Thursday, November 22, 2012

30th Fifth Third Turkey Trot; 22nd November 2012

Myself & Gordon before leaving home
Up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning for our second Fifth Third Bank Turkey Trot. Myself and Gordon were going to be picking up a friend on the way, but he lives very close by, so no big deal. The forecast was for very mild weather, so I opted for just regular running shorts and a short sleeved shirt, the only thing was going be the waiting beforehand and the walk back to the car after, but I'll take being cold then rather than too warm on the run. The drive downtown was kinda scary due to extremely heavy fog, but it didn't hang around for long.

We parked at a  lot that my friend Chris uses regularly, it was $10 but the Lions were in town and even the car park guys like to make some money once in a while, that's capitalism for you. We had a ~10 minute walk down to the starting line at Campus Martius, which was uneventful. We decided to hang around inside of the Compuware building and avoid the crowds and the cold.

Hiding with Chris in Compuware,
avoiding the cold.
With about 15 minutes to spare we decided to head down to the starting line, I guess we knew it was going to be busy but didn't quite realise just how busy. We started in the group called 'Blitzen' - expected 8:00 to 9:30 minute mile pace, but there was all kinds of runners around us that it didn't really matter, even more importantly they, it started 15 minutes ahead of the next group. There were an awful lot of announcements going on, but due to terrible acoustics we never understood a word of them. we then got the national anthem, just as the sun was rising over Windsor, which was kinda cool, and then we were off.

The start, as usual with these things was bedlam, with slow people and dog owners deciding that they should start at the front, and fast people that ended up at the back for some reason, the bottom line is that people are flying everywhere, while you try and dodge around others. The few streets at the start are quite tight and wind quite a bit, which makes for an overall interesting and slightly terrifying experience. The route is pretty much three long out and backs, with some messing around at the end. Much as I tend to not like the out and backs, the crowd (waiting for the Thanksgiving Parade) and the variety of runners with costumes, etc, make for an interesting race. Myself and Gordon both had inexplicably sore knees, but that is the joy in running I guess. We did stop at one point to see if Gordon could stretch and get rid of the pain, but to no avail and we kept on going.

What with this being the 30th anniversary of the race, the Parade company, that put on the race decided to give out medals and this was really killing the end. We rounded the last corner only to be met with a throng of people. So much so that we weren't even sure at which point we crossed the finish line, a disappointing end to a cool race. I'd say it took easily 10-15 minutes to actually get our medal and get inside for a snack. Snacks were very underwhelming, with some water, a cookie, a bagel and the worlds smallest banana. Chris was a little behind us a got nothing, again, very disappointing.

I did hear while trying to get to the end that there are more races on Thanksgiving morning in the US than any other day of the year and that the race in Detroit is the biggest of them all, at around 20,000 runners, so I'll cut them a little slack, but not too much.

I finished around 54:44, but to be honest it was a bloody mess at the finish line, I didn't even know where the line was it was so busy. According to the official stats, I was 91 / 384 in my age group and 1224 / 7695 overall, which I'll take quite happily. This race was never about doing a PR, it is just a cool thing to do on Thanksgiving morning and cooler to do with Gordon.

How Endomondo saw it -
How my Garmin saw it -

Looking up Woodward, to the starting line &
we were nearer the front...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The best present ever

So I turned 46 on 10th November 2012, no big deal, just another birthday, but this one ended up being a little different. Now I'm not really one for presents and don't really ask for much. From my kids I just like wee things, like a book or something, from my wife, same kind of thing, nothing fancy, but his year she went all out. Bren decided last week that she wanted to start running and on the day of my birthday, we ended going out together for the first run of her Couch to 5k plan. This is the best birthday present she could possibly have given me and I am rooting for her. I know that it is going to be tough, but I promise to be with her throughout this stunning task.

As usual I had to technologify the whole process and downloaded a c25k app from the Google Play store, the first one sucked and ended up going with this one from the guys at Over the past week and a half I have watched Bren go from being a very reluctant runner, to a avid running blog reader and writer too, although she is keeping it quiet right now.

Couch to 5k is a 9 week program, designed to take a coplete novice runner, from nothing to running for 30 minutes solid at the end. It starts as a run/ walk program, with increasing running duration and decreasing walking duration, three days a week. We have commited to do it on Saturday mornings, Monday nights and one other session midweek. I am super impressed that Bren has taken this on.