This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Second Empire Grand Prix Luncheon

Yesterday was the 2009 Second Empire Grand Prix Series Luncheon. This was the awards ceremony for the winners and participants (of seven of the eight races) of the Fall race series.

If I haven't mentioned it, I placed third in my age group. :)

I took CJ as my date to the lunch. Tim dropped us off, as we also had tickets for the Museum of Life & Science *and* Mi-Mi had a sleepover to attend after that shindig. It was a busy Saturday for us.

CJ and I walked to the front of the restaurant, noticing a big lock on the gate. Um. I'm at the right place, aren't I? I saw people walking to this place.

The guy sweeping the front porch mentioned that we needed to go through the back. He apologized but not what I would say was a good user experience.

Side note: I actually park and walk a certain way to my building *just* for the user experience. Really. I do. And no. I'm not OCD (officially).

Anyway, we walk towards the back and a fellow asked what the sweeping man asked me and I said 'we have to go through the back'. He mentioned that it must be because we are runners. I said something to the effect of 'yeah, we'll feed you but we don't want anyone to see you...'

I joke because this was extremely wonderful. There were about three banquet rooms, with two long tables each, full of runners from the series. And they fed us well. And it was all free.

Well, I paid $10 for CJ. And the one oddity out of this was talking to the waitress.

I had been in contact with Kim Reynolds, the owner of the restaurant and coordinator of the awards ceremony. She mentioned the price for kids and that I could talk to the waitress about food options.

So I mentioned this to the waitress. She said: what would you like. I asked: what do you have? She seemed a bit taken aback and mentioned: we could do chicken tenders. So I asked further: is it possible to make a burger? (CJ mentioned she wanted one and to see if they would; otherwise, chicken tenders were fine). The waitress reacted like this: OH NO. _THAT_ WE CANNOT DO. We don't even have BUNS for that!

As if I asked for a fried bologna sandwich...a burger was just beneath HER. I say HER because, I noticed nothing elitist about Kim Reynolds and her husband.

BTW, Second Empire is one of Raleigh's high end, finest dining establishments.

But back to my point: we were served bread and unless they had zero ground beef in their establishment, a hamburger could be made. Whether you WANTED to make one is another question.

But I had a wonderful lunch and was able to sit with my friend Mary and her hubby. It was so nice to socialize with her outside of racing. I learned a lot about her and later, CJ and I commented on how funny we thought her hubby was :).

After lunch it was time to head down to the tavern for the awards ceremony. They did everything they could to accommodate seating for all of us. It was so impressive, the amount of generosity they showed for us and for this series.

A video compilation of the series' races was shown first. It was *so* good. And then all the participants that raced in seven of the eight races were given their prize, which was an athletic bag with the grand prix series logo. In fact, everything given as prizes had this logo.

The Overall winners were announced and given a running jacket and pants, along with a check for their winnings. FYI: the 3rd place overall male winner was 41 and the 4th place overall male winner was 52 years old. My friend Mary cinched 5th overall.

Then the winners of age groups were announced and Kim decided to go from oldest to youngest. I loved it!

Two, you heard me TWO! gentleman got their prizes for 1st and 2nd place in the 75-99 age group. In fact, the second place guy was eighty-fricking-two years old. He later one a gift certificate for, get this, neck and face tightening from Blue Water Spa. Oh, the irony.

There were one each for male/female in the 70-74 age group. And a few more in the 60s. Amazingly enough, female 30-34 only had one winner. And no male in the age group 20-24. Can you believe that?? There were only two males that ran in that age group and they placed first and second overall.

I got my third place prize, which is a white fleece vest. Second place was a long sleeved fleece jacket, and first is the running pants and jacket.

Amazing prizes and the whole camaraderie of this luncheon was worth running seven of eight races. Placing is just icing on the cake. This series' races were all for charity, so all of this: prizes, luncheon, taking up restaurant space, as well as time to conduct this, is all by sponsorship (at least, that's what I deduced). Incredible and really brings a warm soft glow to my heart and soul.

I will definitely, if I can, do it again this Fall.

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