2014 Growler Gallop Recap

On Sunday, September 14th Mr. Shoe and I ran the Growler Gallop in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Shoe ran his first ever 10 mile race while I ran the 5k. The race was not until 4:00 PM which kind of threw off our entire day. I much prefer morning races so I don’t have to worry about eating too much at lunch and feeling too full to race.

Ready to run!

We ended up being a bit late getting to packet pickup. Not actually late, but we were running late enough that we were starting to worry about making the start of the race. Traffic near the start/finish was an absolute nightmare due to closed roads and, I kid you not, a circus that was mere blocks away from the race. Fortunately we were able to find parking right next to the starting line.


Start of the 10 mile. Go Blue!

Picking up our packets and getting our IDs checked for the post-race party went pretty quickly. There wasn’t much time for anything else besides a quick warm up and waiting in line for the restrooms. I loved that the 5k was starting after the 10 mile because it meant I would be able to cheer him on at the start and finish of his race.

After the 10 milers were off, I dropped the camera off at the car, ran a quick warm up, and fought my way up to the front of the corral. I was planning on starting towards the middle of the pack, but after asking a few runners what their expected pace was, I decided to move up so I would have less dodging to do. I ended up lining up next the same gentleman that was in line for the restrooms with us. It was really nice to chat with him about planned paces and upcoming races. We both had a goal of finishing under 23 minutes.

Mr. Shoe has just crossed the starting line!

Sub-23 was a kind of steep goal for me. I set a PR in May of 22:12, but the course was mostly downhill. I wasn’t sure if I could hold a similar pace on a flat course. I also have not been doing any speed work. I was fairly certain that I would not get a PR but I also knew that under 24 should be relatively easy. I was hoping that sub-23 would be enough to make me work for it, but not so fast that I would run out of gas at the end.

Once the race started and the crowd thinned out a bit, I tried to get a handle on where I was in the pack. I estimated that there were about 4-5 women in front of me. About a mile into the race I managed to overtake one of them, but at the half way turn around a different woman flew past me. For a moment I tried to latch on to her pace, but I decided it was too fast for me, better to run my own race. I hit the turn around at 11:30, right on track for my 23 minute goal.

The rest of the race was fairly uneventful for me. There was a terrifying moment when a car tried to cut through the course and almost hit the girl in front of me. I could hear that there was another runner pretty close behind me, so I just focused on keeping my pace up and staying in front of him. No one passed me and I didn’t pass anyone else for the remainder of the race.

Hoodies, bottle opener finisher medals, and race numbers.

I am fairly certain that the clock said 22:2X as I crossed the line. I knew it wasn’t a PR but I was very happy to be within 10-15 seconds of it! Volunteers got me my medal and a bottle of water and I focused on getting my breathing back under control. About 45 minutes had passed since the start of Mr. Shoe’s race, so I knew I had a bit of time before he would finish.

I made a quick trip back to my car to towel off and grab the camera. I made a loop through the post-race party to grab a slice of pizza then went to watch the finish line. Mr. Shoe had set a goal of 1:30, so at about 1:15 I staked out a spot near the finish line. The top 10 mile finishers started coming in amongst the 5k walkers. I felt for them as they tried to kick at the finish and dodge the people walking. This wasn’t the best set up.

Exhausted, but he finished!

As I mentioned in his birthday post, Mr. Shoe finished in 1:28:17. My official finish time was 22:14. Very close to my PR, but I’m actually a bit relieved that it wasn’t a new PR, because the race had major timing issues! Awards were supposed to start at 6:00, but we waited and waited, still nothing. Finally someone made an announcement that both their regular timing system and the backup system had failed and they were still in the process of trying to recover data.

I’m guessing only some of the data could be recovered, because when they started announcing winners everything kind of spiraled into mayhem. Finally they decided to stop trying to announce winners and go back to working on fixing the problem. We finally managed to get our hands on the timing results, Mr. Shoe was listed correctly on the 10 mile results, but I was not on any of the results.

Fortunately once we managed to speak with one of the organizers, she had me write in my result and let me leave with one of the age group awards. The age group awards were growlers filled by Atwater Brewery (the main sponsor). This is not the type of award that could be easily mailed, so I am really grateful that the organizers took my word that I would have placed.

Atwater Brewery

The line to fill the growler was long and filled with confusion/frustration. The guy in front of us was the first finisher of the 5k, but he was not on the results list. The people behind us were complaining about the people complaining. I understand that the race organizers (Trivium Racing) hadn’t intentionally lost half of our results, but it was frustrating to pay for a chip timed race and not have an official time!

I will say that I am impressed by how quickly Trivium managed to compile an official list of results. They must have spent most of the night reviewing the finish line photos and hand written results list to determine times for all of the runners. Unless they were somehow able to actually recover the missing data. I don’t know if my 22:14 was an estimate by Trivium based on photos or an actual chip timed result, hence my relief that this was not a new PR.

Cans, growlers, and kegs, oh my.

I am really happy with this time. Even if my actual finish time was a few seconds slower, I came very close to my current, mostly downhill PR. I am relieved that I must be picking up/maintaining my speed even though I have only been focusing on endurance. In 2013 my 5k results were 22:59 (downhill course), 24:20, and 24:23. Without the benefit of the downhill, I could not come close to my best time. This year I’m actually close!

I’m not sure that we will do this race again next year. This was our first experience with Trivium, and it wasn’t a great one. The race itself was pretty good, the course ran along the river, and if you were racing the 10 mile, out onto Belle Isle. The post race party had pizza and snacks for runners and registration included 2 free beer tickets. And, of course, winning a growler was pretty sweet! I think we will have to see what the rest of our schedule looks like before making a decision.


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