I had an awesome hike at Ridley Creek State Park last night. It is one of my favorite places to hike. The fact that it's so close to home is a huge plus but the park is so beautiful. The trails look so different in each season and in opposite directions. I could hike there every week and never get bored.
I want to set down some routes that I can repeat to gauge improvement. The elevation profile at RCSP is tamer than what I'll see at the Susquehanna Super Hike (SSH) but improvement is still improvement. I'd like the routes to be 6-7 miles. The longest section between checkpoints at the Super Hike is 7.2 miles and I want to get used to staying focused and moving for the time it will take to get from checkpoint to checkpoint. I need to maintain at least a 2.5 mile pace to finish in 12 hours but really I'll need a faster pace so there is time to stop at the checkpoints. These keep moving hikes will be a regular part of my weekday workouts starting next spring when my focused training for the event begins.
So last night was about setting a route. No stopping for photos or views. Just smiling and moving for the entire route. I left the mansion/park office parking lot on the Yellow trail. I jumped up on the White trail where the multi use trail goes under Sandy Flash Road and followed it counterclockwise back to the tunnel and then took the Yellow trail back to the mansion. I tried to start out easy and then after warming up maintain a moderate effort the entire route. Here is the Garmin data.
The route was 6.24 miles This was the first time I've hiked that distance determinedly and without any kind of stopping. And it helps that it's more like September than July weather this week. 3.3 mph average sets the starting bar high but that's ok. I felt good the whole way. I was able to keep a good rhythm even on the rockier and rootier parts. I know I'm still slowing down too much on downhills but I do feel like I'm slowing down less. I'll take the progress. I'd like these routes to be closer to 7 than this one was but it's good to have variety. I'll plot a new one next week. :)
Garmin) Located on the other side of West Chester Pike and a little west of Ridley Creek State Park, the preserve is a combination of mowed, gravel and dirt paths. I walked for an hour, stopping to take photos and listen to the creek. I had a very draining day at work today and did not hydrate well. It showed on my walk. I still had a wonderful time. It was a nice way to let the day go!
Off day tomorrow and planned 5.5 hours on Saturday.
Keep smiling and keep moving.