Beat cancer, run Boston
No one would dispute that Julie is an amazing athlete; some would argue that she isn’t human. She began training for her first half marathon and midway through decided she should train for the full 26.2. She did that and qualified for Boston. First half, first full and a BQ. I thought that alone would make her the most remarkable runner in my circle but I was wrong.
This past September, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her course of treatment would be mastectomy, reconstruction and four chemotherapy treatments. She would be in the midst of chemo when she had planned to start training for her 3rd Boston Marathon. She chose to focus on healing and not on what she couldn’t do. In between chemo weeks, she continued to work out as much as her body would allow; mostly Pilates and cycling classes. She felt as though working out in between, helped her recovery after each round of chemo.
Twelve days after chemo, she started running and considering whether or not she could handle 26.2 Boston miles with less than 2 months to train. She asked me to put a schedule together and training began.
You have to understand a girl such as Julie. She is a fierce competitor. Deciding to train for Boston would only work if she could truly accept and embrace a slower, non competitive pace. We didn’t want to risk her health. Her husband had his concerns. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. I know her. I’ve started out a run with her where she says, “I’m just running easy tonight.” And then BAM Julie is gone girl. She just can’t help herself!
On the weekends, we gradually added longer runs and she was great. She ran slow, she stopped when we had planned even if she didn’t feel the need and she kept to the plan. In March, she did a half marathon and bandited 4 more miles at the All American Marathon, she gained the confidence that she could run Boston. #thanksTodd. We ran 18 the following week and 20 at Umstead State Park this past weekend. She is ready for Boston. It will be different from the others because she will focus less on the competition and more on being present in the most amazing race in the world. She will see this race with new eyes and embrace every mile like never before.
It has been an honor and an inspiration for me to run a few miles with this woman who has beaten her cancer with such grace and faith. I am in awe of her journey and sheer determination to beat cancer and run Boston. She earned her spot and she is going to take what is rightfully hers.