Running the 41st Annual Bix 7

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Today I participated in the 41st Annual Bix 7, a seven mile race through Davenport. Most of the time, you’re either running up a hill, or down a hill, and though it’s challenging, it isn’t so difficult that it’s too prohibitive.

Let me give you just a little background on the race. The Bix 7 Road Race was the brainchild of Bettendorf resident John Hudetz in 1975, who was inspired by his participation in the 1974 Boston Marathon. Named for and commemorating the jazz legend, Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native, the race is held yearly in Davenport. Despite living in the Quad Cities for two years, this is the first time I ran the Bix. It wasn’t an easy run, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday morning either.

The race starts with a climb up the hill on Brady Street, which is not an easy ascent for most people, but there was a pervasive good feeling throughout the mob. I had registered planning on finishing in the 70 to 90 minute group, so I was in the last group of runners to go, followed by walkers. This group was a mixed bag. Some people are competitive and trying to hit PR’s. Others are just wanting to finish. And yet others just want to have a good time. I’m a bit of all three, so even though I was pushing myself to really attack the hill, I enjoyed the camaraderie of the other runners. I crested the hill feeling pretty strong, with a good group of people.

Unfortunately, the wait for our group to start, coupled with my attempts at staying super hydrated, meant that I needed to relieve myself. Luckily, there were portable toilets around the first mile marker. Unluckily, there was a wait, so I lost five to ten minutes pretty early on.

I’m okay with this loss of time. While I like to push myself, I’m also not an incredibly competitive person. I wasn’t racing to win, and while I wanted to finish in a good time, I also wanted to enjoy the spectacle of it all. The Bix isn’t just a race, it’s an event. People line the course, cheering you on, offering you beverages (some for adults only), and blaring music. Taking a pit stop this early may have hurt my time, but it gave me a moment to stop, snap a photo of my running group, laugh with the other people waiting, and eventually hit the road really hard.

Much of the race blends together in my mind. I high-fived a lot of children standing alongside the course. I hugged the guy holding the “Free Hugs” sign. I encouraged other runners who seemed to be having a hard time. I even took a quick trip down the makeshift slip and slide shortly after finishing the fifth mile.

The trip back down the steep hill on Brady Street can be challenging, but I didn’t have too much trouble with it. I let gravity do some of my work for me and tried to use that momentum for the last stretch of the race, which comes just after the downhill and a left turn. I finished strong, with an official time of 1:12:10. I wasn’t setting any land speed records, but I feel good about it.

Feeling good, albeit very sweaty after clearing the finish line.
Feeling good, albeit very sweaty after clearing the finish line.

I’m very glad that I ran the Bix this year. It’s quite a spectacle; during my run I ran alongside Superman, Elvis, and I got a high five from Marilyn Monroe. I hoofed myself up and down some pretty challenging hills, had some laughs with fellow runners, and put up a pretty decent time. I can say, without any doubt, that if you’re at all interested in running, you should consider doing this! If you’re near the Quad City area, join in the Bix next year. If you’re too far away, chances are there is a race in which you can participate in your neck of the woods.

This is a good way to go out and be part of your community, while also taking care of yourself. If you’ve never run a race before, don’t worry, there are lots of great ways to start. You’ll be able to find lots of training programs online, but one that I’ll mention is Couch to 5K. My sister, who has always hated to run, used this program to successfully complete her first 5K race last year. If you don’t think you can run your first race, that’s fine too; get out there and walk it. There’s no better way to get in shape for your next adventure than by starting now. Don’t be afraid of being slow, walking, or not being the most fit. None of that matters; what matters is doing the best that you can and getting better each day. Signing yourself for a race is a good way to motivate yourself to do just that.

So get out there and get started!

You can find some photos of the Bix here, care of the QC Times

You can check out my pictures from before and after the Bix on the side panel, or on Instagram.

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