Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sponsorship!

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.

Cheers!

20 comments:

cheri s said...

I think it's awesome that you have been offered sponsorship by a team.
You are truly amazing.
The people who shame you for being excited, and joyous about your running, I would imagine are just jealous. You have acomplished so many of the goals you have set for yourself, to not be proud of that would be insane. I would be bragging to everyone who would listen. You are an inspiration. I will see you tomorrow at Afton.

ddd said...

Congratulations! Julie, you are such an inspiration to me too. I randomly found you on blogger and have kept up with your journals. I can't tell you how much I relate to you...keeping running and kicking ass!

Avery said...

Whoops that's my old blogger that's cancelled. You can find me here.

Cathy said...

Oh Julie. Congratulations!!!!

It interesting in friendship. There are some (the keepers) who will stand by you through both the ups and the downs. And some, who for some reason, fade away when you become happy, successful, & strong. I'm sad for you to experience this and glad that you have found the real ones.

Best to you & congrats again.

Sarah said...

Congratulations! What an inspiration you are! I'm sorry about your friends that aren't truly friends. Please keep blogging because I love reading about your accomplishments!

olga said...

Yee-haa, yaa-hoo, and all those words to you, Jul!!! You ABSOLUTELY, TOTALY deserve any sponsorship you want!
I hear your every word about friends (some, very few) though...But - there are so many more who are very proud for you and very happy for you! And me:) And you know, any team needs people who might be not making any world records, but are tough, open, positive, smiley, and mostly - inspirational. You ARE!
Cheers to you, Inov-8 girl, don't be shy, and pleaee, don't follow my stupid mistakes "oh, they won't like me if I don't race fantastic". Don't feel the pressure. Feel the LOVE.
BTW, just as you come visit my training, so do I:) to not feel alone out there. Wish we could meet:)
Julie, I am so very happy for you!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, that's fanTAStic!!! congratulations!

this post is so inspirational. i love ultrarunning, i love that it's something to grow into. after only finishing 2 ultras, and coming in dead last at one of them, i only *dream* of getting good enough to be sponsored. this post shows that it's possible to learn, train and grow even more. you are awesome, and never forget that, even when people get negative!

Anonymous said...

Julie, I love reading your blog. I am a lurker, but I used to read about you when you were a member of LCL. I remember reading about you in the running threads when you were just starting out. Then you started BFL. You posted some amazing pictures of the changes in your body. I was in awe. Wasn't it you that said the football coach was asking you to come and help the boys with lifting and such? I thought that was great! Then, I lost touch with you, but recently found you again via Skwigg's blog. I love reading about your challenges and triumphs. Again, I am in awe of how your body has changed again doing the Leanness Lifestyle, and I'm amazed at all of your running accomplishments. You are a true inspiration, and I wanted to tell you congratulations on the sponsorship. Thank you for sharing it here, so that one day the rest of us might find ourselves in your shoes. Karrie :D

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You deserve this! I think its wonderful that a company has decided that you are awesome too although I don't know what the sponsership will entail. I am just a lurker that enjoys your style of writing but I wanted to come out tonight to say you should be proud and very happy.
You honesty is hopefully contagious. Yeah for you! Sue from southern CA

Lora said...

HOLY CRAP GIRL!!! A great big freakin CONGRATS!! You damn well deserve this!!

Don't you dare focus on those that can't appreciate your accomplishments.....all of us here in blogland watch you in awe!! You've never let us down!!

WOOHOO--you go girl!!!!

marathonP said...

Well, I have been a huge fan of yours for some time so its about time these guys with money jumped on board too!! :)

This is enough to make me buy Innov-8 for sure...their judgement is pretty darn good.

Julie, for me you are the most genuine champion. You are uniquely real, uniquely honest, uniquely open, uniquely humble, uniquely young at heart. You run because you love to run, and because you have to run. And you never back down. It is so beautiful.

You are extraordinary Julie, but its like you are a superhero whose strength is embracing their own weakness. You are so honest and embracing of your weaknesses in ways that most people are not, that you are herioc. This is your incredible power. Your blog tells the story of someone who has BECOME, starting with little steps from daily runs, to leaness lifestyle, to resistance training, to longer and longer runs, to speedwork, to more and more friends.

Congratulations Julie. You are a great runner, because you are a phenonmenal person.

phil

Brett said...

Wow! Great post and a huge congratulations to you. That's so awesome. You are truly an inspiration! Keep it up, Julie Berg!

miki said...

Wow Julie. Congratulations again and again. :D

Timber - the trail running lab. said...

Wow, your post just brought a tear to my eye....excellent.

Scott Dunlap said...

Welcome to the Inov-8 team! It's wonderful to have you on board.

If you like those Montrails, be sure to clock a few miles in the Roclite 315's. I felt like they were the closest.

And let me know if you're coming the Bay Area!

Congratulations,

Scott

Jessica Deline said...

Big Congrats on being sponsored!! It's great to see you blog about MN. I'm from there originally. I plan to run 130 miles of the Superior Trail one of these days...

robtherunner said...

Congratulations Julie. I have been following you since I started blogging and have been amazed, well not really amazed because that would imply that I didn't think you had it in you, but impressed with the huge improvements you have made in the past year. You blew me away with your mileage at FANS and I thought about how I stopped at 50 miles in my first attempt at 24 hours and how next year I hope to use you as my inspiration to keep moving and blow away the field. Just keep doing what you've been doing and I hope to meet you some day out on the trails.

Jen said...

Wow Julie, you are awesome! You have always been an inspiration to me and you will do any sponsorship proud. Run on!

jessie_tri_mn said...

Wow! I go on vacation and you go pro. Way to go Julie, you deserve this!

craig said...

Congratulations on all your success both racing and in your personal life. I enjoyed looking around your blog. Hope the positive direction of your life continues.