39.3 miles in Chicago, IL (AVON WALK)

This is it, folks.  This is what I've been training for since September, 2009.  The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a 39.3 mile charity walk spread over two consecutive days.  26.1 miles on Saturday (about 11 hours to walk) and 13.2 miles on Sunday (6 hours).

It's a bit of a story so I'll spare the details, but my friends, Colin and Christine and I ended up registering to do the Chicago Avon Walk even though none of us actually live in Chicago.

At the time we registered for the walk, Colin and Christine lived in Hawaii so we gave our team the Hawaiian name, Hele Kokua (which means "walking for a cause.")

DAY 1: Saturday, June 5, 2010
26.1 miles
Before walking, we did stretches and listened to some inspirational stories from survivors/victims of breast cancer.  We also learned that the newest Biggest Loser, Michael Ventrella, would be walking with us!

For security purposes, Avon doesn't really dig us sharing the walking map, but I can share the main points... The walk started at Soldier Field, past all the museums...

Navy Pier...

and Lake Shore Drive.

At about mile 4, it started to rain.  And proceeded to pour until about mile 13.  Fortunately, there was a break in the deluge while we ate our lunch at mile 9.8 so our sandwiches didn't get soggy.  Because of the rain, I didn't take pictures for half the day.  I also didn't take many pictures during the boring part of the walk which zig-zagged us through residential neighborhoods of Skokie, IL.

After the rain stopped, the walk was humid but manageable.  I loved walking through this park.  There were deer running around.  Too bad I don't know where this was. :/

Day 1 was horrific.  Our smiles are all lies. By about mile 18, we stopped talking because it took too much energy to form words.  We were muddy, blistered and limping.  I never wanted a bath so badly in all my life.

DAY 2: Sunday, January 6, 2010
13.2 miles
Yes, 13.2 miles is half the distance of Day 1.  However, you have to factor in that Day 2 is twice as painful to walk THANKS to Day 1.  This is what my feet looked like going into Day 2.

Day 2 was so scenic.  We went past the zoo, this nature museum...

Loyola University (one of the most sensational physical campuses I've ever seen, btw)...

and all over downtown.

Despite our legs howling in pain, we actually did make it to the finish line.  And just in time too...minutes after we got to our car, the sky opened again and it rained the rest of the day.

I know this post is long, but I want to show you a few of the volunteers who helped make the experience fun:

This guy helped us cross busy intersections.

This lady filled our water bottles.

This group got us through last leg of Day 1.

And this couple was all over the place!  We saw them at multiple corners.

Thanks guys!  And thanks to all the Chicago Avon Walkers for raising a total of $7.7 million to fight breast cancer.  Whoot!


  1. Hi Allison:

    I finished walking every street in the city in March and am writing a story for the Chronicle's Pink section about it. Would like to get in touch with you ASAP about your walk. I'm on deadline. Could you please e-mail me with your contact info at tg_journalist@comcast.net



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