|Day 4, the story
||[Jul. 19th, 2008|02:37 pm]
So, after a good night’s rest here the story of Day 4.|
What we found when we woke up, the walking fairy had been active again:
On day 3 I mentioned a muscle problem, but it turned out my Achilles tendon was injured. This meant I had to start the Friday with pain, knowing it would certainly not get any better by walking another 50 km’s. After the start I walked up with the others of the SEAK team, but I already lost them within 2 kilometers.
This day was going to be a continuous fight: just me and my pain. Combined with the weather (drizzles most of the time, sometimes a bit heavier rain) quite a challenge. Had my first break after 2.5 hours. When I moved on the others just arrived at the place for their second rest.
I had to move on, part of the big stream of walkers and being hypnotised by the pain in my Achilles tendon, which was not getting any better. Wanted to have a break in Grave, but they changed the route through the centre, so there weren’t that many options to have a rest; and thus I moved on. Had a little stop on a dike, under a parasol of some spectators, just to have a dry spot to roll a cigarette. After a few kilometres there was a possibility for a proper rest, but they ran out of coffee (i.e. they were making new coffee), so I moved on to the next village, Gassel, where I finally had my second real rest. Getting started after sitting down for some time was really hard again. But I was about halfway, and determined to go on. Next place, Beers was really crowded and no decent place to have a rest, so I moved on, all the time trying to walk as normal as possible, in order not to start other parts of the body getting into trouble. And I knew where my next stop would be, just after Vianen, when entering Cuijk and before joining the 40 km walkers there is a good bar to sit down for a while. In Vianen Eddy came by and after a little chat moved on. Really glad I reached the bar and had a rest with coffee and a sandwich. And of course (again) a chat with other walkers.
From here on the real party was going to start: Cuijk’s centre is always very crowded. My muscles were getting warm again when I moved on from the rest, joined the 40 km walkers and then: stuck, and progressing really slowly through the madhouse.
Once I got through to the river I felt like crying… I do appreciate the people cheering the walkers, and all the attention, but I was in so much pain… Very carefully crossed the special pontoon bridge; getting down to it and up again at the other side wasn’t easy.
A few kilometres of dike again and then Mook, where I stopped at a former choir member, who understood that I had a problem, had one solution: doping… and supplied me with a nice cold beer, and a chat about the choir.
From then on, most of the route is lined with spectators cheering us on both sides of the road and I stumbled on, handing a SEAK business card to the mayor of Mook, going through Molenhoek, and seeing the last turn right towards Via Gladiola. In Malden some friends and a choir member were cheering me, and I handed a SEAK business card to the mayor… I could only think of one thing: almost there, but… still a long way to go!
The closer we all got to Nijmegen the more crowded it got both on the sides as on the track. And for the first time this day I could take of my raincoat. Marching bands were entering the track, walkers stop to meet friends and relatives, pffff…. Counting down the meters… In Nijmegen, it started raining again, hurray… Tempo of the stream got lower… And then there were Corrie and Peter of SEAK, with a dry chair, a beer, umbrella’s and a chat. Moving on after that break was REALLY hard, since my tendon was thicker and stiffer and my left knee was starting to protest (despite trying to walk as normal as possible, of course I had been compensating in some way). Stumbling, stopping (stream got stuck more often), trying to enjoy the fact that so many people were cheering us… Moved on, counting down, seeing the St. Stevens church up ahead, and wishing I was at the finish…
Finally arrived at the point where Hennie and friends from Rotterdam were waiting for me at 16.00! Really glad to see them!!! Almost finished! Hennie illegally joined me for the last stretch… One more thing to do: I promised SEAK that I would also try to hand a card to the mayor of Nijmegen… When I got to him he was just having a quick snack, so I had to disturb him, but I apologised, explained I was walking for a foundation and handed him a card. He thanked me and congratulated me with almost finishing.
Around the corner the track was getting narrow, so we were stuck again… everytime I made sure to keep my legs and feet moving… just 3 more turns and 200 meters… and rain getting heavier again, pfff… And then, finally, the finish, handing in my control card, and receiving the most important thing: the medal!
So, after 12 hours of walking with more and more pain I finally made it… Believe me, I was REALLY GLAD!!!
To the bicycle, struggling through the crowds, and to the bar for a chair, some well deserved beers, a meal, congratulations, meet with friends, etc.
Jan was already there of course and he made it without problems; he was even able to keep on partying in the bar till closing time…
All the other SEAK-walkers also made it, some easy, others with some problems, but all proud! Kim, who had dropped out after day 2 joined them on the past part of the walk, so she had her share of fun too on this last day.
I went home a bit earlier, sat down on the couch, feet up, a last beer, another look at the medal, and of to bed at 22.30… This is how my feet looked; I even discovered a little blister, which I hadn’t noticed at all.
Today my legs look like this:
I hope a lot of rest will be enough to heal this…
Today the team will go out for dinner and after that a drink with the SEAK people… Looking forward to that!