I first ran the Bix in 2004, back when I only had a 4 pack of kids. I honestly don't remember why or what motivated me. Other than I wanted to be able to say I've done the race. When people knew I was a runner that was a common question asked, Have I ever run the Bix and I always said no. I do remember that 03-04 is about when I mentally began to think about long(er) distance running. Thinking I was capable, but just wasn't sure since I hadn't actually done it yet. But I wasn't doing anything about that. I kept with my 3-5 mile runs and called it good. My husband was down with the idea so we agreed to run it together. I agreed not to leave him behind and we'd finish together. We finished in 1:04:52 Also worth noting that I ran in a full homemade Statue of Liberty costume with my torch held up the entire time!!
Fast forward to 2010 and by then I had my full 6 pack & I decided I wanted to run the Bix again. Dear husband also ran, but this time it was each runner for themself and I finished in 58:42. This year was the year Ryan Hall ran & won! I was just beginning to hit the longer distances and really pay attention to those type of runners. I was a Ryan fan by then, but it totally slipped my radar that he'd be there and I didn't know about it until just before the race started. That morning it had rained and poured like cats and dogs. So I couldn't run with my camera (this was before smartphones with cameras and I literally used to run with a camera in my hand to catch those race memories.), but saw him run by me & went wild, screaming like a hormonal teenage girl.
Here we are in 2014 and I was kind of thinking about running, especially since I knew Meb was going to be there and didn't want to miss that opportunity. It sealed the deal when my 13 year old son also wanted to run the Bix. So we signed up together and looked forward to the date. I went to the expo the day before for packet pick up. I desperately wanted to see and meet Meb, but couldn't seem to find him. I was distracted with drama over my cat that I had taken in to be put down that morning and just wasn't willing to hunt him down. I guess I went expecting it to be easy to find him, his table, his booth, whatever & for some reason didn't come across it. So I left. Totally bummed out. I knew he was specifically signing autographs again later in the day, but I wasn't going to be there & some (not me!) didn't think it warranted a second drive over there.
On race morning we lined up with the over 18,000 other people running the race. In addition to the 7 mile run there is also the Quick Bix that is 2 miles long. We all start together and head up Brady Street hill. This is what it looks like:
An overview of what it looks like.
What it looks like on the ground.
Craaaaaaziness!! But I knew this & was strategical with my running. If you even want to call it that. I mean, most people know that you do not run the Bix to run a personal best. There are just too many people and too much craziness to be able to get out there are run a solid 7 miles. Not only with the factor of that many people, many of whom do not line up as they should (so annoying the amount of walkers I have to run past & around when they are clearly instructed to line up in the back!), but there is also the factor of the race course.
This is what we are running. This is no flat & fast course. So, you go in with the attitude of running/racing for fun and the experience. Although the Bix is now the spot of the national championship 7 mile race. So some people are there to go all out & win. Those elite people are put right up front and have the advantage of being ahead of everyone else. That is not your average man/woman racing the Bix.
So I told myself, just go run. Have fun. Don't worry about time. I mean, under an hour is always nice, but not going to stress over it. My son said I didn't have to stick with him, but I told him I would see how things went. Once the gun went off and we survived the run up Brady St. hill we stuck together until about mile 3. I was hanging back with him & we watched for the leaders to pass us. I stopped long enough to snap this picture:
I cheered and screamed madly for Meb and figured that was the closest I was going to ever get to him.
After that I picked up speed and began to run a little more intently. My son seemed to be doing fine & I was in the mood to push harder. I continued to pick up my pace and really began to run as if my finish time was going to matter. Well, it always matters to me, but really my competitiveness began to creep out and I could no longer just run for fun. I most definitely wanted to run a sub 1 hour and I knew my previous time & wanted to beat that too.
I finished in 55:56
Not too bad. Especially considering I didn't really turn on the speed until right before the half way point. It's a PR for me and I was happy with it.. Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1: 8:51
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 7:29
Mile 5: 7:22
Mile 6: 7:36
Mile 7: 6:45
Here are my finishing stats:
1,396/10,790 overall finishers
260/5,355 female finishers
19/609 female finishers in my age group 35-39
Not going to lie. I'm already thinking that I want to find out how fast I really can run this race. I can seed myself faster to get in a start coral closer to the start and I can run like I mean it from the get go. That's where I can start, the rest would be up to me & my speed.
My son John also ran very well. He finished in 1:02. Super awesome for it being his first ever 7 mile race. And for being 13 and honestly not training a lot. I mean he did train some, but not in any serious manner. I think he's got some of his mommy's natural speed. Here we are after the finish:
And then we made our way in to the after party. I found my Muscatine Running Friends and chatted with them. Started to bust a move, with some dancing and just plain having fun. When the awards were presented they had Meb giving out the awards. I didn't know how the race went for Meb, but he finished 12 even though he was in the lead when I saw him. So I moved right up to the stage to get as close to him as possible. I snapped this picture:
Again, thinking that I wouldn't get to actually meet him. I at least wanted a selfie with him in the background. After the men's awards were done I kept hanging around....yeah, like a creeper & I saw someone getting their picture with him so I lurked a little bit closer and when he was done with that person I walked right up and asked for a picture with him:
I was over the moon. I told him congratulation on Boston and that I'd see him there next year! He was very nice & polite & shook my hand. I was completely star struck. By then a line was forming to greet him. In the mean time they were announcing the female winners and I heard that Sarah Hall, Ryan's wife, had won second place. I was so wrapped up in Meb being there that I paid no attention to the females that would be racing. I kept a close eye on her because I was wondering if Ryan was there too. No such luck, or if he was, I didn't see him. I was too chicken to approach her or make it seem like I didn't really care about her, but rather her husband. So since I didn't see him around I didn't approach her. Kinda kicking myself over that one. She does seem like a stand out person!!
There was still a line of people to meet Meb. He was also signing their bibs and I hadn't even thought about getting his autograph so I joined the line and waited again to meet him. This time I had my son go talk to him as well.
Such a proud mommy moment, watching my son meet this legendary runner. They chatted for a few moments (Meb is so casual and at ease) and then he asked my son, John, if it was his first time running this race & when John answered yes Meb stopped and with a big smile on his face gave John a high five. I was not fast enough to catch that moment, but it's sealed in my mind forever! Meb seemed so happy and proud of my son!!
I stepped up and had Meb sign my bib as well and got a more up close & personal picture of us:
Yep, a selfie moment!!
This was definitely a very memorable Bix for me. I plan to be back next year. I can always keep my fingers crossed that Ryan will be back, although I'll take any race & any chance to meet him even if it's not the Bix. For the first time I'll be running the Bix with a bit more seriousness. I can't change the mass of people there or the hills we have to tackle, but I can run all out and do my best.