There is a little race in January called The 5 Mile White Elephant Run. It's a cheap race, with pre-registration set at $5.00 or day of race registration at $10.00. The White Elephant part comes in with the additional of an optional $5.00 gift exchange at the finish line.
In this years race I almost placed...I was the 4th over all woman. I could see a lady in front of me that I was pretty sure was #3 and tried to catch up but clearly I didn't, a defeat that stung only slightly less than getting but butt kicked by 10 year old little boy.
I saw him at the start line and thought to myself "Dang it! He's going to do it AGAIN!" The last three local races I've participated in he's been at and trounced everyone.
Since it's clear I wasn't running all that fast (although part of the course was uphill...just sayn') my new stratigy is to only pick races slow people run:)