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Update Day 1 [Jul. 22nd, 2008|08:41 pm]
Just recieved an e-mail from Mieke, a friend living along the route of Day 1, in the first village we come through, Lent. Turns out she set some nice signs outside. I think I have seen the "From Via Begonia to Via Gladiola" sign, but unfortunately, not expecting a personal message, did not pay attention to the other sign....

Very Nice from Mieke!!!

Thank you Mieke!!!!
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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:

Walking Fairy

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.

Cuijk vast

Cuijk vaster

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.

Pontoon bridge

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!


My medal

I made it!

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.

Surrounded by friends



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…

Jan with his trophy

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.

The Medal!

Feet with small blister

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!
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Day 4 [Jul. 18th, 2008|10:28 pm]
Today was hell, but I made it...

Story and pics tomorrow!
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Day 3 [Jul. 17th, 2008|07:30 pm]
Pffff… It was another great day… Getting a bit tired however! But, overall, still feeling okay!

Slept rather okay and got up at the regular time (3.15), got dressed, cup of coffee, have Hennie braid my hair (as she does every night for me!), grab my stuff and off to the start to meet up with the others. Jan went for the early start again, and I met with the others of the SEAK-team. Unfortunately Kim did not show up, since she decided her injuries were to severe to continue… Once we were in the queue for the start also Eddy showed up.
We started walking and quite soon I was ahead with Eddy again, but I made clear I was not going to walk uptempo again today. After a few kilometres he decided I was going too slow (I was feeling my left ankle a bit) for his liking so he moved on. From that moment I was alone (well, not really of course since there are still around 35000 walkers) and the longer I walked, the better I felt. Had my rests at the same spots as last year and walked really good. When the famous hills of the day began, a slight drizzle started which I managed to ignore till Groesbeek, but there I went into a bar for a coffee since the rain was getting heavier. When I moved on it looked like my light raincoat and the cover for my backpack would be enough, a decision I regretted after about 150 meters, when the rain got more severe, but there was no turning back or shelter in the huge crowd. At one point is was really pouring down. The moment I feared the rain would get through my gear it stopped however, so although I was very wet, the rest of the stretch was okay. Unfortunately one of my leg muscles started to hurt in the last few kilometres.
Arrived at (bar) De Kroon at 13.50 to meet Hennie, the people behind the SEAK-foundation and some friends and… a beer. While I was sitting inside the sun even broke through, but… when I moved on for the last 15 minutes to the finish, of course: more rain…

Picture time!

Coffee at my first rest:


Shoes off...


The military route joining in again with the 50 km:


A long line of people following me... just after the heavy rain:


"You never walk alone!"


Just before the last corner to round to the finish:


Most important: I made it again, so “only” one more day to go!
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Day 2 [Jul. 16th, 2008|07:33 pm]
And also day 2 went well... After a terrible night (hardly slept and was not feeling well). I happened to team up with Eddy, a former military guy with a lot of experience with long distance walking. His pace was rather high, but I could keep up with him, since he had a problem with his right knee. After the first coffee at one of the military stops (he's a veteran, so allowed to get there and get food and drinks) he felt better. He walked on with me in order to give his knee some rest. Later on in Wijchen however his other knee started (due to a BADLY placed stand with free ice cream for the walkers). So we also finished the day together, and this time at 14.40.
We started of at 4.20 with a drizzle and the whole morning this kept going on, drizzle, dry, drizzle, dry. Not nice, but not too bad fortunately. After that we had a rather sunny day.

After finishing and sitting down for a beer I really felt my upper legs. But due to a nice massage again, my legs feel much better.

The walkers in the rain...

Drizzle Drizzle

Had to get up on the open dike; here a long line of walkers in the distance:

People on the dike

The sun almost breaking through, on on of the resting places, with walkers in the back.


In most villages the mayor greets the walkers, together with some officials (head of police, etc.) like here in Beuningen:

Mayor Beuningen

Hope the weather will be not too bad tomorrow... Halfway, but still a long way to walk!
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Day 1 [Jul. 15th, 2008|07:53 pm]
Yep, we all made it through day 1. For some reason my left heel was really hurting the first almost 20 km’s… Fortunately the pain left and I walked relatively without any problems today (it’s a long distance, so you start to feel your feet and legs)…

Left a bit later than expected due to some people of our group having trouble with the clocks in the house they are staying. Jan however managed to start really soon after 4.00 and he finished today at 12.05! All the others met up every break and we took our time; so we finished around 4.00. The weather was good all day, with nice temperatures, some sunshine, sometimes a bit cloudy. After that it was really nice to go over to the bar (Hooglandt) for some beers and a meal (first beer on the bar, second beer on the foundation, meals on the bar… not bad at all). And also very nice: free massage for the walkers! Had my legs and lower back worked on… Feel great!

Some pics of today:

The view ahead (I was walking behind a bunch of customs people with a good pace):
View ahead
The 40 km people merging in from the left:
A traffic jam when also the 30 km people joined the route (was really standing still... grmbl):
Traffic Jam
The massage afterwards by Remon (nice T-shirt...):

Now, off to bed and hope that tomorrow will be as nice as today.
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Day 0 [Jul. 14th, 2008|08:16 pm]
Hi I'm back!

So, I trained a little less that the previous years (about 400 km’s this year), I am ready to go for it! And there is something extra this year; I am going to walk for a good cause: Foundation SEAK:

Sri Lanka


So the “team”, Ruud, Wil, Eric, Michael, Paul, Kim, Jan and I are going to wear T-shirts to get people’s attention for this foundation.

We got our passes this afternoon, and right now everyone is trying to go to bed as early as possible (which is quite hard), since we have to get up extremely early… Have to start at 4.00 AM again.

Here is a picture of an early training, one of the non-organised ones, so really quiet: Alline and Ruud walking towards me:
Early Training

One of the recent training trips was walking the entire Belgian coast from the French border to
the Dutch border in 2 days. It was really nice...

Part of the group at the French border:
French Border
Behind me...
In front of me...

And today all the walkers who will walk for SEAK got together to pick up our passes and stuff...
The day before
Back row: Me, Paul. Michael, Jan
Front row: Kim, Eric, Ruud, Wil
In front of Kim: I don't want to know...

And now I am really going to try to get tired... Since I have to get up way too early....

Hope to be back tomorrow!!!
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Day 4 (with pictures) [Jul. 21st, 2007|03:19 pm]
As I wrote yesterday: I made it!

When treating my blister Thursday evening discovered a second one, so had to start the Friday with 2 special Compeed blister plasters. My legs were still feeling okay, so off we went for the last 50 kilometers. We quickly met some friends that were walking too, so had a nice chat the first few km's, and then went our own way (pace). Only took the first break after almost 4 hours of walking. After every break needed a few hundred meters to get used to the pain and push away any swollen parts. The second break was in Cuijk, where the whole city centre is one big cheering load of people. We decided on having a quick beer. When leaving Cuijk we had to cross the river over a ponton bridge, that is put in place every year for this event:

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We got the first gladiolus in Mook, then in Molenhoek, etc. It is a tradition to present the walkers with these flowers, but they tend to be quite heavy, so walking a lot of kilometers with a bunch of them is not a good idea. We both stuck one in our backpack.

There are always people cheering during the 4 days, but mainly in all villages we come through, but on the Friday, the last 10 kilometers there are cheering crowds all along the route on both sides. Very special feeling.

Unfortunately the predicted rain came earlier than expected, so with only 4.5 km's to go (just after having a second beer) we very quickly had to put on some raincoats. Thunder and HEAVY RAIN. It was really pouring down... Very soon our shoes were leaking and were really filled with water. But the crowds kept on cheering and we knew we were already there, so we kept on going with a grin on our faces.

Near the finish our friends and family were waiting to cheer, congratulate us and handing us more gladioli. Then off to the finish, collect our medal, on the bike and to the bar!!! A lot of friends were waiting in the bar. More cheers, congratulations, etc. Of course we first had to get rid of our wet shoes, etc. Then: BEERS!!!!

Here´s Eric, all proud with his medal:

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And here's Eric's brother Ruud showing off with his medal:

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Other friends that finished: Paul, Michael (Paul's brother), Kim, Carel and (another) Eric.

A table full with my wet gear and some presents

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Also went to another bar, where all walkers got a pint with fireworks

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Then it was time to go home, get some food, another beer and close inspection of the feet

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Managed to hang on till near 11 PM when I looked tired, slightly drunk, but very proud with my medal!

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Today, after a good sleep, discovering that I could still walk, I asked Hennie to take this picture:

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Yep, got a lot of sun the last few months during the training, and this week during the Vierdaagse, and always wore a T-shirt. Hahahaha!

And since Hennie took good care of us and had some nice surprises every morning (although she said that it was the "Walkingfairy" that did that) she got some presents too:

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Tonight we are going out for dinner with a lot of other walking partners. Looking forward to see them all again, exchange our stories and checking on our blisters!
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Day 4 [Jul. 20th, 2007|08:49 pm]
I made it!!! 200 kilometers in 4 days... And now, after a "few" beers, I am tired, so the story and pictures this weekend.
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Day 3, the "seven hills" [Jul. 19th, 2007|06:07 pm]
Okay, did not sleep too well, but got up again just after 3 AM. When downstairs I found this from Hennie:

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Today I used other shoes which are a bit softer, so when I started I did feel some relief. But again, we had 50 kilomters ahead... The weather was very nice, although a bit hot at the end, but with enough water we weren't doing too bad. At the second stop (at about 30 km) we had a nice photo-moment:

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About a kilometer further the other routes (40 km military and rest of 40 km) joined, so it got pretty crowded. From then on it was uphill, downhill, the reason the Thursday is wellknown, since it includes the "seven hills road" (sorry, again did not menage to properly count them). Fortunately up- and downhill is not really a problem for me. But the soles of my feet were getting more and more painfull towards the end, so it was not easy.

About 1 km before the end we stopped at the bar of a friend and had 1 little beer, and after a short while made sure we got to the finish.

Some drinks in another bar later I am now at home, checking out the damage, and found one little blister, which I will treat in a moment:

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And then.... a shower, dinner, one more beer, a cigarette and (after Hennie massaged my feet with some good ointment).... SLEEP!

"Only" another 50 kilometers to go tomorrow!!!!
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