Welcome to the Quarantine Q+A

Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Corona Virus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our ‘Quarantine Interviewees’ are healthcare workers, small business owners, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors, we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy! 

For the first installment of the series we catch up with Sara Boughner. Sara is a licensed and practicing physical therapist at Sapphire PT in Missoula, a member of the Women’s Big Dipper Running Team, a dog lover, and most recently she won the Siuslaw Dunes 25K trail race in Oregon last month! Get to know Sara and how she is working hard to stay healthy, motivated, active, and connected amidst these wild times.

Thanks for joining the quarantine Q&A! First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?

I have lived in Missoula since September 2014, but it seems like forever since Missoula feels like home.


Are you training for an upcoming race? If so, which one? Has it been canceled or postponed?

I am training for the Scout Mountain 21 miler in June, and ultimately the High Lonesome 100 in July, but the word is still out about whether or not those will happen. I have been dreaming of alternative adventures in Montana in the event that my races get cancelled, but mostly I am taking it day by day and training for life!


Amidst these uncertain times, what challenges are you facing and how are you maintaining motivation?

I imagine that I am facing similar challenges as many people right now. To name a few: uncertainty, consideration for how I can be the most helpful to my community, and how to stay mentally and physically healthy when routines and rhythms have gone awry. Maintaining motivation is multi-faceted for me. I start with recognition of gratitude for what I have: the ability to move my body; the ability to go outside (alone); a network of friends, family, and colleagues who support me in figuring out how to most responsibly navigate this ever-changing situation. It is a wild ride right now, and I am thankful to additionally lean on my running coach to not only get me out the door every day, but also make sure that I am not doing too much and putting myself at risk for injury.


In what ways are you staying active? 

I have been running solo on the roads and trails, trying to avoid crowds and also maintain stewardship of our trails by stepping off and waiting for others to pass. Walks and hiking with our dogs have remained a necessary part of the routine, as well. I keep thinking about dusting off my mountain bike, but the call of putting my feet on the ground is still too strong.


Are you doing workouts at home? If so, how are you getting creative?

I have been doing some workouts at home, though my usual routine is mostly running. For my running-specific strengthening I have been getting creative with weighted squats, step ups, and heel raises while wearing my loaded-up backpack. I have been motivated to keep up with core and push ups by staying accountable to friends on a text thread where we text “DONE!” to each other every day.


How are you investing in your mental health these days?

Mostly I pet my dogs. Running, deep breathing, lots of sleep, and remembering to take the pressure off everything I do has also been important for me. Taking moments to sit in the sunshine (when it makes an appearance), doing virtual hang outs with friends, and simply acknowledging my stress levels have also been helpful. Gratitude and perspective are always important for my mental health, though this is often easier said than done for me. At this point, my mantra has become, “smile through the suck.”


As a health care worker, what are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your work life in recent weeks? 

I work as a physical therapist at Sapphire Physical Therapy, an outpatient orthopedic clinic in Missoula. The COVID pandemic has significantly impacted our caseload, and I have transitioned my patients to telehealth visits. We are currently adapting to a new reality in healthcare, and we are continually evaluating ways to safely offer the care that our patients need. Though I am not a healthcare worker on the “frontlines,” it is important to recognize that COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare system as a whole, and will likely transform how primary and secondary care is accessed for the time being.


Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced due to the COVID crises you would like to share?

Appreciation for time spent with others has been a huge silver lining to see across the board. Seeing families out for hikes and walks fills my heart. In any time of crisis, it is always inspiring to see how others bring kindness to the table. Simple acts like making masks for healthcare workers and grocery shopping for others in higher-risk categories are some of the stories that will get us through this time.


Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

The Physical Performance Show Podcast with Brad Beer, and NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast. I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing as my fictional escape.


What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

The Missoula running community has always served as an incredible support network. I look to Runner’s Edge, Run Wild Missoula, Missoula Parks and Rec, and Montana Trail Crew for leadership and guidance regarding how to maintain physical distancing while running and keep our trails from being negatively impacted. Most importantly, though, the running community in Missoula serves as family during a time like this. We understand and respect each other’s need to run for our health, and also know that we can lean on each other (metaphorically) if needed. Seth Swanson’s “Keep Your Distance Phatty” [virtual challenge and food bank fundraiser] was a great example of this.


Anything else you would like to share?

Of course, a big thank you to everyone who is working tirelessly to lessen the impact of this virus. Additionally, an appeal for kindness. Approach every situation, no matter how infuriating, with kindness to each other and yourself. It is a big task, but the last thing we need right now is unnecessary negativity. Stay safe, practice appropriate physical distancing for the greater good, and remember we are all in this together.


We enjoyed getting to hear from Sara and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.