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Smile — it helps!

Detroit and other key Marathon Mission races are closing in and it won’t be long before you’re pounding the pavement for the benefit of someone else.

And wouldn’t it be great that your body, realizing you’re doing this run for someone else’s benefit, would somehow bless you with an incredible effort, where you float effortlessly along, mile after mile, absorbing the atmosphere and feeling fresh and invigorated as you cross the finish line, with barely a trace of sweat or pain?

Yes, wouldn’t THAT be wonderful!

But let’s say your brain somehow doesn’t communicate that message in its detail to your body and you experience some “rough moments” amid your race. Believe it or not, I’ve ACTUALLY heard about people sweating (gasp!) during events like this! (Say it ain’t so!! : ) Of course, for me personally, in addition to sweating, I’ve had other “lesser evils” beset me . . . ohhhh, like simultaneous and full leg cramps, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, side stitches . . . and did I mention cramping?

But sometimes physical pains lead to something worse — mental pain. By that I mean, you’re hurting and you start doubting yourself. “What in the world am I doing out here?” or the infamous, “IF I finish, I’ll NEVER do this again.” From that point on, it’s almost more of a mental battle to finish than it is a physical one.

So, what do you do? How do you overcome it? As the title of this blog implies, simply smile. Not only does smiling help to relax your facial muscles, try smiling even for a little while right now. It’s weird, but smiling almost automatically lifts your spirits and gives you a sense of hope . . . a positive outlook.

Okay, smiling may not make the calf cramp at mile 23 disappear, but trust me, I know, it sure makes it easier to deal with. A smile can suddenly show you the humor in a painful situation and help you MENTALLY push on through…and many times that’s the difference between getting across the finish line or dropping out.

Give it a try your next training run. Feeling a little fatigued or even if you’re feeling fine, put on a smile for a few seconds (try 10 or 15 seconds) and see if you don’t feel better!

BEST of ALL, if you practice smiling while on your run, maybe, JUST MAYBE, when you cross the finish line, the finish line picture will show you with a big and genuine smile, even if you did happen to break a sweat . . . or experience a “lesser evil.” : )

Have an awesome run today!

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