'...RUN often and RUN long but never outRUN the JOY of RUNning' ~ Julie Isphording
Hometown: Green Bay, WI
Where you live now, and number of years you’ve lived in current state:
I have lived in Kimberly, Wisconsin for the past 22 years in the same 115 year old house.
Family – kids, spouse/partner:
My husband, Phil, and I will have our 30th Anniversary this summer. We have 4 amazing daughters and 1 Son-in-law of which 3 daughters are National Guard and our Son in Law is full time Army. *Proud mama moment ;)
Occupation and how many years at job?
I have been a Stay-home mom since 1994, but worked part-time for 7 years at a local running speciality store. In 2011, I began a career in race directing with the Titletown Ultra Series that takes place every June. Since then, we have added a New Year's Eve event as well.
When and why did you start trail running?
I dabbled in trail running back in 2006 after my first half marathon, but tripped on every little nub and rock. My first real trail event was a 10 miler on some dirt bike trails. Compared to road running, I was slow and I tripped often but I laughed and chatted with everyone around me the entire time! AT the finish, you could not wipe the smile off my face. My 2nd event was the Ice Age 50K in 2013. After that I was completely hooked!
What distances and do you have a favorite trail race?
Since 2015, my favorite races are all on trails. 50 milers and 100 milers are the first races I add to my training schedule every year. Although I love the Ice Age 50 miler, my favorite race is the Kettle 100 Mile. If I could run any part of the Ice Age Trail on a daily basis, I would. It's about an hour drive for me to get to the northern Kettles in Greenbush, so I go there for long runs whenever possible.
What was your big race for 2018? Did you have any special challenges during that race? How did you get through it?
Funny story...well, it's much more amusing now. I had run Kettle 100M in 2015 and 2017 (the Mudtastic year) when I PRd in the mud. I trained really hard for Kettle 2018 and felt amazing at the start. Unfortunately at mile 15, just before Emma Carlin, I fell. It was quick and hard and immediately my wrist/arm hurt pretty bad. Friends and my crew helped tape my wrist and I proceeded to the next aid station. It throbbed, but within a mile of the prairie, I met 2 amazing ladies that ran with me and helped keep my mind off the pain. Every AS stop along the way, my crew and I discussed my arm and if I should continue. I joked that it may be broken, but it's going to hurt whether I go home or keep going. So rationally, I continued. ;)
For the record, I went to the doctor on Monday after finishing Kettle. The radius bone on my arm was fractured like a tree
I refused to stop at the 100k "Hundred miler going out!"and carefully worked through the rocky night trails. I was as surprised as anyone that I not only finished, but was only 10 minutes slower than my PR from the prior year! If you ask me now, I would say there's a fine line between badass and dumbass. You pick...LOL
What, for you, is the best part about volunteering at trail races?
My favorite job of volunteering, is directly helping the runners get through the Aid Stations quickly. I enjoy the personal contact with them to get them what they need while giving them an extra boost of encouragement, all within minutes. I'm always amazed to see how effortless the elite runners make it look but love how awesome the tough-as-nails, back-of-the-packers are!
What have you learned from trail running?
Anything can happen! When it does, the runner that does the best is the problem solver. I strive to have a smile on my face no matter what is happening.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into trail running or racing?
When you are on the trails for the first time, pretend that you are dancing around all the roots and rocks because there is no 'stride'. Your feet will find a rhythm.
Do you have any goal/big trail races in 2019?
January 1st will be a big day for me! I will be registering for my 4th Kettle 100M (hopefully another PR #nofalling) and entering the lottery for Cascade Crest 100M.