Disclosure: I am a proud Ambassador for the 2016 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon (and Half Marathon, Relay, 5k, and Kids Fun Run). The race supplied the books I’m giving away in this post. All words and opinions are my own.


As I’m writing this, there are 20 days left until race day! (So, um, I guess I’d better buy some plane tickets and make a travel plan, eh?) If you’re not registered, it’s too late–but only for the international races. (Since the marathon, marathon relay, and international half marathon all cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, there’s that pesky business of giving the races’ registration lists to the U.S. Border Patrol and the Canada Border Services Agency to pre-clear everyone to enter. Can you imagine what your race times would look like if you had to wait in line at the border??) There IS still time to register for the U.S.-only half, the 5k, and the kids fun run. So hurry over to the race website and use code TRAINWITHBAIN to save 10% off of the current prices!

The 2012 Detroit International Half Marathon was the first race I did any serious training to run, and I still wasn’t fast. (It wasn’t even a PR.) I ran it for Mom, and for DetermiNation (which raises funds for the American Cancer Society). In the process, I also convinced my best friend, my Dad, and two cousins to run with us. In subsequent years I got one of my brothers to run (he likes to gloat about how much faster he is) and my best friend’s husband joined us too.

My 2012 Race Crew, post race, at the DetermiNation tent

I remember how cold it was at the starting line and as I sit here sweating my buns off in California (hello, isn’t it supposed to be fall?) a crisp fall breeze blowing in my face as I run to Canada sounds delicious! It was chilly enough that while I slipped off the arms of the sweatshirt, I still wore my gloves for the entire race. At the same time, it was quite sunny and otherwise beautiful weather. Given how much I dislike the heat, I’ve found this race to have the perfect running weather.

Note the fashionable addition of Dad's old sweatshirt to my outfit to combat the cold! P.S. I did pay for this download, so I'm not sure what's up with the watermark.
Note the fashionable addition of Dad’s old sweatshirt to my outfit to combat the cold! P.S. I did pay for this download, so I’m not sure what’s up with the watermark.

2016 is the 39th running of the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. The race has a colorful history filled with “firsts” and “onlys.” For example, this race was the very first event to ever close down the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, which runners have playfully nicknamed “the underwater mile.”

The Under Water Mile, and quite possibly the world's worst selfie
The Under Water Mile, and quite possibly the world’s worst selfie

As a runner, I love this race. It shows off the best of Detroit, and while it doesn’t necessarily show off “the worst” it doesn’t hide that Detroit is a city undergoing big changes. Detroit has some magnificent architecture and a pretty great history; I like to try to imagine what it looked like when my great-grandmother went to Detroit to meet with the rum runners who supplied her bar during Prohibition. The crowd support is amazing, especially along the Windsor waterfront where the streets are lined with cheering Canadians, and there’s always a giant crowd right before you hit the runnel to run back to Michigan. Speaking of the tunnel, there is a great selfie opportunity at the U.S./Canada border. As Emma Tranter (the women’s winner of the 1978 marathon) said, “The people along the route were great to us and the course was great. There’s just not enough I can say about it. It was a really great event.” Thirty-nine years later, that’s still true. But don’t just take my word for it; check out my fellow ambassador Meghan Warzecha’s reasons she loves this race.

As one of the inaugural Ambassadors for this race, I only love it more! (I still can’t believe they picked me to be on the team.) The entire race team welcomed us aboard with a meeting in February, and it was scheduled during my visit to Michigan for Dad’s wedding so that I would be able to attend. New Balance Detroit provided us with some sweet Ambassador swag, including tech shirts and pullovers. Ambassadors have been invited to subsequent planning meetings (though I haven’t been able to attend). We have regularly been invited to give input, and our suggestions are taken seriously. This year we are even going to host a #WeRunSocial meetup at the expo!


By the way, if you aren’t prepared to run the race but are going to be in the area, you are still very welcome to join us at the meetup–#werunsocial is for all runners! If you can’t make the meet-up, come say hi at the

This week, three of the race staff took time out from their Sunday evening to join us on the Runner of a Certain Age podcast too. (Did you know there are 4,000 runners who will run Detroit for charity?) You can check out the episode and the show notes for The Gotta Lose Your Mind In Detroit edition. The podcast is filled with race details and excellent trivia.

A little more than half of the 2016 Ambassadors
A little more than half of the 2016 Ambassadors

I’m really just thrilled to be able to share one of the best races in the country with my friends! Before I forget, the medals for this race are also pretty sweet. The bling itself pays homage to Detroit’s heritage as The Motor City. Each year features a different car (see above and below). The ribbon weaves elements of the U.S. flag and Canadian flag together.

I'm in line for coffee while displaying the 2012 bling
I’m in line for coffee while displaying the 2012 bling

In combination with the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon weekend, I’m giving away three copies of The Long Run. This book is a history of the first 30 years of the race. It’s filled with facts, but also with pictures, and covers not just the runners but also the wheelchair division and the handcycle division. It’s interesting both as a history of this particular race and as a a chronicle of the development of a major marathon.

This is the prize!
This is the prize!

If you want to get a sneak preview, you can check out the “Look Inside!” feature on Amazon.com. (Or you can just trust me that it is a great read!)

Details: this contest is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise related to anyone or any entity with two exceptions. One, Bain is an ambassador and this is her blog; she is 100% responsible for this contest. Two, the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon has generously provided copies of the book. Shipping will be slow! This contest closes on the first day of the race expo, and Bain and the race team are going to be super busy!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

According to Runner’s World, Thanksgiving day is the most popular day to run in the United States. I’m not surprised, since it is a holiday that tends to center around food, and the start of the holiday season (read: Season of Unlimited Feasting) for many. Personally, I think it’s nice to have an active activity that the whole family can enjoy.

This years shirt is definitely on trend, as current running styles favor neon for visibility
This years shirt is definitely on trend, as current running styles favor neon for visibility

My first turkey trot was in Austin, back in the late 1990s. I didn’t so much “run” as “walk and shuffle” it, but that’s part of the beauty of the turkey trot–most of them are relatively short distances, and welcome participants of all abilities. The largest events have multiple distances from as short as a mile to a 10k or longer.

Historically, my family has celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas (and usually Dad’s birthday) over Thanksgiving weekend. For me, this meant going back to my home town, leaving all my healthy eating and exercise habits at home, and laughing with my brothers while consuming mass quantities of carbs and diet coke.  Three years ago one of my brothers and his wife happened to have a membership to a tricked-out Lifetime Fitness and took me as a guest. That was the first “turkey trot” of my current running career.

Detroit Turkey Trot 2014 gear
Detroit Turkey Trot 2014 gear

Last year, I decided to convince my family to run the Detroit Turkey Trot. It was an epic failure in that regard, as every single one had an excuse not to run. I decided that even though it meant getting up before the sun and running in weather colder than what I’ve run in since moving to California in 2008, I was going to get in a run. (I may have had delusions of participating in the Runner’s World runstreak. We’ll pretend that didn’t happen.) I drove down to Cobo Hall to register, grab some selfies with The Parade Company giant heads, and hatch a race-day plan.

The Big Heads are made of paper mache; according to The Parade Company, Detroit has the largest collection in the world
The Big Heads are made of paper mache; according to The Parade Company, Detroit has the largest collection in the world

The Detroit Turkey Trot is one of the largest turkey trots in the country. Events include a 10k Turkey Trot, 5k Stuffin’ Strut, the Drumstick Double (run the 10k then the 5k), and the Mashed Potato Mile. The 10k route largely follows the Thanksgiving Day Parade route, lined with spectators (some of whom camp out in RVs all night to save their spots!) and through the gorgeous architectural reminders that Detroit was once one of the greatest cities in North America.

One of my favorite downtown Detroit buildings. Nobody builds like this anymore.
One of my favorite downtown Detroit buildings. Nobody builds like this anymore.

About two miles from the end of the course there is a Christmas cookies and candy canes aid station, and when the weather gets cold enough there are volunteers designated at each water station to throw rock salt and gravel to prevent ice from forming! There are shirts for all participants and medals for the 5k, 10k, and Drumstick Double, as well as what might be the world’s most efficient post-race food stations. (Yes, better than Disney.)

This is the first time we'd seen each other since...like 1996.
This is the first time we’d seen each other since…like 1996.

This year, I convinced Dad to join me. (His fiancee, worried he’d repeated his “I haven’t trained, but I think I’ll go kill this race” stunt from the Detroit International Half Marathon this October, made me promise not to let him get hurt.) My master plan was to have a good time, get a little exercise, and hit some unique portals in Ingress (my latest semi-fitness-related obsession, but more on that later.) So I set my Garmin for 1 minute intervals, with the intent to stroll a minute and jog at an easy pace for a minute.

Sporting my BibRave orange at the Detroit Turkey Trot.
Sporting my BibRave orange at the Detroit Turkey Trot.

The weather was warmer than last year (no ice danger at the aid stations!), and though there were a few sprinkles in the beginning, it turned out to be a gorgeous day for a run. There were a bunch of cute costumes, from turkeys to Santa suits. At the end of the run, we had some snacks and drove home to the Thanksgiving feast in Dad’s new condo. After a shower and a quick nap (being on “west coast time,” I had stayed up WAY too late), I felt great and was ready to celebrate with my family.

Speaking of family, my less-curmudgeonly brother went for a run. He’s about to turn 40, so he’s freaking out about “not getting fat” (and not being 30!). Though he refused my invitation to the Turkey Trot, he ran 6.3 miles–just because he always has to one-up me.

The 2014 finisher medal! Different colors of ribbons indicate which race you ran

If you’re interested in running a turkey trot in 2017–hey, it’s not to early to think about it!–a quick google search for “turkey trot” and the name of your town or the nearest large-ish town will likely get you a handful of results. BibRave.com, a race review website, has participant-written reviews of many turkey trots.

You probably can't register today for a 2016 turkey trot...but soon!
You probably can’t register today for a 2016 turkey trot…but soon!

Naturally a ton of my friends and fellow run-bloggers also ran this year. Here are just a few of their turkey trot reviews, for your reading pleasure. Running With Ollie chose the Cox Running Club Thanksgiving Day 5k in Fort Worth. My friend Andrew ran trails with Brazen Racing at the Nitro Turkey and Quarry Turkey (check out the bling!). Running on Happy ran the Cleveland Turkey Trot and had a different experience this year compared to last year. My First 5k and More did the Troy (NY) Turkey Trot 10k AND the 5k (check out the holiday presents, oh my!). Marcia’s Healthy Slice pointed out that races like the Mount Prospect Jaycees Turkey Trot are often at bargain prices. Chocolate Runs Judy did a turkey trot in Cohoes (NY)(see? they are everywhere!). Lauren Runs tackled the Suntree Turkey Trot. Weight Off My Shoulders did a race with a cute name, the Gobble Gobble Gobble Four Miler in Somerville (MA). The Tiny Terror ran her second turkey trot in Florence (SC). Finally, not every turkey trot is a shorter distance–Runspirations by Melissa did a full half marathon! (I love the medal for that race–what a great reminder of blessings all year.)

Mashed Potato Mile-rs get the same bling, different ribbon
Mashed Potato Mile-rs get the same bling, different ribbon

Did you run a turkey trot this year? A gobble wobble? How about a stuffin’ strut, mashed potato mile, or other holiday event?