I have been running, which is to say I have been racing, since 1996. Coincidentally, that was right about the same time race directors embraced a new-fangled technology called the internet (which we all know is nothing more than a Giant Series of Tubes) to allow runners to register for races online.
Soon I started racing on a regular basis. For the first year or two, my then-very-young daughter would ask me if I won my race. After a dozen or so times she realized that while I loved to run and race, I never won. I mean, not even close usually. By the time my son was old enough to ask, he already knew better.
The same Series of Tubes that allowed me to pay race entry fees in my jammies in the middle of the night also dutifully chronicled the indisputable fact that I am slow. The fact that I am not required to race the entire field, just the men in my age group, does nothing to alter this conclusion. All the fast dudes in high school who ran cross-country and track are still fast dudes into adulthood.
An entire web site, Athlinks.com, has now catalogued my futility at every distance and in every event since the dawn of the Net. You can see my record here. While not exhaustive, it is plain to the naked eye that I am a perfect 0 and 127 against my age group since 1996.
Make that 1 and 127.
Sunday, May 5 at the Public Service 5k (which frankly did not attract much of the public) I edged out all the other dudes between the age of 40 and 49. While finishing 15th of the 100 men who competed, I beat out 7 others between 45-49 (my sub-group), and even the 11 guys between 40 and 44.
If 80% of life is showing up, I got that part nailed. I was happy to run 22 minutes, as that was my 5k time right before I broke my arm in February and missed nearly a month of training. I have to admit it, when I saw the results and that it was good enough for a win, I kvelled just a little bit.
I think the next 127 losses will be just a little bit easier to bear.
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I have been running, which is to say I have been racing, since 1996. Coincidentally,...