Usually in the Tortoise & Hare “handicapped” run series in Fort Collins, I am the third-to-the-last person to cross the finish line, if not second-to-the-last. In Sunday’s Edora Park 8k race, however, I did not even muster a Top 20 finish with 17 runners participating. This is because I was disqualified. Yes, disqualified!
Now, before you suspect I engaged in some unsportsmanlike conduct, such as trash-talking like Allen Iverson or—worse—directing some in-the-knees whammy like Tanya Harding, let me assure you that was not the case. Instead, I had a eyes-and-brain lapse: I got lost!
This was quite ironic considering that the runner I was chasing—Marilyn—had asked me before the race, “please yell at me if I miss a turn.” Apparently, she had gotten off-course in previous races. Anyhow, I agreed I would without really thinking about this and soon both of us were running (her having a minute or two head start).
Well, the next thing you know, both of us had reached a fork along the Poudre Trail where there were no arrows. This pretty much suggested to me that we had missed an arrow to turn off earlier. Indeed, in the next few minutes—when we should have started see other runners who commenced before us turning around at a halfway mark—we saw no one. How sad.
The error was already committed so I decided to continue full-speed ahead, much like Marilyn. I did see mile markers painted on the road such as “2 Mi” and “2.5 Mi” which seem to correspond to the distances I was going (indeed, I suspect they were from May’s Edora Park 8k), so I turned around at the 2.5 Mi indicator and ran back. As I finished at roughly the same time as most of the other runners who did not get lost, I believe that I did run 8 kilometers or 5 miles, just in an unauthorized manner.
But who knows for sure? Hence, as I crossed the finish line, I immediately told Doug (one of the organizers who was time-keeping) that “I got off-course and should be disqualified.”
“Hmm, we’ll discuss that afterwards,” he replied.
When we did, we mutually agreed that I should be DQ’d. Or as Doug kindly put it, my time was “invalidated.” (Sounds better.)
In any case, the run was fun. It was only the second time that I had run since the Chicago Marathon, and I was pleased my legs still felt pretty fresh. I took off from the starting line like an over-exuberant jackrabbit (6:12 pace the first mile) but was able to maintain a tempo between 6:18 and 6:52 for the rest of the race, finishing in 33:05.
Nick—who completed the course in 30:5x despite running the Marine Corps. Marathon in D.C. last weekend—was proclaimed the Male Hare and ultra-runner Alene the Female Hare. Offering moral support was Nick’s wife Dana, whom I know from Spanish Meetup. That was the happy coincidence of the day. ¡Que bueno!
Time Splits & Average Heart Rate
Mile 1: 6:12 (HR: 170)
Mile 2-3: 13:44 (Average pace: 6:52; HR: 175)
Mile 4: 6:18 (HR: 180)
Mile 5: 6:51 (HR: 183)
Total time: 33:05 (6:37 average)
If you enjoyed this article, please consider receiving my weekly newsletter. I typically write about endurance bicycling, travel, self improvement, Colorado living, marathon running and epic adventures.