By Lateefah Viley-Simpson
1. First of all congratulations on completing your 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk! How did you feel after your finish?
I can’t even put it into words. I felt strong and genuinely appreciated by others. When we walked into our 60th mile on the third day, cancer survivors and other supporters were cheering us on genuinely with tears in their eyes. Knowing that I made a difference in the battle against breast cancer is still overwhelming to me.
2. What did you do to prepare for this walk? How many times per week did you have to work out?
I took spinning classes to burn off excess fat in the beginning. I also used some free weights. As it grew closer to the walk, I walked three days a week about 5 to 10 miles per walk.
3. Did you develop any foot problems while training or walking? If so, what?
I developed very minor foot problems because I focused on prevention throughout the walk. I got a few blisters the first day due to the heavy rain, but then I taped my feet using mole skin and surgical tape. It worked wonders! I also used shock absorbing insoles. They helped the balls of my feet tremendously..
4. What kind of footwear did you train in? Did you use the same footwear for your walk?
I used the same sneakers I trained in. I brought three pairs of sneakers with me just in case. Good thing I did because two pairs got completely soaked due to rain.
5. So, how many miles did you walk in total? Was it really non-stop?
We walked 20 miles per day for 3 consecutive days. We stopped every 3 miles for to refuel, hydrate and use the lovely portable toilets. Lunch was about 10 miles into every day. That was the only time I sat down. It was almost easier to keep going to prevent cramping.
6. Did you feel that wearing the proper footwear gearing up to your event was important?
Absolutely. I saw a lot of walkers who wore shoes that weren’t broken in. They suffered the most. You should also wear a pair of walking shoes that are comfortably wide and still have a nice sole on them. Most walkers preferred New Balance walking sneakers, which also sponsored the event.
7. Do you have any specific exercise for your feet?
Overall, my foot stretches included pointing and flexing my feet and rolling my ankles.
8. Do you have any suggested exercises for your feet, ankles or lower legs, in order to maintain strength and prevent injury?
As a group, we stretched lightly before we walked, then got a good stretch in after the first ten minutes of walking. As the day went by, I would stretch as much as possible, usually five minutes per hour. I focused on my calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. I also tried to point and flex my feet as much as possible to prevent shin splints.
9. Do you have any advice for other walkers? Will you make this 3-Day trek next year?
My advice would be that no matter what your physical condition is, you can be a part of the 3day. There were walkers of all ages who set their own personal goals. It is an emotional journey of endurance, personal growth, and bonding with people with the same goal. We raised almost $7 million towards the fight against breast cancer! Most 3day walkers do it again, even traveling around the country to keep completing the walk. I want to do the Philadelphia walk next year, hopefully forming my own team to take on the challenge!