The sand and wind was whipping at 6am this morning, but the excitement was definitely still there. It’s day 4.

 

I asked Meidad to bring his bike with him when we started the trip, because I really liked the idea of someone following along with me that wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I might be. On the fourth day, we got to test that out.

On the north side of Ocracoke, near the ferry, the sand dunes are often between 6-10 feet high. I suspect that the height varies throughout the year depending on the water and wind. Unlike the previous three days, on this day the wind was really whipping. It was blowing sand and rain at me hard enough to sting, but not quite hard enough to think I couldn’t do this. I was worried about my eyes however, so I kept my sunglasses on despite how dark and overcast the sky was.

Meidad and I eased into conversation quickly and it really made the miles go by quickly.

At home, I don’t often run with others. Especially on my long runs. There are probably several reasons for this. One of the main reasons is the time of day that I run. I often run very early in the morning before lots of people wake up, or about mid-morning when most everybody else is at work. I don’t usually have long runs on the weekends, because I reserve that time for my family, and I don’t want to short change them or myself.

Another reason I often workout solo is to recharge. Running (or swimming or cycling), for me, exercises my emotional state more than my physique and it’s invaluable at all times – most especially when I need to process through some challenge. It is difficult to completely work through certain problems without completely stripping it down in my head. For me that takes time, distance from the problem and decent amount of silence. I have to admit, that I sprinkle my silence with audiobooks and music sometimes, but a lot of time I don’t. I can run for hours without tunes or speech. Sometimes I crave it.

The odd thing is I consider myself an extrovert in most situations. I really pull energy from other people. Even when I don’t interact with them directly, I enjoy being around smiling laughing faces. I even enjoy inane conversations at times (but only in small doses). To truly get back to where I can effectively communicate, however, I need time to prepare. I review as many possible futures I have ahead of me as I can, and then plan for each challenge. I realize that there isn’t enough time in a day, or days in a week, or weeks in a lifetime to actually adequately prepare for even a fraction of the unknowns that we humans might face on any given day, but it calms me to try.

Meidad and I ran/rode together for some time and had amazing revelations. For me, the conversations were cathartic. It had been awhile since I had gotten to this place in my heart where I was able to really let go of some of my thoughts. In the first hour or two, I feel that we really accomplished breakthroughs. I could think clearly beyond what my body was doing, and even beyond the why. I opened up to him about my hopes for this organization, and some – not all – of my feelings of inadequacy. He had enough to be a brilliant sounding board, and I had something to chew on.

I learned a lot about him too, but his story isn’t my story to tell. Not yet. Maybe he’ll let me one day. It is pretty amazing though. I will say that Dr. Goldman was a member of Israeli Special Forces and graduated from The University of Miami¬† School of Medicine after leaving the military and now holds dual-citizenship. And these aren’t anywhere near his most impressive feats and they might be least of the building blocks of his character. I’m honored to share the road with him, much less have him on this crew.

When the weather eased up and the sun started to come out, I was starting to lose focus, and I wanted to get inside my head for a bit. My legs were starting to ache, and I needed a different kind of distraction. I let Meidad know that I needed a little tune time. He dropped back a little on his bike, I cranked up the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and relaxed a little. Meidad broke off and road his bike ahead broke towards camp.

Dean caught up to me shortly thereafter, and ran the rest of the way in with me. It was a nice easy pace and he didn’t make me pay for the sore legs. Dean is good to run with when I start feeling pain. He does not seem to feel the need to have a conversation. He teases me about how I talk a lot, but honestly, I don’t talk a lot when I’m running. Like Dean, I think I can appreciate running with someone in silence without any expectation. Conversation doesn’t have to be forced. It can be completely about what is happening in that particular moment. Sometimes it will devolve into something else. But it doesn’t have to.

It’s okay to be. Being is a pretty important part of living. I know that I don’t have to live every day like I’m wearing a squirrel suit, prepared to jump 10,000 feet off a cliff. I also don’t have to make up for every stupid thing I have ever done, just to show the world that I’m not that guy. Some days it’s hard just being. I want to be more, because I think I should want to be more.

But, today, I’m okay with being.

I finished the day, winding through the neighborhoods of Ocracoke until I found the camp. It was time to hobble to shower, and finish our last day on the island in front of a plate of seafood.

Be. Keep Moving Forward.

Kenny