Dressing for Success on the 3-Day

Choosing what to wear on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can be a big decision. Keep some important tips in mind when deciding on your duds.3DAY_2016_Blog_TitleGraphics_DressingforSuccess_fp

Comfort First – For many walkers, the Komen 3-Day is a chance to show their amazing enthusiasm with costumes, team t-shirts or matching outfits. We love seeing you strut your 3-Day spirit, but we strongly advise you to consider comfort before flair. Even if you’re speedy, walking 20 miles will take you, at minimum, 5-6 hours and even longer if your pace is slower. Don’t dress in something that you won’t be comfortable wearing for the long haul. (If you want some inspiration for costumes, whether you’re looking for creativity or comfort, check out our “Best Dressed” Pinterest board!)

Layers, Layers, Layers – Each day of walking will start quite early in the morning, when it still may be chilly out. You will warm up quickly once you start moving, but we recommend that you cover yourself in layers that are easy to remove when your core temperature starts to rise. If a cold snap happens to hit during your 3-Day, you can certainly bundle yourself up a little more, but don’t wear more than you’d be willing to carry once it comes off.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 2 to find a cure for breast cancer.

Keeping cool with layers

Not in Cotton – This cozy fabric is great for a PJs or a t-shirt to lounge around camp in, but when it comes to walking, cotton is not always the best choice, especially if you sweat a lot. Clothing made of 100% cotton absorbs moisture and holds it, so if it’s particularly hot and you’re perspiring, your comfy cotton will get wet and heavy quickly. Damp clothing leads to uncomfortable friction against your skin, which leads to chafing (no fun to talk about, and even less fun to experience) and blisters.

Get Wicked – You can keep yourself as dry and comfy as possible by wearing clothing made with moisture-wicking materials. These synthetic fabrics draw moisture away from your body ( “wick” it away) and towards the exterior of the garment, which, for reasons mentioned above, is much better than having that dampness right next to your skin. Look for clothes that are a polyester blend, or check the tags for “moisture wicking” descriptions.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 2 to find a cure for breast cancer.

Comfort and style can live happily together on the 3-Day!

Splurge on Socks – Take care in choosing all of your 3-Day apparel, but if you can only focus on one item, make it your socks. Get socks that fit your feet snugly, but still allow you to wiggle your toes. If you like short ankle socks, make sure they’re not so short that they slip down into your shoes when you move. And absolutely heed the above advice about which fabrics to choose. You’ll also want to bring extra socks, so you can change into a fresh, clean pair at mid-day each day.

Test Your Threads – Training is an essential practice for getting your body ready to walk all those miles, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to “test drive” what you plan to wear on the 3-Day. Narrow down your attire choices early on, and then train in them. If that cute pink top you picked up bleeds color, or those knee socks make your legs itch, or the shorts you love for tennis tend to…ahem…bunch up, you’ll want to know that before you realize you’re stuck in them for another 18 miles.

3-Day walkers: What’s been your favorite piece of clothing or gear to wear on the 3-Day? Let us know in the comments.

The Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day – Over, But Not Ending

Picture yourself at mile 59.10689832_10152803430310281_2939375863063230015_n

Can you really be this close to the end of your Susan G. Komen 3-Day®? Your weary feet and legs say yes, but your heart says no way. It feels as though Friday morning—when you arrived in the pre-dawn darkness, dropped off your bag, met up with your teammates and felt the sun rise over the beautiful Opening Ceremony before taking your first steps—was an eternity ago. And yet, you can’t believe it’s almost over. These brief few days have been packed with so many memories and experiences that as you near the finish line, you find yourself overwhelmed with emotion once again.IMG_8517

I’ve crossed the finish line as a Komen 3-Day walker fifteen times, and the impact of that one simple experience is as strong and profound now as it was the first time. Back then, my emotional response to completing the 3-Day® was mostly based on the personal amazement and pride that I felt over physically accomplishing the 60-mile walk. But in the many years since then, the impassioned response I feel as I finish the 3-Day is so much more than “I did it!” It’s also, “Look at all of these people who did it!”

I look around at the faces of my fellow walkers and crew members. I see journeys that are so much longer and greater than three days.

I see young people who had to learn about the devastation of cancer too early in their lives…

Philadelphia Day 3…older people who have seen so much in their lifetimes and wear their years like a badge of honor…

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 for breast cancer awareness.…parents who would walk 60,000 miles if it meant making the world a little safer for the children who run to hug them at the finish line…

302378_10151152095315281_518684367_n373926_10151152095465281_1741680733_n…daughters and sons who, in 72 hours of their lives, learned a lifelong lesson about just how much power one person can have as a force for good in the world…

Arizona Day 3…friends who helped and supported each other in ways that go deeper than mere friendship…

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.Washington DC 3-Day Day 3Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.…determined fighters, taped up like mummies, who pile out of a sweep van 2 blocks from the end just so they can cross the finish line on their own two throbbing feet…

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 for breast cancer awareness.…survivors who once felt crushed under the words, “You have breast cancer,” now marching forward in proud defiance, as if to shout back, “It didn’t defeat me!”

San Diego Day 3

I see true heroes.

I link arms with my teammates, all of us in some combined state of crying/laughing/cheering/limping and we cross together.

The walk is over, but the energy is sustained here in the Participant Finish Area. There’s music and noise and flowers, non-stop cheering and a long “human tunnel” of fellow walkers who have already made it to the end, and choose to STILL be on their feet—giving individual high fives to ever single new walker who comes in. Washington DC 3-Day Day 3My teammates and I give each other hugs, find a bathroom (some things never change…), pick up our Victory T-shirts, take more pictures, join the others in cheering the finishing walkers in and eventually find a place to sit and take off our shoes for a few minutes (but also, get up and dance when a song we like comes on). Soon, we will be lining up and processing out of this waiting area and into the Closing Ceremony.

1150967_10151854241466535_161301376_nThe march into Closing is a victory parade, and the streets are lined with the loved ones who supported us and our fellow walkers the other 362 days of the year. People hold up signs, take pictures and videos, and point with excitement when they see their walker going by. There are more hugs, more tears, and we’re not even into the Closing Ceremony yet!

Seattle Day 3Twin Day 3Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.Once we do get into the Ceremony arena, Dr. Sheri greets us once more, with even more vibrancy and energy than she had 2 days ago, if you can believe it.

Philadelphia Day 3The Closing Ceremony, like so much of the 3-Day, is hard to put into words. It’s a celebration of all that we have achieved on our 3-Day journey. The walkers enter, followed by the crew, and then the survivors. In a beautifully moving tribute to this last group, everyone holds up a shoe. I love this part. This shoe salute wasn’t something that was scripted or prompted. It was a gesture that just started spontaneously somewhere along the way,  many years ago, and quickly became an honored tradition in every 3-Day city, another small example of what makes the 3-Day so special.

Susan G. Komen walkers gear up and take on Day 3 to find a cure for breast cancer.IMG_3768The Closing Ceremony is a brief, moving end cap to a weekend celebrating the everyday pink warriors, who, for 3 days, went way above expectations, becoming true heroes in the lives of everyone touched by breast cancer.

1238205_10151854243176535_147237905_nThe walk is over, but the journey is not ending. I come back to the 3-Day every year because our work isn’t done, and because those 3 days are like fill-up for my soul. Like me, you will take all of the things you have experienced in these unforgettable 3 days and carry them with you into the world. And the world will be better for it.

And with that, our Insider’s Guide series comes to an end too. I’ve done my little part to give you lots of details about what to expect on the 3-Day, but it’s impossible for me to capture what the whole experience will be like for you. One “insider’s” view may be different from another’s, but the overall theme is the same – the 3-Day changes your life, in ways that no one but you can know.

We hope you will join us.

If you haven’t committed to the 3-Day yet, do it today! The discounted registration fee of $50 expires at 11:55 p.m. on April 6.


Want to see the entire Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day? Here are all of the segments:

The Start of Something Beautiful
Pointing, Pacing, and… Motorcycles Wearing Lingerie
Pit Stops and Cheering and Sweeps, Oh My!
3-Day Camp: Just Like a Sleepover, Only More Pink
3-Day Camp: I love the Night Life
3-Day Camp: Happy Glamping on  Main Street

A 3-Day Love Story

Ask just about any Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participant, and they’ll tell you how much they love the event. But every once in a while we hear a story of true, romantic love blooming on the Komen 3-Day.

Lea and Ryan met in high school, but didn’t know each other very well until they reconnected online 11 years later. Ryan was living near San Diego at the time, and Lea was in northern California. The long-distance flame was kindled, and their first real date was in 2005 when Ryan picked Lea up from the San Diego airport and took her and her teammates to the 3-Day Opening Ceremony (what a guy!). Lea says, “Ryan was so thrown by the emotion and sense of community that he felt at that Opening Ceremony, he instantly knew he wanted to join me next year. He was still not convinced he could walk 60 miles, so in 2006 we joined the San Diego 3-Day Crew together. We started walking together in 2007.”


Lea and Ryan on their first 3-Day together in 2006

Ryan moved back to the Bay Area in 2008, and since the 3-Day returned to San Francisco that year, they were excited to be in a city where their friends and family could come cheer them on. Little did Lea know that Ryan was even more excited that their families were near, because he was planning a special celebration for Sunday of that 3-Day weekend. On Day 3, at pit stop 3, on their 3rd 3-Day together, Ryan pulled Lea aside and proposed. “I was in shock and didn’t know what was happening until a walker screamed out, ‘Oh my God, he’s proposing!’” Lea recalls. “And rather than answer right away my first response was, ‘Have you been carrying that ring this whole time?’ Needless to say, that is one of my favorite 3-Day moments.”


Just a few miles after Ryan’s pit stop proposal

The role that the 3-Day played in Lea and Ryan’s courtship didn’t stop with Ryan’s pit stop proposal. They scheduled their wedding around the 3-Day, intending to get married the weekend before the 2009 San Francisco event. The plan was to kick off their honeymoon by walking in the 3-Day. But the 3-Day had other plans for them. “The day we put the deposit down for our wedding, we got an email that the date for the San Francisco 3-Day was moved up a weekend.”

So they made a small adjustment to the plan.

In October of 2009, Ryan and Lea started Day 1 of the San Francisco 3-Day as an engaged couple. On Day 2, they left the route to do another walk of their own – down the aisle. Then on Day 3, they came back to finish the walk as husband and wife. “It couldn’t have been any better,” Lea says.


Mr. & Mrs.

They even used the 3-Day as a focus for their wedding. They had a traditional “money dance” at the reception and all the proceeds went toward their 3-Day fundraising goals for 2010. They had a dessert bar with all pink treats, a signature cocktail called “The Pink Ribbon” and their wedding colors were pink and black.


A pink-themed reception


The “Money Dance” fundraiser was a success!


Pink treats for everyone

“We are so proud that the 3-Day is not just something that we do, it’s a part of our story.”

Sigh. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Click here to see the news story that a local station did about the happy couple.  (Please note that this story is a few years old,  and the registration information that the reporter shares at the end of the piece is no longer valid.)

Lea and Ryan will be celebrating their 5-year wedding anniversary this October, just a few weeks before they walk in San Diego, their tenth event together.