As it is I've been thinking about my previously stated goal to do the Susquehanna Super Hike in 2015. There's no doubting that I want to do it. The benefits of a supported hike are many. In no particular order, they include:
- Less hoops to jump through figuring out the logistics of a one way long distance hike
- Less to carry due to aid stations every 5-7 miles
- The awesome atmosphere of a formal endurance event
- The opportunity to meet new people/make new friends
What I'm contemplating is whether or not I should sign up right away. Registrations opens February 1st and I've had that marked on my to do list since last year.
For my running adventures signing up early was a carrot to keep me moving and smiling and training. Each year, I'd choose the main event for the year and sign up as early as possible knowing that if I was registered I wasn't going to let the 'I don't feel like going out today' demons derail me. I leaned on my running friends a lot to keep me going too. I don't really need that for hiking though. Whether there is company or not, whether there is a goal or not, I enjoy going out on the trails. So do I really need to sign up at the first opportunity? There is fine line, too, between the upside and downside of early registration. A fine line between motivation and the pressure of "I have to do it because I'm signed up."
Training is rewarding but the pressure to complete every workout is not. The internal debate about the effect of missing even one workout - whether for a real reason or an excuse - can be exhausting. The constant rejiggering of the training plan because you're not sure it's going to work is frustrating. Do I want to put myself through that? Don't bother telling me it doesn't have to be that way. I know *IT* doesn't but it's the way *I* am.
Here;s the thing. (Always the thing, right?) There's no doubt in my mind that I can complete the event. After my daylong hike in October, I am really confident that barring the unexpected I can finish the long version of the hike within the time allowed (12 hours). I have to continue hiking; I have to put in some long hard efforts; I have to practice climbing steeper hills. I know that and I believe that I can accomplish that without the pressure of the completed advance registration.
The benefit of not registering early is that I can designate certain hikes to be the long hard, training ones. I can designate certain days for short hard climbing workouts. AND - best benefit of all and the reason for all this thinking - is that I can also have plenty of hikes that are just for the beauty and enjoyment of the trail that I happen to be on at the time. Stopping to smell the roses and enjoy the view. If I'm right, I can enjoy a spring and summer of hiking with a combination of fun and work and still register later. The event has not sold out in the five years it's been around. They even took a registration the night before (although I would not wait that long).
If I'm wrong, I'm wrong and I don't do the hike. It's not the end of the world. I think I'm better off without a committed 2015 event.
Keep smiling and keep moving,
PS I do have to not forget to register at all. :)