You can’t run from your shadow. And you can’t catch your shadow.
It’s attached to you, and you’ll never get away.
I’m sure most of you remember the story within a story of a young boy named Peter Pan who chased his shadow. Like the Great Pan, we’re all chasing our shadows. The shadows behind us are our past, and they cling to our heels. The shadows in front of us are our future, our hopeful anticipation of our potential trajectory - Forward, to a new and better You. Like the shadow behind you, you can’t break from the shadow in front of you, and in some eerie perspective, the shadow in front you exists because of the shadow behind you, together they play with your mind like evil twins as the Sun moves across the sky.
The shadow behind you is the distant image of your former self. Where you used to be, and if you’re a runner, that former self has some lofty PRs that weigh you down like 20-pound weights on your ankles. The gravity of your former self is always haunting, like most shadows behind you tend to be. You can’t escape the shadow behind you, with every step you take, your shadow takes. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to get away, the shadow of your former self is always keeping stride: the ultimate competitor. But if you think this evil former self shadow is haunting, sometimes the potential self shadow in front you is always setting the bar, just out of reach.
The shadow in front of you is the anticipated You that you hope to be. And because of the shadow behind you, the shadow in front of you always sets a comfortable distance in front you - and you can never catch it. The shadow in front of you are your hopeful PR’s to come, the ones the shadow behind you sets. If you ran X time in your past, you should be able to run Y time in your future. The haunting shadow behind you is like an evil dog owner who keeps a sausage on a string, just out of reach of his pet. The shadow in front of you are you hopes and dreams, your anticipated improvements. Together, these evil twins are either holding you back, or taunting you as they’re just out of reach. The Tormenting Two are the curse of the competitive runner.
The challenge is acknowledging the Truth: The shadows of your past, or your future, don’t really matter. Sure, they’re visible - always - but only if you’re looking down. You’ll always have the races in your past, and you’ll always have the goals of your future, but the key is to not allow it to affect the present.
It doesn’t matter how great Yesterday was, or how great Tomorrow can be, what matters is TODAY.
And today, I feel like going for a run.