Holding Hands Every Step of the Way: Jenn and Bruce’s 3-Day Love Story

They met at a training walk in July of 2006. They’d both walked in the 3-Day in 2002, but it took four years for fate to bring them together. From there, they joined the same 3-Day team, Viva Las Chicas, and saw each other at meetings, awareness days, and of course, on the event. As their friendship grew and their lives changed, they realized something. They were falling in love. The 3-Day was the beginning of Jenn and Bruce’s love story, but it certainly wasn’t the end.

Now, they’re married! And they still participate in the 3-Day together, both as crew and walkers. Through illness and strength, good times and many miles, the 3-Day has continued to be a huge part of their love story, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year for Valentine’s Day, Jenn is sharing how we all can take the 3-Day love into our own relationships. She says, “every day is Valentine’s Day in our house,” which makes her the perfect person to share stories and memories for this holiday.

How have you brought your love story onto the 3-Day?

There have been many small moments and gestures over the years. But by far the most impactful was the result of a health crisis. In March of 2014, Bruce suffered a hemorrhagic stroke after a Tampa 3-Day reunion gathering. We had planned to walk in Dallas that year, but the 3-Day was put on the back burner. His recovery was remarkable. We had the support of so many of our Chica and 3-Day family!

We married the following January, made our return to the 3-Day as part of the Event Support Crew Team in Atlanta in 2015, then embarked on our biggest challenge. We decided to walk the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2016. With the help, love, and generosity of that same 3-Day family, we trained, met our fundraising goals, and landed in Philly to walk with team “A String of Pearls.” Bruce was determined to walk every step. It was his 7th time walking and my 6th time walking. We walked every mile, most of it hand in hand. What we didn’t realize was the impact it was making with the other walkers and crew members around us. We were just being us.

But near the end of Day 1, we met another walker who had been taking our photo from behind. At about Mile 58, we posed for a photo, briefly told our story, and became Instagram famous for about 15 minutes! As we walked into the Closing Ceremony holding hands, the Route Safety Crew asked us to take a photo with them because we’d been holding hands all weekend. The entire experience was more overwhelming than usual, if that’s even possible. I was so incredibly proud of my husband’s determination!

What are some lessons you learned on the 3-Day that apply to your marriage?

Kindness rocks! Couples who wear tutus together stay together. Teamwork, compromise, and sharing ideas is essential. Hugging is appropriate at all times, even while sweaty. Love and accept each other, practice patience, and be grateful for every moment.

What are some tips for couples who want to be involved in the 3-Day together?

Learn to take care of yourself as much you take care your spouse. It’s okay to be on different crew teams, in different sweep vans, or for one to crew while the other walks. You don’t have to follow your partner onto a sweep van, and you also shouldn’t expect your partner to follow you onto a sweep van. Partners give the BEST foot rubs! Have fun! Dance in the street! Hold hands!

What are some of your best 3-Day memories with Bruce?

Bruce being the ultimate walker stalker in 2006! Staying up past lights out and talking in the 3-Day lounge. Teaching Bruce the Cupid Shuffle in the streets of Tampa. Our 3-Day friends surprising us on a training walk to tell us that they’d raised enough money for Bruce to walk in 2016, so he could concentrate on training. Miles 58-60 in Philadelphia 2016. Walking hand in hand together, not just during training, but on the event. There are too many to list!

Tell us some of your favorite love songs.

  • Can’t Help Falling in Love
  • Thinking Out Loud
  • A Thousand Years
  • All of Me
  • When You Say Nothing at All
  • If I Had Million Dollars
  • Love Someone

How would you summarize your love story?

We’re just two ordinary people who found each other because of the 3-Day. And because of our experiences together, we know that time is precious, so it’s not worth wasting on the petty things. We want to be silly, love each other, be there for one another, and enjoy all the time that we have together.

Walking with my Husband: Words of Wisdom from Coach Jennifer

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Happy Valentine’s Day, 3-Dayers!

In honor of the love-filled holiday, we are talking to a 3-Day couple who has been walking together, and living the 3-Day Pink Bubble in their everyday life, for years. Coach Jennifer, our Fundraising & Support Coach for the Michigan and San Diego 3-Days, has been walking with her husband Charles since 2006, and they finish each 3-Day hand in hand.

Jennifer began walking in 2002, and joined the 3-Day coaching staff in 2005, so she thinks it was only natural that Charles began walking with her only a year later. It was even his idea! Since then, they have walked in Seattle, San Diego and Philadelphia, usually on Jennifer’s team “Walk with Me.”

And walk with her he does. When she is not walking with her husband, Jennifer loves stopping for “pictures and other related shenanigans,” but with Charles, they stick together step for step.

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“When I walk with my husband, even when we are on a team, we walk together all 3 days. I’m pretty sure he would prefer me to walk faster than I do, but he is really great about sticking with me. We still take pictures but it is much lower key, which is also very nice. It’s a really nice way to spend a long weekend with him…even though we are walking 60 miles!”

Those sixty miles have taught them a lot about patience and support in their relationship overall. Whether it’s from blisters or soreness on the 3-Day, or other challenges that life throws their way, they tackle them together.

That also includes how they train for the event! Jennifer recommends that all couples who plan on walking together on-event should also train together.

“We do train together; we are definitely walkers. We have a crazy dog, Asher, that loves to walk and we also like to go on long walks together on a regular basis, even in the snow!”

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That means they’re already preparing for 2018 events! Some of her favorite memories from events past include “introducing my husband to so many of the participants I have gotten to know so well over the years. And really, just spending those 3 days completely together, on each of our walks.”

This year, however, she hopes they can take some non-3-Day-related trips, including one they have planned to Arizona. It’s all part of their desire to make every day special together! And that includes the Valentine’s Day holiday, which Jennifer says will be spent at home with a meal that (of course) includes plenty of red food coloring. 😊

What are your plans for the Valentine’s Day holiday? How do you spread the 3-Day love all year round? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

 

Little Ways to Show Love This Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and whether you have one special Valentine, or a whole bunch of them, it’s the perfect excuse to remind them just how special they are. But what if you haven’t made a fancy dinner reservation or forgot to order a gorgeous bouquet for your Valentine? Don’t worry!

The 3-Day is all about love of every kind, and that includes the smallest and every day gestures of support, compassion and caring. So, if you’re a little last minute with thoughts of love, we have some easy ways to show your 3-Day spirit of kindness.

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Pick up a sweet treat and have dessert for breakfast! Bring some home for your family, roommates or even to the office for all your coworkers. There’s never a bad time for a cupcake or donut, after all.

Let your love bloom with even a single rose. Lots of flower shops run specials on Valentine’s Day for last minute buyers, and most pharmacies and grocery stores also carry bouquets day-of.

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Send a little e-love to your team with a heartfelt email or silly virtual card! Let them know you’re thinking of them, even if you’re not right there with them on this holiday.

See if there are any local events or restaurant specials for the holiday in your town. It’s a great way to support local businesses, plus you won’t have to go far to have a fun time.

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Sign someone up for the 3-Day! You can save $20 on registration now through February 20th automatically, no discount code required, so help your friend or love sign up to walk with you this year at The3Day.org.

Do you have any ideas for the Valentine’s Day holiday? Tell us in the comments!