HPA’s Sarah Hayslip gaining clarity and mood transformation through exercise
Over the Thanksgiving weekend I took the opportunity to do a couple of early morning runs around Hilo Bay, watching the magnificent sunrise over the ocean with Mauna Kea in the background.
You don’t need to be a runner or walker to enjoy the beauty of nature, but physical exercise seems to bring with it a mood transformation that can help with how we perceive things.
“I love the clarity exercise can bring, and the way it can transform a mood. A good run can help me process things in a totally unique way,” Sarah Hayslip said. “A good run helps remind me of the freedom and strength I’ve been blessed with.”
Hayslip comes from an active, competitive family with their roots in Virginia.
“My mom was running marathons when we were little kids and my dad was a high school baseball coach,” Hayslip said. “I spent a lot of time around athletics and my little sister is the most impressive, as she was a nationally competitive field hockey player and now coaches as Bucknell University.”
Hayslip never got that burning competitive spirit and in high school ran track and did a little distance running on her own.
“I was never a particularly competitive kid,” she said. “I fell in love with running longer distances late in college and my understanding of and belief in the power of high school sports has evolved since.”
Today Hayslip works as an English teacher at Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s upper school and is an assistant girls’ cross country coach.
A few weeks ago the HPA girls cross country team won the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships and Hayslip gives a lot of the credit to head Coach Michael Franklin.
“I’ve evolved in my appreciation for high school sports since working with Mike,” Hayslip said. “I’ve learned a lot from him, and I love the way he can bring completion into a holistic view of a person’s development. I’ve come to see competitive high schools sports as a really valuable part of the way kids build an understanding of themselves.”
Since coming to the Big Island, seven years ago, Hayslip met her husband Jordan who is a HPA studio art teach and the head coach of the varsity football and baseball teams.
“I met Jordan in my first year at HPA,” she said. “He’s a dynamic, hilarious, totally inspirational person and we married in December 2008.”
Since living on the North end of the Big Island Hayslip would do long, slow runs up Mana road putting in large amounts of mileage.
“Every week for the first five years or so that I lived on the island I would disappear out Mana road for hours,” she said.
“I loved the silence and stillness and the empty pastures and the wind off the mountain, the calm of the cattle and the view of Waimea from far off.”
Those hours alone on those long tranquil runs have slowly eroded as Hayslip has added a new member to the family.
This past July the newest member of the Hayslip family arrived, a son named Jeremiah.
“I had a great pregnancy,” Hayslip said. “I took my standard run up Kalopa, a six mile out and back up the Mountain road, pretty much every day until literally two days before I went into labor.”
Hayslip described the delivery as being difficult and an emergency c-section performed which prevented her from intense physical exercise for eight weeks.
“This was extremely frustrating, particularly during the beginning of cross country season,” Hayslip said. “It was great to have the team, though, as I eased back into jogging, then running.”
Hayslip has managed to ease back into her normal routines and now participates fully in workouts and strength exercises.
“I’m still marveling at the way childbirth changes a person physically,” she said. “I feel like I’m stronger in a lot of ways and I’m more appreciative of the little opportunities I get to go out and run.”
Hayslip, who stays away from eating red meat, has had to modify her diet slightly since giving birth.
“I haven’t been able to eat cheese or milk lately because Jeremiah seems to be lactose intolerant,” she said. “I try to eat local, which isn’t hard because we usually have a little garden going and Honokaa town has an awesome little farm stand that sells all kinds of fruits and vegetables seven days a week.”
Since giving birth Hayslip has had to modify her exercise schedule to meet the needs of her growing family, but she still recognizes the importance of regular physical exercise and makes time to squeeze it in whenever possible.
“Since I had my son my schedule has changed completely,” she said. “I try to slip away for an hour when I can, maybe four or five days a week, and get a run in, throwing in some faster segments to keep it interesting.”
Hayslip will also lift weight with the cross country girls a few times a week during her long lunch breaks and she will get a few minutes of yoga in during most morning and evenings.
Sarah Hayslip is a good example of a person who finds the time to make time for herself without cutting back on her enormous responsibilities as teacher, coach and mother.
We can all learn from her commitment to the value of regular physical exercise.
And someday should you happen to see a dedicated jogger come around scenic Hilo Bay remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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