BTN Big 10K Recap

The streak lives on!

For the third year in a row, I participated in the BTN Big 10K. While this race has been particularly good to me in the past in the form of a huge PR both in 2012 and 2013, I had relatively low expectations for this year’s race. To be honest, just the fact that I had clearance from my PT to run was more than enough for me, and I didn’t want to do anything I’d end up regretting long term for the sake of maintaining a perfect PR record.

I picked up my packet during non-peak hours, which made things go much smoother than last year. I was in and out in under five minutes, and I thought, overall, this year’s packet surpassed last year’s, at least in the swag department (i.e.: I was starving, and there was food in the packet. None of that food made it into the picture, because none of that food survived my CTA trip home. Haha).

BTN Big 10K, race swag

The shirt, however…oh man. I don’t know what’s up with Chicago race shirts this year, but between this monstrosity and the disaster that was the Shamrock Shuffle shirt, I have been less than impressed (#firstworldproblems). But really, did they NEED to put the whole logo on the front of the shirt in addition to the BTN thing? Couldn’t that have gone on the back instead of this?

BTN Big 10K, race shirt

Whatever. It’s not like I’m exactly hurting for tech shirts, and I’ll wear just about anything. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it ๐Ÿ˜›

Because the BTN Big 10K has apparently developed a complex, we all had to use event-issued clear plastic bags for gear check this year (which does, admittedly, beat the cheap-o drawstring bags of past years). While this initially irked me–I had planned to only check my water bottle after all–ultimately it ended up working out. My CARA pace group buddy wanted to change shirts at the race, so we put her shirt in my bag after arriving on-site, went to find one of her friends, and headed towards our corral.

Now, as I mentioned, I had no intention of competitively running this race. Unlike last year, the weather on Saturday wasn’t particularly PR friendly, and I knew I needed to treat the race as the back half of my 12 mile training run. This all changed when, on our way to our corral, I happened to see three of my classmates from high school.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly competitive with others when it comes to running. I’d say the vast majority of people I know in Chicago are runners, and while I’m often interested to know other people’s times, I don’t really care all that much kind of times other people turn in. None of my Chicago running friends have ever made me feel inadequate or like a lesser runner because I’m not a speed demon–in fact, none of my runner friends, period, have ever made me feel that way. For whatever reason, though, I am absurdly competitive when I find out people that graduated with me in high school now run. I look up their race times, I get inexcusably annoyed that they run (which, really? As if I have any claim to being theย onlyย runner from my high school’s class of 2008. Come on, Bethany.), and I get an embarrassing amount of satisfaction over knowing I’m faster than they are, because I’m a terrible person (but a self-aware terrible person! :P). Thus, after seeing these three classmates of mine, I instantly had one goal: beat all of them.

The course for this year’s race was different from both the 2012 and 2013 courses, but still managed to include a long stretch under McCormick Place at the beginning of the race, which shot my Garmin for the duration of the run. I eyeballed my mile splits and guesstimated we ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:00 to 10:15, but it was tough to know for sure. What Iย didย know for sure was that I was both exhausted by mile 2 and STARVING by mile 2.5. I didn’t want to fuel until mile 4.2 (which would’ve been mile 10 for the day), but I honestly couldn’t wait that long, so I took my fuel a bit before the aid station near mile 3, and it made a world of difference for the back half of the race. I was also super dehydrated–Iย knew when I went to bed on Friday I hadn’t had enough water during the day, and I’m sure that didn’t help matters at all.

My CARA buddy and I maintained a steady pace just about to the end of the race, when I suggested we do a mini kick for the last .2. My Garmin measured the last bit of the race at .17 but says we ran an 8:59 pace for that .17, which, all things considered, was not too shabby of a kick. We finished, officially, in 1:03:17, which is far and away my worst BTN Big 10K time and ranks #3 of four on my all-time 10K times list. I did beat all three of my classmates by anywhere between four and seven minutes, however, so as far as I’m concerned, Saturday’s race was a shining success ๐Ÿ˜€

My friend and I hung around the post race party for quite some time and enjoyed the requisite post-run chicken sausage:


(Apple Gouda! AHmazing)

before I dragged her off the the Hudsonville Ice Cream tent, where we sampled Grand Traverse Cherry Fudge and Bear Traxx, and I got all nostalgic. Hudsonville Ice Cream is a staple in West Michigan, and it just started to be available in Chicagoland. It is a little $$, but trust me, it’s worth every penny.


All things considered, I felt this year’s BTN Big 10K went off better than last year’s. The new venue at 18th Street made the post-race party less crowded, and the finish chute was substantially more organized this year.ย Though half the course takes place on the Lakefront Trail, I didn’t feel as though it were overly crowded, though it is worth noting that this race tends to draw more of a non-running crowd that may not be entirely familiar with usual racing/running protocol (slower movers to the right, don’t stop suddenly, the first cup of Gatorade is not the only cup of Gatorade at an aid station, etc.).ย That being said, if a tailgate-like race sounds like something you’d enjoy, I can’t recommend the BTN Big 10K enough.

23 thoughts on “BTN Big 10K Recap

  1. Haha a tailgate like race… Sounds like an interesting experience! I have to agree with you on the shirts, too….not one I would look forward to wearing, but I’d also wear it no problem since I wear all race shirts numerous times haha. I’m psyched that you beat kids from your high school….I feel the same way about my own….could care less if I get beat by friends I run with but anyone from high school better watch out. I’ll do whatever I have to to cream them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I’m bummed I missed it this year – that was one of my favorite races! I love 10Ks the best. Considering everything you’ve been through that’s a killer time! Plus you were met at the finish line with chicken sausages, so win-win. I think it’s hilarious that the food is the EXACT same as it was last year haha apparently they have a pretty solid parntership.

    • When registration for the race opened, I was on the fence about whether or not I really wanted to run, but if they had advertised from the get go that they had Hudsonville Ice Cream, there never would’ve been any question in my mind. Totally worth running the race just for that ice cream ๐Ÿ˜›

    • It wouldn’t surprise me. While the race does draw some of the speedsters in Chicago (being a Fleet Feet-produced race, I imagine a fair portion of their team turns out for the event), this is DEFINITELY not, you know, Ravenswood or some other super competitive event. The vast vast vast majority of people who sign up for this race or Big 10 alum/football fans — which isn’t a bad thing at all, just makes for a different race atmosphere (like what you may find at Hot Chocolate, I would imagine, though I’ve never actually run that race).

  3. Bethany, I relate to you so much regarding the high school classmates. When I read that part, it was as if you were speaking the words from my own mind. I totally get it! And congratulations on accomplishing your goal. =)

    This race has been on my radar screen for years. I was thisclose to signing up for it this year – especially because the medal looks really sweet – but I ended up being out of town. How awesome that they serve chicken sausage! It’s nice to have relatively healthy post-race food options. I’ve actually never heard of the Hudsonville Ice Cream, but it looks delish. On that note – have you ever heard of Sherman’s Ice Cream? That is my dig when I go to SW Michigan. =)

    • Hahaha well, that is fantastic to hear. It makes me feel much less petty for wanting to destroy my high school competition ๐Ÿ˜›

      Bummer that you were out of town! I actually wondered if you had run the race, since I think I remember you saying you were interested in it awhile back. I have heard of Sherman’s Ice Cream! I haven’t had it in a really, really, but I imagine it’s wonderful — Breyer’s and Edy’s and all those other “big” ice cream brands are great, of course, but personally I think smaller ice cream brands always taste better ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ok I’m so jealous you ran this race! I’ve been eyeing this race for a few years already but the timings haven’t aligned yet. I think the shirt is cute! I would definitely wear it ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m totally with you on seeing old friends start running. I think I start feeling more competitive with people who I didn’t necessarily meet through running (i.e. running blogs for example).

    P.S. – you’re my rival!!! Grrrr….I bleed orange & blue #Illini ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Exactly! I don’t think there’s a single running blogger I feel competitive with, but man, when it comes to my high school classmates, it’s everyone for themselves! Haha.

      Hahaha, well, for what it’s worth, I didn’t actually *go* to Michigan — I’m just a Michigan fan! (Though I did get into Michigan. I chose to go to a different school in the end, but, you know, I *could* have gone to Michigan if I wanted to ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    • I think the corral system was a little better this year? I ended up dropping back to run with my CARA buddy, and I wasn’t trying to race or anything, so I’m sure that skewed my perspective. But this year I registered with the same pace per mile as last year, I believe, and they put me in corral G instead of corral I, so it seems like things may be moving in the right direction.

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