Detroit Turkey Trot 10K

Since I last posted, I have two more weeks of training in the bank and my first race to recap since July!

Week of 2015-11-16

I had the swelling in my knee looked at and it appears to be bursitis which is some inflammation of a round sac that’s supposed to help reduce friction (a ‘bursa’). I guess it just looks worse than it actually is when I straighten my leg since the IT band is pushed outward and rests on top of this swollen bursa. Icing and foam rolling around the IT band is in order. Thanks to Jenny at Archway for helping figure this one out. It’s been noticeably inflamed for several weeks now so I’m a little worried, but still no pain. (I think I caused this when I twisted my knee getting into the car… Stupid, eh?)

I got in a great track workout on Wednesday where I ran some of my best 1200m intervals, despite it being cold enough that my teeth were chattering during warm-up. I averaged 3:42 but had a nice progression within the workout from 3:44 down to 3:39 which is the direction you want your splits to go. On Friday, I ran a 3×9′ tempos with 3′ recoveries. Target was ~3:19/km with the 2nd 9′ changing gears from 3:25/km to 3:13/km every 45 seconds. I came through the first 9′ at 3:19/km, the second 9′ averaging 3:10/km for the fast 45″s and 3:27/km for the slow 45″s (3:18/km for the full 9′), and 3:16/km for the final 9′.

  • M: Rest
  • T: Workout: 5 km warm-up, 6 x 1200m (3′ walk/jog recoveries) [3:44, 3:42, 3:41, 3:41, 3:40, 3:39], 5 km cool-down (20.2 km) + 30′ core
  • W: 17 km + 15′ drills
  • Th: 16 km + 30′ core
  • F: Workout: 5 km warm-up, 3 x 9′ (3′ jog recoveries) [3:19/km, 3:18/km, 3:16/km], 5 km cool-down (19.5 km)
  • S: 21.8 km + 30′ core (one bonus core session to makeup for the one I missed last week)
  • Su: 45′ bike + 19 km run (including Mo’Run Sarnia 16K) + 45′ bike
  • Total: 113.9 km in 8 hours of running (3.25 hours of extras)

Week of 2015-11-23

I had the Detroit Turkey Trot 10K on Thursday and my lead-up workout on Monday was 15×1’/1′ reps, averaging ~3:05/km for the fast ones. I would have liked to see the pace a little quicker but the effort felt right. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself as this race came after only 8 weeks back to training but it was a last shot at a 10K before winter. Admittedly, I wanted a good result to record some progress since July (and to reaffirm that the weeks of cross-training were worth it) but I was ready to admit that fitness might still be coming around.

My expectations going into the race were mixed. I felt like my cross-training and running from the last 12 weeks had me in good shape – not to the point where my recent workouts were objectively better than past workouts, but I was feeling healthy and fit. Looking back at the 10Ks I ran this past summer, I figured I should have 15-30 seconds for free due to the heat/humidity I endured during those races but I tried to keep thinking that if I wanted those seconds, I had to earn them on race day. While it is a fun exercise to evaluate past performances, workouts, and other runners’ results to predict how you expect to finish a race, you have to show up on race day and prove it.

The race started at 7:30 am so I was up around 4:30 and on the road by 4:45 for the 90 minute drive to Detroit. My little sister came along to help navigate and watch my gear so I didn’t have to use bag check. (It’s a good thing, too, because the line for it was insane.)

I picked up the my race kit and headed out for a 5 km warm-up. When I finished warming up, I had 15 minutes to switch shoes, pin my bib to my singlet, and get to the starting line. When I left the Cobo Center, I had 10 minutes which seemed like a lot until I saw the thousands of other people heading the same direction as me. I saw some fast looking guy jogging so I followed him – figured he knew where to go.

16,000+ participants in the 5K and 10K combined.

I was weaving around people and cars as I worked my way toward the start corrals only to find another street packed full with people when I turned onto Woodward. I had 6 minutes to find the Wave 1 corral and try to get as close to the starting line as possible. I didn’t know where the entrance to the corral was and I didn’t have time to look, so I hopped the fence about 10 rows back and started weaseling my way closer. I got to the 3rd row when they started singing the national anthem and then I somehow got on the line when they removed the barriers and let us walk up to the real starting line. Phew, that was way too close.

Weaseling my way onto the starting line.
A bunch of high school kids took up spots on the line to sprint for 50 metres and then start jogging. Good thing they didn’t start in front of me…

My plan was to run 3:12-3:14/km for the first 5 km and then see if I had an extra gear to bring it home in under 32 minutes. The gun went off and I did my best to let people go as I came through the first km a little quick in 3:08. Once I got into my 3:12/km rhythm, I was in 7th place with a pack of 5 at the front about 20-30 metres ahead of me. I ignored the lead pack, focusing on my own pace. I knew we had the wind at our backs for this straight-out portion of the course so I didn’t want to overdo it and fall apart when we turned back into the wind. Fortunately, it seemed that the lead pack didn’t increase the gap and when we came to the turnaround point at 4-4.5 km, I made a move to catch the pack and tuck in behind. At this point, there were four or five other guys in the pack. Our pace was slowing to ~3:20/km and I became nervous about losing ground on 32 minutes but the wind was pretty fierce so I continued to let the other guys do the work.

Making a move into 2nd place; I met Damon (3rd) after the race – nice guy 

Over the next 2-3 km, guys started dropping off one at a time and eventually I was left in 2nd place. It was a grind for a while there as we winded our way back toward the river. I had to literally put my head down and tell myself to keep hammering. Despite the head-/cross-wind on the second half, I moving well and making up time. I made the final turn toward the Joe Louis arena, saw the finish chute, and kept on the gas – crossing the line in 31:51. I’ll count that as a new PB since the only faster time I’ve run (31:00) was on a downhill course – so that’s a nice improvement from July (32:24).

Fun fact: The guy who won (by over 30 seconds), Lex Williams, is a sub-4:00 miler who is sponsored by Brooks!


  • M: Workout: 5 km warm-up, 15 x 1’/1′ reps, 5 km cool-down (18.2 km) + 15′ drills
  • T: 16 km
  • W: 8 km
  • Th: Race: Detroit Turkey Trot 10K in 31:51, 2nd OA (21.3 km with warm-up/cool-down)
  • F: 45′ elliptical
  • S: 26 km
  • Su: 30′ core + 17 km + 60′ bike
  • Total: 106.8 km in 7.5 hours of running (2.5 hours of extras)

Anyway, that’s it for now. Next block of training is four weeks to get ready for the Boxing Day 10 Miler in Hamilton. Should be a fun way to break up the winter training and there’s usually a good field of guys there. Last year had Rob Watson, Sami Jibril, Berhanu Degefa, Lucas McAneney, Dancan Kasia, and Terence Attema. I’ve had the pleasure of getting whooped by five of the six of them.

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