• Hi guys. I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long. It’s been crazy. Also, I didn’t feel like I had anything new to tell you. Now I do!

    You’re going to think from reading the title that this post is about putting your money where your mouth is, about walking the walk if you’ve talked the talk.

    But it’s not. It’s about something completely unrelated to business.

    You see, like many people who reach middle age or a significant birthday, I want to do something to prove I’m still capable. Many people train for a 5K or a marathon for their 50th birthday. Me, I hate to run. So those kinda of fitness goals were never my own.

    Bob and I like to walk. We walk at least 5K everyday and then I usually take Lakshmi for a walk for another 3.6km later in the day. One of our neighbours remarked to us that we walk a lot and have we heard of the Nijmegen Marches. Being here in Europe, I just assumed the marches were some kind of political protest, like the climate change marches that schoolchildren have been holding this year.

    But no. The Nijmegen Marches started as military marches back in 1909 and turned into fitness walks. The Dutch are big into everyday physical fitness. So the Nijmegen Marches quickly became a non-military thing.

    Every year in July, nearly 50,000 people gather and march for four days in and around the city of Nijmegen. You can walk 30km, 40km, or 50km depending on your age. You have to walk the distance you signed up to do. About 5000 people drop out before the end every year. I mean, it’s like four marathons in a row! Basically it’s eight hours of walking.

    It’s not a race. There’s no prize for the shortest time. But everyone who finished the four days gets a medal. A real medal. I mean an official honour given by the Dutch government. If you are in the military, you can wear it on your uniform.

    Bob and I are both out of shape, but we’ve started with two 10km (2hrs) walks this weekend. We’re planning to increase our distances week by week until we’re doing two 50km walks by next July. Then we’ll do the 4 Daagse (“The 4 Day-er”).

    Now this is no easy task for two people who have been overweight for a while, are over 50, and one of whom has a chronic disease. One of the reasons I’m not too afraid to try the 4 Daagse is that there are portajohns all along the route that are reserved just for walkers. And we belong to a walking club that sponsors even more just for members’ use. So yeah, it’s weird to think about things like “where am I going to go to the bathroom”. But when you have UC, it’s something you think about every day. And if you’re going to be walking for 8 hours, it’s going to be necessary.

    I mean, the reality is that I could wake up on the morning of the first day and my guts could decide I’m not leaving my hotel room. That’s the way it is. UC doesn’t flare because you ate something funny or you’re stressed out (although it can). It just flares up when it decides to flare up. And I have to be real with the fact that it could just stop me no matter how well I train or how long it’s been since I had a flare.

    But I’m going to train for it anyway. I hope that a year will give my guts all kinds of opportunities to flare on me and I’ll figure out what to do and keep going, if possible.

    So there’s that. It’s not going to be easy. But I’m going to train for it. And even if my UC stops me from doing it, I’ll still be fit enough to walk 50km four days in a row.

    So… I’ve found my fitness challenge. And I am SO excited about it. I never wanted to run a marathon or enter any kind of tournament. But I did want to do something to prove my fitness. And now I have something.

    Photos of last year’s 4 Daagse follow.

  • 6 comments

    Great idea :-) We'll be at the finish on the last day to bring you Gladiolas. It's a traditional gift to someone finishing the Vierdaagse. It's the reason the Sint Annastraat is called Via Gladiola during the Vierdaagse.

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    That's so sweet of you guys!

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    Excellent goal. I love it.

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    Thanks! You should come over and do it one year!

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    I say go for it! I mean heck you get a medal if you finish! Even if it turns out you are not able to finish you still were part of the whole thing. Training, plans, excitement. You can cheer Bob on if you can't complete it. Life is too short to not try to do cool things because of "what if's". In the end you will have improved your health by the amount you are able to do and that is not nothing. Veel geluk!

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    Ha! Bob is the one laid up today because he walked Sunday with his knees locked. =) Yeah, I'm doing it even if I don't finish. Even if I don't start, I'm still training for it.

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