Day 9.

Day 9 - Missoula, MT

Run - Rattlesnake Trail, Missoula, MT

From the eyes of Bailee.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the road most travelled by. I turned away from the road less travelled even when it was calling my name because I knew my friends were waiting for me at the end. If I took the road less travelled, I might run for hours and hours and never be done. But it looked so perfect, shaded and sloped slightly upwards, taunting me with the idea that there might be more mountains to climb.

The hardest part of an out and back is that it seems like you have to stop exploring so soon. I reached five miles today shortly after Nico and Charlie passed me going back to the car. I told them I would turn when they had turned, but it was only another .3 miles to the turn around. And just around the corner I wondered if the views would be better. I wondered, if I went just a little bit farther, if I would get to ascend the mountain. If I ran fast enough could I reach the top before my friends missed me too much? But alas, it was not to be. I knew “just around the corner” was likely to turn into “just around the bend” and then “just up this next hill” and then “just another mile or so” and so I turned around.

But maybe I should start at the beginning. We had a lazy morning today. Yesterday was a lot of driving and then dinner didn’t happen until around 8:30PM. So we checked the weather, decided it was cool enough to run later, and went to bed with the plans to wake up when we woke up and run in the afternoon. By 9:00AM everyone was awake and we had oatmeal (healthy!) with nutella (less healthy). Sadie has been feeling pretty exhausted so she relaxed at home, while Nico, Charlie, and I headed out to do work at a local coffee shop.

We started our run with the daughter of our Airbnb host, Emily. She was nice and we ran together for the first two miles before she turned around (she only wanted to do four). The rest of the time was a solo run, but it was perfect. I joined a trail running group in Boulder last semester and I’ve loved having people to go on long mountain adventures with, but at the same time there’s something about a solo trot in the woods that clears your head like nothing else. Honestly there’s always a constant stream of chatter in my head as my thoughts fight it out for attention, but when I’m running I have time to organize my thoughts and think peaceful things. (I still have a million thoughts running through my mind, but they pass more peacefully). I think about the trip and the time spent with my friends, and all the different trails I’ve run, and all the trails I’m going to run. I think about what I should run when I go back home and about which trails I miss running in Boulder the most. I think about falling and the mechanics of it. Of that moment before the impact when you’re practically flying and then that instant you realize it’s happening, and then the flash of pain when you feel your skin tearing. (I haven’t actually had a big fall while running in a while, but I still think about it).

And then I turn around, but I keep thinking. I think about how sad out and backs are. You want to keep going, and you kind of get to but at the same time you know your time is almost up. You see all of these places you’ve already been and you know your run is ending. It’s really sad if you think about it. I think about what distance you have to go before you want to actually be done, and I know I reach that point in long runs sometimes and races often, but right now I’ve got that itch in my legs that says “Don’t stop, don’t ever stop”.

Unfortunately the run did end. But we went to get ice cream, which always makes me feel better. (I inherited that sweet tooth from my Dad). But since I opened with Frost, I guess I should end with Frost. I comfort myself sometimes during runs that seem to be ending too soon with the following line: “and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep”. I think I like the repetition, and the thought of miles to go still makes me feel happy in my heart. I know we still have many miles to go on this trip, so I guess I’d better savor each one.

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 23

Miles ran: 32.1

Elevation gained (feet): 1334

Deer spotted: 4

Frequency at which a person in the US develops Alzheimer's: 66 seconds

Donate at http://curealz.org/heroes/running-road-trip