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I know it has been more than two weeks since Thanksgiving, thank you for the reminder. But think positive: consider this an early Thanksgiving post for 2013…

We always have mashed potato for Thanksgiving dinner and this year it was no different. But this time the sweet potato has been traded for an even sweeter mashed potato: Mashed Potato Mile of the 30th Fifth Third Turkey Trot in Detroit. We heard about this event and the parade right after the race on Thanksgiving morning, so we registered the whole gang to participate.

My original plan was to let the family go through the Mashed Potato Mile and I will participate on the 10k, but then I realized, I did not want to spend any time without them on this day. I wanted us to experience together this event, push through this mile together, cross the finish line together. I felt like a missionary. Missionary for the “getting up from the couch” movement. We had our good friends spending the Thanksgiving long weekend with us and they arrived to Michigan already on Wednesday evening, so they joined in on the fun as well. If every runner could convince 6 other people to get up from the couch and do something active, that would be a thing! But don’t worry: if you are the only who you could convince, that is already an excellent start.

I have lot of things to be thankful for, but on this morning, I was especially thankful for the three most amazing girls that I have in my life. I was so proud of them. As we were in the middle of the crowd running towards the finish line, I wanted to keep that moment forever. The girls were running with their best effort. No complaints. If they had to switch to walking, they switched to walking as soon as they felt they can pick up the pace again, they did and finished strong at the end. As I was taking pictures while they were running, besides the many digital pictures, I snapped millions of mental images as well and burnt them into to my brain permanently. I forget lot of things. But this is definitely one event I never want to forget.

So hats off to the gang to take up on this Thanksgiving morning challenge. And here is how it all happened…

Pre-race preparation:

Our race (Mashed Potato Mile) started at 7:30AM, so it was another early start of the day. One great thing about this event was the fact, that there were multiple locations in the Detroit suburb, where we could pick up our race packets, so we definitely took advantage of that. Also on Wednesday evening we decided where we are going to park and what time to leave. We planned for the previously proven strategy: leave a bit earlier to beat the traffic jam. Rather walk around in downtown than sitting in the middle of a traffic jam watching the seconds and minutes going by.

Race day morning:

The gang woke up without any hassle. Again very proud of them as we all stayed up a bit late on Wednesday evening, so the 5AM wake up call for sure was not the funniest part of the day, but everyone doing their best to get ready going.

Definitely ready for a Thanksgiving morning challenge

Definitely ready for a Thanksgiving morning challenge

We left a bit later than originally planned, but still were on time and never got stuck in traffic. Maybe there is no traffic jam at all; it might be just our imagination… The forecast promised surprisingly warm weather for the day, which was very encouraging, but we did not expect too much sunlight at 6AM. But it was not too bad.

Not bad forecast for a Michigan Thanksgiving day

Not bad forecast for a Michigan Thanksgiving day

Before Start:

Getting ready to walk to Cobo Center

Getting ready to walk to Cobo Center

It was nice, that the Cobo Center was already open, so we could spend some time inside warming up. There was already quite a bit of crowd inside seeking a warm place to wait until the race started, but the crowd was still acceptable inside. At least before 7:30AM… We saw quite a few people in costumes which was a really fun thing to see. Just another bright note for this event.

Anyone hungry for a hot dog?

Anyone hungry for a hot dog?

Final cheer before ready to go

Final cheer before ready to go

National Anthem, a final cheer and we were ready to go. By now I have a pretty well established pre-race routine, but another proof of how excited I was for everyone participating is the fact that I even forgot to start the Sports Tracker App until we turned the first corner.

Waiting patiently for the Start

Waiting patiently for the Start

The Mashed Potato Mile:

The race course goes around in front of Cobo Center. It starts with a short downhill, which helps to get the crowd going and get to a fast start.

Running as a team

Running as a team

Happy participants

Happy participants

It goes through a tunnel, which is fun with the kids so everybody can scream and yell as loud as they want. Then there is a little climb on Bates Street. From here on the right side, we could see the Border crossing at the tunnel exits coming from Canada. Not so long time ago, I run through the tunnel from Canada to the United States as I was running in the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon. Another great memory. As we looked to the left, we saw the Mashed Potato crowd already heading back towards Cobo Center.

Soon enough we made our left turn and we were also running towards Cobo Center.

Soon enough we made our left turn and we were also running towards Cobo Center.

Here we had another great moment to be thankful for: somehow my daughter’s favorite bear fell off of my backpack. I would have never recognized it until it would have been too late, but somebody grabbed my shoulder at some point that we dropped it. Thank you very much again for that nice lady who helped to prevent a Thanksgiving meltdown. Her effort for sure helped to preserve the Mashed Potato Mile as a very positive experience for our family.

Close to the Finish line, keep running...

Close to the Finish line, keep running…

Then we passed the Mashed Potato Mile Start line, heading downhill again, but then turning onto the Second Loop. Soon enough we crossed the Finish line. It has been a great feeling!!!

Emma and Mommy are crossing the finish line

Emma and Mommy are crossing the finish line

Karina is crossing the finish line

Karina is crossing the finish line

Result:

It did not matter, there was no chip time for the Mashed Potato Mile and since I started my tracker late (and it had trouble in the beginning to find signal), I can only say that family crashed the mile in about 13 minutes. Which is not bad considering that one of us was only 4 years old.

Great job girls! (Lost about 1 minute tracking in the beginning)

Great job girls! (Lost about 1 minute tracking in the beginning)

Happy and proud with our new medals

Happy and proud with our new medals

Conclusion:

I hope next year the family will already participate on a 5k event. And maybe someday, we can run a 10k, a Half Marathon or a Marathon together. In the meantime we definitely made up for the burnt calories during dinner…

Somebody is going to get eaten pretty soon...

Somebody is going to get eaten pretty soon…

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