Less than two weeks ago the Charleston
distance race was held in Charleston on September 3rd. Two of the
long time participants Rick Hughes, my friend and I signed up for
the race and trained our little bottoms off to once again hold the
title of Alderson's best. Probably one of the best parts of the race
is the dinner that Rick Allan Galloway and I have at the Fifth
Quarter restaurant in Charleston. It is one of the best events of
the year. With all of the boys from Alderson there was still
something very different about this year's race. I couldn't put my
finger on it. There was still an eerie almost out of body feeling
about the race. Well I ran the race anyway. I stayed up late the
night before to see the United States' men soccer team play Costa
Rica in Los Angeles. I didn't get but four hours sleep. My time was
just not as good as I wanted.
I woke up the next morning with the gnawing feeling that something
still just wasn't right. I picked up the Charleston Gazette to check
up on the sports and the race results from the previous date. Then
it hit me like a sledgehammer. In the results of the 5K race, it
said the winner of the 65-70 age group for women was Alex McLaughlin
from Charleston, West Virginia. Bam. The source of my unease. While
I was extremely proud of being a winner, I had not planned on going
this far to win. I might not beat Rick as a man because neither one
of us won our age category as a man. But I sure beat him as a woman.
What would I wear at the awards ceremony? Would I have to wear high
heels? My head was swimming as I tried to get my bearings on now
being a woman.
My first reaction was to run to the mall and see how I reacted. As
soon as I got to the mall nothing had changed I couldn't wait to get
out of that maddening place. I had absolutely no interest in the
sales in the women's department or coupons at the grocery store.
What a relief! Maybe I had been transformed into a woman over the
week preceding the race, became a woman the day of the race and was
changing back. Or maybe I just entered the wrong gender on my entry
form. Rick is now convinced that I will do anything to be the
Champion of Alderson but though I tell him that I think that it was
a clerical error he still looks at me real strange and is even more
leery than ever of my tactics to win.
EPILOGUE I am not sure that I will ever be the same. I know some
would say that would be an improvement. Maybe this racing stuff has
gone too far. I went out running one day last week and there were a
bunch of guys and gals out running as well. As we ran by someone
hollered, "you go girl". I just turned my head and smiled.