It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The most impulsive decision I’ve made since moving back to my hometown suburbia after graduating college? Signing up for the L.A. Marathon.

When I signed up, I was in no physical or mental shape to handle a full marathon, let alone a 5K. I usually put a lot of thought into my decision-making process, even going as far as carefully brainstorming a pros and cons list. During my last year of college, I neglected my physical health, often eating compulsively as a coping mechanism for my stress.

I was a mess.

But there’s several factors that compelled me to go for it…

  • The early bird registration rate was about to end on the day I signed up, so I wanted to take advantage of the discount.
  • In 2014 I raced and completed a half-marathon with my best friend who I lived and trained with during that time.
  • I dug myself into a destructive black hole since moving back to my old home.
  • The little voice inside me, which I pushed away for the longest time, insisted I had to get out of said black hole before it was too late.

Plus, my friend Megan inspired me. Funny enough, I was rolling around on my couch while mindlessly sifting through my social media newsfeed. Amid the endless images and texts, Megan’s post caught my attention. She wrote about her commitment to train for the L.A. Marathon, which was about five months away at the time she posted about it. I thought, “Wow she’s so bad-ass!!!” Until that point, my only exercise consisted of walking to and from my fridge and taking frequent naps.

I knew I had to do something. I knew I could do better, be better than this. A Gemini can’t sit still for too long.

Since the beginning of November I’ve been training. It’s empowering yet frustrating. As I started adding mileage and gaining confident with my physical endurance, my lower back started hurting to the point where I had to hold off training for about a month. I’ve had lower back problems since 2013 so I anticipated it at some point. After much-needed rest and recovery, I got back into running and working out regularly. I’m not sticking to my original plan, but when do I ever?

I’m still battling my personal demons that have existed long before I signed up for the marathon. One positive result so far is reclaiming my self-control. When I hit the pavement or dirt trail, I tune out everything around me. I focus on my breathing, making sure I’m breathing in and breathing out in a 4-count rhythm, always starting with my left foot. (Thank you, marching band, for ingraining rhythm and physical motion in me. No, I don’t run in an 8-to-5 stride.)

The L.A. Marathon is in 30 days (!!!). I’m nervous from thinking about the stretch from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica Pier. I think I can do it.


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