How I Kicked 30K in the Butt

Let me rephrase. This post should really be titled “How 30K Kicked ME in the Butt.” This past Sunday I ran my first 30K (18.6 miles, but let’s just say 19 since that sounds better). First 30K = automatic PR. Don’t you just love those types of races? For me, this marked my fourth (out of five) winter series race. There’s one more on tap for February 5th, a 20 miler. My marathon taper “officially” begins on February 12th. I can’t even believe I’m using the word “taper” right now. I’m also using a lot of “”. I feel like “that guy.” Ok, let’s get back on track here.

I was very careful to not repeat the awfully crampy events of January 8th which I detailed explicitly for you in “Bugs and Runs.”Ā That was miserable but not until afterwards. This 30K? Miserable starting ~ mile 7. Too early in my opinion. I felt pretty good and confident going in. The start was a chilly 10 degrees but I was dressed appropriately. I may have even been slightly overdressed and I wound up unzipping some of my layers at mile 2 for some breeze. No worries, though. I cooled off and didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. Biggest problem that day? Mindset.


Running is a funny sport to those who may not understand it. It’s just running, right? Anyone can do it. Absolutely. Many people have the ability to run and a subset of those can even do it really well. But ask any runner of any ability if they’ve ever felt like their head wasn’t in the game and I bet you’d receive an overwhelmingly positive response. Mindset is, without a doubt, 90% of it. Ok, maybe not 90%, that’s pretty arbitrary, but you know what I mean. It plays a huge role.

I really started to panic a bit and I wasn’t even halfway done. I was concerned about hitting the wall early so I took a Gu at mile 7 and another ~13. I made sure to carry enough hydration (fuel belt with 2 20oz. bottles + a handheld 22 oz. Crazy much? Yes.). I added new beats to my iPhone the night before. None of that really helped much. The scenery was lacking once again (this is a huge deal for me. I need pretty things to look at.) and I just felt very heavy all around. My little pep talks to myself helped, but the effects were fleeting. And then, you know what? Something kind of funny happened. I immediately snapped back into it, realizing I had 4 miles left to go. I’m sure the Gu helped move things along. Four miles? That’s it? I knew I had it at that point.


Running is hard. Getting your head in the game, at times, is even harder. But you know what? Never, ever, ever sell yourself short. Trust in yourself and your training. Drag yourself across the finish line if you have to. You’ll be happy and proud that you did. And, you’ll be even stronger than you were the day before.

Final time: 2:49:20/9:05 pace

Ever have a mental setback in a race or on any of your runs? Any advice for other runners?

5 thoughts on “How I Kicked 30K in the Butt

  1. This sounds similar to my recent post! I definitely understand having the right mindset makes for a better run.

    Great job on your first 30K!! Very exciting!

  2. You did awesome!!! I hate winter long runs because I feel like I am weighed down by all of my clothes and gear =( Congrats on finishing your first 30k! And I agree – I love running new distances b/c of the automatic PR!!!
    One thing I've learned is not to think about the full distance you are running. I concentrate on each mile – I want to run each one at a certain pace so I only focus on maintaining that pace for that ONE mile. Once that mile is done, I start again. It's a huge mind game for me. If I even think about how far I have to run left, I usually get unmotivated to keep going!!
    It does get easier the more and more you do long runs – I promise!

  3. Oooooh, that's a good strategy – thanks for the tip! It must be working well for you. Your ultramarathons are no joke! šŸ™‚

  4. >Congratulations!! I love this line: "Getting your head in the game, at times, is even harder. But you know what? Never, ever, ever sell yourself short."

    I'm definitely adding that to my "get out your ass out the door and go!" self-pep talk. šŸ™‚

  5. I think everyone needs a self-pep talk occasionally! If I was flexible enough I'd physically kick my own butt out the door but, well…. šŸ˜‰

Let's chat: