Runner’s Round-Up: My Worst Marathon
My Worst Marathon-The Marine Corps Marathon
We all have great race stories to tell but then we also have the ones about our worst races. When thinking about my worst marathon it is hard to choose as there are definitely a couple that could qualify. I am going to bestow the honor of my worst marathon on the Marine Corps Marathon. It was October 30, 2005 the day of the race. It was one of my early marathons. I ran this race after training following a plan that I had found on the internet. This was a marathon that I raced before I had kids and back in the days before I had discovered Skirt Sports as my go to race day uniform.
I was hooked on marathoning and wanted to race some of the bigger marathons and was lucky to snag an entry into this iconic race. I trained dutifully for the Marine Corps Marathon but really did not have a good strategy for running a smart marathon. From what I recall the morning of the marathon was beautiful albeit a bit warm. I was excited to run past all of the monuments in the city and to be running in such a large race. I had my GU packets ready. I wore running shorts, a Nike tank top and Brooks Adrenaline GTS running shoes. I had my old style Garmin, the rectangular one that you strap on your arm. I was ready to race.
The crowd at the start was huge. A sea of people. I started off fast and I felt good. So good that I allowed myself to pick up the face. I was flying. But that’s not what I should have been doing at that point in the race. I should have been racing more conservatively in the first half. However when I got to the half marathon check point I checked my watch and I had run my fastest half marathon to date.
My coach now uses the analogy of having a book of matches-going out too fast is like lighting all matches but one and letting them burn out leaving only one match left rather than burning each match in the book one by one. I had burned up my matches by running the half so fast and so my body was burning through glycogen stores. I remember trying to force in more GU taking extra packets that were offered because I needed the energy. I was also having a hard time replenishing my electrolytes. My pace began to slow and my legs started to feel heavier.
As I came around a bend around mile 18 I distinctly remember seeing someone in a costume-it was a wall with a sign that read something like, “Don’t hit the wall!”
I was crashing.
Around mile 20 was when the real trouble began. CRAMPS! Rolling leg cramps. They would start in one calf and I would slow to a walk/jog. As soon as I began to run again another cramp would set in. This went on for almost 6 miles!. I was in pain. My pace had slowed to what felt like a crawl when I could run. I was in agony but I did not want to stop. I neded to make it to the finish line.
Finally up ahead, in the thick of the crowd, the finish line awaited with one last kick in the ass . . . a small hill that took you across the finish line. I finished and got my medal and then hobbled away from the finish line. The next days were painful. It was hard to walk around because of all of the cramping that my legs had endured.
I do not know what my finish time was for that race but what I do know is that did not run a smart race. Rather than negative splitting the course I positive split which means the second half was slower by far. My memories of this race are of trying to drag myself to the finish line. This was definitely a worst race but even though it was terrible, I am proud that I still finished!
I am excited to be joining the Runner’s Round Up on a weekly basis with Coach Debbie Runs, Running on Happy, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mile by Mile Blog, and Runs with Pugs!
What was your worst marathon (or race)? I’d love to hear your story!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
This sounds similar to my experience with the Baltimore Marathon on 2013. I went out too fast in the first half, especially on the downhills, and then crashed at the end. At least we can learn from those kinds of experiences!
Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Why It’s Important To Have a Virtual Running Community
My worst race was my first Chicago marathon–it was warm, my nerves were jangling–I was in trouble at mile 8 and I never recovered. I finished, though, but I was so disappointed in myself that I refused to talk about it to anyone!
Wendy recently posted…What Runners Need to Do to Stay Safe During The Pandemic
It is interesting to look back and see what we have learned from past races. I love that analogy of the matchbook-makes a lot of sense.
Deborah Brooks recently posted…How to Make Solo Running Less Sucky
I’ve had some really tough marathon experiences, but I attribute to them more to race day conditions than bad training/racing (except for Grandma’s 2015…that was due to a messed up training cycle & horrible fueling LOL). One was way hillier than expected (and not published on their site), my MCM last fall was 18 miles of rain (some of it torrential) and Route 66 blessed me with a freak hip/groin issue at mile 2 (that persisted until the finish line). That said, I look back on these, though, as major victories. Those finish lines looked pretty sweet when I was finally able to cross them LOL So, I’m ready for a “perfect” race day to greet me in September at the Air Force Marathon.
Oh mama, that sounds miserable. I’ve had races that have just straight up sucked. But hey, we learned, right??!
It’s fun to look back at the early races when we didn’t know as much as we do now! My worst race was the Philadelphia Half Marathon, I was undertrained and coming back from injury. And I wore untested shoes…big mistake. I did a lot of walking and just felt ashamed of myself. Finished but was miserable!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Weekly Rundown – Happy Easter
We’re happy to have you on board for the Runner’s Roundup! I’ve had a few bad marathons over the year, but I’m pretty sure my last one, #39, at the Mesa Marathon was the worst. Everything was great until mile 24, when I started having lightheadedness to the point that I could hardly walk, let alone run. Of course I still finished, but it was the only marathon ever that I wondered, even at mile 25, if I would.
Debbie Woodruff recently posted…Foot Care for the Long Run: 5 Tips to Healthy Feet for Distance Runners
That’s so rough! My first (and only) marathon was pretty rough. My training cycle was glorious and I fell apart on race day. It started with no sleep (whoops) and then a certain “friend” showed up a week early as we arrived at the staging area. It was a scramble to find supplies that I then had to carry with me.It rained, it was humid, my iron was depleted and it was just ugly. I never really felt the need for redemption, though LOL!
So glad you have joined our linkup!
Wow, you hit the wall badly! I am fortunate that it has never happened to me in a marathon, but it has happened in shorter races. Twice I passed out just before the finishing line – once it was heatstroke and once just overexertion. Live and learn!
Catrina recently posted…The End of the Swiss Lockdown is in Sight
Finishing a race where you have battled like that is always a huge victory! I know the residual pain I feel after a small cramping incident, so I can only imagine the torture you felt in those days after! Well done and thank you for sharing this.
Shathiso recently posted…Why You Should Start Planking This Lockdown
I think you should always be proud of finishing a marathon! But we’ve all had bad races, and they are never fun. Always easy to see what went wrong in hindsight (although I guess not always).
This sounds familiar to me when I was in the Dubai Marathon Race. At first, I started too fast and messed it up in the end. I personally feel that I should have kept a steady pace while running. Steadiness would have helped me to achieve my milestone effectively. However, your experience is noteworthy to me and it is a lesson to improvise and produce better results.
Syed Usman recently posted…8 Best Running Shoes For Calf Pain (New Edition 2020)
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