So this past weekend I braved the heat and headed down to Chi City for the B1G 10K. This is the fourth year they have done this race, and my third year in a row doing it. Each year it gets bigger and bigger as well, this year in fact over 22,000 people participated.
AND. Michigan State was only just edged out by U of I as the school with most registrants- which is pretty impressive since obviously MSU is not even in the state of Illinois.
This is a race I always get excited about, I love going and getting my bib and MSU shirt, this has historically been a well managed event, and I just love seeing all of the other Spartans in the corrals, and on the course.
I have to say- this year I was unpleasantly surprised. As I said 20,000 + people were registered for the event – mind you 40,000 do the Chicago marathon. And the packet pickup and event run so smoothly.
Packet pick up on Friday was an atrocity. I’m sorry. I know I’m being a little dramatic. But it was 80 degrees, and we (Casey and I) had to wait outside for 45 minutes (inside for 15). There is only one school in the Big Ten located in Chicago- so it should be assumed that Friday will be insanely busy due to the fact that people will be traveling in from out of town.
Fortunately Casey and I found a delightful coffee and treat shop across the street from Fleet Feet and had some frozen hot cocoa, iced coffee, and a salted caramel brownie. So a huge thank you goes to Cocoa + Co in Old Town for making our stay in the line not completelty suck.
Also there were some young entrepreneurs who spotted the massive line, and decided to set up a lemonade and water stand (and also show off some adorb choreographed dance moves).
My dismay continued throughout packet up when I asked about where gear check was specifically located – and the volunteer was unable to provide an answer, and unable to locate anyone who did have an answer.
Casey and I needed sustenance after our line debacle so we went nearby to get some delicious Chicago dogs (solid pre race meal).
I put the unfortunate packet pick up issues aside- because I was super pumped about the race – the emails and website promised course improvements from last year – the updates indicated the race organizers had listened to previous participants and made changes for the better. At this point my main concern involving race day was the heat, as the EAS status had been upgraded from green to yellow due to the high temps and humidity.
Let me just say- the predicted temps did not disappoint- the course – I can’t say the same. Unfortunately it was brutally hot, also unfortunately the course changes – were not exactly improvements. The “improvements” involved more running through the humid, stale aired, dark, GPS crushing tunnels of McCormick place – the main thing most people complained about last year.
Overall for what was charged for the event, and the changes that were made (supposedly) for the better, and how the event was run- I am just not pleased. I think it’s time that the race directors expand in the same way the race has.
I ran both the 10k and the 5k- because I needed the miles for marathon training. By the time the 5k started the alert level changed to red because of the severe heat and humidity. I think both courses could have used one more aid station because of the heat and humidity. The “course changes” unfortunately made the course worse- it involved even more running through the hot, stale-aired tunnels of McCormick Place- even more so than last year. This is the first race I’ve ever ran where I legitimately thought I might be in trouble physically- around mile 4 I felt my legs kind of wobble underneath me- so I stopped for a second and took a breather. I hated to do this because I really wanted to PR, but I would really rather not pass out.
The post race party was the same cluster it has been for the last three years- longs lines for beer and food because there is no crowd control to stop people from cutting.
The silver lining of waiting in a long beer line is that other people need to leave so yet again Casey and I wound up with a nice little stash of food and beer tickets.
Once we got our beer and food the morning improved significantly and we were able to fill our bellies and even start a little buzz. I even ran into a fellow Venado who gets all of the photocred for the pictures below.
Overall, this is still a pretty fun race, and I am (and I assume most people are) a huge sucker for anything I get to do that is related to school pride. BUT. BTN, you need to to get your act together. You need larger venues for post race party and packet pickup. Period. Or else people will get fed up. It would also be cool of you add a longer distance or an option for a 10k/5k challenge for people who are mid-training for a fall marathon.
In other news my mileage has been ok considering the heat.
M- rest, with body weight exercise and stair master (although I stopped the stairmaster because of the likely aggravation in my hip)
Tues- speed work: 4×400, 2 x 800, 1 x 1200
Wed- 3 1/2 miles easy (was supposed to do five but it was too hawt)
Thur- 6 mile tempo
Sat- BTN B1G 10k and 5k for a total of 9.3 miles (was supposed to do 16)
Sun- 3 miles easy