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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Runner: Top 10 Most Terrible THNGVBR moments of 2013

ugly race pic 1 December is always a month for lists-- the best albums you've never heard of, the movies you didn't watch but should have. I've decided to throw my hat into that fire with my own brief little list of the silly, terrible, and/or ridiculously dumb things that happened to me this year in running. Here they are!

10. Letting go of Big Sur (which y’all already heard about, via THNVBR: Standing at the Starting Over Line).

9. Ruining a new iPhone 5 in under a month from sweating too much! Unbelievable. I religiously track my runs on Nike+, and often stream Pandora as well, but lesson learned! No back pocket stashing without a Ziplock barrier. Hopefully my phone carrier isn’t reading this…

8. Getting down on myself and giving up on running after #10. I should have gotten back out there immediately! But of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I did ultimately return to the trails and sidewalks.

7. I’m the kind of idiot that only packs one sock for a marathon. Yes, that actually happened. No, I didn’t mean to. Yes, I discovered my mistake on race morning, three hours before I was supposed to be at the start line. Thank god for best friends.

6. And then there was the other race where I left my running shoes at work over a weekend and couldn’t retrieve them in time for the race. I still ran it!

Photo credit: NY Times

Photo credit: NY Times

5. At the Inaugural Forest Grove Happy Girls Run, we discovered that the bees around Hagg Lake have begun their winter hibernation by then and that they DO NOT appreciate the pounding of 500 women’s feet over the trails and through the woods. After I made it through the first two mini-swarms of bees, I thought I was in the proverbial clear. Not so. The little boogers attacked me, and I had to finish the trail race in one sock.

4. A mystery dizzy spell kept me locked to my bed on the morning of the Portland Half Marathon. I’d also been feeling faint on my long runs training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, but a doctor’s visit the previous week found nothing.

3. At the first race I ever covered for Run Oregon– the XTERRA Hagg Lake Half Marathon— I woke up with the hangover from hell. Mocking me, the shower railing suspended above my clawfoot tub collapsed around me, the Providence Bridge Pedal kept me from getting on the one highway I needed to make it to race day, I made it to the course AFTER everyone had started, got lost in the woods, contemplated swimming across the lake to quit and go home, and finished second to last. It was a personal worst time in the half marathon for me, and a definite lesson learned. Beer before race, better pace. Wine before race, you’ll never lace.

2. About a month ago, I was headed to my second group run with Coach Jim’s Elite Runners in Training. Blindly trusting my Trimet Tracker app, I showed up at a bakery in Northeast and patiently waited for other runners to show up. At fifteen minutes till start and still twiddling my thumbs solo, I realized I was alone on that bench because I was at the wrong bakery. I mapped out the correct bakery– it was over two and a half miles away. I ran my little heart out and successfully met up with the 4:45 pace group just as they made their first turn north.

ugly race pic 3

1. Doubting that I could finish my third marathon this October in San Francisco. I’d been sick the last month (see #4 above), and after missing Big Sur and the Portland Half Marathon was starting to feel superstitious about what mysterious blanks I needed to fill to make it to the finish line in one of the hilliest cities in the United States. More super foods, less coffee, more sleep, what was missing? The night before the race, I confessed to my fiance that unlike my other races, I wasn’t sure if I would make it this time. Turns out, all I needed was legs, lungs, and a healthy dose of confidence, which the first ten miles on the course provided.

Of course, despite all the above, 2013 was actually a banner year for my running. I moved to the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest from the balmy jungles of the South, got to join the Run Oregon crew, started trail running for the first time ever, and logged more miles than ever before. So get out there and RUN, Oregon! I’ll see you out on the streets and trails in 2014. Feel free to share your own “worst” moments of 2013 in the comments on here or Facebook.

About Anne Milligan (34 Articles)
Anne Milligan lives and runs in North Portland.

3 Comments on The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Runner: Top 10 Most Terrible THNGVBR moments of 2013

  1. bpmannrunner // January 1, 2014 at 8:36 PM // Reply

    Happy New Year Anne! Here’s to a great 2014. Sometimes, “bad” running, relatively speaking, is better than no running at all. Looking forward to some more spirited challenges with you this year.
    I ran 12 half marathons and a bunch of other races from 10k to 10 mile, and some were sure better than others. Logged almost 1600 training miles and about 1250 running miles in the 1000 mile challenge and was active for about 295/365 days. I am truly blessed to be able to run, with the support of my wife and two small children, 26 months and 7 weeks, and a lot of God’s blessings.

    • Good to hear it! Sounds like you ran twice as much as me last year. I got in about 688. I wish I could have finished our Nike+ Challenge but my footsies needed the 16 days off.

  2. “Beer before race, better pace. Wine before race, you’ll never lace.” That cracked me up. And seriously, it’s true! 😛 I had a lot of bad race moments this year–like falling JUST short of finishing a sub-2 half marathon TWICE–once because I couldn’t stop puking (2:00:15), and another because I re-injured my quad (2:00:11). (And let’s not forget the other time I fell WAY short…) But I ran 21 races this year… and I’m pretty proud of myself for how much I improved as a runner!

    As for your list and #10/#8… I’ve felt that “emotional defeat” that you talked about. My first marathon went perfectly and I finished exactly at my goal time. My next two went poorly. Very poorly. I was beat up mentally and physically. I pretty much gave up on running for awhile. Thank God for friends who had talked me into doing Hood to Coast and made sure I got myself back together! 🙂

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