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.


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


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.


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.


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