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.

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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.

FRIDAY: Rest.

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

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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.

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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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