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>Today I accomplished one of the longest-standing goals on my to-do list: I completed a triathlon. I doubt I would have done it if I didn’t love to swim, but I’m glad I did it. Believe it or not–I had fun! The whole thing was outside, which was a wonderful change to the gym-going habit I have formed.

I’m ashamed to say I completed the entirety of my training in a florescent-lit room next to other sweaty, but air conditioned and tunnel-visioned gym members. The first time my parents brought me outside when I was a little bundle of wrinkly baby, I giggled, smiled, laughed and looked in my element. Later I learned my most natural state is in the water, but if the pool/ocean/lake/bathtub is outside, it’s a double whammy of joy.

No iPod, no running partner, lots of biked hills and passing cars (and ladies 20-30 years older than me — way to go ladies!) throughout the events. All of these “burdens” and I was in one of the happiest states throughout the whole race. I was outside, riding in the wind, through to trees, jogging on sand, around a lake, next to birds and under a cool, overcast sky. The colors popped out behind other colors in everything I passed.

A week ago, I read that a very fit, 27-year-old man dropped dead after a race. Running around outside today became one long prayer of Thanksgiving. There will be iPod buds in my ears next time I run, but I loved connecting with the outdoors and just existing (and sweating) for a while this morning. Finishing and coming home to write this was another prayer of gratitude, as each day should be.

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