November 27, 2014

Detroit Turkey Trot Drumstick Double race reports

Last night, there was a last minute change of plans to our race this morning, which made things a little interesting! Nathan (my younger brother) called me to say that Brian (my older brother) and Becky (Brian's wife) decided to bail on the Turkey Trot. They were already registered, and when Jerry heard they weren't going to run, he decided to run in Brian's place.

Brian was registered for the Drumstick Double (10K followed by 5K), and Jerry hasn't run it at least a month. I told him it was a bad idea, but he really wanted to do it, so that was the plan. We realized he didn't have any cold weather running clothes, so we made a last-minute trip to Dunham's last night to get him some running tights.

We got up at 4:30 this morning to get ready and leave by 5:30. We were supposed to meet Nathan, Kendall (his girlfriend), and Trish (his friend) at 5:45 to drive up to Detroit. We got to Detroit at 6:15, and there was no traffic on the expressway. But as soon as we tried to get to the parking garage at Cobo Center, it was a HUGE mess of cars. Drivers were being really aggressive, and even though I had tried to prepare myself for how crowded it would be, I just felt stressed before we even parked.

We ended up finding a different garage to park in, and then made our way to Cobo where the packet pick-up was. It was a huge center, and we didn't see any signs directing us where to go or anything, so we just kept walking and hoped to find it. We finally got our packets and took a picture before making our way to the starting line.

Me, Jerry, Kendall, Nathan, and Trish
It took us a long time to find our way back out to the street, and by that time, it was already 7:25 (the race started at 7:30). When we got to the starting line, we were supposed to go to the blue corral because we were doing the Drumstick Double (except Kendall, who was doing the 5K). The sidewalks were so crowded, and they already sent off the first wave of people. We couldn't find anywhere to get through the gates into the corrals, so the guys hopped over them while Trish and I squeezed through the bars.

I had turned on my Garmin at around 7:00, but it STILL hadn't found satellites. I was starting to stress over that, because I was really hoping to aim for a 55:00 finish time, and I didn't want to do it blindly. I turned it off and then back on, and the blue wave started. We started walking toward the starting line, and literally about 30 seconds before we crossed it, my Garmin picked up satellites. Woo hoo! If I hadn't had a goal, I wouldn't have worried about it so much, but I needed my Garmin ;)

Nathan told me he'd pace me, so we stuck together. And Trish was with us most of the way as well. Jerry's only goal was to finish, so he ran alone. When we crossed the starting line, it was impossible to run the pace I wanted, because of all the people. I was trying to pass people, but there really wasn't room to do that. I was aiming for an 8:50 pace, but the first two miles were 9:05 and 9:00. I mentally just readjusted my goal to be sub-9:16 miles, which was my "B" goal (it was what the McMillan calculator had predicted).

There was an out-and-back section about a mile long, and a couple of minutes after we made the turn, I suggested we start looking for Jerry to run past us. We could see the people who were approaching the turn-around, so I figured he'd be about five minutes behind us. I looked and looked, but never saw him. I wasn't sure if I should be worried, but then I figured we probably just missed him in the crowd.

As we approached the skyline, it was really pretty! I had to take a picture as I ran:

You can see Nathan and Trish on the left of the picture. I spent the last three miles just trying to keep up with them! My third mile was 9:04, and then after the crowd wasn't so crowded, I was able to dip into the 8:00's. Miles 4 and 5 were 8:46 and 8:50. I was REALLY getting tired around mile 5, and I was hoping there was a water station, but I never did see one on the course (I later learned there were two--but Nathan and I both missed them).

At mile 5.5, I happened to glance just ahead and to my right, and there was Jerry! I was SO shocked to see him. I was busting my ass to hit pace, and he, who rarely runs, was ahead of us the whole time?! He must have started at the front of the wave, because his pace was a little slower (9:10), but he ran that 10K like a champ. I briefly thought of slowing to finish with him, but my average pace was at an 8:56 at that moment, so I was going to try to finish with a sub-9:00 pace. I kept going with Nathan.

He asked me if I had anything left to give, because if I did, I could still finish under 55:00. In my head, I had tried doing the math to see if it was possible to finish under 55:00, but I was thinking it just couldn't happen at that point. I'd have to make up a lot of seconds in a short amount of time. I just told him no, that I was doing all I could.

When I could see the finish line, Nathan said I had about 14 seconds, and I could do it. I sprinted with what little energy was left in my legs, but I knew it wasn't going to happen. I crossed the finish line in 55:07--just 7 seconds from my goal! Hahaha, if I had known it would be THAT close, there are so many things I would have done differently (like maybe not take pictures while running?).

Anyway, I really felt I gave it my best, considering the crowded course and feeling stressed before the race. We waited for Jerry, and he crossed in 57:49. Then we all started walking quickly to the starting line again for the 5K. It was about a half-mile, and then we discovered we were locked out of the corrals again. We started searching for a spot to crawl through, and just as I was about to, a girl on the inside of the corral pointed out where there was an opening. Then she said, "By the way, I love your blog!" Hahaha, small world :) The 5K had already started, so we made our way to the opening, but there were way too many people standing outside of it for us to get through. Once the crowd started moving, we wormed our way in and walked toward the starting line.

This was Kendall's first 5K, and she expected to run about an 11:00-11:30 pace, so I planned to stick with her (I knew I'd be tired after that 10K!) and Nathan stayed with us as well. Running at that pace was much more enjoyable, and I actually took a few pictures.

This was the out-and-back portion

Comerica Park

Nathan and Kendall
As we were running the out-and-back portion, I heard someone on the other side going past yell, "Runs for Cookies!" I yelled back, but I was taken off guard so I'm not sure if she heard. (If you're reading, hi! Hope you had a great race!)

Kendall was doing awesome, and managed splits of 11:32, 11:13, and 10:34. We crossed the finish line in 35:16. The finish line was a mess of people, and the Drumstick Doublers were told to go inside the building for our medals. It took us a while (and a lot of asking) to find where to go, but we finally got our medals. The food line was ridiculously long, and even though I was super thirsty, I didn't want to wait.

They had some stuff for sale, and when I saw this particular hoodie, I just HAD to have it:

It has an INSULATED beer holder pocket on the front, along with an attached bottle opener! I had no money with me, because I just don't carry it when I run; but Trish offered to lend me the money to buy it (she got one too). As chaotic and unorganized as the race was, buying this shirt was totally worth it all ;)

Overall, I am VERY happy with my 10K today--even though I didn't hit my goal, I did run hard and I came very close. Running Kendall's first 5K with her was awesome. And I bought a really fun hoodie. While I'll never do this Turkey Trot again (just too unorganized for me) but I'm glad I did it. I earned a TON of Weight Watchers PointsPlus for my dinner tonight! And it was a great way to start Thanksgiving :)


  1. Thank you for the post about the magazines a week or so ago. I missed that one, but I looked it back up today and got a great deal on Christmas gift subscriptions. :)

  2. I also had trouble getting my garmin to sync before my race here in South Carolina. Like you it finally synced seconds before the start. Glad you took a couple of photos so this Detroit native could see a few familiar sights. Congrats on a good race.

  3. Congrats on doing the Double. Sorry to hear that you found the race disorganized: I had a very positive experience and thought they did an excellent job of emailing all of the information with links to parking, corral set-up (and gate locations) as well as the specific instructions for the Drumstick Double. It was a great day to be in the D with so many thousands of like-minded people out to have fun and be healthy with family and friends - such a positive atmosphere. I applaud you on your determination and commitment and on the positive change that you have made in your life. Blogging about your experiences can only inspire others to do the same, so well done! James Gingell

  4. Wow, you had a GREAT race, despite all the obstacles! And you still finished the 5k faster than Jamie and I! ;)

    LOVE the skyline picture...just gorgeous!!

  5. This race is super crowded for sure. I like doing it because I have friends who run it but I would love it if there were a smaller one around these parts. It didn't start to get that crazy until they started offering medals. Glad you had a good race. Love the pics!


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