Thank you Ashley for giving me an opportunity to share any insight on our journey, and what I can contribute will hopefully help not only us, but many of your readers out there.
Have you ever almost won a contest? Almost had that first kiss from the high school prom king? Almost made the team? Almost won the position in your sorority that you thought was yours? Almost been offered that amazing dream job or promotion? Almost thought you found lifelong friends? Almost thought you found the person of your dreams? Well, If you answered yes to any of these example questions, you certainly are not the first, and you won’t be the last. I too, have had many almost’s in life. The reason I point these out, is because the challenges I choose to discuss below are something that I am not going to “almost” accomplish. It’s something that I have my head and heart set on and WILL accomplish. Great accomplishments and let downs have been something that most people including myself have faced for much of their life not this time.
My name is Julie, and I have known Ashley for many years, as we were both in the same major in Communications at Northern Arizona University, and both involved in Greek Life as Ashley is in Tri Delta and I am Alpha Omicron Pi. After college, I moved to Washington DC, where I resided for almost 6 years. In that time, I kept in contact with a lot of people when I was there, and would see them often when I came to visit Arizona. After moving back, it gave me a chance reconnect with many people and create even greater relationships.
|A few photos with Ashley!
The two things that I am going to write about today, as an introductory to myself, are very important to me, and anytime I think of giving up, I think about those who cant fight for themselves and it keeps me going.
Two years ago I turned 27 in May. As I sat and thought about how I wanted to celebrate, I wanted to do something different. I have always been active in sports and fitness; however, I wanted to challenge myself as I emerged into my “Late twenties.” Running started to become very popular, especially living in the DC Metro area, and after knowing a few heavy girls twice my size, who had finished not only a half marathon, but a full marathon, I thought this would be a perfect challenge for me. With the right training there was no reason I couldn’t do it. On May 15, 2011 (My actually birthday) I took a challenge with a couple friends of mine to run my first half marathon in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but felt a rush of emotions after I completed it, because I knew that this was something people only talk about doing, and was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment I’ve ever felt.
Rebecca and I post finishing the race
I then got the itch to run more races. It was not till the late fall, that I decided I was going to challenge myself with more races. A past boss of mine, decided they were going to run a 5K each weekend for an entire year, and raise money for the American Cancer Society. This got me thinking about what I could do to make a difference. My ideas concluded me with this:
|My dad and I many many moons ago!
It will be 8 years ago this September, which I lost my dad to Lung Cancer. It has truly been the hardest thing my mom, brother and I have ever gone through, and still deal with it today, as any person does when losing someone close to them. I decided to coordinate a fundraiser with running, but tailor it to fit me. Anyone who knows me knows I do not have time to run a 5K every weekend and travel for all of them. I have way to busy of a schedule and working in sports would not allow me to do so. So I came up with the idea, to run a race each month, and finish at the end of the year with a full… yes full marathon. (That was quite scary to put on paper!) I also had a large number of weddings and still do, so this was a perfect excuse to run in the cities of the weddings, or travel around to states I wanted to run in.
So I was off to the planning. This was really going to happen. I built a donations website and after a long process, I decided I wanted to incorporate my Dad’s name which was Phil, and show my future accomplishments as well. Hence, I came up with fulPHIL 2012. I was determined to fulfill these races and goals. I chose to have the money go to the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, as it is ran by Mark Neidig, who him and his wife Debbie I consider my 2nd parents. I had researched a lot on the Kanzius Foundation, and feel as though that money is going to do great things there and really find a cure for cancer.
With Mark and Debbie, Florida January 2012
My “rules” were I could run any race I wanted in whatever city, half marathon, 5K, 10K etc. and I would document it along the way finishing with a full. Below are a few photos from my adventures. I decided my goal would be $7947. July 9, 1947 was my dad’s birthday. So after a full year of runs, support from friends, family and complete strangers, people running with me, and finishing a full marathon, my challenge was not over. I wanted to keep going, keep training. I was not at my complete dollar goal yet either, as some people donated directly to the website and not my donations page. So I have chosen to continue this through 2013 (maybe even next year too!) I have done more local races in Phoenix, but still venture out every so often to a different city. This has been an amazing experience so far, celebrating not only my Dad, but others who have lost their battles with cancer or another horrible disease, or those who have fought and won their battles. Each month I dedicate a race to someone different. It doesn’t have to be someone I know, so if you have someone I would love to hear about it and dedicate a race. This has been something I am excited to experience with Ashley soon, as she will take the challenge hopefully soon to run a half with me! Not letting the word almost get in the way. If I can do it, ANYONE can!!
To learn more about my fundraiser or to donate
Throughout all the running and support I have gained, and finishing what will be my 9th Half Marathon in Erie, PA this coming weekend, I can’t express how much it means to me to have all the support I do. Especially one person that has been there to talk me out of quitting, ran some amazingly fun and challenging races with me, and has stood by me as my Running Partner. Her name is Kristin Braley, and I can’t even put into words what her friendship and encouragement means to me. The one thing I am guilty of is making excuses at the races. While I do have a lot of ankle issues, I always think I am going to do worse than I do. Yes, Kristin is faster than me about 15-20 minutes, however, she is always there to cheer me on at the finish line. My next goal is to beat her or stay at her pace for a race! However, its about finishing not being #1. I have learned so much from her, and we have had such a bond, but especially with running, and I look so forward to future races. Its something we can continue a healthy life style together, and encourage one another to go those extra steps. For that I am truly grateful that I have her as such an inspirational friend, and my RP.
|Kristin and Julie at some great races!
The other challenge I have taken on for a healthy life style, is becoming a member last year, of Body By Vi shakes. I am the worst when it comes to diet pill, diet meals etc. They just do not work, taste horrible and you end up starving. I heard about this from a childhood friend, and began the challenge with one of my best friends who was getting married. I started off and was not doing it right. You have to eat and snack is what I learned!! But once I started again in the late spring, I have been on the path to lose weight and gain muscle with the Vi Shakes. My friend Carly has done asbsolutely amazing,losing over 60 pounds, and the support from fellow Vi team members, some I don’t even know has been absolutely phenomenal. I feel better, have more energy, want to challenge myself even more in the gym, and have started to notice a difference. It is truly the one thing I can stand tall and say that works and will not make you starve. They also taste amazing too, and with over 300 recipes why wouldn’t it. As a promoter now for the company, its something that you can make money, and lose weight? Seems fixed right? Nope!! Not at all. In fact with enough challengers on board, you can even drive a new BMW. Its taking over the world, and I am so excited to be a part of it!!
If you are thinking about losing weight or even living a little healthier, I challenge you to watch the video on my site, and take the challenge with me. Its one of the best feelings in the world to have found something that works, and I love that my friends and I can share shake or baking ideas with each other, and motivate one another no matter what state were in! What is the wrost that can happen if you try? You too are bringing sexy back, losing weight and become successful? Or you hate it and get a full refund! You cant lose!!
So there you have it, a few challenges I have set for myself, along with the one with Ashley that I am so excited to continue to work towards. It’s been so fun thus far, and I have thrown in Circuit and boxing training as well, which has helped tremendously! I will be updating once a month or so with Ashley, to show where I am, results coming and hopefully a new Lu Lu Lemon outfit!! Never give up, and challenge yourself. It’s the only way to succeed!
Make an Almost a Definite!