Ooops! So I sat down at my computer all prepared to cover the latest addition to my running career – more specifically, the most recent accomplishment on the ultra-marathon trail circuit. That was the intention until I noticed there was another race sitting in the queue that I had completely forgotten about. Now that will just not due, so the ultra will have to wait a bit as the Bix was BACK!
Now that I’ve officially made the migration to the joys of the dirt and mud on the trail, there are very few races on the road that get me too excited. What was once my bread and butter now holds little enjoyment for me. Truthfully, some of that is due to something I cannot control – Father Time. As the years went by, the wear and tear on the body started taking their inevitable impact and push to simply maintain the pace from the previous year was becoming frustrating. As that is the measure of quality on the road it became a source of frustration. Fortunately, there is still one road race that gets me excited – one that will likely forever hold a special place – the one that started it all!
Hit the jump to learn if the road go the best of me!
Yep, the Bix 7 held the last weekend in July and my first official race 19 years ago.. I think it was 19.. been competing there ever since and now the years are getting harder to count (yeah, pretty sure it was 19). Thanks to the pandemic, I can only claim 18 consecutive runs as last year the race was for all respective purposes – canceled. Sure they attempted some bogus virtual run but paying for a medal for doing a normal training run holds no interest for me. Question was – were they going to hold it this year as there was still hotspots in various places and variants were supposedly emerging. We decided to get our entry fees in and hotel room scheduled in the hopes it would take place.
It was very sketchy leading up to race day. The race director starting issuing requirements – masks in the starting chutes, ridiculous plans to launch around 6 people at a time for a traditional 17,000+ race and other restrictions that had my finger hovering over the cancel button. I had ZERO interest in dealing with mask protocols ESPECIALLY if it involved any condition that included any portion of actually running which was some initial thoughts that were being floated. Not to mention, the second reason you suffer through the annual heat blast at that time is to enjoy one of the best post-race parties anywhere.
Luckily all the COVID related restrictions were lifted the week of the race. Once again, Linda and I were able to line up with thousands of our closest friends to brave the mighty Brady Street Hill and its farther more strenuous midpoint hill that has destroyed the hopes of many unsuspecting runners. Clearly there were a number of the usuals that opted to pass up the opportunity either due to the lack of restrictions or the fear of too many restrictions. Entries were way down this year which did give us the ability to space out a bit in the chutes. Honestly, no one around me even looked the least bit concerned, rather very excited to finally be back after the two year hiatus. The only concern I had was the clearing skies and the warming temps. It was going to be another hot one and thanks to the cool spring and nice summer there was not a lot of heat conditioning days under the belt – even the earlier CMAR race was a rainfest (link here).
I had intentionally moved a chute back this year to force myself to take it easy. My training was not focused on endurance and handling the tough terrain of the trails. I feared I would get caught up in the moment and forget that and find myself in bad shape in the later part of the race (there is a 2 mile steady climb coming back from the halfway point). The extra traffic worked as planned and kept me fairly grounded until I made it to the top of Brady and broke through the initial wave as I came down Kirkwood Boulevard. By then the temps were in the high 80’s and the toes were feeling the blacktop heating up. The good news is this race was significantly short of my training runs so as long as the pace was under control I wasn’t going to fatigue. Was feeling fairly good until the dreaded mile 5 which is my traditional grind point. A two stage hill in the middle of the 2 mile climb. Gave myself a pep talk to remind myself it wasn’t about the speed that day, throttled back and tried to enjoy the climb for a change. Caught me by surprise when I made it to the turn back down Brady – legs were still with me and the internal thermometer was handling the now unobstructed blistering sun. Enjoyed the final downhill portion and even encouraged a fellow runner that had just about thrown in the towel on the easiest part of the race – provided some positive words and then reminded him there was less than a .5 miles to endure. He picked it up and even managed to finish ahead of me – chuckled to myself and thought “see you on the ultra-trail” hehehe.
Another Bix 7 in the books and quite frankly, this is probably the best I had felt afterwards. Still winded, of course, but good to know the shift to the trails still left me in good shape for the pavement. Somehow I need to get the trail races to provide Whitey’s Popsicles at the end of the race. Nothing hits the spot like a frozen bar after a hot workout – not to mention this year they had RASPBERRY flavored ones (yes, I had to get me the traditional root beer one as well).
Over all, the stats were not bad, especially considering how bad the 2019 race results were (link here). Granted, that year I was coming back from dropping at the Cry Me A River race and had staples recently removed from my head as a result… but…managed to shed 7 minutes off that race time.
Pretty happy I was also able to recover that quickly from the 50K just a few weeks before that. Since I was back a chute from my normal position, my gun time was longer, but chip events pretty much eliminate that as a stat I even care about – it did give the overall positioning (just for the old me ha).
There you have it, another running of the Bix complete with another incredible post race bash. Hard to believe a few months later I’d be running over 7 times that length… but that is for another post. Before I go, I need to give a huge congratulations to Linda who completed the 2 mile Quick Bix. This is her first Bix since her heart surgery and everything went great. So proud of her.
Stay Calm and Run On!