Stage 15: Osburn, ID to De Borgia, MT, 42.05 miles (if you did the right route…)

Yesterday was the only full day in Idaho – today we ran into our next state: Montana! We’ll be in Montana for over two weeks, it’s a long way to the east side of Montana, and it’s all running on road after today – though I don’t expect we’ll see many people as there’s only 1 million people in the state which is 1.5 times the size of the UK. Montana is known as Big Sky state – though so far I’d say it’s living up to it’s mountainous name!

We climbed a fair amount today over Look-out pass and saw a little snow.

Today we ran mainly on the Northern Pacific Trail through the east of Idaho and into Montana over ‘Look-out Pass’, a ski area. It was a grey day and rain was intermittent, though at least it was cool after a warm day yesterday. It has given my newest injury time to calm down – my chapped lips! David Horton, who ran across the US in 1995 had such bad chapped lips from sunburn he could only get calories from drinking milkshakes for 5 days (I can think of worse…)

As we set off this morning I was feeling good, it’s hard to explain but at the moment the first 20 miles or so I feel like I’ve hardly run all week and have relatively fresh legs but cant get them moving very quickly – so a 10 minute mile feels ok and is where I stay for a bit. Then I have been getting niggles and aches about 20 to 30 miles in and usually slow down a bit and/or feel more sore by the finish. Today followed this pattern but my left quad (previous issue was the right quad) was sore from about 20 miles and continued to annoy me, I’ve iced it now and hope it’s ok tomorrow.

Today was a pretty easy route – we get a route description with mile markers and turns on from Mike every morning, or the day before and we talk it through with Mike giving us key info in the morning – such as bad dog sections or easy-to-miss turns. Usually they are spot on. Today when I got to mile 24.5 I was a little behind Justin and about 20 mins in front of Mike when I needed to turn left down a ‘hard to see’ snow-mobile track. Knowing I hadn’t gone much over the mileage on my Garmin I just couldn’t see where we were supposed to turn left – so ran on another quarter mile or so. Deciding it couldn’t be that far down I doubled back and decided that a small gap in the trees must be the route… ok, I was a bit tired and took the wrong option! So 200m into thick forest and thinking to myself ‘Ah, Barkley* training’ I started getting a little worried. Then I could see a trail about 100m below and relaxed, I was at least near a path to somewhere. But then I had the shock of my life – a loud crashing noise came from my right and I just saw the rear-end of a big brown bear!!

Ah yes a ‘trail’…

Thankfully he was more scared of me than I was (if that was possible!) and disappeared as quickly as he appeared. So now effectively lost in a forest in Montana with a bear nearby I flew through the undergrowth (yes I now have scratched legs!) down to the path and hearing the Interstate in the distance headed towards it by going left. Half a mile later I realised I was headed away from the I-90 and had gone the wrong way. Eventually I was headed the right way, nearly breathing normally and singing very loudly – this being my anti-bear plan. My singing is awful so I’m hoping to scare them off or at the least not surprise them. The only song I could think of was ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes’ and was just thinking of the lines for the verse with the pink pyjamas in when Mike appeared behind me and I was very relieved to see him! He had a sore Achilles but was still moving pretty well so we jogged to the finish, with my left quad threatening to cramp at any moment.

Hmm… glad I was wearing a bright orange jacket!

So another exciting day and I’m delighted to be over the dreaded 2 week point – feeling ok and looking forward to seeing more of Montana. Today we also crossed a time zone so are 7 hours behind the UK not 8 anymore, getting closer! Also another first for me today – I had a Subway (yes I know it’s hard to believe but I’ve never had one). Sweet onion teriyaki chicken on oat bread with tomatoes and olives. It was actually really tasty!

*For those who don’t know Barkley is a 100 mile run in Tennessee without much of a trail path – probably the toughest race on earth, but without claiming it, and without a website as such.

6 responses to “Stage 15: Osburn, ID to De Borgia, MT, 42.05 miles (if you did the right route…)

  1. Marty and I are so proud of you! How exciting to see a live bear. I’m glad you literally didn’t have to outrun him. Coralyn Duhlstine Feeney (Corky)

  2. Eileen Bradley

    Oh wow! Sounds a great day if a bit scary! Singing sounds a good plan if you have the puff while running. I actually found myself singing along to Dusty Springfield the other day while doing a short run (6mls). Sticking to American folk songs should not upset the wildlife too much, either. What about ‘Clementine’, ‘Home on the Range’ to name a couple. Just googled American Folk Songs for you and there’s loads if you want any more ideas.
    Hope the niggles improve and enjoy Montana.
    Much love Mum xxxxxxx

  3. Hi Jennifer

    So glad you got back safely. The bear story has had Clara’s imagination running wild and she is even looking under her bed for bears! No doubt you guys are far too tired in the evenings to have such thoughts!

    HBAI went well today. Alex is going on holiday next week, so I’m pleased for him as he’s worked really hard.

    Glad that you have exceeded the 2-week mark and I told you Subways are nice!


  4. Uncle D and Auntie M

    Hi Jen,

    Keep it going you are amazing. What a way to see America. We have decided that we couldn’t do it as when we are running we keep our eyes on the road in front of us in case we step on something nasty, so we would miss all the amazing scenery! So that’s it we are out!!

    • That’s a very sensible reason and one I hadn’t thought of before the trip! I have unfortunately seen (and smelled!) a lot of nasty things by the side of the road which can detract from the views but it’s always safe to raise your head once in a while! Hope your summer goes well in Italy! Jx

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