Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shoe Fittings

I had a dream this week that the Atlanta walk was 2 weeks away. I woke up in a state of confusion freaking out because I had forgot to go on any training walks and there were so many topics I wanted to talk about on my blog and never got a chance. Luckily we still have 25 weeks to go!

25 weeks until the event, you know what this means right? If you are on the 24 week virtual trainer plan you will be getting an email very soon that will look like this:
Countdown: 24 Weeks

Your 24-Week Training Schedule for This Week
Monday Rest
Tuesday 3 miles Easy walking
Wednesday          Rest
Thursday 3 miles Moderate walking
Friday 30 minutes Easy cross-training
Saturday 3 miles Easy walking
Sunday 3 miles Easy walking

I've already started walking after work and on weekends, and its way past that time for new shoes! I've been walking in a pair of shoes that I used in the 2008 walk. I'm not sure why or how that pair hasn't made it to the recycle yet?

Has anyone told you, you need to be fitted for shoes before? If they haven't, it is imperative that you do so. My shoe size rages from 6.5-7.5 and when I was fitted for my walking shoes, I was an 8.5.  I never would have picked any of the shoes I have been fitted for. In fact, I wear running shoes, not walking shoes. There are several companies in Atlanta that do shoe fittings and they even offer a discount. New Balance, Big Peach Running Co. and my personal choice Phidippides.

Wearing the wrong sized shoes, or shoes that cause you to over/under correct can attribute to injuries and unnecessary soreness. You may not notice them during the 3 to 5 mile walks, but trust me as the mileage starts to climb you will be hurting if your in the wrong shoes. The experts will watch you walk in several shoes and the two of you will pick the pair or the pairs that work the best. Another plus to buying shoes at one of the above stores, your shoes come with a warranty! After a couple of wears if you are not satisfied, you can take the shoes back to the store and be re-fitted. (be sure to check each stores individual policy!) 

Bottom line, your going to be spending a lot of time in these shoes, spend a little extra time and money to get the pairs that work for you. You want at least two, if not three pairs of shoes for the walk. I like to have a pair of shoes for each day. This way if weather is a factor you don't have to worry about your shoes not drying in time, you don't have to worry about the shoes re-forming and that third pair of shoes is a good back up!

Next up, importance of (non-cotton) socks. Even 3-Day Alums sometimes  forget to change their socks enough. These are my feet, when I ditched the shoes and put on flip flops for the last 5 miles. I didn't change my socks enough. Lesson learned!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Calling in Reinforcements!

Hey there! Crystal asked me to fill in for her since she's traveling with her family for the holiday weekend. It gives me a chance to introduce myself and later I'll return to you with a fresh perspective on the walk and to share a bit of my experiences.

First, who the heck am I and what am I doing here? My name is Erin and I live in Little Rock, AR. (That's Arkansas, not Arizona as I've had to explain to a few customer service reps over the phone). I've walked in the Atlanta 3 day twice to honor both of my grandmothers who were survivors.

How do I know Crystal? We met during our middle school years in good ol' Snellville, Georgia. We had a lot of friends in common, shared a few proms (you know I had to include a picture, Crystal and I are in the middle) but went our separate ways for college. We managed to keep in touch over the years and reconnected here and there when I would come home. She was the one of the few friends to visit me when I lived in Philadelphia, PA finishing up school.

In February of 2008 I received an email from Crystal that she sent to multiple friends explaining that she was going to participate in a 3 day, 60 mile walk for breast cancer. In this email, she asked us to join her. Most friends probably thought, "Girl, you want me to do what? And raise how much money?". I thought about it for a minute and signed right up! Here I was, a new girl in town in Little Rock, no job (yet), no kids or husband to have to take care of...when would the time be better for me to do this!? (Now I know, when it comes to the walk, you make time, no matter your circumstances). 2008 was a great year for us: I got a job, I got my first apartment on my own, Crystal bought her first home, got married (Hi Mike!) and we did the 2008 Breast Cancer 3 Day walk in Atlanta, rain and all.

Okay, what else should you know about me? Like Crystal, I love to cook and bake, spend time with my family and travel (she gets to travel much more than I do). I enjoy trying new foods and places to eat. I’m an Administrative Assistant for a local religious non-profit organization and am a proud mama to one fur baby named Willow, pictured here.

I have so much more to tell you about my 3 Day experiences and look forward to being invited to blog again. Feel free to leave any questions you’d like me to answer, especially those pertaining to fund raising, training apart from your team, and living outside of the host city. I'll leave you with this photo from Day 1 of the Atlanta 3 Day Walk last year- we found a park that I share a name with!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Write that Fundraising Letter!

I signed up for the 3-Day walk, what next? Write.your.fundraising.letter. A good fundraising letter is going to get you a long way! Trust me. There used to be a time where I was afraid to ask people for a donation... and well now, I am pretty sure  fundraising extraordinaire should be added to my resume. Seriously, what is the worst someone can do? Delete your email and not make a donation? It never hurts to ask!

So lets write that Fundraising Letter!

The first place to start is in your participant center. There are several examples you can pull from and get ideas. Every year I have used one of Komens samples and made it my own. I have always sent letters via e-mail. This works for me, because 99% of the people I send a letter to use e-mail as their main form of communication. This might not be true for you, and I suggest using snail mail. Be creative and make your letter stand out! If I was mailing letters, I'd do all of these:
  • Use (pink) stationary
  • Pink envelopes, (I saw ribbon envelopes at Wal-Mart recently, 50 for $2, can't beat that!) 
  • Create your own return address labels
  • Include a picture of you and the person you are walking for/with
  • Copy of your donation form with an addressed and stamped return envelope
  • Last, maybe a spritz of perfume~I'm totally kidding here!
Now to writing the letter, this is my (rough) outline:
  • Greeting
  • Dates of the 2011 walk & mention previous walks
  • Why I walk & Who I am walking for
  • Discussion of the minimum fundraising goals & current stats
  • What you are doing to make a difference and why!
  • How to donate & where to make that donation
  • An advanced Thank You!
I create my fundraising letter in my participant center and e-mail it to myself. This way the links and 3-Day background are created for me. I then forward my letter on to everyone in my address book. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone! My family then forwards on my e-mail too. There have been occasions when I had to send out e-mails to find out who a donor was, so I could properly thank them. Don't be shy, your friends and family will surprise  you!

If you made it this far, here is my fundraising letter that I sent out just last week! Combined with the yard sale and this email, I have had a successful  fundraising week! Hope this helps you! Happy writing & fundraising!

Dear Support Crew,

I am coming to you again in hopes for you to join me in the fight to Cure Breast Cancer.

In October this year, I will take part in my third Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I had such incredible experiences completing the Atlanta 3-Day walk in 2008 & 2010 that I'm back for more! Committing to 60 miles in 3-days and a minimum fundraising obligation of $2300 is BOLD! I'm very excited for a new year, new team members and a new fight for the CURE!

I walk because I believe that no man or woman should have to have a cancer diagnosis. I walk so my mom continues to be cancer free and for our good friend Toni, to never have to endure another diagnosis or treatment again. Every 69 seconds, somewhere in the world a woman dies from Breast Cancer, I walk to change this. I walk so that we can live in a cancer free world and our future generations can study about cancer instead of live in a world with cancer. I am walking for those who cannot, and I will continue walking until we have a day when cancer is obsolete.

I need your help! Not just with donations, but also with your thoughts and prayers. Its not an easy journey to the finish line; I'm walking because I believe I can, and am making a difference in our strides to find a cure. So many wonderful people generously donated to me in 2008 & 2010, and I ask for you to please consider donating again this time around. I'm already 59% of the way there. Whether its $1, $5, $50 or even $2,300 your are doing something BOLD with me! If a one-time donation is not something you are able to do, the online donation form allows you to pay your donation in monthly installments. Also, remember many companies will match your donation. To see a list of companies that match gifts, click here.

This year I have been selected to be an Ambassador and represent Komen for the Cure. This is an honor that I could not be more excited about! I am spreading my story via social media; facebook, blogger and twitter. Twitter, something I thought I'd never be doing, but Komen asked and, well there is nothing I wouldn't do to get the word out. Please follow me on this amazing journey by following my blog: 60 Miles & Beyond and/or my Twitter feed @3DayCrystal.

Please follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising web page. If you don't want to donate online, you can download and print a donation form from that page that you can mail in with your donation. Thanks for all of your support. I'm very lucky to have a Support Crew like you in my life!

Crystal Canady Elster 

pink ribbon One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the United States.

One thing, I did forget was to include a picture. If I had included one, this would be it:
This was taken at the finish of the 2010 Atlanta 3-Day walk. This is why I walk, to make sure this lady stays cancer free! Only thing that could make this picture better would have been a group hug with my mom.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yard Sale for the Cure

We had a yard sale this weekend... and coming from a person who has never been to a yard sale before, I think we were pretty successful! For the past couple of months my mom and I have been planning this yard sale. Cleaning out our houses, running by friends houses for donations, forcing our husbands to get rid of their junk treasures and advertising, in pink of course! We had everything you could imagine, including a kitchen sink. Within minutes of putting out our pink signs we were swamped and the majority of our big items were sold.
One big item that didn't sell, was the 1980-something tv that doesn't work. I'm not really sure why it didn't sell, maybe we will save it for another yard sale! It was great to talk to our customers about our walks and hear their personal stories. We had several donations from people who didn't buy a thing!

 From someone why has no yard sale experience, this can really be a great fundraiser. With the help from friends for item donation and a cooperate match, I will meet my $2300 minimum, my mom will meet her $1000 minimum for the 2-Day and a couple other friends my see a little donation in a couple weeks!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ending on a High Note

This past week, was one of those weeks. It seemed like everything I did at home, work, wherever wasn't working out for me. I had a million things that I needed to get done but no motivation for any of it. Which is not the normal for me.
Then I had a surprise.  These beautiful flowers and a donation showed up at my office on Wednesday, as a Thank You for walking. It was the moment that turned my week around. My hero sent me flowers, to thank me for walking. Changed my perspective and outlook for the week. (more of this in a future post)

Saturday was my fundraising event at Sips n Swirls, which was a great success! Thank you all for that came out to support!
 My Hero, Toni & I
Part of the team this year, Ashley (aka Crew), Me, Amy & Karen Ann (first timer)
Meet the Boobsey Twins, Cindy & Brenda (aka my mom!) These two are walking in the Atlanta 2-Day this year.
A couple of the husbands came to the event, but opted to go next door for dinner instead of paint with us. They surprised us while we were painting by bring all of us a pink rose!

And for another busy week with that perspective.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fundraising Event

Fundraising Event #1 is this weekend at Sips n Swirls.
 We are painting a pink ribbon and there are still a few seats left! Sign up now, can't wait to see everyone there!

April 9th, 2011
Druid Hills
2484 Briarcliff Road
Suite 23
Atlanta, GA 30329
Phone: 678-954-8399
option 6