I was part of Relay for Life for the second time, and I learned some lessons two years ago that made last night/this morning so much easier.
1. Healthy snacks. I brought pretzels, bananas, string cheese, veggies, and rice cakes. Much better fuel than chips and sweets that we all brought the first year.
2. Take breaks. I walked intermittently as my family showed up–a mile with my brother-in-law and niece, half a mile with my dad, quarter of a mile with my nephew–and then I walked for an hour by myself from 12-1 AM and again from 3-4 AM. The breaks saved me this year.
3. I should keep up the running training. Walking at a glacially slow pace, I was able to cover 2.5 miles in an hour. And I was super slow. So if I can walk at a ridiculously slow pace in the middle of the night for 2.5 miles, I should be able to run a 5K no problem, and work up to a 10K. Total mileage for the night was 8.5 miles.
4. Advil is your friend. Rather than waiting until 6 AM to take any Advil, I started popping it after my first shift ended at 1 AM. Best thing I did all night.
And this isn’t a new lesson, but it was still a good reminder: good friends make all the difference in the world. Only three of us stayed all night, and we took turns walking. By 4 AM we were a little punchy and giggly, but the delirium helped us tear down our camp, haul our gear to our cars, and I really feel okay right now. Though I might require another nap before choir rehearsal…
It was a successful event, and once again, I was filled with gratitude for all that the American Cancer Society does.
My parents stayed for the luminaria ceremony this year, and they watched the names scroll on a big screen. My dad commented how sobering it was to see all those names, and how many lives were impacted and lost.
I told him, as I squeezed his hand, “But some of those people are still here.”