Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bix...and my Brothers

This past weekend I ran the Bix 7 mile road race with my wife Jen. Bix is the biggest race in our community. In all of the weekend events they totaled about 18,000 runners with about 13,000 doing the 7 mile road race. Last year Jen was the first local finisher and she was asked about winning the award for being the top local female...Jen pointed out to the reporter that there was no award for females...only one for the top local guy! This point was taken pretty quickly to the race director Ed Froelich who quickly made an announcement that they would be adding an award in 2011 for the top local female to go along with the guys award that had been around for two years. Jen always gets excited to run the Bix and with the new trophy on the line...the same trophy her commments spurned into action...she was even more excited this year. I get asked a lot about running the Bix. So many locals ask me every year what time I'm hoping to run. My Bix PR was when I was 19 years old and I ran 39:44. I'm in much better shape now but since getting into triathlons the Bix has not been a race I've wanted to run full out. I do a lot of triathlons in the summer that force me to "go to the well" and in the weeks when I'm not racing I try to get good training in. I know full well that an all-out Bix effort on the relentless hilly and difficult course would leave my quads fried for a few days. It's not a race I'm willing to put in that kind of effort during the heart of triathlon season. With the shape Jen is in I knew that it would be a pefect match for me to get my weekly tempo run in while also being able to share the day with her. We began the race with the 1st mile up Brady Street hill in about 6:20. It is always a very slow first mile due to the 1/4 mile hill and Jen said with the temperatures being so hot she wanted to take the first half of the course conservatively so she could be sure to finish strong. The 2nd mile is almost entirely a gradual downhill where you go back down most of the elevation you climbed in the first mile. We ran that mile in about 5:30 and were 11:50 at mile 2. We began passing a lot of good female runners in that 2nd mile. After mile 2 Jen was passing girls she has never beaten before. She looked awesome. At the turaround I counted the girls in front of her as we could see them coming back. Jen was in 14th...which included about 8 African elites in front of her. I was super surprised she was that far up after saying she wanted to take the 1st half conservatively. I knew 10th was almost a minute ahead so that was a stretch but I thought 11th-13th was a possibility. The Bix pays out to 10 and they bring in some world-class elite foreign runners to compete for the prize money. In miles 5 and 6 I could tell the pace was slipping as it went slightly slower than my typical tempo effort. Jen is super tough however and held onto her 14th place and then ran a great last mile which includes going back down Brady Street. She finished in a time of 41:55...a new Bix PR by almost 90 seconds on a day when most of the top runners were slower than normal with the high heat setting in. She was the top local finisher by about 3 minutes becoming the first ever Eloise Caldwell Trophy winner. It was fun for me to be part of her awesome performance. She continues to amaze me by her success in running and her ability to stay so fit while being an incredible mother and working full-time. She is truly a great ambassador for the Live Uncommon campaign which you can learn more about by visiting We saw a lot of Live Uncommon shirts out on the Bix course Saturday which is evidence the movement is growing to inspire people to be active and healthy. Congratulations to all the Bix 7 finishers in 2011. The Quad City Times interviewed Jen after the race and ran a nice story on her. The story can be found by clicking here and the interview is posted below.


All 3 of my brothers have been living uncommon by balancing their committment to family and full-time jobs along with training for a triathlon coming up. My oldest brother Jason lost his arm in a car accident in October and vowed that he would not let that stop him from competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon which is rapidly approaching on September 4th. Jason's determination to do this triathlon has inspired my other brothers Justin and Josh to get into the sport as well. Justin did his first triathlon in Newton, IA with Jason and I in May. This weekend Josh is going to make his triathlon debut along with Justin and I in DeWitt, IA at the Crossroads Sprint Triathlon. I'm super proud of them for committing to the healthy lifestyle that triathlon training requires. Hy-Vee ran a really cool story on Jason as an "inspiring athlete" that can be found by clicking here. My training has been going well. My volume was down last week as I found it a little tougher than expected to recover from my 27.5 mile run last Sunday. I felt great during the run but was left with a little more deep soreness than expected. I was careful to let my body adapt to that run. I only rode the bike 4 times but 3 of them involved some really good quality which was a focus of mine leading into the Steelhead 70.3 which is 2 weeks away. I'm really excited about that race and although trying not to look too far ahead of it I'm super pumped for Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th. It will be my peak race of 2011 and I am looking forward to racing Ironman again after my disappointing race with all the mechanical issues and then the crash that ended my day in St. George back on May 7th. This will be a great week of training and then I'll spend most of next week getting rested up for a good race at Steelhead. The course is pretty fast there and I'd love to give my best effort at breaking 4 hours for the first time in my life. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!


Josiah said...

Congratulations to Jen on her finish, I saw a lot of Live Uncommon shirts at the race as well, wish I had ordered one sooner, but I'm ordering one today. Good luck to you and your brothers in your upcoming events. said...

Congratulations to both you and Jen! :)

Coach Williams :)

Allen Sickels said...

So Proud of you guys... Pretty cool to say i know a professional athlete. How about sending a workout plan to a fat kid to get back in shape ?