When I left off, my little team of 5 had just made it to the half-way point – and lunch! We all felt much better after taking a little break. We have changed our socks, filled up our water bottles, and are ready for more. We wind our way through a few more miles of Brooklyn neighborhoods and then it is back across the East River via the Williamsburg Bridge.
We step off the Williamsburg Bridge – probably Mile 15 – finally back in Manhattan, where each step puts us a little closer to Base Camp. But wait – turn left? Oh no -we are heading back to LOWER Manhattan. Base Camp is way up in Harlem. I get a sinking feeling that things may get worse before they get better . . . .
Next rest stop, we are starting to get behind the pace. They have posted when walkers need to clear each rest stop to stay on pace. If we’re not on pace, we will get swept to the next stop or to Base Camp. We don’t want to be swept. We panic when one of the volunteers (whom we have dubbed “The Butterfly Lady” because she looked very cheery with a butterfly outfit – but looks can be deceiving) threatens us with the Sweep Van. We bolt out of the rest stop!
This is the hardest part and where I nearly gave up. Even a few tears were shed. And there are very few pictures because all I could think about was maybe the Butterfly Lady was right – and if I just said the word, I could end it all right then and hop in a van. I even tried to talk the team into boarding the van and keeping it a secret – who would know if we made a pact? I am not proud of this. Thankfully, they ignored me and kept walking.
I texted my mother and said I needed help – she was amazing and texted back a song to keep us going – Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
I did rally for a picture of Grand Central Station – the only picture from this segment of our journey.
At the next rest stop, Amanda gave me a talking-to and said I would be disappointed with myself if I hopped in the van. I popped another Advil and vowed to keep going.
We finally get to the Upper East Side – 60th Street – we are heading to 103rd Street! We are all limping and hardly talking. The team says, “Ask your mother for another song, please!” She sends “We are the Champions.”
We walk and walk and walk on the Upper East Side. I am just focused and singing in my head and walking on autopilot (and with the benefit of the max dose of Advil Liquigels at this point).
We reach Mile 22 and I start crying – 4 miles left. I am actually going to do this.
As the sun is setting, we hit the last rest stop. We are now in Harlem with 2 miles to go. We are tired but determined.
The last footbridge to Randalls Island – and Base Camp – the longest mile I have ever walked!
Finish Line – 26 miles!
Stay tuned – After 26 miles, now we have to camp?!
What were we thinking?!