52 Races for 52 Faces- The last race! Marathon Goddess blog

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Congratulations to all who ran the Los Angeles marathon presented by ASICS.  I seriously feel like we ran the last marathon on the planet.  For a little while anyways. With every week for the last year being a race week, I went from full throttle to nothing.  I seriously got in every race I could before the world shut down, and can I say… just in time.  I never would have finished my 52 races, it’s hardly the most important thing right now, it just feels so strange to go from an epic year of racing to ZERO!! Anyways…. a look back on one of the happiest marathons of my life. I was thrilled to hire Nadia Ruiz to start coaching me to have a PR at LA.  As my 52 races went on, week after week, I started to get faster and stronger.  Yet, towards the end, the weekly races, the social media, the exhaustion of working a full time job and writing a new book started to take a toll. Nadia knew it and was very mindful of that. Being on Team NEWSTRONG with ASICS for an International Women’s Day campaign was a dream. Even though I was exhausted, I stayed strong, because this wasn’t about me, this was about the people I was running for. My favorite quote from Nadia when Carrie Tollefson asked us what does being strong mean to you?  Nadia responded, “Being strong means knowing it’s ok to be weak.”  It couldn’t be more true in this current situation.  Nadia also called it in regards to COVID-19.  She knew a shut down could happen any minute, and here we are. Anyways, we headed into race week, I started to struggle with sleep issues.  When you’re almost 50, that really affects you.  I used to pull all nighters at 28, take a shower, go to work and look great.  NOT ANYMORE.  LOL I can barely function, but I do. Nadia is able to push through adversity like I’ve never seen, which is why I hired her.  She ran a 3:17!!! I can push through adversity too, just not as fast and that’s ok.  I did my best and that’s all she wanted.  I didn’t give in to just having a fun race, I realized that the speed wasn’t there, 2 days of expos with no sleep before a race is not the best way to taper. I started off my race HAPPY, I slept almost 6 hours on Saturday night which is unheard of for me. The last 2 LA Marathons, I ran on zero sleep, so this was a dream. The shout out from Team Noisy at the start was epic.  I lost an air pod at mile 8, went back and looked for it, couldn’t find it, (cost me about 5 min). However, in retrospect was the greatest thing ever, I could hear all my friends calling out my name. I was carrying too much stuff, with no place to put it, so the first 5 miles was tricky.  Juggling Cliff bars, extra air pods, 5-hour energy, and tampons with not enough space to carry was interesting. Lack of sleep caused me to be ill prepared for that.  Even with all this mishegas, I honestly was the happiest I’ve ever been in a marathon.  I was running strong and feeling good. I really couldn’t have run any faster, (maybe by 5 minutes if I pushed it?)   But I was good.  Smiling, elbow bumping and singing my way to the finish of race 52 in 52 weeks. Let’s talk about Mile 21 shall we?  As you turned the corner off of  Wilshire onto San Vicente, the Purple People Party awaited you put on by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer.  There were cheers, friends, music, balloons, not to mention 26 bikes set up by Cycle Bar as a fundraiser to cure pancreatic cancer.  It was a Tour de Pier pop up.  Someone even running the marathon jumped on a bike for a minute.  How epic is that?  When I arrived at that mile, the greeting I got was OVER THE TOP.  Even KTLA was there, we did an interview and then off I went.  Supercharged with the most energy I’ve ever felt at the end of a marathon, running the last 3 miles under a 10 min pace and feeling AMAZING was everything. I ran for: Survivor Peggy Eastham. Dedicated by his adoring friend Laurence Cohen- Strive to Survive ? For SURVIVOR Robert Sandstrom Dedicated in his honor by his beautiful wife and HTT runner Lisa Day Sandstrom. ? For Teri Hazzard Dedicated in her honor and memory by her beautiful daughter and HTT runner Erica Hazzard ? For Albert P. Ballog, Jr. dedicated in his honor and memory by his beautiful daughter and HTT runner Sarah Ballog Smith. ? For Patricia Ward dedicated in her honor and memory by her beautiful daughter and HTT runner Jeanne Sarmiento. With all the signs leading up to the race.  The number 52 kept popping up everywhere and finishing the race with a magical number, according to my experience app with a 4:44. Also, according to a random article on the internet (lol), can mean the angels are there to assist you in your life’s journey.  I see that number all the time and I truly believe it.  My time was later adjusted to a 4:43:59, but I am rounding up.  (Nothing is perfect) It may not have been a PR, but maybe it was. I really had no idea how the day was going to turn out.  Without giving in to just having a “fun” race, I still did my best. So why do I think it was personal record? Because I truly felt the happiest I’ve ever felt while running a marathon and for that I am so grateful.  Some of the weekly races got so hard that it started to steal my joy of running away and to end it on such a high note was EVERYTHING.  PR’s can come in many different ways.  It’s all about how you look at it. While these race cancellations and lockdowns really suck, they will keep us healthy and safe. Like Nadia said, it’s ok to be weak and breakdown, as long as you get back up.  I am personally struggling hard with not being able to see my family.  Let’s do the best we can.  There are a lot of things we can’t do right now and out of our control, but think of what we can. Go start that blog or vlog that you’ve always wanted to, write a book, screenplay or start cooking.  As of now, you can still go out and run… by yourself, and keep 6 feet away from anyone.  Stay positive, stay healthy, the glass is half full if you choose to look at life that way, so why not, it’s better than the alternative!  Let’s live to see another marathon!   What will I do next?  I am working on doing a weekly blog, or newsletter to keep you informed, inspired and entertained.  We Got This!  

AUTHOR

Julie