Bix 7 Race Recap

As I sit in the car, on our 8 hour drive back to Lexington, I have plenty of time to reflect on my race this morning. Sitting with a blank page in front of me, I asked Steve where to start. He said “that you spent time with this years Boston Marathon champion”. Yes. That is a good starting point, and a good summary as to what my experience was like. I will go more into that later.

Last Thursday, Steve and I drove to Davenport, Iowa (checking another state off my list-woohoo!). We did not know what to expect of Davenport. Neither of us had particularly high expectations of what the town would have to offer, but one thing we did know already; this town LOVES Bix weekend.

I had heard of Bix before, and any of my elite friends who asked what my next race was gave me a reaction that made it seem like this terrifying race. It definitely has the reputation of being the hilliest course that elites race. It was a tough course. I knew that. I heard it was always humid. I knew that. But what I did not know was that I would get to know some of the best runners in the world, and I would LOVE my Bix experience.

I shared a few weeks ago, that I was not feeling confident about where my fitness was at. Honestly, we didnt really have much of an idea, so I really wasnt sure what to except from this race, but thankfully that took the pressure off.

We took the course tour the day before the race with the other elites, and it was every bit as hilly as I had heard. Not only was there a giant uphill to start the race, but it kept rolling up and down, and those hills were not just gradual hills, but those kind of hills you have to put your head down and grind. Of course that means if you have to essentially tiptoe up the hills, it means you have to absolutely let yourself fall on the downhills. That was the part that scared me the most. Some of the downhills were the kind of hills where your natural reaction is to lean back, but you just have to let your arms flail, and hope you dont fall down.

Before I get more into the race, lets backtrack a little.

Bix always has a high quality field, and this year was no exception. The elite field was full of lots of Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Japanese athletes. I rounded out this international field to represent Great Britain. We were housed in the student apartments, and I felt extremely welcomed by the elite athlete staff, and within an hour of being there, I was sitting with a group of Kenyan runners, as they asked me about my life in Kentucky and my wedding. They were so lovely, that I forgot I had told Steve I would be back in a minute (45 minutes later heΒ came out to find me!).

When Steve and I went back to the room later on, the names they had told me clicked as to who they were; Alli (Tulmook-Bolton, Caroline Rotich (Boston winner this year), Diane Nikuri, and Isiah Samogei.

We also all attended the Bix Pre Party, where we sat with Jon Peterson (Team USA Minnesota), Pat Rizzo (one of my elite takeover bloggers), and famous race announcer Tony Reavis. It was great to be a part of the event, and moments like this are what make it fun to be an elite. Although there was a scary moment when the elite coordinator, John Tope went through and introduced all the elite runners (with our accomplishments) starting with me; standing up and waving to a room of 200! Eeek!

After the technical meeting, we were “free” for the evening, and Steve and I went for a nice dinner downtown.

At 4:30am the next morning, Steve nudges me asking what time I was getting up. I jumped up thinking we had missed the alarm. When I said I had it set for 5, he said, “oh its 4:30”. Damnit Steve! Now I am awake! πŸ˜‰ Just kidding, I did not mind, and got up 10 minutes later. I microwaved my oatmeal with milk, and had my Tea.

At 6:15 we were to be down in the elite lounge to be ready to leave. We ended up sitting there till about 6:40, I sat again with my friends from yesterday, and we chit chatted for a while. I learned about “Kenyan time”, which explained why were told to be there so early!! Eventually we loaded the vansΒ and headed for the elite warm up area, which was thankfully right next to the start line.

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Before I knew it, I was standing on the start line, looking up at this giant hill before me standing within a meter of Meb. He shook a few of our hands, wished us luck, and we were off.

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Quad City Times Image of the Start (that is Brady hill!)

Steve and I had agreed that the first hill I would take at “what feels like” tempo pace. This meant that people were sprinting past me in every direction, but it meant that when I crested the hill, I was barely breathing, and everyone around me was practically hyperventilating. I knew then, that I had done the hill right, and I began my quest of kicking people down. I went through the first mile in about 6:00, and the second in 5:35 (mostly downhill). I was passing people, and feeling strong.

At the turnaround (just before halfway), we had agreed that I would use the next 2 miles to really chase as many people down as I could. I did just that, and passed quite a lot, and could see a Japanese woman out in front of me. I did not catch her, but I did pass 1-2 Kenyan runners (who actually dropped out). It was tough to breathe with the close to 100% humidity and high 70s temperature, but I didnt look at my watch once, and just focused on effort.

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One thing we wanted to make sure we did right was to run the downhills correctly. Max from UVA Speed Clinic had once told me that he could guess I was awful at downhills, and since being shown how to run them correctly (Runners Connect has a helpful post on this), I have been working at it.

The finish of Bix was the place to prove this, and I used my “leaning over a cliff” technique to go as fast as I could down the final hill, and on the straightaway. My last mile was a 5:14. Not as fast as I would have hoped, but definitely a move in the right direction.

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I finished 12th female, with an average chip pace of 5:46. As much as I would like to run faster than that for a 7 mile race, for the toughness of the course, and the conditions that morning, I was happy with it. Training since London Marathon has not been ideal (not for lack of trying!), and I ran tough.

I cooled down with Caroline, Ali, and Diane, (who finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th), Steve and I had another good chat with Rizzo while we waited for awards, and the vans took us back to our houses to shower.

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Long post aside. This was definitely a race worth doing. I really enjoy running races that are all about running tough and running smart. I feel like a big breakthrough is within my grasp, I just have to let it happen (and find a good race to do it).

Meb told me about how much the ElliptiGO will help with training, so I am even more confident in cross training now!IMG_0945The next 3 weeks are going to be friends, family, and Steve focused. My parents arrive TODAY, and that begins my unplugging. As much as I feel guilty for backing down on my workouts, Strength Training (Drew made me promise I would take at least a week off), and my cross training, I have to keep reminding myself that this is my WEDDING! A once in a lifetime opportunity, and my fitness will still be waiting for me on the other side, especially if I still get my runs in!

So, this is all from me until August 24th. If you want to keep up to date with what I am up to, follow my Instagram, and follow our wedding festivities with #Run2Me2015 – Yes! We finally chose one!

I hope you all have a wonderful summer (or winter if you are on the other side of the world), and I will talk to you soon! Thanks for all the love and support!

[bctt tweet=”Love these sneak peaks into racing as an elite. @TinaMuir recaps #Bix7″ via=”no”]

No questions as IΒ won’t be reading them πŸ˜‰

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21 Comments. Leave new

  • Michele Rosen
    July 29, 2015 5:15 am

    Congrats on a great race in that tough weather! Enjoy all the wedding festivities, very excited for you!

  • This is SO awesome!!!! I love how you covered so much detail as I love hearing all about it. Congrats on a strong race and performance in seriously tough conditions. As I said on FB, I love the picture of you and Meb – eek!!!!! And I will absolutely be checking out the RC article on how to run the downhills b/c New Hampshire is nothing but hills!!!!!

  • Wow well done! I love that you always have a plan on how to “attack” races. It’s funny because for some reason I hate seeing the course before a race. I know this is ridiculous and stupid but I like to not know what I’m in for so it makes it more interesting (which is problematic for pre-planning my race strategy!).
    At some point – in the distance post-wedding future! – could you do a post on hill training and the correct form? I’d love to read it as hill running is something I do regularly and have found it to be really useful to building strength, but I’m always unsure if I have the correct techique down.
    Also, most importantly –> have a fantastic wedding and I hope it’s everything you dream about! Enjoy it πŸ™‚

  • Olivia Crew
    July 29, 2015 8:37 am

    This post made me well up – it was so inspirational! I love that you got to meet Caroline and others, and hang out with Meb. Glad you had a good race too. I haven’t mastered downhills – they scare me a little, ever since I injured my IT band on a hilly course in April. I’ll definitely look in to the Runner Connect tips!

  • Running in high humidity is so difficult for me so I give major props to you for racing so well in the conditions! And enjoy this special time unplugging and enjoying your wedding!!

  • speedster! checking out that downhills post on runners connect now. so cool to get a sneak peek inside an elite’s race experience!

  • Whoa, what a race! And you got to meet Meb?! SO COOL! I love reading your blog. And your upcoming wedding is so exciting! Woohoo!

  • Laura Anderson
    July 29, 2015 10:57 am

    Congrats on the race, especially on that course in obviously not ideal conditions. So cool that you were able to meet up with some other elites, especially such well known ones! I can definitely appreciate going into races with such detailed strategy, glad you were able to stick with it! I hope you enjoy this unplugged time, and celebrate, spend time with family and friends- and smile a ton.

  • Gianna Alvino
    July 29, 2015 11:14 am

    What a great race on a tough course in less than ideal conditions! so excited for your upcoming wedding, enjoy it all!

  • Well done on a great race and have a great few weeks ahead. I’ll miss your posts but wish you the best of luck with your wedding and all the festivities, hope it all goes fantastic and that you can enjoy every minute of it. πŸ˜€

  • Congrats on a great race, especially in such tough weather and on such a hilly course! That’s so awesome that you got to meet Meb and run with Caroline!

  • Within a few feet of Meb… Awesome! Great tactical race for you. You’ll be faster after 3 weeks off; it happens!

  • Great job in tough conditions! Loved your strategy for that first hill.

  • Martina Di Marco
    July 29, 2015 4:17 pm

    I don’t think there’s something I love more that your race recaps πŸ˜‰ Great race, Tina. I never raced a 7 miler, but it seems like a really tricky distance. I have a 5 mile race this coming Saturday. The conditions and the course will be similar to what you’ve encountered last weekend and I’ve been feeling the same way you felt before the race: I’m not feeling confident about my fitness right now and I really don’t know what to expect. One thing I know though: I suck more than the average runner when it’s hot. So this post was all I needed to read today: keep your expectations low and just go by feeling. If worse comes worse, I will at least have a nice tempo run in the books, which is always a good thing πŸ˜‰

  • Yay!! So happy for you my friend! Great race recap, but all I can think about is your wedding!! Enjoy your parents, family and friends. This is it! The moment you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy and happy wedding!! xx

  • carla birnberg
    July 30, 2015 5:25 am

    is it bad I read and reread and thought WE SO SO SO LOVE STEVE!!!! πŸ™‚

  • I love reading your recaps Tina because I feel like I’m racing with you. That is so awesome you got to hang with Meb. Enjoy your wedding and life in the next few weeks. I know you will.

  • Thanks to RunnersConnect I discovered your page today. Very great descriptive of the race. I believe I will love to discover your blog reading a lot from you the next days.
    Have a great time with your wedding !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sascha

  • Wow, awesome race! You totally amaze me!! What makes this race so popular with the elites? It seems like it’s out in the middle of no where! Your pic with Meb is awesome! I hope you are enjoying your time!!!

  • Amber Finlay
    August 2, 2015 9:56 am

    It’s so cool how many big name runners you get to meet at your races πŸ™‚
    Great job on running strong & focusing on executing your race plan perfectly rather than staring at your watch! I can’t imagine racing in that humidity!!
    Enjoy your unplugged time and WEDDING festivities πŸ˜€

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