And now for something... slightly familiar:
I won a race today! And this one had more than two dozen people in it!
This was my fourth year in a row running this race, and I was gunning for the "dynasty." That is, I won my age group in this race the last three years in a row, and I was aiming to make it four. Needless to say, I surpassed my expectations.
This is a fantastic race. It's held at a small neighborhood school and benefits the PTA, so it attracts hundreds of kids and families from the area. Somehow the weather is always perfect, there is a bouncy castle for the little ones, a DJ, and countless raffle prizes. And instead of trophies or medals that will just collect dust over the years, winners are given gift certificates to local businesses.
There were about 600 kids all at the very front of the starting line which made the first ten seconds a little chaotic, but soon I was hanging with the lead pack just behind the police car that acted as the pacer. Before I hit the first mile marker I had taken the lead and never looked back. Following the police car was a godsend, because it gave me something moving at a fast, steady pace to chase. Somewhere in the second mile, however, a woman started to back out of her driveway. The police car raced ahead with its siren and lights on to stop her. She was freaking out that she had to get to work and the police officer was yelling at her to stay in her driveway, and in the meantime I ran right past. I had outrun the pacecar.
When I rounded the final corner and saw the clock still on 17 minutes, I fell into a dead sprint to break 18 minutes. I fell short and finished in 18:01, but good enough for first place overall and to break a PR that has stood since 1997 by 28 seconds. I am now officially faster than my 16-year-old self.
My prize? A $50 gift certificate to the Haddonfield Running Company... that can only be redeemed with a $100 purchase. I've never heard of a prize that forces me to spend money to redeem, but hey, it can't take away the pleasure of winning another race!