Monday, September 20, 2010

Cherokee Math

     In light of the fact that my last post was both over a week ago, and maudlin in the extreme, I am going to attempt to make up for it now by telling you all, dear readers, about something that is both really cool, but also historically relevant. A first for me.

     I will begin with an description. Within the first week of being here I decided that I needed to have a regular running trail. One that I could settle into, learn the vagaries of, calculate reliable distances and, perhaps most importantly, teach to my concerned boyfriend so that if I ever went on a five and a half hour long run he would know how to track me. So I explored a little behind my house, found the local park and discovered a highly suitable trail.  It is practically perfect in every way. Winding along the scenic Roubidoux River, through the towns preserved green space. Calm and quiet, but with a safe number of people. Fairly well maintained, but not so well maintained as to make you feel like a wuss. And, best of all, seeming to go on forever. In fact, I never found the end, I ran and ran until I got tired and turned back.

     Everyone must be told! This trail must be the towns best kept secret. Sadly no.

An Exchange Between Me and a Co-Worker.

ME: It's the best trail ever! Plenty of space! So beautiful!

CO-WORKER: Where did you say it was?

ME: Along the Roubidoux. I need to tel everyone about it!

CO-WORKER: I don't think that will be necessary....

ME: Why? It's so little....I must be the first person to....

CO-WORKER: Have you ever read the sign by the entrance?

ME: What sign?

CO-WORKER: The giant wooden one. With the totem pole next to it.

ME: I' past it....

CO-WORKER: Ah. Well. It's pretty famous.

ME: What is it?

CO-WORKER: The Trail of Tears.

     Yes well. I knew that...of course. I was just....making sure SHE knew it. Ahem.  But from that mild knock to my anthropological ego I have gained two things. First of all, vindication that my running trail IS famous, and for good reason. And also, a mission. According to my (admittedly poor) math skills, if I've been running an average of 12 miles per week (which is a little low but I'm rounding down to provide for the fact that it was week two before I found the trail) and I've been running for five weeks, then I've run 60 miles of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. My mission? To run as much of it as I can before leaving this state. Once a week or so I will post any brilliant thoughts that might come into my head as I run this trail, literally following in the footsteps of the nation that walked it, nearly three quarters of whom died along the way.

      Will I complete the Trail of Tears? Well, the average length of the three routes (I am running the Northernmost) is 1200 miles. So, probably not, but its a good goal to shoot for, right? Wish me luck. Let me know if you have any ideas. KT I'm looking at you....