“I want to quantify how much slower I am after not running for three weeks,” I said to a friend while patiently waiting for my turn to start in Edora Park 8k, part of the Tortoise & Hare Series of Races held by the Fort Collins Running Club. “Oh, and get a bagel afterwards.”
Indeed, since the Boulder 100 in mid-October, I had only run 2.5 miles (two days ago). This race would triple the total distance I’ve run since that ultramarathon.
It was a classic Fort Collins early November morning—sunny with a very light breeze caressing the few leaves remaining on most trees—and running in shorts, singlet, visor, and gloves, I was comfortable from the start. My legs felt spry and I reached the turnaround point in 15:35, although, predictably, I faded a bit in the final two miles. The second half took me 16:35, exactly one minute more than the first.
Still, this was good enough to finish in 32:10—a PR by almost a minute. The average pace (6:26/mile) was just three seconds off my performance in the Trailblazer 10k five weeks ago—not bad for being back at altitude.
So my conclusion? The body has a great memory, and my speed did not diminish significantly (if at all) by taking three weeks off. In fact, I think I should take another three weeks off.
The bagels and company at Gib’s, by the way, were great as usual!
Mile 1: 5:55
Mile 2: 6:49
Mile 3: 5:56
Mile 4-5: 13:31 (6:45/mi interpolated)
Total Time: 32:10 (6:26/mi average)