"KMF - Do you know what that stands for?" my father asked me. We had just finished the Long Course Duathlon National Championship in Texas (2015). Nope. No idea. As it turns out, on the second run there was a guy in front of my dad with "KMF" on the back of his shirt. Try as he might, my dad couldn't catch up with him to ask what it meant, and it was driving him crazy. He said that he kept his eye on him after the finish, and tracked him down to find out. "Keep Moving Forward". As well talked about it, we decided it was a great motto - for life and triathlon. Especially during an Ironman race when the overwhelming tendency is to want to slow down, to take a break, to stop - just for a second; but you have to just keep moving (preferably forward). Same with life - when things get crazy or don't necessarily go the way you hope or plan - break it down into smaller pieces and, well, KMF!
....and Smile. There are oh so many reasons for this. I have been sidelined by many things - I have fallen off my bike (a lot) - I have taken corners too fast, been taken out by others who have taken a corner too fast, I have been hit by a car, I have failed to unclip and hit the ground; I have had a stress fracture (and later a broken foot . . . ); I have had two children - there have been times I just could not race - or even just go for a swim/bike/run. If you have been there, you know, there is nothing that makes racing or training more appealing than NOT being able to do it. I have friends who would give anything to be able to race. A long-time family friend battled tonsillar cancer a few years ago. He would come to our monthly time trials wearing his chemo pump - and he would be so happy just to be able to be out there. The next year he was in remission and had one of the best Ironman races of his life. Another close friend of mine who is a long-time swimmer found a few years ago that his times were getting slower and he was having difficulty with arm fatigue while swimming. The verdict - ALS. There are so many people who would give anything to be able to do what we take for granted most of the time. I try to keep that in perspective - especially while racing. It is easy to get caught up in the race, to set high goals and expectations - and sometimes things just don't go as planned. I try to truly enjoy the process - even when it hurts - and just be thankful I am able to do what I do. Push yourself, test your limits, but remember to have fun! With all that in mind, I figure there is nothing left to do - but smile, smile, smile.