How "Winging" a Marathon Made Me Fall in Love With Running All Over Again

I just want to start off by saying, this post is not about how you should "wing" a marathon.  And while "winging" is in the title of this post, I incorporate high intensity cardio into my life at least 5 times a week (whether it's spinning or running), which definitely helped me during race day. Now with that little disclaimer out of the way...


Six days before LA Marathon my friend Lindsey asked me if I was interested in running the race. Linds and I spin and run together a lot, and she knew I was getting major FOMO from seeing everyone in the running community registered for LA Marathon.

Here's Linds and I having way too much fun post spin:

A post shared by MELLIECAY (@melliecay) on


I looked at my weather app and saw that the weather was the best it had been in years for LA Marathon (2 years ago the LOW was 82). And thought, why not?  Though my longest run had only been 6 miles since November, it was the first time in awhile I was consistent with both morning and afternoon workouts and felt like I could definitely run a marathon if I needed to (haha key word is needed).  All I needed was $165 and some courage.  So within minutes, I responded back to Linds, "I'm in."

I don't think it hit me until literally the night before the race that I was going to be running twenty-six point two miles.  I didn't get much sleep the day before and kept waking up feeling anxious.  What the heck did I sign myself up for?  I've run races with a broken heart, and even a broken hip... but never without mentally training myself for running the distance.

I made sure followed every pre-race prep in the book. I wore clothes I had worn tons of times before.  I lathered myself up with Glide and Vaseline.  I brought gels I had taken 100 times before.  I was as ready as I could be. And you know what?  It was probably the best, most fun marathon I had ever run (even though this was the third time I was doing this course).  Sure it wasn't my best time, but it wasn't my worst either.  Here's now "winging" a marathon made me fall in love with running all over again.

1.  I wasn't sick of running.
Running a marathon is hard.  Training for a marathon is harder.  I always tell people how it's like adding a part time job.  You have to do speed runs, long runs... there are even runs to recover from previous runs.  On top of that you have to cross train, think -- spin, yoga, weights.  Your entire life outside of work becomes running.  But for this race, I didn't stick to any schedule.  I did yoga when I felt like my body needed yoga.  I ran because I wanted to run.  I went spinning if I needed an extra push from an instructor.


2. I wasn't worried about finishing at a specific time.
When you train for a race you get fixated on a certain time you want to finish.  "I have been running 8 min miles in my recovery runs and 9:30 runs on my long runs, I can totally finish the race in under 4:30."  You think of all your runs, do all this math, and set these expectations of yourself.  But for this race, all I was concerned about was finishing.  I was able to actually enjoy the race, because I wasn't fixated on how fast I should or shouldn't be running.

3.  I was able to actually to enjoy the race.
I've ran races where I didn't even hug my boyfriend who met me at 3+ different spots during the race.  Or missed a friend that was out cheering out in the blazing sun for hours.  But this race was different.  Every friend out there was my extra burst of energy.  I gladly stopped to give hugs.  I read all of the funny signs along the way.  And I realized that this is the heart of running.  This is why you run these races.  Races are your party to celebrate all of the hard work you've put it.  Somewhere in the midst of training, I forgot that.


4. I realized I didn't have to follow any specific schedule to run a marathon.
I always thought I had to run a specific amount of speed runs, or long runs, or recovery runs to run a marathon.  But here's the truth:  I'm never going to be the fastest runner.  That doesn't mean I won't get faster, or won't improve.  But it's okay to run to the beat of my own drum.  I started running 3 years ago, and I can't compare my year 3 to someone else's year 5 or 7.

5.  I really started to believe that I am a freakin' rock star.
Training can be discouraging at times.  I have friends who are less active than I am, that don't quite understand why I would miss a girls' night to do a long run in the morning, or why most of my "vacations" involve long races or strenuous hikes.  Little things can add up that sometimes make me wonder if all of the time and money spent on running and training is really worth it.  But running this race made me realize all of the benefits my consistent training for the past 3 years has given me.  Running is so powerful and has cured me in so many endless ways. As I ran this race, I remembered where I started, and where I am now.  Just the knowledge that I can run 26.2 miles any ol' time I want, made be realize that there is nothing in this world that I can't do.


4 comments

  1. What an awesome and inspiring post. Thanks for reminding me to actually ENJOY this sport I love so much!! <3

    Nathalie

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