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Taking down the old man and Marla April 19, 2009

Posted by clintcarter in Life.

I workout every weekday morning.  As part of my routine I either walk, ride, or run.  On Thursday of this week I decided to walk.  There’s an old man named Quanah who walks on the track every morning.  This is no ordinary old man.  This guy can flat out book it.  He blows by every one else.  Whenever I walk – I’ve got my sights set on him.  I usually try to jump in a half lap behind him, catch up to him, pass him, and lap him again.  This is no easy task.  When I first started the muscles around my shins would ache as I pushed myself to catch him.

This week when I caught up with Quanah we talked for a while.  He’s 77 years old and used to run track at OU.  I told him that I hoped I’d be walking as fast as he does when I’m 77.  Now I know what you’re thinking – surely it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself that you can beat someone who is 45 years older than you.  You’d be wrong – it feels great to be the fastest walker on the track.  At least I thought I was until Marla showed up.

Later that morning, after my conversation with Quanah, I was talking with one of the other old men.  He told me “You’ll know your fast if you can keep up with Marla”.  That sounded like a challenge to me – Marla’s in her late 30’s and she’s a girl – so I was sure I could do it.  I let Marla take a half lap lead and then I started.  After about 5 minutes of fast walking I wasn’t gaining any ground – in fact I was losing it.  I stepped it up to as fast as I could walk and started gaining ever so slowly.  After 10 minutes of walking as fast as I could and pulling within 100 feet of her the old men on the track started giving her a hard time because I was gaining on her – they began egging her on to smoke me.  She started looking over her shoulder and shot off.  But I was determined to catch her so I sped up swinging my arms, breathing hard, and walking faster than I thought humanly possible.  I was gaining – but now my shins were burning.  After 3-4 minutes that seemed to drag by, I closed the gap and caught her.

She told me no one had ever caught her before.  Said that she used to walk 10 minute miles.  10 MINUTE MILES!!  Many people can’t even run a 10 minute mile!  We talked for a lap and then I called it a morning feeling pretty good about myself.  As I was leaving one of the old men told me I needed to try again.  He said “It doesn’t count that you caught her – you’ve got to pass her”.



1. Brenda Ahring - April 20, 2009

Clint, you really should consider writing… you are a great story-teller! This one is great!

clintcarter - April 20, 2009

I’m here FYE Brenda.

Brenda Ahring - April 21, 2009

I mean PROFESSIONALLY… you know… try to make a living at it…

clintcarter - April 21, 2009

If you have any leads let me know 🙂

Sugar - May 13, 2009

FYI: The royalties are minimal. The money goes to the publisher. The only reason to write is because you love it so much, you can’t help but do so.

2. JD - April 20, 2009

I definitely know the feeling. I regularly compete with the old man/elf that is my father. Generally, I’ve always had the upper hand, but yesterday at the half marathon he smoked me. I didn’t have my training built up because of a knee/shin injury about a month ago, and he beat me by seven minutes.

The real question is, does my dad age? I’m pretty sure when he turns 77, he’ll still be running the same pace.

clintcarter - April 20, 2009

I think there is some validity to your theory. When I first met him I thought he was in his early 30’s. Maybe there’s some immortal blood in his family line – probably on his mom’s side – although because of AJ we’ll never know for sure 🙂

3. Sugar - May 13, 2009


It’s strange much your words mirrored my thoughts through the years on the walking track…always competing, always pushing, always gotta be the best. And I never told anyone my thoughts!

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