Zevenheuvelennacht

7Heb ik goed getraind? Mwah… Afgelopen maandag heb ik 8 km gelopen, dus dan zou het moeten kunnen. Het was echter wel de eerste en de laatste keer dat ik verder dan 6,2 km aan 1 stuk jogde. Het is bijna zover: de zevenheuvelennacht, een hardloopevenement in Nijmegen voor een afstand van 7 km. We zullen zien…

Ik sta in startvak oranje. In startvak oranje staan de langzaamste sportievelingen. Dat maakt me echt niet uit, we bewegen nog altijd meer dan iedereen die op deze zaterdagavond voor de buis zit of aan de bar hangt. Mijn warming-up heb ik gehad door van het huis van mijn vriendjes naar de plaats van bestemming te lopen. Wel jammer is dat het het nu 18:50 uur is, ik om 19:10 uur mag vertrekken en ik nu toch het gevoel heb dat voor mij de cooling down al begonnen is. Ik begin voorzichtig een beetje te springen en mijn knieën om de beurt op te trekken. We staan hutje mutje op elkaar dus echt flink bewegen is geen optie. Ik kijk om me heen naar de verlichte mensenmassa, leuk om te zien hoeveel mensen hun best hebben gedaan om op te vallen. Met glow in the dark sticks tussen mijn veters, door mijn oorbellen en op mijn petje doe ik hier keihard aan mee.
Als we langzaam naar voren schuifelen voel ik dat mijn bovenbenen koud zijn geworden, wat wil je ook anders, het is zo’n 5 graden. Al schuifelend zoek ik een muziekje in mijn telefoon en zet ik de hardloop-app startklaar. Uiteraard valt hierbij 2 keer de telefoon uit mijn handen, maar mijn Huawei laat me gelukkig niet in de steek. Ik kom dichterbij de startstreep, start de app en begin te hollen om vervolgens een (hopelijk voor de hele route) prettig tempo aan te nemen. Na 25 meter zie ik mijn vriendjes aan de kant enthousiast naar me zwaaien, de lieverds.
Ik heb gelezen dat de 7 heuvelen wel mee vallen, maar de eerste al duurt lahang…. Mijn benen doen pijn, ik ben nog niet eens op de helft. Ik ben opgelucht als ik de daling in kan zetten, de eerste heuvel zit erop.
Ik zie een man achteruit lopen, vragend zijn duimen opsteken naar wat mensen die achter hem aan lopen. Als hij duimen en glimlachen als reactie krijgt, draait hij zich weer om en loopt hij verder.
Ik hoor een telefoon vallen, in een paar stukken ligt het op de grond. Ik kijk naar de mensen voor me maar niemand lijkt iets te missen. Omstanders genoeg dus ik kies ervoor door te gaan in de hoop dat de mensen aan de kant ervoor zorgen dat de telefoon weer bij de juiste sportieveling terecht komt.
Ik zie zoveel om me heen en vergeet mijn koude benen en slechte voorbereiding. Ik zie oude mensen, jonge mensen, blanke mensen, donkere mensen en zelfs blinde mensen. Bijna 6000 verschillende mensen lopen mee en het is prachtig!
Het bos. Donker. Ik loop achter de mensen aan (kijk soms snel even om om te kijken of ik niet helemaal achteraan loop) en ga er dan maar vanuit dat als ik in hun voetsporen loop, ik ook niet val over stokken, stenen, natte bladeren of ander “bosafval”. Klassieke muziek klinkt uit tussen de struiken geplaatste speakertjes, ik merk dat ik hier zeker niet harder door ga lopen… Maar dan dalen we weer, en dan: prachtig! In het stikdonkere bos zie ik alle sportievelingen voor mij uit rennen. Lichtjes. Zoveel lichtjes. Het is adembenemend mooi en ik besef me dat degenen die straks op het podium staan dit hebben moeten missen.
Nog wat heuveltjes, toeschouwers en muziekmakers (dj’s, drumbands, zingend volk) later zie ik een bordje: nog 1 km! Ik ga harder lopen en wordt steeds blijer. Nog 800 m. Nog 600 m. Het aftellen is begonnen. Op 25 meter voor de finish zie ik mijn vriendjes weer staan, ze juichen, joelen en geven me een high five. Mijn glimlach reikt van oor tot oor. En dan….de finish! Na de finish wandel ik richting mijn verdiende flesje AA en mijn medaille om vervolgens mijn vrienden weer te treffen, uitgeput en apetrots!De 7 km zit erop. Klaar voor de volgende uitdaging!

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