I admit I have been quite nervous about the 50km walk, in my mind I thought if I don’t make this one, I won’t make the 100km. I splits this blog in 3 categories , mainly to have more structure for myself. The sun burnt off my brain yesterday.
Called De Groene AS. What I really love about Amsterdam/The Netherlands is that one moment you are in the city and the next you see the most beautiful country side. And you don’t even have to walk or cycle far for that. This route has it all, you walk through the nature parks, forests , go across the water with a boat , villages and so forth. And wherever you are you are about 20mins with the car from Amsterdam. You totally forget that this is the case, seriously. Highlights for me where the nature parks 1. Natuurpark vrije Geer , right bang in the middle of a little city. 2. Schinkelbos which is gorgeous and peaceful and of course 3. Amsterdamse Bos which is always a winner.
As it should be, you see windmills , typical dutch houses and what I enjoyed most you walk along houses which are so big, beautiful and quirky that I just couldn’t stop looking, I had to restrain myself to just walk up to their doors and ask for a tour.
The route itself takes you from Amsterdam West, through Amsterdam Bos to Amstelveen and Oudekerk aan de Amstel, back to Amsterdam West again, 55km in total but you can also chose shorter routes. Totally do it, if you like to be out and about.
En route – What happened
My biggest challenge was, that I had a route description. “Turn right after 400 meters at this and this place “ 400meters means nothing to me. But I was only totally confused once and walked the wrong way. This was when I asked two guys if this was the Ringvaartdijk and after walking about 1km , I decided – I am walking in the wrong direction. Yep, totally based on my “instinct”. So I walked back, couldn’t find another exit point and walked the same route again, and had to admit: “ They were right , I was wrong”.
I was at the boat crossing thingi at 10:30 , just to find out the first boat takes off at 12:00. Looking closer at my route description, it actually mentioned that! I just didn’t see it. So with studying the map really close I decided it’s better to wait , before I totally go off trail. So took a 1 ½ hour break. Time to eat some pasta , bananas and give my feet some air. Those 1 ½ hours would get to me later on, as it seemed a never ending walk.
In Amsteleveen, Carolien joined me to pull me through the last 20km, which was really nice, and awesome on the last km’s to keep eachother going.
Overall, I hit a bad spot at around 35km and then again at 42,5km and the last 2km on the way home. Mainly my feet which started aching. But these bad spots really came with waves and as I kept walking, I always hit the good one again. I took quite some breaks as soon as I got really bad aching legs, and most important: I changed my socks every time my feet got hot. The feeling of dry socks really helped a lot!
The last 2km’s through Amsterdam West, I was ready to shout at everybody who was walking slow in front of me, or just blocked the pavement. I didn’t want to walk around them , just straight ahead. I didn’t want to have to stop at any traffic lights, because stopping and standing still was awful. I just wanted to shout : “Please go and move out of the way !” . Not exactly in such nice words.
I learnt :
- To change socks and air feet frequently – it makes a huge difference
- Pasta ( which I made the previous night) was excellent to keep me going
- There is nothing wrong with taking a break ( I used to just storm along and not stop, just to keep a good time)
- Hang your socks on your rucksack , they will dry very quickly
- A stubborn mind will get you anywhere , it really is “mind over body”
- Hot and cold shower afterwards works miracles for the day after
Trough my injury time my confidence has really taken a beating, but with yesterday’s performance my confidence is sky high.
I say it again : “And if I have to crawl on my knees, roll like a barrel across the finish line, I will finish the Dodentocht!”