I finished my first half marathon (13.1 mile) race with a smile on my face on March 23, 2014. I can still recall nearly every mile of that event and it was all so magical! That’s not to say that it was an easy run. I was 52 years old and this was my first long distance race. This was a fitness challenge that tested my resolve to finish with every mile that I completed, especially as I neared the last three miles. I had never run 13 miles before race day. The longest run I had completed in my training was 11 miles, and I wasn’t confident that I would be able to run that distance without stopping to walk. The course was indeed challenging; a rolling out and back with few straightaways. I did not bring music to distract myself, only my thoughts…and the two thoughts that kept me plodding forward that day were: don’t look back; cross the finish line. In the year since I’ve completed that race, I continue to use those two thoughts as my ‘living’ mantras, especially when I face the ups and downs of everyday life. I have found the ‘don’t look back’ mantra especially helpful when I am enduring a stressful, over the top work day. Backward glances on difficult or stressful moments, might look or seem like productive conduct to the untrained, but I’ve realized that such behavior uses precious energies (physical and mental) and causes a loss of momentum. The only time I allow myself to go backwards is when I’m aware that I may have breached a relationship with an unkindness. Then I will revisit that event, that place in time and make it right with the one I have wronged.
A backward glance is not usually an action of confidence but rather a movement that symbolizes uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. I cannot change or improve upon the ground that I have already covered…it has passed. I am most productive, most positive, most available to others when I keep my eyes on the intentions I have set my sights on for today. There will be time to review what I have done in the accumulated milestones of today; that time is after I cross the finish line with the setting of the sun. Then I can review, and critique, and plan for the next day’s journey.
It takes more energy to twist yourself around and look back than it does to face forward. Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. (from GOD’S WORD Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.)