Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ann Arbor Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K race report

I'm glad that I recruited my brother to do this race with me; otherwise, I certainly would have said "screw it" and gone back to bed this morning. But, I got up at 5:00, and left the house at 6:30 to pick up Nathan. I wish that I had something festive to wear for the race, but I didn't have anything even close to resembling Thanksgiving to wear, so I just wore plain boring running clothes. I knew that no matter what I wore, it wouldn't compete with Nathan's costume, so it didn't matter anyway ;)

I will start by saying that this race went SO smoothly! Last year, in Detroit, everything was so chaotic and stressful that I vowed never to do another Turkey Trot (but of course changed my mind a few days ago, haha!). We didn't sign up online, but the race offered on-site registration, which was a nice option (if the weather had been terrible or something, I wouldn't have wanted to go).

I picked up Nathan, and we found ourselves driving up to Ann Arbor at 7:00 this morning. There was next to NO traffic, which really surprised me. I had heard this was a big race, so I was expecting it to be stressful to find a spot to park; but we found a parking garage, which was free, and then walked two blocks to the registration tent.

The on-site registration was listed as $35, but they said they didn't have any shirts left for people who hadn't preregistered, so it was only $25. That was awesome! I really don't need any more race shirts, so if given an option to pay less for the race and skip the shirt, I would do it all the time. We did get a nice hat, though!

After we registered, we still had 45 minutes until the start, so we went back to the car to get Nathan's costume. He required a little help...

I couldn't believe he was going to run in that thing! I told him that I was hoping to run my best effort (not a PR, because I'm nowhere near that, but I wanted to do my best). He told me to go ahead, because he had no idea what pace he would end up running in that costume.

When we lined up, I saw a bunch of people with kids and strollers and stuff toward the front, so I actually ended up placing myself very close to the front--something I never normally do, but I didn't want to get stuck behind strollers. Nathan said he was going to line up in the back. I figured this might be my best shot of EVER beating my brother in a race (we'll just ignore the fact that he was wearing a ridiculous costume and running for fun).

Starting line

The announcer was really great at getting the crowd excited and ready to run. At 8:45 sharp, the race started. There was a woman with a stroller right in front of me, so it took me about 20 seconds to make my way around her, but after that, I didn't have any problems maneuvering around people.

I've raced in Ann Arbor before, so I knew it may be a little hilly, and it was. Maybe not impressive hills to most people, but considering I don't have any hills to train on, they were significant to me. Thankfully, they were short enough that I could see the peak, and I knew a downhill was coming. The first mile had a lot of uphill, and then the second mile had a lot of downhill. The third was about even.

I was so surprised at how fast a 5K goes by! After running long distances for so long, racing a 5K feels like it gets done so quickly. Don't get me wrong--it's not any easier than running longer distances, if you're actually giving it all of your effort--but it goes by much faster.

At around mile 2.9, we rounded a turn and I saw the finish line ahead. I knew it wasn't going to be a full 3.11 miles, which was a little disappointing (if I had been going for a PR, I wouldn't have counted it if it wasn't a full 5K distance). But considering I was just doing this race for fun and to see what my current 5K pace is, it didn't really bother me. I crossed the finish line at 3.03 miles.

My pace was pretty much what I was expecting! My main goal was to run each split under 9:00. Bonus if I could finish the race under 27:00. My "official" results:

While I would be thrilled to count my finish time as 26:14, I just had to adjust for the short course. At my actual pace (which, according to my Garmin, was 8:41), my finish time would have been 27:00 even. So, regardless of the course length, I am very happy with that!

I love this app... it color codes the route based on your pace. So, the blue areas were about an 8:00 pace, and the brown areas were about a 9:30 pace (the brown areas are probably where I was going uphill). It even shows where your fastest consecutive mile was (not just the even mile splits, but exactly where on the course you ran your fastest mile--mine was the last mile, from 2.03 to 3.03, which I ran in 8:23). The app is called ConnectStats, if anyone is interested--it downloads your runs from Garmin Connect.

Immediately after I crossed the finish line, I felt like I was going to die (or just vomit and pass out). I had really put in 100% effort, and I was exhausted! I sat on a curb, and worked on catching my breath. A couple of minutes later, Nathan came across the finish line--I wasn't even ready to get a picture, because I thought he'd be another 10 minutes or so!

I teased him for a second about beating him, and then he checked his results:

Say what?! Since he had started in the back, his finish time was faster than mine, even though he crossed the finish line after me. Who the heck runs a 5K for fun, while wearing a costume like that one, and finishes in 24:15?! My very best 5K time, when I was in my very best shape, was 24:04. Running the pace I ran today was extremely difficult! Needless to say, I was super impressed with his finish time. And I've yet to beat him at a race ;)

It's nice to have a starting baseline of my current 5K pace. I have to take about 46 seconds off of my 5K pace and double the distance in order to PR my 10K... that's going to be extremely difficult! But honestly, I am really looking forward to the challenge. I'm going to put in all of my effort during training, and then even if I don't PR the 10K in April, I will know that at least I gave it my best shot. Nathan thinks I'll get my speed back quickly, though, so it's nice to have his confidence.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race, and would certainly do it again next year! Now, I need to roast a turkey... :)  Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Katie, I have a question. I count calories also but I have not been committed in a while. My question is "How many calories did you eat compared to what you burned exercising?" Do you sync your fitbit with your calorie counter? I have been told I eat to little calories for my exercise but I don't seem to lose weight when I don't do this. Thanks for your help would love to lose a few pounds before Christmas

  2. Bwahaha!! Nathan is hysterical!! How in the WORLD did he run that fast in a turkey costume!?

    Congrats on a great race, even if it was a little short. :)

    I'm headed over to download that app right now!!

  3. I love Ann Arbor!! So great to see the two Starbucks locations on the map like an inch from each other :)

  4. Nathan's costume is hysterical!
    Congratulations on your time! You look fantastic, btw.

  5. You'll be glad you did the AA Turkey Trot instead of Detroit! It was a MESS this year. I waited in line to get into my corral and then the finish was a complete mess. We ended up stopping our Garmin's BEFORE the finish because we had to wait in line to cross the finish line. It probably took us 15-20 minutes to go the 0.1 miles from mile marker 3 to the actual finish line. I hate to say this would be my last Turkey Trot because I love the tradition but it might have been my last Detroit Turkey Trot. Maybe next year we'll have to check out AA!


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