It occurred to me while reading another triathlete‘s blog post about suffering from C.B.F. that I might have the opposite problem. You see, I smile at EVERYONE I see when I run. If you’re someone I see every day, I’ll give you a little wave. Sometimes, on an easy run, I have enough energy to say a few friendly words to a passing dog. And I’m an equal-opportunity bringer of good cheer…If I’m in need of encouragement, I’ll even speak a few words out loud to myself.
And just as someone else might assume that someone with C.B.F. isn’t very friendly, it occurred to me today that maybe some of the people I see on my runs and rides might possibly think I’m a little crazy. Especially if they think I’m smiling and talking to myself because I love being out in the cold and rain, huffing and puffing in the name of fitness.
Why do I do it? Not because I’m crazy, obviously. (Wait a sec…I think I can hear my husband arguing with me about that, even though he’s not home…Hearing voices isn’t a symptom of anything, is it?) I think I do it out of a sense of goodwill, and maybe a sense of shared experience with other people who are braving the elements to get out and get moving. I know from personal experience that it’s not easy!
I came to a realization when I was doing my first triathlons last summer that despite my best efforts, I will always be a middle-of-the-packer, which is really and truly okay with me. As long as I’m having fun and achieving my personal goals, I don’t mind where I place. I do, however, have a the potential to be inspirational to others. As I lined up in my wave at my first tri, I calmed my nerves by leading a group cheer for all the first-timers. On the bike leg, I tried to shout a few words of encouragement and/or admiration to everyone who passed me (and the one or two people I passed.) My exertion level precluded speech by the time I was running, but I did smile at everyone I passed on opposite sides of the turnaround.
I kept up that crazy cheerfulness the whole summer, and I hope I’ll keep it up for the rest of my triathlon career. If I’m ever too tired to give a smile and a wave to a fellow athlete, I doubt I’ll be having fun, and right now, fun is what it’s all about for me. Even if I look a little crazy sometimes.