A couple days ago, my sister posted about her top 5 best and worst running experiences. I loved this post, and it brought back some fond, and some not so fond memories for me. SO, I thought I’d share my top worst and best experiences as well! I’m sure every endurance athlete has had their share of ups and downs, horrible training/racing days, and awesome “game-changing” moments. In my 7 years as an endurance athlete, I think I’ve had my fair share as well. Most of you only know about my awesome moments, cuz those are so fun to share! But I am human, and I have had some horrible experiences too.
Top (or Lowest) 5 Worst Experiences
1) Running a double marathon (now affectionately referred to as “the race that shall not be named”) with a stress fracture.
This was easily my absolute worst running experience ever. I had been training for this double marathon (52+ miles) for months. Unfortunately, I over-trained, and gave myself a stress fracture 4 weeks prior to the race. Me being my stubborn self decided to run anyway. To put it lightly, I was in agony for the entire last half of the race. I finished though, because for some reason, I couldn’t bear to quit. Deep down I knew that if I didn’t finish, I would need to do the race again. AND THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS EVER DOING IT AGAIN! haha…funny what we put ourselves through.
Now, before you get all mad at me for hating the Boston Marathon, I LOVED the opportunity to run in the Boston Marathon, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, my actual race went so so horribly. I have never run a worse race, and I have never felt so horrible in a race before or sense. My legs were absolutely screaming for almost the last half of the race, and I got so overheated because it was the first warm day of the spring after a VERY cold winter! It was a rough day…
3) Throwing up after my first 50k (the only time I’ve thrown up from a race!)
On the day I ran my first 50k, it was a very humid, hot day in July. Not only that, but it was 2 months after the Boston Marathon where I had obtained heat illness. It actually takes a LONG time to fully recover from heat illness, and it turns out by July, I had not recovered. I felt fine the whole race, until the last 5 miles. Leah (my sister) and I were doing the whole race together, and she almost literally had to drag me across the finish line. I remember telling her several times in that last 5 miles that my stomach and head hurt really badly. I don’t think she believed me until I immediately vomited after crossing the finish!
4) My first Triathlon
I hated every second of my first triathlon! It was a cold 50 degree, misty day and I had not acclimatized to swimming in open water yet. My swim took AGES, I couldn’t swim freestyle longer than a few seconds at a time because I kept having anxiety attacks. Then in the bike, I was FREEZING because I didn’t bring warm enough clothes to bike it, my chain came off during the ride and it took forever for me to get it back on, and I was terrified the whole time of falling on my bike because I wasn’t comfortable with clip-in shoes yet! Then on the run, my foot went numb because my sciatic nerve was impinged! It was seriously the worst experience ever and I wouldn’t have done another triathlon after that had I not already signed up for 4 more that summer!
This one isn’t too horrible, but the first time I had to ride 5 hours on my bike was MISERABLE! My butt got so sore, my back started hurting me, I hadn’t picked out an appropriate route so I ended up doing random loops, then, when I was only a couple miles from home, my gel flask fell out of my pocket and get this–a car immediately ran over it and broke it! I was so frustrated, I almost stopped right there, but somehow I pedaled myself home…
After all those miserable experiences, it’s a wonder I’m still running and doing triathlons, huh! Well, thankfully, for all those horrible experiences, there are SO MANY MORE awesome ones! The list of best experiences could go on and on for me, but I’ll limit it to five.
Top 5 experiences as an endurance athlete
1) Hands down, my top experience ever was racing and crossing the finish line of my first full ironman distance triathlon-Rev 3 Full! What made this experience so special was that I had my husband and family there cheering me on and finishing the race with me! My husband had been there every step of the way for my training, and the race, so it was very special to have him finish with me!! I’ll remember that moment forever.
This was the first time I had tried to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and only my second marathon ever. I had trained SO HARD for months. Every workout and long run was specifically designed to get me to the finish line in under 3:40:00. I did nearly every workout by myself because at the time, my sisters and brother in-law didn’t think they could qualify. Little did they know… I also ran the entire race by myself. This was the only race that I’ve done WITH my sisters that I didn’t run with them for any of the race! That part was sad and lonely, but it made qualifying so awesome because I knew I did all the work! It was very gratifying. Correction: I didn’t do it all by myself–my parents were AWESOME as an aid crew and every time I came around, they had fresh water bottles and gels for me!!
Yes, one of your worst experiences can also be one of your best. I LOVED that I got to run the Boston Marathon with my sisters. Even though I had a horrible race, getting to be there with them was so great, and something I’ll always cherish!
4) Running in Barcelona, Spain with my husband!
Pretty much any time I get to work out with my husband goes on the best experience list, but it was really cool to be able to run with him while on our honeymoon!
5) Getting to be a part of other runner’s lives and inspiring them to push themselves further!
I get almost as much joy out of helping other runners achieve their dreams as I get about achieving my own! I have two very special experiences that pertain to this. The first, is a friend of mine I met at work. When I started hanging out with her, she was training for her first half-marathon. I immediately became interested, and started giving her tips. Now, just over a year later, she has run a marathon, another half-marathon, AND just finished her first 50k! The second experience was getting to be on the aid crew for my brothers in-law and a friend last year for their first 100 mile race! I very much enjoyed helping them at each aid station and encouraging them as they made their way to the finish! It was so cool! If you haven’t crewed for an ultra marathon, I suggest you try it.