Thursday, November 27, 2014

Detroit Turkey Trot 10K: Nov. 27th, 2014

Jessica and I have wanted to do the Detroit Turkey Trot for a few years now but we are usually in Toledo for family events on Thanksgiving day.  This year it worked out that we didn't have anything going on until later in the afternoon so we decided to head out with 25,000 Detroit area runners to trot along the Thanksgiving Day Parade route.  We did not really know how big of an event this was until the week of the race. People were telling us to get downtown at least three hours early.  What?!  I am not getting out of bed at 4:00 am on thanksgiving morning.  We took our chances and left about an hour before the start of the race.  Luckily Jess has a parking pass for one of the garages at the Renaissance Center so we were able to bypass the huge slug of traffic waiting to find parking.  We actually found parking right away and were early to the starting line!

We ran into one of Jessica's co-workers who is originally from Ireland.  Her parents were in town visiting and her Dad was there to walk the Turkey trot with her.  It was cool meeting them and then we went out into the cold weather to get lined up to run.  Then we were finally off and running.  There were thousands of people running which is always a cool atmosphere to be around.  We were not going for any speed records, rather just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere of downtown Detroit on parade day.  It was very lively throughout the whole course.  People were lining the streets to cheer runners on as they were getting ready to watch the parade which followed the run.  There were also a ton of Lions fans out tailgating before the traditional Lions Thanksgiving Day football game.  I must admit that I was starting to get hungry smelling all the food they were grilling.  Halfway into the run I noticed we had a pretty good pace going.  We kept it up for the rest of the run and it was over before we knew it.  We went to a bar in the Renaissance Center to have a bloody mary which turned into two bloody marys.  We did not know they were going to be the most expensive bloody marys we ever had!

Everything throughout the day went really smooth until we tried to leave the parking garage.  It was a traffic jam getting out of there.  We must of sat in the same spot for about a half hour.  Then we moved little by little and finally we were able to get on our way home for a nap before our Thanksgiving feast back in Ohio.  This was a really neat event and I cannot believe how many people are downtown for the race, parade, and football game.  Must be like 50,000 people total!  It is quite a tribute to how awesome the people of Detroit and metro Detroit are when it comes to getting together for a big celebration.  I think we will definitely do this race again if we are in the area on Thanksgiving morning.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fall FA Oak Openings 25K: November 22, 2014

My friend from Perrysberg, OH, Steve "Trail Runner" Pierce, invited me to this fat ass race in Oak Openings Metro Park.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with a fat ass race it is basically a run that is not an official race.  It is kind of a word of mouth type thing where a bunch of runners just get together and run a certain course usually without course markings.  These are becoming more and more popular as most trail events get sold out quickly these days.  Anyway, this FA trail run was being put on by the Toledo Road Runners Club.  My plan was to get up early and make the hour and a half drive down to the park for the 8:00 am start.  I was excited to do a run in Oak Openings since I grew up in that area and this was technically my "home trail."  The weather called for freezing rain on the Saturday morning of the race which concerned me a little bit.

I left my house with plenty of time in case the weather turned bad on my way down there.  As soon as I left my driveway the freezing rain had started.  The expressways were not too bad at first so I decided to keep going.  When I got about half way there the roads were becoming a sheet of ice.  I slowed way down and took my time.  I finally reached the park after a crazy drive and as I was pulling into the entrance I noticed a lot of cars in the parking lot.  I thought a lot of people would of just stayed home due to the freezing rain but runners are usually a determined group so of course everyone made it out.  I was happy to see the crowd and also excited that I made it there without crashing and only a few minutes late.  Then I hit a patch of ice and my car started sliding towards an embankment.  It stopped right before sliding down the embankment.  Nothing like getting your heart pumping before the run even starts!  When I got there some groups were starting and I noticed Steve was in the lead group so I hurried up and sprinted to catch up to him.  He was surprised I made it considering the weather.

The trail we were running on is a 16 mile dirt trail around the perimeter of the park.  It is well maintained by local boy scouts and therefore it is called the Scout Trail.  Every time we are back in that area visiting family I usually try to go there to run a lap on that trail so I know the course pretty well. We were off to a pretty good pace at the beginning with a group of four or five runners.  I kept up with them because I was chatting with Steve about..well..trail running..of course.  Steve is a much faster runner then me and he and the lead group were really pushing me to my limit.  After 9 or 10 miles me and another guy had to tell Steve we were slowing down.  He said he was just out there for a slow fun run anyway and no problem he would go at our pace.  The weather actually turned nice into the upper 30s during the run.  There was a little layer of snow on the trail for some added cushion.  We kept up a pretty good pace for the next 6 miles to the finish.  I was very exhausted.  I am not use to pushing that hard on trail runs but it really paid off.  When we finished at the shelter I noticed there was a huge spread of food.  Looks like almost everyone brought something and it was all really good stuff.  There was also a fire going in the fireplace inside the shelter which was awesome.  This was a really cool event.  I am glad I decided to go and it was nice to meet some Toledo area trail runners.