Weekend Wrap-Up and my worst run ever

Saturday:  aka The day that something broke my stride.


I woke up feeling a little off my game, but was super excited to run a 20 miler with my Fleet Feet training group!

I’m a big believer that even a bad run is better than no run.  That was not the case here…it sucked.

We got started and I could tell something was wrong.  I felt ok, but I was breathing a lot harder than usual.  After the first hour, I tried to eat a Gu and couldn’t.  That’s never happened before.

We started back running and I got really chilled, covered in goosebumps (in hot summer weather), and my heart was racing.  Another first…I told the group to go on without me.  I needed to fall back and slow my pace.

I kept pushing forward thinking I could push through and turn the run around.  At mile 13, I got sick.  At mile 15, I got sick again.

By this point, I was just working my way back to my car.  It was ugly and slow.  I finished the 20 miles that I had no business finishing.

Lessons learned:

  • I am too stubborn for my own good.  I’m not a great runner, but I take pride in my work ethic and ability to overcome obstacles.  This was a first for me and I don’t think I realized how sick I was until the very end of the “run.”  I should have stopped because I know I didn’t accomplish anything other than making myself feel worse.
  • I didn’t do anything differently leading up to this run, so I’m still not sure what went wrong.  Maybe it was a little bug.  Maybe it was just an off day.
  • I gained a new level for empathy for any runner that has had a run or race like this.


So…I came home, laid on the cool floor, showered, and crawled in bed.  Jason was a rockstar husband and brought me Sprite and saltines.

And then some broth and white rice.  Charlotte stayed cuddled up with me in the bed which always helps! :)

After a few hours of rest, I needed to get out of bed, put some lipstick on, and pull myself together…

We met up with some friends for dinner and it was just what my spirit needed.


I was apprehensive to run after such a terrible run.  Physically I felt a little scrawny, but my bad run had messed with me mentally.  So…I hopped on the treadmill with zero expectations and ended up having a decent run.

Afterwards, I started a Periscope account.  I’m still figuring it out, but you post videos and they can only be watched for 24 hours.  Follow me HERE and be warned…I’m still a hot mess on Periscope!

I met up with Jason for breakfast.  I was starving!

And came home to see a big box of Coach’s Oats Oatmeal had been delivered to my house…woohoo!!!  If you’ve been reading this for a while, you know my enthusiasm for oatmeal!  This brand is new to me and I’m pumped to try it.

We spent the day resting and running errands…just what we needed!


I posted my first ever YouTube video!!  I’ve wanted to start a YouTube channel for a while now and finally did it.  Why is this such a scary step?  I know it’s cheesy, but it made me feel brave putting myself out there like this.

Just another reason why my friends rock:  They showed up…at 5:30am…in the rain…on a Monday.  I ran 6 miles with them and 3 more solo! #NeverMissAMonday

I came home and had a green smoothie that actually looked pretty instead of the usual brown color.

And then I sat by my pretty roses and drank a cup of coffee.  Coffee just tastes better on rainy days.

What’s the worst run you’ve ever had?  Do you know why it was so terrible?

What are your “go-to” foods when you’re sick?

Green smoothies yay or nay?  I’m good as long as they have a little fruit in them, too!


Join the Conversation

  • Emma

    I don’t mean to be intrusive, but do you ever take rest days? How can your body go for so long without so little rest? I used to never take rest days (exercise addiction) and my body felt burnt out all the time. Sorry, that’s one thing I noticed about your blog that made me do a double take.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I am the worst about taking rest days. Now, I add them during taper and recovery for a race. If I’m sick, I’ll also dial back my running. You’re definitely not being intrusive…Saturday’s run made me wonder if I was just worn out.

  • cheryl

    I am glad if it was a bug it didn’t stick around. I have had a run like that (GI issues though) and it messed with me mentally too. I always have immodium in my race bag now. IT was awful!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      On my gosh…that’s sounds terrible. At least you’re prepared now!

  • Jennifer

    I had this happen to me a couple times this summer. I can only attribute it to improper nutrition/hydration combined with my body overheating. Once I get goosebumps, I know it’s over and at some point soon, I’m going to get sick.
    Sometimes eating right away makes it better. I have found that eating high sugar foods makes it worse very quickly. If I am back to my car or house before getting sick, I’ll lay or sit down with an electrolyte drink, a few bites of banana, and chicken & rice.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      The will take goosebumps seriously from here forward! (Unless it’s winter, lol!)

  • Kimberly

    You had quite the weekend! Glad you are feeling better and I love your periscope videos!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thanks for watching them!!!

  • Jamie Whittendale

    Eating a green smoothie as we speak!! I’m glad you are feeling better. Nothing is worse then being totally knocked on your butt after a tough run. I’m glad you got the rest you needed!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you!!!

  • Sarah @ SarahRuns26

    I’m a hot tea person so that’s what I have when my stomach is upset. I’m glad you’re feeling better, that sounds scary!

    I’ve had a few pretty terrible runs, when I had c diff it was not very fun. That’s actually how I learned how to tolerate the treadmill!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      My Achilles injury in January taught me to tolerate the treadmill. Funny how that happens!

  • Jenn

    One of my good friends is a frequent runner/marathoner and is going through something similar. She’s a runner of average ability but she pushes herself in daily training and in running probably 15-20 marathons a year. I was talking with her recently and told her that every runner seems to face this at one point or another – whether it’s one run or a series of them that just suck. I know a few elite level runners who also have bad days from time to time. While a number of factors can contribute to it, I’m pretty sure it’s normal to experience this.

    My worst run was probably the Freedom’s Marathon in WV, 2013. Horrible day for me. I had been traveling a lot in the weeks prior, I hadn’t eaten much in the week leading up to the race, nor had I gotten anywhere near adequate rest in the last couple of weeks. I had also run a marathon in Oregon 6 days before. I got out there on the course, and in the second mile, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. It was relatively cool but the humidity was high. I couldn’t catch my breath, and this continued for the entire race to a point where I had to walk most of it. I consumed more gels than I ever would during a marathon as an attempt to increase my energy, and it still didn’t help. I didn’t want a DNF on my record, so I ended up walk/running most of the race. I ended up finishing in a pathetic 5+ hours, which was a first for me (not counting another marathon where I paced someone). I think ultimately it’s our bodies telling us that something is off balance – whether it’s rest (I hate rest days, but I take them every now and then), nutrition, overtraining, outside factors like the weather, whatever it may be.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I hate that you had your worst day during a race! At least mine was just a training run.

  • Lynn B

    Hope your dog is doing well and has a speedy recovery. They are our babies:)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much!!!!

  • Jill Aldred

    My worst run in recent memory was a couple of months ago. I was too hot, I couldn’t get my heart rate where I needed it, and I was totally cranky by the time it was done. Thankfully those runs are rare, but man, do they ever suck!
    Sick foods are toast and tea. Always.
    Green smoothies are great! I’d take spinach over kale (I find the earthy flavour of kale is harder for me to mask even with lots of other ingredients) but they’re both good :)
    Glad you’re feeling better!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Yes!! I’m super thankful that bad runs rarely happen!!!

  • Gretchen Braun

    Wow, sounds like a terrible run! I wonder what it was, but I’m glad you seemed to have recovered really quickly. I had a race like was a mountain half marathon and I got sick after about 3 miles…not much fun. Luckily I started to feel better after about 5 miles and ended up finishing. No clue what caused it but it sucked!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I kept hoping I could turn it around like you, but it wasn’t in the cards.

  • Angie @ Pace with Grace Blog

    That run sounds pretty terrible, ugh. Glad you are feeling better! During my first half marathon training, I had a 10 miler (and had never ran 10 miles before then) and it was just awful. It was hot, humid and miserable. I could tell right away it was going to be tough just on how I felt. It took everything in me not to quit but I finished (even though I felt like I was crawling by the end). Bad runs happen to everyone at some point I think, there just isn’t anything fun about it!
    My go-to when I’m sick is ginger ale and saltines
    Green smoothies- YAY! I recently tried one with ginger in it and loved it!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Yes!! I love ginger in my smoothies!!!

  • Suzy Hutchins

    Awe, you poor thing! I hate throwing up in my own home let alone being out in the middle of a run and doing it! Awful. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I always love it when my green smoothies aren’t brown!!!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      It’s so silly, but I love pretty smoothies!

  • Laura Olinger

    The worst runs I’ve had are the ones where I shouldn’t have laced up in the first place. Twice, I’ve been on the verge of injury and just kind of ignored it, but it’s only made things worse. I’m learning that those runs accomplish nothing and will probably cause severe pain and a setback. It’s hard to rest, but I remind myself that it’s an important part of training, too!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      That was my thought afterwards. I didn’t gain any fitness. I just felt miserable.

  • christine

    We’ve all been there, but way to persevere
    and turn a bad run into a learning experience. I hope you love Coach’s Oats as
    much as I do! They are my favorite pre-race fuel (with almond milk, cinnamon,
    shredded coconut, a few walnuts, and sliced banana) YUM!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Now I’m even more excited about the Coach’s Oats…yum!!!

  • bubblyrunner

    I think my most recent horrible run was last winter when I was training for my 2nd half marathon–I had an 11 miler scheduled, and the ‘feels like’ temp outside was 10 degrees. I was so cold my bones and lungs hurt AND I had stomach issues as well. Go-to sick foods are chicken soup, crackers, and Ginger Ale! I like green smoothies but prefer them with fruit as well.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I did a cold tempo run once where my fingers burned so badly for hours after the run. The cold is no joke!

  • Running ‘N’ Reading

    I’m excited to hear about Coach’s Oats; I’m going to have to look these up! I’m so sorry that you had such a tough run, Jen; I know that was a shocking experience. My worst run was during a half marathon last year; found out afterward that I had fever and ended up sick for the next few days (sinus infection). It was horrible. I thought I was going to pass out at the end and my pace kept getting slower and slower! Definitely soup while I’m sick, and I love all smoothies!! So glad you’re feeling better!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I feel so bad for you that your worst run was also on race day. Worst timing ever!

  • Victoria Calderon

    Oh, I’m glad you’re feeling better! It’s terrible when something like that happens out of nowhere. Sometimes I think it’s easier to be able to point to something and know that was the cause! I loved the video – keep them coming :-)

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I’ll have another video next week…thanks so much!!!

  • Janessa

    You should do a post about running in the rain essentials or something. Not going to lie I only run in the rain if it’s extra hot and it’s a summer shower or if I’m running a race and it happens to rain. And I have a race this weekend and rain in the forecast this weekend, lol. It has been a while since I’ve done that.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thad a great idea!! For your race, don’t over-dress, use lots of body glide, and wear a hat to shield your face. Most importantly…have fun!!!

      • Janessa

        Thank you!! It’s been so long since a rain run I feel like I’m new at this lol. I usually grab breakfast afterwards so I am definitely going to bring a change of clothes too! Not sure where I will change but I am at least going to be able to put on dry socks and shoes in my car at the very least.

  • Amanda B @ Cupcakes and Miles

    My worst run was a color run 5k; I had gotten dehydrated earlier that week and probably should have just skipped the race, but decided to do it anyways. I was feeling fine until the halfway point when I ran by a water stop, grabbed some water and was immediately hit with some crazy goosebumps and the sudden urge that I was going to pee my pants.

    I live in Tampa and this was early summer, so the goosebumps were not to blame on weather.

    I finished the race, but nowhere in the time I had wanted. And as soon as I stopped, I felt really nauseous and thought I was going to pass out. I actually went and sat right next to an ambulance and didn’t move for like 30 minutes.

    It wasn’t fun!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Oh no and at a Color Run!!! Those are supposed to be super fun.

  • gabeo

    Hey Jen!
    What kind of coffee maker do you have? That last pic with the flowers your coffee looks amazing! Love the froth!


    • JenChoosesJoy

      I have a big crush on my coffeemaker! It’s a Nespresso Vertuoline and I bought their frother, too. They sell it as a bundle and its the only frother that works well with non-dairy milks. :)

  • Melissa

    Sorry to hear about your run, it’s never fun to feel like that.
    -My worst run by far….was the 20 km i ran on July 4th. It was so hilly and so hot, I had goosebumps like 6 miles in and I was like “what’s going on!” I stopped sweating and was SO dehydrated! :( I laid on the sofa for a few hours then sat in my daughters kiddie pool (ie mama version of an ice bath) :) I left way better after!
    -toast for sure
    -YAH to green smoothies!!! YUM!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      I will definitely take goosebumps seriously next time!

  • Reese Derrenberger

    Sorry you had such a bad run, glad you’re feeling better now though!
    My worst run was probably having the runs on a run, eeek!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      That’s hilarious and terrible!????

  • Running With Erasers

    Way to stick with it, that sounds awful!

    • JenChoosesJoy


  • Jenny

    Oh, Jen-this makes me hurt just reading it! I have run while sick a few times (should NOT have) but nothing like what you described. My worst run? My first marathon. I had peritoneal tendonitis and told not to run (did it anyway). My ankle popped at mile 10, and I pretty much prayed my way through the rest of it, saying I would never run another one-especially at mile 21-unless I BQ’ed. And somehow, I did! I ran Boston in April and now on to Chicago in October!

    I have enjoyed reading your blog these past few months. I go by “Jen” to my family and try to live each day out with joy:) Running plays a big role in that!

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Thank you SO much!!!

  • Daniela Elliott

    Jen I having been running for years so I have had my fair share. Ran the Baltimore ten miler in a thunder storm very hilly. Funny our race premium was a rain jacket. Ran the Philadelphia marathon and thought I was going to pass out so sick. My worst was when I knew something was so terribly wrong with my body found out I had a thyroid problem. My doctor didn’t want me to run the Baltimore marathon anyways felt awful but so proud. Generally am not hungry when I am sick. Absolutely yes to smoothies. I like to put dried fig, oats, spinach, almond milk, peaches, and peanut butter in my smoothies. If fruit starts to go bad I freeze it then use later.

    • JenChoosesJoy

      Our freezer is full of ripe fruit, too!

  • Rachel

    I’m not a doctor or anything, but you were almost certainly suffering from heat exhaustion, which is dangerous in that it can lead to heat stroke. Seems like a lot of other commenters experienced something similar but did not identify it. It might help to raise some awareness about the potential dangers of running in the heat. I don’t usually comment on these things but it petrified me that someone would keep running and potentially seriously hurt themselves because they didn’t know they were probably suffering from heat exhaustion.