Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keep on Keeping On

There has been a lot of talk in blogland this week about change and staying motivated and perservering and conquering the stuff that ails - whether it be food or exercise or something else. Sometimes, no matter what that is very hard to grasp and to do. Then today I saw something that gave me a fresh shot of adrenaline.

Everything I know about running I learned from a man named Pete. I first met Pete 8 years ago at a training clinic for a local road race - I was training for my very first road race ever - a 3.5 miler. Pete was probably training for his umpteenth one. Pete was just one of those guys who a new runner has to love. Lots of knowledge and patience and he genuinely loved running. On the last week of the training they had us run a loop in the park as a warmup. Unfortunately, I was sooooo slow that I quickly got left behind by better, faster runners. The next thing I knew I looked up and there was Pete. He had come back to make sure I was okay and run me in.

Oh, by the way - I was 42 years old and Pete was 75. I didn't know whether to feel relief that someone actually cared where I was or complete embarrassment that an old man had come to find me!

The thing is, because I was a slower runner, I was the perfect partner for Pete. Over the next 6 years we ran together lots. Pete helped me train for 3 of the 4 marathons I've done, plus a myriad of other races. He taught me how to run fast, slow, long, short, up and down hills. We had some great times together. Trust me when I say, a perfect running partner is almost impossible to find, but we meshed - the chubby middle aged lady and the old man.

Then last summer, prior to me beginning my training for my 4th marathon, Pete told me he wouldn't run with me any more. He said he had done his job for me and that I had gotten too fast and he didn't want to hold me back. To say that I was sad is an understatment. My husband's response was "Give the guy a break - he's 82 years old!" I didn't care. I lost my running partner and my long run friend.

Pete and I have kept in touch via email but he still won't run with me - not even if I promise to go short and slow. He actually didn't do any road races last year at all, nor did I see him at any this summer. Everytime I go out to run on Saturday, I still miss him and wish he would run with me.

Today, I was on the New Haven Road Race 20K results page looking for another friend's results and lo and behold Pete ran the thing. 20K = 12.2 miles people. He's 83 years old (84 in December)!! He came in 3rd in the 80-99 age group and did the thing in 2:33:33 which is an average pace of 12:30 miles.

I want to be Pete when I grow up.

Perserverance people. Keep on keeping on.


  1. That's an awesome story! I haven't ever even been able to run 2 miles until recently, but I'm am excited at the challenge of a marathon. I might have to take you up on that advice sometime soon. Oh and yes, Mountain Dew, regular or diet, has some strange addictive quality for sure.

  2. Pete sounds like a great person!

    It's sad to think you can outgrow someone as a runner. But I'm sure you'll never outgrow him as a friend.

  3. This made me sad reading about Pete. For one, I pictured him as an angel (kind of like the red bull angel) and two, I need a Pete in my life to teach me the in's and out's of running. Amazing story, nicely written.