Number 9 Number 9 Number 9…

Wow, it is getting down to the wire when I have to resort to a Beatles song for a blog title.  Think of it more of a mocking gesture like when I attend birthday parties and continually tell people “Well it’s my birthday too, yeah”…Yes, I dislike that band.  Anyway, it is literally one day left in the month and I have one post to go to make my quota.  Fortunately for me, I already had this topic planned and just needed make sure I had 5 posts in before today.  It may have been planned, but I needed to successfully complete something first.  If you have been around the blog for at least a few years you know the end of July brings a very important event for me in the running schedule.  The BIX7 race was held in Davenport IA this morning and I was there wearing my racing orange.

Linda took my traditional pre-race picture and I must say I look a lot happier than I did for the Steamboat Race.  I can contribute a lot of that happiness to not having a bad hamburger the night before.  In fact, we made doubly sure nothing like the night before Steamboat happened again.   Instead,  Linda made my favorite spaghetti recipe rather than risk  another carry out catastrophe.  In the past, this has been the race I’ve trained for all year.  Normally I would be peaking at 8 miles the week before the race with plenty of hill work and a healthy dose of 5K speed runs to get the leg turnover I wanted.  That was not the case this year due to a Life List event planned for later in the year that is pretty much getting my full training attention.  This year I lined up with a completely retooled body.  I probably hit the line at around 153 pounds as a result of a planned shedding over 12 pounds of weight since late last year (click here if you want details on some of the loss).  With the weight off I could focus on resetting the body to meet the demands of the future event.  This brought me to a peak of 12.3 miles but at the cost of my previous speed, losing at least a minute per mile on average.  With all that considered along with the Bix@6 training run earlier in July the initial projections was to come in around the 63 minute mark…. ummmmm that didn’t end up happening.

Hit the jump to read details of the race and see the all important post race pictures.

I took my place in the staging area around 7:30AM and tried my best to keep the legs moving to protect the left hamstring I’ve been nursing since damaging it in a previous Bix7 race.  Race officials set the run alert at yellow due to the temperature and humidity index.  Even though I stayed in the shadow of a building, I could still feel the heat start drying me out, but decided I’d stick with my traditional two water station plan (half way and 5 mile mark).  I had purposely done some heat training over the last couple of weeks due to how much the 90 degree temp at the Bix@6 had affected me.  Due to being superstitious on my runs I checked off my pre-race list including mentally going through the race, recalling what my splits should be, reminding myself of the new strategies tried out at the Bix@6 training run and most of all telling myself I trained hard for this race so squash the damn butterflies.  Before realizing it, the anthem started to play and it was time to get down to business.  The gun rang out and it was time to have fun.  Unlike my wife who takes a camera with her during the Bix 2 Mile version I have to focus on completing the 7 miles (funny, there aren’t any shirts for Bix2 … if there was it should read ..Bix2, It’s all about the Twinkies).  Instead I have to simply list some of the interesting things observed while suffering through the agony.

  • A teenage kid tripped over the chip timing mat just to the right of me.  That caused a bunch of people to go down including one falling into me.  I caught him and he actually apologized for crashing in to me .. I told him it wasn’t his fault and not to worry about it, I was fine
  • A fourth of the way up the hill I was hit in the shoulder by guy running the opposite way down the hill (that’s opposite 17,000+ people doing their best to make it up a steep hill).  It caught me off guard and looked back to see him trying to get to something he dropped in the street further back.  I shook it off and focused back on defeating that hill
  • The race Jackpot Rabbit passed me coming back before I hit the 2 mile mark.  He was given a 2.5 mile handicap and ended up beating the elites across the finish line earning him over $3,200
  • This year had a good turnout of fans and bands to cheer us on
  • I passed the Elvis’ and the Marilyn Monroe’s  going the opposite direction around the 5 mile mark
  • The 5 mile mark is also where someone had a slip n slide set up in the medium.  They were busy encouraging runners to take a running slide and as a complete surprise to me… runner after runner was actually doing it.  That is the great thing about the Bix, it really is for all types
  • There was plenty of incentive scenery (inside joke)
  • There was a Taylor Swift lookalike around mile 2.5 playing here acoustic guitar on the sidewalk.
  • It always intrigues me when I run past spectators at a large running event who are sitting in their lawn chairs smoking a cigarette.  Is 17K people running past you not enough motivation to make some healthier lifestyle choices.
  • I did not see anyone completely drop from the heat.  There were a lot of people bailing out on the second hill as usual and this time there were people stopping to walk on the return trek up the second hill.  Those new to the course ALWAYS underestimate that midcourse hill since it doesn’t look as bad as the first hill on the map.
  • I usually do not get passed in the last .2 miles or so of the race since I train to leave it all on the course.  This year I was passed by a teenager that came out of nowhere with a full head of steam.  I was impressed but to be honest, with that much left he probably could have put more into the earlier miles.  In any case he did allow me to shave a few seconds off my time trying to feed off his momentum.
  • The Marathon Photo people were out in force.  I made sure they got me at the traditional photo spot (about 100 ft from the finish line).  Then I had them take one of me after I crossed the finish line, again at a post race spot by the race party entrance and then Linda and I had another picture taken together inside the party area – can’t wait for those pictures to be available for purchase.
  • Two marines finished the 7 miles carrying full rucksacks
  • The full green face paint idea was a baaaaad idea.  By the end of the race their face was clear and their shirts and shorts were stained green.
  • My choice for hottest (temperature wise) has to go to the full Tweety Bird suit.  Imagine a fur suit with just a cutout of the head with a full stuffed bird head on top.  He did not look that good when I passed him in the after party

It was definitely a hot one, but looking back it was still better than last year’s rain.  It took me a little while to get everything calmed and cooled down internally this year but nothing… and I mean nothing hits the spot like a Whitey’s root beer popsicle after a hard race… followed by a Twinkie, a Hostess Cupcake, another grape popsicle, Chips Ahoy cookies, oh, and some grapes – why train if you can’t splurge?!  I passed on the free beer, but obviously that was the real draw.  As post race parties go, Bix7 has the best I’ve ever been at.

Here I am after the race.

It actually took us awhile to find something with the Bix7 name on it for the picture.  This year I bought one of those banners to put up in my den alongside another one I had bought several years ago

As mentioned previously, Linda participates in the Bix 2 mile event. This started out as an excuse to get her into the post race party with me, but now I think she really does it for the Twinkies. This year she ran/walked it with her Niece Joyce. Apparently Linda sprinted at the finish line to beat Joyce. I am expecting some revenge work next year.

Here is our first picture together ever at the Bix thanks to her Niece who was still gracious enough after her defeat to snap a picture of us.

We look like we jumped straight out of the crayon box.  Truth is I wear orange in order to make it easier to pick myself out of the TV coverage and to display my Illini Pride in the middle of Hawkeye country – you know they fear the orange!

It has become tradition now to get a post race picture by an ambulance.  To be honest it is a running joke with Linda who has developed this unfounded belief I get injured a lot.  This is completely untrue and we’ll let the ambulance tally between us stand as living proof to that statement.  Proving I finished the race vertical, I give you tradition.

Another race without need of medical services (later this year may be a different story – fingers crossed).  But wait, this year Linda kicked it up a notch and produced this shot.

That shot is awesome and I fully intend to get that printed and put on my desk at work. As we were passing by them Linda asked them if they would take a picture with me. They were great and quickly moved into position to take the shot. Some other runners who were passing by at the same time were laughing about it. My hats off to all the medical volunteers at my races. It is good to know that they have your back should something unexpected happen. Not to scare anyone, but 21 people were sent to the hospital today.

In summary, that makes 9 years in a row for running the Bix7. I can still remember the very day I started running in order to participate in my first Bix7 – I literally ran about .1 miles and just about heaved my guts out. Next year I get a race pin recognizing my 10th year. (you get one for your 2nd and then all the 5’s). In case you are wondering, the final chip time today was something like 57.19 (race time was an additional 40 or so seconds to make it to the starting line). So I shattered my expected time (of 63 minutes) and contribute a lot of that to how much easier the hills were this year with the extra training miles and hauling less weight over them. It is my 2nd best time ever (PR is 56.41 ) I can’t wait until next year (especially with Linda running the Bix 7 with me along with first timers Sung and Dan N.)

Note, Linda continually reminds me that today was her 10th running of the Bix but I counter by pointing out I have officially ran 38 more miles combines than she has – hehehehe… in jest of course because I’m pretty proud of her for participating and especially making it through today with a gimpy foot.

4 thoughts on “Number 9 Number 9 Number 9…”

  1. I think I will make a shirt next year that says I run for Twinkies. And I will only do 2 miles again next year.
    My first Bix was all 7. Never again!

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    1. As a step it up incentive I talked to the race organizers after the run and after much discussion they have agreed to split the post race party. The 2 milers will be given their own section and will be stocked only with Suzy Qs, Doritos and maybe some Diet Caffeine Free Coke. In the other section (you know, the ones who understand the 7 and not the 2 at the end of the race name) will have everything they usually get in recognition of their dedication…. and yes, that means those delicious Twinkies. Sorry, Linda, a run for the Twinkies next year will mean a couple extra miles. Unfortunately, this is going to put a little extra work on Sung’s part but then again… there’s TWINKIES!

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  2. Maybe I can get in shape while here out west and join you next year… have about 360 days to train! 🙂

    — SkidMarks

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    1. That would be awesome! We’ll make a party of it with the Owdoms, Pakage, Pez, Linda and anyone else I can fool into 7 miles of brief agony… any ideas for costumes? Words of advice though, start out slow and short.. don’t want to get injured or Giselle will be giving me some crap.

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