Monday, August 29, 2011

Twinkie Training at the Bix

My annual Bix 7 race became known as BixBRAI this year because it was also the final leg of the RAGBRAI bike ride. It was billed as “the largest one-day, on-site gathering of sports participants in Iowa history.”

As much as I love my fellow cyclists, I was not excited that nearly 20,000 bikers would be joining 15,000 runners in Davenport on July 30. I envisioned a nightmare of trying to get out of town after the race.

I found out something else…being honest about your finishing time color-codes you. I was aware before that I had a sticker on my bib that designated where I started the race. I found out, however, that they won’t even let you into the other color areas. “I just want to use the porta potty,” I told the “color-code police” as they guarded the entrance to the orange area. The lady shook her head and pointed down the street to the blue area, designated by someone holding a blue balloon.

As I walked away I gazed longingly at the porta-potties with the short lines, just three feet into the orange area. In the blue area the lines were long, like we were the bottom of the running barrel. We barely ranked above walkers. I was not feeling love from the Bix.

It was a warm day, and not wanting to repeat my heat-related illness at Pigman, I decided to take it easy. We were soon heading up Brady Street Hill. One thing I like about the Bix—the sameness. I know the gospel choir is going to be in the same spot as I head up hill (and return down it) and they always give me a boost with their music.

I was making sure I stayed hydrated. There were some frat boys on the side of the street, handing out beer. I didn’t think beer would be a good thing to drink while running! On the way back they would have a slip-and-slide set up. Slide on your belly and get a jello shot! Again, not part of my training diet.

As I reached the turnaround I knew I needed a bathroom break. I was so paranoid about becoming hydrated, I had made double sure I downed plenty of water. There was a line, but I already knew this was not going to be a PR day so no sense worrying about it. Nevertheless, I could feel myself counting off the minutes I was losing in my head.

I was off again, looking for the spot on the course where they hand out baggies of ice cubes. The ice cubes were gone, but I accepted a Popsicle instead. The frozen treat still cooled me off. I had read something about drinking something cold before a race to lower body temperature. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I passed a runner who was performing karaoke. Apparently, she didn’t realize that when you sing out loud to your ipod, people can hear you! At mile 6 I saw it—the Hostess truck handing out Twinkies. It’s another fixture of the Bix and one I normally pass by, but this year felt different. I was making stops and sucking on Popsicles, so why not throw caution to the wind and take a Twinkie?!

There I was, running down Brady Street Hill as I stuffed a Twinkie in my mouth. My head was saying “this is not on the training diet!” while my body was loving the sugar! I may have to add Twinkies to the training regimen.