Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

Zero Day

All Appalachian Trail thru-hikers measure their day not by the amazing views or wonders of nature they enjoyed, but by miles hiked. I remember the pride I felt when I broke that magic 20-mile mark and managed to push myself 21.6 miles. If you were to eves drop on thru-hikers at night, you would hear terms like, “that was a killer 16 today” or “tomorrow should be an easy 7 into town” instead of, “did you see that view from Saddleback?”.

The most satisfying day for a thru-hiker is a zero-day. No hiking, zero miles walked…a zero-day. Often zero days were a reward for persevering through bad terrain or weather. Often they were taken in towns when there was hot coffee or cold chocolate milk available. Sometimes you took a zero-day if you found a shelter or campsite with a good water source and your pack had extra food.

For most thru-hikers, zero days are special. They are an occasional retreat from brutal grind of hiking 20-mile days for 6-days in a row, week after week. Month after month.

The past few months have been an “off trail” brutal grind. As an escape, I had been running 3 to 4 times a week through the dark winter. Rising at 4:30 am to get a run in.

I treated myself with a few zero days this past month. 30 to be exact. Zero running miles in the month of April. It is the longest stretch in over a year that I have gone without running. I have no shame in taking a break, because the key to success and staying committed to something is knowing when to push yourself and when to give yourself a break. April was a well deserved zero day…and now I’m ready to get back to it.

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1,150 verses 2,181. Are there any great adventures left?

I’m not sure how many of you have been following the Iditarod.  On March 5, 2011 the 38th running of what some consider to be “the last great race on earth” began.  It is a test of man and beast to traverse nearly 1,150 miles of frozen ice and snow.  Not to diminish the challenge, but with check points and food drops, much of the cache of being a wild adventure seems to have been tamed out of the race. Continue reading