R&R

Relaxation and Recuperation are important facets to running your best. This week I took off consecutive days from running and I feel my best. It is easy to feel guilty for not getting your daily dose of exercise, especially when we are stuck inside all day with school and work. Taking days off from running though is sometimes exactly what our bodies need and want.

Sunrise at the Charleston, South Carolina Aquarium

Running is my time to mentally relax from all of the stressors that naturally come with life. This week I did not get the opportunity to run as much as I would have liked but my run this weekend made me realize that taking a bit of time off from running is what I really needed to relax and recuperate. Typically, a sunrise or sunset run clears my mind and rejuvenates my soul which was replaced this week by spending time with the people around me that help me relax.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

I often get infatuated by the beautiful Charleston scenery and fail to listen that my body is completely exhausted, both mentally and physically. I feel disgruntled with myself when I skip a day or unexpected tasks prevent me from running, but runs are not always the focal point of our days, and that’s okay. It is important to not be so hard on ourselves and to realize that taking one day or a few days off from running does not mean we aren’t holding ourselves accountable.

The Battery in Charleston, South Carolina

Life is about balance, and everyone deserves relaxation and recuperation. My favorite time of day is when I get to lace up my tennis shoes for a sunrise run but my body deserves to take a break from hitting the pavement. After taking a fews off, I felt more energized and focused for my run. It was easier to stay motivated and recenter for a new week. Relaxation and recuperation are key ingredients to being a successful runner.

Roots in Routines

The great part about running is that there are endless opportunities to try new running routes. With running there is never the risk of monotony. Further, new routes allow you to truly not worry about your pace or the mental stamina it sometimes takes to run the same route. Although running a new route is exciting and adventurous, it is sometimes fun to stick with your roots and have a running routine. This Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Missouri to visit my parents.

Stone Mill Spring at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

I hadn’t been to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri since being a student at the University of Missouri. This weekend has been a gentle reminder to always stay humble and to stay true to your roots. This morning I ran past all of the soldiers training to serve our Nation. It was both motivating and inspiring and made me remember to be grateful for all of the people who voluntarily protect us. It was refreshing to go on running routes that I always ran with my dad in high school.

Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

The past few weeks have been difficult to get back into my routine with school. As I am attending classes, completing all my reading, and applying for jobs, running has been my sanctuary. In law school it can be difficult to have balance when there are peaks and valleys in terms of work load. Instead of trying new routes in Charleston, SC or Fort Leonard Wood, MO this weekend, I have stuck to my old running routes. There is comfort in your roots and sticking with routines that you know when there is so much outside of your life that is out of your control. I love school and the intellectual growth that comes with it, but it is natural at busy points to feel run down. It is important to take time to decompress and remember your roots.

Life on the Run

One of the things I love most about running is its mobility. No matter where you are, you can lace up your tennis shoes and go for a run. Running also affords an opportunity to sightsee and find new running routes. This summer I am able to intern in Washington D.C. and continue to get my workouts in. Covid-19 is still causing us to maintain social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you cannot continue to keep your body healthy and continue to run outside so long as you are a healthy distance from people.

C&O Canal Trail in Georgetown

Life on the run is more than literally incorporating running into our lives. It is the feeling that we all have when we are bogged down by the countless tasks that we need to complete in a day, making us feel “on the run.” We use expressions in our lives such as “I’m going to run some errands.” Getting into a rhythm or a routine can be extremely productive if done right. It is important though to stay conscientious of incorporating time to exercise during the week.

Gravelly Point in Arlington, VA

Even if our daily routines are packed, don’t make excuses in getting a quick run in. I recently read a Runner’s World article that said if someone gets at least 50 minutes of running in during a seven week timeframe, they are 30% less likely to have cardiovascular issues. Although I miss my runs in Charleston, I have adapted my work schedule for the summer to ensure I still am able to run. It is easy when you come home from work to tell yourself you’re too tired to exercise, which is why I keep my workout clothes in the car. I do not come home after work until I go for a run, to keep myself motivated.

Life is always on the run but it’s important we prioritize our health.

Lifestyle…It’s More Than A Run

As we continue our journey of working from home and finding small bits of time to go outside and exercise, it’s important to be aware that lifestyle is more than a run. Exercise is not synonymous to when your GPS watch starts and stops. A healthy lifestyle is about making active choices that impact the rest of our day. As someone that has difficulty with stillness, COVID-19 has impacted the amount of activity I get through the day. I am a firm believer in exercising in the morning, not only because I love sunrises but it also begins the day with a conscious mindset to make healthy decisions for the rest of the day.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Exercise jumpstarts your metabolism and creates a positive mindset. My favorite part of running is the exhilarating sensation you receive from the endorphins. Kickstarting my morning with a scenic run, completely shifts my focus for the day. It helps me concentrate on my schoolwork and online classes, increase my productivity for the day, and have an overall optimistic view. It can be difficult to get out of bed and hit the pavement, but once you do, you’re so thankful.

Sunrise at Breach Inlet

Although all of the beaches in South Carolina are closed, it doesn’t mean that I still cannot enjoy the views. Wellness is more than what we do during our workouts, it means we are consciously making healthy decisions as we sit at home: the food we put in our bodies, home workouts, productivity. Rather than focusing on the negative changes that COVID-19 has on our daily routines, focus on the positive aspects such as incorporating new workouts into your schedule. Due to online classes, it has been easier to incorporate home workouts with my kettlebell and to go for runs in between my classes. The fresh air has many gratifying benefits–but most importantly it drives us to live healthy lifestyles.

Life in the Fast Lane

As we stay in our homes due to COVID-19 we have no choice but to break from “Life In The Fast Lane.” Although we are faced with the mundane task of keeping ourselves occupied, its important to take a break from our fast paced lives. In the past few weeks I had to make adjustments to my usual schedules for school and exercise. This week I took the opportunity of being in online classes to go for a beach run and watch the sunrise.

Sunrise at Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

Our minds do not have to go idle as we take precautions to stay healthy. Exercise outside is an excellent way to stay sharp both mentally and physically. There is a silver lining in every situation. The past few weeks have allowed me time for reflection and exercise that includes views of the water. The song “Life in The Fast Lane” is about how important it is to live healthy lifestyles and to not jeopardize your goals. This week has caused me to work on self-motivation as I stay in my apartment for online classes and to not slack on taking care of my body. COVID-19 is forcing us to take a break from living life in the fast lane and focus on whats important–our health.

Sunrise at Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

Muddy Waters, Clear Skies

Yesterday I participated in a local Charleston race, the Where The Wild Things Run 5k. As I was getting ready for the race it was challenging to get excited because of the cold weather and wet conditions on the course. My mindset began to change when everyone gathered at the start line. During the race, we trudged through muddy water, where my only focus was to find traction and not fall. After finishing the first mile, the course opened up to wildlife, clear skies, and the beauty of the low country. At the very end of the race, the course zig zagged through a boardwalk in the swamp that ended with the finish line. Easy to say that running through muddy waters was worth it.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel, South Carolina

The race refocused my perspective in relation to challenging times or events. It is important to not get bogged down by the hurdles that we face in races, school, work, friendships, etc. Out of any muddy water situation, there are always clear skies, sometimes it just takes time. Its often frustrating when coming against obstacles that are put our way. For instance, trying not to fall as you run through a foot of mud. Life is very similar to nature. You never know what challenges you’re going to come across, but these challenges are what make us stronger people.

At the Where The Wild Things Run 5k

Life is all about balance. For every negative encounter there is usually a positive to counterbalance, we just aren’t aware of it. Instead of letting the one negative outshine all of the positivity, its important to be cognizant of the clear skies that surround us.

Directions.

One of the many facets of running that I love are the plethora of running routes. The benefits of being a runner is that you only need a pair of tennis shoes, and safe route to get a workout in. Although, a level of monotony can arise when we are doing anything in repetition. That is why I never do the same route consecutively. Mentally, it is important to change the environment that we choose to run-in for a positive mindset on days where its hard to lace up our shoes. The other day, I was running to the South Carolina Aquarium and saw that they had signage with multiple places and the distance it took to get to each of those locations. The signage reminded me of how I change the routes on my runs to always have a fresh perspective.

South Carolina Aquarium

Running is similar to the daily life decisions that we have to make. When you go for a run, you have to make decisions such as will “I turn left or right” or will “I run 2 miles or 3 miles.” Sometimes I begin a run with a set route and decide halfway through that I want change. Its on the days that I end up changing my route that I enjoy my runs even more. Rather than needing the mental fortitude to get though the route that I had planned in my mind, I have to be present in the moment. Running has taught me that not everything has to be planned, and sometimes directions are unnecessary to get us to our destination-being healthy and happy.

This past weekend I ran the battery, a path along the water in downtown Charleston. I didn’t plan on this route but decided to change my course right before beginning my run. Its exciting to see all of the tourists and locals congregating at the Battery, and seeing that everyone has different directions to get to their destination. As I ended my run, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing a dolphin in the harbor. That is when I came to the conclusion that sometimes we have to change our direction to get a new perspective and have unexpected surprises.

A Dolphin sighting at the Battery in Charleston, SC

Be Present

We often have people throughout the day that encourage us to be present in the moment and to not get caught-up in the stressful events that surround us. As I have been running these past few weeks I have thoughtfully been trying to think less about exams that I need to study for or reading and be present in the moment. Its extremely difficult to take a step back from everything going on in our lives and focus on all of the positivity that we are surrounded by. My attempt at being present in the moment is being thankful for all of the good that envelops life’s activities. Last week as I ran I stopped to be present and watch the sunrise. It was a very uplifting way to begin the morning before I began my daily rituals.

View from the South Carolina Aquarium

When one negative or difficult obstacle confronts our day or week, it is especially important to be present. There are so many positive people that have an impact in our lives if we choose to be present. The random acts of kindness that people impart on others is astounding. Being present is not analyzing each and every thing that comes our way, but being thoughtfully aware of the people around us. In each run, I encourage myself to not let my mind wander in the task of listing everything I will have to do after I complete the run. To me, being present is taking 30 minutes for myself to focus on positivity and being healthy.

View from The Battery in Charleston, SC

Being present is a mindfulness exercise that shifts our focus from the stressful components of our lives and instead stress the uplifting portions. Watching a sunrise or sunset forces us to pause the racing thoughts that are going through our minds and be present. The exercise of being present doesn’t sound like a daunting task until you realize that its easier to focus on our daily checklist. I am guilty of making a daily checklist to prepare for classes but that checklist can sometimes be crippling. Sometimes I try to take a step away from the checklist, for example, when I go on runs I don’t focus on the multiple things left for me when I return home. I encourage people that also have busy schedules to try and be present. It doesn’t have to be going for a run to focus on being present, it can be a yoga class or even grabbing lunch with friends.

Be present.

Compassion

We often focus our attention on being compassionate to one another, but we forget that compassion begins with ourselves. These past few weeks I have been in the process of recovering from a running injury and I went to a yoga class where the instructor said “focus on being compassionate to yourself.” This may sound very egocentric but when we think deeper about it, being compassionate is thanking yourself for working towards your goals and not being too hard on yourself. As I ran last week on Sullivan’s Island, preparing for my weekend race, I was thankful that I was able to make strides in recovery.

Sullivan’s Island featuring the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Compassion for one’s self is not centered on gloating or bragging. Being compassionate is focused on the journey that we are on and how we are able to persevere. As I ran along the beach last week, I focused less on the stress of schoolwork that comes with law school and concentrated on the positive things in my life. I am being patient in my recovery and feel compassionate that I am making positive strides.

Saving the Light 5k on Folly Island

The 5k I participated in this past weekend was not my fastest run, but it was the race that I felt the most compassion for myself. I was surrounded by other runners striving to be healthy and supporting a local organization. I felt compassion that I showed up and gave it my best-which is all we can ever ask of ourselves. Being compassionate to one’s self allows us to persevere in the daily goals that we set for ourselves. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as “¬†sympathetic consciousness¬†of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” I agree that we should always strive to be compassionate to the people around us. Whether its our friends, family, coworkers, or people that live in our community. Although, before we can be compassionate to those around us, we must be compassionate to ourselves. Compassion for yourself is sparked by your awareness of the obstacles that you face. Wherever you are in life, everyone faces adversity and obstacles but it is through compassion for one’s self that we can grow.

Caught Up In The Moment

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to visit family in Italy for the week. One of the joys of running in a new city or country are the endless possibilities of running routes. Running can be a healthy outlet, mentally, but it also can cause physical pain if we are not careful. When I arrived in Italy, I had just finished law school finals for the semester and was looking forward to a week of relaxation. During my first few days I decided to run through Rome and take advantage of the beautiful scenery.

Instead of listening to my body, I got caught up in the moment and became encapsulated by the new sights and sounds. It was not until a few days later that my body caught up with the mental endurance of a distance run that I realized I had a stress fracture. Running is often attached to the montra “No pain no gain.” Unfortunately, the physical injuries that can arise from running outweighs the gains that ONE run will have.

Venice, Italy

I am appreciative of the unforgettable trip that I had with my family, but also have a new found appreciation for being in-tune with my body during runs. The past few weeks have been difficult to navigate because my normal morning or afternoon runs to destress from the day have been replaced with stretching and yoga. Rather than this injury being a mental roadblock, I view the injury as an opportunity of awareness for myself and other runners who overexert themselves. Its exciting when you are running a new route and watch as the milage on your GPS watch increases, but the repercussions of a physical injury bring you back to reality. As I begin a new semester, I m focusing on not being caught up in the moment, whether that be school or runs, and focus on my mental as well as my physical health.