Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Rediscovered My Smile Today

I consider myself a smiley person. I just like to smile a lot.

I have often used smiling when I am traveling, since keeping a smile on my face helps other people feel non-threatened by the "outsider." This is especially useful while bargaining or when you can't communicate with someone very well, due to language barriers or other reasons.

Lately I have been training for a run that is coming up the first week of April. I did not work out consistently while I was abroad last year, therefore, it has been quite a challenge getting back to where I was a year ago. (I have made a mental note of this and do not expect it to happen again.) Anyway, I have started to see some results after five weeks or so of consitent running, biking, and hitting the weights at the gym.

Today I went out for a run and was feeling good. I knew I was doing well when I finished the first couple of miles and was still feeling fresh. However, a little bit past the halfway mark, I noticed myself slowing down. During the past month, I had been feeling that my biggest obstacle is my endurance, not my strength and this was definitive proof. Then it hit me! I put on a big smile and sped up. I will admit I like a certain level of pain, because I know that pushing myself is a great way to release some endorphins and become stronger in the process. Instead of feeling pain this time, when I smiled I started feeling relief and a lightness in my step.

At this point, I remembered that I have always smiled when things get tough. It somehow relaxes me and makes things go a bit more smoothly. I know when I am climbing a hill on my bike I often have a big grin on my face. So, for the remainder of my run, I concentrated on my breathing and kept a smile on my face. It really does make things easier.

Have you experienced this before? If not, make sure to try it out.

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