Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Always Remember to Smile

On race day I find myself wondering, "Why did I sign up for this? Why would I want to do this?" At the starting line as I battle 100s of butterflies in my stomach I ask, "Will I be able to complete this race? Am I ready?" However, as I look around I see the faces of my friends and of strangers, all with excitement on their faces. I feel the energy in the air around. And I smile. We may have all signed up for different reasons, and we may all have different goals, but we are here and ready to go.

The announcer gets us pumped up. The anticipation is killing me. So I smile. A smile minimizes the butterflies. A smile calms the anticipation. The Aroos are shouted, or the gun goes off, and the race is on. Because I'm a slow starter the pack quickly passes me, but I smile, I am here!

During the course of the race, the hills may be brutal and the obstacles difficult, but the fact that I am actually here and able to run just makes me happy. Yes, I want to win, yes, I want to do well, yes, I have something to prove to myself. However, above all else I must remember why I'm here, because this is fun and even if it doesn't feel good at the moment, it will. I must be grateful that I am able to not only have the opportunity to race, but to have the privalege to be in this beautiful place among so many wonderful people.

I always take a few moments amongst the pain and the torture to my body to smile and take in the smells, sounds, and sights of the event. Whether I am on the trail alone, or among a hard-breathing pack, a smile always gives me the little extra push I need to keep going.

And then of course, the finish line. Who can help but smile when you cross? A smile of triumph, a smile of joy, a smile of gratitude, whatever your smile may be for, don't forget to smile! -Andi

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