Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Running for turkey

I love a good turkey trot. I have done the one in Lansing several times, and I've been really wanting to do the one in Detroit. The last few years we've done Thanksgiving with my family in West Virginia, so as soon as we decided to stay in Michigan this year, I knew I'd do the Detroit Turkey Trot. There's something satisfying about running early on Thanksgiving morning and then gorging on an obscene amount of Thanksgiving treats.

Goofing around downtown at the Joe Louis fist statue
On Thanksgiving morning I woke up early and left my in-laws' house with my cheering section - my husband and father-in-law.  My husband's family lives just outside of Detroit so it was a short drive in. As soon as we got off the exit we realized how big this race was - traffic was entirely stopped. Thankfully we'd given ourselves plenty of time.

Hart Plaza early on a foggy Thanksgiving morning
We parked just outside of Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. I'm from West Virginia - we're not really known for our hockey, but my husband is a giant Wings fan. It was a chilly morning, so we walked quickly past the Joe into Cobo Hall where the race would be ending. 

I remember reading the turkey trot would have around 10,000 participants, but this was the largest one ever with 21,000 people participating in the 5k, 10k and 1 mile runs.  It was packed in downtown Detroit. Detroit has a renowned Thanksgiving Day parade, and the Detroit Lions were playing that same day. It's always great to see downtown so busy.

Thousands of runners
The corrals lined up on Woodward Ave near beautiful Campus Martius Park.  (As an aside there's ice skating in the winter at the park. I'm dying to go!) The race ran up Woodward Avenue and turned around. Crowds were already lining up to watch the parade, and the holiday excitement was infectious.

The Christmas tree in Campus Martius Park
Despite the corrals, there were a LOT of walkers in my corral. It makes it very difficult to get into a groove in a race this size. There were also a lot of people running with dogs. I love dogs as is clearly evidenced by my giant dog monsters. But in a race with over 20,000 runners, there's no place for your pup. I almost tripped over a tiny French Bulldog, and neither I nor the dog would've been too thrilled about that.

Looking relaxed at the start
Runners at Campus Martius
The race veered off onto Washington Avenue in front of the beautifully restored Book Cadillac before running in front of Cobo.  We then we ran down Atwater to finish at the lower level of Cobo right on the Detroit River.

I'm clearly excited to finish
I had no idea how fast I was going because the crowds were so large. There was such a great variance of speeds that I was having a difficult time pacing myself. I had a pretty decent time for me (27:40), and I loved running in the D on a beautiful fall morning.

Posing by the Detroit River after the race
I'm not sure I would do this Turkey Trot again. As much as I love being downtown Detroit and seeing those great crowds, the Lansing race is smaller and a bit more manageable. For those kinds of large numbers, however, the race was quite well organized. Despite that I did have a really fun time, and I felt much less guilty for that second helping of green bean casserole.

1 comment: