I’ve conducted a highly scientific analysis of my past experience, and now present you with the three worst runs of my life:
1. Daytona Beach, FL-September, 2010: After wrapping up a work assignment on a sunny Saturday morning, I hightailed it to the beach for 10 miles on the packed sand of Daytona Beach. This was to be the culmination of an exhausting week of travel and work that masochistically included 90 miles of running. I’d run this beach probably 10 times over the years while traveling, but never on a 95 degree, humidity-choked sunny nightmare of a day at high noon. With nary a cloud in the sky, I shuffled shirtless and weezing past Floridians and vacationers while the tempting waters of the Atlantic lapped at my sneakers. Five grueling miles out, five grueling miles back. When I’d made it back, I chucked my shoes and garmin, and had the most glorious swim I can remember. I would spend the rest of the day sun-burned and dehydrated. Only a trip to the brewery chain BJ’s, which included 2 ice-cold IPAs and a massive mound of nachos–could bring me halfway to normal.
2. Denver, CO August, 2008: While in Denver prior to the Democratic National Convention in 2008, the work crew made a Residence Inn in South Denver(or Englewood) its home. Despite a location clogged with traffic and suburban sprawl, I carved out a nice 8-12 mile route from the hotel to beautiful Cherry Creek State Park. I ran the route religiously for 6 days, the thin mountain air seemingly having no effect on my times or endurance. Then, on the 7th day, a scheduled long run, it all fell apart. My ride was leaving for downtown Denver at 11am, so I gave myself about 2 hours 15 minutes to run 16 miles and then shower. Unfortunately, at mile 10, the mountain air, or hydration, or something caught up to me and I fell apart. Even more unfortunate, I was on the far side of a reservoir that I soon found out could not be circumnavigated. In the agonizing depths of a horrible bonk, I proceeded to try and create my own path over boulders and rocks, confident that without a shortcut, I would surely miss my ride, and inevitably get fired. I fell countless times, scraped hands and knees, but emerged on the other side to complete the stress-filled, desperate run home, barely making the appointment. There’s a good chance I was useless the rest of the day.
3. Wilmington, DE, February 2009: I had to include one run that involved parking lots. I’ve run in a lot of them over the years out of necessity. Some were fine, some were awful. This one was the latter. I stayed in a Doubletree on Route 202 right next to Concord Pike Mall. Nice hotel, and actually, once you cross treacherous 202, you’re in Brandywine Creek State Park, one of my top 5 runs of all-time. Unfortunately, a non-stop deluge of rain had made the Brandywine trails impassable, and the 30 mph wind and 40 degree temps were not helping things. Of course, I had an 8 mile run and 800 meter repeat workout I needed to finish, and the treadmill was not an option. So out I went, making laps between the Sears and Boscovs, narrowly avoiding oncoming cars, trudging through puddles, all the while questioning why I ever took up this silly sport. Drenched, freezing, and miserable after an hour, I went back to the hotel where I promptly took a scalding hot shower that would last 30 minutes.