This week, I'm not going to give you any fitness tips or nutritional guidance, but I do want to tell a little story. This past weekend, myself and hundreds of other runners got up at the crack of dawn, ON A SUNDAY, to put ourselves through the pain and anguish of running up hills, sweating, blisters, and more chafing than anyone wants. Why would we do this you ask? BECAUSE EXERCISE IS FUN, but even I need a reminder sometimes. I will admit, at times I was definitely not having fun. I was doing well for the first 5 miles. Myself and another young man were pacing each other for 3rd and 4th place. I hate hearing foot steps behind me, so I let him lead and set the pace. I was doing great until I made the mistake of following him and not paying attention to the course. We soon took a wrong turn and found ourselves nowhere near where we needed to be. Once we realized this, we were at least a mile off-course and we lost A LOT of time. I'm not going to lie, this took a lot of wind out of my sails and my motivation took a hit. For the next couple miles I started to lose steam, my legs felt heavy, and I got very down on myself. However, we soon got back on the right track and I started to catch up to other racers. But these weren't the elite athletes in the front, these were the every day people. Mom's, dad's, kids, construction workers, people who sit in office's all day, people who have never done a race in their lives; and I noticed they were all out there on a Sunday morning because they wanted to do something different. Something they would never forget. One group in particular really hit home for me. We were on the single track, heading up a very steep hill with slippery rocks, roots, and branches coming at you from every angle. There were three women and one man, all of whom were wearing pink and green tutu's (even the man). All of them would be considered to be "overweight" and "out of shape", but to them it didn't matter. As I was feeling down on myself going up that hill, all I could hear was them laughing, cheering themselves on, and loving every minute of it. At that moment I realized, why am I feeling down on myself? Why am I not smiling and laughing like them? Yes, I am a competitive person and I want to win, but I'm also a person that loves to exercise because it makes me feel good. It pushes me to realize that I am capable of more; and this group was doing just that. These positive thoughts soon overwhelmed me and I stopped worrying about the pain in my legs, what place I was in, or feeling frustrated with myself; and I started to have fun again. And as many of you have heard me say more than once, your mind is a powerful tool. If you let negative thoughts control you, then it will bring you down. But if the positive thoughts are constantly flowing, then you will be unstoppable. With those positive thoughts exploding inside me, I felt as light as a feather and I was able to finish the race strong. Moral of the story: exercise, eating right, and life in general can be a downright kick in the ass sometimes. You will be faced with rocks, blisters, and wrong turns, but how you let those obstacles affect you is all up to you! Keep the smiles, tutu's, and happy thoughts flowing.