Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Bix 7

My shoes, timer and bib from the 2015 Bix 7 Run.  Photo by J. Berta

Greetings All:

Last Saturday was the 41st running of the Quad Cities Bix 7 road race.  I did not have plans to run the whole thing, originally opting to do the "Quick Bix," the 2 mile race.  That would have been the intelligent thing to do, seeming how I had (ahem) failed to train at all for this event.  

For those of you not familiar with the "Bix 7," here's a bit of history:  The race came about 41 years ago after a local resident ran the Boston Marathon and was inspired to start a race here in town.  "Here in town" for those of you who are not locals is Davenport, Iowa. 

Originally, the race was part of the jazz festival in honor of the local son, Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke.  A phenomenally talented jazz musician, Beiderbecke was also a chronic alcoholic who succumbed to the fate of many artists who could not deal with their demons.  He was dead at 28.  A sad fate, to be sure.

And then his music was all but forgotten.  Then, as often happens to the past, folks decide it is worth remembering.  That is where the jazz festival comes into play.  Back some 40+ years ago, a group of jazz fans got together and started the Bix Jazz Festival.  It became well known and if your into that type of music, it was a great event.  Even if you were not, then it's still a summer street party and who doesn't like that?  

The run started as a sideshow to the jazz festival.  That did not last long.  From a field of 80-some runners the first year, now it is pushing 12,000 to 16,000 runners and walkers.  It is considered a premiere road race and I've heard it is the biggest non-marathon in the Midwest.  I've got some citations below to the race if you'd like more information on it.  

Now, as to my "participation" in it this year.  My original plan was to run the "Quick Bix," a two-mile race that lets runners participate in the run up Brady Street (a fairly challenging hill) and then get to the post-race party with various refreshments.  One of my friends commented last year, "I did the Quick Bix and there was no line for the beer!"  

As I mentioned, that was my plan.  That actually made sense as I had (ahem) not trained.  That morning, as I was slugging coffee and sipping water, I was loading up songs on my iPhone.  I realized that even with my lumbering pace, there was no way I'd get to even half of these songs if I just did two miles.  So I left myself open to a "game day decision" about running the whole thing.

As the race started and Bob Mould's "The War" blasted through my earbuds, I was on the fence about turning off for the shorter race.  What to do?

Then, I made the decision.  "Fuck it," I said to myself.  Who knows, I might have even said it out loud.  (Like anyone would have heard me or cared.)  So I ran the whole thing.

I didn't win.

No, in fact, my time was a "blazing" 1:40:56 by my official score in the paper.  Here's what my watch said as I huffed across the finish line:

My "unofficial" time.  Photo by J. Berta

So even though I was really, really slow, I had a great time at the race.  I got to experience the whole event.  I made it a point to fist bump (as I was a sweaty mess) my friend Ken who was blocking off a street with his Harley Davidson.  I got a hose sprayed on me, said hi to friends on the path, blew a kiss at the Marilyn Monroes on the route (and got one blown back at me, thank you very much) and even managed to sprint that last...oh quarter mile.  In other words, I got the whole experience.

I even got a photo with these guys...

"The Kings and I," photo by J. Berta

My point is this:  When in doubt, chase the experience.  Be smart, of course.  I ran very slow and like to think I would have stopped had my body told me to.  Yet at the same time, I think we talk ourselves out of doing things, a LOT of things, because we're afraid of what could happen, what could go wrong.  We worry what others might think, that they will laugh or mock us for trying.  

To hell with them and all the other cynics, critics, naysayers and general buzz-killers.  If you want to do something that involves a challenge, yet offers a reward, then do it.  The Marines have a great saying:  "Pain is temporary."  They're right.

So next year, I hope to see you at Bix, if you're in town.  If you're not ready to run it, that's fine, walk it.  If you're not ready for the full 7 miles, do the Quick Bix.  Of course, check with your physician and Chiropractor (you do have both, right?) before training.  Ah yes, training.  

I think I'll do that for next year.  I know I can do better, if only to get down to "double digits" in minutes.  And I'll have that experience to write about in this blog.
Be well my friends,

This blog post is dedicated to my friend Ken and the countless other volunteers who make the Bix 7 the wonderful event it is, thanks.


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