The past shapes us, in Life and Running

An often repeated theme my meditation book (I know, I can hear the collective groan of my 5 readers; sorry!) is about how our past experiences shape who we are today, and that even things that seem horrible/challenging/difficult teach us something and end up being, in a way, a good thing because they make us who we are.  If you think about it, all of a persons life experiences, good and bad, teach something and make a person approach life from a unique perspective.  No two people’s experiences are the same.

However, I think people too often cling to the past, for a variety of reasons:  because it’s what they know; because it’s what they are comfortable with; because it’s what they think they are “supposed” to do; because it’s what someone else wants; because they are afraid to move away from the past and into the present, into something different.  When someone gets stuck in the past, unwilling to move forward in a different direction, even if it’s scary, they are depriving themself of truly living, of truly experiencing life.

WTF does this have to do with running?  This time my daily meditation wackiness DOES have to do with running, believe it or not.  Think about it.  As runners, we are constantly building on our past experiences.  We learning from them (even these past two weeks, I learned from racing 2 5ks in very different ways that I need to pace myself and adjust for the weather).  We sometimes try to cling to our past experiences because we are afraid to move forward (I remember thinking I could NEVER run a marathon, because it was so far and so scary; so there was a time that I was stuck at 10 mile and half marathons, because it was comfortable and it was what I knew).  Even the horrible races that, at the time, seem awful and frustrating and we are angry and wonder why they happened, well they often have a purpose and lead to good things.  (My running friend who just killed his goal in Michigan is an example;  he, like everyone else, had a horrible Boston because of the heat.  I know he was pissed about the heat and his time.  But, what if Boston had been 70 degrees instead of 85.  How different could it have been for him?  He probably would have raced it hard and even with 70 degree heat, he likely would have fell short of his goal, but perhaps raced it too hard to have recovered in time to be able to crush his time goal like he did last week.  So, even though 85 degree heat and a slow time seemed like a bad thing, maybe it was a good thing and allowed him the opportunity to actually meet his goal).

ANYWAY – my point is that whether it is in running or relationships, our past experiences shape us into who we are, but we shouldn’t cling to them blindly.  We need to learn from them, but then move forward in a positive direction. That’s my plan and I’m sticking with it. 🙂


Excellent workout this morning before the birds were awake and before the sun was even up:  9 miles with speedy stuff mixed in 2 x 800m (3:29; 3:33), 2x 1600m (7:04; 7:03) and 2x400m (1:40; 1:38).  I am feeling really really good about where my training is, physically and, more importantly, mentally.

I’m also feeling good about where I am in life, even with uncertainty, it’s all good.  🙂

One thought on “The past shapes us, in Life and Running

  1. Pingback: Well-Done Wednesday (5/30/2012) « the motivated runner

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