Have you ever mistaken your own shadow as an approaching runner coming up on your heels? Imagined it a competitor who you are sure feels much stronger than you and is poised to blow past you? Maybe steal a win from you? I’ll own up to being fooled by this menacing shadow of mine and even though I felt sort of like an idiot upon crossing the line, in some cases I know it made me run harder and pick it up so I didn’t mind so much this shadow racer. I also had the comfort of knowing that nobody else could tell I was in fact fooled by such a thing…well, that is until I just admitted it. 😉
So I guess we never really are alone out there, there’s you, the run, and your shadow. Even in the darkest of nights that shadow is out there lurking, waiting to make an appearance if you traipse below a street light, happen across a car’s headlight or even if the stars are shining particularly bright in the night sky.
You’ve always got that little shadow chaser on your heels, you can’t escape him, even Peter Pan will tell you that. 🙂 Sure, sometimes you crave the company of an actual BEING, a person or two, maybe a group to help pull you through a tough workout. But it got me thinking that this shadow of ours does offer up some advantages:
* When the sun hits just right and I catch my shadow getting ahead of me, she seems to stretch out ahead of me like a better version of myself. A fleeter, sleeker, smoother runner; she’s not panting with exertion, heck she’s not even busting a sweat, how does she do that? I chase her, maybe even close my eyes and imagine that I too look as elegant as she does.
* But when she starts getting too full of herself, or I’m frustrated because she keeps one-stepping me, I just round a corner and POW, put her back in her place, keep that ego in check. “How do you like it now having to stare at me from the back, shadow?” 😉
* When it’s nearing dark and there are moments when I think I’ve lost my little chaser, maybe the buzz and clutter in my own mind starts to get too loud. I start getting too stressed, wound-up and my form slips…my shoulders start navigating north, I hit a splash of light and there’s shadow. She catches my eye, distracts me long enough for me to take a quick breathe, shake out my arms and refocus.
* Back to thinking that pesky shadow is actually another runner coming up on my heels; she’s the perfect kick in the butt to try and pick it up. Reach for another gear and push for home. Maybe she is my life-saving buoy being chucked my way just when I thought I was lost to No-Man’s Land and the mental distress that brings.
But let’s be honest, a major pitfall of that shadow chaser is that it doesn’t have a voice or an opinion outside of our own.
* I wish my shadow could offer up the encouragement I need when I’m hurting and need to keep going.
* I wish my shadow had the wisdom of a coach, an outside observer who could supply advice and tips on the spot. To answer those questions we have to answer on the spot, “Do I need to adjust the workout?”, “How does my form look?”, “Please shout me the splits because even the effort of looking down at my watch seems too draining.”
* I wish my shadow had a little pace dictator button; I could tell it what I want it to run and it would just do it, clock it off like a metronome. A built in pacer just for me.
And of course I wish my shadow had an on/off talk button, the perfect conversationalist. That way if I feel chatty I could get my fix but then if I just feel like telling Shadow to “Shut up” she wouldn’t take it personally but rather just be quite.
Sometimes you just want to be alone with the run and your silent chaser.
1) Have you ever been fooled into thinking your shadow was actually another runner coming up on your heels?
2) Do you ever look at your shadow and in the sun get a bit envious that the shadow version of yourself may in fact appear like a cooler runner than you feel?
3) If you could give your shadow an ability to do something more (ie: pacer button, talk button, etc.) what would it be?