My name is Julie. I am French Canadian. For my 42nd birthday, I had decided to get back at it. I had run two full marathons in the past with many halves, sometimes pushing the kid’s stroller working as a team with my babies, sometimes with friends or family member for fun.  
After having two kids and taking a break of 10 years of full marathons, I wanted to start running seriously again. What could be better that running 42km (26 miles) for my 42nd birthday?! I started the training in January 2017, ran Ottawa in May with the only goal of finishing the race alive. Once this was done, I was passionate about my sport again and decided to run Philadelphia.

This was the race of my life for many reasons.

I was at the top of my physical shape ever and I had set a time goal, but most importantly, it was my first run outside of Canada, and my first marathon all by myself, with no supporter. In November, I was tired of the heavy training season combined with the full-time job and the full-time mommy duty, but I was ready. I left the kids behind and flew to Philly excited and anxious about the experience I was going to live for myself, with myself. I arrived on Saturday and attended the expo, enjoying the vibe of the thousands of runners all reunited for this exciting event, like a celebration. I also attended the half marathon race cheering on the runners and inspiring myself for the next day run. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. It was special being there alone, nobody to share this experience with expect myself. In fact, this is why I like this sport, I do it alone, nobody I have to rely on, count on or negotiate with. I push myself to those limits I think I could never reach but I do, I go deep in my soul to find courage and endurance.

The day of the race, I had a lot to think about. It was a cold and rainy morning, I was dealing with the logistics by myself before the race, leaving me with less time to get physically and mentally ready at the start line. I started the first half exactly the way I wanted, I passed the half mark sub two hours and was on track for my time goal. When I reached 15 miles I started to hurt. I was hungry but felt sick, couldn’t eat or drink, tired and in so much pain. I didn’t bring my extra mile crew with me. I was missing them big time. I had to slow down. My head was starting to mess with me too. At 19 miles I hit the wall. I couldn’t do it anymore. My legs were stiff and heavy. It was a war in my head. Stop right there or go through the pain and struggle? I couldn’t do it anymore, but had to. I had come that far, my eyes were on that 2017 finisher jacket I’ve seen the day before and the medal. Quitting wasn’t an option. The last miles felt like a lifetime, but I crossed the finish line and completed my 4th marathon that day.

This shot was taken at that very moment of weakness and strength. You are strong and so vulnerable at the same time.

Be inspired. Let the miles change you. Run.


Susan Sidoriak