OK, it wasn't really my worst race ever. That would be the Rattlensake Master in 2003, when I pulled a DNF due to stomach problems. This may have been my worst race that I finished since high school, though. I ran a 10k and finished with an even worse time than the 2007 New Years' Day 10k I did in Palo Alto after not running for a month due to a sprained ankle and hamstring problems (I didn't even think of that as a race, to the extent that I apparently didn't even blog about it). To be fair, the altitude of that race was about 5 feet with very few hills, and this was a moderately hilly course at about 5000 feet. Forget the time. I got smoked by a girl on a climb. That Does Not Happen.
Well, I won't forget the time completely. I came in at exactly 40:00, in 5th place. The course was exactly the same as the other 10k in July that I ran almost 3 minutes faster. I didn't warm up very well for this race, but that's not why I ran poorly. I just wasn't in good enough shape. I might have gone out a little fast; in the last half of the race my turnover felt good but I was in too much pain to extend my stride much.
Conclusion: I need to hit the track. I don't really like track work that much in the best of circumstances, and it's really hard a mile up in the air, but I need to do it. I have been doing tempo and segment runs occasionally, but I've been doing them on trails where I'm probably using sharp turns and hills to take breaks.