Sunday, April 02, 2006

Erasing the past.

This month there is a guest column in Runner's World by John "the Penguin" Bingham. He writes about runners who continue to run even through they're slow.

"The miracle isn't that I finish. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

I wonder how much credit we really give ourselves for having started the insanity of triathlon. Sometimes, as I watch the pack move further and further aheard of me, leaving me alone, or perhaps with one or two (or no) stragglers running behind me, I feel much less like a winner...much less, oh I don't know, athletic. I feel like, as my eighth-graders put it, a wanna-be, or "poser".

What really ressonated, though, was how he wrote about running shoes as "erasers":

"Our running shoes are really erasers. Every step erases a memory of a past failure. Every mile brings us closer to a clean clate. Each footstrike rubs away a word, a look, an event, which led us to believe that success was beyond our grasp."

I started running at the age of 40. I was not an athlete in high school. I wasted a lot of my young life. I try not to perseverate on it. Now I have this wonderful mental image: when I run, every footstep that hits the ground erases years wasted--wasted in bad relationships, on welfare, laying on the couch, years spent smoking and eating badly.

I figure that the fact that I run as slowly as I do gives me more time to erase the past a little more slowly and carefully.


  1. Wow, I like that. I do often feel like a "poser" when I'm out with "real athletes" and get dropped like yesterday's news. I have to remind myself that everyone still sitting on their couches is behind me :)

  2. Now that's my kind of post. I love the deep stuff. Thanks for the message. It rings so true doesn't it. If you learned from the mistakes that you've made in the past and grown from them, then the past cannot be considered a waste of time. Everyone needs some time to learn. It's part of life. Just be happy you learned your healthy ways before it was too late. Too many people get old and never have a chance to make the changes that you are and have made. For that, we are fortunate. Again, thanks for the post.

  3. One foot in front of the other...and keep moving towards those's what make us who we are and interesting to boot!
    I "ran" through alot of hurt-it was a good way to work thru the pain without hurting others and only helping myself!
    You keep moving...and can only get faster and more athletic with each footfall!

  4. John Bingham is speaking at our pre-marathon pasta party next weekend.I can't wait!!! I am like you - ATHENA - I feel like people look at me much differently than they would a "thin" person who said they were running the Boston Marathon. I guess the more I do this the less I have to care about anyone else. Happy Trails!!!

  5. this is my first time to your site and what an awesome post to find. so inspirational. i like that. each footsteps erases the years of waste or failures. i'll be sure to be back here more often. thank you!


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