What does it feel like to win?
When I think back to the times I’ve been a winner, there are only a handful of things that come to mind and they are all a bit of a stretch.
- Win #1 8 years old, The Westpac colouring competition at the bank in Te Anau. I won a model helicopter. Barbie did not fit in it, so the useless tiny helicopter stayed in its box.
- Win #2 10 years old, 50m hurdles at Primary School athletics day. The hurdles were made out of electric fencing tape and reels and set up in a paddock that judging by the freshness of the poo, had until that morning been occupied by sheep. The three other girls in the race tripped over and I came from behind to take the win. I got a lonely #1 pencilled on my orange paper athletics card next to all the #4’s.
- Win #3 13 years old, the scholarship exam for entry in to high school. I scored the highest marks and won money towards my school fees. As a congratulatory gift, my parents gave me a velcro Pooh Bear wallet. It was empty.
- Win #4 25 years old, Trademe auction for an Eames style chair that I so desperately needed to throw dirty clothes on and use twice to stand on to change a lightbulb.
The theme emerging here is not one of sporting prowess, but gaining from the misfortune of others, using my brain, or using felt tip pens. What did winning feel like? Bewildering. Hilarious. Bitter-sweet. Embarassing.
All these wins prepared me for eventually winning a race, in one way or another. It’s not just training in running, it’s the training in winning that will get you over that line first, and this is why.
From the Trademe auction I learned that to win you must become irrational, and want to succeed at all costs. If you have ever been in a heated Trademe battle, right down to the line then you know what I mean. You’ve blown your budget, and that bitch kiwigirl_78, what does she think she needs this chair more than you? Reason has gone out the window and you keep clicking BID because you simply have to WIN. WINNING IS EVERYTHING. This is a competition, don’t give up, push hard right until the end! Then for another two minutes because the god damn auction has been auto-extended. GO DEEP! (Always have a little left in the bank just in case it comes down to that two minute sprint finish)
From athletics day in the paddock I learned that you need to make the most of people fucking up their race. See a stumble as an opportunity. Listen for the tell-tale heavy breathing that tells you your competitor has gone out too hard and isn’t in control. Pick off another placing as you fly by the person who wasn’t cautious on the downhill and sprained their ankle. Sucks to be them, fucking rocks to be you.
From the colouring competition I learned that having colour coordination gets you points. If you can’t be the fastest, be the most fabulous. Kenny Souza was the world duathlon champion once in 1990 but because of his photogenic appearance, he was the most prominent athlete in the sport for years.
From the scholarship exam I learned that if you win something once you set an expectation that you will win more. At 13 years old I gave not one shit in a paddock about the school fees that scholarship would pay, I wanted that money for all you can eat at Pizza Hut and a big pick and mix bag of lollies. Maybe a fresh polar fleece from Deka to go with my Canterbury pants? I didn’t want for much. After that one win my parents and my peers thought I was smart; I knew better of course. Proving my ability once meant that I had earned a reputation as a smartie at the party and it took the whole of fourth form to destroy this before I could make an intellectual comeback and earn praise again.
Did these wins ever translate to running?
I had never won a race before until this year when I surprised myself and won a few. Just small ones, but I still won. The feeling is better than the tiny helicopter, the empty wallet, the poo-covered friends and the useless expensive chair combined.
Being at the front is really scary. There is nowhere to hide. I wonder who fucked up during the race that meant I ended up here at the front, I wonder if I somehow took a shortcut, I think if I’m winning then I’m working too hard and will look like a minger in the photos. How I feel when winning a race can be summed up in this one picture.
Have you ever won anything? What did it feel like to win the arm wrestle/ Pokémon battle/ Trademe auction/ flatmate of the week/ bingo/ meat pack in a raffle? (If you haven’t won anything don’t leave a comment, this blog is about winning. Losers can go find a loser blog and write tips on how to lose).
July 26, 2016 at 8:39 am
I love your writing style Amanda- it’s cool to see someone writing in an amusing and clever way about something they love!
July 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm
Thank you, I’m happy that comes across in my writing 🙂
July 26, 2016 at 8:58 am
Spent $2 to win $20.95 on a slot machine in Las Vegas! Totally worth it! 😀
July 26, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Woop! Thrilling! Pokies tonight for me ching ching
July 26, 2016 at 9:07 am
Your “losers can find a loser blog” is just the best line I’ve read in a long time!! Amazing! I won a snow trip through the Edge once. It was amaze!! I haven’t won a running race or anything like that – but winning once at something, makes for an awesomeness feeling none the less! Loved this blog and your writing just makes me LOL.
July 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm
I was feeling inflated and sassy, if I do come last in a race (will likely happen at some point) I’ll start an entire new blog just so that I don’t have to have my own words rubbed in my face.
July 26, 2016 at 10:34 am
I win a bag of mushrooms after my team won the masterton relays. The local mushroom farm was a major sponsor.
July 26, 2016 at 2:36 pm
I can imagine you receiving them on the podium, smiling, wondering what is going on… hope you made something nice with them!
July 28, 2016 at 11:25 pm
We were juniors at the time so we threw them out the van window at things on the way home 😉
July 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm
I won when you were born
July 27, 2016 at 8:53 am
Oh Dad thaaaaanks! Made my day!!
July 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm
I won flatmate of the week once or twice. I usually lost it due to poor behaviour. Examples included but are not limited to shitting with the door open, eating all the food, using too much toilet paper and playing crap doof doof music.
July 27, 2016 at 8:54 am
You forgot about ranting. You also lost it for ranting. But when you won it you really won it, you were an excellent flatmate Wetty!
July 26, 2016 at 8:59 pm
Thank you for making me laugh so hard with this, I needed it. Because I won a baby who loves to cuddle but hates to sleep. Best thing I ever won.
July 27, 2016 at 9:26 am
Oh I’m glad you had a laugh! You won a very good prize, better than a bag of mushrooms.
July 27, 2016 at 3:55 pm
Just reading through your blog, it’s pretty cool haha! 😄.
I technically have a URL and would really like to do something similar to this for a few sponsors I am lucky enough to have etc. but not really tech savvy enough to know how to get it up and running!, would definitely like to take a leaf out of your book! 👍
As for winning I’ve won a few things here and there but running and winning is definitely the sweetest feeling there is! 👻🏃
July 28, 2016 at 9:47 am
Glad you like it Niam 😁 I can help you get it up and running, once you have done a few posts it’s easy and you can do it from your phone. Winning is awesome but as you can tell it’s a bit of a novelty for me 😳
September 6, 2016 at 1:37 am
I’ve won some races, does that mean I can stay?
Fucking brilliant writing 👌
If emojis work then you get to see one, if they don’t your loss haha
September 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm
Yes you can stay 🙂 I must read your blog!
September 6, 2016 at 6:57 am
I won parkrun the other week. Outright. Sure, all the usual suspects were either volunteering or taking it easy for a local half the next day, but I still won.
September 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm
A win is a win man, take it!
October 13, 2016 at 4:05 pm
I won a 10km race when I first got into running a year or so ago. Sure all the good runners were doing the half but it was still awesome and I imagined the Chariots of Fire theme when I crossed the finish line (actually I was buggered and mostly just imagining ice cream).
Anyway I just stumbled across your blog and it’s a great read!
October 13, 2016 at 7:09 pm
Chariots of fire is such an epic song to run to! We played it for a lady in my relay team a few weeks ago as she crested over a hill to run past us. And hey a win is a win, and how good does it feel!