9 near a white start line on the pavement at Eldora Park

Edora Park 8k

Despite not being Speedy Gonzales it is pretty rare for me to finish third-to-the-last in a road race. It is even more rare that I nevertheless had the fastest overall time.

None of this really mattered considering that there were just 11 runners, the median age of us was closer to Harrison Ford’s than Brad Pitt’s, and this was a “handicapped”-type race which made the 1st-but-9th place possible. What was important was that I finally got out and ran for the first time since the Colorado Marathon and got to mingle with the friendly folks from the Fort Collins Running Club. In addition to running the Eldora Park 8k out-and-back course along the Spring Creek Trail, we went to Gib’s Bagels for breakfast afterwards—a post-race tradition for all of the Tortoise & Hare events.

It was another beautiful Colorado spring day, with all the trees in full bloom and the grasses being Kermit-the-Frog green. As I drove over to Eldora Park with the top down I could see a colorful manned-balloon drifting high above not too far in the distance. This was definitely singlet-and-shorts running weather.

In this race—where start times were stagnated based on running ability, past results and computer predictions—I got to start last, doing the first mile at a fairly comfortable 6:45 clip. I relaxed a bit in Mile 2 but started to pick it up shortly after the turnaround, transitioning to a 4-count breathing pattern (2 steps per exhale and inhale) with about a mile to go. The regularly spaced expansion gaps on the paved trail seemed to help lengthen my stride a bit as I tried to “leap” over them.

I felt a whole lot better than in March’s Spring Park 6k and yet my average mile pace was just about 9 seconds slower. This was the fastest I have felt in about 2 months! Yoga and rest during the last week seems to have helped.

The Tortoise & Hare series ends next month with a 10k race. I will be missing that one but hooray, a new series commences in July!

Time Splits

Mile 1: 6:45
Mile 2: 6:56
Mile 3: 6:42 (interpolated)
Mile 4: 6:42 (interpolated)
Mile 4.98: 6:32

First half: 16:59 (6:50/mi pace)
Second half: 16:36 (6:40/mi pace)
Total: 33:35 (6:45/mi pace)

9 near a white start line on the pavement at Eldora Park
Tom Schipper toes the start of the Eldora Park 8k Tortoise & Hare race.