Between Maggie and I, we’ve run the Bix 7 13 times. Lucky ol’ 13. Needless to say, we’ve written about the Bix in many forms on this blog. From pre-race advice to post-race recaps, we can’t get enough of this big little race. This year, we decided to do a dueling recap. It was one race, with two experiences. Runners, take your mark …
Adrea says: The last three times I’ve run this race, I’ve either been pregnant or recently pregnant, so I have become accustomed to being slow. So when I signed up for this year’s race in a post-baby haze, I put myself in a wimpy start corral, assuming I’d be shuffling through all seven miles. Just as she does every year, my college roommate, Katy, dutifully moseyed to the start corral with me. See, Katy STARTS the race with me every year. But she’s a lot faster than me, so usually I only hang with her for a mile or two before I wither up and die somewhere around mile three. Anyway, we found a sunny spot in the start corral and shivered in the freakishly cool July weather while we waited for the gun to go off.
Maggie says: After learning my lesson in years past, I made sure when I registered to put a speedy predicted finish time so I could get out of the general start corral. Twice, I missed breaking an hour on the hilly 7-mile course by less than 30 seconds, and partially to blame was a 13-minute first mile caused by being forced to bob-and-weave and slow down and nearly murder the leisurely runners around me. But once again, they planted me in the general corral. WHAT?!? I tried to crash the faster corral with a couple friends, but the security was tight, and they sent me packing. Sonofa! The only thing left for me to do was maneuver my way as far up in the general corral as possible. Great. Here we go again.
The Brady Hill
Adrea says: Because of the freakishly nice weather conditions this year, we didn’t have anyone stall out in front of us on the climb up Brady, but it still took us almost 12 minutes to body check people through that first mile.
Maggie says: My legs were on fire for the first five minutes up the monster hill, which worried me because I still had 6.5 miles and several killer hills to go. Then I passed the mile 1 marker and heard my time: 9:45. Hang on a second. That’s not so bad. I think I can do this.
The Kirkwood Slide
Adrea says: I was actually feeling pretty good when we turned the corner to head to my favorite portion of the Bix (i.e. the DOWNHILL part). Normally, I’m desperate for this section, and this year, it just came like a welcome old friend. Katy and I were still together and had been lightly chatting it up and catching up on a year’s worth of gossip. Important stuff here, people.
Maggie says: I was now in a zone. Focused. A mantra replayed in my head: “Must. Break. One. Hour. You can do this.” The crowd was thinning a bit and I was easily passing folks until the traffic jam at the first water stop. I decided to skip taking water and stuck to the middle of the road. That’s when I felt an elbow in my back. I get it, sometimes you bump into another runner, especially during a stretch like this. But I heard no “excuse me.” Instead, I felt another strong arm to my shoulder and was pushed to the side by a skinny bitch in a purple lululemon jacket, full-length tights and supermodel ponytail. OH NO YOU DIDN’T.
Adrea says: In years past, this is the section of the race where I go to my dark place. For whatever reason, this year I easily charged up the hill (which was STILL packed tight with runners), breezed down (and even shouted at my hubby as I spotted him running on the other side of the street), eased around the turn around, and went up and down the hill again. Katy and I were still chatting the entire time, so my lungs must have been in a happy place.
Maggie says: I put my head down. At the turn, my halfway mark split was 30 minutes and some change, so I was right on track. I didn’t even notice that I had passed Adrea’s hubby, Keith, and I didn’t see Adrea and Katy on the other side of the street. In the zone, I tell ya.
The Slow Climb
Adrea says: Because I sprained the daylights out of my ankle on the first day of my Bix training, I only made it up to five miles total before taking on this year’s race. So when we got into the thick of the Bix, I was starting to feel it. My ankle was crying a little bit, too. Then, I remembered that I had some ShotBloks shoved in my pocket, and they were a special present from the running gods. Katy and I gelled it up and marched forward. I was looking forward to a pick-me-up from my parents and my kids in their normal spectating location outside our church, but alas, they didn’t show. Sometimes, I think spectators don’t realize how much they can really change the course of a race. Spectators, we thrive on you! We need you! Keep showing up!
Maggie says: Never underestimate the power of experience. This was my fourth Bix, so I knew exactly how to approach miles 4-6, which are comprised of an excruciatingly long slight incline. My legs felt good, but as I was now running at a pretty fast clip, I could feel my breathing escalating. And then I saw the most wonderful sight. That skinny bitch who had shoved me out of the way was walking at mile 5. I was sooooo tempted to shove her as I left her in my dust.
Brady Street, Part Two
Adrea says: By some miracle, I was still running with Katy when we turned down Brady street and into the final stretches of the race. For me, the majority of the miles of this race were a blur because Katy and I were talking the entire time. I’m not even sure I heard a single song in its entirety on my headphones. This also means that I wasn’t consciously trying to run fast, but upon finishing, I was pleasantly surprised by my I’m-not-trying-to-run-fast pace. Good job, body!
Maggie says: The fastest mile I’ve ever run was the last mile of my second Bix in 2011 (when I missed breaking an hour by 17 freaking seconds). That is, until the last mile of the 2013 Bix. I was FLYING. Now, it wasn’t a matter of breaking an hour, it was a matter of by how much.
The Finishing Stretch
Adrea says: I had a kick left for the end, and as Katy and I busted through the final straightaway, we passed two children and one really huge dude wearing swords and an eye patch (hey, you gotta select a few people to pick off) — but not before I peed my pants. The body is a magical thing, and it does some really amazing things in order to sustain and birth a baby. The bladder control portion of this is less than spectacular. Normally, this wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but since it was so cool out on Bix Saturday, I couldn’t really pass it off as sweat or water. Eh, whatever, I finished with a smile on my face — AND I got to sit shotgun on the ride home, cause no one wanted to share a seat with Adrea Peepants.
Maggie says: Once again, my Bix experience came in handy. It’s real easy to kick it into your highest gear too early on that last stretch to the finish. I reminded myself that the balloons ARE NOT the finish line, it is another 100 yards AFTER the balloons. With “Power of Love” blaring in my headphones, I flashed some horns and sprinted to the finish. 58:09, baby. That’s the power of love.
In the end, it was a banner Bix year. I had the best race I’ve had in years, and Maggie crushed her Bix PR. I’d call that a good day at the races. I’d also like to give props to my dear friend, Paul, who cranked out an awesome finish time — all while being a good sport and wearing a women’s T-shirt for the entire race. We’ll see you next year, Bix! — Aidz and Mags