My little side feature of a Gratuitous Bear of the Day, which became the Gratuitous Bear of the Week, looks to becoming the Gratuitous Bear of the Month. Or Season. So in honor of the posting that mentioned cows I thought I'd introduce Elsie.In fall of 2005 Sandy and I were looking for an "easy" marathon to help us train for the Detroit Marathon. We decided on the Sacramento Cowtown Marathon, recently redone with new management. It was a flat double loop with a cute shirt, in a town where we could stay overnight with relatives (Sandy's). Our plan was to run 20 miles hard, then cruise in the last few. Our expectations for race support had been lowered (indeed, erased!) by the lousy New Mexico Marathon we had just run a few weeks earlier in Albuquerque so almost anything would have made us happy.
There was a half marathon that ran only the first loop and most of the crowd disappeared then. Course support was good and even late in the race there were plenty of water stops with water and Cytomax. There weren't always people at the water stops, but lots of fluids available for the hot day.
There was a 6 hour limit and I intended to take most of it, since I wanted to run at least the last 4 miles very slowly. There were more than a couple of dozen people behind me and since there were only about 225 people total running the full marathon, I was surprised that there wasn't much left at the finish when I finally got there. I think they were taking down the mats and lines and the photogs were long gone. There was some food and drinks left so I was able to refresh myself. The medal was the best of all, a functioning cowbell with the logo, on a ribbon.
Amusingly enough I managed to place in my age group; 3rd of 5. I didn't think I'd get anything but a couple of months later I got an engraved little medal. I impressed myself, my first age group award!
There was only one choice when it came to the medal bear. It had to be the funny little Vermont Teddy Bear Holstein bear. I ordered her, and here's Elsie with both medals: