Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bix Recap

Bix. Bix. Where does one start?

Of course, I raced. As much as I could. And I followed up the race with a beer and a bright yellow-ish Twinkie. Balance, people. Balance.

It all started when we (my mom, aunt, and cousin) woke up at 6 AM on Saturday morning, preparing for the busy morning ahead. While one would assume that this is enough time to dress, eat, and drive nine miles to the race, one would be completely wrong in this case...(!)

My aunt is known to be THE DILLY-DALLIER. Because of this, we didn't park the car until FIVE minutes before a race (BIX) with 12,000 participants. Seriously. Parked about an eighth of a mile away, I jumped out of the car and yelled to my fellow family of runners, "I'll meet you at the running statues!" Hopping puddles and dodging other dilly dalliers (and their 'victims'), I got to the starting line right as the national anthem ended.

Okay. Here we go.

A couple of minutes later, we were off and running. Kinda. If practically walking up a hill is running.

Oh, the Bix got me again.

No, it wasn't the pouring rain that kept me down. Nor the massive, never-ending hills. People. People brought me down. All of the flippin' people running and/or walking slowly. All of those people who should've lined up toward the back of the corral. Just like last year, I was cursing and running on the sidewalks, and then on the grassy boulevard. I saw a few people trip over other runners (and literally fall). And then I saw the glow of Antonio Vega, Ryan Hall, and Lisa Koll, making their final push to the finish line. That distracted me for about ten seconds or so...

My hill training came in very handy for this race; I was able to run "through" the hills, only to be practically stopped by others who (again) practically walked once they got to the top of said hills. At about mile five, I finally got some room and was able to pick up some speed. While I didn't reach my goal of running under an eight-minute mile pace, I did improve my chip time by a few minutes.

And I did partake in the Twinkie. Twinkies just aren't as good as they used to be...

As I waited for half an hour for my other family members, shivering in the rain while drinking beer and gnawing on my crappy Twinkie, I thought about the whole race experience. So weird, when you think about it. 12,000 stinky runners/walkers, as happy as can be, drinking beer and gobbling Ho-Ho's in the pouring rain.

While pissed about my time, I was one of those happy runners. Weird. Running is a paradox.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Race Or Not To Race...

It was about a year ago when I ran the infamous (and insanely frustrating) Bix 7 in Davenport, Iowa. The Bix is an annual seven-mile race that includes two 'severe hills.' For the second year in a row, it's also the American National 7 Mile Championship (yeah - I'm defending my national title, folks). It's a HUGE race that attracts major elite runners, such as Meb Keflezighi, FAM (the eccentric Anthony Famiglietti - one of my faves) and for this year - Ryan Hall.

Major star-power. Killer hills. Shots during the race (kindly distributed by race fans). Michelob Ultra at the finish line. And Twinkies (seriously).

One would think that these are perfect elements for someone who likes middle distance races and free booze. It's also a fab run for those who like to gawk at elites at about mile three when they're (the physically attractive elites) in their last mile, pushing for the finish line. Last year I almost tripped while staring away at the awesome-ness of Meb.

Yes, it all seems too ideal.

Until you get to the starting line and you don't cross it until 10 minutes later. Behind walkers and those who line up according to their IQ and not their real time. Lame. I'm surprised I didn't get kicked out of the race last year due to cussing loudly while running up one of those 'severe hills' in the first mile, meandering between walkers and those runners who walk in the first mile. Seriously. People. Get with the program.

Oh, but I digress. Obviously, I didn't hit my goal time last year. And this year I'm considering downing a few beers before the race. My mother is running this for the third year in a row; and for the first time ever, my aunt and cousin are also partaking in the 'fun.' So...I could 'race' and try to line-up behind Ryan and FAM. Or, I could get a nice buzz going and continue to consume adult beverages in the form of Jell-O shots throughout the race.

Or, perhaps I could do both...?*

*Do you think I could persuade Ryan and FAM to a couple of rounds? Ummmm. Totally.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And so, it begins...

Oye. Vey.

Yes, the official start of marathon training took place this past Monday, July 5th - a 'holiday,' as I didn't have to work. That's right, folks - America celebrated the Overpronator's first day of marathon training by guzzling cheap beer, eating grilled cheeseburgers (YUM!), and oooooh-ing and awe-ing at fireworks - all while I ran the barren streets of downtown Des Moines, huffing and puffing and trying to run off that demonic chocolate cake I ate the day before...

It has begun. And on day four, I'm still going.

On October 17th, I will partake in the Des Moines Marathon. Needless to say, I am a marathon virgin. Yes, I've completed a couple of 20k's (DAM IT!) and a total of three half marathons, as well as countless 5k races. But the beast of the marathon looms, and I really want to conquer that mother.

But, I digress. I started this week with an easy five miles, followed by a couple of tempo runs and then a nine miler coming up this Sunday. Not bad. I can do this, right?

I think the one thing that will help me conquer the motha is remembering to take it one day at a time. My running coach does not put my entire marathon training schedule online, meaning that I have not seen the entire master plan. I'm only able to see my training plan one week at a time. This is good. My mind doesn't get wrapped up on how LONG the training plan is, nor do I get obsessed about how hard it's gonna be.

Oye. But it's still gonna be hard.