This is a text written by Julia who will run Stockholm Marathon 3 of June 2023 as elite runner for Sweden Championships!
"Marathon. I did my first one in 2010. I don't know why I came up with the idea back then, but surely it was the distance that attracted me. To just manage to run the distance of 42195 meters. Running in this way was relatively new to me, I had jogged as a form of exercise and practiced some athletics as a child. I remember being terribly nervous about what I had embarked on and I had no idea if I could do it. Can everyone really do a marathon? Could I? I followed a training program on maraton.se to complete it in 4 hours. Had bought the best shoes. A cool cap. Read about carbohydrate loading...
Once at the race, I managed it in 3:58 and I remembered how damn painful the race was and how stiff and destroyed I was at the finish line. But also so proud and happy and somewhere there my love for running and for running long distances was born. I think it is precisely the simplicity that you can run anywhere at any time, how fun it is to train according to a running program and what a damn party a marathon or other running competition is that makes me stuck.
Now it has been 13 years, I have run over 15 marathons and will finally run the SM (Sweden Championships) in marathon June 3. Just to run the SM is a dream come true and something I have trained for and wanted so much for several years. That dream was born a few years later after my first marathon.
I had continued running and started running with a club, got a coach and trained for better times. I probably didn't have any talent but I thought it was so much fun and I have always been a person who is driven by setting goals, following a plan and performing.
That's my passion. Setting clear goals is important to me and the Swedish Championship with qualifying times is very specific.
- But the Swedish Championships in long distance? Why that, why should it be so important? It's not like you're going to be elite or make it to the Olympics...? You are old. Haha, I understand that. But setting a specific goal that is challenging but still realistic has been exactly what I wanted and needed. What made me train the way I did.
It may seem like I'm just chasing times, but running is so much more to me. It is a part of my identity, something that is just "mine", it is my valve and also where I find strength for life. During all the 13 years that I've been running, a lot has happened in my life; divorced, married, trying to get pregnant, a pregnancy, running my own business, being burned out and doing and going through a lot of other things but running has always been there.
Life comes in between, but running gets to be there but in an adapted form. Like a really good friend that you can trust. For me, the journey towards the goal is as important as the goal itself and when I think back over the years, it is precisely the journey towards the goal that I have enjoyed the most.
Since I like to perform, I also like to compete and challenge myself. I may never really be satisfied and push myself forward all the time. But I am also a very good loser, which I think can be good because it means that I may not always take everything so super seriously, but on the other hand, it may mean that I may not push myself to the limit when it is needed. Which is not really consistent with the fact that I like to compete ...
The latest season was tough, I had trained in a structured way and got everything around with recovery, sleep but still thought I did not develop as I wanted. I thought I had come further and was very disappointed with how it went. When you think you are where you should be and are surprised that you are not there. I ran many races including 3 marathons and made good times but I was not where I thought I would be. The disappointment was like a slap in the face for my motivation and I wrote to my coach that I was giving up running. But she had not given up on me and convinced me that marathons take time and not to give up.
"It's against the wind that plane take off" and you learn a lot in adversity, but when you're in it, it's really hard. I think a year later that the disappointment made me run even worse.
I did not believe in myself and had difficulty finding my why. Fortunately, I listened to my coach and continued and now I am here. In the best shape of my own life.
Now it's race week and I'm preparing by resting properly, not doing a lot of things. I have already practiced how to eat, what shoes to wear and I know how to recharge. I am ready. You have to be humble before a marathon, a lot can happen but I am as charged and prepared as I can be. There are so crazy good girls running and I am so inspired by them all! No matter how it goes, I am so happy where I have gone and I will try to enjoy and be happy while trying to run the best I have"