Worst Race of My Life–Virginia 10 Miler Recap

Updated to include: I had a bad experience with this race. I recommend these other 10 mile races in Virginia: The Richmond Capitol 10 miler in October or the Charlottesville 10 miler in March/April

I seriously didn’t know how to title this post so here goes. Per usual, you can find all of my race recaps by clicking on the race in the calendar on the right –>

On Friday you guys read all about my freak out: I’ve been really sick for the past week and haven’t run since my 20 miler 2 weeks ago.   The marathon is coming up in 4 short weeks and I have been freaking out. Your comments really did help to quell my anxiety a bit. You guys reminded me that I have a built a really good base all summer plus I’ve run numerous marathons so my body can push through it. I guess it’s hard to think of the positives when you feel like your head is about to explode and walking up the stairs makes you tired. Luckily for me, I started to feel better (just a smidge) on Friday night.

And do you know how difficult it is to have a bib to run a race and NOT run it? Damn near impossible I tell ya.

the bib was calling out to me: “you know you wanna run this race”

So while the bf and I were sitting on the couch at 8pm on Friday night (well he was sitting, I was sprawled out moaning about my illness every 20 minutes) I decided to float an idea: “Do you think I should at least go try to run tomorrow morning?” Now you have to understand that the bf had been telling me all week to get out of the apartment and move around a bit. He seemed to think that moving a bit would help me get better. I just need to point out that he rarely gets sick so he doesn’t even know how being sick can totally knock you out.

And I would’ve agreed with him had it been a less severe virus. But seriously I could barely walk around without feeling extremely fatigued so I kept telling him he didn’t know what he was talking about.

But then my anxiety about not having run in awhile set in again. I thought to myself, “at this point in the marathon training 10 miles is nothing!”. And I was right…sort of. 10 miles really should be nothing at this point, except for the fact that I’ve been sick. But let’s go back up to the first point, shall we? It’s damn near impossible to have a bib to run a race and NOT run it.

So I got up super early on Saturday morning (4:45am…yea), loaded up on some meds and drove down to Lynchburg, Va for the Virginia 10 miler.

I actually wasn’t feeling that bad on the drive down. A little congested and weak but not too bad. It takes about an hour to drive down to Lynchburg so I had time to drink some coffee and eat a bit. When we got there I went to pick up my bib and get ready. It was then that I started to feel really sick again. Feverish or something. The bf captured my pre-race state of mind and enthusiasm perfectly

I didn’t feel like running at that point but we had driven all the way down there and I thought that my body could just go on auto drive so I walked out to the starting line.

see what I have stuffed in my pockets? tons and tons of kleenex!

The Virginia 10 miler is a really big race. It also has elite runners which is pretty cool (I usually love races that have elites competing–especially out and back courses since you can see them on their way back). There were some Olympic Marathon trial runners and one 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon runner (didn’t catch his name). Before long we were off and I started running. It was a weird body-mind disconnect thing. It felt like my legs weren’t even a part of my body. Does anyone know what I am talking about?

So here is where we are up to this point: I was sick as a dog and out running 10 miles amongst a thousand people and behind some elite runners. I knew nothing about the course. Nothing. I was hoping and praying that it would be relatively flat but of course it was the exact opposite. Since I couldn’t find anything about the race course online, I thought a crude diagram would best represent the ridiculousness of this course.

It was freaking ridiculously hilly. It wasn’t even like running as much as it was slogging up and down the hills. The downhills killed my knees and I’m definitely paying the price. The camber of the road was also very severe (the roads were angled so there was no flat running surface). My IT bands were definitely feeling it. So if you are ever thinking about running this race this is something no one will tell you: The road is severely cambered, and for that reason, the course is probably one of the worst courses for a race. Run at your own risk. So basically the race didn’t even provide a good training run. But on the bright side, the weather was perfect: 60 degrees and cloudy. I mean, come on. Does it get better than that for running? Too bad I was sick because I definitely would’ve appreciated the weather more.

I felt ok (by “okay” I mean I didn’t really feel much of all…that whole disconnected feeling) until mile 5. Then at the turn around I started to feel pretty awful. Just weak and feverish. And I knew I had to run back through all of those steep hills. The last 3 miles just sucked. I felt so sick and frustrated because 10 miles should feel easy peasy at this point. I finished almost 10 minutes slower than the half marathon PR I set earlier this year (had I been healthy, I probably would’ve finished 20 minutes faster).

post-race: aren’t I a picture of health?

So shitty race. It was a perfect storm of elements that came together to make it the worst race I have ever run: My illness, the course, etc. But you know what? I got up, ran, and finished. Never have I ever earned a medal more in my life (plus, when do you ever get a medal for a 10 miler???? I ran a 20 miler 2 weeks ago and didn’t even get a medal).

So instead of getting down on the shittiest race I’ve ever run, I’m just going to try to put a positive spin on this: I was able to finish.

Plus, I didn’t feel worse later in the day so it’s not like I made myself get more sick by running. So I guess all in all it wasn’t a complete waste of time. The next race I run will be the Marine Corps Marathon in 4 weeks. Let’s just hope I get over this stubborn virus and get in one last 20-22 miler this week!!!!!

What was the worst race you’ve ever run? What made it the worst? 

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16 Responses to Worst Race of My Life–Virginia 10 Miler Recap

  1. katiemoves says:

    Oh that stinks 😦 I actually just has my worst race ever on Saturday! UGH. And now I’m sick too! I hope you feel better. I’m sure if you we’re healthy it would have been much better because your base running has been so strong! Feel better girlie

  2. Ack…so sorry, didn’t sound like much fun at all! But you have another notch on the belt and fought thru it regardless! This too shall pass my friend…focus on getting BETTER!! Positive vibes your way!

  3. Carina says:

    Sounds miserable but also at least you got your legs moving, and there’s a lot to be said for that. Feel better!

  4. David H. says:

    Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog. I hope you get to feeling better soon! Congrats on pushing your way through this. As far as this race goes, there’s actually a lot of info about it, including the course map, on their website. It’s a bit buried though. As for the roads themselves, having lived in Lynchburg before and doing this race a couple of times, the best thing to do is stay in the middle and away from the road shoulder. Those roads definitely aren’t the best, but I’ve run on far worse.

    • I’ve run tons and tons of races for years (both running races 5ks through marathon and triathlons sprint through half ironman) and the camber of the road for the first 3 miles (and thus last 3 miles) was one of the worst I’ve ever run on. The cones in the middle of the road made it next to impossible to run where it was flattest and the volunteers didn’t allow me to run around them anywhere. I’m sure it’s great running for Lynchburg but from someone who has run all over the country it was bad.

  5. great job for even doing it! when i am sick it is the last thing i want to do!

  6. awwww I can’t believe you did it, good job! When I’m sick the thought of ever working out again doesn’t seem possible lol I hope you’re feeling better now!

  7. I’m so impressed that you still finished!!! That’s an incredible accomplishment by itself. Your running skirt is super cute

  8. jumpeatrun says:

    Oh man, that just sounds miserable! I’m so sorry you felt that awful still, but incredibly impressed that you did it. I totally would have stayed in bed 😉
    Get better already!

  9. Melissa says:

    I’m w Lish..I totally would have stay passed out in my bed. Proud of you for finishing it despite feeling so awful but hope you get better soon girl. Have you tried Kombucha tea? I’ve only been sick once in the almost 10yrs I’ve been w Rich (my hubby) but if I start to feel off,,.ill drink it and it passes (could be a fluke but my friend also swears by it). It’s supposed to help your immune system and digestion. I drink both hot and cold a few times a week just bc it tastes good too.

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