See that? It’s a trophy. I Instagrammed it– Valencia filter– because I care.
I care because it’s my trophy. I won it. And I won it by running my middle-aged bee-hind off in a 5K race. I was the first woman to cross the finish line. Because most of my readers are American, they’ll want to know my time. We care about that stuff– we want hard numbers, figures, metrics, facts, the exact location of that downed airliner. I get it. It hardly counts if I can’t produce the numbers, right?
I ran the race in 26:08:47 minutes. And because your calculator is hidden in some annoying place on your phone, I’ll do the quick math for you– my pace was 8:44 per mile.
I should probably stop here. Press “publish” and let the glory stand for itself. No doubt I’ve already gone too far. I’m bungee-jumping and I just passed the first look-out point. I’m still hurtling downward, waiting for that safety rope to catch and pull me up with a jerk of my neck. It hasn’t yet.
I’ve never won a race in my life. In second grade field day I almost beat Melissa Zimmel in the 50-yard dash, but she elbowed me viciously at 35 yards, and I went home empty-handed, while she had a third-place ribbon pinned to her stupid pink Izod shirt. Bitch. Two weeks later she tried to cheat by copying my spelling test. I laughed inside when she spelled desks as “deskes” to earn herself a 94, six points below my perfect 100.
The race in question, though, the one that I WON, was a small affair, I admit. Four dads who seemed to sprint the whole time beat me. They, like me, ditched their children to worship the gods of speed and endurance. We let our spouses handle the pesky work of keeping our children off the course and out of traffic.
There were other women in the race, I swear. That they were either orthodox Jewish women running in long skirts or benevolent do-gooders shepherding a gaggle of earnest Girls-On-The-Run participants (most of whom had never run more than six yards) is none of your business. There was one teacher huffing it, but I passed her when I sailed over her oxygen tank like a stag escaping a hunter’ rifle in hot pursuit.
Someone had to be the first woman across the line. Someone had to enlist her husband to custom-build a trophy case to house the golden, stubby statue that I now call my own. Someone had to pose for victory photos, seek endorsements from local businesses and offer to headline next year’s charity ball.
There are more facts that are still obscured to you, dear readers. Facts about the weather, the wind’s velocity, the post-race swag, and the course measurement. It’s possible you deserve those facts and I should serve them up like I did my times. Maybe I’ve only served you the mashed potatoes, but you richly deserve your roast beef and fresh peas.
But perhaps I’ve said too much already.