Thursday, August 03, 2006


I wish I could take credit for this post. Yes, I wrote it but the original idea came from an article I read awhile ago. I think it may have been about 3 years ago - back in my triathlon days. I should have printed the article and put it in my fruitcake folder, but I didn’t.

Anyway, the article was about “that guy” (or gal). He could live in your town, go to the same church, work at the same place, etc. You know who I’m talking about. That guy that’s faster than you, stronger than you, fitter than you, etc.

You envy him. You want to be like him. You want to beat him.

It’s no secret that running is a competitive sport where the results are very black and white. It’s easy to see who “won” on any given day. We train hard. We write each run down in a log-book. We track miles and time. We spend time thinking about improving ourselves and moving up in the standings. And we dream about beating “that guy.”

A lot of time and energy is put into beating “that guy.”

However, do we ever stop to think that we are “that guy”?

To someone else, we are “that guy”. We are the guy they wish they could be like. They wish they were as strong as you, as fast as you, as fit as you (and, of course, as handsome, hot and sexy as you – I had to throw that in). They train in order to be like you and to beat you.

And this isn’t just limited to other runners. People at work or school or church would love to be as fit as you. They'd love to be able to do the things you do. The gal at the coffee shop says “You’re crazy. I could never do that.” But deep down she’s thinking, “Why the hell don’t I do something like that?”

I use a lot of bandwidth telling people to step up to the plate, bump their mileage, shake up their training, push their limits and find out how good they can be. Today I’m saying, take some time to enjoy your accomplishments and realize that you are “that guy”.

This morning I ran with “that guy” Scott for a 50-minute loop around Lake Harriet. Throw in another mile with the dog and I’ll call it (a short) 8 for the morning.

Today’s quote of the day goes very well with my post from the other day describing what it feels like to be a first-time marathoner building up your long run.

“When I did this three years ago, it was like death. When I did it last year, it was like near death. This year, it was just really hard.” – John Howie, wheelchair racer


pjm said...

I won a 5k a couple years ago (small race, unimpressive time, blah blah,) and cooled down with the runner-up afterwards. He said, "I was hoping this year someone like you won't show up."

I said, "So was I."

Duncan Larkin said...

Great post today. I always enjoy reading non-runners' expressions when they hear what I do. They almost always tie what I do back to themselves; their responses almost always have the word, "I" in them.

Chad said...

Parker, great comeback.

Duncan, you're right. My coffee gal quote was from 2 days ago.

What's funny is that these are the first ones to recognize when you don't run. Monday I slept in and ran on the treadmill in the evening. Tuesday morning she asked "Did you run yesterday?"

David said...

It is nice to reflect once in a while on how you're 'that guy' to others. One of the many little things that helps keep me motivated is being an 'inspiration' to others; sounds corny and full of myself, but I have actually had people say that to me, and I know I've helped motivate a few co-workers to exercise, run, and even race. It's a good reminder, thanks.

E-Speed said...

Great post! I struggle with this all of the time. With my Sunday CREW I am definitely not "that girl" so it is so odd when people pop into my blog praising my efforts and abilities. I guess we really all are "that gal" to somebody.