I have this ID bracelet that I wear when running from Go Sport ID. The idea is to have something for identification, such as if some car sends me flying into a bush and knocks me out. It’s got my name and emergency contact information. There were 2 more lines available so I put 2 things down: Philippians 3:13 and Remember the Rain.
I never really thought about how contradictory they seem. The verse speaks of forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead (very definite runner’s language there, yes?). And then there is this phrase that is definitely pointing to what is behind. Forget the past. Remember the past. My bracelet is an oxymoron.
I think there is a balance involved there. When you think of running, if you are constantly looking behind you it makes it impossible for you to run ahead well. In thinking of this half marathon, it’s all about setting a goal. You’re working towards something, not away from something. At the same time, it helps to learn from the past. For me it’s about looking at this time in my life I never want to go back to.
I have times that I reminisce about things from my younger days. I think about when I could run most of an 18 mile walkathon or do a 42 mile bike-a-thon with hardly a thought, back then I just did it. I think if I dwell on that, lamenting how I can’t do that any more, maybe that’s the kind of looking behind that hinders. But here’s the thing: For years, pretty much all of my 30’s, most of my 40’s, probably even part of my 20’s, just being able to run a mile seemed totally out of the question. I was convinced that any kind of significant running would be impossible for me. So, to be rolling into my 50’s being able to do things I was not able to do in my younger years is an incredible feeling. There’s something to be said about getting better with age.
I was thinking too of when I attempted the MS-150 bike ride about 15 years ago. A long run was out of the question, but I thought maybe I could train up for a long bike ride. I actually did pretty well, and while I did not complete the ride I’m still proud of my accomplishment, I look back at how I just totally ran out of gas towards the later part of the ride and think, if I knew what I know now about nutrition and preparing for something like that and such (stuff I’m really only beginning to learn) I wonder what a difference that would have made.
And maybe that’s the key. Maybe it’s about what we do with the past. If we see the past as stuff to defeat us, if we look back and say I couldn’t do it then… that’s the stuff that hurts us. If we learn the lessons as part of moving forward, that’s where the past can be pretty powerful.