I completed my first marathon at the Los Angeles Marathon in 2022. I've been a long-time runner and have run in many races, including a dozen or so 5k's and several 10k's, but this year I accomplished 2 running goals. I finished the Pasadena Half Marathon and then the LA Marathon. I trained all through the pandemic for the half and full marathon. When I ran the half marathon in January, I was well prepared for the long half, hills and so forth. When I got to about mile 11, I plateaued and struggled a bit to the finish line.
During the LA Marathon in March, I had enough time between the half and the full marathon to reflect on how I could do better and get through the entire race at a decent time. I almost finished the marathon under 4 hours. I got through the first half with better time than I expected and (most importantly) I wasn't tired. However, I hit mile 20 and my energy started to fade.
At mile 20, I got so hot that I had to take my top off. This meant that I had to repin my bib to my sports bra. I hated having to stop to do this, but I figured I should start rehydrating. It took me about 2 miles to recover. Having a few cups of Nuun hydration helped me get back on track. By mile 23, I was ready to finish the race. I made it across the finish line at 4:42:20.
Over the years, I've come to love running more and more. I started running as a teen just for fun. Then, in my 20's, I found it to be a great stress release and it got me pumped for the day.
Thanks to running, I have a lot of energy. Many casting directors and photographers often refer to me as "the model who brings the energy". I definitely have running to thank for that. In addition to ever increasing energy, running has allowed me to maintain a lean and strong body, which helps me look better on camera.
Here are some of the benefits that marathon training has helped me develop:
It goes without saying that there are only so many hours in a day. I've found over time that running has helped me give my day structure while working in an industry that can be extremely unstructured (for lack of a better word "random"). Since my days are generally very long (I wake up at 5:30 am every morning) and a lot of times I'm on my feet all day doing photoshoots, I've learned to calibrate my energy accordingly. If I'm going to have an 18-hour day, then I try not to get too excited at any given point so that I don't burn out before my day is over.
I've also learned to be increasingly selective about which activities to partake in (i.e. Is this party really worth me going to? Can I accomplish the same thing in another way?)
With a busy lifestyle like modeling and running, you need to be disciplined but still stay flexible. Mornings are the best time for me to get my runs and additional training in, unless I have an early call time. Generally, I'm able to block off 2 hours (6 am - 8 am) to get a good training in at least 3 times a week.
Running can help you relax, reduce stress, and improve your physical response to mental stress. It may help boost the brain's ability to minimize and slow cognitive decline.
I mainly run outside. Running outdoors is great for helping your body product vitamin D. Vitamin D is known to lessen your likelihood of experiencing SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I enjoy outdoor running because there's so much visual stimulation, fresh air and you can easily change your routes to be more or less challenging.
There's a lot of stress that can come along with modeling. I have found that running helps me deal with frustration, excitement and anger. The chemicals released while running and afterwards can help if you feel at ease if you are feeling anxious. Getting your body active is a good way to cope with difficult situations, whether you're walking on a treadmill, track, trail, or sidewalk.
The repetitive nature of running has actually helped me focus better and be more creative in my modeling work. Cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and enhance overall brain performance. A heart-pounding run may assist you feel more inspired for up to two hours after. Rather than waiting for a brilliant idea to drop from the sky, get those legs moving and cleanse your body and mind at the same time. When you have a strenuous run, it increases levels of brain-derived protein in the body, which is thought to aid with decision-making, higher thinking, and learning.
The next time you're thinking about skipping the gym or can't get out of bed for your morning run, think about everything you'll get out of it. Overall, completing a marathon has been a wonderful way to strengthen my overall health and well-being both physically and mentally. This summer I'll be training for a Boston Qualifier race on the east coast. I'm looking forward to the challenge and discipline this experience will bring me.