I left the Arizona Road Racers’ I-Did-A-Run (get it?) 5K last weekend with a giveaway protein shake in hand and mixed emotions in my head:

Meh …

  • To realize too late that I’d started out too fast.
  • To recall wondering when the next water station was, because it sure was hot out there.
  • To know by mile 2 that there was no way I was finishing strong.
  • To think that I probably could have, should have trained more.

Grateful …

  • To know that I’m able to run 3.1 miles at all, especially without keeling over.
  • To see a few of my co-workers in a (relatively) relaxed, nonwork setting.
  • To hang out with my dad, who got up at o-dark-hundred to see me compete in this modest little race.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that I happened to be the fastest 34- to 39-year-old in the field that day.

Clearly, all the faster runners opted to do the 10k or decided to sleep in. (Seriously, there were seven guys my age in the 5k.) But hey, an age group win is an age group win. I’ll take it.

What’s more, the next day I got a nice email from a race organizer to say I’d won some bling. Um, yes please! I hadn’t planned on adding to my hardware collection until the Runner’s Den/Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon on Dec. 15.


I’m reminded of a 5k race a few years ago in the small town where we lived. I started first and finished first—in a race of maybe 50 people, tops. It was a nice ego boost, naturally, tempered by the fact that I knew I wasn’t very fast; it was everybody else who was not. It didn’t stop someone from asking me afterward, “Are you a professional runner?” Heh.

» What About You?
Are you motivated by bling? Have you ever won a race or an age group that you weren’t expecting? Leave a comment below!


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