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My favorite packing tip

Written by on August 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

I received my event materials packet in the mail the other day and started to get really excited. I can't believe the Challenge Walk is right around the corner! It's time to start planning the logistics: Who's driving? Who's bringing what? What am I going to wear?!

It's time to start packing. My favorite tip is to pack two-gallon Ziploc bags. When the MS Challenge Walk staff roll through the camps with their bullhorn at 5:30 AM, it's easy to roll out of bed and grab a bag. In the bag I have an entire outfit, ready to go! No thinking, searching, or unpacking required. I also make sure my change-of-clothes bag is refreshed and packed each night before bed (a new addition to my lunch bag last year was sandals to help air my feet out during lunch). Again, no thinking required — just grab it and go!

So thank you to whomever came up with that genius idea of using the large baggies. It really does help. The morning can be hectic and groggy, and this tip really helps to ensure a flawless transition from bed to trail!

Brooke is a member of the Blister Buddies and walks with her mom, Patty Thorpe. Brooke lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and three daughters and is looking forward to her sixth Challenge Walk in 2010.

Challenge Walk fashion and what to wear

Written by on July 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

I believe that when you look good, you feel good, and during our weekend full of walking, every little bit of "feel good" helps! Courtesy my mom, here are some guidelines to help you choose comfortable apparel on the route and in training, followed by my own suggestions:

  • Wear clothing that is comfortable and loose-fitting, allowing you to move.
  • Dress in layers. Remove a layer as you warm up while walking, and put it back on if you feel cool.
  • If you sweat while walking, consider investing in CoolMax or polypropylene shirts to wick the sweat away from the body.
  • On cooler days, add an insulating layer of polar fleece or wool.
  • Socks should be comfortable, and socks made from CoolMax or other high-tech fibers are preferable to cotton, as they prevent blisters by keeping the feet drier.
  • A hat is essential!
  • Sunglasses prevent UV exposure for your eyes.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Wear a hip pack or something with pockets for keys and the like. Pack lightly for most walks, and leave the heavy purse at home.
  • Carry water if you plan to be walking for a half hour or more.

When considering exercise clothes for the trail, try a few different brands and styles. Different fabrics have different weights and wicking techniques, there are a lot of choices out there! Another thing to consider is the way your body changes throughout the weekend. After 24 hours of chugging water and Gatorade, I tend to get pretty bloated, so I always bring some loose-fitting tops for the second day of walking. I recommend ruched tops.

Athleta headband

Headbands can make you feel and look cool!

Athleta has a great line of walking gear and even has accessories for women. Yes, I'm serious — I accessorize on the walk. Like I said, if you look good, you feel good! Try a fashion tank, lightweight wicking capri, and a headband.

With all this focus on fashion, you may wonder how to show your team pride. Many teams make shirts, hats, and backpacks to show their team spirit, but it's important to remember that everyone has their own idea of what's comfortable. I, for instance, wore a team tee-shirt my first year, and found it to be extremely heavy and sweaty! I was miserable. Now I save my team shirts for photo ops and fundraisers. On the trail, I wear exercise clothes and save my team logo for my backpack.

So shop around and try a few different styles until you find the one you're most comfortable in. With enough planning, you can look great while helping out a great cause!

Brooke is a member of the Blister Buddies and walks with her mom, Patty Thorpe. Brooke lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and three daughters and is looking forward to her sixth Challenge Walk in 2010.

Get moving!

Written by on May 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

I did it! I composed, signed, and mailed my first batch of letters; dusted off the old sneakers; squeezed into my workout clothes; and hit the trail. I have officially begun my Challenge Walk training.

During my first couple years as a new walker, I found that people were excited and eager to support me. Their response kept me excited and motivated. But as the years went on, I'm ashamed to say, the novelty began to wear off. The economy went downhill, people couldn't give as much, and I felt bad asking. It was very hard to get myself motivated to train and fundraise.

Sneakers

It's time to get moving!

But here's the thing: MS has not gone anywhere. Every day, people are faced with this terrifying diagnosis, while still more continue to suffer from it. That sobering thought is enough to get my butt off the couch and get me moving! What we are doing is important, and we sometimes need a reminder that we're making a difference.

Consider this your wake-up call! The same people who supported us our first year are still out there. I'm reminded every year that our sponsors look forward to our letters and events. They love being able to contribute to the cause and it's up to us to provide them the opportunity to give.

So send your letters! Plan your event! Put on those sneakers and get moving! We have a job to do. We made a commitment to help raise funds and awareness, and it's time to act.

Now I'm off to hit the trail. I hope you are, too!

Brooke is a member of the Blister Buddies and walks with her mom, Patty Thorpe. Brooke lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and three daughters and is looking forward to her sixth Challenge Walk in 2010.