I still can't really believe it; and when something seems too good to be true, then it usually is. These are the thoughts that keep running through my head.
It all began at McNaughton 100 Mile Trail Run this past April. I had JUST finished the race; I, John, Scott and Alicia were hugging, Scott and I were hobbling to the picnic table when this gentleman came up to me. I was trying to sit down, very sore and slowly at the table.
"Do you run for Team Montrail?" I looked at him incredulously, who me? I was thinking he must be making fun of me. Are you like crazy? "Ahh, no" I told him. He pointed at my Montrail hat and my Montrail Vitesse shoes and said "I'm sorry..I just figured you probably ran for them as you are wearing there shoes and hat". I was shocked he would even ask such a question of me. I was given the hat at a race and the shoes..we'll, it was my first long run in them. I wantt o say: look at me, I'm a fat slow chick; the negative thoughts were rampant within my head.
"Would you be interested in racing for Inov-8?" "WHAT? ME" "Well, yes, you; I was just speaking with Andy, he told me you won the woman's division last year at this race and took two hours off your time this year, the competition is tougher and you placed 3rd, he's impressed with you, he tells me you are one tough gal". "Oh. Wow. I'm sorry, my brain isn't working. I'd love to race for Inov-8, it'd be awesome, a dream come true..are you sure?" He gave me his business card, which I handed over to John, as I could not even think about it, this was too much, crazy, and he told me to give him a call once I had my brain back and was well rested. He then asked me what my next big race was. FANS 24 Hour Run, I told him. He told me he'd see me there. Wow.
A few weeks went past, I was thinking about it, but was afraid to call. It might have all been a dream, you know. This kind of thing doesn't happen to me. This was unreal. Well, eventually I called him. We had a lengthy discussion, meetings, and email correspondence. I still couldn't believe it and figured if it seemed too good to be true that it probably was. I didn't share this with anyone. John had heard him discuss the opportunity with me at McNaughton but I hadn't spoke about in since. I felt like I would be bragging if I mentioned it.
Well, time passed and pretty soon I was at FANS. I saw the rep there, he asked me "Why are you still wearing that Montrail hat?" "It isn't a done deal yet, I'm still waiting to hear the final yes". He apologized for the length of time that passed and assured me that I would be hearing from Inov-8 soon. I still wasn't so sure.
After my performance at FANS I heard pretty quickly. Then again after Afton I heard from Inov-8 again and yesterday everything was finalized. I will, indeed, be racing for the Inov-8 team. What a rush, it's unbelievable. It may not be a big deal for many, but for me, it really is. I love it.
You know, while I was running FANS I told a friend that I was with about the Inov-8 sponsorship. He wasn't surprised, didn't think I was bragging, was just really nice about it, was very proud of me.
It's amazing to me, how peoples reaction to me has changed as I've become a stronger runner. As I've become stronger I no longer tell people about my training or the workouts I put in. I'll post them here, because this is a personal place for me, and if a person doesn't want to hear about myself they don't have to read this blog. If they are interested, fine, this is where it is. I've noticed that some people give me an eye roll when we are discussing races, etc. Like "oh christ, here she goes again.." I never had that response as a back of the packer, barely making the cut off's during the race. I can see the way everything is changing.
At FANS I was ecstatic. I was strong, I was having a blast and almost everyone was sharing that with me. My friends were cheering, they were proud of me and pushing me on. All except a few friends, whom I thought I was really close to. They were very negative, and even scolded me for being so happy. I was very hurt, and obviously still am, or I wouldn't be thinking about it. These are the people that will scold me about being excited about the opportunity with Inov-8. I won't tell them. They'll read it here. I ran away from them at FANS and thought to myself "Wow, how negative. Remember not to show your real feelings of joy and strength in running to them again, they don't like it; they prefer when you are struggling. That's how they know you, they don't like the change".
After FANS, my friend that I told about Inov-8 at FANS, called me and said "Don't you sign any contract with Inov-8, Julie, people will be calling you, you leave your options open!" I laughed at him. But he was right. The phone began to ring. I have been invited to run at different 24 and 48 hour races around the country. It's amazing. I would have never ever ever imagined this could happen to me. I haven't verbalized this anyone, it is easier to write about, here, to share with Olga and Sheila!
Remember, when I first began to run ultras 4 years ago, I was 30 pounds heavier and a whole lot slower. I crashed at my first 50K and the second was tough. At my first 50 miler at Ice Age I barely made the cut off-finished with 2 minutes to spare! My second 50 miler at Voyageur I DIDN'T make the cut off's. The RD's held the course open for me and my friend, Marie, to finish. It took us just over 14 hours when the race was finished at 13! I've been dead last more than once.
When I first began moving from the back of the pack to the middle, two running friends joked with me "Julie, someday we're going to see you wearing a sponsored shirt. You'll be wearing Montrail or Adidas" I laughed and told them they were crazy.
You can't fake training; sure, you can have bad races, bad days when everything is off, but most of the time, that training will come through. That's why I love ultra running so much. You can't fake it. It is what it is. You get out what you put in. You can't say you run more miles than you do, it'll show. It'll bite you. There is no lieing in ultra running. It's honest. It's joyful. I don't think I've run a mile without a smile on my face; there is no grimace. It's pure honest joy.
I have a hard time keeping secrets, I grew up in a home of alcoholics, I'm an alcoholic. I've kept too many secrets. As a sober, healthy adult; I'm wide open. No secrets. It's all here. That makes some of my friend nervous. They are secretive with their running and their races; and that's OK, I'm just not. I'm wide open. I'm tired of secrets.
It's amazing to me that this fat chick, the one who had a hell of a time quitting her Special Export and Marlboro habit is out there running the trails. And getting stronger every day.