I got to spend nearly 24 hours straight with several people who have become good friends over the past year or so as well as meet some new ones. That's already a recipe for a winning experience in my book. On top of that, the event raised a bunch of money for a worthy cause. We had all sorts of fun and experienced several touching and emotional moments. Personally, I walked somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 miles and came home three or four shades darker. Ok, on to the details...
The Relay was to begin at 4pm, but I was working until 5, so I knew that I wasn't going to be able to make the very beginning. I left the office shortly after 5 and was en route when I received a call from Juli (chibiusameow) at around 5:35. She asked where I was. I responded by telling her I was on Rockville Rd. and on my way...should only be about 10 more minutes or so. She said that was good because I was scheduled to walk a shift with her at 6.
I arrived at Avon High School at around 5:45 after and made my way to the track/football field where the event was happening. Of course, this being my first time I had no idea how things were really setup, so I had to call Juli to find out where everyone was and figure out what to do. She directed me over to the team campsite. Of course I had to stop and talk to various people I knew on my way there. I got settled in at the camp a bit and before too long it was time for me to log the first of my mileage on the track. I very much enjoyed just talking with my walking partners during all of shifts that I walked.
Over the course of the event, I can remember walking three one hour shifts and two half hour shifts. I remember walking at various times with Drew (drewsifer), Juli, and Sam (shammers) as well as some of the other team members on occasion. drewsifer and I timed an average lap at one point and found that it took approximately five minutes. At that pace, I'd walk about 12 laps in an hour. Four laps is a mile, so that's about three miles. I walked at least four hours, so that should be around 12 miles, but I also walked during some of the ceremonies and events as well as plenty of incidental walking, so I figure 15 miles is a pretty good estimate of my total mileage.
By the end, my feet were pretty sore, but not really any worse off than if I had played a bunch of DDR. The rest of the muscles in my legs were pretty worn out, but my shins hurt the worst. Resting a little between walking shifts was enough to keep me going, so apparently I'm not in too horrible of shape.
Lissa stopped in for a visit just in time for the opening ceremonies (which actually occured three hours or so after the start of the event). She joined in and stayed long enough to have some BBQ for dinner. No one had thought to bring lighter fluid for the charcoal, so getting the fire started was somewhat problematic. We were eventually able to borrow some from another camp. Of course it was splashed onto the partially lit coals, so it made for some nice fireworks. Burgers and hot dogs were had by all. Yum!
As nightfall approached, the luminaries setup around the track were lit. After dark, the track lights were turned off for a luminary ceremony. Our team gathered around the luminary Drew had placed in memory of his mother. Music and a ceremony preceeded a reading of the names of the cancer survivors and victims represented by luminaries placed in their honor or memory. It was quite touching and it brought Drew to tears. It really brought home why we were all there. The ceremony was completed all the teams took a one mile walk around the track. It was during this walk that I made a realization that I had both started and ended the week with something cancer-related. On Monday I had gone to visit Erica in Ft. Wayne, whose father had died from cancer. And now I was at an event raising money for the American Cancer Society. Nothing earth shattering...just interesting.
Back at the camp, I decided I'd roll out my sleeping bag and lie down for a bit. I wasn't really all that tired, but I figured I should take the opportunity to rest while I had it. I think I maybe fell asleep for a few minutes, but some random person came by wanting to wake me up for whatever reason. It was strange, and ended any sleeping I'd be doing at that point.
I had volunteered to bring Bemani games and equipment for our team to play with. drewsifer brought a television to play them on. Unfortunately, he had gotten some bad information and there was no power source close to our campsite. I had brought an extension cord (I think it's 50 ft.), but the nearest outlet was at least two or three times that distance.
On one of my walking shifts I scouted around to see where outlets were available. It seemed as though we'd have to move the campsite if we wanted to be able to get power. I discussed some possible alternatives with drewsifer and he said we'd need to get approval from the organizers.
Late that night, nearly midnight, we finally did. We proposed the idea to the team who wasn't really all that excited about it since it was late, we were tired, and it involved a fair amount of work. However, they agreed and we moved our tents and our stuff from one end of the track to the other to be close enough to a power outlet for the extension cord.
Once we had everything moved, I went out to my car to get Bemani goodies. We had a request for DDR first, so I set it up. We put down some chair mats on the grass, but nothing really wanted to lay flat on the uneven ground. DDR was playable, but overall pretty weird. A few people took turns playing for an hour or so and then we decided to just pack it up. I played a few rounds of IIDX, but in an effort to be quiet for people trying to sleep at other campsites, I kept the volume very low. It wasn't all that fun that way, so I just gave it up for the night and ended up getting about two hours of sleep.
In the morning, several of us went over to the campsite of a Boy Scout troop that was making breakfast for sale. We got scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, and biscuits and gravy were purchased and declared it "best ever" likely due to the fact that we were all tired and hungry. But it actually was pretty good stuff and an excellent value at $1 for each item.
During the day, the people not walking shifts played IIDX and Karaoke Revolution. KR was played the most and we had a really great time with it. Our new camp location was right by the restrooms, so a lot of people got treated (and/or tortured) by our singing--which we of course turned up nice and loud! We also played frisbee and enjoyed some of the various entertainment that performed periodically throughout the day (both of which had gone on the previous day as well).
The day continued on and was quite sunny. It was definitely warm, but I never felt like it was unbearably hot. However, many people were turning pink and/or red from all of the sun exposure. Sunburn is kind of ironic at an event to fight cancer. Juli was at least smart enought to recognize that she should put sunscreen on, but declared that she was too lazy to do it. Of course I volunteered for that job! ^_^
Personally, I ended up with a minor burn. The skin on my arms, neck, and face are all a good three shades or so darker, but had a bit of pink to them. They were a little sensitive for the next few days, but not painful and I haven't peeled for the most part, so I apparently didn't get it too bad. The worst burns were on my upper arms and ears. I had pulled my shirt sleeves up to my shoulders, but I never took my shirt off and was wearing long pants the whole time. Ears are relatively obvious, but my upper arms are usually covered by my shirt sleeves, so they were a little more pale and susceptible than the rest of my arms.
The day was long and there was much walking, and singing, and DJing, but eventually it was time to tear down the camp. Many members of our team had other engagements and our numbers had been growing smaller as the hours wore on. After we packed up the campsite, there were only about half a dozen of us left. And then, it was down to just myself, Juli, Drew, and Will (zergling182) for the final walking shift before the closing ceremonies.
Closing ceremonies got going at about 3:30 and finished with a nice balloon release. And then, shortly before 4pm, it was all over. We took the last few items from our camp out to our cars, said our goodbyes, and that was that.
My drive home was a little rough as the sleep deprivation started to catch up with me, but I made it without incident. I even managed to get mowing the lawn in when I got home before I finally took a much needed shower and fell into bed.
I think I slept from about 6:30 until 8, then I got up and tried to have somewhat of a normal night before going bed at around 10. I slept fairly well, but not especially long since I had to work at the restaurant the next morning. It was a little challenging due to soreness, but I wasn't too sleepy.
Monday I decided to give my body a break and skip my morning DDR workout. Picking it up again this morning (Tuesday) wasn't especially hard, so I don't think I missed out on any physical activity given all the walking I did at the Relay. Today, I think I'm pretty much recovered.
All-in-all, I had a great time and found the whole thing to be a very worthwhile experience. I will look forward to doing this again in the future!