Focus. Be Brave.

I’ve traveled more in the last year than I had in the previous five. I’ve been on road trips, domestic getaways, and international flights with the goal of running on new roads. Every experience has been an adventure where I have gotten to discover new bits and pieces of myself otherwise obscured by daily routines. The #HarlemRunRetreat gifted me with something I’ve been searching for a while but struggled to find: Focus.


Like so many of us, I got stuck in my day to day workings, forgetting to pause and reevaluate. When I first started running, I did it to manage my anxiety and depression. A self-prescribed dose of happy hormones and a way to exert excess energy. Gradually, I challenged myself with longer and longer distances.

While training last year, I neglected my physical therapy and my old injury came back. After taking a break from training, I grew very aware of a void in my life that running was no longer filling. I needed a new challenge, a different one. So I turned to the meditative and still physical challenge that is yoga. It kept me busy but mindful and without me knowing, prepared me for the retreat.


When I decided to go to Costa Rica, I thought that I should bring something new to the retreat experience. So much of what I do with HR leads to creating great memories, I’ve always left previous retreats with something extra. This time around, I found the answer to my next challenge: be brave.

Thanks to my recently reignited desire to practice yoga, I was able to lead the retreat’s daily meditative yoga sessions. I still struggle with public speaking anxiety, so when Alison asked me to help, I decided to be brave and said yes. My personal practice guided me while I did my best to share it with the group.


I could see how these moments; during the workshops and the follow-up conversations while we lounged by the pool were making a difference for myself and others. There were so many instances of people connecting, sharing, uplifting each other and being brave ... The energy was simply contagious. Hard not to bring it back home with you. 


On my way back to NY, I sat waiting for my flight and my mind was buzzing. I pulled out my phone, opened my notes and began to make a list of things I wanted to do once I was back home. I had been putting off some personal projects because I was too busy staying “busy” that I couldn’t see what I was missing. My list entailed a lot about how I would recommit to #TheMVMT, work on mindfulness while running and in my everyday life, deepening my yoga practice, and reconnecting with my creative side.

There’s so much I know I want to do and it’s hard to see if and how I’m doing it. The retreat gave me the opportunity to take a good look at my life and then focus on what I need to work on while being grateful for what I’ve been able to do thus far. 

Raydime PolancoComment