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).
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?
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 😛
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 the only 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 I did 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–I 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 😀
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. 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.). That being said, if a tailgate-like race sounds like something you’d enjoy, I can’t recommend the BTN Big 10K enough.