When I was at Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island last week, at my smilepacing booth, I spoke to many athletes who were worried about their performance in the upcoming race. In my outspoken manner I reminded them that they had elected to undergo this grueling race; in fact, they'd paid a lot of money to subject their body and mind to this. So basically, I urged them to get a grip, to realize that this is not chemotherapy, this is FUN. I explained what smilepacing is about, it's a way to lighten up, not take yourself so seriously, be grateful! The entire time I raced I was grateful, often to the point of tears, to be strong and healthy enough to participate in this race, along with 1,200 other motivated, health-conscious, energetic people, many of whom had endured and overcome enormous obstacles to be there. That is what it's all about! So quit taking things so seriously, leave the ego home, and slap that smile on your face!
I have never taken myself very seriously. In fact, I have often been accused of lacking maturity because I have often chosen to live in the moment and perhaps act a tad unconventionally when given the chance to do something that will illicit smiles or laughter, from me and those around me. Being a mom, and a triathlete, has often tested that side of me that shuns the serious side of life. After all, motherhood comes with a boatload of commitments, responsibilities, and annoyances (yeah, I think all those parenting books I read while trying to get pregnant forgot to mention that part). Triathlon is the same, in that I make commitments by registering for races, announcing my upcoming races, buying equipment, paying a coach... And sometimes it all can become overwhelming, especially with all the other self-imposed demands on my time. Wait, did you catch that? SELF-IMPOSED! And that is what I think people need to remember. My husband, Bill, asked me the other day, if I'm not stressed? I thought about it and truthfully replied, not at all. I had deadlines looming over me, every moment of my day is choreographed, I am lucky to get 7 hours of sleep. But the truth is, I am not stressed, because to me stress is self-created, as is my hectic schedule. Sure, there are plenty of things in the day, in life, that we do not choose to undergo. But the majority of stressors are optional.