1st Half Mary + 11 Week Training Plan

Sharing a bit of my running history and the 11 week training plan that took me to the finish line of my first half marathon.

HISTORY..

I have always admired runners- since probably high school. I had a friend, Joey, who did cross country and track- I was always amazed how graceful & effortless he made the sport appear. Over the years I would attempt to run- it was always so hard regardless of my desire to run.. never effortless!

In 2008 I started to run more as an attempt to lose weight for my wedding. My favorite days were Wednesday’s when I would head to Grandview to run a few miles before meeting one of my favorite gals for Ashtanga class.

Then in 2009 somehow my sister-in-law and I were talked into signing up to do the Inaugural Bourbon Chase– a 200 mile relay race. To date, I’m not sure what I was thinking. My race legs were short, I think 4, 5 & 3 miles- but that was a crazy goal to be the second race of my life. {My first one was a 5k the month before, so basically the BC was my first}. The hills were tough, my team was seasoned runners and I was so out of place but yet felt where I belonged.

Bourbon Chase 2009

Shortly after the Bourbon Chase we moved to Dayton and my running was put on hold for awhile. In 2011 I had a lifestyle blog to support my Etsy shop and a handful of blogger friends who were runners. That fall some of us {all Muskingum alumna!) signed up to do a relay team for the Akron Marathon. My desire to run was sparked again.

Akron Marathon 2011

My 2012 fitness resolution was to run a race every month- and to do a half marathon that fall. I managed to get two 5K’s under my belt before life had different plans! Instead of expecting for a half marathon I was expecting a baby boy.

Running took a long break after becoming a Mama. I ran a few 5K’s, had another baby and on occasion run a few miles. It wasn’t until this year I wanted to make running serious again. I really have to thank my brother-in-law, Ryan. He has really taken to running over the last year and a half.  Watching him fall in love with the sport, racking up the miles and increasing his speed is inspiring. At Easter we joked about doing the Air Force Marathon together.  After I found myself hitting the pavement more that joke manifested into reality.

Morning run along the Mosel River in Germany

PRESENT DAY..

Now that the modified back story is out of the way- running the Air Force Half Marathon is a big deal for me. It was a goal I set in 2012 that was never accomplished.  Registering was HUGE! It meant I committed to achieving my goal.

Knowing I did not want to give up my other workout programs (I was day 60 of Beach Body’s 80 Day Obsession when we registered)- I had to design a training plan that would give me the endurance to finish the race with the flexibility to keep strength training and yoga. Knowing that in reality the only time I could do a long run was on the weekends. And since my husband was racing too- that meant only really one long run a week so we could both get it in. I would say this training plan is for someone who work outs regularly and running level might be advanced beginner to intermediate. I would not recommend my training plan if running a steady state 5k is challenging.

11 Week Training Plan | Style in Shape

My goal was to finish the race; then my goal moved to finishing under 2.5 hours. As the race got closer I really wanted to finish around 2 hours and 20 minutes. I finished at 2 hours, 21 minutes and 12 seconds. Not bad considering it was hot, humid and sunny!

Being I have never ran 13.1 miles before, I have nothing to compare this course. I have been told it is a tough one. As mentioned last week I used Aaptiv for my training runs and during the race. The particular run I picked was a long run for full marathon training. Throughout the audio training, Meghan would talk about what mile you should be depending on your pace. Instead of letting that make anxious, I found comfort knowing where my husband and brother/sister-in-law might be in the race (they all have a faster pace than I). I made sure to listen to my Mama and stayed hydrated at every water station. The moments that were tough, I would focus on my form to shift my thoughts from what I can’t do (aka finish the race) to what I was doing (am I up right? How is my breathing? Where is my foot striking? Should I pick up my knees a bit more?). Those thoughts helped me mentally break through the challenges as I crossed mile marker after mile marker.

I was not prepared for all the emotions during the last mile. The moment I realized that I was going to finish brought tears to my eyes. Even if I thought my legs were going to fall off- I thought about seeing my kids at the finish line (thought about chocolate milk I was going to chug too). Thank you to the man infront of me who paced me the whole time. I thought for sure he would break into some crazy fast sprint the last mile but he didn’t. Side note: he also made the whole race look effortless.

1st_Half_Marathon

Definitely a little delirious after I crossed the finish line- and maybe for 20 minutes after. Or maybe the whole weekend after because like crazy people my husband and I registered for the Detroit Half to run again with his sister and brother-in-law.

Race Day top & Spirit Fingers

Running Crew
Running partner for life
After party at the Greene

Since my husband started running and training too we found a new connection. Bonding over physical challenges and achievements have brought us together in a way we have not experienced in our relationship. Definitely an added bonus!

It feels so good to know I can do something I thought I couldn’t.  I may not look effortless and graceful but I  love how accomplish I feel after setting a goal and reaching it!


Check out this new record released by my awesome brother-in-law and his band Extra Arms.

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliated links.

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