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Archive for the month “July, 2013”

7 and 7

In honor of Bix weekend I went for two 7 mile runs. My way of feeling connected to the race I skipped for first time since starting my streak of 10 in a row. I know the race will be there next year and I can start a new streak then, yet I am a tad sad, but I can run, so that is the important thing. Run for mind, body and relationships. Health of all three is key.

This week on the ipod I have been playing my Bix7 2012 playlist ,which has a few songs that I had been rehearsing for an audition for the band Rattlebox. At the time of Bix 2012 I had auditioned, but had yet to find out if I had made the cut or not. It was a very stressful time and I remember thinking more about the band than running that day. Running is so cool that when you are running your mind can take you somewhere else completely. The ultimate multi-tasking.

I wrote this blog with one hand as the other arm had plasma taken out of it. Hows that for multi-tasking? lol

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Bix 7 Results (continued)

(continued from previous post)

5. The spectators. Bix has the best cheering section of all races. Marathons like Chicago have people lining the course for most of the distance. Bix has fans lining the entire course plus they up on the figures of the sport like the previously mentioned Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

4, The beat the champs challenge. One average runner has a chance with a head start to win a jackpot. It is pretty cool to see that runner go all out to win the cash and most years she or he does.

3. Street venders. Part of my post race routine is to check out the venders post post race party. I gotten my share of cheap sunglasses and kick ass gyros.

2. 45 minutes flat. Many run for and will always remember his or her PR in a race.  My second Bix I was in top shape and the weather was right. It was cool to run a fast time early in my race career, but frustrating not to get back there year after year.

1. Elite runners on an out and back course. Being able to see the elites racing back at you and judge how far you are from the turnaround is awesome. This more than anything keeps the race connected to all who participate.

10 is just a number when there are so many more reasons run this race. It is truly special.

Bix 7 Results 2013

The weather was perfect for fast times and even better memories. Well, that is if you were fortunate to hit the starting line this morning. After 10 years in a row of running my favorite race, the streak came to an end. Yeah, I am a bit sad, however I will look forward to next year’s Bix and will take this time to reflect on some fun moments over the last 10.

10. Seeing Bill Rodgers in jeans 10 minutes before the race and thinking, “Too bad Bill is not running this year, wonder what is wrong with him.” and then having him pass me at the turnaround. I tried to keep up with him for the next mile, which was great hearing the fans yell his name. I pretended my name was Bill to use the extra support as motivation to keep going hard. He eventually did drop me, but I did have my best time that year.

9, The rain year. Hiding under a bank’s overhang to stay dry before the race. Being soaked for most of the race and then a good 1/2 hour after the race at the post race party. Not the best memory, but there is always the most of something race and this was the most drenched race.

8. The Marilyn Monroes. Several ladies all dressed in all white Marilyn outfits running and then dancing at the post race party. Good for a chuckle and a smile every year.

7. Brady Street Hill. Right off the bat a 1/4 mile hill that keeps the disciplined runners honest and the fools in side stitches or worse. Even effort is the key here.

6. Post Race Party. I will admit it was better when they had live bands, yet it still remains the best post race party in the land. Plenty of food and drink to satisfy all that complete the full hilly 7 miles.

(come back tomorrow for the top five)

Bix 7 2013 Report

The Iowa mornings have been unseasonably cool lately, which should mean for some awesome conditions for this year’s Bix 7.  Since the Bix is a hilly race the common thought is that no one PR’s at the Bix. Well…. how many 7 mile races are out there anyway? Not many. The Bix is the only 7 mile race that I have ever participated in, so wouldn’t one’s PR at the Bix be his or hers 7 mile PR? Most likely. So this should be the year.

Of course the weather could change quickly as it is known to do in the Midwest, so no one really knows until race day. What ever the weather there is always the best post race party at the Bix, so there is always that to look forward to.

Bix 7 Davenport, IA July 27, 2013

Bix 7 – Run Hills for 7 Miles

Fast and flat used to be all the rage. Down hill even better. Now the trend as flipped to the tougher mudder races. Well there is an old fashion tough race called the Bix 7. No need to fabricate a tough race, the Bix 7 has hills that have been there for hundreds of years. The city streets of Davenport, IA provide the tough the natural way without the mess.

Olympic Gold Medal Winning Freestyle Wrestler and Hall of Fame Coach Dan Gable pushed himself and his teams beyond their talent level. Running up the stairs at the arena and pushing themselves to the brink of puking (sometimes beyond) gave them a competitive advantage. There wasn’t any other team in better condition.  Racing over hills equates to pushing yourself beyond what the average runner is willing to do. Sure training over hills is advantageous, yet competing gives one a mental advantage over someone who merely trains over the same terrain.

The Bix 7 is one great way to challenge yourself and the enjoy the spoils at the best post race party anywhere. That is of course if you have the guts.

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Mile High and Higher

As kids, my parents took us to Colorado on a family vacation. We found a basketball court and played around for a short while. Short because we felt the effects of the thin mountain air. Today the experts call it “altitude training” back then we just called it “sucking wind”.

My best marathon was after some mountain runs, so I feel like it helps to work out at altitude, however there were several other bonus attributes (lowest weight and overall conditioning) at that time, so the results are not scientific. I can attest to running in the mountains to be much more difficult than running at sea level, so that is all that is important. Like riding an old heavy steel bike compared to a new high-tech light one, the hard makes all the difference. I’ll take the hard every time in training to make the final event feel easier in comparison, which does wonders for the mental aspect of competition. To struggle in training makes it much easier to be run relaxed when it counts.

I was fortunate enough to hit the mountains of Truckee, CA over the weekend for the first time in about 10 years. My lungs burned as I ran up from 6,600 feet to around 7,600 feet. I got in about 15 miles over 3 runs (pulling a double on Sunday) in 2 days. Not a lot of miles for a weekend, yet the inclines were brutal, so the miles weren’t my main objective, survival was.

I have a cousin who lives in Monmouth Lakes, CA, which is where many elite marathon runners go for their altitude training. 8,000 feet in city and only up from there in the mountains. He says he can feel a big difference from Truckee to Monmouth Lakes. I sure would like to visit and give it a test. Maybe next year.

Now I am back home to 95 degree heat. Will have to see if heat is more of a challenge than hills and thin air.

Off for a run. Talk to you all soon.

Nice Day Even Better Run

Summer heat brings the challenge of finding a good time to run. Beat the heat morning runs tend to be the best bet. Yet the schedule doesn’t always allow for the opportune run  to come at the opportune time, so it is definitely pleasing when nature takes a break from the fry.

Today was one of those cooler days (at least for a little while) to get that perfect run in. After days of struggling through the sauna, I felt like my legs were live again. The miles just came and went like no effort was being employed. Swift yet relaxed. The feeling is not completely unknown, however it has been on vacation since last fall, maybe longer.

Running can  be a lot of chasing rainbows and never seeing the pot of gold. Today was one of days where the chase was on and riches were had (even though only in spirit).

36 Again

To be 36 again. Huhmmmmm, that would be a trick. I remember going to the official time checker at the after party at the 2004 Chicago Marathon. The guy entered my information and said, “3:14:11, great job!” He then gave me high five and I felt pretty darn awesome for the rest of the evening.

Flash forward 9 years and that marathon time is a distant memory. 2 more Chicago Marathons sub 3:28, but never close to another Boston Qualifying time. Yeah it hurts, especially since both times I qualified for Boston, I didn’t go to Boston. Sure I am part of the group that can called themselves BQs, but to never have run Boston still stings.

50 is rapidly approaching. Do I have one more shot at Boston? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that running is a lot more relaxing now that it is just about my sanity and overall health. Would I like to line it up in Hopkinton and take that hilly trek into Boston? Sure, but will I lose sleep over it? Probably not. Could I take any more wishy with my washy?

After 4o running takes on a different meanings and that is okay. I think.

Mountains as Motivation

As the sands of time blow away the desire to race/compete, the need to find reasons to get out the door become important. Nothing motivates me more than the thought of running through, by or within sight of cool stuff. Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline comes to mind. The thing that really gets me going is a run in the mountains.

It could be that mountain running is such an infrequent endeavor for me. I live in the flat Midwest with Denver, CO 800 miles away. I was fortunate enough to have a career years back where I traveled to Denver several times with enough free time to run over to the foothills of Golden, CO. As a child my family camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. Plus on those family vacations we listened to a lot of John Denver. Mountains really pump me up.

Next weekend I am making a trip to the Lake Tahoe, CA area. A little research on Google Maps and this trip looks promising for a few mountain runs. Of course the preparation leading up to the trip is key. I have been ramping up my mileage over the last few months, however one thing I can’t simulate is the altitude and thin air. When I ran in Golden back in 2002, I was full in marathon training mode and really didn’t notice a difference. This time around I am heavier and my mileage (though above average) is not anywhere near 60 mile per week. Extreme care will need to be taken.

I can hear John Denver now with a medley of great mountain songs…..Almost heaven…..Rocky Mountain High…..eagles fly….

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