Sunday, June 29, 2014

Daily Journal: June 29, 2014

Location: Schaumburg, IL
Miles Hiked Today: 5.0
Weather: Muggy, Storms on the Way

Sometimes the best thing is to just take it slow. It's a well-worn strategy of mine when I have several miles of rough hiking to go, and my energy is zapped. I tend to do this by counting my steps, and adhering to strict stops for breaks. Eventually I'll probably bump it up to landmarks or amounts of time between breaks, but for now steps will suffice. Sure, this way hurts my mph average, but I don't really care when it comes to going up and down the trails that go to truly great places. If I wanted to do nothing but beef up my MPH average, I'd spend all my time at Illinois Beach, Moraine Hills, or Cuba Marsh. But come next year I won't be walking on these "hiker highways", I'll be hiking the Appalachian Trail. The only way I can begin to get ready for that is going on trails with roots, rocks, and inclines galore.

Besides being a way to get through a trail, taking it slow is what I did this morning. Sure, a part of me wishes I had gotten up at 6:30, checked out by 8:00 (breakfast eaten), and on the trail by 8:30. It certainly would have given me a chance to hit 10.5 miles today, which would have given me an outside shot of hitting my monthly goal tomorrow after work. But on the other hand, it let me get a bit more rest, something I'm sure helped me on the trail, and will help me this week.

So I won't be hitting my goal for this month. I'll go into this more in this week's "AT's AT Hiking Training Plan" post, but I'm not too down about it. It was an unreasonable expectation that I would get 23 miles done this weekend, and I should have adjusted the goal accordingly when I knew that two of the four full weekends in the month would limit my hiking opportunities. The fact is that I'm still only about six months back from double pneumonia, and this is only my third full month of hiking. Before this weekend, I hadn't even hit 11.5 miles in two days*, let alone one. For one afternoon of hiking, five miles isn't bad, and 13.5 for one weekend is a good start. I'm keeping 40 as my goal for July, a month that should be a bit more favorable to hitting that goal. I might also start keeping track of "difficulty", as a mile at Devil's Lake State Park or Blood Mountain in Georgia is much more of an accomplishment than one at Chain-o-Lakes State Park in Illinois**. Not sure how I'll figure that in, or how to measure it, but I'm going to think it over. Stay tuned...

*11.4 < 11.5, so it doesn't count
**This remark, and the previous ones about other places here in Illinois are not meant to disparage those parks. There all pretty great places to watch birds, see nature, and just have a nice walk. However, the trails at these parks are not exactly primers for the realities of the Appalachian Trail.

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