I’m a Winner

Ran a “long 5k,” at an intentional 3.2 miles, in a very rural town today. I expected to do well in placings because of so few participants, but knew I wasn’t at my best after a hard 6 mile run in some much-needed sunshine and warmth yesterday. The sun didn’t last, and this morning greeted me with biting, cold winds on a rolling course. I chalk it up to a speedwork run, and do my best to navigate the entire small town — cemetery, parks, elementary school, town square, residential streets — while chasing its residents for placings. I’m the only non-resident, but I was surely greeted with those friendly rural accents.

I hit the finish, and stop my watch. 27:34. Nowhere near a PR, but a nice effort after only a few weeks back in my shoes and a hard 6 miles the day before. Inside of the one-screen movie theater circa 1970, I asked for the placing information and waited patiently to collect my medal.

I’d won the overall female placing, and managed to come in third overall. Not bad.

The local newspaper interviewed me after I’d said off-hand that I was trying to run each of the counties in my state. A cute little old lady asked me my name, and where I was from, and how I found the race, and when I plan to complete all of the counties, and how many I’d done so far (six). The next question was a big one, for me: What Do You Do? 

I followed with, “For a living?” as though I had just done something — run — and wasn’t that the thing I do? It is the thing I do. Does it matter what my job is?

I considered lying to spare the strange looks for the rest of the morning. The last thing I want is prying eyes while the Ex and I eat strange breakfast at the only cafe in town. I ran. I did well, and that had nothing to do with whether I’m a teacher, an engineer, a detective, or a stripper. I trained. I ran. It was Me versus Pavement (and some gravel, grass, potholes, and a handful of speedy little kids going out for track). So there’s that question: do I tell?

I told: “I’m a stripper.”

A wave of shock, whether because she’d never met a stripper (save for one who looks fairly normal, lacks makeup, and just pounded out a winning 5k?), or because of her own prejudice against the sex industry, or because I had the audacity to tell her what I did for a living, I’ll never know. “Oh.”

She stopped writing. Pictures of the male/overall winner were taken, with a handful of pictures of those who’d worn elaborate costumes for a fun St. Patrick’s Day run and a Miniature Poodle the owner had dyed bright green in the spirit of things. My picture wasn’t taken. The conversation ended when I stopped panting, and I ran off to find the Ex. I’m guessing I won’t be featured in the local paper with the local male winner and sideshow of green glasses, hats, shirts, and ties.

It’s not the recognition that is important to me — I have a gold and engraved medal for that and a new time to write in my record of races I’ve completed. I just want to be treated the same as she would have before I told her what I did to earn the money to spend on the race that funds a local health organization for the town. The same as the male winner, or the green Miniature Poodle.

After two courses of windy disc golf on small-town nine-tee courses, I headed home with the Ex-I’m-Fucking for a much-needed nap. I’d actually made it out of bed around 6am, about the time I’d normally be crashing into it. 

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~ by The Stiletto-Shod One on March 16, 2013.

3 Responses to “I’m a Winner”

  1. As a person who has helped improve my time in runs, and has been nothing but kind and respectful and wonderful to me.

    I’m proud of you, and glad you’re getting back to running and doing something you love.

    May there be many more medals in your future miss. :D

    • Thank you! I hope your own training is going well. How’s things in your running and physical pursuits?

      • Better everyday. I feel faster and stronger than I’ve ever been. Friends of mine are asking me to do parkour with them… but running up and down buildings is not something I’m ready for yet hahaha

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