. “The final mile of the walk will be spectacular as we will have a ton of community support cheering us on. Having the Closing Ceremony at Waterfront Park will be a huge upgrade. We will have beautiful fountains on one side and be steps from the Bay and the Star of India on the other.” Rainy will be focused on supporting the crew teams on the route in San Diego, but she’s quick to remind walkers, “Take time to enjoy this route. It is the culmination of the incredible journey you have been on for the past year. Camp will be waiting for you no matter what time you arrive, so spend a little bit of extra time enjoying the views.”

The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches Talk About…The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches!

They’re the helpful cheerleaders on the other end of the phone call or email when you have questions or concerns. They’re the smiling faces welcoming you and your teams at meet-ups and workshops and building up community excitement for the 3-Day. They’re the guiding hands leading the crew captains and teams to greatness. That’s right, they’re your Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches!

As we’ve prepared to return to each of the seven splendid 3-Day locations this year, we’ve been taking a few minutes to catch up with the coaches from each event. You’ve gotten to know them pretty well over the past couple of years on the 3-Day blog and this year, instead of letting them talk about themselves, I asked their fellow coaches to do it for them!

The Dallas/Fort Worth coaches—Gayla, Liz and Val—are the stars of the show today! Click here to see what we knew about them already, and keep reading to see what they each had to say about each other.

Val, Liz, Gayla

Val, Liz, Gayla

Gayla (Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach)

“Gayla is super caring and a bundle of energy. She is so very passionate about the 3-Day and helping ensure it is the best possible event for every walker. Gayla will go out of her way to spend time helping a walker set up her fundraising page or learn how to navigate the 3-Day website. Her passion and caring frequently inspires walkers to register for the following year before they have even participated in the current year. She is so knowledgeable about the Dallas/Fort Worth area and really knows how to get local folks involved and out to support the walkers.”– Liz

“I have never met anyone with more spirit than the One and Only Gayla Cruikshank, 3-Day cheerleader extraordinaire. Even when the going gets rough (and it sometimes does) she has a smile on her face and a skip in her step. Her only concern is ensuring that our participants have what they need to have a life-changing event. Liz and I are truly blessed to have Gayla walking this journey with us, she’s an amazing co-worker, mother, and friend.” – Val

Liz (Dallas/Fort Worth Participant Support Coach)

“Gayla and I like to say that Liz is the voice and email of the DFW 3-Day and that couldn’t be more true. She is my ‘go-to’ gal for any question, any time. She supports our walkers and crew members in millions of different ways, always wanting to ensure they have everything they need to succeed. In addition to all that, Liz is one of my ‘besties’ both at work and in the real world. I truly treasure every interaction with her and count down the days until my next visit to to see her, her husband and their two kitties.” – Val

“There are so many words to describe Liz! She is kind, helpful, available, smart, willing, dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable, determined. Liz is always available and can fix any problem participants throw at her. She is focused and brings calm to any situation, even when I call her in a panic. I love every time I get to see Liz. We video chat almost every day of the work week and sometimes talk on the weekends, too! I’m really looking forward to hanging out with her in our minivan in November.” – Gayla

Val (Dallas/Fort Worth Crew & Volunteer Coordinator)

“Val is generous, helpful, organized, smart, friend, loyal and kind. She is very detailed oriented and has the most beautiful handwriting for the kind notes she sends to participants. She puts thought in to any communication to people and intentionally makes them feel extremely special. The memory that makes me laugh the most about Val is when we finished staffing the Michigan 3-Day in 2014 and were at the airport Sunday night flying home from an exhausting/exhilarating weekend; we got so slap-happy we couldn’t even keep it together for an airport selfie (laughing tears)!” –  Gayla

“Val puts her heart and soul into creating a positive experience for the Dallas/Fort Worth crew. She plans all year on what she can do or create for the crew to let them know how special and appreciated they are. We have so much fun together outside of work and even did a Grand Canyon road trip together last year.” – Liz

 

Do you know the Dallas/Fort Worth coaches? How would you describe these fabulous ladies?

A Survivor’s Story: Tracey Aho

This October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re sharing stories of survivors. Read our most recent post from Sherri O’Berry here, and today, we’re honored to share Tracey Aho’s story.

Like many others before her, Tracey’s breast cancer journey started when someone close to her—her mother—was diagnosed. It was after her mom’s second breast cancer diagnosis, Tracey recalls, that she took action for her own health. “Based on my family history as well as previous scares on personal mammogram results, I decided to see a specialist as a preventative measure. After a few visits and a few tests, we decided that I would have an MRI. It was then that the tumor was spotted and a biopsy was ordered. I was told that the results would take a day or two and knowing my doctor, I knew she would call me as soon as she had the results.”

Years prior to this frightening turn of events, Tracey became part of the Komen 3-Day. “I had heard about the 3-Day over the years but was watching TV one night in 2014 and saw a commercial. This was shortly after my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer and I sat there thinking, “I should do that. I’m not doing anything for Jennifer (my cousin) just sitting here”. I thought about it for a few minutes and then decided to register. Almost immediately after I did, I thought, ‘What in the world did I just do?’” What she did was step up to the challenge of the 3-Day and crush it. She raised over $2500 for the 2014 Michigan 3-Day, then came back and did it again in 2015.tracey-aho-1

Flash back ahead to the spring of 2016, and Tracey was in a meeting when her phone rang with the call that would change her life. “My boss knew I was waiting for this call and of course immediately excused me from the meeting. My doctor asked me if I wanted to go home first and then call her back but based on her question alone, I knew I was going to want the results right then. She confirmed that I did indeed have breast cancer.

“My immediate reaction was not shock; I had prepared myself for the worst but prayed for the best so I was mentally ready to hear the diagnosis. Of course there were tears and nervousness but my next two thoughts were ‘How am I going to tell my son, husband and the rest of the family’ and ‘What’s the plan?’

“I received my diagnosis on March 17, 2016 and my husband and I were in the doctor’s office the very next day discussing treatments. I had a couple of options which included a lumpectomy but due to other health issues that I have, we decided on a bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstruction surgery.

“Follow-up treatment was still unknown at that time but eventually, my doctor ruled out radiation and my oncologist wanted to run an oncotype test to determine the aggressiveness of the tumor before he could advise if chemotherapy was necessary. My results came back in the low intermediate stage so we decided that I would not need chemo.”

Tracey had walked in the 3-Day two times before her diagnosis, but 2016’s Michigan 3-Day was special for her: “This year was a little different for me because it was my first as a survivor. I kept thinking, ‘I’m very blessed. I could be getting chemo treatments or worse right now but I’m here.’”tracey-aho-2

We’re glad you’re here, Tracey, and thanks to you and all the people in our 3-Day community, we’re working hard on ending breast cancer forever.