In the house I grew up in, there used to be these two silhouette cutout pictures of my brother and I in a frame. I don't even know if they're still up there, actually. Just my face, but a paper shadow...you can't really see my expression, but you can see my features.
I remember the first race I ever did...the Cincinnati Race for the Cure, back in 1998. I remember how it was a sunny day, and I was wearing the cotton race tee shirt because I didn't know any better. I remember going there with a group of friends, and wondering if I could really do the whole 3.1 miles. I remember in the middle of the race, looking down, and seeing all the shadows of people around me, bouncing, running, each for a different reason, and each a different shape.
Training for Ironman, I found my silhouette again. Expressionless, strong, and constantly one step ahead of me. I trained and trained and hoped someday I'd catch her.
Today, I ran.
In the bright sunny fall day, past middle school football teams and an elderly couple walking. And my shadow caught my eye again. Still a swishing ponytail; still expressionless and strong. Still one step ahead of me. But this time, there's another shadow.
A stroller, with a little man inside. I heard him giggling, saying "mammamabababadadada" which always brings a smile to my face.
So I took a little mental picture her--my shadow--wondering where she'll go next, if the ponytail will still swish, if that little man will be riding a tricycle next to her. Knowing, all the while, that the expressionless outline will still have strength, will still have grace, will still have hopes and dreams and will still be one step ahead, daring me to catch her.