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by Theresa Marie Abec, FLT Columnist

I am a triathlete and I want to share how training for a race is a lot like training for living life.

I recently finished a race — it was hard and I had moments of wanting to quit — when I finished, most of the “fast” people were already packed up and gone. I ran through the finish line chute with my kids, my husband, a new friend and even a few strangers there to create a ruckus over me … full of emotions and a smile on my face that said: “Take that you damn race!”

Life is glorious AND hard. Learning to balance between priorities; working at being a good wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, etc.; balancing healthy self-care (body, soul and spirit) and doing it with right thinking; and avoiding injury —all with a good attitude — is hard work. In other words, being a triathlete is not an easy sport and neither is life … and chances are many times we will finish, BUT it will be in last place. Learning to enjoy the journey is where real living is and choosing to be happy in this sport of life is vital.

Learning not to COMPARE and ultimately to be happy with what I can do with my body and life and where I am at is crucial in both life and racing. Learning to talk to yourself in a positive way in the midst of training and living alongside “fast” athletes or people who may be at a higher level than you needs to be accepted. This is the very thing I think that keeps us from running the race — the experience of racing, the feelings of “less than” and looking like a failure. Such is life, too, right?

Just like life, it takes a lot of courage to cross the finish line regardless of place or outcome. Avoiding the comparison game is a must. So what if you are a little slower than others in the race? As cheesy as it sounds, let’s enjoy the journey with loved ones and a smile in our heart because it takes guts to run the race of life and to me that’s worth it.

Theresa Marie Abec is a Board Certified Clinical Counselor and welcomes new patients looking for assistance with mental, physical and emotional life goals. She provides treatment and diagnosis for adults with mental health issues specializing in: substance use disorders, stress and anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression, grief and loss and overall health and wellness challenges. To schedule an appointment with Theresa call Serenity Health & Wellness Center at 419-891-2181.