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American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Respect the Cow!"



I ran in the Wisconsin Marathon / Half-Marathon on Saturday in Kenosha. My goal was to complete the half-marathon in one hour 46 minutes.

At the eight mile mark I was 30 seconds ahead of the target, but I faded in the stretch and ended with a time of 1:49:05. It was my first race at that distance, but since I plan to complete two Half-Ironman races later this year, it's important I get accustomed to the distance. This was a good start.

In the all-important age group of athletes over 58 years, 11 months, I finished first. In the normal age grouping of 55 to 59, I finished 5th. I also finished 257 out of about two thousand participants.

I trained for the race with a group from the McGaw YMCA  in Evanston organized by triathlon coach Craig Strong  and shepherded by my personal spinning instructor, Heather Collins. The group did well and I ask them to share with me their impressions of the race.

This is what John Cleave (the only other guy in the group) wrote:

A long race is an excellent opportunity to reflect on how much variation there is in the human body. Beyond simply short and tall, skinny and fat, there were small, compact butts and big; round ones, thick muscular thighs and thin ones; wide shoulders and narrow ones; long and short arms; long thin legs and short squat ones; big, little, wide, narrow, squat, and long heads; long thin necks and short squat ones.

Similarly, I saw a lot of variation in running style. Some runners were rigid and tight: arms held in close, hands clenched, short choppy strides; others ran loose and gangly, like they were made of rubber.

One guy ran in a cow suit. The temperature was in the low 70’s, so wearing that suit took some fortitude. And the guy beat me by a minute . When he passed, I shouted “No cow is going to beat me!” and he said, “Respect the cow!” Everyone around us laughed.

I saw him after the race and told him I respected the cow.

There were a huge number of Navy guys there to cheer us on. I yelled “Go Navy” at almost all of them. Many responded “Hoo-ah.” I’ve heard this before but didn’t know it’s significance so I looked it up:

  • Hooah (who-ah), adj., U.S. Military Slang. Referring to or meaning anything and everything except "no." A masculine guttural sound often used when at a loss for words.
A free beer and brat at the end of the race was an excellent thing. That beer was some of the best I’ve ever had.