Chasing Shadows

By Susan Hatten

My pre-sunrise runs of late have brought me a sense of peace and serenity, along with the pure satisfaction of knowing that my 6.2 miles have been tackled before most people have hit their snooze button.

These runs usually begin in the dark and end as the sun has just begun to rise over downtown and our State Capitol. The view on my return is breathtaking and makes me appreciate our city more with every step.

On a recent run, I started to feel as though someone were right behind me. Breathing on my shoulders. Taunting me in silence. Nagging me and feeling close to my path. This someone was chasing me, and pushing me from behind.

This distracting and somewhat militant nuisance was, in fact…my own shadow.

Before I actually turned my head and realized that this Peter Pan-like presence was my own, I noticed that I had started to run faster. I pushed myself even harder, simply to compete with this unknowing being behind me. My personal drive and competitive nature were coming out as I tried to race a shadow. My own.

As I laughed aloud following my discovery, I immediately translated this experience to situations in my professional and personal life. Oftentimes, the pressures that I feel are not necessarily coming from the top down or from my colleagues, family or friends. They are my own.

There is a healthy balance here, in knowing when to push yourself and when to breathe, but I am grateful for the competitive fire that burns within me. Although I don’t wish to spend a great deal of time running sprints against my own shadow, I do long for the achiever in me to thrive and always push on.

susan hatten

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