The Thrill of Victory

I shoulda received a gold medal, blue ribbon, or big ass trophy for winning the Byrnes Family Christmas 5k. Even set a course record. Sadly though, there was hardly even any media at the finish, it being a holiday and everything. Except for one week every four years, elite runners in the U.S. never get the attention we should.

To all those dads who run with their daughters for 5 or 10k and finish together and then blanket social media with pictures, that was the plan. Then Youngest and Eldest informed me, that like battery powered toys or something, they can “only run with music”. I planned to run whatever pace they wanted. We were going to bond. Then they showed up to the start sporting Airpods for shitsake.

So we headed out together to the Gull Harbor Rd turn around. At the risk of them getting cocky, I didn’t tell them I was coming off a four week break from a calf injury and that our race was my third rehab run. Not only did I mask my loss of fitness, I broke out my Ironperson hat which, just as I had hoped, intimidated them big time.

We headed out together, me talking over their stupid music. Until the Mile 2 marker which came early on Cushman Rd, a slightly uphill, tricky half mile segment. Tricky because Cocoa, Eddie, and Griffey often need some love. Eldest and I blew past Youngest who had cut the course short and succumbed, mid-race, to petting Cocoa, a black labradoodle in desperate need of a hair cut. At the same time, Eldest informed me she had to turn up her music for the final push, and if “I wanted to go ahead, I could.”

That was the invitation I had been waiting for. I accelerated like a topped off Tesla and went “full gas” as they say in the pro peloton. Sweet separation came as quickly as you can say “Tahtah for now”. Halfway up Cushman I turned to see Eddie and Griffey, told them they were good boys, and promised them I would pet them later.

Right after doing the “U turn” at the end of Cushman Rd I saw the former college swimmer not too far away. Turns out, she can run a little. Time for some Tough Love though, rehab be damn. A right on Indian Rd, another right at the bend, a check of the watch behind Travis’s house, 3 miles. I grab an American flag from an adoring fan on the side of the road and lean in to the finishing tape. Well, I think I did, maybe not, in all honesty my first major running win is a bit of blur. Just like me when at full speed.

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