Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Walkers - Fantastic Job!

The 8th of August was the day the Bob Dobson Memorial Canal Walk took place on a 5-mile section of the Leeds-Liverpool canal. It was a partly cloudy day, ok, a mostly cloudy day seemingly just on the brink of rain. The Mr and I, along with our SoldierSon aka Kid3, Kid1 and our dog were the first to show up for that day. Our car only seats five at a time so Mr had to go back to get Kid2 and her partner, while he was gone it seemed to take forever although it was only perhaps 20 minutes. Kids1 and 3 took the dog along the canal in the opposite direction so the dog could do his thing and relax a bit before the others arrived.

There was a fisherman sat on the side of the canal and I watched him as I waited. He seemed to be having a decent day. He caught two while I watched.

Walkers started showing up practically all at the same time. People were spilling out of cars like multitudes of clowns pouring out of a tiny clown car at a circus. Walkers came by bus. Some came by train, and then bus and others just walked over as they live nearby.

When everyone else arrived and on time mind you. A surprise in itself! Everyone. On time? You’re kidding? No, it actually happened. The Event Organizer saw to it that everyone was gathered to have a group picture taken. Two sponsored walkers were missing due to illness, but three last minute walkers, including me, replaced them.

Picture taken by Event Organizer.

Yes, I’m in this picture. I’m the one in the back with frizzy hair and brown jacket, just to the right of the balloons. Standing next to me towards Your right is Kid1, Kid3, nephew, the Mr, Kid2 and her partner at the far right.
Yes, I know there is a kid blocking me, but he jumped in at the last second. Honest!
No one knew the picture was being taken yet. Photographer didn’t give a warning!

The reason I wasn’t a sponsored walker is because I didn’t think I could make the ten-mile walk. I was certain I’d be able to do part of it, just not how much and I didn’t want to disappoint my sponsors by not finishing. So, I paid my £10, the Mr and I also sponsored my mother in law for £30. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it as far as I did. We told her to keep the sponsorship money anyway.

Perhaps I need to go into a little personal detail here. I was in a car wreck in the mid-nineties. A car rear-ended us speeding at 70+ mph and hit us while were stopped to make a turn. Did you know you could have medical conditions arise years later? OsteoArthritis is one of those conditions that can show up years after an event like that car wreck.

In October, I was working in a town that has very steep hills. Depending on which way I walked to or from the bus I had to walk up or down a hill that was either a 14-degree slope or a 16-degree slope.

One day I noticed I was having pain in my knees but didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking I could just walk it off. The pain became more noticeable day after day, but only while walking the steep hills of the town. I also walked to and from town for lunch. A week later while at work, the pain got worse, a lot worse and I could barely walk. I made a call to the doctor.

This is me, I do not like doctors, never have, never will. The appointment was made for 4:30pm that day, by 3pm I called the doctor’s office again and told them I was coming now.

Before my taxi arrived, I was helped to the ladies by a male co-worker. By the time I needed to come out of the stall; I had to yell for help. He had to come into the ladies to get me out of the stall. I could no longer rest my foot on the floor. The pain was so intense I cried. That’s very rare for me. I don’t like to let others see me in times of weakness. By the time I got home after seeing the doctor, I couldn’t even rest the tip of my big toe on the floor and tearfully collapsed in the hallway due to the pain.

According to the Doctor, I had torn some ligaments in my knee. He later stated that not only had I torn ligaments, it was being aggravated by OsteoArthritis. It wasn’t fully diagnosed until late February. I’m just now able to walk without a cane, although I still carry it, just in case. Anyway, enough about that, now back to the walk.

Everyone started off in a rush including Kid2 and partner. Kids1 and 3 walked with me, which I thought was quite nice of them considering they usually walk much faster than I do. We were trailing the end of the walkers, but I didn’t mind. I was going to do the best I could, at my own pace.

I was doing pretty well when we reached the quarter mark of the walk. There waiting for us were the support team consisting of the Mr and the Event Organizer, who had to pull out of the walk himself, a week earlier due to a work injury that severely cut his ankle almost to the bone and requiring six stitches. At each quarter stop, they had food and water for any of the walkers who needed or wanted it. Anyone who needed to stop or looked in a bad way were able to stay with them throughout the rest of the walk.

I had had to stop to take some pain tablets and at the same I also gave Kid1 some Ibuprofen for an oncoming horrid headache. As we walked I kept pointing out possible places for a hidden geocache. I couldn’t help myself! I think we may have another convert in Kid3 soon. (Kid2 has already become entranced by geocaching.) By the time we got to our support team, who were sitting just above the Bingley 5-rise. The weather had changed from cloudy to drizzling rain. Kid1 couldn’t handle her headache anymore and stayed behind. Kid3 and I kept going. In my mind, I felt great for this achievement. Two and a half miles! It was the first time I’d walked any kind of distance without really stopping, sitting down or stopping to rest my knee.

The Bingley 5-rise.

As we walked Kid3 and I talked of many different things. It was nice to have no distractions while talking to him, no pc, no electronics, and no music, just natural scenery to look at as we walked and the sounds of nature interspersed with cars as the canal neared the motorway before cutting away from it. He became bored but that’s normal for a guy his age. He said its just trees and leaves or old buildings and nothing else to see, nothing to do but walk. Well, that’s a kid for you these days. When he gets older, I’m hoping some of the love of nature his dad and I have shown him will strike him as a good thing and he’ll eventually come to enjoy it.

As we walked I pointed out the general direction of several places where the Mr and I had found caches. I showed him a place where we thought one should be but haven’t found yet. He actually stopped to have a look, even going to the edge of the water and looking over the side to see if it might be hidden at water level. We didn’t find it, but other walkers were now coming towards us on the way back to the finish.

In geocaching, you’re not supposed to let non-geocachers see a hiding spot. It’s just in case they decide to take the cache for a stroll not knowing about the game. Its not nice when a cache isn’t where its supposed to be and no fun at all for frustrated geocachers who cant find it.

It was just a little further to the 5-mile mark. By now I was limping, and in clear pain. But I made it, on my own, and under my own steam. Five Miles! I'm quite proud of myself.

By the end of the walk six people couldn’t make it. They were all taken to the finish by the support team. We waited for and cheered all the walkers as they crossed the finish.

And then we went to the Pub!

Oh, and while we were waiting for the stragglers, the fisherman caught his biggest fish yet. He told us, as he threw a smaller fish back in, that he was in a competition to see who would get the heaviest fish out of the canal that day. The stake was £25. I hope he won with that whopper of a fish we saw him catch!

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