Day 39.

Day 39 - Charleston, SC, to Jacksonville, FL

Run - West Ashley Greenway, Charleston, SC

From the eyes of Bailee

Close your eyes and begin to draw your attention to your breath. Inhale, fill your lungs with air, feel them expand. Exhale, release your breath, and let go of anything that doesn’t serve you.

Let go of anything that doesn’t serve you. I’ve heard this cue in yoga classes constantly, and given it when I’m teaching, but I think it’s easy to let only surface things go and forget to let go of deeper insecurities, questions, and thoughts.

This morning I woke up on time to run, but I didn’t run. The drives have been increasing in length again as we start to head South (and soon West) and while my legs feel fine from the running miles, my hips ache from the sitting. I took an off day today, and it was hard. It’s not that I haven’t taken off days on the trip so far, but this is the first state I have actually skipped. In the past, I’ve timed my off days perfectly so that they line up with the days we all take off because of long drives or like in Brooklyn, where we had a community event. So I technically ran in New York even though I didn’t complete our planned run around Prospect Park. I thought about it a lot before I took the day off. I could skip today, or skip a day later this week (maybe Georgia?). But, I’ve had a pretty heavy mileage week and am already over the usual six day on, one day off cycle. I also woke up with my left hip aching (I think just the effects of driving and sitting).

I set up my mat in the driveway of the Airbnb and queued up a yoga podcast. Although it was only 6:45AM, it was already hot outside. The air was thick and humid, and I had to pause the class to grab a towel partway through. As I flowed, I felt my hips loosen and the tension melt out of my body. I started with a 75 minute class. Sadie got back near the end, sweaty from the humidity and her run and worried about Nico. He hadn’t taken any water and was going longer than either had expected him to. She ran into the house to grab water and headed out in the car to find him. I queued up a second, half-hour-long flow.

Sadie, and then Nico got back while I was doing the opening poses for my second flow session. Nico, sweaty and red-faced informed me he was now “winning” in the number of miles ran for the week. (I had previously been ahead by nine miles). This struck a chord, as I’ve been a little competitive throughout the trip, trying to run more miles than the boys every week. I ignored his comments, and went back to my practice. Part of it is the fact that we have a pledge for miles. Each extra mile I run, means more money donated to Alzheimer’s. But it’s more than that. We’re hosting events and connecting with communities and curating donations other ways. So...what?

Exhale, let go of anything that doesn’t serve you anymore. As I flowed, I wondered why Nico’s comments bothered me so much. I felt strong and after yoga, my hips felt loose. If I wanted, I could run now and regain my mileage lead. But today was supposed to be an off day from running. I had to remind myself that taking an off day is healthy physically and psychologically. I felt the burn in my legs as I took utkatasana, chair pose, and wondered why it mattered so much for me to run farther than the boys. I released into uttanasana, forward fold, and realized it didn’t matter. Or, it had, but only because of my own insecurities. I know I’m not fast; I couldn’t run in college, even though it was something I loved. The only competitive edge I really had was in mileage and the fact that I would push relentlessly forward. I might not run fast, but I could grind it out and outlast those who were faster than me. But that isn’t really why I run. I’m not really overly competitive. I run because I love it. I love the exploration of the outdoors, the way it feels to get into the rhythm of the trail and feel it flow beneath my feet. I love running because I feel strong and confident. And I love running because it’s helped me forge friendships and find community. I run for personal growth, not to compare myself with others.

I relaxed in finally savasana and let go of the urge to run today. I let go of the need to log miles and let myself enjoy the rest day. I closed my eyes and breathed in the warm South Carolina air and reconfirmed that my actions are enough and that my efforts are sufficient. Thank you for coming on this journey of rediscovery, and for helping me to re-find the core of why I run. Namaste.

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 284

Miles run: 25.4

Elevation gained (feet): 61

Pizza places accommodating all of our dietary needs discovered: 1

Deaths in Florida from Alzheimer's (2013): 5093