Thanksgiving morning, while many are making the final preps for a day hosting the 3 Fs (Family, Food, and Football), the Day family is up early and lacing them up for a good cause!
The 10th Annual Drumstick Dash took place in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis. The race is one of the fastest growing races in the country, and in just its tenth year, over 16,000 are expected! All proceeds support the Wheeler Mission, and we found this to be a great opportunity to do something as a family.
I signed up for the competitive long course (4.6 miles), Molly signed up for the non-competitive short course (2.5 miles), and the kids came to participate in the "Lil Gobblers" Run!
Molly has been training with her friend Jessica, and we also coordinated the day with our friend Sara. Jess' husband and daughter, along with Sara's husband and boys were also attending and graciously agreed to watch our kids so that Molly and I could participate in the bigger events that happen simultaneously.
Out the door and on the road by 7 a.m., we arrived to park at the Glendale mall on 62nd Street. The race organizers had us park out there and provided free shuttles to the start line to alleviate congestion with traffic and parking. The lot was FULL and overflowing. We parked and met up with the Smiths. We seriously stood in line for 15 minutes before boarding our shuttle, and getting dropped off near the start line at 8:25. The race starts at 9. Thankfully Andy dropped Sara off near the start line and she was able to go in and get our packet, bibs, and shirts.
Bib on, kiss the wife, and we're all going our separate ways. My back was quite tight and I wanted to get a GOOD warmup in, so I took off running the course backward for a good 4 minutes in one direction and back, probably covering well over a half mile, and then jumped in a portapot before heading to the start line.
Seriously, the crowd replicates the Indy Mini - thousands of crazies - great costumes, turkeys, pilgrims, santa, you name it! I positioned myself between the 8 and 9 min pace markers and continued stretching. A large screen showed the live crowd from high above. And they sent the costumed turkey on his way (first to catch it wins a prize) - And then we're off! Or at least two minutes later I was finally moving.
Mile 1 was quite congested and forced lots of weaving in and out of runners trying to find my pace. I was content with the 8:30 on my watch at the first mile marker. The streets narrow through the neighborhoods, and this keeps things tight during mile 2 as well. 8:24. I passed the turnoff for the short course and 1 out of every 5 were taking the turn, so I felt good about where I was. Mile 3 felt good with the back loosening up and I kept it close at 8:30. For Mile 4 I really thought I would drop it down under 8s, but honestly the back just would not allow me to go to another gear. With each attempt to accelerate, I could feel the back not only refusing, but almost pushing back. By the end of the mile I was please to keep it close at 8:38. I assumed correctly that the course would measure a little long, but only because of the weaving I had to do early on; and in fact the final distance was 4.69. The last .69 paced out at a very consistent 8:29.
As we neared the finish line the congestion was so thick, that runners were being stopped just short of the timing mat (so much for running hard through the finish) - To put this into the big picture, there were 10 finishers with my exact same time of 39:51. We were separated only by tenths! I finished 1813 out of the 5755 timed finishers and 140 out of 287 in my age group. Not bad for the aching back.
I followed the crowd to the food and drink, and then went back to meet the kids. Jess had just finished the 2.5 course with a great sub 12 pace, but Molly was yet to be seen. We waited and watched until she arrived, and the kids ran out with her to escort her to the finish. Not the time she wanted, but I couldn't be more proud of her. Shortly there after Sara arrived after completing the long course and was pleased with her time as well.
We made our way through the crowd to arrive at the Lil Gobblers race just in time. It literally was a 20 yard dash! But was super cute! Yes, I said super cute! 10 year olds first, and Morgan ran "fast" and got her medal and goodie bag! Love this! Emma and Carter enjoyed the race as did the other kids. Probably over 60 kids between all age groups, and the medals were a big hit for them! One last family photo and we're parting ways.
Walking back to the shuttle drop-off/pick-up I could feel my back getting tight again, and Molly said her foot also hurt. Once we got on the bus, I could really feel it tightening, and couldn't wait to get back to the car to get another muscle relaxer and ibuprofen. We smelled terrible, but once we got to the car, the next stop was to be my parent's home in Connersville for a quick shower before we head to Grandma Day's for Thanksgiving with the family!
As we walked to the car, smiling and enjoying the moment, the day, the sun, and being thankful, the kids spotted our vehicle and ran up ahead to get in - I unlocked the door with the key fab and the lights flashed confirming that it was unlocked, Carter got in, Emma got in, and as I reached for my door handle, I noticed the door handle was cracked and broken - my first (naive) thought was that the car parked next to us, which was gone, must have slammed their door into ours and hit it just right to break it off. I yelled for Molly to come and look and without missing a beat she says, someone picked the lock. I didn't believe it, until she repeated herself while running around to the passenger side. Opening her door - "My purse is gone!" What? No! How many thoughts can go through your mind at one time - Jaw. Drop. Seriously? "The iPad is gone!" Nooo! Please tell me this isn't happening. I look at Morgan, Is the Ipad back there? No! The look of terror on her face is one I won't soon forget. Molly looks me dead in the eye and I can read her mind. I'm reaching for the console and before I can open it, she says "Your wallet and phone". Open the console. Gone! Noooooo! Noooooooo! Dear God, please let this be a mistake. I'm looking everywhere, on the floor of the car, under the car, between the seats - nothing - anywhere - it's all gone! All of it! ALL OF IT!
All of our clothes to change into in the back of the vehicle are still there. Morgan's DSi was still there. Carter's Mobigo was still there. These people knew what they wanted. Molly's purse is large, and was tucked under the dash on the passenger side, and the iPad was tucked behind the passenger seat in the storage area there. I suppose it's possible a small part of it could have been sticking out, but my wallet and iPhone were stored in the console.
Molly called 911, and reported the crime, and our whereabouts. We waited patiently for the police, all the while reassuring the kids that we were okay, and were going to be okay. Even though we barely believed it ourselves. Carter didn't really get it, Emma was concerned, but Morgan was devastated. She was crying, no sobbing, and so upset, mostly out of fear and uncertainty of the moment.
Thankfully Molly runs with her iPhone, so she had her phone. She called our Jess to let her know because she had also parked nearby, and as we awaited the police, Jess and her family arrived to comfort us. Some time had passed and we finally spotted the police nearby, only, they were talking to other runners, near their cars. Molly and Jess began waving their arms to them to get their attention, but it turns out we weren't the only ones who had called 911.
When it was all said and done over 16 vehicles had been burglarized including an Illinois State Trooper who had his badge and gun stolen. A few vehicles had their windows busted out in addition to the theft of their personal items. While we waited our turn to file a police report, the kids became restless needing to use a bathroom, and having upset stomachs. Jess and her family were kind enough to load all the kids into their car and seek a gas station to solve those problems. One of the 4 visible officers arrived to our vehicle to begin the police report. He called the entry process "lock punching". A long screwdriver type object gets driven into the key hole, punched once down and then hard to the side to pop the entire lock core almost straight out of the door without the alarm ever sounding! From there it's easy, and he said "These guys are pros"
Looking back, it was the perfect crime. 16000 runners, who obviously don't carry anything with them while running, being asked to park in a mall parking lot on Thanksgiving morning while the mall is closed, and thus, no mall security on duty!
While we waited on the police to arrive, we had time to call the Bank Debit Card 800 number. Molly just happened to have an old debit card in the bottom of the console, and the 800 number was valid. Indeed they had already charged $100 on the debit at a walmart, and it was approved. But a subsequent $300 attempt was declined. We learned later that this type of back to back activity is reported as suspicious and fraud systems decline it. We were told we would have to work with the local bank branch to dispute the $100 charge, and have new cards issued. Jess' husband looked up American Express phone number on his phone and let me use it to call. Again, they had already charged $300 at a walmart, but a subsequent $400 attempt was declined. Amex was outstanding to work with and I was assured immediately that the $300 charge would be removed, and a new card would be shipped UPS next day for me.
These were really the only ones we were immediately worried about because of the high credit limits and obviously access to our checking account cash. This brings us to the next dilemma - cash! We had no cash on us (thankfully), but without any debit cards, we also have no access to cash, and without credit cards, we have no way to purchase anything! I have an eighth of a tank of gas and an hour drive to get home or to Connersville. When Jess returns with our kids, she offers me $20 saying it's the only cash she has. I graciously accept saying I have a bad feeling I'm going to need it! The kids are still pretty shook up, but buckle in and we're on our way.
We debate briefly just going on home and saying to heck with Thanksgiving, but decide to call my folks and get their opinion. Dad answers and says just come on. I fight back the tears to say, "Dad, you'll have to give me money, I don't have anything", and he reassures me that he'll take care of us, just come on in. I tell him I could care less about what I smell like right now, I'm starving and just want to come straight to dinner and we'll change when we get there. He assures me that will be fine.
We talk the entire hour about all the things that have just happened, and what it means for everyone. Call after call are coming in and texts are making Molly's phone ring more than a Salvation Army bell! By now she has announced it on Facebook, and we've talked to our parents, insurance agent, and friends that were likely trying to reach me on my phone.
We arrive at grandma's house and go about the rest of our day as best we can. We retold the story a dozen times over, in person, and on the phone. I drowned my sorrows in food, food, and more food (no alcohol in grandma's house) and tried to relax my mind with some football. Morgan negotiated a stay with my folks, and so 4 of us headed back home. We spent the better part of the next 2 hours sitting with the laptop, telephone and a stack of statements making call after call after call after call to every card we had. Only one other card reported activity. A Marsh Visa card was attempted for $213 at a Marsh Supermarket. Really? They went grocery shopping? Actually we found out this morning what they were trying to buy. Want to take a guess? What is the only thing you can buy again, and again, for exact dollar amounts??
Answer: Gift Cards!
Dear cashiers of America - No one buys multiple gift cards, using multiple credit cards in succession - ever! And if they do - feel free to ask more questions, and report the activity!
The gift card answer came from the bank teller that I worked with this morning to get the $100 disputed, new cards issued, and some much needed cash out of the bank account! Additionally, we were able to order new driver's licenses online - very easy; and were successful in placing fraud alerts on our credit file with all the major credit bureaus.
So there you have it, we will hear more about the insurance on Monday. The car lock should get fixed with no problem on the car insurance, but the contents - well, I think it's safe to say they are gone. The kids are most upset about the lack of an iPad. I've developed the shakes without my iPhone, but was thankful to find my old Droid to get me through the short term. And Molly has added a new purse to her Christmas list.
It could have been worse. But it shouldn't have happened at all. I posted a comment on the race's facebook page notifying them that I was one of the 16 victims and hoped they would guarantee security for future races. One of the organizers replied quickly saying that they certainly would, and how sorry he was. Molly replied again saying how much we enjoyed the race, and the mission, and that we WILL be back. Sometime this afternoon that organizer replied again with this response, "Chris and Molly, Next
year you and your entire family run the Drumstick Dash for free! We
will also get you a VIP parking pass at Applebee's and have you come in
and hang out before the race." My wife said it best, this simple gesture just restored my faith in humanity.
Happy Thanksgiving Friends!