Crushed It

Figured I’d be nice and give you a little break from the Henderson shoot (trust me, we have a ways still to go with those).  But today, I hit the road for the first run in a long week.  Why the long layoff you ask?  Good question which is best answered with a visual.

I always take a week off from the annual running of the Bix 7 up in Davenport IA and this year was no exception!  Usually the last post of July is earmarked for a recap of the results, but in what has become a rare occurrence my quota was met early last month.  No worries, time is an unstoppable entity and August will do just fine.

Before the gun ever went off this year I was part of a record.  A record that has stood for 38 straight runnings of the Bix race.  Cursed by every Globull Warming pundit, this year was the COLDEST in the history of the race.  Take a guess at what the temperature was when I entered the staging area…keep in mind this is the last Saturday in July in the Midwest.  If you said 58 then you are right (and a damn good Google user).  Linda and I were talking through chattering teeth all the way from the car.  Linda had already opted for her new running coat (admittedly pretty cool seeing as how the sleeves attach by magnets) and somehow convinced me to go back and grab my running rain/wind breaker.  Oh yeah, I remember how – she offered to carry it for me during the race (big thanks for that by the way!).  This allowed me to save some tooth enamel on the trek to our secret pre-race bathrooms.  By the way, I was reading last year’s Bix recap and noticed that a) I was definitely not feeling the best before that race and b) Linda was even complaining about the cold last year – not sure what that was off the top of my head, but you already know it was colder this year.  I was feeling significantly better than last year, but truthfully not at 100% – felt like a cold or something was trying to dampen the day, but nothing really came out of that so guessing it was just some pre-race butterflies.  Note, to address getting sick at work like last year, we opted for a vacation the week before.  We’ll save the details for that vacation for another post, but the week before that it was over 100 for heat index – that somehow turned into a rainy 61 when we arrived at our destination spot at the Dells.

Expecting another hot one, I went ahead and took a 7 mile training run in the morning  before we left for the Dells.  Heat index was pretty wicked, but made it through so felt comfortable there wouldn’t be any issues finishing the race.  We returned that Wednesday allowing me to catch a cooler (75 degree)  final ~6 mile tapper down.  That went excellent with split times coming in ahead of plan.  I remember noting in the post race summary notes that I was ready for the Bix!

Hit the jump to see how the race turned out .. and read about some of our friends that also made the trek to Davenport this year

Eventually it was time to leave the warm building and brave the cold.  Yeah, I took the path that took me through another two building so I could delay the shivers as long as possible.  For the first time in my personal Bix history I purposely found a patch of sun to stand in while in the staging area.  For the next 20 minutes to race start I tried to push out images of ripping a cold hamstring going up the big hill at the start.  To help prevent that I brought along a container of Bio-Freeze and put a bunch of it on my hamstrings and calves after entering the shoot.  Sure it smelled a bit minty fresh, but at least the legs were retaining some of the heat from my quick pre-race stretch – it cost me a half empty bottle of Bio-Freeze, but a small price to pay to protect the muscles I rely on to get me to the finish line.

A few formalities, a nice live rendition of the National Anthem and bang! my 11th running of the Bix 7 race was on.  The hard training and new running style was paying off – the first hill was gobbled up with little impact.  So much time was spent trying to find the fastest path through the people labyrinth that I didn’t even realize it was over.  Having run the race so many times now, I have a real good idea of where my splits should be based on physical landmarks (I always have problems finding the mile markers so stick with more visible landmarks that are easy to find no matter what state of delirium I happen to been in.   Looking down at the watch I was waaaay ahead of expectations.  At this point figured I’d go ahead and push as much as possible and see if the body would hang on enough to finish vertical.  Second split still way ahead, third split (at the turnaround) was also really good and two of the toughest parts were behind me.    The split landmarks are the same going back.  The next one was not ahead as much as the previous ones, but still looking good.  Mile 5 was my suffering mile.  Carrying all that speed was catching up with me and the legs and lungs were laboring (keep in mind miles 4 and 5 are uphill).  This is when you gently remind yourself of all the hard work you put in training in the hills of Jubilee.  When you get to mile 6 you can let out a great big sigh of relief  – that big hill you start the race with is a gift from heaven on your way back down (although due to a sad moment a  few Bix races ago, I always give a mental shout out at this point to a fallen runner).  Unbelievably, the final split before the last dash to the end also looked good – time to give it everything I had and finish strong.

.. and as you can tell by the traditional post-race shot, I made it through – another year of staying on the outside of the ambulance.  To be honest, this is the first time not one but TWO people asked me if I was okay while winding down from the finish line.  Must have looked a little worse than I felt, but I was vertical and just trying to get as much air in my lungs as possible.  A shout out to the race volunteer and another runner for caring enough to make sure I was alright.  In reality I was feeling elated having just CRUSHED my personal best by over 2 minutes.  The official race time 54:04 (SWEET).  The weather certainly helped, but the hard work changing my running style is definitely paying off.

Congratulations go to Linda as well.  She completed her 12th running of the Bix.  This year she convinced some of her coworkers to join the festivities.  I think they made the decision to go the night before and signed up online that night.  The Bix is one huge party.  You can choose to delay some of that enjoyment  and race competitively or opt to take in all the fun along the way.  Linda’s friends were definitely enjoying all that the Bix had to offer.  Somehow I missed it, but a military unit had set up a climbing wall at the top of the Quick Bix turnaround and were busy offering racers the opportunity to take  a mid race climb.

Awesome!  Linda opted to be the photographer to capture the moment.  Believe they got a shirt and a water bottle for their extra effort.  Pretty sure they’ll be back next year – need to work on them and convince them that the full race is faaaar better (I’ll leave out the suffering part of my story).  Linda wasn’t the only one who successfully convinced friends to join the festivities.  Remember Rhonda?  She was on my Screaming Pumpkin team (link here) and kicked butt on this year’s Steamboat 15K Race (link here).  This year she took on the the big hills of the full Bix and “owned it”.  She opted to start back a little further in the staging area forcing her to really work to get through the pack.  Knowing that and having been back there myself during the early years I can assuredly tell you her time was damn impressive – way to go Rhonda! — hope she comes back next year and shows me how it is done (got to get her moved up further at the start).  Her husband Ron -who also participated in the Screaming Pumpkin race – also took on the Quick Bix with Linda.  Not sure I ever heard how it was from his perspective, but he made it to the Bix post race in good shape too.  Here is our post race picture.  Sorry for how bad it turned out, but the person we talked into taking our picture didn’t exactly execute.  Oh well, not bad considering we had just conquered another Bix and did I mention it was COLD!

I should call your attention to the young woman between Ron and Rhonda.  That is their daughter Paige.  She also has the distinction of completing the full Bix 7.  We had quite the chuckle when she told us she had intended to only do the Quick Bix (2 miles) but somehow missed the turn off.  Still not sure how she did this since they do have a big sign over the road and someone with a bullhorn telling all the Quick Bixers to shift to the right for the jog over a block to make the trek back down.  I know this spot well since it always brings a smile to my face when I think of my running joke that is called the Bix SEVEN.  Same pleasure I get when the 4 milers at the Steamboat Race in Peoria peel out from the crowd to head back while us 15Kers prepare to take on the hills.  I think she might have even called her dad during the race to inform him she might not be on the right route.  She didn’t let that bother her, she simply finished the entire 7 miles! (and still sporting the biggest smile in the picture).  I sure hope they all come back with us next year – maybe they will even have real Twinkies for us a again – note to race organizers, Zingers are NOT A valid substitute for Twinkies.  If that isn’t enough incentive, they will all get a pin for competing in their 2nd Bix race and since it will be the race’s 40th running, we should all get a nice anniversary medal.  If only we can keep the same race time weather – as long as it warms up a bit AFTER the race so we can enjoy all the food and drinks they have to offer without sucking it through chattering teeth.

Congratulations to everyone who participated this year – Hope to see ya’ all next year!

6 thoughts on “Crushed It”

  1. Nice summary of the race. For the record, even after stopping for 5 minutes during the race while my friends climbed the rock wall, my chip time was still not the slowest finish of any previous Quick Bix for me. But it was a good 10 minutes slower than the year I got swept up in a group of runners at the start and had to jog the first mile. I thought I was going to drop from a heart attack that year but it did make for an awesome finish time! Oh and I was dragged down by having to carry Brian’s jacket the entire way 🙂


  2. Is that the year you lost to a hot dog? I will concede that the windbreaker probably cost you at least 5 minutes from the fatigue so I’ll allow you to recover some of that time .. but stopping to take pictures of friends climbing a rock mountain in the middle of the race … can I have a ruling here .. anybody? anybody?


  3. Yes that was the year the Oscar Meyer Weiner beat me but I was slowed down because my co-walker had a broken foot and a cast on it!


  4. soooo what I’m reading is confirmation you lost to a Hot Dog! Now I don’t know about all the other blog readers out there, but I’m thinking that trumps any comments about having to carry a windbreaker… but again, that may just be me


  5. Congratulations–you seem to be doing personal bests every time now! But I know why. I just went back to view last year’s Bix roundup, and in the first picture (in an easy chair as in this post), you have an eerie semblance of a certain Tony Stark:

    And is that Bio-Freeze all over your legs in the second and last pictures? Good Lord, what is that stuff, anyway?? I’m not sure at all that it’s not a banned substance in sports. Something to pursue now in my spare time.

    Oh, and IMO, Linda gets at least 30 minutes for carrying your windbreaker. And the implication is not only that she stopped to take pictures, but that she carried the camera the whole way! And obviously the Hot Dog loss is due to helping her co-worker. Now that I think of her Good Samaritan ways, if I were you I’d give Linda your pin and medal and call the race a tie.

    Paige seems to be the real trouper here–congratulations to her!

    BTW, just so you know, although the revamped Hostess company claims the new Twinkies aren’t any smaller than they were before, the fact is that they had decreased the size shortly before they went bankrupt. So they’re not quite the same as you recall.

    You seem a bit stiff in the last picture–no preliminary back sprains or anything, I presume…



  6. Surrrree go ahead and jinx me why don’t ya’! At this point in time I’d say that streak is in jeopardy but I never count myself out until I cross the finish line. Like I mentioned in the post, this year has been extremely bizarre in the sense the usually hot runs have been relatively mild which as all runners know is a very very good thing.

    Ha Iron Man – I like that since it plays on so many different levels.

    Easy on the Bio-Freeze – although that stuff is a lifeline for me, it is perfectly legal – maybe A-Rod should have chosen something safe like this instead of cheating the game. The effect you are seeing is bad camera phones that we were forced to use – nothing else except of course they were being freezer burned in the cold temps.

    30 minutes!!! – you are crazy – I’ve ran with far more impeding conditions and it only cost me a minute or two – as Linda can attest, I’ve lined up in just about every condition imaginable at the Bix – an no I will NOT go into any details on that. Repeat after me CAMERA PHONE – the same camera phone I carry with me for every training run (case my heart gives out I can make one final text “Game Over”) – so no pin and no metal

    Yes, Paige was clearly the Iron Lady of the day.

    Yea, I had heard their sad excuse for the smaller size – not sure if I mentioned it or not, but it just occurred to me a few weeks ago that Twinkies were named because they came in pairs – funny how they kept the name when they changed them to singles – guess Singlies just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    and per your last question – sigh, being none the wiser, the cries of my demise are lies but I’m desiring some rat frying


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