Befriending older gents is nothing new to the Athletic Powerhouse. I've previously documented on the Triathlete Chronicles how Lake Tinaroo local Bob provided me with ridiculous amounts of outside assistance at my first Half Ironman, and the way an unnamed Belgian man coached me through my ascent of Col du Galibier.
This morning I had the opportunity to pay it forward to a 50 year old woman I encountered trail running at Bunyaville state forest.
My recent trail run at Mt Coot-tha was not entirely unsuccessful, so I was optimistic about today's training session. It was a trail run with a twist though - 8ks wedged in between two 25k rides taking in Old Northern Road, Eatons Crossing, and Bunya Road.
My first cycle out of the way, I stowed my map safely in my pocket as a priority during the bike-run transition. I knew I'd need it.
I ran around the first section of sealed road, before searching for the gate at which I needed to turn left. I found it, and took a moment to figure out which left - kind of left or hard left? I saw a fellow runner out with her dog, we greeted each other before she set off on the trail to my hard left.
After not too much longer, I decided that was where I was headed and set off behind her.
She remained within sight for a couple of Ks, at which time I needed to again stop to check directions. Right or hard right? Hmmm. My new friend had stopped just ahead of me. I decided what the hell, and asked.
With the directions out of the way, she took a closer look at me and asked if I was a triathlete. Running in a bike jersey is usually a dead giveaway. When I confirmed her suspicion, she fired questions at me left right and centre. Do I wear socks in the run? How do you get used to running off the bike? I happily gave her a few tips.
"I'm 50. I'm doing my first triathlon in a couple of weeks, and my last. I think I'll stick to swimming."
She was training for the BRW Corporate Triathlon, and having been to that race and witnessed some very average performances by budding triathletes of all abilities, I was confident she'd do just fine. I told her she looked to me as if she was running strongly.
She followed up with, "Do you think? I feel like I'm shuffling along. I do all my running in the forest though, I think that might help."
Yes, I think that will.
Without my help or not, something tells me she'll do more than just fine. And, I wouldn't mind betting she'll be back for more.