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BTN B10K Race Recap and Race Review

This Saturday, Alex and I ran the BTN B10K Race in downtown Chicago, specifically Grant Park. Check out my race review and recap to see if you might need to add it to your list!

First of all, thank you all so much for the well wishes for my health after my post yesterday. I got Remicade, and I am hoping that it will do a great deal to help, and I am going in this morning to see my specialist (who was thankfully able to fit me in). That appointment plus an appointment with my new psychiatrist (for my anxiety and depression) on Thursday means that it is a BIG doctor week for me! 

This race review and race recap is going to be a bit different than normal–I’m going to look at the pros and cons of the race and then give you all the info on how the race went for Alex and myself.

Brief BTN B10K Race Review

The BTN B10k race is one of the most popular races in Chicago. Check out my BTN B10K race review and recap at

The BTN B10K Race starts, finishes, and encircles Grant Park in downtown Chicago. A good-sized race (12,000ish people) that calls for Big Ten (BTN Network) fans and alums of all varieties and also those of us who don’t really care, lol (WHAT UP ACC!!). There was much to love about the BTN B10K!

Pros of BTN B10K

  • Easy to navigate starting area (very easy to find your corral, etc) and to get into the park (plentiful public transportation opportunities)
  • Race start BANG on time, and corrals were suitably spaced to prevent too much crowding. 
  • Plenty of portalets near the start (but don’t think you won’t be in a line)
  • Fun race route that is different from so many of the races that I have done downtown, and loved that you got interaction with both the city as well as the harbor, park, and Museum Campus. They even managed to find just about all of Chicago’s hills/inclines! Which works in my favor 😀 And I will say that the hills are over after the first 3 miles.
  • Finishers’ area was plentiful with wet towels, Nuun, cold water, bananas, and Clif Bars, as well as Goose Island Brews and finally AmyLu sausages. 
  • AWESOME Finisher (and Guest) Party Tailgate. Even in the states that we were in, Alex and I still contemplated going to partake in the festivities! There were dashes and mascots and food and fun. Wish I had been able to get involved, but as you will soon see, not an option!
  • People have great fun with it! I saw a person dressed up as a Michigan superhero, I heard multiple people say that they were going to die when they realized that they were halfway through (this might be the only time of year that they run), but it was lots of fun, lots of friends, and just a super positive atmosphere that I really, really dug.
  • 5K option starting 1 hour after the 10K for those who know that they are going to die at 3 miles in but don’t actually want to die.
  • Each school as a corresponding ribbon for their medal! At the end of the Finishers’ only area, you got to pick up your respective school medal and then take pics at tents for your respective school and with the BTN bus. 
  • Medals are substantial, and the shirts correspond to your school. These shirts are basically collectors items, and you see them all over the place in Chicago and the day of! And yes, many people wear the race day shirt the day of the race.

Alex and I at the start of the BTN B10K race in Chicago! @suzlyfe

Cons of BTN B10K

  • Though a pretty solid course, unless you are used to some hills and are positioned at the front of the corrals, I wouldn’t go into this as a PR course. It is set up to enjoy the morning, have fun with your friends, and still get a great run in. (to be fair, this is also a pro)
  • No Pacers (for those that care)
  • Corrals were “enforced” in that there was someone at the entry to each corral, but then people just kind of found their own place. So that meant that there were 11:00 min/mi runners in Corral A (literally, heard someone make the comment that “Aren’t you an 11:00 min/mi runner? And you are in A?”). But there was decent enough space that while we were moving through the crowd, it wasn’t impossible (also a testament to the spacing of the corrals).
  • Sausages and beer at that time of morning is a no go
  • If you are at a popular school, register early or you might not get your preferred school! They ran out of Men’s Mediums and Larges for Northwestern, so I got Alex a Women’s XXL HAHAHAHAHA) or you can get the generic shirt. I know one of my giveaway winners wasn’t able to get the shirt for her school.

BTN B10K Race Recap

My and Alex’s race entries were provided by Clif Bar as part of their #feedyouradventure campaign. Thank you, Clif!

Alex and I woke up to GORGEOUS morning (60s, clear, not too humid) and headed down to Grant Park to run the Big B10K Race (the 10k started at 7 am, the 5k at 8 am). I had a bagel thin with nut butter beforehand, which I honestly considered skipping because of my stomach, but I knew that I would be even further in a calorie deficit if I didn’t. Hip felt fine-ish on the way down there. 

Alex and I at the start of the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Get the race review and recap at!

We went over to our corral area (Alex didn’t know what a corral was in this context. #newbie. I also had to repin his bib because he still doesn’t quite get it. He also was wearing a cotton Northwestern Med shirt #newbie, even though he could have worn the race shirt (like bajillions of other people. This is a race where it is acceptable). I wore all purple so that he wouldn’t be odd duck out.

Look who found us! Ellen was one of the winner of the race entry giveaway, and it was so good to see her. Don’t follow her? DO THAT NOW.

Ellen (My Uncommon Everyday) and I at the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Check out the race review and recap at!

Not sure how she found us! AND WE FINALLY GOT A PICTURE TOGETHER!

Soon enough, it was time to run! We started with a great pace that was comfortable but moving, about 8:50, but with all the people, we spent quite a bit of time moving in and out and around. I must say that we have about 5-6 inclines that can truly be considered hills in Chicago (thus why I wrote this post on hill alternatives!), and the route covered all but 1 of them, to my knowledge! I will give them props for that, but seriously?

Everything was going fine (my hips were holding together, though starting to not feel 100%), until I felt that tell-tale sign that, in the words of my beloved Mo, my stomach was about to fall out of my butt. That was about mile 4, and at mile 4.75, I told Alex to finish without me, and I dove into the bathroom (thank goodness for knowing that area so well). I’ll spare you the details, but it was necessary.

I was sad that we had to run the last mile + separated, but I wanted him to see if he could PR, and I didn’t know what was going to happen with me. I slowed down a little and somehow kept it together through to the finish. I honestly was super proud of myself for being able to finish–this was the closest I’ve ever gotten to a DNF. Alex said that his last part was pretty difficult, as well. By his watch, he was 10 s slower than his time at the Amita 10k, but we’ll see what the chip time says. I think that our strategy was better at the AMITA race, where we were able to negative split the race. At this race, we were strong, but dodging and leap frogging, and that caused us to use up a bit too much, too soon.

Refueling wiht Clif Bar and more at the BTN B10K in Grant Park Chicago. Check out the race review and recap at!

After we finished, I wasn’t feeling great, to I grabbed my medal (and they have different ribbons for each school!), a banana and water (Nuun was also available), and then I hit up the Clif Bar van to get some of the new Nut Butter Filled Clif Bars (YUM–I’ve already bought more of the Coconut Almond Butter. SERIOUSLY). Then we went home, showered, and went to brunch (eggs and pancake flights!!) with our friend before coming back to watch some Olympics. 

Even if you have a rough race, the #BTN10k is still a blast! #feedyouradventure @clifbar #runchat Click To Tweet

BTN B10K Race Bottom Line:

I would 100% run the BTN B10K again, and I would recommend it to those who want a larger, well organized, but still chill race during summertime Chicago. Two thumbs way way up!


Have you had the new nut butter filled Clif Bars? Unsponsored opinion, they will change your life.

Beer and sausage in the morning? (Hush, Laura ;D)

Linking this race recap and race review up with Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run; Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday; and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.

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  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    It’s time for the big guns to get involved!

    But, I am so very proud of both you and Alex for that race.

    August 9, 2016 at 6:07 am
  • Reply Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness

    Oooh I would love to try those new clif bars!
    Sorry you weren’t feeling well and had to make that detour. Overall it does sound like a really fun race. I would think that the enforced corrals would have been a positive thing (had the volunteers actually done their job).

    August 9, 2016 at 6:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree. But whatever…. overall not too bad!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:46 am
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Great job pushing through, even tho you weren’t feeling well. It has been a really crappy (pun intended) year for you. I’m glad you keep perseverating. You are definitely an inspiration!

    August 9, 2016 at 6:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Takes one to know one!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:46 am
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    Hahaha we were just waiting to enter our corral and I looked over and recognized you 😀
    Good news about those hills: they made me realize I really need to find some hills around here. Holy wow. Those Clif bars are indeed life changing.
    SO proud of you for finishing.

    August 9, 2016 at 6:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So proud of YOU for finishing after doubting yourself!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Rachel @

    Sounds like you had a fun race!!

    August 9, 2016 at 6:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well at least I survived!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    Way to finish despite the conditions! And I’m with you…all the heavy food at like 9 a.m. immediately after a race is not my thing. I wish more places had watermelon slices or Justin’s nut butter packets lol (in my dreams).

    August 9, 2016 at 6:59 am
  • Reply Sarah

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I had a few clients and friends run it. I love that the 5k was an hour AFTER the 10k started. Hot Chocolate is combined and let me tell you, I will NEVER do that race again!

    August 9, 2016 at 7:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will never do Hot Chocolate based on the reviews. NEVER

      August 12, 2016 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Kimberly Hatting

    Hey, you still made it to the finish line! That’s something to celebrate 😉 Any Iowa Hawkeye peeps there?

    August 9, 2016 at 7:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There were definitely some Hawkeyes! You should have joined!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    So proud of you for finishing! I can only imagine how tough that was. I’m so glad you are getting some help on all fronts. You’ve had a rough time lately.
    Congrats to Alex too on a strong race.

    August 9, 2016 at 7:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks Julie! Luckily, I’ve got great support from friends like you and from Alex!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Sounds like a fun and well-organized race! Way to finish despite your stomach – you are one strong woman.
    I’d totally be down for beer and sausage in the morning, but not after a race. Maybe the beer, but post race food should be bland and easy to eat.

    August 9, 2016 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha, I know you would, and I totally agree!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Nice work on the race lady! It isn’t easy pushing through when you’re not feeling well. Hopefully the Remicade helps!

    August 9, 2016 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is helping, but not as much as I would like.

      August 12, 2016 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Gretchen

    Great job finishing! Although I’m a little disappointed you didn’t get the PSU medals..they were probably all claimed early anyway 😉 Looks like such a fun race, and the Clif bar looks DELICIOUS! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them! Beer is a YAY for me at any time of the day..German girl problems 🙂

    August 9, 2016 at 7:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha I didn’t see that many PSU fans. You should have come and represented!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Jessica Marie

    Congratulations! Look at you, pushing through! That’s the kind of attitude I love to see.

    August 9, 2016 at 7:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m either stubborn or awesome ;D

      August 12, 2016 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Rae

    Ugh, stomach troubles + running = NO FUN. I’m glad you were able to finish. I haven’t tried these nut butter filled clif bars yet, but coconut almond butter sounds pretty dang good!

    August 9, 2016 at 8:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe


      August 12, 2016 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    I love that it’s associated with your school! So fun!! Glad you did finish and that Alex had a good race but sad your stomach is just not happy these days!! Praying for you my friend <3

    August 9, 2016 at 8:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      They need a UVA race out here. But then Alex would have to win it.

      August 12, 2016 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Emily

    Dodging and leap frogging through a race does usually cause me to lose a little bit of time, but I’m glad that you pushed through and that you were able to do most of it together. So sorry you had stomach problems, and I’m thankful you were still able to finish. <3 Praying for your doctor week.

    And are those Cliff Nut butter filled bars out in stores yet?

    August 9, 2016 at 8:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Emily. I so appreciate your positivity, always! And yes, they are out!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:40 am
  • Reply Patricia @Sweet and Strong

    Congrats on finishing, that medal is HUGE! And I just picked up two of those new cliff bars for my husband and I to try because they sounded so good. Oh and OMG I remember that pick of your brunch pancake flight on insta, I had no idea that was a thing, they all looked amazing!

    August 9, 2016 at 9:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Brunch flights are a thing, and they are a fabbbbbulous thing 😀

      August 12, 2016 at 11:40 am
  • Reply Michelle

    Great job!! And it’s never too early for beer and sausages, LOL!

    August 9, 2016 at 9:19 am
  • Reply Suzy

    I love that term of your stomach falling out of your butt! Brilliant! I’m sad that you felt that way though. Thank GOD for a porta-potty. Hopefully the good smart doctors can really help you this week. Lots of love <3

    August 9, 2016 at 10:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I need a porta-potty to follow me around at the moment lol

      August 12, 2016 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Sam

    So sorry you’ve had a rough time lately but congratulations on finishing. Your posts are very inspirational for those of us who feel like quitting under “normal circumstances”.

    August 9, 2016 at 10:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Aw, Sam, thank you. We are all stronger than we know!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:38 am
  • Reply patty

    You are amazing- I’m so impressed! Fist bump, girl.

    August 9, 2016 at 11:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Patty!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Jill

    Ugh I can’t even imagine running a race with stomach issues! Ahh. You are a frwaking trooper Susie! I discovered those Clif nut butter bars last month and I’m ADDICTED! I’m eating the coconut one practically every day!
    I hope you start feeling better soooooon!

    August 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      SO ADDICTED. Thank you, Jilly!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Abbey

    That’s amazing!! Good for you-keep it up!

    August 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Alyssa

    good job on finishing up the race strong! So cool you met Ellen too. And I need to try those cliff bars asap!!

    August 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ellen is my girl, and those bars are my jam!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:37 am
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    SAUSAGES and BEER as post race fuel….. AWESOME. I always find it funny how races are supposed to showcase healthy living/lifestyle but then are followed up by crap food.

    August 9, 2016 at 12:49 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Girl, this is not the “healthy living” race. Beyond the Clif Bars, that is!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Jo @ Living Mint Green

    I wonder when Canada will get those Clif bars. Probably never, cause you guys have all the fun food!

    August 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’ll save you some!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Well done for finishing and crossing the line. That is worth celebrating!

    August 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And I did with brunch!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Julie

    That clif nut butter bar! How was it?

    August 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    Awe, man! I’m sorry you had tummy issues. That’s the worst! I hope all your doctor visits this week help you!

    August 9, 2016 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, girl. So far, Remicade has been the only helpful one!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Mikki

    Sounds like a fun race. Not too many horrible Cons so that’s a good thing. It’s awesome that you and your hubby like to run together!

    August 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I have loved doing that this summer!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:35 am
  • Reply Ilka

    An upset stomach during a race is the worst – but you finished like a boss! 🙂 Congrats!

    August 9, 2016 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Ilka!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:35 am
  • Reply Mar @ Mar on the Run

    ugh, tummy issues during a race is such a bummer. But congrats to you AND your boo! That medal tho 🙂

    August 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Mar! You know me, gotta make it exciting!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:35 am
  • Reply Carmy

    I love races with good transportation options!!

    August 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is always nice to be able to get there!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:34 am
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    Girl… I can’t even imagine my stomach falling out my ass during a race. You are a rockstar. For real.

    Also, I want that Cliff bar. STAT.

    August 10, 2016 at 1:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is rather uncomfortable. I don’ suggest it. What I do suggest is the Clif bar, for certain.

      August 12, 2016 at 11:34 am
  • Reply Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers

    Aw, sorry you weren’t feeling well mid-race – but glad the rest of everything went well. Idk, I could probably go for beer and sausage in the morning, lol. I’ve got a pretty non-discriminating stomach when it comes to time of the day.

    August 10, 2016 at 7:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha I respect that.

      August 12, 2016 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Emily

    That sounds like a blast! I love that everyone had their own medals based on the school they attended! I miss Chicago SO much!!

    August 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      When did you leave? Where did you live?

      August 12, 2016 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    This sounds like such a fun race. WAY TO GO, YOU! For sticking with it and finishing despite everything!

    August 11, 2016 at 2:09 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Kristy!

      August 12, 2016 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Diana @ Live Lean Eat Green

    Running with stomach issues is the worst..congratulations on pushing through! DYING to try those CLif Bars…YUM!

    September 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Diana! I really appreciate it. And you must try the Clif bars–they are a new favorite!

      September 1, 2016 at 8:26 pm

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