Race Day Horror Stories

Hey, did you notice that today is Friday the 13th? We thought we would “celebrate” by sharing some of our race day horror stories. We’d love to hear about yours in the comments!

Friday The 13th

Beginner Mistakes On Race Day

Lauren: Anxious to run my first half marathon, I arrived three hours before the start time, as recommended by the race website.  They bussed us all to the start line but neglected to provide blankets or heating lamps for everyone waiting.  For the next two hours, we were all FREEZING and huddling together to try and stay warm.  I later saw more experienced runners arrive shortly before the start and I learned to never arrive that early for a race again!

Natalie: For my first marathon, I really didn’t know much about fueling so I didn’t even have a sip of Gatorade. I hit the wall, and hard, at mile 19 and basically switched my plan to “survive.” Now I start with Gatorade in the first few miles and I’ve never bonked so hard again.

Kimberly: My worst race was a 5k that I ran the day after a long training run, ignoring my coaches’ advice that I should only run a slow & easy shakeout run the day before a race. My tired legs, combined with a hot & humid day and a hilly course, resulted in a time that was more than 2 minutes/mile off my recent PR. Lesson learned – listen to your coach!

Molly: I made the mistake of signing up for an expensive 5k during its first year. After waiting in the cold for an extra 45 minutes after the race should have started, we hit a bottle neck at the first half mile so bad that we were forced to walk for about 3 minutes. No one found out exactly what went wrong, but there were rumors that the first runners had started the course loop in the wrong direction! Lesson learned: now I only run new races if the entry fees were very, very low.

GI Issues On Race Day

Megan: I was running a half marathon and a woman near us had clearly been dealing with some digestive distress and well… she soiled her pants early in the race. I felt so bad for her, but man, she was a dedicated runner. She powered through that race, determined to finish, and finish she did. I just hope she got a shower soon after the race. Lesson? Don’t eat anything new the night before a race!

Equipment Issues On Race Day

Coco: I was running a half marathon in June, and got really worried about the warm weather the night before the race. I decided to dig out my old backpack-style hydration pack instead of using my waist belt. Not long after the race started, I realized that the hydration pack was supposed to have a chest strap to keep it from bouncing. Since I didn’t have that part, I had to hold on to the straps as I ran. That affected my stride, my pace, and pretty much made me miserable the whole time!

Weather Woes On Race Day

Ryan: What happens when you spend all winter training for a half marathon, and then it’s warm and humid on race day? You end up in the medical tent with an IV in your arm.

Other Hazards on Race Day

Elizabeth: I was racing a 5K in college near a golf course, and a golf ball hit me on the head! It hurt. Really hurt.

Malinda: What started off as my worst racing experiences (my babysitter didn’t show up) turned into one of my best racing experiences (PR). 🙂

Which horror story do like the best?

Share your own in the comments! 


5 thoughts on “Race Day Horror Stories

  1. I trained hard and was ready for one of the larger marathons. I made one more trip to the porta johns and by the time I got out I was stuck behind 20,000 other people much slower than me. I didn’t allow enough time to get to the right corral! I spent the first 6 miles of the race just dodging people and trying to run as fast as I could. By mile 20 I was done!

  2. I love this post for two reasons: 1. Molly, I know exactly which race you’re talking about. I watched Twitter explode that morning and could not believe how crazy it is. The same series has a big race in SF and I refuse to run it after that disastrous race. 2 Elizaebth, I’ve actually had some close calls with gold balls down around Hains Point. At least that’s one obstacle I’ve avoided during CUCB. Miss you guys and hope plans for 2015 are going well!

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