Lessons from My Worst Race

Erika, Patty and April posed an interesting question for today’s Tuesday on the Run topic: What was your worst race? Worst kind be defined a lot of different ways – missed goals? horrible weather?  injury? DNF?

For me the race came to mind immediately – the Wicked Half Marathon.  countdown_wickedHalfYou can read about the full debacle here. This was an ugly race for me because I was sick. In hindsight, I knew I didn’t feel well when I left that morning for the drive up to Salem, but I ignored the early warning signs and went anyway. I knew something was off as I waited for the race to begin…again I didn’t heed the warning. You see where this is going, right? Long story short, the wheels came off the wagon a mere 5 miles into the race. I made my first ever in-the-middle-of-a-race porta potty stop, briefly considered the nearby med tent but instead chose to keep going. I went from a run, to a shuffle, to a walk. And yes I did finish, but I was so sick afterwards that I had to wait around almost an hour post-race before I could drive myself home. (Turned out I was at the front-end of a virus that stuck around for several days!)

Lessons learned?

Listen to your body! — Yes there are times to push your limits, but it’s most important to heed the warning signals your body is giving you. There will always be another race.

My kids are a great source of motivation — They eagerly ran, walked and cheered me through the course. As always, they were a great source of inspiration!

Runners are wonderfully supportive — I met some great runners along the course who stopped to check on me and encourage me. And I bonded with many other “walking wounded” all determined to finish the route.

Mental toughness will carry you a long way — While physically my body had given up on this race early on, I still found a way to will myself on. It’s an experience I’m sure I’ll reflect on, the next time a race gets tough.

What was your worst race? What did you learn from it?






  1. ooh that does sound like a brutal race! I’ve fortunately never had a stomach issue ruin a race just me ruining one on my own 🙂 LOL
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Score! Healthy Super Bowl SnacksMy Profile

  2. That has to be the worse. Running a race while you are sick. Fortunately this has never happened to me before. At least you finished. So hard not to complete something that you paid for. I’m sure that was going thru your mind as well.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…What do you mean, a worse race?My Profile

  3. Ugh this sounds awful. But how can one really know? Sometimes we work into a run and feel better. It’s so hard sometimes to know what to do in cases like these.
    Marcia recently posted…My Worst RaceMy Profile

  4. Oh gosh being sick…that’s terrible! I’ve run through some tough digestive issues on a couple of races but nothing so severe as a virus. We runners are warriors!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Philly Half Marathon: My Worst RaceMy Profile

  5. I’d say that qualifies as a worst! So many things going wrong…

    I’ve had so many bad ones over the years, I’m not sure how I’d pick!
    misszippy recently posted…The EDGE mobility system (review/giveaway)My Profile

  6. I can’t even imagine how hard this would be. You are super tough to power through that one!
    HoHo Runs recently posted…The Bad Half (Tuesdays on the Run)My Profile

  7. April @ RunTheGreatWideSomewhere says:

    Running sick is pretty miserable. I tend to overreact to every weird twinge during a race anyways and when I race sick, I convince myself I’m going to pass out (and possibly die). It’s way more mental than physical with me. Thanks for linking up with us today!

  8. Sorry I missed this one! I think I have to say the Hot Chocolate 15K in D.C., which was a disaster from every angle!
    Coco (@Got2Run4Me) recently posted…Sunrise Runs In Washington D.C.My Profile

  9. Wow! Great job on finishing the race despite being sick. You are one tough lady! Least you know for next time to listen to your body.
    Sharon recently posted…5 Ways to Overcome Unhealthy Temptations or CravingsMy Profile

  10. I had one of those races at Chicago Marathon and it has scared me forever. But kudos to you for discovering the toughness within!
    Smitha @ FauxRunner recently posted…My Worst RaceMy Profile


  1. […] reflecting back on lessons learned from a not so great race, it seems like the perfect time to look ahead to this year’s race calendar. Ah the race […]

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