First off let me say how near and dear the Bix 7 is to me. I spent a fair amount of my childhood in Davenport, IA. When I was little my grandparents use to take my brother and I down to various parts of the race course to watch “The Bix at 6,” which is their training runs on Thursdays leading up to the Bix (sometimes my grandfather was running sometimes we’d just take a picnic dinner and just watch). Those are some of my best memories as a child. So actually running this for the first time last year meant the world to me. And having my grandad tell everyone I was running and seeing how proud he was was an awesome feeling. I know my grandma was there in spirit and she’d be just as proud. It was an emotional time, but really the most sentimental of my running days thus far.
The actual race itself is also very special. The race is almost always held during the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. It was started by a local resident in the 70′s after he ran his first Boston Marathon. It’s a 7 mile out and back race which contains the “famous” Brady Street Hill, a 7 to 9% grade hill, or 4 to 5 degrees, that lasts for close to 1/3 of a mile. Thankfully this hill is at the beginning of the race, but I will tell you at the end coming down this bad boy is quite tricky. I want to thank the stranger who was handing out Freeze Pops on the way down from that hill who gave me the pink one, you were an angel that day my friend. The other really special thing about this race is the community. People really come out for it. The whole course is packed with cheering fans, bands, little kids looking for high fives and handing out baggies with ice, signs, and even Elvis is seen racing in the costume contest. It’s really something.
I had planned to run last spring, before I got sick. Then in late May I got sick and wasn’t running hardly at all. So by the time July rolled around I was hesitant but figured I could always walk if need be. Woke up that morning and it was raining and the clouds were dark. Being a July race it’s usually hot. I remember being super excited and scared not knowing how much I would be able to do. I had been feeling better, but still not great and hadn’t been running. The race started and the rain let up a bit. Splashing through the puddles was actually a highlight.
And though I ran slow and had to really push myself to complete, I did. I ran the whole dang thing. I even got to see Ryan Hall, who won! Sadly Meb Keflezighi, a Bix LEGEND (sure Meb is so much more than that but he is a 5 time winner) was out due to injury! Someday I’ll run with him. One of the best parts about the Bix is it’s out and back so you get to see the elite runners which I find to be amazing and inspiring and it always puts me in awe. Not to mention I like to brag I ran with them, even if it is brief.
So I finished in 1:14:30. Not something to be proud of but I started it running, ran through the halfway point, and finished running. I want to give a special thank you to my Mom, little sister (who was a FANTASTIC photographer for the day), and my grandaddy for sitting in the rain to watch. It really meant the world to me to know they were there and getting to see them while I was running and being able to shout to them meant so much. I know Mom, next time keep running, don’t jump up and down shouting and waving…I’ll try. Hope you weren’t too embarrassed. Luv you!
Sadly I had to miss the Bix this year, but I know I will not miss it again. Every summer WILL be a Bix summer.