Profile of a Runner – Julie Jacob

Julie crossing the finishing line at the Tour de Pain Extreme Half Marathon with a smile on her face.
Julie crossing the finishing line at the Tour de Pain Extreme Half Marathon with a smile on her face.

Today we have the second profile in our new series highlighting active individuals. Julie had the great (mis)fortune to run with me in my first half marathon in March. Hopefully she enjoyed it as much as I did (you can read more about my experience in the post below). In addition to running, Julie recently completed her first Tough Mudder and will be participating in the BFAST Sprint Triathlon in May.

How did you get started in the world of running?

I actually didn’t start seriously running until fairly recently. In middle school and high school, I was on the swim team so running was very foreign to me. I signed up for my first 5k in 2008 on a whim and did another one in July that same year. I finished both of those races in about 37 minutes. The runners high didn’t hit me initially and I didn’t start running again until 2011. I started Crossfit in 2011 and signed up for another 5k after I had been training for about 6 months, with a goal of running a 5k in under 30 minutes. I met my goal and I was hooked!

What was your original motivation for taking it on?

I honestly don’t have a good answer for this one. I think it was a combination of boredom and I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

Is your motivation the same or has it evolved over the years?

It has definitely evolved! I never really had personal fitness goals prior to Crossfit or running, so it’s been exciting to see what I can push myself to do. My main motivation is just to live a healthy lifestyle and stay fit. I want to live life to the very fullest…as cliché as that sounds. I’m also very inspired by those around me during an event. I remember seeing firefighters running the Gate River Run in their full gear, and it really put everything in perspective for me.

What have been some of your best experiences in running/staying active?

There are seriously so many great experiences I’ve had from staying active.  Completing my first half marathon was huge for me. Never Quit was another great, but challenging experience. The weather was terrible, the waves were huge, and the rip current was so bad they canceled the swim portion of the event…I was absolutely terrified. Even my husband (a former surfer) was concerned and encouraged me not to go out there in such rough surf. As I went to enter the water for the paddling portion, I saw the people in front of me being pulled out of the water by the lifeguards and was convinced I wasn’t going to make it through the course. I had a flash back to the guest speaker that kicked off the event, Nick Vujicic and decided that if he could overcome the many obstacles in his life, then I could complete this course…and I did. I feel very fortunate to have the capability to do these events that others can’t do even if they wanted to, so I want to take full advantage of that.

What have been some of your worst?

My hip injury last fall really affected me more than I ever thought possible. Running has become an outlet for me, like many other runners, and something I ultimately have control over. If I had a bad day at work, or something else was going on in my personal life, I could always turn to running. To have that taken away from me was really hard and very emotional for me, but it taught me to be better about my recovery work, and to never take running for granted. I’ve enjoyed running even more since recovering from my injury.

What are your goals over the coming years?

I’m completing my first Sprint triathlon in May, but I think an Olympic distance tri is in my future and I hope to participate in the MS 150 this fall. I also have a goal to hit a sub 2-hour half marathon. Wish me luck!

Julie enjoying herself during the Gate River Run.
Julie enjoying herself during the Gate River Run.
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