This past July, I walked/ran the Bix 7 with my dad, my first time doing the event, his 15th or 16th. My dad's been trying to get me and my brother to do it for sometime now, last year was the first either of us had gone. And I'm extremely glad I did, it was a fun experience and an overall good time. We signed up as walkers, because neither of us had trained very much, and wanted to enjoy the seven miles at a leisurely pace. We started near the end of the 15,000+ large pack of people, and took about 10 minutes for us to actually get to the starting line after the race had commenced. Our "official" race time was 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 32 seconds for myself, with my dad coming in three seconds later, so we probably actually did it in just over an hour and a half, which is not bad at all for walking. We did run the last mile or so, so we did make up some time, but we still did ok for an out-of-shape 25 year-old and a slightly more in-shape 57 year-old. Plus, we had a pretty awesome picture taken of us, which I'll get to in a minute. (They have a stand set up near the finish line that takes a picture of everyone as they come in, then a couple of weeks later the photos are sent out and you have the option of ordering photos. We had to order a copy of ours, you'll see why in a minute.)
I bring this up because my dad just got an entry form for this year's Bix, on July 29th. I am already pumped up to do it again. The race was a great time, then there's the "after party" where they have tons of free food, music, and even free beer once you've finished. (The beer line is always the longest, go figure.) There's also bands set up along the route, and people cheering on the participants the whole way. The route's pretty intense, a fewI bring all of this up because my dad got some information recently about signing up for this killer hills, and the first mile is entirely uphill. But that's not the worst part, that comes a few miles into it, shortly before the turn-around point, when the hill grade gets near 25%. (I don't know if that's the actual grade, but it sure as hell feels like it after you've gone 3 miles.) The map of the course is to the right. Also, the road race is just a part of the festivities. The entire weekend is the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, with a street fest in downtown Davenport, and jazz bands playing the entire weekend all throughout the town, including my favorite venue, LeClaire Park, on the Mississippi River. (For those unaware, Bix Beiderbecke was a talented trumpet player in the 1920's, a Dixieland jazz artist, from Davenport, IA. Good stuff.)
Anyways, besides having an entry form for this year's Bix, there was a postcard with last year's results. I had thought I did ok, but it turns out in my age division, I finished 1343 out of 1404, meaning I beat 61 people. Great. But it gives me a goal now, I gotta improve that. And this year, we're running it the whole way. Or at least jogging most of it. Probably a few breaks to walk. And maybe re-tie a shoe. My overall place wasn't that bad, at 8782, right around 50%. So I can feel better about that, I guess. And this year, I may have even moved up a bracket, into the 26-30 age range. So with age comes slowness, right? Well, not for me. I'm actually going to kind of train this year, I've started working out a little, and will increase that with improving weather. My goal is to get closer to a 10-minute mile pace, maybe even try to push it to an hour. I think I can do that. I will do that.
So, as promised, here's the picture of my dad and me as we neared the finish line for 2006's Bix 7. This may be one of my favorite pictures of myself, just because I look ridiculous (I was going for the Howard Dean "BEEYAH!" look, and I am absolutely rockin' that headband. I need to bust that out more often), my dad looks a little ridiculous, and, as many people have pointed out, we look like we've been running hard, while the woman behind us is casually strolling. Our shirts are soaked, mostly from pouring water out over ourselves to try to cool off on a hot day.