Atlanta 3 Day Training Kick Off Event!

This past Saturday, I dragged my butt out of bed at the scary early hour of 6am and went somewhere I rarely go - I actually ventured OTP, to Alpharetta!

(OTP, for those of you not in the know, refers to the highway that circles the city of Atlanta, aka "The Perimeter".  So ITP = "Inside the Perimeter", where I live, and OTP = "Outside the Perimeter, which I think of as the boonies of real Georgia.)

So why would I head OTP at such an ungodly hour on a Saturday?  Why, because it was the Training Kick Off for the Atlanta 3 Day for the Cure!  Now, technically, I am not an Atlanta walker.  I'm a Boston walker.  But because I live here in Atlanta, I like to take advantage of the local events when I can to get a dose of 3 Day spirit.  So early on Saturday morning, I headed up to the New Balance Store in Alpharetta to meet up with my fellow 3 Day walkers for the first official Atlanta training event.

A pink tent and balloons? I think I'm in the right place!

After signing in and receiving my free pink ribbon shoelaces from New Balance (thanks NB!), I decided to do some exploring.  Outside of the store, there was a great display of all the pink ribbon goodies that New Balance offers.  As a longtime national sponsor of Susan G. Komen, they have lots of great products for sale that benefit Komen for the Cure.  There was also a table of snacks for people like me who aren't morning people and needed a bit of a pick me up.

New Balance Pink Ribbon goodies for sale (L) and pink lemonade and water for the walkers (R)

The store itself was swarming with 3 Day walkers eager to stock up on pink ribbon gear and attire for the walk.  The store owner and employees definitely knew their audience - almost every rack featured pink gear for sale.  It was tempting to go overboard buying sneakers, flip flops, tops, shorts, pedometers...  everything you can think of!

3 Day shoppers stocking up on pink ribbon gear (L).  The store was full of racks of Komen workout attire (R).

In addition to shopping, a number of ladies were getting fitted for their 3 Day sneakers by the New Balance staff before the event formally started.

Everyone needs a good pair of sneakers for the 3 Day!

Personally, I was in the market for new socks.  In '07, I came across some great New Balance socks that were perfect for the 3 Day.  In '08, I went to buy some more of the same socks only to find their availability extremely limited, even online.  So this year, I had resigned myself to wearing a new type of sock for the 3 Day.  I went to the training kick off hoping to find a few new pairs to try out in the hopes that one of the pairs would be close to my dream socks.  

Little did I know that I was in for a great surprise.  As I was walking around the New Balance store, I found my old dream socks, right there at the store!!  I quickly grabbed six pairs of my beloved socks and did a happy dance as I headed to the cash register.  While I was waiting in line, I couldn't help but sing the praises of my dream socks to everyone in line around me.  As a result, the entire stock of those particular socks was snapped up in about 15 minutes, including the inventory in the back.  So yeah, I kind of started a run on socks at New Balance.  Whoops!  I just hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I do!

The best socks ever!  Never stop making them, New Balance!

As everyone was finishing up at the cash register and the sock ruckus that I inadvertently started settled down, we all moved over to the shoe wall for a presentation about 3 Day shoes and attire by one of the New Balance reps.  She did a great job explaining how your sneakers should fit and the differences between walking sneakers and running sneakers.  The rep was very knowledgeable and engaging.  She also had seriously great legs - if running and walking can make my legs look like that, I'm totally in.

The shoe clinic

The New Balance rep leading the shoe clinic

Following the shoe and attire clinic, the entire group headed back out into the parking lot for a little stretching before the training walk.  Special thanks to Star 94FM for providing us with some great warm up tunes!


Stretching before the training walk.

From there, we were off on our walk around the North Point Mall area of Alpharetta.  It was a warm, muggy morning for our walk, although some misting along the way kept everyone nice a cool.  I am pretty sure that the route we followed was almost the same as the route out of Opening Ceremonies for the '07 and '08 Atlanta 3 Day event.  It was kind of fun getting to see those sights again with a group of 3 Day walkers.


Heading out on our training walk.

By far, though, the highlight of the Training Kick Off was getting to talk to a bunch of new people.  Some of the people I talked to were 3 Day newbies and others were old pros like me.  It was great swapping stories and sharing ideas about fundraising and team names with everyone.  I even got to meet Brandee Holland, who I've been seeing on Twitter for weeks now!  I didn't even realize it was her until she passed me her card at the end of the walk.  This whole event was such a great reminder about just how wonderful the 3 Day community can be.  I left the event completely fired up for the Boston walk in a few short months.  I also can't wait to cheer for all of my new friends as they make their way around Atlanta next October!

Some of the lovely ladies that I met while waiting in line to buy my socks (L) and the group of women that I was walking with during the second part of the training walk, including Brandee (in white, in the front) (R)

Connie and her daughter.  I walked with them for the first half of the training walk and enjoyed our conversation immensely.  Connie recently completed cancer treatments herself and is back for her second 3 Day after not walking for over five years!

All in all, this was such a great event!  I've never attended a training kick off before, so this was all new to me.  I'm so glad that I was able to make it up there to meet everyone (and find my socks)!

If you would like to see the rest of my pictures from this event, please visit this album on my Picasa page.  I also added a slideshow of these pictures after the jump.  You can see that slideshow by clicking "Read More" at the bottom of the post.  If you see yourself in any of these pictures, let me know.  I was terrible about remembering names and I would love to properly tag everyone!


Athena's Armoury said...

Sounds like it was a lot of fun! I'm a little bummed that I missed out on my Kick Off event in Tampa. If you live in Atlanta, why are you doing the Boston walk? Just curious. =) And, also out of curiosity, what did the say was really the difference between their walking & running sneaks? Thanks, Kristen!

Anderson Smith said...

Nice blog leading up to the race this coming Saturday. I really love the involvment with New Balance and what the Cure is doing to help raise money for this cause. I am actually doing something the SGK to help raise money for the October race. Take a minute to read my blog about it when you get a minute.


Anonymous said...

Gotta admit, I'm a little jealous. I'm not going to get to do any of the kick off events! Thank you for posting about it so thoroughly so when I get back to the states, I have something to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had been able to go! I've been trying to get over a seriously annoying cough for almost 2 months, and hubby and I thought it best that I not go, considering the weather. Glad you had fun!

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

@Athena's Armoury - I am walking in Boston because my teammates are spread up and down the east coast and it was the easiest walk for all of us to get to. I'm looking forward to a change in scenery after walking in Atlanta twice as well!

They claimed that the difference had to do primarily with the structure of the heel. Runners hit on the middle of their heel while walkers strike on the back of the heel. So the heels are structured slightly differently to accommodate that. I still prefer running sneakers, though.

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

I'm glad I could give everyone a taste of the event! I definitely recommend checking out the other clinics and training walks to get a similar experience!

~ Kristen

J-Go said...

Great blog! I'm excited for the training kick-off in San Diego. I'm a first time walker. Can you let me know the specifics of your Perfect sock?

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

J-Go, I will be doing just that in a future post all about socks! I'm going to talk about the ones I love and the ones I don't and why. Should be up in about two weeks!

~ Kristen

missheidi821 said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures, Kristen. I forgot my camera and since I even live outside the OTP, I wasn't about to turn around and get my camera. I am in your pics with the tent (29 and 31). I had on a light pink with a 3 on the back, white shorts, and a white ball cap.

When I got there right at 8 I couldn't believe how much of the merchandise was gone, but I went there for the inspiration even though I am walking with my sister in Tampa. It was also great meeting other "newbies" and hearing the stories of why others are walking.

Thanks again for sharing!

J-Go said...

Great blog! Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to the training kick-off for San Diego in June! I'm a first time walker and would love to know the exact name/style of your Perfect Sock!

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

I see you! I can't believe we were so close and didn't meet! Next time for sure!

~ Kristen

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kristen! These are great! I'm the crazy woman leading the stretches :D
~ Michelle

~*~ Beckie ~*~ said...

Awesome! I'm excited for ours in a couple of weeks... looks very informative! :-)