Bix 7 Results, What I Learned, Where I Am Going

IMG_3393Not sure where to start. Perhaps I will start by talking about how super sore my legs are right now. My calves down to my ankles are killing me today. I don’t know if my racing flats do it to me or if it was just the course and the way I pushed the body. All I know is that my legs hurt something fierce. Recovery might take longer than expected.

Friday night we headed down the the Jr. Bix for the kids. Aiden and Addy both ran the .5 mile. I love watching my kids run and compete. I don’t know what it is, but watching them give their all in something just makes me so proud of a parent. Addy ran with the 6 year olds(yes, she is 5, but she needed more of a challenge than the 70 yard course of the 5 year olds). She did great. What cracks me up about Addy is her outlook on things. We asked her how she did and she told us, “Good, I was first, but some of the kids just budged me in line!” That cracks me up and it such a typical Addy perspective.

Aiden ran with the 7 year olds. He is not much of a runner, but one thing he does is go all out. He just went hard from the start. This is one of the few times where we get to watch him push himself. He does not have a competitive bone in his body so this is always great to see him challenge himself.

IMG_3397Afterwards I could not resist and tore up some hotdogs, popsicles, and Hostess snacks with the kids. I told myself not to do it, but how does one pass up such greatness? I had been eating clean all week so this food put my body in shock later that night.

This year was great as Amanda decided to do the Bix. She has not raced any type of race ever. She has been working hard on her running, trying to stay motivated and increasing her time she can run. Since we were both running the kids headed to Fulton to stay with their grandparents(thank goodness for such amazing grandparents to help us out in a pinch). Being that we did not have kids Amanda said we had to go out to eat. She chose Sportsfans. I will be honest and was thinking this is not going to be good. How do you there and not eat complete junk. I had my race goals and did not want to ruin my race by food, especially food I have kept out of my system for a week. I have no self control so I had a Pretzel sandwich with turkey(not terrible), but popcorn and a few mason jars. We then watched the Olympics and I was sleeping early as I was wiped out from my big swim earlier that day.

3:00 am I wake up having to pee. I tried to hold it, but could not. As soon as I got up my body went into feel like crap mode. My blew up with congestion, I started doing my morning sneeze routine, I started getting hot and sweaty, and just was a mess. About 30 minutes of making noise and tossing and turning I decided to get up to not wake Amanda anymore.

4:00 am – Thank goodness the Olympics had started. I watched some vicious Badminton. I ate two waffles being that my nutrition plan did not start until 5 am. I was starving. I had a cup of coffee and some agave nectar with my waffles. This started my stomach down a whirlwind path of pain. All that crap I ate the night before hit me. It put a shock on my body. I felt sick to my stomach big time. No more details are needed except I was worried about even being able to race 7 miles without messing myself on the course. I also foamed rolled my legs. My right calf was tight and felt terrible.

5:00 am – Three hours before race I started my nutrition plan. I have been working on this pretty seriously lately. I went all liquid from this point on. No solid food for me. I made my carb/protein drink with some Hammer Nutrition. I began sipping on this over the next 2.5 hours along with some water. I just alternated back and forth. Typically, I would just eat waffles and coffee and then water until the race with a GU right before. I went a new approach along with my change of eating habits.

6:00 am – I am out the door and to the the course. I always need to leave early due to my nerves. My stomach was still a mess. Thank goodness many restrooms had not been used and abused yet so early in the morning. I got all set up and then just walked around for a bit trying to get my gut to settle. It was a beautiful morning.

7:00 am – I took my Endurolytes and headed out for a mile warm-up along the river with about 6 pick up where I took off at a mid sprint to get the legs and heart ready to go.

Pre-Race – What a cool experience to be in the Elite area. So many amazing athletes. I was not feeling nervous, but questioned whether I belonged or not. I stretched a bit and after talking with Jeff and Jen Paul I switched my race strategy. Jen told me to just hammer the first few miles as well as Jeff telling me that my mile 2 would be much faster than what I had in my goal plan. I was glad I talked with them because my plan would not have allowed me to hit my time. They are such great people and have helped me so much this year in attaining my goals by the knowledge they share. I told myself to get after it the first three miles and gauge how I felt.

Running up Brady in the Elite group was awesome. I was able to run straight and now bob and weave all over trying to get around people walking. I was moving up the hill at a much faster clip than I wanted, but it did not feel overly difficult. I told myself to just hang on and stay relaxed. With so many people cheering the runners on it makes it easy to stay relaxed. I just checked them all out to keep my mind off of things. I would check my watch here and there to see where I was time wise.

I was getting nervous after the second mile. My watch was telling me that I was running a faster pace than what the ladies at the mile markers were reading. I kept thinking my watch does not matter because it is not official, but I was not sure I had another gear.

Looking at my Bix strategy I was way ahead of schedule.

For mile 1 I wanted to be under 7:49, but more around 7:35. I killed that by running at 7:02. Not too bad with Brady St. hill.

Mile 2 I wanted to be around 7:00 – 7:05. I was at 6:44. I could have ran faster, but wanted to save my legs a bit for the uphill battle after the turnaround.

Mile 3 and 4 I wanted to be under 7:20. I killed that by staying under 7 for mile 3 and must missing it for mile 4. I slowed down a bit to take a Hammer Gel and water and I had a small section where I zoned out and was not hitting my time. It was around the end of mile 3 I was still feeling good where I decided to change my goal plans. I realized that if I could keep my pace I could hit 49 minutes which is way above my 50 minute goal. I broke the race into mile sections to gauge myself. For mile 4 I tried to hold on and missed the 7 minute mark by a few seconds, but was not too worried because I knew we were starting to climb a bit.

Mile 5 and 6 are my weak spots on this course. Last year I ran 7:37 and 7:52. I wanted to stay strong. I was starting to watch my average running time lose ground. It was here that I told myself to push. Don’t be weak. You are not tired. You have to go and go now! I thought about my dad and the message he sent me about kicking the race a new one(a little more detailed than that, but you get the point and to lose all thoughts of self doubt. I flipped a switch. I had a glimmer of a thought to either collapse and fall back or push. I pushed. It was time. I did not just run 4 miles at this pace to not hit a great time.

I hit 7:05 and 7:12. Mile 6 was tough. I was running and I felt like I was flying in terms of my energy output, but just could not get my time down any more. I did not beat myself up as I knew that I could make up some ground on the last mile. I knew that I would just have to hammer that long stretch after the hill descent. I always die on the stretch to the finish. This year I knew I had to dig deep. The last mile I took Brady St. by storm. I cruised down the hill and looked at my watch seeing my average pace dropped to 6:59. I knew I had to hang on the last .4 of a mile. I just found a this high school girl who was floating and everyone was cheering for her. She was waving and smiling and I kept thinking how she was making it look so easy. I just hammered it home trying to follow her and was able to just squeeze in under 49 minutes!

I completely blew myself out of the water. I was beyond surprised. I never imagined even when I was running fantastic that I would hit sub 7 minute mile pace. This was quite unexpected. To say I was happy is putting it mildly. This PR is huge! 58 minutes two years ago. 52:36 last year and now this year 48:54. Another 3.5 minute reduction in my time. That is a huge improvement. My goal of running 7:08 – 7:12 average pace for a 50 minute time zone race time was destroyed Saturday morning. I could not be more happy. This is something that I honestly did not know I had in me.

It is great to have this moment. It really puts things in perspective in terms of what I am doing is working. Yes, I still have much to improve and can always get better, but this is a sign that my training is working. I am getting my nutrition dialed in slowly, but surely. I felt great the whole race running. I am starting to understand more about the body and how it works while training.

Things I Learned
1. If you treat your body right, it is amazing how powerful the body is and what it is capable of accomplishing.
2. Surround yourself by amazing people and take time to learn from them at all times
3. Believe in yourself. Mindset is 90% of success once the time has been put in. I had not self doubt and I felt mentally strong without those thoughts creeping around my brain.
4. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. If you don’t make it, then it is not a failure. Rather, use it as a tool to learn what went wrong and how you can improve. Sometimes these moments are more important than the successes we have.

IMG_3399Amanda did great for her first race. I am so proud of her for tackling this course for her first race. She does not give herself enough credit and is going through all the phases that someone who gets into running goes through. She is in the, “I am not a runner” phase that I sat in for a while and we all go through when we start off. She is battling some heel and back pain, but was able to finish the race and enjoyed herself as well. I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.

More importantly I just hope I can continue to push my body and mind for my family. I hope that I leading by example and that slowly, but surely my determination starts to absorb into my kids. I don’t know where they are headed into their sports/activities/hobbies, but whatever they choose I hope they work hard at it.

It was great seeing so many people yesterday. Another great Bix. The weather was perfect. Congrats to all of you who finished.

Today I am back to eating healthy again. No more Sportsfan or junk food(yes, we ate there again for lunch after the race!). I will be back on track. I will sit down at some point today put together a plan for the next few months. Time to make some decisions

Thanks for reading!

Here is a slideshow of some pictures from the weekend.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

My Goals For The Bix 7 Saturday

Looking at the weather for Saturday morning I don’t think we could ask for better conditions to run the tough Bix 7 course.

This week I have been trying to get back into the swing of half Ironman training. My body is tired. I could. not get out of bed this morning to get my bike ride in. I would have had to ride indoors anyways with the weather, but my plan was to do a brick workout to work on running with tired legs. I figured this would be good for both my triathlon training and the Bix. I just could not get out of bed this morning. I opted for sleep and took the day to sleep in until 6:45. I only have a handful of days left before it is back to the routine 4:30 am wake up call.

Looking back at my posts from last year for the Bix and also at my Garmin data from the Bix last year I have my work cut out for me this year. My goal is to PR. Last year I crushed my previous time running the Bix of 58 minutes with a 52:36 time. I really surprised myself, but I was immersed in some serious marathon training running and putting in lots of miles for my first marathon.

This year I would like to beat my 52:36 time. This means I need to run faster than a 7:27 mile pace. This was my pace after including some added distance due to the course(I ran 7.07 miles according to Garmin). I don’t know if I can pull this off or not. I am in great shape, but I don’t know that I am in great running shape. With triathlon training I have not been putting in the running miles as much. I really had to scale back my running due to some nagging injuries and therefore have been running even less the last few months.

In order for this PR to happen here is what I feel I must do.

1. Hit Brady St at a decent clip. Not all out or I will bonk hard, but with the chance this year to be closer to the front of the massive 15,000+ pack I think I can get up the hill faster than last year. My mile 1 last year was around 7:49. My goal is to be under 7:49 hopefully around 7:35. Nothing drastic, just smart racing(I think).

2. Mile 2 I cruised on last year hitting 6:53 pace. I honestly don’t know if I can run that fast. I know that was not smart running at that pace last year, but this is one of the few parts of this course where you can just get out and go. I would like to aim for a 7:00 – 7:05 pace.

3. Miles 3 and 4 I was in a nice groove despite the tough little hills that always get me mentally. I ran 7:25 and 7:27 last year. Ideally, I would like to hit sub 7:20 during these two miles. and hit up a GU at the turnaround to head home.

4. Miles 5 and 6 are the backbreakers. This is the long uphill battle. The hardest part of the course for me. This is where either my lack of training with running will catch up to me or hopefully God will give me a gift to keep on pressing. Also, this is the key mental toughness test. A key training element for my 70.3 races. When the brain begins to tell you that you cannot do it, you have to have the toughness to shut the brain off and just run. It won’t be hot so I should not have to worry about the heat issues like I had in Racine. Last year I ran 7:37 and 7:52 respectively. This year I want to try to be under 7:30.

5. Mile 7 I cruised with 7:02 descent down Brady. I will try to keep the same pace and perhaps run in stronger than last year.

I don’t know how all this calculates, but my goal in my mind is to run between 7:12 – 7:08 mile pace. This is going to be flat out tough, but I am ready to challenge myself. A month or so ago I was hoping for 49 minute run pace. I honestly don’t think this is a reality. My training for running at this pace for 7 miles is not there.

There you have it. My plan. A lot of things have to go right in order for this to happen starting off with my body feeling fresh. So far this week my body has been tired. I have not trained crazy volume, but the week off last week has caught up to me. It is amazing how quickly the body fades and how hard it is to get it back.

I did  not get my bike ride in yesterday so I have reshuffled my schedule to get my third ride in on Sunday instead of a rest day. Today I would like to get a brick workout in. I hope to get a good workout in today if and when Ava sleeps. Trainer and treadmill look like my options today.

There you have it. My thoughts for this Thursday morning. I am still on course with eating more natural and healthy food. I do believe that is part of the reason my body is tired as I am sure my body is adjusting to not having the typical foods that it craves. It is going through some withdrawals I am sure.

Sunday I will assess how I feel mentally and physically to decide if I am up for another 70.3 distance race. The long course Pigman Triathlon less than a month away and I might tackle that one to give this race distance another run for the money. Time to figure out my nutrition plan and see what I can do.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

BIX Photos – Here are some visuals from the race

Below are some photos from the BIX 7 race held last weekend. The ones with the proof emblem are from the official photos taken on race day and the others were taken by me when the kids ran the Jr. Bix the night before. Enjoy!

Aiden(age 6) and Addyson(age 4)

Me with Aiden after his race. I have never been so proud of anything or anyone as I was watching him run with all his heart during his 1/2 mile run.

Big boy chowing down waiting for Addyson to run her little race.

Addyson is going to be our athlete. She cried their entire Moonlight Chase, but she tore this race up and was very proud of her medal.
This picture made the QC Times and Aiden is behind the kid in the tie dye shirt on the right.

Here I am pre-race as I was just getting ready for my warm up run.

Notice the change in expression as this is me after the race. I was dead and did not have enough energy to even smile.

Heading on home and my legs were going on me quickly

My stupid arm position that my wife always makes fun of. I finally see it after all this time.

This picture captures how tired I am. I left it all out on the course and the results were worth it.

The finish line FINALLY! It is amazing how the brain and legs realize this line and instantly shut down.

One more shot of finishing. I needed water so bad and yet it felt like it was miles away.
What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Training – Week 10 – Week 8 of Marathon Training – Saturday – Bix 7 Race & Results

Saturday morning was the proving ground well over 10,000 runners at the Bix 7 race. Being a race day I was a nervous mess as usual for a race. I slept pretty good as I was very tired, but I was up and starting my day around 3:45. Ava woke up to eat and I got up to shower and start my pre race routine.

I ate two waffles, two cups of coffee, and 20 oz of water to get myself ready. I then packed up my gear and by 6 am I was out the door. I know this is rather early for a race 15 minutes away from my house, but I just needed to get down to quit pacing the house and risk waking anyone up.

Once I arrived, I got my shoes, bib, race id, etc. all on and began the walk to the race. This year unlike last year I wanted to a decent warm up in prior to the race. My legs were tight and felt tired. I ran a half mile around downtown Davenport to loosen things up and found a place to get some stretching in. I think this was key to helping my body prepare. I made my way to my group color and I wanted to be near the front to try and get off to a good start.

One thing I learned after two years is that I that I am going to sign up for the faster heat next year. I became frustrated quickly to see thousands of people in front of me and to try to get around a wall of walkers. Come on! If you have no intention of running, get to the walker area. I scrambled all over Brady Street hill and and there was nowhere to go. It was so packed this year. I stayed calm because what was I going to go do about it? I am not sure I started my Garmin watch at the right time, but when I ran by the mile 1 marker the lady was calling out a mile split in the 9 minute range. I knew that it took a while for me to get to the starting line, but I knew I had to pick up the pace if I was going to hit my two marks:

1. Beat my 58:19 time of last year
2. Try to run in 55 minutes(which is a 7:51 mile pace for the race)

Mile 2 I took off and at one point I was running low 6 minute mile and I was thinking, “SLOW DOWN!”. I knew that was not good because the course is tough and I did not want to hit a wall on mile 5 on the slow hill. I finally settled and ran mile 2 in 6:53. Mile 3 has a few tough hills and one that has me mentally every single time I run and I was able to sustain a good mile pace of 7:25. I was feeling good at this point, but it started to get warm out. I was sweating something fierce and slowly heating up internally.

I made the turnaround and fought my way back to Brady Street hill. I ran mile 4 in 7:27 which is still a great time and well ahead of my 7:51 mile pace.

Mile 5 I hit my wall. I felt depleted. I was very hot and my pace I had been running started to catch up to me. I had a huge decision to make at this point: I could either fall prey to the thoughts in my mind or suck it up and just get to mile 6 where the big downhill run begins. I decided I was going to tough it out. I fought up the slow incline and just kept at it. I ran mile 5 in 7:37. I really had to fight through mile 6. I put some ice on my neck to cool off and just tried to run a calm  mile here knowing I still had two miles left. I dropped my pace a little bit and tried to keep going a rate that would help me for the final mile. Mile 6 I ran 7:52. Finally, the last mile. I cruised down the hill letting gravity take over. The worst part of the race is after the hill when you turn the corner and still have the long straightaway to the to finish. I held on strong and finished mile 7 in 7:02.

I DID IT! I prepared, pushed my body, and lived up to my mantra of GETTING IT DONE!

I ran the race in 52:36 which is right around a 7:30 mile pace. I crushed my two goals. I took almost 6 minutes off my time from last year. That is a huge margin. I also was way head of my ultimate goal of 55 minutes. I really surprised myself. I was not too sure I would be able to hit this time. I hit it once during the Bix @ 6, but that was on a cool night with a lot less people.

I can honestly say that I am very proud of myself. I never thought I would see a time like this for myself. This was a great confidence booster. A sign that things are falling into place for me. A sign that I can tackle any challenge that I throw my way. A sign that this marathon might not be as impossible as it seems.

A lot of friends ran very well in the race. It was great to see so many people out there running.

Yesterday, Aaron Maurer was a verb. I was GETTING IT DONE! There is no better feeling. 

I am resting today(no bike ride as planned) as I am very sore today. I need to get my body ready for the next 5 weeks of training. If I can get through the next 5 weeks I will be ready for the marathon. It is only 55 days away.

In the end here is the breakdown

52:36 time with a split time of 23:14. I ended up 817 out of the 11,100 people who finished the race. I was 84/791 in my division of Males 30-34.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Bix 7 – Goals and Expectations

I woke up this morning to head out for my 5 mile run, but as soon as I took off the rain decided to fall. I did not feel like being soak so I headed back home and will have to get my run in later.

I decided to take time this morning to go ahead and put my goals and expectations for the Bix 7 race down in print to help me make it visual and real.

I have found it to be highly motivating to go back and read posts from a year ago. This is the post from the Bix from last year where I ran the course for the first time.

I ran the course in 58:19 (8:19 mile pace)which was way better than I anticipated running. My #1 goal for this year at the Bix is to beat that time. I don’t care what it takes, but I will beat that time. I have been training pretty well since then and I hope to see the benefits of my hard work.

However, I have another goal in mind. One that is going to be tough to achieve, but if conditions prove right and things fall into place I will have a chance to accomplish my #2 goal.

My #2 goal is to run the race in 55 minutes. That is moving for a distance and course like this. I have had some good runs and some bad runs lately so I am not sure what body will show up early Saturday morning.

If I don’t get caught up on Brady Hill and Kirkwood for too long and not get jammed then that will be the first key. With so many people and where I am located for the race this will prove to be a challenge. I might have to some serious zigzagging to stay on course. I would be happy going onto Kirkwood with a 8:00 – 8:15 mile pace if it does get bottled up. I can manage the make up time with the rest of the race. Anything slower and I will be scrambling.

The other issue is the heat and humidity. Hopefully the rain we are having now will eliminate the humidity. I can tolerate some heat(it is not looking to be too hot), but the humidity kills me.

Running the race in 55 minutes will put me at a 7:51 mile pace which is a huge decrease in time from my 8:19 mile pace a year ago. That is taking 28 seconds off each mile which is some serious running on my behalf.

Running this course I know that I have to hit that turnaround station not feeling tired. I need to be able to get comfortable early on, hit that turnaround and begin to pick up my pace until the finish. I know where my mental breakdowns are on this course. I also know where my mind realizes that it is go time. This is helpful. I am shooting for a negative split from the turnaround which I don’t think I have had yet in the several times that I have ran this course.

This race is big for me. I did not quite achieve my Moonlight Chase goal(I still ran well), but it has been eating away at me ever since. I hope to get in a great run Saturday.

I am off to start my day. Back to teaching some kids about the joys of middle school and trying to find time to sneak my 5 mile run in today.

I will be GETTING IT DONE this weekend! What are you doing to achieve your goal? Have you created a goal? If not, then it is time to get going.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)