link-up // best + worst of racing


Linking up today with Jessie over at The Right Fits to share the best + worst of my racing history! Check out her fab blog… she’s a rock star marathoner (16 so far!), fellow MSPer and has an adorable vizsla named Matilda :) 

Best (or Worst) of My Racing History

With that, here are my best + worst…

Best crowd support

The spectators don’t get any better than Ironman Wisconsin. Helloooooo, Tour de France style bike course! Running on State Street is pretty rad, too. 

IMWI bike

Hottest race

Grandma’s Marathon in 2008 crushed me. Training that spring couldn’t have gone better… temps were mild and probably in the 60s for most of my long runs. The humidity + heat arrived on race day, and by mile 18, I was toast. After barfing downtown Duluth, I walked the final few miles. It was painful (see photo below). 

Coldest race

The Irish for a Day 10-Mile in 2013. Rain, snow, wind and a race start temp of 30 degrees. Miserable, but it also was the run that planted the seed to push my limits and see what I could accomplish with hard work. 


Most beautiful course

Ironman Canada! With mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, there is no better place to bike than the Sea-To-Sky Highway. The run course was beautiful, too, winding through dense woods, along Green Lake (where I saw a bear!) and through Whistler village. 


Best finishers shirt

It’s not a finishers shirt, but I really liked this year’s Ironman Wisconsin tees… not boy boxy, and it’s one of my favorite colors – turquoise! 

Worst finishers shirt

Hands-down, the 2012 Chisago 70.3 finishers shirt. Three sizes too big and a terrible shade of yellow. 

Hilliest course

Endless Summer trail run series at Hyland Park. Up and down, through mud puddles and the woods = so much fun! 


Flattest course

You can see for miles and miles in North Dakota, so the Fargo half marathon earns this title. The biggest “hill” was an underpass. Ascent per my Garmin: a whopping ~300 feet. 

Best start line

I’m not sure I can pick just one. Any start line is awesome because I made it there, healthy (most of the time) and ready to give it my all.

Best finish line

Ironman Canada. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line of your first 140.6… overwhelming joy, relief, excitement, some disbelief, pride and so much gratitude… all rolled into one. It’s pretty sweet the second time around, too. 



Most emotional finish

Again, nothing quite like that first 140.6 finish line. There was a lump in my throat the entire last mile and tears as I crossed the line. The best part: Having my family there to cheer me on and sharing the experience with my fave ♥


Best finish line food

Hmm… eating post-race is tough. After Ironman Wisconsin this year, I forced down a Coke and an Osmo Nutrition recovery shake, but then couldn’t stomach anything until about midnight when I wolfed down leftover coconut rice. Post-race eats at the TC 10 Mile in 2013… kudos to TCM for having ample gluten-free options.

Best overall swag / gear

Can’t go wrong with Ironman swag! Backpack, tech finishers tee, hat and medal FTW. 

Coolest medal

Finishers medals are always fun, but the best one: A travel yoga mat at the lululemon RUN: twin K 13k in 2013 – put to good use during post-race yoga in the park, too.


Most disappointing finish

Definitely Grandma’s Marathon in 2008. A photo is worth a 1,000 words – and, isn’t this the saddest race photo you’ve ever seen?! The disappointment!


Race that took the most mental strength

Hmm… Monster Dash in 2011. I shouldn’t have been running because of a nagging hip injury, but it was our first race together (we were Smurfs!), so I slogged through 13.1… ouchie (I didn’t run for four months after this race). If Nick hadn’t ran with and encouraged me the entire way, I would have called it quits. (Also, wowza… my fitness has come a long way since that race. Is that even me in this pic?!)


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  • Reply Amy 10/21/2014 at 8:32 am

    Those are some incredible pictures!! I have one similar to the Grandma’s Marathon and can’t wait until I get one of Ironman finisher ones ;)

  • Reply Jessie 10/21/2014 at 8:51 am

    erin, awesome post! so fun to read and thank you so much for linking up (and your nice words :) I added your post to my original post.

    Love the smurf costumes, btw. saw a BEAR on a race? WOW!

    So fun.

  • Reply Lee @ Tri*Inspired*Life 10/21/2014 at 9:08 am

    What a fun post! It is neat to think about the different categories and which of your races fall into these categories! Also a neat way to think back to the good/not so good from all your different races.

    • Reply Jessie 10/21/2014 at 9:42 am

      Would love for you to link-up too Lee!

  • Reply Kelsey @ Happy Triathlete 10/21/2014 at 9:32 am

    What a fun link-up! Loved reading about the highs. And even though they were tough, the lows always provide lessons.

    • Reply Jessie 10/21/2014 at 9:43 am

      Totally agree! You have to have some lows to truly appreciate the highs :)

      Would love for you to link up too if you can, Kelsey!

  • Reply Kristen 10/21/2014 at 10:25 am

    You have had experiences all over the board, Erin! Seeing your pictures from IM Canada just makes me excited. I feel like I am following in your footsteps, in a way, as you are one of the people who has encouraged me to go for it. Even reading about your more challenging and difficult days out on the race course was interesting, as it reminds us all that there will be good days and bad – but you just keep going. What a great link up!

  • Reply jruff81 10/21/2014 at 10:37 am

    Such a great walk down race-day memory lane; I love this! And that IS the saddest pic ever! We’ve all been there, though, and definitely come out stronger/smarter on the other side.

  • Reply Alisa 10/21/2014 at 11:45 am

    Wow that grandma’s marathon photo does say it all. Also, the smurfs photo, you have come a VERY long way and you’re continuing to grow as an endurance athlete. I too, have some photos that look similar.

  • Reply Jen (The Hippie 10/21/2014 at 1:02 pm

    Great “off season” post idea! I feel like all my posts lately have been about the WORST–I’m afraid to post any more downer stuff. But that’s life, and racing. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Erin 10/21/2014 at 1:10 pm

    those pics of Whistler…… hmmmmmm

    • Reply erin 10/21/2014 at 3:51 pm

      Sign up, Erin!!!

  • Reply Jesse - Questionably Texan 10/21/2014 at 2:13 pm

    Seriously, you always look SO happy in the photos of you riding your bike (and running, but especially riding). Whatever you’ve got, I want some of it! Before I read the caption for the Grandma’s marathon photo, I thought that’s the first picture I’ve seen you post where you’re not smiling.

  • Reply Kecia 10/21/2014 at 8:03 pm

    Grandma’s Marathon is definitely a low for me and a race I now avoid…I have ran the full twice and the half once. Every time the black flag came out on the course and I crossed the finish line in a really BAD state!! I think Duluth is just my nemesis…I tried the Superior Tri (70.3 distance) as well. I was sick, puking and it was in the upper 90s, which resulted in my only DNF.

    I definitely LOVE IMWI and am so excited to be there cheering you on this coming year as you own it!! IM Whistler is definitely on my radar and one I hope to do one day in the next few years…the scenery is BEAUTIFUL!!

    I LOVE the yoga mat “medal” and will be looking for a race that has such an AWESOME and user friendly race “medal.” :)

  • Reply Change of Pace 10/22/2014 at 8:27 am

    I absolutely love this post; thank you for sharing your race memories!!
    That picture is so sad, but it shows how far you’ve come :) I love all your Ironman photos- so much happiness!
    I think I have to agree…there is nothing like the first 140.6 finish. Although I’m sure when you qualify for Kona that finish will take the cake :)

  • Reply Alyssa 10/23/2014 at 12:46 pm

    so fun to read, thanks for sharing!! got me thinking about what mine would be and definitely brought back some fun race memories that i hadn’t thought about in quite a while!

  • Reply Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard 10/24/2014 at 3:21 pm

    Great post! And great photos, especially your Ironman ones. Can your sister come and photograph me when I race? ;) That photo of you and Nick at the Ironman Canada finish is the best, you should frame it.

    You look so different in that last photo! Can I do this link up too?

  • Reply Leslie @ TriathleteTreats 10/24/2014 at 11:00 pm

    Awesome post! Loved reading all of those categories!! making me thinking what races i would use for them!! I wanted to do Grandma’s marathon some time but not sure if i want to keep it on my list!! :)
    I am in the middle of a top 10 races post! But i might have to do one of these also!! :)

  • Reply Fitting Remarks: Best (or Worst) of My Racing History Link Up! 10/26/2014 at 7:41 pm

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  • Reply Kristin (@SweatCourage) 10/27/2014 at 8:32 am

    What a fun blog post, love all of the photos! The one at IM Canada makes me want to do that race even more… just gorgeous! Oh and that is just the saddest pic ever. Do you do anything cool to display your race photos? I’ve been trying to think of a way to decorate my pain cave with mine..

    • Reply erin 10/28/2014 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks, Kristin! Link up! And, yes, definitely race IM Canada sometime… it’s a beautiful course :)

      Nick’s sister made us as display board with photo from our first race decoupaged on it. It has took for both medals and race bibs… super fun! I’ve seen some neat ones on Etsy, too!

  • Reply Link-Up: Best & Worst of Racing | Kinetic Fix 10/31/2014 at 7:25 am

    […] Fits to share some of the best and worst of my racing history! I read about this via my Coeur pal Erin over at SweetSweatLife and enjoyed her post so much that I thought it’d be fun to take a little walk down memory […]

  • Reply Fitting Remarks: Best (or Worst) of My Racing History Link Up! 11/01/2014 at 5:43 pm

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