The Bix — and my performance at it — far exceeded my low expectations, I am very happy to report.
Here's how I did with each goal.
* Focus on the experience. My friend Emily's advice, on the eve of the race, was to have fun with it, and that turned out to be a cinch.
I will say that pre-race logistics were a little annoying; parking far away and biking to the closed-off area worked out perfectly, but once I got to the staging area, it seemed like I turned into a pinball, bouncing from volunteer to volunteer who gave sometimes conflicting directions on where I should be and how to get there.
From the minute I got to where I needed to be up until the post-race party, though, I was fully able to soak in the sights and sounds.
The music along the route was as good as advertised (special shout-out to the brass band playing "Barbara Ann" along Brady Street, and the bongo drummers around the turnaround point who invited runners to take a swipe at their instruments as they passed).
The spectators were genuinely enthusiastic about watching, and there was indeed a slip-n-slide that people actually used. I would've felt slightly cheated had I not spotted that ... even though I had no intention of hopping on it myself.
My favorite sign, though, wasn't on a spectator; it was on a participant. The back of one youngster's shirt asked: "Can you run faster than a fifth-grader?" I wish I knew — I spotted him when the race was still fairly crowded, so I don't know whether he shot ahead of me or fell way behind.
* Don't walk. Done!
I started out speedier than I anticipated and thought I felt myself slowing down later in the race, but at most I slowed to an easy jog during the water stops.
Speaking of walking, let me rant one more time about people who line up closer to the front than the back and then proceed to walk right away ... in a race of literally THOUSANDS of people.
Seriously, folks. You spent at least 15 minutes waiting for the race to start and stared at the opening hill the entire time. If you didn't think you could run it, you should've moved farther back before the gun even went off.
* Finish under 1:10:00. SMASHED. Pie in the sky? More like a piece of cake, evidently.
My chip time was 1:03:27 (9:04 pace) — meaning I notched a negative split, because my first-half chip pace was 9:15.
That was a shock to me. I thought I'd gone out too hard given the heat and humidity (not to mention the infamous hills).
So that leads me to my most boastful observation of all: The hills weren't that bad, and/or I trained really freakin' smart.
Yes, I could tell I was putting in an effort, but it felt no different than tackling any of the hills I hate around Des Moines ... you know, the same ones I made sure to run twice a week for the past month or so.
The tl;dr version of this post is: I'd do it again and encourage others to join me. And I'll actually be wearing the T-shirt, because despite it being a unisex small, it fits me decently.