Meet Julia! One seriously beautiful and fast mama! We met in high school and have stayed connected via social media since. I've followed along as she's conquered marathons while raising a family, and she proves that superwomen do exist and they're exceptional awesome. She has qualified for the Boston Marathon next Monday, April 20, 2015, and she's going to show that Heartbreak Hill who's boss. I'm honored to have Julia kick off our FIT Spotlight series and share her running journey with us! Read about her goals and game plan for her most exciting race yet!
GO JULIA GO!
Name: Julia Vegas
Location: Austin, TX
Occupation: mom to a 3 & 4 year old + preschool teacher
Next Race: Boston Marathon - April 20, 2015
Runner, and hopefully soon I can add ultramarathoner to my resume ;)
I started running the day I didn't make the cheerleading team in high school, which was a blessing in disguise. I joined the high school cross country and track teams instead and was the slowest on the varsity team (my high school 5k PR was 20:08). We went on to win the State Championships in 2001 and 2002. My high school really had a passion for the sport and it rubbed off on me. I went on to Florida State University and ran cross country and track there, bettering my 5k PR to an 18:09. After undergrad, I used my last year of eligibility to run in graduate school at the University of Tampa in 2007. I quit running in 2008, moved to Texas in 2009, got married, and had two kids. Running took the back burner until July of 2013 when I decided to revisit what I once loved.
Ever since I was 15 years old, and my Coach had Alberto Salazar come visit us at cross country practice, I've had my heart set on running the Boston Marathon. He won the 1982 Boston Marathon, and I wanted to run that race that you had to qualify for. I hope to inspire others to run, just like my Coach and Alberto Salazar inspired me. It's exciting to know that a dream I've had for 14 years is less than one week away, but nerve wrecking at the same time.
I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't love a PR (3:10:23 at Chicago Marathon 2014), but I would be happy with a sub 3:15 considering the few setbacks I've had the past few months (runners knee, bronchitis two weeks ago, and a pulled hamstring) It's the Boston Marathon! I want to take the experience in but I'm going to run my heart out. It's my kids first family trip, and my 4 year old son already loves to run. I hope I can inspire him especially, and who knows, maybe someday we can run it together! This year is my first Boston, but I know I'll be back every year I qualify.
I'll be running until I go sub 3 hours in the marathon. Right now, I'm reading "Marathon Woman" by Kathrine Switzer, which is so fitting before running the Boston Marathon. It's amazing how she went from 4:20 in her first Boston to 2:51 and winning the 1975 Boston Marathon! After Boston, I'll be focusing on training for my first ultra, the Lighthouse 50k (31 miles) in Johnson City, Texas.
My training is pretty regimented. I run 6 days a week, usually before the sunrise, and try to average about 55-65 miles a week. A typical week looks like the following:
Monday: speed work of up to 11 miles and a second afternoon run
Wednesday: Tempo run up to 13 miles and a second afternoon run
Thursday: 7-8 miles
Friday: 7-8 miles
Saturday: long run 16-18 miles
Sunday: 7-8 miles.
I train by myself, although Austin has a ton of running groups, it's hard to join one because of my work schedule and my husband's work schedule and who would watch the kids. I've run this year round and it works to keep me in marathon shape year round (Boston will be my 7th marathon in 1.5 years).
Running is hard, and I've had many downs and I've had lots of ups. The downs are what make the ups so great. My very first marathon, San Antonio in November of 2013, it got up to 90 degrees. I ran my hardest and yet still missed qualifying for Boston by 35 seconds. I felt defeated. But I also knew I wasn't ready to give up, and that I needed a "BQ" by that following September. I registered for two more marathons two weeks apart as my fallback. I changed my mindset, and ended up running 3:21 at Austin Marathon, two months after San Antonio, and two weeks later bettered that with a 3:17 at Army Marathon. There are mornings I'd much rather be in bed, but I keep moving forward because the goals I have for myself require dedication. I've learned that you can't accomplish every goal you set forth at the time you want it. Obstacles are inevitable. But they are necessary. They make you incredibly tougher and more resilient. If you work hard, and more importantly believe, anything is possible.
Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, and Meb keflezighi. I've been lucky enough to meet Kara and Meb and they are so down to earth, humble and amazing athletes.
Of course Runners World is my go to, I also love Another Mother Runner podcast, and Janae's "Hungry Runner Girl". I can relate to the balance of motherhood and running, especially since I have a 3 year old girl and 4 year old boy that support me, but I always have to plan my runs around them (which is why I'm up at 5am most mornings to run).
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes