Friday, March 03, 2006

Questions and Answers

I receive many questions about running, eating, drinking, etc. initiated from my posts here. I always intend to answer the questions but don't always do such a great job at that. I save the questions in an email folder and am getting around to answering some of them:

Why did you decide to run? Have you always been athletic? Why do you run so much? When did all this running begin? What are you running from? Are among most of the 'how did you begin to run? questions:

I began running 8 years ago. I have never been athletic. In 8th grade I was on the swim team; breastroke, but that was it. I liked to drink and smoke pot and cigarettes more than I liked swimming.

I began to run after I had been walking approximately 6 months. I was carrying 60 pounds of baby fat from Troy, who was born 6 months before I began walking. I was drinking a LOT and couldn't get the energy up to walk. I purchased a treadmill, put it up in my living room and began walking on it every day. I stayed home with the boys at this time and tried walking during their naps.

Finally, Oprah's book Make The Connection came out. I was hung over when I purchased the book, when Oprah listed Quit Drinking as one of the steps, it finally clicked. I needed to quit drinking, get walking and get healthy. I knew that I was drinking too much, I knew I was an alcoholic, but wasn't ready to quit until I read that book.

This is about the time Oprah was running her first marathon. I figured if SHE could do it, so could I.

So, I quit drinking, began to incorporate veggies into my diet, began to drink water and walked walked walked. I walked away about 30 pounds and then began to run a bit.

I would walk 8 minutes, run 3 minutes x 4. It was SO hard. Harder than staying sober.

Once I decided to quit drinking that was it. No more drinking.

After running my first 7 mile run I came home and told Steve that I was going to run Grandmas 1999. He was skeptical. I wasn't. I knew I would do it.

I did it ! I ran Grandmas Marathon 1999 in 4:56 and never looked back.

I ran road marathon for the next few years..then we come another bunch of questions:

How did you go from road to trail? Why run trail? What do you like running better, road or trail?

Well, I was getting kind of bored with running the two marathons each year: Grandmas and Twin Cities, one time Whistlestop. I hated Whistlestop. It rained the whole time and Steve and the boys stood outside and waited for me. It was miserable. One a nice day it would probably be awesome.

It was in the fall of 2003, I was searching online for a running group and came across the Minnesota Dead Runners Society. It was an email group through yahoo groups. I began to lurk for a few months when a member decided to begin a 'beginner ultra runner group.' They were going to meet in St. Paul, once a week. I was interested. I finally emailed a message to the group for directions and stated that I would be there.

When I told Steve that I was going to meet up with some people that I had met online, well, he was a bit skeptical and asked me to call him as soon as I arrived and left. He was worried, I think.

That meeting changed my life.

The people at that first meeting have now become some of my very best friends. They were talking about ultra running and what ultra running is all about. They had a few 'guests' who spoke of the 24.48 hour runs they did, about the 100 milers they did, I was totally blown away. I COULD. NOT. IMAGINE.

I made every one of those meetings. We would talk, discuss races, plan runs and then run for an hour or so around Como. It was incredible.

At one meeting Bonnie and Marie invited me to attend the Ice Age 50 Mile with them in Whitewater, WI. I hadn't yet committed to an ultra and I hadn't even been away from home for a weekend!

I said yes.

We then planned a 50K at Afton State Park in March on our own, would run the 50K at Trail Mix in Bloomington in April for our first 'real' 50K and the Ice Age 50 would follow 3 weeks. It all went as planned.

I then began to run trails. Prior to the 50K at Afton I had never stepped on a trail. I slowly began to seek out trails in the area, near home.

After running a few trails around home I decided to purchase a dog to run with. Well, you all know who that dog came to be. My Topaz. He's probably been the one factor that has really kept me on the trails. He can run off leash, he loves it and he gets me out of the door each and every day. Many times I think I should take a day off, but when I see him as I walk in the door, I know I won't be taking a day off. He loves running as much as I do. He hates running on asphalt. He needs to be leashed, wants to chase the cars, the asphalt is too warm for him, it's just not good on roads with Topaz.

As for me, I like running both road and trail. I don't look down on road runners at all. I find that some trail runners do look down on road runners. I don't get that. I think it is just because road runners are more into the time factor and beating others, more intense I guess, I don't know.

I love running Grandmas Marathon, Twin Cities Marathon..I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ed Fitz 100K and FANS 24 hour run is fun too. All asphalt.

I love the trail running friends I have made. They are laid back and fun to be with. I love spending a whole weekend with them. I've never had friends who I want to spend a weekend with before. My best friends I now have came from ultra running. That is real cool.

What is your favorite race?

My favorite race..has to be the Superior Trail Races. Luckily, there are two very well organized, awesome races held on the Superior Trail. In May there is the 25K/50K and in September the Marathon, 50 Mile and 100 Mile.

The first year that Bonnie went to run the Superior 50 Mile, I was too afraid. I opted for the City of the Lakes 25K in Minneapolis. I was scared to death of the Superior Trail. I had heard horror stories about how rocky and rooty and relentless it was. I had heard about people getting lost and hurt. I wanted no part of it. At. All.

I finally tried the 50 Mile up there and fell in love. The trail IS rocky and rooty and hard to follow. It goes up and down and over HUGE cliffs and wow. Just Wow. I do the 50K in May and the 50 Mile in the fall and well,this fall I'll be trying the 100 Mile. It has a 38 hour time limit and it touted as the toughest and baddest 100 around. All trail. Jeffrey is going to pace me the last 50 miles. I'm so excited. I'm so scared.

Check out www.superiortrailrace.com

I thought you were at goal weight? What is your weight loss history?

Oh my gosh, do you have a lot of time?

I am a weight fighter. I will always battle the fat. I lost my first 60 with Weight Watchers in 1985; and kept off until I became pregnant in 1991 and gained it all plus some. Then lost it with Weight Watchers again.

Kept that off until baby two in 1996. Gained back the 60 plus some. Lost the first 30 by Make the Connection with Oprah, began to run and eventually it came off.

Maintained at roughly 130 pounds until last winter when I went up to 156. Don't know why (SUGAR) but I was fatter than I'd been in a while.

I joined Leanness Lifestyle in January of last year and lost to 125 in July. My goal was 130 so the 125 was awesome. I've maintained there until the holidays here when I gained 8 pounds. The 8 is now 2 so that's a good thing. I've found that by eating 4 cups of veggies a day, one carb meal (oats usually) and approximately 1400 calories I can maintain. Once I begin to add in additional carbs I put on weight. It's not a good thing.

It seems that Paleo Eating for Athletes along with Leanness Lifestyle is my ticket for staying at goal. Yes, you can run 80 miles per week and put on fat. I can not out run what I can potentially eat!!

How many laps around the Minneapolis Lakes for a 50K?

Each loop of the three lakes is just under 10 miles. I ran 3 loops of the three lakes, then ran from my car out 10 minutes and came back. I figured that was a 50K!

I'll do the 50 Mile around the lakes next week so I'll just add a few more loops...

What is next for you?

Well, I'm hoping to get into Western States in 07. Then I'll attempt the Grand Slam...4 100's in 8 weeks. I'd love to do that. I just want to stay injury free and continue to move forward.

What does your family think about all of this running?

At first they couldn't really believe it, that I could run a marathon. They boys were really excited when I ran my first ultra, Steve and the boys like to come along to Grandmas and the Superior Races. They don't really care for the others. My Dad ran Grandmas 2000 with me, his first, that was awesome. The whole family was there. That was a great race.

When I am training hard I write all the training time ahead of time on the calendar so my family can see when I will be gone and when I will be home. This seems to work very well.

Weekend runs are long, I usually leave home at 5 AM so I am back home before everyone gets up. In the winter I wait until 6 or so, then it doesn't seem so cold and dark!

Those are most of the questions, I guess I am pretty much an open book.

9 comments:

jessie_tri_mn said...

Wow. Julie, thanks for sharing your story. I was riveted to keep reading on.

Good for you for kicking drinking with running. I, too, used running as a way to get away from similar unhealthy, and some illegal, vices. It worked!

And I never new that you obtained Topaz for the purposes of running, that’s just so cool! A training partner who is always ready to go.

Good luck to you on continuing this journey. Although, I have no idea (as someone who is also 125) how you can maintain that kind of mileage with such few calories ;)

Flatman said...

You are an amazing person. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and histories from your life.

Keep running strong!

nancytoby said...

Heh, now we can stalk you because all your information is right out there for everybody. :-)

Seriously - YOU ROCK! What a portrait of determination and effort! Thanks for sharing all that.

And (side note) after a while I stop reading the bloggers who are hyper-secretive about their real lives. They have to omit so many relevant details that pretty soon it becomes way too vague and uninteresting. So there.

Jessi said...

Hey Julie,
Not sure if my recent question in the comments section prompted this post (it was probably the straw that broke the camel's back), but thanks for answering my question, as well as many others!
- Jessi

marathonP said...

Julie,

I'm training for the Catalina Island 50 miler in California, moving up from 30 marathons. I was afraid to try this, and my wife said she wouldn't support it. After reading your blog, I'm not afraid to try. You've even convinced my wife to support.

You are the best Julie. Your information inspires, but your honesty absolutely activates people. You could easily turn your blog into a best selling book...but that's not why you write, I know.

I love you writing Julie. You are a gifted writer, and as a person, you are pure inspiration.

phil

mg said...

Julie, I love your blog and find you really inspiring (even more so after reading your backstory). Someday I'd love to run as much/as far as you do.

I enjoy reading about your running with Topaz; I have an 8 month old border collie that will eventually be my running partner. How old was Topaz when you started running together? How did you get him started? My vet has been a little useless with advice relevant to border collies, so if you had any tips or advice it would be greatly appreciated.

Cynthia said...

Julie, you do absolutely amazingly rock! It's been a while since I've been on your blog. Last time I was on here I just thought, wow, she is so far along with her fitness, I can't to relate to the excitement of running so many miles. But hearing your story, start to current, is SO inspiring!

Thank you for sharing, and keep up the great progress!

Lora said...

Gosh--I soooo loved reading your history..thank you so much for sharing!!
I've wanted to move up to a 5oK this year but have put it on hold til next year so I could get stronger...now I'm having second thoughts after reading this! OY! So hard to know when to move up!!!

'Zilla said...

Oh my goodness. This is my first time to your site to really read, and I found this post... What a great way to learn more about you, Julie! You have an amazing story, and I'm so glad you chose to share it (even gladder now that you're in the collective!).

All the best to you this weekend. I also have my longest run tomorrow (but MUCH shorter than yours!), so I'll think of you when I'm running. :-)