3-Day Besties, Tracie and Kristin

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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, Kristin’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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Ways to Support Your 3-Dayer on Event

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Our first 3-Day of 2017 is just a few weeks away and that means 3-Dayers across the country have been ramping up their fundraising and training for their last big push. They can’t do it alone though!

If you are local in any of our event cities, please come out and cheer for your 3-Day walkers and teams along the event route! Our “Walker Stalkers,” or 3-Day supporters mean everything to our whole 3-Day family! Stand along the sidewalk, outside your home or even favorite restaurant, and let the walkers know how much their steps mean to you. You can also join some of our favorite, and famous, cheering stations along the route.

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If you aren’t able to be physically present for the event, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to show your love. For example, you can still send your 3-Dayer words of support and encouragement with snail mail sent directly to their tent on event.

In a world of texts and emails, a letter, card or note is a personal and emotional way to connect with your 3-Dayer while they walk those 60 miles.

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Does your 3-Dayer have a sweet tooth? You can now also send Sweet Treats to your favorite 3-Dayers walking in Michigan!

If you have a walker in our other 3-Day event cities, you will be able to send them Sweet Treats starting on the following dates:

It will be the perfect dessert to end each of their long days of walking.

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Last but not least, you can send them social media love! We will be sharing live videos, photos, interviews, announcements and more throughout every one of the 3-Days so show your love with likes, comments and more!

Keep an eye out for Facebook Live videos, as well as photos on our Instagram and updates from our Twitter feed. You might see the familiar face of your favorite 3-Dayer!

How do you support your 3-Dayers? Tell us in the comments!

Cold Weather Training Tips

January may still be a little bit early in the year to start your official 3-Day training, but if you’re eager to get started training your body to be able to walk 60 miles this summer, let’s chat about walking when the weather is not so pleasant. You may be wondering, “How can I get my 3-Day training walks in when it’s minus freezing degrees outside?”

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All about those waterproof layers!

Here are some tips for walking in a winter wonderland:

Dress for the occasion – Before stepping outside, you’ll probably be inclined to bundle up in your down parka, but if you’re taking a walk, it may be better to dress in lighter, thinner layers, and shed as you go if you need to. Moisture-wicking fabric is best for the layer closest to your skin. You may be cold, but if you’re moving, you’re sweating, and the only thing worse than being really cold is being really cold and wet. Also, don’t forget hats and gloves, and whenever possible, wear bright colors and/or reflective materials so you stand out against your white-grey environment.

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Look at how happy some of our 3-Dayers look in their gloves!

Warm your digits – One 3-Day coach loves those chemical-activated hand and foot warmers (available in the camping section of any sporting goods store). They are a quick, inexpensive way to keep your fingers and toes toasty. They fit snugly inside your gloves and your shoes and will ease the shock of the freezing temps on your extremities.

Take care of your skin – Cold air and wind can really do a number on exposed skin, so don’t forget to put on moisturizer before heading out. Sunscreen, too, is a must have for training any day of the week, any time of the year.

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One of our coaches, Amy Schwager, stayed bundled in 2016 

Hydrate – Drinking water when it’s hot out is a no brainer. You crave the cool water to quench the heat. It can be harder to remember to hydrate in the cold, but it’s no less essential when you’re exercising. If you normally carry your water in a fanny pack while you walk, think about holding it in your hand while walking in the cold, as an ever-present reminder to sip as you step.

Cool it on the mileage – There are many reasons why the 3-Day events take place in the late summer and fall, and it’s not just about walking those 60 miles in nicer weather; it’s also because we know that many of you superstar walkers can’t even really start training until the ground beneath you thaws out. But if you’re the type of go-getter who just can’t wait until the mercury rises, you can at least be comforted knowing that it’s okay to keep your walks short and sweet at this point. Once spring comes around and mother nature is a more agreeable training partner, then you can start upping the distance of your training walks.

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Fun AND functional hats and scarfs 

Choose your route carefully – Be certain that you’re walking someplace familiar, and be ready to pay close attention to the terrain with every step. If the sidewalks have not been cleared of ice and snow, walk in the street. (And on that note, make sure you’re wearing good shoes that have a little bit of traction on the sole.) Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you get lost in a snow drift, they’ll want to know where to start digging!

Stay indoors – Wait, you’re not off the hook for training! But if it’s just too nasty outside, find someplace indoors to get moving. While we don’t recommend that you do all of your 3-Day training on a treadmill, it’s a perfectly good alternative to outdoor walking if you need it. No treadmill? Throw on your shoes and walk on an indoor track, through a shopping mall, or up and down the stairs in your office building. One of our coaches also suggested college campuses as places that often have large and/or interconnected buildings, and lovely grounds you can walk through.

Tell us your favorite cold weather walking tips!

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Remember to always keep your socks dry!

REMINDER: The health, safety and training information contained in this blog post, or otherwise provided to you in connection with your participation in the 3-Day, is not intended to replace or be construed as medical advice and any such information is not a substitute for seeking medical advice or treatment from your medical provider. Before starting any exercise program or following any recommendations, advice or other instructions regarding training for the 3-Day or any athletic event, you should first consult a physician and have a physical examination.