I’ll never do a 3 day breast cancer walk.

This past weekend my sister and I headed downtown Chicago to volunteer at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Our job was simple, but very rewarding. We were responsible for cheering on walkers as they crossed the finished line. It was a powerful, moving experience. One I would gladly repeat. However, it reinforced my conviction of why I’ll never participate in one of these walks.

As I stood cheering, I started to notice a trend as the day went on. More and more participants were grimacing and limping in pain as they finished their miles for the day. Not a good sign. The exercise physiologist in me wanted to jump out of line, get them ice and stretch them out. You see, I was witnessing classic signs of over-training, pushing the body beyond a healthy point.

I understand why they kept going. These events are very emotional and many participants are compelled to keep going even when they should really stop.  Not everyone is meant to do these walks, myself included. Even though I can run daily, my feet could never tolerate walking these distances.  As a breast cancer survivor I want these participants to know that I truly appreciate their efforts in raising funds for a cure and helping to pay it forward. I also want them to know, it is okay not to walk. There are many ways to help, all of them equally as important.

So I stand by my vow, I will never walk in one of these events, but I will volunteer at another one in a heartbeat!

6 Responses to I’ll never do a 3 day breast cancer walk.

  • Cara – happy to hear about your volunteer spirit… And yes most of the participants are untrained and walking on adrenaline to get them to the finish line. Having trained countless to do this entry level ultra distance experience, they most often used adrenaline, accompanied by wise training, fueled with commitment to go the distance.

    Like your response ; … I will never do the 3-day… ” I have another serious as well concern; my problem is very little time is spoken in the world of breast cancer about being more active, being more involved in eating healthy as this ultimately is paramount in crossing any finish line. These events are challenging enough no question with those in the midst of breast cancer.

    Those that we rely on in the medical and health community will debate till the cows come home about whether there is evidence to show that activity in this form or that, and eating this food will improve ones life…

    My beef is when I sit on an activity and program that undoubtedly is helping QOL and is brought to the powers to be ( SGK, ADA, AHA, and on and one as non profits — they all sit and say we can not advise this product or this program ) ignore the validity…

    Without self promoting I can say without question that the joints and muscles of those 3 day walkers would have been much different using our Poles. But no we will let them suffer as you saw, and say it was for the greater good.

    In fact we are 4 weeks in to almost 100 woman around the country in 7 groups in our publisher study using the poles daily having amazing and life changing results . I answer emails a good part of 4 hours a day seeing photos, and hearing stories. My concern are not their results. My concern is getting behind in my Email.

    Cara – I like you, know that proper training delivers proper results.

    And hooray for the monies being raised, though I question the focus on the Cure when its not accompanied by life changing health and wellness programing …

    Sent from iPhone

    Terry D. Kennedy
    Director of Balance Walking
    Business Development

    Office: 770-916-5996
    Cell: 770-653-5995

  • Cara,
    I’m not cut out for extended walks, either, and I’ve often questioned the advisability of those who’ve just finished treatment doing the walks as well. While their hearts are in the right place, I’m not sure their bodies are ready for more relentless punishment. Instead, perhaps we should become a volunteer in the Army of Women.


    • I am constantly recruiting for Dr. Love’s Army of Women, what an amazing program. I was also questioning the ability of non cancer patients participation in these events. I have a dear client who so wanted to walk, despite having knee replacement surgery. I told her she was crazy and we both laughed, and got out our check books instead!

  • Jan Baird says:

    I agree, Cara. We need to be careful and respect our bodies when they tell us to quit. The mantra “No pain, no gain” just isn’t true. We need not prove anything to the world. But this is a good cause, and I’m happy some can participate. xx

  • I’m thrilled with all who participate! As a fitness expert I just know not everyone should, at least at these distances. I am a huge fan of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks hosted by the American Cancer Society and the Pink Moon Run and Walk hosted by A Sister’s Hope

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