Day 48.

Day 48 - Hot Springs, AR, to Norman, OK

Run - Hot Springs Exploration

From the eyes of Nico

The past two weeks, I’ve gotten into the habit of running earlier and earlier in the morning. My wake-up habits haven’t changed; I’ve still been getting out of bed between 0500 and 0530, but instead of hopping on the computer and writing cover letters, I’ve instead been taking advantage of our Airbnbs’ locations, lacing up my shoes and jogging out the door before most of the rest of the team is even awake.

This morning was no different, as I left our Airbnb in Hot Springs, Arkansas, just a touch after 0600, roughly 20 minutes before sunrise. That is really the main reason I enjoy running so early – I fell in love with the sunrise while living on a ship during my semester abroad through Semester at Sea. While on the ocean, I got used to watching the sun peak out over the horizon every morning, illuminating the miles of water surrounding the small dot that was my home. When given the opportunity to witness something similar back here on land, I jump at the opportunity. The added bonuses on this trip? Getting some alone time and not having to suffer the frustration of waiting around for everyone else to be ready to go.

After roughly 30 minutes of ditzing around town, I found myself atop Hot Springs Mountain. A gazebo awaited me, granting me a view of a lush green valley as I sat on the gazebo’s stone wall. It is moments like this that I search for when I run alone, or even when I travel in general. Moments when I can stare out at the morning rays brightening the forest below as they tease a light fog out from the cool canopy. Moments when I can zone, and zen…

And then I run again. This time it was down the mountain and back into town. Next time it may be along a creek in Austin, or maybe across a beach in California. Regardless, I come flying back into reality, both refreshed and relaxed. Ready to start the day.

The rest of today was great. The drive to Norman, Oklahoma, went by quickly. The group run (a pub run) was phenomenal, primarily because the people we talked with were an incredibly kind and interesting group of human beings. And then dinner was all sorts of tasty, consisting of butternut squash, pasta with fresh tomato sauce, and spinach.

And then tomorrow we get to do it all over again…

I won’t be able to say that in a little over a week. After working on this for so long, that is an immensely scary thought. For the first time ever, I have no idea what two months from now will look like. I know I will be living somewhere in New York City, but I have no clue where. I know (read: hope) that I will be working somewhere, but, again, I have no clue where, nor do I even know what I will be doing. The safety net of school will be gone, as will the safety net of The Running Road Trip, something that has been looming in the background for the past two years. I do know two things though, two things that will certainly be enough to pull me along through the uncertainty that I secretly dread. The first is that I will be running the New York City Marathon in November. (While I missed the normal entry period, I can sign up to run for CaringKind, an organization focused on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, not only allowing me to race, but also allowing me to continue to support the effort to counter the disease that took my grandfather). The second, and the more important and driving of the two, is that I will be happily living with the woman that I love, so regardless of what I am doing (or not doing), I will be surrounded by support.

But yeah, in the end, it is weird to think this is coming to an end. Luckily, we still have 10 more days and five more states to explore. And hopefully a lot more money to raise along with that. So be sure to share what we are doing, whether it be with friends, family, colleagues, or random people you run into in the street (all of the above is preferred).

Thank you all for the continued support.


Stats/facts of the day:

Miles driven: 311

Miles run: 32.8

Elevation gained (feet): 3071

Level of sadness at not having enough time to play Settlers of Catan: 100

Oklahomans age 85 and older with Alzheimer's (2016): 25,000/57,000

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