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This Old Guitar


Making Music As We Run Before I started writing this blog, I would have told anyone who’d listen that music wasn’t really all that important to me.

I was just ‘average’ with regards to music. I believed I could take it or leave it but I think now that I might have been wrong.

Thankfully, I’m getting back into a regular training regime and am starting to build some fitness again. All of the excitement of the summer and the Connemara 100 is fading into memory and my thoughts are turning to the autumn and winter ahead. I’ve never minded training in the cold or wet – in fact, I’ve often enjoyed the childish thrill of getting out into the wind, rain, frost or snow as others are huddled indoors. Maintaining a daily direct contact with the elements seems healthy to me. I’m still fairly strong and hopefully, there’s some life in the old dog yet.

However, something feels a little different this time. Getting back into shape, after what was a relatively short break, has been a bit more difficult than it has been other times. The first mile of each run is a little slower than I’m used to and I feel that I’m not recovering from hard training runs as easily as I used to.  Whilst I know I’m not ancient, and that I hopefully have a few races left in me yet, I’m conscious of time passing and that I won’t be a runner forever. Even though we fight the years and take solace from the fact that we’re perhaps not the oldest face in the race, time marches on.

I heard Neil Young sing ‘This Old Guitar’ the other day and the words just seemed to make so much sense to me.  Being the sentimental old fool that I am, I think too much when I run. I think back over years that have passed and wonder how many are left to me. We know that all things pass – good and bad, and when ‘Neil Young sings that ‘This old guitar ain’t mine to keep, Just taking care of it now”, I think of all the fun I’ve had through running and know that, just as a musician cannot own music, I cannot hold onto those moments of joy I’ve known on the road. Then, when I hear Neil sing that, The more I play it, the better it sounds’,  I know what he means as well. At this stage, when I run, I carry the experience of other days with me and I enjoy myself more because of that.

I know that the running shoes I wear ‘Ain’t mine to keep, Just taking care of them now’

No fog today.

This old guitar ain’t mine to keep
Just taking care of it now
It’s been around for years and years
Just waiting in its old case
It’s been up and down the country roads
It’s brought a tear and a smile
It’s seen its share of dreams and hopes
And never went out of style
The more I play it, the better it sounds
It cries when I leave it alone
Silently it waits for me
Or someone else I suppose