As recently as the end of 2009, this was my life:
- My exercise consisted of walking my dog
- Addicted to Nicorette gum (after quitting smoking a year prior)
- Regularly drank a bottle of wine/night
- Addicted to Ambien
- Partied more than I slept
- On antidepressants for anxiety
- Took xanax recreationally
- Cried daily
- Blamed everyone/everything for my unhappiness
The unhappiness, partying, crying, and inconsistent exercise was a norm for nearly 15 years.
As a child, I competed in every sport I had time for. My parents actually had to tell me, “No more, Julie!” I wanted to do it all: ski racing (competed for nearly 10 years), swim team, diving team, gymnastics, running, softball, and tennis. I loved competing, but I also loved practicing…I loved to train. I would sleep in my clothes, so at 5AM, I would be ready to roll out of bed to go to swim practice. I also played piano, and my favorite part was practicing…every other child’s least favorite part. I was motivated, happy, felt accomplished, and had something that defined me: I was an athlete.
STRUGGLED TO FIND MY PURPOSE
Then I became a young adult, and partying and socializing became more important. No more ski racing, no more training, no more competing. I lived this life for over 15 years, unhappy, and undriven. Yet, I yearned to find my purpose in life. I excelled in school, and I liked it. All that studying was similar to training. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA and a BA in Journalism from the University of Washington. An amazing accomplishment, yes, but when I graduated, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and struggled to find my passion. I had always been good at everything I tried and did, but I wanted to be great at something…anything. I watched as friends, and my sisters excelled in their careers, while I struggled to pay bills and created a world of debt.
I would go to the gym to do cardio and lift weights, but I dreaded going. I would force myself to go, but it didn’t make me feel accomplished; I wasn’t great at going to the gym. I competed in a couple of mini-triathlons in my late 20′s, which I won, but there was no desire to do any more.
FIRST HALF MARATHON
My dad, an athlete who has run Boston a few times, called me 11 years ago, asking me if I wanted to run the Seattle half marathon with him two weeks later. Two weeks, and I had not been running consistently. And, I was smoking nearly a pack/day. I said yes. It would be my first half marathon. But, I didn’t train, and I suffered the consequences: I couldn’t walk for a week. And I didn’t run at all after the race. My dad called me three years later to run the race again, and I obliged. This time giving myself more than two weeks, but not following a true training schedule. I did manage to knock nearly 20 minutes off my time, but again, got right back to partying after the race. It was nearly six years before I ran it again, but slower by nearly two minutes. I was discouraged. This was the end of 2009, and I was probably the most unhappy I had ever been. I had gotten very good at blaming someone or something else for my unhappiness.
READY TO CHANGE MY LIFE
Then something amazing happened. I was ready to change my life. I realized no one was going to change it for me. I decided to shift my energy, and use it for something good. It started with the decision to quit drinking (which was supposed to be for a few months, but became a full year of sobriety), then a discovery, and instant love, of Bikram Yoga, and then…I picked a half marathon to run, but not only that, I decided to train for it. I found a training program, incorporated yoga into it, and followed that program religiously. Sweating every day became my priority. Every day I had a goal: run 6 miles, run 4 hills, run 12 miles, practice 90 minutes of yoga! And each day I achieved that goal. I quickly started to feel really good about myself, and people noticed. But the real test came on race day: I placed in the top 3% overall, top 1% off all women, and the top 1% in my division, knocking nearly 30 minutes off the first half marathon I ran. Words cannot describe the way I felt. I had accomplished a great feat, and couldn’t wait for my next challenge!
I realized I was in control of my life, and I could do or be anything I wanted. I wanted to be a runner, and that is what I became. With this realization, came confidence and hope. Not only was I becoming a runner, but I was also learning how to take care of myself. There was no way I was going back to my old life. I had finally found something I was great at, and that discovery helped unlocked some other doors as well. My creativity was bountiful. Although I was now a runner, I wasn’t done. I needed something else.
FINDING MY PASSION
Along with exercise, another lifelong passion of mine has been writing. In 2010, when I decided to change my life, I also decided to start writing in a blog. I quickly remembered how good writing makes me feel. The more I ran, the more I wrote, and vice versa. I was doing the things I loved, so I continued to do them. Idea after idea came into my head, and I just knew that my purpose was to do something that involved both writing and running, and on top of that, I wanted to share my story.
It is one thing to run a half marathon, but I am proof how important training is. It’s the daily goal setting, and achieving, and taking care of your body, which is going to be beneficial in the long run. My training is more than just following a daily schedule. It’s about paying attention to your body and learning how to take care of yourself, something most of us just don’t know how to do, although we are the ones who are best fit for the job.
And so, after many years of trying to find my true passion, I finally found it, and with it came the birth of Run Revolution. I ran my way out of a bad place in life, instead of running away. What’s your story?
**All content on Run Revolution is written by me, unless otherwise noted.**
- Started Run Revolution
- April 16, 2012 Boston Marathon
- June 23, 2012 Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon
- Placed second in the St. Patty’s Day dash (a nearly 4 mile run I had only run once before), with a 26:45
- Ran my first full marathon, Rock and Roll San Diego, and qualified for Boston with a 3:38.49 (3:45.00 qualified me)
- PR’d in the Rock and Roll half in Seattle, three weeks later, with a 1:39.00
- Placed in the top 10 (my goal), and PR’d in the Seattle half marathon, knocking over 2 minutes off my time from the previous year, even though the conditions were the worst the race had seen in years
- Placed 6th, and PR’d, in the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K I had never run
- Trained for my first half marathon, Rock and Roll Seattle, knocking 12 minutes of my previous time-1:39.59
- Placed 12th in the Seattle half marathon (thus beginning my quest to place in the top 10 the following year)