Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Cowtown Marathon

Today was the annual Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, an event that inevitably brings back memories, most of them good. Jordan ran/walked the 10K this morning and did it in good time. I was surprised by how quickly she was on Facebook reporting that she was eating at a local bakery/cafe. Christian later told me she beat her friends and wasn't winded. So good for her. She's the only one of my children to do the Cowtown, though I keep hoping Jamie, the triathlete in the family and the only one to inherit his father's competitive spirit, will do it one year. After all, it is an event with family ties.
As my late friend Charles used to tell people, the Cowtown began in my living room. A group of fitness-minded friends from what was then the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (now UNT Health Sciences Center) met in our living room to discuss the planned Institute for Human Fitness (now, sadly, long gone) and specifically the marathon (now grown dramatically beyond their original conception). A good friend, Ann, was living with us at the time, and she and I used to conspire to make the most outrageous, richest desserts we could for these men. They ate every bite and never blinked--so much for fitness.
Needless to say, my ex-husband was one of the founders of the race. I can still see him, sitting in the office part of our bedroom the night before the race, saying, "Sleet! I don't want sleet." But sleet, slippery streets and cold weather were what he got that first year, sometime in the mid-to-late '70s. I was doing some of the publicity for the event, so I bundled all the children up and set out for the North Side on those slippery streets--something I wouldn't do today. What appalls me, as many have heard me say, is that I turned my children loose on the North Side (I don't think Jordan was even five yet) all day. They'd check in occasionally but I really had no clue where they were. All I can say is it was different times. Jamie assures me they were always with a pack of kids, they looked after Jordan and all was well. After Joel and I divorced in 1982, I worked at the marathon one or two more years, just to prove I could, but it wasn't as much fun. In later years I went to the carb-loading spaghetti supper with Charles who was still a marathoner into his seventies and maybe even eighties. It hasn't been too many years since he did the 10K. It was good to see old friends at those dinners, but I didn't fit. I had moved on to new worlds.
Actually I am proud that we had a part in bringing this event to the city. It grew beyond the original vision rather rapidly. The first year it was a one-day event with probably under a thousand runners. This year, it's billed as a three-day event--5K and 10K today, actual marathon tomorrow, and I guess seminars and carbo-loading yesterday. They expected over 20,000 runners.Today was a good day to run--sunny, in the 50s in the morning. By afternnon it was hot, and tomorrow will I fear be hotter than marathoners like.
I don't mean to say that my sons have never run a race. They both ran in a short (5K?) A. T. Still Memorial Race one year. Joel had left for the race long before daylight; I got the children up, and like a good mother fed them breakfast--eggs and I don't remember what else. The result was that Colin had to stop and throw up. But they all three won medals--Jamie for being the youngest, Colin for being the most persistent, and I don't remember what Joel's was for. In a classic case of gender discrimination, the girls and I watched from the finish line. When we split our belongings, I gave the framed medals to Joel.
In spite of that split, the marathon brings good memories of happy times--not happier than today, but happy in their own way.

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