Disclaimer: I was given free entry into the BTN Big10K as part of the BibRave Pro program. For more information on BibRave Pros and to review races, go to bibrave.com
I ran a 10K yesterday: the BTN BIG10K! The 10K is my most challenging race. I have yet to run a good one. I also don't have a lot of experience with them. So much so that, even though it was a rough one, yesterday is a PR for me: 41:59.
Here is my lifetime 10K history:
7/4/04 Peachtree Road Race 52:08 (8:23 avg)
10/21/12 Fall Classic 45:03 (7:15 avg)
6/25/17 Bigfoot Trail 42:58 (6:54 avg)
7/23/17 BTN Big10K 41:59 (6:46 avg)
The fam and I tacked on a long weekend in Chicago to coincide with this race. We left mid-morning on Friday to make the drive and luckily hit no traffic. We stopped at Fleet Feet Old Town for packet pickup on the way to our hotel. Packet pickup was a breeze and took no time. I really like how Ram Racing uses QR codes for packet pickups. Our packets included a race shirt, a B1G1 Chipotle coupon and our bibs.
The race is centered around the Big 10 college football conference, which includes the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my undergrad alma mater, and my husband's). When you register, you are able to pick from one of the ten participating schools and in doing so, your race shirt and race medal are themed accordingly. Thus, I selected University of Wisconsin and my shirt and race medal were both UW themed:
The shirts are ok. The fabric is "technical fabric" but that thicker variety that traps heat. I also am not a fan of short sleeve technical fabric race shirts. They never fit me very well - Women's shirts are always tight in the shoulders and Men's are always too big. I would prefer tanks.
On Saturday, Ram Racing posted a weather advisory for the race indicating that temps and humidity would be high. UGH. (My Garmin data indicated that it was 75 degrees and 89% humidity when we ran.) Saturday night, I laid out all of my stuff, made my water bottle of Gen UCan for the fridge and set my alarm. I slept terribly, doing the thing where you wake up every hour because you are afraid you are going to miss your alarm. My alarm was set for 530 am, and the last time I woke was 525 so I just got up. I quickly got dressed and left our hotel room. Upon opening the door to the outside, I was blasted with warm air. Already at 5:45am it was disgusting outside.
The start area was 1.6 miles from our hotel. I started walking, ate a Picky Bar, and then jogged to the start. I was DRENCHED with sweat. When I arrived to the start area, I drank my Gen UCan and gear checked my stuff. I had a little under an hour to go before the race start but was going to try to meet up with a few different folks: My friend Erica was running, Some Oiselle Wisconsin ladies were running, and a few other BibRave Pros were running. Unfortunately, it was difficult to meet up with any of these people since I had already gear checked my phone. I went to the bathroom and then randomly saw one of the BibRave Pros. We took a group photo and then went to the starting corrals.
I was excited to have gotten elite corral placement for this race. Unfortunately, by the time I went to the corrals, they were jam packed with people and elite was combine with Corral A. Thus, I started in the back of Corral A. It was like sardines - there was no way to weave to the front without being a super jerk. The starting gun went off and I ended up weaving in and out of people, which is always a bad move. I know this, yet I still do it. I ran past one of the Oiselle WI women which was fun and then ended up running past my friend Erica. My first mile was 6:38. I was really hot because the first part of the course was on underground streets. I told myself to calm down and got through the second mile in 6:15. Right after the second mile was the first hydration station. I grabbed a cup of Nuun, chugged it, then grabbed a cup of water for my head. I was already really thirsty. Bad sign.
I just tried to hang on through mile 3, which clocked in at 6:40. Just like in the Bigfoot Trail race, I could not believe I was only halfway done. My official results indicate my first 5K was 20:34 (6:38 pace).
Mile 4 was a doozy. When I saw the second water station, I stopped running to drink the Nuun and do the water cup on my head. This water stop featured a slip and slide. I SO WANTED to go in it. I was SO.HOT. Reluctantly, I joined the running masses again. Thus, mile 4 clocked in at 7:06.
Most of the second half of mile 3 through mile 5 was along the lake which was nice. I was solidly running with another woman and two men. I told myself to just stay with them. Mile 5 was 6:49.
They added a third water stop due to the heat (which was amazing) right at about mile 5.25 which featured a second slip and slide. Again, I avoided the slip and slide, grabbed Nuun to drink and water for my head. At this point, I just tried to pick up the pace to at least beat the woman I was running with (I did). I knew we just had to go back under the street and through to the finish. I tried to make my legs go but there really was no gas. Mile 6: 6:54. I saw my family right at the finish and was able to get a decent finish at 6:07 pace. I was so grateful for the icy towel and bag of ice at the finish. I just kept stuffing ice cubes into my 3/4 crop top bra.
At the finish runners got the generic medal, a bottle of water, Clif bars and bananas. At the post-race party, you then were able to get a beer, an AmyLu chicken sausage with bag of pretzels and cookies and visit all the Big 10 school tents. You had to go to your school tent to get the magnetized token for your medal. They had a decent band at the finish (Maggie Speaks), and to my children's delight, school mascots (except Bucky Badger!). We stayed at the post-race party for a bit, but then my friend Erica and my family went out to brunch.
Overall here are my placing stats:
108th finisher of 5,946
20th female of 3,207
4th female age 35-39 of 250
9th Big 10 Alumni Female of 2,035
The BTN Big10K also gives free race photos, which is ALWAYS an awesome perk. You can also read my review of this race on bibrave.com.
I'm not really sure what I expected out of this race. I was not nervous about it, like I usually am, and I also knew from the moment I got dressed that it wasn't going to be a great one because I wasn't excited like I usually am. I was coming off 2 weeks of feeling blah during workouts. I was under hydrated and tired. I have a hard time judging what a "good" 10K would be for me. Do I align a 10K with a half-marathon pace or a 5K pace? My 5K PR pace is 6:04, my half-marathon PR pace is 6:48. I am hoping to move that to a 6:44 this fall. I generally think that I should be able to do a 10K in the 6:30 range, based on my 8K times in the past few years. I do not have any other 10Ks on my race calendar, but THURSDAY I have a 5K! CRAZY.