Author Archives: Scarlett's Human
A Journey Through the
Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer
The Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer, I did it. I did the 2. I walked the 30 miles, I met the amazing survivors and heard their incredible stories. I was in awe of the strength and courage these women and men have shown and continue to show.
When I started this journey I thought I was walking to raise money for another charity and of course I was, but this walk, this journey is so much more than that. Over the course of 8 months I participated in every training walk and met so many amazing people. Each one with a different story, a reason for walking. They freely shared their stories of personal struggle, family losses and a hope for a better future.
Over the course of those many months I was slowly starting to understand that this was more than a walk, more than raising some money, it was people coming together to enrich the lives of those around them. It was people, strangers for the most part, working together to insure that every year the number of people struck by breast cancer shrinks.
My personal journey took me down a road I never saw coming. It started off with a simple goal, the same simple goal I assume every rookie 2-day walker starts with. Raise a thousand dollars and train hard enough to finish the 30 miles. Several times that financial goal seemed like an impossibility to me but I persevered.
I tried to chronicle and preserve my journey through pictures at all the training walks. I took over a thousand pictures over the course of those training walks and after almost every walk I posted many of them to a blog. It was one of the processes. The June training walk in Roswell was my turning point and I didn’t even recognize it when it happened.
The journey and its purpose snuck up on me in an amazing way. I spent a brief moment that day, talking to a woman as we walked. It was her first walk. She asked about my dog as most walkers do.
You see, as a man, walking with a miniature dachshund, dressed in pink, in a sea of pink clad woman, it’s almost impossible not to say something. We talked about the walk a little and she shared with me that she was a survivor and this was really her first hard challenge after her treatment. The conversation ended and I scurried along to rejoin my team.
As a photographer and especially a candid photographer you tend to focus on the photo more than the actual subject. You compose the image and watch the backgrounds and check the light. Sometimes you don’t really see the core subject until later. That happened to me on that particularly hot day in Roswell. That same survivor I spoke to briefly while walking stepped in front of my camera. She was enamored by my little 4 legged walking companion Scarlett. As she took pictures of Scarlett I snapped pictures of her. A few moments later she was posing with the safety crew and I snapped a few more pictures. On that day I didn’t even get her name. I gave her a card for Scarlett’s blog and told her the pictures would be up there.
That night as I began to recall the walk and write the blog post for Scarlett, I was running through the pictures deciding which ones to use in the post. Suddenly there she was. Her smile was as big as the 2-day walk is long. She just reached out and touched me in a way I didn’t even understand then. As I went through the mechanics of cropping and watermarking the photos for publication I finally took a second to read her t-shirt. It touched me someplace deep in my being. That touch would finally manifest itself as I neared the end of this journey.
I met this amazing woman several more times over the course of the training walks. We chatted and my understanding of the struggles every woman with breast cancer faces began to set in.
Fast forward to October 15, 2016 at about 7:00 am at the Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer, walkers breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Atlanta. Just 30 minutes before the start of this 30 mile walk, as I shared a table with complete strangers, small talk turned to a question that completely turned my reason for being there around.
They simply asked, “So why do you walk”? I started telling my story of working to raise money for many charities over the years and joining the walk team at work, as this year’s chosen charity and the more I tried to make my reasons sound noble the worse it got. I suddenly realized I didn’t know why I was doing this. I looked up from my plate of bacon and eggs and there she was, my lady with the smile, she stood tall in that room full of walkers. I stopped my blabbering, and started blubbering right there at the table. “I’m sorry”, I said through choked back tears and a cracking voice. I pointed to her and told anyone that could hear me through tearful eyes that she was the reason I walked. I walked so no one else would need to endure her pain and struggle.
Right there in that moment, I knew why I walked. It wasn’t about any of those material things. It was about making it better for the next person. It really was about all those words I had designed into our team t-shirts four weeks before. It truly is about courage, support, belief, love, hope, understanding and family.
As luck or fate would have it, on Sunday morning walking through downtown Atlanta in a sea of pink surrounded by nearly 1000 walkers, I found my hero. I found that amazing smile, that strength and that determination like no other. I found Karen. We walked together and I shared my story with her like she had shared hers with me back on that hot June day. We cried, we hugged and we held hands as we walked. Karen you have touched me in ways I have never known before. Thank you for helping me understand the struggle so many have endured. We will walk together again.
PS: I know Karen got a selfie of us, and here it is!!
I also think there might have been a few walkers behind us that might have gotten pictures. If any of you find this post, please add any pictures you have.
edit: 10/19/2016 A picture was taken and special thanks to Anne for sharing it.
My team, Team Agilysys. Thank you Pat and Maryann!
Yes I painted my bear pink, I proudly wore a pink hat
and pink beads and I’ll gladly do it again.
Finally, Thank you, It’s The Journey for keeping hope alive and putting on the Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. I just can’t say enough good about this organization and the people and I must give a shout out to two very special ladies.
- Kim Goff the executive director of It’s the Journey is its constant cheerleader. She gives tirelessly to this cause. After the whole weekend and all the work that goes into it. This lady was in the parking garage, personally thanking participants as they left, absolute dedication to the cause.
- Ray Roberts was everywhere. She was at sign-in, the sale table, she was guiding us through the hotel and helped everyone. Thank you Ray for taking care of my wife!
#atl2day #dothe2 #itsthejourney
If you’d like to join us for the 2017 Atlanta 2 Day Walk for please consider our team, Save the Peaches. You can signup here https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/TeamResults.aspx?EventID=204968&LangPref=en-CA&RegistrationID=3628097
WOW! Early start and we hit the Greenway. It’s so nice to get back out with my human again. It seems like the knee is doing OK. I’m not a doctor, heck I’m not human but I knew I was in for a real workout when we blew right past the 5k turn around spot. We didn’t go a whole lot further but with 4 inch legs every step is important.
We did a 4 mile walk/run and I just gotta say I was one tired puppy. :–) Here’s an action shot of me. Note the ears are in the flipped back racer mode.
I was going to post a cool video of this morning’s run but the human had the Contour Roam camera in hi-def 1080p mode. When the camera bounces as much as I make it bounce all that great resolution just makes it jumpy and jittery. It’s so bad it could cause some people to have a kanipshun. Next trip out we will have the camera in sport mode at 720p and 60 frames a sec and be able to post some good video clips of my most awesome running style. For today, I’ve posted a capture from the cool shot of the early morning sun to our back.
And one more picture of me getting pretty close as I did my famous (and annoying) rear crossover. It was a great morning. We both had fun, shed a few excess calories and made a few people smile and wave.
One note for all my friends on the Forsyth County Greenway. If you bring your dog out for a walk or run and they find it necessary to take a dump!!! Pick that shit up. There are bags and trash cans on the trail for you. It really is nasty to be running along minding my own business (at 4 inches off the ground) and suddenly find my nose 3 inches from a pile of Labrador poo large enough to get lost in. I know you had to stop to do that, so tell your human to clean it up.
Now for a couple human tracking bits for all the stats junkies out there. Remember this was not a run! This was a walk/run (mostly walk for now) we both need to get back into top shape before either one of use do a full on run.
And yes the splits get better. We are stating out slow to make sure nothing gets bent out of position, all the joints are warm and lubricated and everything is functioning as expected. The human seems a little tentative in his step… :–) but hey I can’t blame him, that time off was horrible and neither one of us want that again.
Until next time, happy running and remember life is completely different from down here.
It’s taken five months for the humans knee to heal. He’s made 3 trips to the greenway in 7 days and one trip to the treadmill. 4 miles each time. Looks like we’re going to be getting back into moving around a lot more. Look for new posts starting next week with your favorite running dachshund!! Scarlett! .
What a cold week this was. Getting out to do anything was pretty much not happening. Temps dipped into single digit territory and then the winds kicked up and we actually saw 8 degrees and -4 wind chill. That’s way too cold for any outside work. As a result we got a whole week of treadmill work but it’s better than nothing and while the dogs don’t enjoy it I have to stay active. This coming week looks to be above freezing and possibly a little wet but still good enough to get out at least once if not more.
Here is what Scarlett does when it’s freezing outside.
Below are some stats for last week. Even with the bad weather and motivation issues it still looks pretty good for the first full week tracking and back at it. Added in heart rate tracking Thursday to help keep focus. The legs are coming back quickly as the Saturday workout showed I was able to split endurance and tempo evenly across the walk/run and the legs didn’t get hurt.
This week I hope to push past 20 miles and get the time down more. Still working on a overall goals post but having a little trouble focusing and defining the goal (I think I have too many)
With a little help from Adobe Premier and the magical instant movie I managed to put together a short clip of the News Years Day walk. It’s certainly not a polished professional motion picture but you’ll get the idea of what it like to be a Dachshund out running. Enjoy and let us know if you’d like to see more videos. This is with the new upgrade to the Contour ROAM making the original ROAM1 into a ROAM2 with 60 fps. Best of all it it now records in MP4 format so I can edit directly. That old MOV format was a pain.
I love stats. I love to track the stats. Good or bad they help to keep me motivated. As the stats improve I tend to try even harder to make them better. I compete with and against myself and my stats. To help me with that I also share my stats, again good or bad it doesn’t matter. And believe me when I say right now they are BAD! I’ll be spending the next 3 months working harder than ever on these stats to reach my first of many new goals for this year. I’ll post a list of goals this week in a separate post. This post is about my stats for 2015 and this is the benchmark for this year. Everything I do this year will be better then this. I’ll walk faster, further and challenge myself to harder locations, more hills, more rugged terrain and more sweat!
These stats will fade into distant memory soon as I regain my strength and stamina of just last year. Scarlett will be with me as often as possible on my journey back to health and fitness. I will compete again and I will succeed in my goals.
Stats and fitness tracking provided by MapMyFitness app for Android. I’m not paid to use this app I just like it. It does everything I need a tracking app to do. Distance, time, location, heart rate, pictures, music, coaching, nagging and annoying me if I tell it to and of course saving my stats and publishing them to facebook for all the world to see.