Darkest before the Dawn

“I’m always dragging that horse around… Tonight I’m going to bury that horse in the ground” – Florence & The Machines

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my past. Nothing very particular, just how I let my past effect my future.

As I was running yesterday and had a bit of an epiphany, as I often do. Since I’ve been running, competitively, for over 12 years I’ve picked up a few habits and sayings along the way- A few have stuck with me greatly. One saying, that will forever be ingrained in my mind, was from my coach in high school, which states: “Find one person in your view and keep your sights on them, then slowly catch up. Once you pass them, never let them get in front of you again.” This wonderful advice is a blessing and a curse. It can turn my leisurely jog (on a easy training day) into a internal blood bath, with I create in my mind. Yesterday’s run was the latter.

I’m casually running my easy 3 miler, enjoying the beautiful LSU lakes, when I see a group of four running. Two men & two women. Approximately mid twenties, decent shape and good looking (from behind at least). Well, that’s all it took; I’m going to beat them.

I always do this weird thing when I pass a group of people. I noticed it a few months ago, but it never fails, I always make sure I’m in clear view, after I’ve passed someone, then act like I’m stretching my neck by moving it left and right. I think this action is saying, “That’s right, I passed you, and I’m just getting started- so don’t think about trying to pass me again.” Some sort of mental ‘fuck you’. Running is all about your mental state… I digress.

After I did my normal mind game, I got anxiety about having the group behind me, which is also normal. With pressure mounting I began to run faster (there goes my enjoyable run), only looking back when I went around a curve in the road, in order to avoid turning my entire body to see how close they were (I wouldn’t want to show any weakness). Then it hit me like a moving bus. The bus that is… I got hit by a freaking bus… Totally kidding, back to the point. I shouldn’t stress about what is behind me, it’s in the past. Yes, I should be aware. Because if you’re not aware of your surroundings, then how can you be aware of your future??? but it’s a delicate balance. Much like the attached video, by Florence & the Machines, I feel like I’ve been dragging a horse around (my past) for years… Also, like the song I’ve got to bury that horse in the ground (again, past) and focus on the future. I won’t forget where I buried it – because much like runners, the past can catch up with you, if you’re not careful… But rather focus on my future and enjoy the race until the finish line & try to never let that person or situation pass me again.

Sorry if this is too abstract.. Sometimes when I run I feel like a vampire, with such a heightened sense of emotion. I try to relate it to humans, which doesn’t always work.

Garrett Paul


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