Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 11: Now & Then

Note: Week 11 was June 4-10.

I recently remembered that I wrote weekly recaps while training for my first marathon back in 2011, and I pulled up the week 11 post to compare it to the training I just did in week 11 of training for my sixth marathon, seven years later. Here’s what week 11 looked like back in the day:

  • Monday: Strength training
  • Tuesday: 7-mile run
  • Wednesday: 3-mile run + strength training
  • Thursday: Rest (skipped a 4-mile run)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 10-mile run
  • Sunday: Rest

Total weekly mileage: 20


In comparison, I ran 55.7 miles this week. My long run was 21 miles—farther than I ran in a cumulative week seven years ago.

Okay, maybe that week wasn’t the best example since it included a trip to NYC, where I did a lot of walking and sightseeing rather than running, but still—I skipped a 4-mile run for no good reason?? My long run was only 10 miles??

But here’s another example: My peak week in that 18-week training cycle was week 16, when I didn’t run at all for three days, did a 20-mile long run and ran 40 miles overall.

To be fair, it was my first marathon and I followed a beginner training plan. I was still a new runner, so I didn’t yet have the experience or grit to push through unideal circumstances and make time for every run. And my goal was to run a 4:15 marathon, which I did, down to the minute. So there was nothing wrong at all with my training back then.

But I’ve had this mentality for a long time that I’m a 4:15 marathoner at my core. Prior to getting pregnant, my goal was to gradually chip away at 4:15 to get to sub 4:00, which I did at the Chicago Marathon in 2013 with a 3:59. I never believed I could progress much further than that.

Now I realize I can be any kind of marathoner I want to be if I put in the work. The training I’m doing now is on a whole other level from the training I did back then. I was a 4:15 marathoner because I trained to be a 4:15 marathoner. I’m now training to be a sub-3:35 marathoner. Time will tell if I will be, but I believe it will happen—maybe this time, maybe next time, but it will happen.

MONDAY: 4-mile easy run at 9:32 average pace.

I didn’t post on Instagram about this run, but I titled it “Sausage Legs” on Strava, so my legs must have felt heavy and swollen from Sunday’s long run. Ha!

TUESDAY: 10-mile easy run at 9:14 average pace.

10 miles on a weeknight will never not seem like the longest run ever, but I ran with Hallie and that made it totally bearable. What would I do without running buddies?!

WEDNESDAY: 5-mile easy run at 9:05 average pace.

THURSDAY: 5.6-mile tempo run at 7:56 average pace.

I went to bed late every night this week, and it all caught up to me on Thursday; I felt wayyy too tired to do a successful tempo run. I snuggled with Evie in her crib for a few minutes before she went to sleep, and it took all of my willpower to not fall asleep myself! But I got up, got out there and ran my tempo miles in 7:35, 7:35, 7:36 and 7:32. I was amazed that the pace felt manageable and consistent. A major win over the Thursday-night sleepies!


SATURDAY: 10-mile easy run at 8:51 average pace.

I ran this one a little fast because (a) I got caught in two downpours and just wanted to get the run over with, and (b) I saw a coyote! It ran out onto the trail, saw me coming, then ran back into the woods, thank goodness. I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful forested/mountainous area, but it’s also home to wild animals who may not like me running through their backyard. The trails I run are frequented by humans and close to suburban neighborhoods, but this was a good reminder that animals are always around and I need to be cautious.

SUNDAY: 21-mile long run at 8:54 average pace.

I run the last 7ish miles of the marathon course all the time, but to get some experience with the earlier part of the course, I had my husband drop me off at the Hyak parking lot (just past Snoqualmie Pass) and started my long run at the actual start line.

The coolest part of the course is right at the beginning: the Snoqualmie Tunnel, which is 2.25 miles long and pitch black. I wore my headlamp (as I will during the race) and braved it alone. It was FREAKY. I really had to concentrate on the little patch of light my headlamp created in front of me and not look around too much or imagine what might be in front of or behind me. I could see how a claustrophobic person would NOT have fun in there because it felt like the darkness was pressing in around my body. But it should be fine on race day, with lots of other runners’ headlamps to brighten things up a bit!

The other notable feature of the course is its gentle downhill pitch. The word “gentle” sounds very nice, but after 20 miles, it doesn’t feel so gentle anymore. I struggled to keep my pace above 9-minute miles even though I was running at about my usual long-run effort, which ranges from 9:15-9:30 pace. So even though my 8:54 average pace seems too fast for a long run, I swear I was taking it easy.

This is great news for race day; it means I won’t have to put in as much effort to keep up my goal pace. I will have to be careful not to go out too fast, though. I’ve made that mistake before and paid the price in the back half of the race. My favorite marathon advice—which leads to success when I actually follow it—is: “It’s a 20-mile warmup for a 6.2-mile race!”

Total weekly mileage: 55.7

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.

Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 10: No Vacation from Training

Note: Week 10 was May 29-June 3. Finally all caught up!

My weekly mileage jumped above 50 this week, which may be the most I’ve ever run in a week! My previous marathon training plans were not nearly as aggressive, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been nervous about these higher mileage weeks, but so far, so good (knock on wood).

Since many of our birthdays are in April and May, Aaron’s dad Dwight and stepmom Maggie proposed we take a little family vacation to celebrate. We spent a wonderful three-day weekend in Leavenworth—a small Bavarian-themed town just east of the mountains—where we ate delicious meals, strolled around town and spent fun time together in our rented condo. Oh, and I also ran… a lot.

Marathon training doesn’t take a vacation. I ran 9 miles at marathon goal pace on Saturday and 19 easy miles on Sunday. Fortunately, Dwight and Maggie love babysitting and were more than happy to watch Evie while I ran and Aaron rode his bike in the mornings.

I’ve actually run on vacation in Leavenworth before; I did 6-mile and 17-mile runs there while training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon in 2013. I already knew where I could go to run long, uninterrupted loops of rural road, and it wasn’t a big deal at all. I’m proud I got it done so I could enjoy spending time with family with a clear conscience—and basically eat whatever I wanted at Leavenworth’s great restaurants, too. ☺

MONDAY: 4.1-mile easy run at 9:11 average pace.

On Memorial Day, I enjoyed a sunny recovery run with Aaron and Evie by my side on the bike. Later, we went to Stephanie and Kevin’s house for a BBQ and lots of fun playtime with their son Connor (who is five months younger than Evie and the object of her obsession) and other neighborhood friends.

TUESDAY: 9-mile easy run at 9:07 average pace.

Nine miles feels like a lot on a weeknight, but running with a friend makes it much more bearable! Hallie and I hit the trail for an easy run in perfect twilight weather.

WEDNESDAY: 4-mile easy run at 9:06 average pace.

This run felt like a bit of a struggle, but I guess short, easy runs just feel like that sometimes because they’re boring.

THURSDAY: 7 x 800 speed intervals (7.3 miles total) at 8:44 average pace.

Targeting 3:30, I ran these 800s in: 3:38, 3:40, 3:34, 3:30, 3:27, 3:30 and 3:29. As you can see, the first few intervals weren’t so great, and then I nailed the last four. Here’s what happened:

  • It was raining when I started, so I wore a jacket for my warmup mile and first two intervals. I ditched it once it stopped raining and I felt like I could move so much better.
  • I made an, uhh, urgent bathroom stop after the second interval and felt much better afterward.
  • I started really focusing on my form and pumping my arms. I never looked at my watch.
  • I thought relentlessly positive thoughts (and started to believe them): “Of course I can hit that time! No problem.”
  • I started running my recovery quarter-miles very slowly—like 11:00 pace. By the time I started sprinting again, I had the energy to hit the time I wanted.
  • I pretended that each interval was the last half-mile of the marathon and I had a BQ time in sight and I needed to give it my all to bring it home.

So yeah, never count out a workout that starts out crappy (figuratively and literally). I kept grinding and finished feeling like a badass. I look forward to my next interval run in two weeks (8 x 800) to see if I can do it again!


SATURDAY: 9-mile marathon goal pace run at 8:02 average pace.

Despite enjoying several glasses of wine the night before and getting a terrible night of sleep (we tried to share a room with Evie in Leavenworth—big mistake), this run went really well. I started conservatively with an 8:27 warmup mile and then sped up to finish with six sub-8:00 miles and two just a little above 8:00. I’ll never not be amazed to see a mile that starts with a 7 on my watch.

SUNDAY: 19-mile long run at 9:16 average pace.

19 miles is a long damn way to run. Luckily, Aaron let me use his wireless headphones since I forgot to bring mine. I passed the time by listening to the two most recent episodes of the Ali on the Run Show, then some relaxing Gregory Alan Isakov and energizing Taylor Swift. I stopped once at a McDonald’s about halfway through to pee, but other than that, it was steady, uneventful and not even as painful as I expected (other than my knees, which didn’t love three hours of pounding on asphalt when they’re used to soft gravel). Maybe this marathon training thing is working after all!

Total weekly mileage: 52.4

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.

Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 9: Turning 31

Note: Week 9 was May 21-28.

This week kicked off with my birthday! I have approximately zero feelings about turning 31. 30 was exciting; 31 was just another Monday.

My birthday falls near the end of a string of birthdays in my family—my brother, Aaron, Evie, my mom and Aaron’s stepmom (plus Mother’s Day is in there, too)—so by the time we get to me, everyone is exhausted and sick of cake.

Plus, after planning and hosting Evie’s birthday party at the end of April, I had no desire to plan anything for myself aside from the usual casual dinners with family. I celebrated my birthday for 30 years and now I’m done. I just want to sleep in and not go to work.

Which is exactly what I did! I took the day off, went for a run, went out for beer and pizza and burgers with Aaron (yes, all in one lunch) and got a massage. It was the perfect birthday, if you ask me. Plus, Hallie and I saw Taylor Swift the following day! I missed one shorter run this week, but I think I made up for it with all the walking and dancing we did at the concert. Oh man, it was exhausting. I’m not 21 anymore!

MONDAY: 9-mile easy run at 8:52 average pace.


A nice run to kick off 31.


Hallie and I shook it off at the Taylor Swift concert! It was amazing, duh.

WEDNESDAY: 4-mile easy run at 9:03 average pace.

I had one too many beers the night before. I did my best.

THURSDAY: 45-minute tempo run (5.6 miles total) at 8:04 average pace.

Despite drinking quite a bit Tuesday night and eating pretty much straight garbage, I felt super strong during this run. I did a 10-minute warmup, 30 minutes at tempo pace (4-ish miles: 7:53, 7:43, 7:39, 7:39) and a 5-minute cooldown. Confidence = boosted.


SATURDAY: 8.2-mile easy run at 8:44 average pace.


I ran with Hallie and it was a bit faster that I’d normally go for an easy run, but I did lots of recovery (legs up the wall, stretching, foam rolling) to get my legs feeling good for Sunday’s long run.

SUNDAY: 17-mile long run at 9:08 average pace.


We got the whole marathon crew together—Kelli, Hallie and me—and ran 8.5 miles up the marathon course, then 8.5 miles back down. Again, this was faster than I usually do my long runs, and I tried to slow it down at times, but when you’re chatting with friends for two and a half hours, it’s easy to get caught up in the convo and lose track of pace. Kelli and Hallie both ran Jack & Jill last year, so they gave me lots of insight into their experiences and pointed out the exact spots where the race started to get really hard! At this point, I can only imagine what multiple hours of downhill at 8:00 pace feels like…

Total weekly mileage: 43.8

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.

Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 8: Tiger Mountain Half Marathon

Note: Week 8 was May 14-20.

This week was a bit unusual because I ran a trail half marathon on Saturday rather than my typical goal pace run on Saturday and long run on Sunday. My training plan actually has a half marathon race scheduled for week 9, so I just flipped parts of weeks 8 and 9 to account for it.

Other than that, it was a typical week. Two solid months of marathon training complete! Now only 10 weeks to go.

MONDAY: 3-mile easy run at 9:16 average pace.

It was 87 degrees (in mid May?!), so I delayed my run by doing some much-needed yard work. I got carried away and worked for an hour and a half! It was 8:30 and starting to get dark as I set out for a still-hot and still-sweaty run. And thanks to all that hedge trimming, raking, weeding and more, my arms were sore for two days.

TUESDAY: 8-mile easy run at 9:07 average pace.


It was great catching up with Hallie about her recent vacations to Hawaii and Las Vegas, plus planning for the upcoming Taylor Swift concert and talking through our marathon training plans (both based on Hal Higdon Advanced 1, with slight variations to fit our schedules). Now that her 50K is over, she’s fully focused on the marathon and I plan to log a lot more miles with her!

WEDNESDAY: 4-mile easy run at 9:08 average pace.

I ran with Stephanie, plus did BBG week 2 arms + abs, stretched and foam rolled.

THURSDAY: 6 x 800 speed intervals (6.5 miles total) at 8:29 average pace.

Targeting 3:30, I ran the 800s in 3:36, 3:30, 3:34, 3:38, 3:34 and 3:30. I worked HARD for that last 3:30! I also worked hard to push negative thoughts out of my head through the entire workout. I started each interval with a confident, “I can do this!” mindset, but inevitably, I’d hear the naysaying creep in: “No way I can keep up this pace. My legs can’t do it. I’m just not fast enough.” Every time those thoughts crept in—and every time I checked my watch to see a less-than-ideal moving pace—I felt my energy and pace flag. Every time I successfully squashed those thoughts and resisted the urge to look at my watch, I ran a faster interval. The mental is just as important as the physical, whether you’re running a half mile or a marathon. Tell yourself, “I can do this!” and watch it happen.


SATURDAY: Tiger Mountain Half Marathon — 13.56-mile trail race in 2:21:57.


I haven’t been doing much trail running lately, so I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this race. And since it’s not the main race I’m training for, I only had two goals: (a) don’t twist my ankle, and (b) finish under 2:30. I also wanted to keep up with Hallie for as long as possible, but knew she’d drop me at some point.

The first four miles of the race went up, up and up, which is my strength, so I was able to keep up with Hallie even though my legs were feeling fried pretty early on. Once we hit a considerable downhill, it was game on for Hallie (her strength), and I was on my own. I walked for the first time around mile 4.5 (fried legs) and tried to keep it to a minimum, but walked every so often throughout the rest of the race. It’s too easy to walk when you’re alone in the woods and there are no other runners or spectators to see you!

Most of the trails we ran on—which are usually packed with mountain bikers—were super smooth and runnable. For the first time, I let myself relax and fly on the downhills where I didn’t have to worry too much about tripping over rocks and roots. It felt awesome! But later in the race, things got rockier (ba-dum-ching!). I nearly stumbled twice and became more cautious as a result. I got passed by several people, but just accepted it and kept running as steadily as I could.

Overall, I had a lot of fun and was happy with the experience! My average pace is up for debate: the course map said it was 13.56 miles, which works out to 10:28 average pace. That seems inaccurately fast to me, given my bouts of walking. My Garmin measured 12.3 miles, which works out to 11:31 average pace (more reasonable), but Hallie says GPS watches always measure this race as shorter than it really is due to the mountains. I don’t know what to believe; all I know is that I enjoyed the race and am proud of my finish. Out of 91 runners, I finished 41st. Out of 41 females, I finished 13th. Not bad at all!

Race gear:

Top: Lululemon (old)
Shorts: Brooks Chaser 3”
Bra: Senita Sarah (it has a phone pocket!)
Shoes: Hoka One One Challenger ATR
Hydration vest: Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta
Hydration: nuun
Fuel: Vanilla bean Gu

SUNDAY: 3.2-mile easy run at 9:46 average pace.


My legs were tired (but not totally wrecked) the next day, so I took it eaaaasy for my recovery run. Aaron and Evie joined me on his bike, and we stopped in the middle at a playground for some fun. A perfect low-key Sunday with the fam!

Total weekly mileage: 38.2

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.

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Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 7: Run Redemption

I’m so behind on posting, but trying to catch up! Week 7 was May 7-13; it’s now June and I just finished week 10. But humor me as we go back in time…

This week was a great one, as I was very happy with my three key workouts: Thursday tempo, Saturday marathon goal pace and Sunday long run. After a discouraging/too-hot tempo run two weeks ago and a disappointing goal pace run on too-tired legs last week, I needed those wins.

I continue to be amazed at how well my legs are handling six days per week of running (when I actually take my rest day on Friday, as I did this week!). That’s most certainly due to running easy most of the time, which I’ve never done in the past. So far, I’ve followed this training plan far more diligently that I ever have before, and I’ll be so much better equipped to run 26.2 miles as a result. I have three 20-milers to run, people! Three! And I’m not intimidated by that; just excited.

My only miss this week was accidentally running 3 miles on Wednesday instead of 4, but that’s no big deal—and I accidentally ran 8 miles instead of 7 last Saturday, so it sort of evens out.

I cracked the 40s for the first time this training cycle in terms of weekly mileage. I’ll peak at about 58 miles three weeks before the race. I’m not sure I’ve ever run that many miles in a week before, but here’s hoping my body will be ready when the time comes!

Scratch that—hoping won’t help at all. The only thing that’ll prepare me for the hard work is running, running and running some more.

MONDAY: 3-mile easy run at 9:37 average pace.

I needed to pick up a prescription for Evie and our pharmacy is exactly 1.5 miles away, so I ran an errand! My legs were t-i-r-e-d, so it was slow going, but that’s standard for these post-long-run shakeouts.

TUESDAY: 8-mile easy run at 9:19 average pace.

Aaron went on a bike ride right when we got home, then I was going to run right when he got back. Wouldn’t you know that the moment he stepped into the house, the skies opened up into a torrential thunderstorm! The streets of our neighborhood were flooded in just a few minutes. I resigned myself to an hour-plus slog on the treadmill, but after I put Evie to bed, it seemed as though the rain had stopped. I headed out onto my usual trail and miraculously didn’t feel a single drop of rain. Plus, there was no one else on the trail but a family of deer. Random thunderstorms have their perks!

WEDNESDAY: 3-mile easy run at 9:01 average pace.

I listened to Ali’s interview with Liz Plosser, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health magazine, and then wound up weeding my whole front yard so I could keep listening! You know something’s good when it gets me to do yard work. ☺ I’ve been slacking on my strength training these past few weeks, but I kind of count weeding as a workout… and it really needed to be done. Also, I was out of clean running shorts and reached back into my pre-pregnancy archives to see if my old Lululemon Speed shorts fit—and they did!!

THURSDAY: 5-mile tempo run at 8:14 average pace.

I finally redeemed myself for that too-hot tempo run two weeks ago! The weather was decently cool and I ran my comfortably hard miles in 7:51, 7:44 and 7:41—right where I wanted them and negative splits to boot. I finished just in time to enjoy a killer sunset, and all was right with the world.


SATURDAY: 8-mile goal pace run at 8:07 average pace.

I learned my lesson after going out too fast last week and used the first mile of this run as a warmup (8:26). From there, all the miles were under 8:10, but not as close to my goal pace (8:00-8:05ish) as I hoped. I’m still happy with it! I know I won’t hit my paces every single week, and it’s the consistency that counts. There was also a slight rise in elevation for the last half of this run, whereas I’ll be going downhill 100% of the time during the marathon, so hopefully the faster pace will come without much more effort.

SUNDAY: 16-mile long run at 9:19 average pace.

Happy Mother’s Day! Maybe next year I’ll sleep in and have breakfast in bed, but this year I woke up at 5 a.m. to start my run at 6. It was going to be a hot day, and I had plans later with my mom, so I had to get it done early!

Stephanie (who is also a mom!) joined me for the first five miles, and they flew by. I felt great through the halfway point, but as I turned around to head back after 8 miles, my stomach indicated I had “unfinished business” to take care of. Luckily I was near a popular trailhead with a bathroom, but even afterward my stomach never made it back to 100%. I’ve been staying away from added sugar, so I wonder if my splurging on a piece of cake at a birthday party on Saturday had anything to do with it?

Anyway, I survived the run; it just wasn’t very pleasant. It reminded me to be grateful for how good my stomach has felt throughout training, which I believe I owe to healthy eating. I need to keep it up, especially in the weeks immediately before race day!

Total weekly mileage: 43

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.