This past Sunday, I participated in, and completed, my first ever Sprint Triathlon.  What an experience!  I promise not to bore you with the details, but there were these few moments, while I was swimming, that defined the rest of the race.

If you’ve never done a triathlon, like I hadn’t, the swimming can be a bit scary.  While I’m a very competent and even somewhat confident swimmer, I am quite slow.  When racing with a few hundred other athletes in the same water, body collisions happen.  While I knew in my head to expect this, I’ve never felt it before.  I felt as though I was battling for my space, and that this space, in essence, would be what allowed me to have my stroke, which would keep me afloat.  When folks swam over me, I was scared.  It wasn’t malicious, it’s hard to look up when you’re swimming and lakes aren’t clear.  It is just part of a triathlon.  It was, however, enough to bring me close to panic.

My goals for the race were simple: finish; upright and smiling; and stay in the present moment as much as I could.  It was staying present, sinking in, that allowed me to stop panicking and get my breath back to complete the swim.  I could feel my arms in the water, my legs flutter-kicking through, how graceful it all was.

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“I can swim.  I’m not going to drown.  There are a dozen lifeguards here anyway.  Enjoy this!”  I started channeling one of my aunts, Nanci, my athletic inspiration and zen-attitude-guru-extraordinaire, “Slow down, enjoy this, it’ll be over before you know it.”

My schedule this week is daunting, meeting after meeting for five consecutive days.  How I’ll get to my to-do list or inbox as well is beyond me.  I feel overwhelmed and it’s only just begun.  The panic is beginning to set in, and I have a few choices.

Right now, I’m reminding myself to “Sink In.  This will be over before you know it.  Stay in the moment.”  I may not enjoy every moment, but I may as well live it.

As we collectively face whatever defines our “too.much.of.the.week,” that’s the simple message I have that I hope to practice as well as I can preach.  Let’s take a deep breath.  No, don’t read on.  STOP.  BREATHE.

What a difference, right? Come Friday afternoon, let’s finish “upright and smiling.”

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