I got an email yesterday from Steve with two important pieces of news.
1. Registration for the Bix 7 is now open.
2. Steve refuses to "almost die" at the race this year.
Take a look at this picture, taken before last year's race by the lovely Amy from Runners' Lounge:
Steve looks cute, happy, and ready to tackle one of his favorite races. Steve likes to run, though isn't as obsessed with it as I am (he has obsessive hobbies of his own). But the Bix is special, a fun event that most of the Quad Cities participates in, and he doesn't ever want to miss it.
The trouble is, it's a really tough course. Seven miles is a lot, especially if you're used to running about three. Add to that a ridiculous number of hills and typically hot weather.
The result was that after the race last year, while I happily chatted with fellow Loungers, Steve was red faced, knocking back drinks, trying to get some food into his system, and generally feeling like hell.
Not this year, he vowed.
As you can imagine, that made my little ears prick right up. I asked if I could coach him, and he agreed.
Steve's goal is simple: run the race with no walk breaks and without feeling like he's going to die afterwards.
I'm going to keep the workouts equally simple. We'll gradually increase the miles of his long run so that seven doesn't feel so daunting. Many of his running routes will incorporate hills - in the beginning, the middle, and the end, so that he'll be prepared for that aspect of the race. Because Steve isn't concerned with his time, I see no need for intervals or tempo runs, so we'll skip that, instead adding elements to keep it fun - the occasional weekend 5K and Bix at Six training runs.
This time around, when I meet Steve at the hill with the flag on it after the race, both of us will be smiling just like in Amy's Before picture.
Side note: Thanks to everybody for your support of my plan to replace marathons with triskos ("half marathons") this year. Because I am a marathoner, I have to admit that part of me feels like I am not going for the full glory by focusing on a shorter distance. I know it's unreasonable, and in fact if someone else said that, I'd tell them that running half marathons is nothing to sneeze at, especially since I am planning on not just running them, but racing them. Still, it feels good to have my decisions validated by runners who I respect. Thanks, guys.