By Julie Uychiat, Clinical Market Lead – Arizona
Discovering running at a much later stage in life has been the greatest gift life has given me. It came at a perfect time when I needed a lift, to be reminded of my life’s purpose and overcome my self-imposed limitations. Running has given me everything … my renewed self-love, my self-confidence, my fearlessness, my grateful attitude and my purpose. It has inspired my new direction and outlook. It has taught me to push forward when things get difficult. In return, I am giving it my heart.
I come from zero running background. I hated running. In late 2015, my sister started running with my best friend. I remember asking her how she is able to run when I can’t even run from my house to the next stop sign without getting short of breath. She told me to just slow down my pace and keep going … further saying, “You won’t die.” Her words stuck with me as I attempted to give running one more shot that afternoon. I ran my very first 2.5 miles that day and remembered how incredible that feeling was. It gave me the confidence to join our Bandera Ragnar team in 2016, but I still wasn’t serious about running at that point.
In March 2017, I ran my first individual race, which was a half marathon with my sister. We decided to follow the 2:30 pacer. I wasn’t serious about it at first, conversing with her while running, answering texts during the race until around mile 8-9 when I saw how serious and competitive other runners were and thought to myself that maybe I should take it more seriously, too. I started giving it my best and got ahead of the 2:15 pacer to the finish. This race gave me a glimpse of the possibilities, although a full marathon was still out of the picture at that time.
In May 2017, two months after that race, I was at the Service Center for a meeting. There were about seven or eight of us in the conference room. Jess Dalton had his laptop open and told me that he wouldn’t be starting the meeting until I signed up for the St. George Marathon with him that October. I quickly refused and told him to give me at least a year, but he insisted. I made a deal and told him that if there was another person in the room who would sign up with us, then I would commit to doing it. The first person I asked was Rebecca Higbee, whom to my surprise said yes without hesitation. I didn’t know then that she was a runner, so I was committed.
Marathon training presented opportunities to discover the deepest parts of me at age 44. I didn’t know I had the discipline, passion and commitment to endure the hard work in spite of my very hectic work schedule and weekly travel commitments.
I Boston-qualified my first race that year, and that opened things up to a whole new exciting world for me. I am currently chasing the 6 Major Marathons in the world and since 2018 have completed four of six (Berlin, Chicago, Boston and New York). From these races, I have earned a respectable world ranking and received an invite to run the Wanda Age Group World Championships inaugural race in London this April. This is where I will be competing against 84 other top world runners in my age group.
I recently surprised myself when I ran my best race at the Phoenix Marathon on Feb. 8. I got very emotional when I crossed the finish and saw my time, 3:19:30. It exceeded our expectations (coach and I), and my heart was full once again.
I believe in Hal Elrod’s Miracle Equation:
Unwavering Faith + Extraordinary Effort = Miracles.
My marathon journey is a true testament to this. In fact, this equation applies to every other area in our lives. We just need to first believe that WE.ARE.LIMITLESS and put forth the effort to see the miracles happen.