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
I’m doing one more push for the Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. I’ve created some special shirts just for the walk to raise a little more money for my human. He’ll be walking the 30 miles while I lounge around the house. It seems he thinks 20 miles in a day is too much for these little leg. I’ve done 12 miles. He also said that with 1000 people on the sidewalks of downtown Atlanta I just might get stepped on. I agree, so I’ll be staying home.
BUT, you can help me by ordering one or two of my special Pet My Wiener T-Shirts and I’ll donate $6.00 to the Atlanta 2 Day for every shirt sold and delivered. Six bucks a shirt, if I sell 50 shirts that’s 300 bucks to save the ta tas. Let get this kicked off. Even is you don’t buy a shirt, share this post with your friends and family. Someone is sure to enjoy one of my special Pet My Wiener shirts.
Go to my store and reserve your shirt now. They’ll not be printed until the end of the campaign at the end of October (which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month).
There are 4 styles available for men and woman and several awesome colors.
Come to Atlanta and help cheer on all the 2 Day Walkers
Do the 2! Join the Atlanta 2-Day Walk and be a part of the fight against breast cancer. This 30 mile, 2-Day Walk is the flagship event of It’s The Journey, Inc., and consists of a 20 mile walk on Saturday and a 10 mile walk on Sunday.
In 13 years, the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer has raised $12 million to fund 271 grants that provide breast cancer education, screening, early detection, support services, and continuing care for Georgians.
October 15-16, 2016
It’s just 1 week until the Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer October 15-16 in downtown Atlanta. My human has been walking almost every day to get ready for it. I’ve been to every training walk this year except the very first one. My human made it to every one!
Here are a few pictures from the Alpharetta training walk in August. He didn’t take the camera to the Sandy Springs walk. It was 12 miles and we did the whole thing together. That’s a long walk for these little legs. I’m glad he didn’t get pictures, those last 2 miles were pretty embarrassing for me. The human had to carry me twice, but only for about a 1/4 mile.
And here are a few pictures from the Stone Mountain walk in July, that one was 10 miles and I made the whole thing there too.
My human seem to have gotten a lot of pictures of me on this one. I’m not complaining.
Finally, check out the grand-opening of the Running Dachshund T-Shirt Store. We just started it today and we’ll be adding many more fun designs during October.
This Saturday May 14th is the third Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer Training Walk for 2016 and your chance to help a great organization that has been helping Atlanta for 13 years! It’s also your chance to meet me, Scarlett the Running Dachshund. Scarlett is the official Training Mascot of Team Agilysys. (because if I can walk 5 miles so can you!)
Click HERE for all the details and to join us. Special $20.00 discount this weekend only for anyone that signs up. See the It’s the Journey web site for complete details and information.
Awesome morning training walk in Marietta.
This morning Team Agilysys and a whole bunch of fellow walkers for the Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer took to the streets of Marietta for the second training walk for 2016. Your’s truly was there in support of this great cause and group here in Atlanta. I walked side by side and tail to toe with them. My little legs keep up and I’m looking forward to many more walks.
The 2 Day folks sure are nice they even gave me my own walkers button to wear on my harness. Of course I had the low view dachshund cam with me and got some good clips with the Contour HD ROAM camera.
My human has ordered me a brand new harness which everyone will get to see at the next walk in May. Suffice to say this girl will have her PINK on!! Enjoy the video and pictures below and remember to support our cause with generous donations at this link
Picture time at the walk.
My sneaky human thought he was going to go out this morning without me. I know when he’s going out to run or walk. I’m a pretty smart dachshund. He left the car door open while he was getting all his stuff and I just jumped right in and got in the passenger seat. He mumbled something about me being too smart and cute and got my harness and leash. 🙂
Lots of other dogs today. I guess Sunday is dog day on the Forsyth Greenway. I saw other dachshunds to. One was pretty big and very aloof. Wouldn’t even look at me. The other one was awesome. It was a wirehair and I wanted to go talk to him but his human was in a hurry to sweat.
The walk/run was super good today. It’s not so hot and felt real good. There were no aches and pains either. This was my second walk this week and my humans 4th so we’re both doing pretty good.
Now for a few tech goodies from the human.
New inserts in the Brooks Ghosts and they feel great. With all the foot problems it’s often hard to find the right combination but I think I finally got it. Holding real steady on the pace at about 15 minutes a mile. I can’t really walk much faster because my legs are just to short to get a longer stride. Heart rate is also pretty stable so next week I’ll try adding in some fartlek running to get the pace up.
I haven’t posted any stats in a while so here are today’s:
Yes Mile 3 was kicked up a little with 3 segments of jog. The knee is holding up as well as the rest of the aging body.
Saturday again and we’re out for a quick 4 mile cruise. The trail is slick, wet and in one section it stunk real bad too. I think the swampy wetlands part needs to dry out just a little the methane is getting thick. It was never the less, a great cool morning and everyone was having fun except that poor guy on the bicycle. The slick and slippery part took a guy on a bicycle down. He came into a turn a little too fast and the wheels came right out from under him. He said he was OK but I think he’ll be pretty sore tonight.
The Forsyth County Greenway is such a great place to walk, run and bike and on the weekends it’s busy too. The parking lot was almost full when we got there at 7:15. Morning is also such a great time for unique pictures. I’ve gotta get my running partner (the human) to actually stop and take some good pictures. All these blurry, on the move pictures are always a little fuzzy because we’re always bouncing around. Here is a pretty neat one looking into the sunrise on the return leg.
It rained pretty hard overnight Friday into Saturday morning and Big Creek was running high, fast and exceptionally muddy. Typically it runs real clear and pretty but with a little too much rain in the area it can get real full real fast and it does flood a lot. We did stop for a second on one of the overpass bridges to take the picture above showing that wonderful Georgia red clay water heading for the Chattahoochee.
Here’s a short video of today’s walk.
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.
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.