Lindsey Arrillaga crossing the finish line. | Courtesy: Travis Gibson

Months of preparation, structured training schedules and a carbohydrate-heavy diet are just a few things a typical runner does to prepare for a big race.

Computer science senior Landon Woollard won the 2018 SLO Marathon men’s division. For the past two and a half months, Woollard trained by running eight to 10 miles most days, with a biweekly run of 16 to 20 miles. He does faster-paced “tempo-runs” on off-days and has experience with 50-mile Ultra-Marathons.

“I felt pretty stoked after the race. All that hard work paid off,” Woollard said.

However, for anthropology and geography junior Lindsey Arrillaga, signing up the night before the SLO Marathon was the only preparation it took for her to race the 26.2 miles and win.

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Arrillaga took first place for women in the SLO Marathon Sunday, April 29 with a time of 3:14.

Arrillaga had intended to participate in the annual half marathon, but the night before the race, a friend convinced her to double the length.

“I’ve always loved running my whole life. It’s just like, I like running outside, being in nature and the mountains and it’s really relaxing for me and puts me in a good mood,” Arrillaga said.

Prior to running the marathon, Arrillaga had no technical training and at most had run 10 or 11 miles.

“I had no expectations going into it because I had never run even close to a full marathon before, so I just kind of ran whatever pace felt good and someone part way through was like, ‘Oh, you’re the third girl,’ and I was pretty surprised,” Arrillaga said.

Arrillaga then caught up to the two women in front of her and decided she would keep pace with them for as long as she could. Toward the end, she realized she could push forward to pursue first place.

Finishing strong

For Arrillaga, the key to running any endurance race is a positive attitude.

Arrillaga said she stayed positive throughout the race in part because of the people on the sidelines and other runners cheering her on.

“I think with big races like that, everyone is in the same boat, everyone’s hurting a little bit so the whole spirit of it kind of helps everyone through,” Arrillaga said. “I was pretty happy the whole time, it was a pretty day and a pretty run.”

Arrillaga’s family was visiting and were expecting to watch her run the half marathon that day. Her father called her when she was on mile 21. To his surprise, she answered the call mid-run and let him know that she was toward the front of the pack.

“I was so excited because … he was able to be at the finish line and that was so special,” Arrillaga said.

In the future, Arrillaga said she would happily run more marathons for fun, not necessarily with the intent to win. Although she is surprised she won, Arrillaga says running is more about the accomplishment than the first place title.

“For me, sometimes getting too stressed about the competition takes the joy out of it. So I think either way, if anyone finishes, it is  an accomplishment for everyone,” Arrillaga said.

Correction: Woollard’s training schedule has been corrected, as well as the length of a marathon.

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