If you want to do well at a race, follow the old guy.
That’s right. Follow the old guy.
The deeper the wrinkles, the shorter the shorts, the grayer the hair the better. That is the guy you want to have as your running partner. And the longer the race distance…the more important this advice is to follow.
I’m telling you right now, listen, because this is the best running advice you will ever get. It’s better than what shoes to buy or where to slather your body glide. I’m serious.
Follow the old guy.
This is a theory that I’ve had for years and I confirmed it again at a race over the past weekend. Now let me explain:
These guys have been running since before you were born. They know what they are doing. They don’t waste precious energy at the start of the race when the gun goes off jockeying for position…they know that within a short time runners will spread out and they will have a clear path to run in…no need to show off…take your time…everything is going to work out without your plowing anyone over.
They also know what their pace is. They aren’t going to use all the fuel in the tank over the first three miles and have nothing left for the last 3, or 10, or 23 miles….no way! They know what they are capable of. They have a pace and they stick with it…they end the race just as smoothly and as strongly as they began. They are machines! Up hill, down hill, curves, straight aways…it’s all the same pace. No sudden movements. They just keep going at their even keel. One foot in front of the other no matter the terrain. It’s hard work but they love it…and that is why they are there. They love it.
These men astound me. I watch them at every race. I seek them out. I follow them. At every race I follow them. These men in their 70’s who can school more than 1/2 of the other runners on the course. In my mind’s eye they are super stars…and I watch them like a hawk.
So I’m weird, and I follow old guys…what does that have to do with homemaking? And why am I telling you about it?
Well, because last weekend I was at a race and I watched one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and it started me to thinking. Here’s what happened:
By the end of mile 1 I had found my old guy…white hair, ball cap, neon shirt, and shorts too short to be worn even by a 1980’s basketball team. This was my guy! And I planted myself on his tail. He was a machine..so steady and even…I told myself I just needed to stick with him and I’d be fine.
And so I did…And then at about mile 4 I noticed another one of my old guys running near me…and he was being tagged by a girl in her 20’s. “Aha!” I thought, “Someone else is catching on to my idea!” But by mile 5 I realized she wasn’t tagging him…she was running with him…they were a team…a grandpa and his granddaughter.
And he was coaching her. I pulled out my ear buds to listen to him as he talked in an unlabored voice while she panted and they both ran. I’m sure if you were to look at them in their street clothes you would choose the young, blond, tan girl to be the athlete and not the short, thin, bald, older gentleman. But you would be wrong. That guy was a solid athlete…and he coached that girl along…didn’t let her stop…encouraged her…reminded her about breathing…and kept her going even when she was tired and worn out.
Before I knew it I was following this pair and lost my original old guy! But I liked following them…and as I said it got me to thinking…
Around here we love all things vintage…including our homemaking books. Most of the advice and ladies I subscribe to are far older than I am. Why is that? Well, it’s the same reason I follow the old guy. These ladies have been there, they’ve run the course…over and over again…experience has made them steady. They’ve raised family’s, weathered storms, and faced trials. They’ve done it…not just said what they would certainly plan to do if times got hard. They’ve actually done it, and loved it, and lived to tell the tale! They know what it’s like to be short on money, or sleep, or patience (or all of the above) and keep going. Their advice is backed with years of experience and even though it may appear to be outdated is far more sound that what may appear to be the coolest new thing.
And so that is who I choose to follow…the women who’s advice has been aged to perfection…and the old guys…not the 30 year old dude on the side of the road puking his guts out because he was out trying to prove something…even though there are plenty of them to go around!
I know…I’m strange…but there you have it.
Have a terrific day…and don’t forget to follow the old guy!
PS: Just for the record I DO NOT consider myself an athlete in ANY sense of the word. I am a mom who likes to participate in races with her family…and beat her brothers whenever possible. I am not fast or buff or a Boston qualifier…I’m more like Goldie Hawn in “First Wives Club” where she runs to “clear her mind” and “work off the booze” (or in my case the Dr. Pepper). Anyways…just wanted to say that…so you didn’t think I was sitting here thinking I was all that…and a bag of chips….mmmmmm….chips…….