What is it with me and “helpful” men while on long runs?

Running advice from a 93-year old man…


Spoiler alert.

The advice is, “Don’t do it!”

Last week on my L-O-N-G run (15 miles) in training with Runner’s World Challenge for the Marine Corps Marathon, I was stopped by a police officer who was having a little fun.

Yes, I did laugh… even though he referred to me in that older woman way, “Ma’am.”  But after all, I’m no spring chicken, and Ma’am has a certain maturity about it.


So today, my L-O-N-G run training backed down to 12 miles.  I set out in a misty rainfall at around 8:30 or so in the morning and ran past the studly bulls Conrad and Pomeroy on my way around beautiful Colt State Park.  My first 6 miles were magnificent.  Steady.  Taking it easy.  Enjoying the mist over Narragansett Bay.

I decided to run the rest of the training around my lovely little town of Bristol, RI.  I ran up and down several streets, trying to utilize hills when I could muster the energy.

At about Mile 8 (just when I “met” the nice police officer last week… and what is it about Mile 8, anyway – Renee Ross & Lorraine Sanabria Robertson?), I stopped to stretch out a little cramp.  I had my arms on the trunk of a nice, big tree, stretching out one leg at a time.

Suddenly, from behind me, I heard a little, old man voice calling, “Young lady?  Young lady?

Well, I thought, he certainly can’t be talking to me.

But the voice persisted, “Young lady?”

I turned around to see a little old guy in a little old blue car… and yes, he was talking to me.

He yelled out, “I hope you’re not walkingWalking is bad for you.”

I looked around to make sure he was talking to me.

He was.

I approached the little old man in the little blue car with its open window.  I didn’t have the heart to say, “No, I’m running,” because I had a pretty good feeling where this conversation was headed.

He continued, “My wife used to walk all the time and now she can hardly get out of bed.  I’m 93.  Do I look 93?  I can still walk because I didn’t do all that walking.”

I didn’t lie.  I said, “No, I’m not walking.  And I did lie when I said, “No, you don’t look 93!”

(And I thought, your wife may be 93, too, and infirmed, and maybe that’s why she can’t get out of bed.)

But he was so happy to be passing along his life’s wisdom that I don’t think the little white lie will hurt my chances at Heaven.


Then he went there.  “You’re not RUNNING, are you?  Running is bad,” he said, making direct eye contact.

Um.  “No,” I lied as I stood there in the middle of the street talking to this sweet old guy in the little blue car with the open window… me wearing a little tank top and little shorts, in running shoes and socks, my cell phone on Endomondo charting my run and a headset blaring light rock tunes…

Thinking… thinking.  Um. I always go out like this to just BE. 

Finally satisfied that I was neither walking nor running, he said, “Good!” and put his foot on the accelerator of his little blue car.  I watched him go all the way down Franklin Street and turn left on High Street before I dared move an inch.

Then I began running again, actually feeling a little guilty… and a teeny bit fearful that he would come back around to check on me.

And I can’t wait to see what next week’s 16-miler brings at just about Mile 8…

What is it with me and “helpful” men while on long runs? was last modified: July 19th, 2017 by Sharon Couto
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What is it with me and “helpful” men while on long runs? was last modified: July 19th, 2017 by Sharon Couto