Mar 28

My Worst Race Ever – Just Run Link Up!


With a writing assignment like “worst race ever” you would think one particular race would jump into my mind. You would be wrong. There are several. The time I bonked at mile 19 of the NYC Marathon comes to mind as does my first ever marathon where my pacer abandon me and I chafed so badly I wanted to tear my legs off.  And, let’s not forget that time in Cuba when vertigo kept me from the start line completely.

You ask for my worst race, and I give you five! #racingainteasy


Sadly, this is a link up with some of my closest and most experienced running friends but it just goes to show you that bad races happen to everyone. It’s how you respond and rebuild afterward that really matters.

Here are my top five worst races of all time, that mostly ended up not being so bad…


I felt so prepared for this marathon and was coming off a marathon PR six months prior. The reason NYC was so devastating for me is because I thought I did everything right and was on the verge of a breakthrough performance.

It wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t a DNF.

Lowest moment: Mile 19, knowing my family was at mile 20 and I literally wanted to curl up on a dirty curb and just lay there sobbing until someone came to get me. I was in so much pain in my body but the heartache was the worst, thinking I was letting myself and my people down.

Turning point: I stopped feeling sorry for myself when I thought about how my mom spent the majority of her late thirties and early forties in a hospital bed dying of cancer. I was lucky to be running the NYC Marathon, surrounded by people who loved me, doing something I have had the privilege of doing for so many years – running! I finished smiling and I couldn’t be more proud of that!


I think the fact that it was my first marathon says it all. I had no clue what I was doing and I was wearing cotton for God sake!

My real friend Anne and I at the finish.

Lowest moment: My “friend” who was supposed to run me in at mile 20 showed up asking if it was ok if she bagged on me! She was asking while I was in the middle of running the marathon! Thankfully another (real) friend was there and she ended up taking me into the finish.

Turning point: Knowing the marathon comes down to you and you alone and that no matter how good a friend or fellow racer, a marathon finish has to come from within.


The year I ran it, they almost cancelled it because of a nor’easter. I mean, really?

I finished and I was smiling!…after being in the medical tent.

Lowest moment: This is a tough call. It’s between the hours spent sitting under a tent prior to the race start, in the absolute freezing cold, pouring rain all by myself and bonking at mile 23 and ending up in the medical tent with hypothermia.

Turning point: Seeing my family at heartbreak hill and my dad running up the sidewalk next to me to the top with my stepmom screaming behind him ” Stop! You’re going to have a heart attack!” We talk about it every year and it remains my greatest running moment ever.

It was the first race my dad had seen from the sidelines and he was overcome with motivation and enthusiasm. By the time I got to where he was, he understood the scope of what I was doing and what the Boston Marathon means. #worthit


This was a trip of a lifetime, returning with my dad to the place he was born and had to escape from 50+ years prior. In retrospect, it was lucky the triathlon was the only disappointment of the trip.

Lowest moment: Sitting outside our rented house on race morning with my brother and husband. It was obvious to everyone but me that I could not race. I sat there crying, trying not to vomit and could not walk without being helped. I was devastated that I wouldn’t be able to race and also terrified about what the hell was wrong with me.

Turning point: Once I felt better (and could walk in a straight line) I was able to ride my bike down the famous Malecón and by the American Embassy and my husband went for a run with me — something that has only ever happened once in 12 years of marriage! Plus, the entire trip was so amazing for my father and it’s something I will never forget.


The only thing you really need to know is I did my very first ever triathlon three months after the twins were born. It was sheer stupidity. I never swam in open water before and only had a mountain bike. I put road tires on my mountain bike and hoped for the best.

I’m just so happy to be out of the water at this point!

Lowest moment: The lowest moment of the race was not the race itself but the days leading up to it. My husband was away on a golf weekend and I had twin three-month old babies all by myself for two days leading up to race day. I was insanely tired, cranky and questioning my entire life, let alone the decision to race my very first triathlon.

Turning point: The event was being held right at the bottom of my street and in the surrounding neighborhood and I was racing with a group of women who had been cheering me on from the start. My entire family was there and, after I survived the swim, I actually felt pretty good. This race was not only the start of my love affair with triathlon but of getting back to who I was after creating two humans for the better part of the previous year.

I’ve had many amazing races over the past 18 years of doing this and the “bad” ones have been so much more valuable to me. I learn something from every race but it’s the truly horrible ones that have benefitted me the most.

Don’t take my word for it, read about these amazing runners and bloggers and know that you’re far from alone when it comes to having the worst race ever.





Now get out there and run the best race ever, keeping in mind that the best race can sometimes feel like the worst, and you’re in good company.

What was your worst race ever?

Worst day ever?

Ever have the worst turn into the best…or at least better?


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  1. The pic of you and your husband clinking Cokes…priceless. The moment I saw that I busted out laughing because it’s so real. Bad races happen to good athletes. You just roll with it! Although I think I had the ultimate shitty experience. 🙂
    angela @ happy fit mama recently posted…My Worst Race Ever { Just Run }My Profile

    1. You absolutely had the ultimate shitty experience – no doubt about it. And I HAD to drink that coke because I couldn’t stomach coffee and I needed caffeine. #addict

  2. Worst race ever was my first Chicago marathon. Physically, I was ready. Mentally, not so much. I fell apart at mile 18, calling my husband crying and begging him to come and get me. Of course, he didn’t. It took me 3 years to get up the course to run that distance again. The good thing about that race is that everytime I line up, I pull up that memory to remind me to dig deep and never feel like that again!
    Wendy recently posted…Race Recap: Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8kMy Profile

    1. Aren’t you so glad he didn’t come to get you? It’s those truly grueling races (like NYC was for me) that make us mentally tougher. As you know, it’s the mental side of things that truly get us through races at this point!!!

  3. Oh gosh, I have so many horrible races! Probably more bad than good…why do I run again? My worst race ever was the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in 2012. Really, the name says it all. I had bronchitis, it was 88 degrees with no shade, I was having problems with my heart condition at the time, and a considerable amount of the race was run on sand. Longest, slowest, most brutal 26.2 miles of my life!
    Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner recently posted…Choosing a Marathon and 20 Miles!My Profile

    1. WHATTTTT??? God Lord woman!!! I’m shocked you actually survived that and why in the hell would you run a race (any race?) that involved running in sand?? I can’t even with that. You have us all beat!!!

  4. I knew Havana would be in there somewhere! I still love that your hubby went for a run with you! I can never get tired of the triathlon RIGHT after having twins story! Incredible!!!
    Nellie recently posted…The Worst Race Ever (And How It Changed Me For Good)My Profile

    1. That was definitely a given and almost worth it for the run with my husband 🙂 And OMG that triathlon. It almost killed me!

  5. I am in total awe of you for running a tri just a few months postpartum – even if it was a bad race, that is an awesome feat! I love that story about your dad at the Boston Marathon – especially that he did that in the Nor’easter!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…My Worst Race Ever {Just Run Round Up}My Profile

    1. Thanks Laura! I honestly do not know what I was thinking. My head was in the clouds when it came to being pregnant, even after I knew it was twins! And that moment with my dad was that much more amazing because the rain was pouring down and the wind was howling. Totally unforgettable.

  6. Even I, as a non-runner, know that you should NEVER wear cotton to run a marathon. Or run around the block, for that matter. Clearly you know better now! I remember the posts about the races after 2012 because I knew you then, but your earlier races were new to me. One of the things I love about you is your ability to find the silver lining, and to not take yourself too seriously. This post illustrates both of those qualities!
    Dana recently posted…The secretMy Profile

  7. This is so timely, as Saturday definitely goes down as one of the worst ever… I could list about 5 as well. It’s always good to remember races fall apart for everyone!
    Laura recently posted…Two Rivers Half (the one that didn’t go as planned)My Profile

    • danielle on March 29, 2018 at 12:20 PM
    • Reply

    I still can’t believe that you did your first sprint tri 3 months after birthing TWINS!!!!!!! i just can’t.
    you are seriously bionic. i’m certain.
    my worst race was for sure my first half ironman, i was coming off a stress fracture, never rode more than 12 miles,and had only been training for 1.5 months. basically i as an idiot. and my bike was new and weight 100 lbs. it was horrible and didn’t fit me nor my spinal issues. hello custom bike world!
    that was such a miserable race that i barely crawled through,and every single part of me hurt. by the time i finished i was crying and decided F YOU! i signed up for the Ironman Texas race coming up in 6 months immediately after.
    LOL the things we do 🙂

    1. I love knowing there is someone just as crazy as I am!! Holy cow woman. I cannot believe you pushed though an entire half ironman!!! Incredible.

      1. My super gift if you wil is that I’m stupidly comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s pretty much all you need to finish a race. Right?? ‍♀️

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