My Worst Race Ever { Just Run }

My worst race EVER and how it changed it me as a runner _

Welcome back to another edition of Just Run where some of my running bloggy friends and I share running tidbits each month.

You can catch up on what we’ve shared so far this year:

Tips for the New Runner

Instagram Tips and Tricks

This month we are digging into our worst race ever.

Have you ever had one of those?

I’ve had quite a few races that can qualify as my worst race ever.   If you’ve been a reader of HFM for some time, you probably can guess what race is at the top of the list.

The 2015 Boston Marathon.


I’m not going to lie, the closer Marathon Monday gets, the more I think about that day almost 3 years ago.  It was supposed to be a race of a lifetime.  I mean, hello. It’s Boston.  It’s the one race that runners and non runners know about. And when you live an hour away from Boston, everyone and their brother knows about Marathon Monday.

Boston Marathon Finish Line |

You can read the ENTIRE novel of how I got my first DNF at the Boston Marathon HERE.  Here’s the Cliff notes version.

At mile 6 of the race, I got a sharp, intense, shooting pain in my left ankle that radiated down into my arch and heel. I started to hobble. And panic. I tried to walk it off and stretch it out. That did nothing. It just hurt – a lot. I couldn’t get up on my toes and I couldn’t put weight on my heel. I tried to land with my foot flat, but even that was like having a knife dig into my arch.  I couldn’t even go up on my toes without shooting pain.

At mile 8, I made the decision to DNF at a med tent. I knew I would do more damage if I kept going or I would be hypothermic (it was raining, windy and around 40 degrees).

It was the most miserable moment of my running life. I felt like such a failure.

As if dropping out to the race wasn’t painful enough, I then had to endure the ride of shame on a bus with others who DNF’ed to the finish line.  From there, I had to try to find my family who wasn’t expecting me for at least a couple more hours.

Oh, and did I mention my phone had died?

And it was still pouring rain?

And I ended up with a finisher’s medal?

And as I hobbled around the city, people congratulated me because they thought I had finished?

And I was stuck waiting at a T stop for over an hour waiting for my family, shaking and shivering?

After that day, I wanted redemption.  I wanted to run another marathon to prove that I could do it.  But my body had other ideas.  I was put in a boot. I was first diagnosed with posterior tib tendonitis but then after not making any progress in physical therapy, I was sent to another specialist and had a CAT scan that showed I really had a partially torn FHL tendon (the tendon of my big toe).  It took over 6 months for me to begin running again.  It was a slow healing process that left me drained.

Worst Race Ever  |

Just writing about the events of that horrible day puts a pit in my stomach.  It truly was the worst race ever.  Even my first marathon, the Vermont City Marathon, pales in comparison to how shitty this day was. And VCM was pretty shitty.

Literally and figuratively.

I can’t believe that at this time last year, I had hoped to try to get a BQ at Sugarloaf.  Of course, that idea was squashed when I was diagnosed with a stress fracture. Why would I want to go back to Boston?  At this point, right now, I can’t say I want to ever run a road marathon again.  It has zero appeal to me.  Maybe I’ll change my mind when my social media feeds start filling up with all the fun going down in Boston. Or when I hear my friends race recaps because they will absolutely freakin’ crush their goals.

It occurred to me while I was running today that Boston has kind of left with me with PTSD.  Prior to Boston, I loved to train and run races.  Since then, I’ve only run in a handful of races.  And during every single one of those races, I constantly was waiting for something bad to happen.  An injury was bound to happen to prevent me from finishing.  Maybe that’s why I’m having trouble committing to training for a race (of any distance) right now?

Boston changed me as a runner.  It hurt me more than I ever thought a silly race could. Despite all the heartbreak, it made me appreciate that I CAN run even more.  Who knows what the future holds for me in running.  But I’m happy to be along for the ride.

So do you want to read more worst race ever recaps?  You are in luck because my friends are here to share!


VITAWorstRaceEverImageSorry you had a bad day Allie but this pic is my absolute favorite! 🙂


The worst race I ever ran


Worst Race Ever - This Runner's Recipes


Worst. Race. EVER. The Just Run bloggers are sharing the race that went terribly wrong for them - how to avoid it, prepare for it, and learn from it

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesdayand the Coaches’ Corner.

Have you ever had a worst race ever?

What did you learn from it?

15 comments on “My Worst Race Ever { Just Run }

  1. That does sound like a pretty awful race. Anything that ends in a serious injury is bad. I totally get your feelings of not wanting to do another marathon, but also sort of wanting redemption. I think my worst races were ones where I went out too fast and then crashed and burned halfway through. Also ones with bad weather like heat and humidity!

  2. Oh Angela!!! I still feel a pit in my stomach when I think about that race for you so of course you have PTSD from it!!! I hate to ask “why?” and I’m sure you do too but I also feel like that craptastic race and the months and years that have followed put you on a very different and much better path in a way. I’ve sworn off road marathons too so maybe we can raise each other up in a different way, together!!! xoxoxo
    P.S. – Boston made my short list of worst races ever too…I finished but omg the agony!
    Allie recently posted..My Worst Race Ever – Just Run Link Up!My Profile

  3. I could definitely imagine how that experience would leave you with PTSD like emotions and lots of mixed feelings. We put so much emotion into our races and when things don’t go according to plan it’s devastating. I also got a Stress fracture during a half race once. Looking back I can see so many ways I could have avoided it.
    Deborah @ Confessions of mother runner recently posted..Quickie 10 minute Spring Break Glute WorkoutMy Profile

  4. I still remember reading your original recap and feeling so horrible for you! My worst race was my first Chicago marathon and it took me 3 years to get up the courage to run another one. Now when I line up, I use that memory to give me the determination to never give up.

  5. I remember that day so well. I felt so bad for you! My worst race was also a DNF, when, after miles of fighting my exercise induced asthma, I finally decided that yes, I really did need to be able to breathe if I was going to run, so I cut the cord at mile 16. The van driver ended up dropping us right in front of the finish line, so we had to cross over it and hold off the volunteers trying to give us medals.
    Debbie recently posted..2018 Carlsbad 5000 All Day 20k Race ReportMy Profile

  6. Oh my gosh – that sounds so painful and heartbreaking.
    One of my worst races ever was my second half marathon. It was hot and hilly and I was wearing all the wrong things. I actually cried around mile 5 and considered a DNF but somehow I was able to finish. I went back to that race the next year and got a 30 minute course PR. I think I was so pissed from the race the previous year that it fueled my fire to kick the course’s butt.

  7. Aww man. I’m so sorry. That made me so sad just reading it. I hope that you will find happiness in some form of running again. Road races aren’t always the best and I’ve found more joy out in the trails recently.

    I’m not sure I’ve had a worse race ever. Just really bad cramping and dehydration in a 10k that was run on a super steep bridge. I did vow to never do that race again.
    Virjinia @ With Purpose and Kindness recently posted..How To Make Meal Prep Easy!My Profile

  8. Oh damn. The fact that it happened at Boston is brutal! I have two worst races. One was a DNS, so I suppose it wasn’t even a race at all, and one was when I ran with a fever because I was so determined to do the race – bad idea! haha

  9. I remember reading your original recap and feeling so sad for you! And omg I bet that weather didn’t help at all. I can imagine how that would build anxiety around road races again. But you are a stronger and different runner now!
    I have a legit fear of running Boston since so many people including you and Allie have had bad races on that course. Like, I picture myself flying all the way out there (5+ hrs on a plane!) and then having a crappy day from the heat or something.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..My Worst Race Ever {Just Run Round Up}My Profile

  10. Oh man, that day was brutal! And then the chain of events and injuries that followed… you’ve been through a lot recently! I definitely understand the zero desire for road marathons. I go from totally in to never again with the marathon too.

    Definitely appreciating this series as I recover from my crappy race experience on Saturday!

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