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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Why Do We Love Our Besties? We’ll Spell It Out for You!

Your best friends are the family you get to choose. They know all your secrets, were there to laugh at every embarrassing moment, and have supported you through any tough time. What better person than your bestie, then, to bring on the 3-Day with you?

In honor of best friends, the 3-Day is so excited about our “Bring Your Besties” program again this year! We want to help you, and your best friends, get off on the right foot this 3-Day season.

We want to give new participants the chance to see the 3-Day magic for the first time. And we want to give past participants the chance to relive their first 3-Day journey, this time with one of their best friends by their side. Free travel is available for any new walker who registers by April 19 with the code BYB17*

That way, no matter where they live, you can have your besties by your side!

*Visit The3Day.org/Bestie for important details about this offer.

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Need any more motivation to start recruiting your pals to walk with you? Here are a few reasons why we think nothing could be better than the 3-Day with your besties.

B … is for Being side by side with my friends as we cross the finish line after 60 miles together.

E … is for Each and Every person who has fought, or is still fighting, against cancer.

S … is for Survivors standing tall and strong, beacons of hope for those who fight.

T … is for Together we can do anything. Together we are More Than Pink.

I … is for I will not give up. You will not give up. We will never give up.

E … is for Everyone you love supporting you with donations and encouragement.

S … is for Susan G. Komen® and our shared mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Your besties mean everything to you. With their help, and you by their side, let’s walk to end breast cancer forever. Visit The3Day.org/Bestie now. 

Tips for Making a Bestie on the 3-Day

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There’s nothing quite like meeting someone, and knowing they’re going to be your new best friend. Someone who has the same interests, listens to the same music, and is passionate about the same causes as you are. Plus, they’re fun to talk to!

On the 3-Day, we walk with old friends, and make new ones on the trail. When we are all walking for a common cause, and it helps pass the time to have someone to walk, sing, dance, day dream, and even share secrets with. Naturally, many of our walkers meet new lifelong friends along their 3-Day journey.

Want to make this the year you meet a new bestie who is More Than Pink™, just like you? We have some tips, including stories and ideas from coaches and walkers who have done exactly that…

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Take the first step:

Jennifer Hanskat, Michigan 3-Day Participant Support Coach, says you should never be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone to encourage people to walk with you. Don’t be afraid to even ask strangers! They might turn into best friends over 60 miles.

“I sent out an email to the moms’ group from my son’s school asking if anyone wanted to walk with me. Not even 5 minutes after I hit send I got a response from a mom named Susan. Susan was 100% on board and told me she was registering right then! Even though we didn’t know each other then, we became besties and 14 years later have walked and crewed many 3-Day events since then.”

It might seem daunting or crazy, but asking people in different parts of your life to walk with you, especially if you would otherwise be walking alone, can lead to new friends or the creation of a team.

That’s how it worked for Laura from the Twin Cities’ Northern Nippy’s team. She has walked with just one or two friends in years past, but has also walked with thirty or more people on her team. “The more I talked about it, the more of my friends wanted to try it!” It never hurts to ask.

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Connect on social media:

So, you’ve registered and found a friend or two who are interested in walking with you. Want to grow your group even more? Check out social media and the 3-Day online community.

Walkers connect, give tips, share concerns and ideas, and more on the 3-Day Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and message boards.

Jana Kono from Arizona is one such 3-Dayer, who has used Twitter to talk with a growing group who support each other all year long. “There is an amazing group of walkers and crew who have become the best friends. We do a secret pal swap all year and reveal #BFFs.”

Other walkers, like Kristin from Alabama, met friends on the 3-Day and have used social media as a way to stay in touch. She says (via tweet), “How do you explain the beginning of a wonderful friendship in 140 characters? I met my friend Crystal at Day 1 lunch in ’12!”

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You can also use the 3-Day Friend Finder to locate people who are looking for friends to make strides with. It’s new and improved this year so you can now search by location, by participant type, even by walking speed to connect with fellow walkers and crew.

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Attend training walks:

If you’d rather find your bestie in person, or need extra motivation in your training, find training walks in your area at The3Day.org/TrainingWalks and RSVP. Showing up is half the battle after all!

Stephanie Mayer, Twin Cities 3-Day Local Events Coach, says she definitely recommends attending training walks in your local area. “These are a great way to meet people and exchange fundraising ideas. If you’re a solo walker you may even find a team to join!”

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Be bold:

If you arrive at the 3-Day still not knowing anyone, it’s never too late!

Lauri Yanis has walked and crewed in a number of different cities and says on her first walk, back in 2002, she approached the first day with a specific goal. “I set myself the personal challenge that I was going to pretend that every person I met was really interested in meeting me. I was going to approach everybody and make friends as a big, self-confidence activity. And it worked!”

She has met many long-term friends, and even her husband Matt, on the 3-Day.

(PS You’ll learn more about Lauri and Matt next week for Valentine’s Day, so be sure to check back!)

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Make the 3-Day a vacation:

The fun doesn’t have to only last for 3 days! Arrive early with your friends or teammates and get one last training walk in the day before your 3-Day officially starts. Or extend your stay a few days after the Closing Ceremony.

Faren Ann from San Diego says she and her 3-Day Tweep friends make it a whole affair each year. “Besides on event, we travel together and shared Friendsgiving in (San Diego) the last 2 years.”

You could also plan a much needed spa day for you and your new besties!

How have you made friends on your 3-Day experience? Share your story with us!