Best and Worst…Racing Edition.

Sure, we all love to talk about our BEST races, or personal records and such. Because let’s be honest that is the world that we live in. The ultimate of highlight reels all day everyday! But, I am here to share not only my best, but my not so great racing experiences in ALL distances today! Just because we can. Let’s see how far my memory will take me…

Best 5k- Central Market Thrill of the Grill, Plano, TX. I honestly need to update my 5k time as it has been a little too long since I’ve tried to push the pace and redline 3.1 miles. I finished this race in 22:37, 7:16 pace and won an age group award which I think was some kind of organic barbecue sauce. Anyway, this is a great race that is held every year is for a good cause supporting the local school district. Also Dean Karnazes ran it one year and they also have a killer breakfast and it is in the spring time. Hands down my favorite time of year to do some faster racing. 

Worst 5k- Honestly I have no idea if I’ve even done a 5k that I’ve absolutely hated. Most of them are so fun and festive. Okay…I can think of one. It was the Color Run 5k and I don’t even think it was timed. Also I really don’t understand the excitement of getting colors sprayed all over you. It is annoying and not fun or interesting to me at all. Even with friends it seems like something people who really hate running do. Not sure…I think it triggers my OCD somewhat. LOL. 

Best 10k- Heels and Hills, Irving, TX. This one mostly had a lot to do with the course and the weather. I can absolutely tell you that the 10k is my least favorite distance. Mostly because I’m not very good at pacing a suicide pace beyond a 5k and just don’t know how to pace well for a 10k in general. I just don’t think this is where I shine, I know a lot of folks love 10k though. I personally would rather run 5k and feel like death any day. Anyway, this was a 49:51 finish time and it’s also a time I know I can improve on. Perhaps I will make it a thing to try and PR at my least favorite distance, next year. We shall see if it fits into my ultra running schedule. 

Worst 10k- Wounded Warrior 10k back in 2012. Around this time I had an injury so I’m not even sure if it counts. But it was right around the time that I was starting to realize the importance of not racing every training run. Because, boom then you get injured and stuff and that is just not fun. Anyway, it was a 58:08 finish time, it was hot as all get out. But I did it. Did not feel good at all. The best part about this race was that I ran it with some of my favorite running buds. But I hated every mile. Ha. 

Best 15k- Jog’r Egg Nog’r, Dallas TX. This race was hands down one of my FAVORITE holiday races. I was super bummed when they took it off of the calendar. I always won some sort of award every year and they had spiked egg nog at the finish line. 1:13:25 finish time, 7:52 overall pace. 

Worst 15k- Pumpkin Spice 15k in Ft. Worth, TX. This race to me wasn’t actually the WORST so it speak, but the course wasn’t ideal for racing. Plus it had rained in the area so there was just a ton of flooding and puddles which definitely made it hard to push it. I think I still won some sort of age group award which I believe was a pumpkin pie cutter. It is stashed in my kitchen drawer somewhere. 

We will skip 20k. Just because I think I’ve run maybe 2 20ks in my entire life. Let’s just move on to the half marathon at this point since we all know I love me some longer races. 

Best half marathon- Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon, San Diego California. This has more to do with the fact that I enjoyed this race more than the FAST finish time. The spectators at this race are always on point. You can’t beat running along the ocean and the views and the WEATHER. Plus I just love California in general and I have a special place for it in my heart. I will definitely make it back for this one in the near future. It’s a pretty fast course too, I actually ran one of my fastest 26.2s at this race. I do think however the half marathon is the better course of the two. 

Worst half marathon- The Hottest Half, Dallas, TX. For some reason I kept going back to this race after beatdown after beatdown. It is the WORST time of year in Dallas to run, AUGUST. When everyday is relentlessly triple digits and super high humidity. The course is terrible, the aid stations never had enough cold water or fuel to supply the runners. And also the racing company that put on this race I believe went bankrupt (?) my Dallas runner friends know all about this so I’m sure someone can feel free to chime in. Anyway, I’m glad this race is now canceled. Moving on. 

Best Marathon- Marine Corps Marathon, Washington, DC. Okay so once again I haven’t run my best marathon times here, but it is one of the only marathons I’ve gone back to run more than once. I have also run a couple of sub 4 hour marathons here so it is definitely a good course to go push for a PR. The course itself is very historic and shows a lot of Washington DC history, it is super emotional with all of the Marines and a lot of military actually run the race in honor of those who died fighting for our country. So that is really why I think it is a great race to run. I have a lot of memories at this race and some of my best friends live in this part of the U.S. – so it is a great way to go visit my friends and run an fantastic and well organized race. I would go back a million times over. 

Worst Marathon- Rock n Roll Las Vegas, Las Vegas Nevada. Okay, we are only talking about the marathon course here. I’ve heard incredible things about the half course. I personally just think that they should only offer shorter distances for this race with the half marathon being their highlight big race. The marathon is just too much for such a vibrant city, it goes WAY off the strip and into some questionable sketchy areas. It’s very DARK since the race starts at night and a few times I actually thought perhaps I’d get mugged along the course. It was super cold that time of year and also at the finish line we had to walk like a mile or so down the finish chute to leave the course. I just think in general RnRLV is poorly planned and I did not really enjoy the 26.2 course as much as I thought I would. 

Best 50k- Cowtown 50k, Ft. Worth TX. I enjoyed this race because it is very organized, and also there is a race distance for everyone. Also the 50k is a great course for first time ultra runners. I had the honor of pacing the ultra marathon last year and really enjoyed seeing folks accomplish their goals. The weather this time of year in Texas is questionable but if you run it on a pretty day you will absolutely love it. 

Worst 50k- Oktoberfest Trail Race. This actually is also not the worst but we will just put it here because it needs to be put in a category. I would say this is definitely not a good 1st ultra for a first time ultra runner. The course is literally a 15 mile out and back down some very rugged and difficult terrain. It’s a small intimate course which means there’s no one there to cheer you on or anything like that if that is your thing. I also got 3rd place overall female and don’t think I won anything. So overall a no frills race but I had fun. If you like out and back courses then you may indeed like it. 

Best 50 miler-  Hachie 50 miler hands down! You can read my recap from this year here. So many reasons to love this race. Beautiful course, beautiful time of year, great opportunity to run fast if you like ultras. 

Worst 50 miler- Not the worst once again. But the Orion 50 miler is not ideal weather wise since it is in the straight up sun on a windy beach with no shade. It is also all on SAND. So pick your poison. 

Best 100k- The Piney Woods 100k is the only 100k I’ve run this far but I would love to run this distance again. It is a tough distance and this was a very deceivingly tough trail course. But I learned a lot about myself and I got first place overall female. Can’t beat that. 

Best 100 miler- Again, my only 100 mile race thus far (until Brazos Bend 100!) But I loved Rocky Raccoon 100. The trail running community is truly the best. 

What are some of your BEST and WORST races of all time?! 

8 thoughts on “Best and Worst…Racing Edition.

  1. The bad runs help make the others that much sweeter don’t they? This past September, I ran Ragnar Michigan, which was seasonally cooler than normal. I was supposed to have 3 runs but we had 1 runner drop due to a family emergency. I had had a little hip issue a few weeks before but it seemed to be behind me but I made a mistake during the race. I ran my first run, a 5k…the substitute for our buddy and ran it wonderfully. I passed several people and it was a really pretty run. I had less than an hour till my next run, another 5k so I didn’t change and just hopped back in the van which felt fine. I tightened up a bit but I stretched before it was time to run again. I should have changed clothes because I took off on that second run and the wind picked up. I didn’t feel warm until about the 2.5 mile mark I caught such a chill and then I finished and couldn’t get warm. I had hours till my next run, a 10k and I sat or laid in the back of the van under a blanket as much as I could, chilled. My 10k came up at 3:30 a.m. and I was miserable. It was maybe 40 out with 15-20 mile winds and hills upon hills for the first 4.5 miles. My hip that had tightened up earlier? Stayed tight because I’d been trying to stay warm in the car and I had to walk several sections of the race because it hurt so bad. On top of it, I had a hoodie on, which I thought would be ok but the wind was literally rushing around the side of my face and down the hoodie and freezing my back off even more than I was already chilled. I was in pain, tired, frozen, mad at how I was feeling, wanted to quit, and angrier that I wanted to quit . I even called my friend who was our driver and without even knowing it, he encouraged me and I finished. I handed off and hopped in the car as fast as I could and fell asleep within minutes of warming up. A 2 hour nap and some continued heat and I actually was looking forward to my last run which was 2.5 miles up hill but I decided to take it easy on the hills so my hip wouldn’t bother me and I enjoyed it even more and when the 500′ of downhill came, I let it fly and had what was probably my best run of the whole race from an enjoyment standpoint, especially when my wife who’d been in the other van met me with a half mile to go to run in with me to the finish line. I HATED that night run but day run on the other side of it was that much sweeter because of the struggle.

    • It is so amazing how we go through so many ups and downs with racing, right?! Honestly that is what I think I love the most about it. We learn so much about ourselves and our strength in those moments. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  2. Great post, especially for someone like me who mostly just does races in NYC. I’d really love to travel next year to do some others. My worst race was probably my attempt at a half marathon in NYC in 2007. I was so undertrained at the time (nowhere near as fit as I am now) so by the halfway point, my knees just gave out and I had to drop out. I didn’t attempt another half until 2017 when I was in much better shape (and finished in under 2 hours)! Not sure what my best race was… but I absolutely love the Cow Harbor 10K as it’s in my hometown of Northport, Long Island. I actually love the 10K! I think I do my best running in 10Ks.

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