Friday, June 20, 2008

Living My Dream

Since I ran my first marathon I have had a yearning to show women who had a spark of interest in running, how to become a runner.

There was always something about a runners' lifestyle, their passion to the sport, their commitment to them self that I didn't quite understand..but that I wanted to emulate.

While I was drinking and spending most weekend mornings with a hangover, I would walk my Shetland Sheepdogs, Dusty and Breezy, to a little park in New Hope, near our home. There were two women that I would see running each morning. I would imagine them eating yogurt and bananas before their run, I would imagine they grilled chicken breasts and ate large salads, they drank their water, they didn't get drunk all of the time and they didn't smoke cigarettes. I would imagine they created friendships with other runners and lived what I considered to be a runners lifestyle.

I used to imagine me in that lifestyle. I didn't quite fit, but I did yearn for it. For the health, for honoring myself by doing something good for myself, for the sobriety and all around wellness, for the camaraderie of others that didn't include drinking, parties and bars. I imagined this, but didn't quite know how to put it into place.

Eventually I became sober, quit smoking and began to live a healthier life. Running was part of this life that kept me sober. I began to search for other runners, and found a group called The Minnesota Connectors. We found one another online, we were a group of women that were reading Oprah's Make the Connection and Tawni Gomes No More Excuses. Somehow I became the "Connector Rep" for Minnesota. I was the online cheerleader for these women to become runners. We would meet together, at one an other's homes, and would talk about racing. We would meet at 5K, 8K and 10K's. It was a blast. A few of us went on to run marathons. Jan and I ran Grandmas Marathon together; our first marathon. It was amazing and I will never forget Jan, because of it. Eventually our group fell apart, life became busy for many and many didn't find the passion for running that I did.

The spark to coach beginning woman runners has been with me since. I just didn't have the confidence, the experience to act on this dream.

I visualized what it would be like to be a marathoner, then an ultra runner; what the lifestyle would be like. What the training would involve, I read all that I can. I am passionate about running. I love to run.

When MDRA sent out an email to ask if I was interested in coaching a woman's group I was on the fence for a long time. Could I do this? I wasn't so sure. I'm so glad I silenced my fears of not being good enough and walked out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed coaching those women so very much. They were where I once was. Wanting to be a runner but not so sure how to become one. Wanting to be healthy, to honor oneself with commitment and following through, but not sure what to do. I would have loved to have had a group like this when I was first interested in running.

This week I began to coach women in my hometown. I have a group on Wednesday mornings and a group on Thursday evenings. It is fabulous. It is just what I had imagined it would be. We talk, we share what we are comfortable sharing with one another, we warm up, we walk, we run, we laugh, we smile, we break through our fears and out of our comfort zones. It's amazing. We're growing.

I'm living the dream that I held privately for so long.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, for sharing such an amazing moment in your life, I can't wait to see what you conquer next!

Thanks for sharing what you love wiht them and us. I wish gas wasn't $4 a gallon or I would be front and center at your group. I need a little (well,ok alot!) of you to rub off on me!

Every think of doing any on-line coaching?

Tarma said...

Julie
I've been reading you for years. I am always amazed at how far you have come; at how many internal obstacles you've overcome. It's so easy to forget that this was not how it started for you.
You are simply incredible.
Hope to meet you when you come to CO for Leadville.
Cathy

Grace said...

Just wanted to say how inspirational I find your blog... and although I'm aways away... reading how you train, and how you coach...has helped me get started in running too.

Thanks!

Sarah said...

That was a beautiful post! You continue to be an inspiration to me and many. Thank you. : )

Runner Brewer said...

JB,

Every time I meet someone in a race who says "Minnesota...... Oh, do you know Julie Berg?". I laugh.

I tell them what we love about her is this post. 10 years ago you were not a track star, nor were you in high school.

You did not have the "natural talent" if there is such a thing.

You got there through sheer tenacity. More than anybody else I know.

And the best part, you appreciate the finer elements of heavy metal.

Go rock on..... I mean run on.

Tom said...

Julie; What a great post, for the person that gives back to something they love, that is the greatest joy. You are living it.