Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fight Like a Girl!

"Fight Like a Girl!" many of the tee shirts along the 3-Day route said. When I was a lad, to be told you fight like a girl or run like a girl would have been an ultimate insult. But now, older and (perhaps) wiser, having seen how tough many "girls" are - and how well they run - I would take it as a complement. I think many of the women wearing these shirts were breast cancer survivors, and when you get in a fight with cancer, it does not care if you are male or female; black, white, or Asian; young or old; rich or poor. Cancer does not care in the least, and you will be in for the fight of your life. As tough as walking for three days is - and it is tough, trust me - it is nothing compared to a fight with cancer. So you'd better be able to fight like a girl.

So I rejoiced each time I saw this tee shirt, and for each survivor. It was inspirational. They proved how tough they were by surviving, by being out here walking, by giving back. By fighting like a girl.

I'm guessing that some of the women were not cancer survivors, but just liked the shirt, and that's OK too. Because they went through a lot to do this walk, not even counting the hundreds of miles of training that most of us did. I saw much suffering over the three days. The wet day Friday (September 23) raised hell with people's feet, causing many, many blisters. I saw people with tape all over their feet. I saw a woman on the third day walking in flip flops, carrying her running shoes! At each pit stop, there was a medical tent, and every one of them after the first few miles of the walk had lots of people getting treatment - most of them for blisters. Walking on bad blisters mile after mile is pretty painful, yet I saw people doing it over and over. Because of my own injury Friday night, I had plenty of opportunity on Saturday each time I iced my foot to study what people were having treated. It wasn't pretty. There are some tough people out there, women - and some men - that just kept on going, determined to finish.

I also saw some people that if you saw them, you would think that no way this person could walk even five miles. Maybe they were overweight or looked out of shape. Yet they walked nearly 60 miles, found a way to do it, found a way to take that next step over and over again until it was time to take the last step. It was amazing to see such toughness and determination. Because when you get to those last few miles, every moving part from the hips down to the toes hurts with every step. And I am going to guess if you are carrying an extra 30 or 40 pounds, then that pain is greatly magnified.

The one thing I did not see was any whining or complaining. People knew this would not be easy ahead of time, and they sucked it up. I hear a little complaining about nasty porta-potties, but not pain.

So guys, if you are ever tempted to insult someone by saying they fight like a girl or run like a girl, be advised. That girl may be tougher than you are.

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