Life Enhancing Lessons from Sports
Oct. 29, 2021

S2 E12: “My Spirit Awoke” feat. Julie Weiss

S2 E12: “My Spirit Awoke” feat. Julie Weiss

Struggling Addict + 52 Marathons in 52 Weeks = “Marathon Goddess”


Former Addict + 52 marathons in 52 weeks = "The Marathon Goddess"

In the season 2 finale, John Moffet is joined by the Marathon Goddess, Julie Weiss.  Tune in to hear the story of how running helped Julie overcome deep depression and gave her a purpose after her father's sudden death from pancreatic cancer.  Julie channeled her grief into a commitment to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money and hope in the fight against pancreatic cancer. 

Transcript

INTRO:

Here we go. You know what time it is. It's another episode of SPORTS + LIFE + BALANCE.

Julie Weiss:

I was on antidepressants that I truly needed back then because I was very, very depressed. And when the doctors just kept prescribing more, you know up the dosage, they said, but in Hawaii, I decided after like my first or second run, I'm going to throw these away. I don't need them anymore. I felt alive just from that first run. And then I was like, every day on that vacation, I just started running a little bit further a little bit further, and I go into the ocean, and I'm like, Yes, I'm going to make a pact with myself that when I get back from Hawaii, I'm going to continue to run. I did just that when I got back to Santa Monica, my neighbor and I started taking our dogs out on the beach really, really early before the animal patrol.

JOHN MOFFET:

That's the origin story of our next guest, Julie Weiss. She's become known as the marathon goddess and to date, she has completed a whopping 110 marathons. I'm your host, John Moffat, and I'm so happy that you've joined us today for the season two finale of sports life balance. Growing up Julie wasn't an athlete at all. She was a rebel, a teen mother and estranged from her father. But within a year of those first steps in Hawaii, Julie successfully finished her first marathon. And her proud father was there witnessing Julie's transformation fueled by her newfound love of running, and together, they aspire to qualify for the holy grail of distance running the Boston Marathon. But before Julia achieved this dream, her father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and succumbed to the formidable disease just a few weeks later. From her grief rose a life changing idea to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. Julie's plan and endurance Odyssey to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Well, thank you for being here today. Julie,

Julie Weiss:

Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor.

JOHN MOFFET:

Well, I love your story. And you got to love serendipity in life, how things sometimes just happened last Saturday, I was swimming with my usual group out at Tower 26 in Santa Monica. And we had just finished a swim. And Charlotte, your neighbor, I was speaking with her and she was telling me all about you and that you should be on my podcast. And I remember your story. But now I'm so happy that Charlotte suggested it and put us together. And here you here you are a few days later. So big thanks for coming out and doing this.

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely. And thank you to Charlotte for introducing me to you, John. This is great. So I'm really happy to be here.

JOHN MOFFET:

So your memoir is called miles and trials of a marathon goddess. So why did you choose that title?

Julie Weiss:

Ah, that's actually a great question. And it's not as divine as it sounds, you know, that's great goddess, I actually saw the name, Marathon goddess on a shirt at an expo years and years ago. I was like, Oh, I love that name. Let me see if it's available. So actually, it was I trademarked it. And what the marathon goddess really means to me is, you know, it's not that I'm the marathon goddess, it's more being a god or goddess of whatever it is that you love to do. And I love running marathons. And so I called myself the marathon goddess, you could be a goddess or whatever it is that you love. If you love to swim, you know, whatever it is gardening, dancing, you know, just whatever you're passionate about. I decided that you can be a goddess or god of that, whatever that is.

JOHN MOFFET:

I love it. It's a great it's a great message and your accomplishments are quite inspiring. We'll get into those in a little bit but you weren't always such a driven human being what were you like as a kid growing up?

Julie Weiss:

I was lots that's the new term. I was a lot i i was very always driven to kind of get what I what I wanted, you know, whether it was good or bad. And when I was a kid, I sort of went off to the wrong path. I went with the bad guys and I got into the drugs and you know, I was just really kind of insecure looking for love in all the wrong places. I guess I could say and yeah, I had fell on some really hard times and in Fact, you know, probably hit rock bottom I would say with you know, being addicted to drugs and alcohol and men or whatever and our love. It's really Addicted to Love. It's what I was looking for searching for. And in, you know, I was about 2829 30 I was kind of that's when my I really oh my gosh, hit. Yeah. But I climbed out slowly. Yeah,

JOHN MOFFET:

yeah. And God you. You, sir. Yeah, you definitely did. You mentioned you mentioned love and your father was a big role in your life. But back then your relationship was quite strained.

Julie Weiss:

Yes, God bless my father, Maurice Weiss, larger than life personality. He drummer stockbroker actor. And, you know, he, he tried his best, but he didn't quite know how to show his love for me and my sister, you know, he, you know, growing up as a depression, Eric, you know, he just didn't. He himself had issues. But he tried his best to show love to me and my sister. But he didn't quite know, he didn't quite get it. His way of showing us love was taking us on vacations and things like that. But he didn't quite have the emotional support that we needed growing up so that I don't blame him. I just know, that's what happens for children when they don't get the love and support that they need. They start looking for love outside, you know, from other places, and sometimes not good places. Yeah. You know,

JOHN MOFFET:

yeah. And one of those was, you had your first baby as a teenager. Yeah, that's right. And that must have put tons of strain. strain on your relationship with your father as well.

Julie Weiss:

Oh, boy, did it ever. I was 17 when I got pregnant. And yeah, I mean, it was it was tough. You know, they wanted me to give them up for adoption and this and that. I'm like, I think I even hid the fact that I was pregnant for six months as long as I could. But once my son was born, I don't know what happened. It was like, everyone was so happy. He was so beautiful. And it brought like a lot of love back into our family over this little little boy, Frankie, my son, and it was, yeah, that was a beautiful thing. Yeah. When I was 18, and still a kid raising, raising kids. Yeah, not quite knowing what I'm doing. But I did get a lot of help from my parents as far as raising, okay, my son and my daughter as well.

JOHN MOFFET:

But you describe that you lived with instead of your parents you lived with the father's?

Julie Weiss:

Frank?

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, yes.

Julie Weiss:

Frank Senior,right.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, yeah. lived with his parents? And mean, it sounded like you ha quite a nice existence a d relationship with the

Julie Weiss:

You know, I love his family, Frank. Is is that my children's father, and he is, he is really fun. And he's from Mexico. And they have this wonderful family of love and support and food. And you know, and I felt welcome there. I really did. Yeah. And so I went sort of I drifted. I was drifting back and forth.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, in and you describe it, you describe it in the book is that there was some dysfunction there, between you and Frank? Oh, yeah. She's in the relationship. And it really is part of, you know, what led you to really kind of hitting rock bottom, wasn't it?

Julie Weiss:

Well, you could say that I went from the frying pan into the fire house with Frank and Frank was, you know, Frank is the father of my children. And, you know, our relationship was, was, I want our kids, you know, we're still children. And he was in and out of jail a lot. You know, I loved him, and I loved his family. I love the culture, you know. And it was very dedicated to making our relationship work and our marriage work, but he was in and out of jail so many times and I, you know, I then I met someone else that was just the fire

JOHN MOFFET:

the fire, that's the fire speaking. Yeah, yeah. So yeah. So, I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that you're, you're, you're getting depressed and dealing with medications and, and you had weight gain and you just felt terrible about yourself, right?

Julie Weiss:

I sadly I did. I was stuck. You know, I was As a single, young mom, raising our two kids, you know, and just really going through the motions of my daily life, not exercising very much very little, you know, eating bad food, and just going through the motions and not really making any progress. And in my life, I did the best I could, right. But it was tough.

JOHN MOFFET:

Right? Well, something, something happened in your life that really affected you positively. And it started with your father, you mentioned that he would take you on trips your father taking you and the rest of the family to Hawaii. Something happened, where that changed your life. Just describe that moment on the beach. you, I'm actually getting goosebumps. That's a beautiful thing. When my father decided t take us all to Hawaii, I t ought, okay, this is it, I'm g nna change my life. I'm going t do so I'm going to start r nning when I get there, you k ow, So you set out to do this even before?

Julie Weiss:

Well, I thought, you know, I had been to Hawaii before and island. But I thought, you know, I'm so depressed. And I'm just gonna try to run on the beach and see what you know, see what I can do. And, and I did that first day, I went running and I felt like a beached whale, sadly, you know, I was, you know, but the energy from the ocean and the sand and the air, something sort of awoke in me. As I was running. I felt like I had run 10 miles, it was probably one bag, maybe one or two. But when I got back, and my dad was there, like looking at, you know, hey, you know, good job, you know, finally hearing some support from my dad, and my mom was there. And I was like, Yeah, thanks. It's like collapsed on collapse. But I decided to try again the next day. And it was that trip that I, I was on antidepressants that I truly needed back then, because I was very, very depressed. And when the doctors just kept prescribing more, you know, up the dosage, they said, that's what that was their suggestion. But in Hawaii, I decided after like my first or second run, I'm going to throw these away, I don't need them anymore. I felt alive just from that first run. And then I was like, every day on that vacation, I just started running a little bit further a little bit further, and I go into the ocean, and I'm like, Yes, I'm going to make a pact with myself that when I get back from Hawaii, I'm going to continue to run. When I get back to Santa Monica, I'm going to run with my dog. And I, I did just that when I got back to Santa Monica, my neighbor and I started taking our dogs out on the beach really, really early before the animal patrol.

JOHN MOFFET:

So, so something just shifted in, in you. And something also shifted. You mentioned it briefly about your dad, something shifted between your relationship with him as well.

Julie Weiss:

Yeah, I am so grateful that I felt that support from my dad, you know, for the very first time and been a long time since he was proud of me. For starting to run and change my life. I knew something was missing deep down inside, you know, as I'm living this unhealthy lifestyle, I knew that I needed and I when I felt his support and him being proud of me i and believing in me, I started to believe in myself. And then I just sort of really loved running, you know, and I got back. And I just continued to run and and I guess you could say I got bit by the running bug, maybe?

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, I think yes, I can see that. But also there is I believe that there is a transformative nature to sports and athletics and it's it's also meditative in that. For me, one of the reasons I started swimming was that it it cooled the demons it put them aside for a while. And I was doing something that was just for me and it was inside my own head and there's just a magic to that.

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely. There's a huge shift a huge transformation when you start doing something for yourself something good for yourself and when you start believing in yourself. And for me it was Night and day. I mean, when I got back and I continued to run in those mornings, I felt alive again, like something in me It woke. Wow, it was like the goddess, you know, something, I just felt like, This is it. This is what I've been missing my, my whole life. You know, I ran a little bit as a little kid and I used to love running. And, you know, this is what I felt like, as you mentioned, you know, for our children, when I was a little kid, I felt like a little kid again. And my spirit awoke and and my girlfriend says, Why don't we do a travel and I was like, what is that? I did we we signed up for I believe is the 2007 la try. And without much training, I think I rented a bike. We did that triathlon and I, I fell in love with running running was my the the obviously the favorite three for me, but yeah, I did it.

JOHN MOFFET:

Well, at some point to you started aspiring to do marathons, how did that come about?

Julie Weiss:

That's a great question. And honestly, um, you know, when I did that first triathlon, my dad was there at the finish line. And he was so proud. And having him there, and having him be my number one fan now was this new relationship that I loved, that I hadn't had, ever, I mean, little bits of it, this was new, this was a transformation, not only in my body, but you know, with my dad, you know. And so, as I'm doing all this running and training, obviously, I started to lose weight. And I lost about 35 pounds or so in about two months. And after the triathlon, I was like, Well, I'm going to try for a half marathon. Did that in December of 2007. And I thought, okay, if I could do a half marathon, What's stopping me from doing a full a full marathon? And so I think I started training December 14 March race, don't do that. I finished that marathon, but I was unrecognizable. It was rough. My ex husband Frank, who is we talked about earlier, is my friend and he was there as well. And he didn't.

JOHN MOFFET:

Well, you probably learned a lot of lessons from that.

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely.

JOHN MOFFET:

But, as you say, the running bug bit you, you run another marathon and another and started to love it, didn't you? You weren't such a wreck after each one?

Julie Weiss:

No, I really, really did. I mean, a lot of a lot of people, a lot of newbies will run their first marathon and then say, Oh, I'm never gonna do that again, and then sign up for another marathon, you know, a week later, because you sort of feel like you want to redeem yourself a little bit, which is how I felt, but I also I loved it, I loved it, it was a challenge. But I really wanted to see if I could do better than my first marathon. So I signed up for another I did a lot better. And that's what I was like, Oh, I'm going to keep going. And I'm going to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Not really knowing how to train. Right, right, kind of being a little ignorant, not knowing that thinking, the more marathons you ran, the faster you're gonna get right. And I got to about, I don't know, marathon 16 or 17. This is all within a year or so two years. Yeah, I just, I really got. I was having fun. I was having fun thinking I could qualify for Boston. But when I wasn't getting any faster, I thought, Okay, it's time to hire a coach.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah. But, but doing those marathons is part of like, creating the new Julie Right?

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely. I mean, that's where the Marathon Goddess is, was born. Actually, when I finished that first triathlon, my arms raised up over my head, I just like automatically, I just thought that's what you do when you finished. I was just when I couldn't control them. And it was like, you know, feeling the sun feeling the joy of crossing that finish line. And so now I do that at every race. I've ever seen a picture of me normal, my arms are usually up in the air.

JOHN MOFFET:

I did notice that your eyes are up quite a bit. But why not? Why not after you make an accomplished limit like running a marathon? Throw your arms in the air in exultation. I mean what right?

Julie Weiss:

Yeah, absolutely!

JOHN MOFFET:

Seems natural to me.

Julie Weiss:

Victory pose, Goddess Pose, whatever you want to call it. I suggest that people do that.

JOHN MOFFET:

It's it's a, it's a sign to the world that you're happy.

Julie Weiss:

That's beautiful. That's right.

JOHN MOFFET:

Right?

Julie Weiss:

Yeah. More goosebumps. It's so true.

JOHN MOFFET:

So you mentioned real briefly you set your sights on on Boston Marathon, but you needed some coaching, right?

Julie Weiss:

Yes. And let me take you back a little bit, because it was my father who told me to join a running club, which is the Los Angeles Road Runners. What?

JOHN MOFFET:

So during your during this time, you were running with a group of people?

Julie Weiss:

Yeah, I was training a little bit with them. And it was my father who told me to check them out the Road Runners, and they're the official training group of the Los Angeles marathon. And I would always see this one guy there who was his pace leader coach that always had a group of people around him and I could never get to him because everybody wanted his knowledge and to talk to him. And I'm like, I need to talk to him. His name was David Levine. Okay. And so I finally got around to talking to him and asked if he would create a schedule for me to qualify for Boston. And he said, No. He was busy working on a book, the complete Idiot's Guide to marathon training. He wrote that he co wrote that book. Yeah. I was obviously determined to get him to create a schedule for me. So I showed up at the track one night, you know, a little flirting here and there.

JOHN MOFFET:

Doesn't hurt, right?

Julie Weiss:

Where there's a will, there's a way! And I finally got him to create a schedule for me. And I follow that thing. And lo and behold, I got to marathon. Yeah, within six months or so I had taken a good chunk of time off.

JOHN MOFFET:

Right, right.

Julie Weiss:

Not quite enough.

JOHN MOFFET:

So you talked about in your book that there is one, it was Long Beach marathon, I think, where you were really, you you thought you were going to be able to make the time cut, which is quite aggressive. By the way, it's very fast to make the time cut for Boston Marathon. And you just felt great. And you thought for sure you're gonna make it you're working with this new coach will happen.

Julie Weiss:

I was, I was on pace. I saw my coach at mile 20. David. I also saw Rob Dixon, who you may know who won the New York City Marathon and to 2000 something but they're both coaches. And I stopped to give rod a hug. I stopped to give David high. And I was like, I just missed it by two minutes. I don't know if it was the hugs. I don't know if it was going out too fast. But I think it was the hugs. I was I was you know, I was pretty disappointed. I you know, I ran I think it was a boy, I needed a 350 to 352 or something like that time. And I was disappointed. My dad said don't worry, it's okay. You're under four hours, you're gonna get it. He was always so proud of me, no matter what my marathon time was. However, I wasn't nearly as devastated as the news that I would get the very next day, when my mom called to tell me that my father had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, and there was nothing the doctors could do. Wow. And I said to him, don't worry, you're going to make it and I'm going to qualify for Boston and you're going to come and see me qualify. But sadly, my father passed away just 35 days after his diagnosis. And 10 days after that, I had my race in Sacramento. And anybody would have understood if I didn't run it, but I had to. I had to.

JOHN MOFFET:

Is it what, is it what he would have wanted you to do?

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely. He told me when he was sick, don't do anything different. Don't stop training. Keep going to work. Do everything you can the same. Right? You know, and I did everything I could to save him. Everything I diets and you know going into the hospital back and forth, and I would train and I would cry, you know, being running around Cheviot hills by his bedside, I'd come back and I cried. But you know, when I ran that race in Sacramento, December 5 2010. I knew he was with me. He had the best seat in the house. He was in my heart. He was the wind at my back. And it was one of those days where the stars just aligned and, and I qualified for Boston that day, three hours, 47 minutes, 19 seconds. And I knew we had done it together.

JOHN MOFFET:

Wow. Just yet, another illustration of how sports kind of somehow stitches together life in strange ways. It's like it's a beautiful story. Yeah,

Julie Weiss:

it's healing sports. There's there's definitely definite healing there. When you're doing sports, and you're doing something you love. And that energy that comes from from it, you know, it's not only heals you but other people that are watching you inspires so many people that you don't even know, you have no idea. Oh, for sure.

JOHN MOFFET:

I mean, think about all the people that you've inspired through the years with all of your endeavors.

Julie Weiss:

Thank you, you too.

JOHN MOFFET:

Well, I've now would like to just continue telling the stories of folks like you and and in with this podcast. And that's the whole point is, is there's these wonderful things that happen within sports that we carry with us through our lives. And those lessons are useful to others.

Julie Weiss:

Absolutely. I'm happy to have the opportunity to share it. The good and the bad, and

JOHN MOFFET:

all of it. Yeah, well, no one, no one said that aspiration in sports is going to be easy, and life does get in the way. But that's also one more lesson about how you get through and persevere. For your dad's memorial, after you I believe it was after you made the cut, or after you made the Boston cut, but you brought your coach David to meet the family. That was like, kind of something that was going on there.

Julie Weiss:

Yeah, David, um, such a great guy. I, I didn't really I didn't. I didn't know until I kissed him that night. And when I kissed him, I was like, oh, there's something there. And yeah, he just became first, my best friend. You know, and, and such a great coach, great friend, so supportive. And, you know, everybody loves David. And he just kind of makes you feel like, everything's gonna be okay. Yeah, he has that effect on people. And I think I clung on to that, you know, and never let go, because he really does have this calming effect on people. And so David is now actually the head coach of the LA Road Runners, believe it or not, and also my husband, but we can get into that.

JOHN MOFFET:

So there was something there, for sure. Yeah. Well, at some point to see, I believe, soon after your father's passing you, you quite understandably, were deeply motivated to do something about pancreatic cancer. What was it that you? What was it that you were trying to set out to do?

Julie Weiss:

Well, when I found out about the statistics of pancreatic cancer, I I knew I needed to do something. I you know, the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It was about a at the time, only about five years. 5% live after five years, something it's just terrible, you know, just terrible. And I thought, This is unacceptable. I don't want anyone to have to suffer like my dad did and not even have a fighting chance. Or you know, our family. I don't want other families to have to go through that. And so I had seen one person I on face do something crazy, like run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. And I was like, You know what? I can do that. I think I can do that. I was like David can I do? Actually woke up one morning, I'm like, I'm gonna do it really, you know, it was kind of like a half baked idea and the whole like, but then I was just so inspired and so on fire, like, Yes, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, we're raise a ton of money, I'm still trying to raise a million dollars where we're getting there. You know, and I don't know how I'm going to do it with a full time job. You know, my children were older, but I still was determined. I'm going to do this and nothing's gonna stop me. I know, it sounds crazy.

JOHN MOFFET:

Oh, of course. And that's why that's why I gained so much attention. But, you know, this is as you're, as you're saying, is basically an outrageously ambitious goal. I mean, just by any measure, and you made it even it was even more difficult because not only were you balancing a full time job, but you were you had to fly or eat like you would go and you would do a marathon and weekend like weekend warrior, but you came back and work the whole week. And then you do it again. How they pulled out a

Julie Weiss:

lot of coffee. No, I, I you know, it was It wasn't easy. I have to admit the first five marathons or so my body was in shock. But the traveling alone was probably more taxing. You know that all this back and forth and getting back to your job and leaving sometimes on a Friday. Traveling to another state during the marathon on a Sunday coming back. It was exhausting. It was taxing and I you know, I had my whole schedule picked out in like one night though. I went through and I chose all the down hill. No, I'm just kidding. No, I, you know, I did the best I could with my schedule. And I picked a lot in California. But I did hit about 22 states maybe. And in a couple of countries Canada and in Rome. Rome was where the first marathon was. marathoner de Roma, and the spirit of the marathon too. If you ever want to check that out is the movie that features the beautiful marathon and I was one of the seven featured runners in that movie. It's great movie spirit of the marathon to the second one. Yes, yes. And so when I was done, I was one down and 51 more to go. You know, and I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.

JOHN MOFFET:

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Julie Weiss:

I was one down and 51 more to go. You know, and I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, well, that's, that's life too, right? You go into these ambitions and then you're like, Whoa,

Julie Weiss:

yeah, it was. At first if you watch the movie, you can see how excited Oh my god, this is gonna be so awesome. You know, a lot, you know, a little bit sort of fantasy, you know. And this was this journey was also very, very transformative. I made transformational, the things. I learned the people I met the places Just what a journey.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, and it must have gotten really rough. But you know, by now you and David were obviously a couple, but he was also your coach and was able to help you out really on a daily basis, but also your community, you know, not only the running community, but the, the pancreatic cancer research community, the whole village was behind you.

Julie Weiss:

Yes, that's the that was the most beautiful part about the journey is the people that I met, and this village of, you know, almost like a family. When I got to marathon number five, I realized that these marathons were, you know, they were hard and all of that. But you know, I didn't want this to be about the marathons or me, this needed to be about the people that I was running for this, you know, so I was running for my dad, but I really wanted to meet people that were, you know, survivors and people who were battling or others who may or may have lost someone. And that's when I decided, that's when my journey really changed when I decided to det start dedicating each marathon to somebody affected by pancreatic cancer. And that took on a whole new meaning a whole new life. Now I was running for these people on these families. And some of them even came out to run with me. And it was the most beautiful experience, you know, the memories. Sadly, we lost some people along the way. But those memories and the hope that we raised and the awareness that we raised and the love and the joy that it brought to these families. That's what that's what it was about. And that's what kept me going. Yeah, when it got really, really tough.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah. Yeah, you had to run into some horrible roadblocks and self doubt in roller coasters of emotions. And

Julie Weiss:

oh, my goodness, yes, it was. It was a, I mean, some days, there was never I have to be honest, there was never a day that I said, I'm gonna quit. There was never a day that I said, I'm not going to do this. There was some times I felt like, Oh, my God, I can't get up, you know, but I did it. You know, it just moments, but there was never a time that like, I'm gonna quit sometimes I felt down. Yeah, like, nobody cares. You know, nobody, you know, I'm we're not raising enough money, you know, I would get down. But that's also hormones. You know, when you're depleting your hormone levels, like running a marathon every weekend, or sometimes two, three, depending on life. You know, I had to make some adjustments along the way. You know, but I was so determined to make this happen. Some people would say, you don't have to do all of them. I'm like, Oh, yes, I do. Yeah. Oh, yes, I do. This is this is for this is for the people. This is for these people I'm running for I'm, I'm going to finish this thing.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah, and that's yet another beautiful thing about anybody in life, who is who was able to achieve big things, things that a lot of people didn't think they could do, and maybe even including themselves is, is that the people that do that they get through those rough patches. They, their ambition is bigger than the obstacle. And, and it's just such a huge life's lesson to learn that if you want to achieve those things, that's what you have to do. And it's painful.

Julie Weiss:

It can be buried, yeah, it can be painful. But I think you've really got to believe it, you really got to believe that you can do it, is what it comes down to when I when I qualified for Boston, I believed that I could do it with all my heart and all my soul. When I decided to run these 52 marathons, I believed it, I visualized it, I knew in my heart that I was going to do it, you have to believe it, or it's not going to happen. And that's also what's gonna get you through those obstacles. You know, nothing is you know, Don't knock it down a little but you're gonna get back up and you're gonna keep going because, you know, in your heart and you believe that you can do it, and you will. But you have to believe.

JOHN MOFFET:

Beautifully said, you started saying we got this to people that you don't know, right? I mean, how did how did that come about? We got this.

Julie Weiss:

That's a great question. And I have an answer. Actually. It used to be I got this. Oh, yeah, it was it was like, Oh, I can do this yourself affirmation. Yeah, it was I got this. And when it I think it changed when I started running and dedicating these marathons to other people, because now it wasn't about me anymore. It was we. And that's where that came from. And I just, okay, pun intended, I ran with that. But it's so true. I mean, when you're, you know, when you go together, you you're so much more, it's so much more fun, and so much. It's fun.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah. Right. I mean, we keep ticking off all the magic things about sports and community, and your fellow competitors, or your fellow racers, or that's important. That's important in life as well, my family and friends and

Julie Weiss:

My husband's number one rule, who's the coach certified USA Triathlon Track and Field Level two, whatever coach, his number one rule is that you need to have fun. And his number two rule is that if you're not having fun, you need to go back, like if you're injured, whatever it is, you got to fix it, you got to heal, and come back to where you're having fun. That's his real number one, and he couldn't be more, right.

JOHN MOFFET:

I completely agree. That's for sure. So we got this. We do. Marathon number 52. The LA Marathon was a year, one day removed from the day you started in Rome. Tell me what that was like. Running that final marathon in your hometown in front of all your home peeps.

Julie Weiss:

That was that day, March 17 2013 was surreal. It was like it was surreal to have all my family there to have my Road Runner friends to have all my running friends to have my pancreatic cancer village there. And not to mention the amount of press that we got that day. I mean, I had CNN in the car with me, I had the today show running behind me. You know, it was the amount of money in the amount of awareness that we raised. It just kind of all culminated that day. And I've got more goosebumps as a hug. It's just it was it was surreal. And it was, you know, running down Hollywood Boulevard and singing and it was so much joy. There was so much joy. And you know, a lot of people were asking me, you know, what do you feel like as you're about to make that turn on the final stretch of your final 52nd marathon. I'm like, I couldn't even talk. I was like, I just couldn't believe it, you know? And it comes down to really the people that I met along the way in this journey, which one of them I picked up at mile 25 Who is my dear friend God bless her Lupe Romero de la Cruz. Three time pancreatic cancer survivor, a marathon runner. And I dedicated that race to her and some other people but I ran that last mile with her we ran it together and she had just completed her whipple surgery, which is where they remove your pancreas and they do all these things to your stomach. But she survived that, you know, and she had her metal on and we ran that last mile together. And it was it was unbelievable. It was just a such a beautiful moment to cross the finish line with her and and to run with her for her for my dad. And I had these two purple balloons that I was running with that day and I crossed the finish line I let one go for my dad. And I let another one go for all the people that are affected by pancreatic cancer and I said pancreatic cancer is my only competitor out there and we're going to beat it.

JOHN MOFFET:

How did this 52 marathons in 52 weeks change you?

Julie Weiss:

These marathons they transformed me in a way that made me feel like I was a different person from when I started to the end I I felt like I felt I don't know, I don't think powerful is the right word. But I felt like I made made a great dent in this dark. Like I was a light in the dark world of pancreatic cancer. I think that best explains it, you know, that I brought, I brought hope. And I brought light to this to this terrible disease and showed, I wanted to show people that you can be this you can survive. You can. If you donate, we can do this together. You know, so far today, we've raised over $700,000. And, you know, when I when I started running, it was a five year survival. Right? And, you know, now it's double the survival rate. So, you know, I feel like I had a part in that I obviously, I'm not a cancer researcher, I but I can run Yeah, you know, I can do my part. And I felt like, I think it's the quote by CS Lewis really sums it up, like you're never too old or too young to have a new goal or a new dream, because, you know, I started this journey in my 40s. And, you know, here I am still running at 51 about to run my 100 and 10th marathon, you know, you can really do whatever it is that you set your mind to, you really can and I think that's how it changed me. You know, it was first qualifying for Boston sort of showed me that but this was like a whole nother level. I level of greatness, you know, of hope, of love of instant inspiration in showing people what's possible, and that you can you have the ability to change your life at any age, do great things. We can all do our part.

JOHN MOFFET:

That's amazing. Yes, I agree. And agree and agree. You know, this these for an athlete these in these incredible highs that athletes, like yourself, and many others are able to achieve. There's a letdown afterwards. And it's hard. Oh, yeah. It's it's hard. So, you know, I think anybody is experienced that you know, something that you work toward your entire life, and then suddenly it's gone. There's a there's a void there.

Julie Weiss:

You know, there's this, they I think I coined I don't know if I coined it, but there's this post marathon depression, after you've finished one marathon or one big goal. You know, there's that letdown that it's universal. Yeah. Imagine 52 of them. No, I can't imagine when the cameras, the donations. The running, everything just stops. Yeah. And yeah, my first you, David, and I went through some struggles, for sure. And I, I think I went back on antidepressants for a little while, because I didn't know what to do. I was really lost, there was a period, it was about a year, it took me to sort of climb out of that. And I suggest to anyone get a new goal. That's all you have to get it get a new goal after you finish one. Yeah, doesn't have to be a big giant goal. But if I could make that suggestion, you know, pick something, you know, but for me, and this, this gigantic 50 to marathon gold took me about a year to really heal from that not just physically but mentally, emotionally. And David and I broke up, and then ended up getting back together. So you have to, you know, keep the hope alive. This too shall pass. So always when my grandmother said, so when you are going through those dark moments, just just remember that it will keep the hope alive. Hold on, stay in the light. And you're gonna make it you're going to come out and you don't know when it's just going to happen one day, you're gonna start, you know, slowly starting to feel better after a letdown of a big accomplishment like that. But, you know, my husband says to choose something, make another goal, another plan. And slowly but surely, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yeah, you'll get back into the light.

JOHN MOFFET:

And what was that? I mean you started running again. I mean, that sounds like you actually figured out a goal, something else that you wanted to do next.

Julie Weiss:

Well, I was gonna run another 52. And I was like, No, I'm not gonna do that. I've done that not do that. It's gonna try to qualify for Boston again, which I did attempt to do in 2015, and I didn't quite make it but David and I had gotten back together and he's like, am I gonna have to prepare has to again. I said, Well, if you do, can you do it at the LA Marathon finish line? Okay, and he did that. I didn't expect him to I didn't know he was gonna show up. There's a great story behind that.

JOHN MOFFET:

Let's hear it.

Julie Weiss:

Well, it's, it's he, he almost got, you know, he was riding with the ring. He didn't run the whole marathon, but he jumped in the race and wait, he had this pin. Yeah. On his pinky. And, and he almost got, you know, with the security at the finish line, you know, they weren't gonna let him in and they almost clobbered him. They let him in finally. And and he proposed to me at the finish line. So while I didn't reach my goal of qualifying for Boston, you know, it ended on a super sweet note. It was 90 degrees that day, though. So you know, I might have made it had it, but I got something better.

JOHN MOFFET:

Yeah. You know, a little hot to make your Boston Yeah. Perfect for a proposed

Julie Weiss:

Oh, it was beautiful. You can you can Google it. It's all there on Channel Five. Well see it.

JOHN MOFFET:

It's on video. Oh, I love it. I didn't get to see it. Check that out. You're still running, even through the pandemic. I can tell you swimming in the ocean is one of the Silver Linings that I had throughout that ordeal that we're all through. And later this year, I believe you will run your 100 and 10th marathon.

Julie Weiss:

That's right. The 2021 Los Angeles marathon will be my 110th marathon and I am running it with with my friends with the Road Runners, maybe even another person who you might want to bring onto your podcast. Her name is Jocelyn, the warrior who's about to break the Guinness Book of World Records for her being the youngest woman to run 100 marathons.

JOHN MOFFET:

Oh my gosh.

Julie Weiss:

She's 24.

JOHN MOFFET:

What?

Julie Weiss:

And so I am passing the torch. It's way easier what advice? Friends say? It's way easier to to pass the torch to them to run with it for 26.2. So but yeah, no, I'm gonna run with her on my 100 and 10th marathon. I've got a TED talk coming up, which I am super excited. Yeah, TEDx del Thorne women. And it's all about revolution, creating a revolution. And I want to help people to I want to start a health revolution. I want to help people get healthy again. Because, you know, if I can do it, somebody who wasn't, you know, an elite athlete, or I wasn't an athlete in high school or college, you know, I started at 37, then you can do it too, you know? Yeah, you can. Worry. So that's sort of my next. My next project.

JOHN MOFFET:

How exciting.

Julie Weiss:

Yeah, thank you.

JOHN MOFFET:

That is That is really cool. I'm really happy for you.

Julie Weiss:

Oh, thank you. And it just goes to show you never give up on your dreams. Because one of my dreams was to do a TED Talk. Eight years ago, yeah, nine years ago, when I think it was eight when I finished the 50 T I always wanted to do a TED talk, I kept it in, you know, I, I tried and I failed. And I tried and I failed. And lo and behold, you know, it happened. So just keep going. It's gonna happen. You don't know when but it's gonna happen for you. If you stay positive, and keep going.

JOHN MOFFET:

It's true. It really is true. That's been that's been the story of my life. So what would be your advice for somebody who happens to be listening? Who today is in that same place that you were the day flew out to Hawaii before you took those first steps on this long, long journey?

Julie Weiss:

First, I would say if you don't, don't worry, because you are going to find something that you love. You may not know what it is right now. But keep it up in mind. And keep your heart open and see what is it I would ask that person what is it that you love to do? And if they said I don't know. I would say okay, don't worry, it's gonna come your idea will come to you. And you will know. It may you don't know what it is. But also, I would suggest, if they don't know what it is, what it is what you're passionate about what you love to do, that's okay. If you want to, if you want to get healthy if you want to lose weight, I would suggest walking, go for a walk, you know, 30 minutes a day, three times a week. And also take a friend with you right now. Let's Yeah, let's make it fun. Let's start a revolution. Let's let's take you know let's go together and do this too. together and make it fun. You can, you know, you can do a walk, you could do a walk, run, you know, just slowly, gradually build up and see if that speaks to you, if you if you enjoy it, then that's going to be for you, but you need to really find something that you enjoy. But as I said, if you don't know what it is, don't worry, because it's gonna find you. All right, just keep searching. It found me I never knew I was gonna be a runner and a marathoner, and it just kind of found me, you know, and I, I also enjoyed swimming, you know, you know, like you do in the ocean, that was beautiful, you know, and, and, you know, you evolve over the years, and you do what you love. And that's what's very important is to do something that you love. And, and may I just say that, doing what you love, do it for yourself first, but then, when you add the component of doing what you love, for someone, for someone else, for someone that you love, like a charity, or a cause, or a parent or a child or pet, whatever it is, if you're doing something that you love for someone, that's when the miracles happen.

JOHN MOFFET:

Wow. It's beautifully said. It's true. Even though some of us, me included are not necessarily destined to be marathoners. There's just so much to learn from sports and from you and your journey. So I just thank you for sharing. And thank you for being on the podcast today.

Julie Weiss:

Thank you so much for having me. I am very honored. And I hope you enjoyed my story. And I hope it inspired you in some way. And yeah, just keep going. We got this.

JOHN MOFFET:

We got this. Indeed. Thanks again, Julie.

Julie Weiss:

Thank you.

JOHN MOFFET:

Julie told me that a big part of what has brought balance into her life, especially during her grueling 52 And 52 has been daily meditation. She asked that I leave you with this definition by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He says, "By enlivening the most basic level of life Transcendental Meditation is one simple procedure, which can raise the life of every individual and every society to its full dignity, in which problems are absent, and perfect health, happiness, and rapid pace of progress are the natural features of life." If you'd like to read more about Julie's marathon adventures pick up her memoir, "The Miles and Trials of a Marathon Goddess". And if you'd like to donate to pancreatic cancer research, head to her website, MarathonGoddess.com I'm John Moffet and thank you for joining Julie and me for her uplifting and inspiring stories. And it's hard for me to believe but this is the final episode of season two. We've worked hard one episode at a time and I hope that you can feel the passion behind each story. And perhaps like a marathon, we need a little break. But we'll be back after the new year. Thank you so much for helping our podcast grow, and I look forward to sharing all new episodes in 2022. Until then, keep striving for your own SPORTS + LIFE + BALANCE.

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Julie Weiss Profile Photo

Julie Weiss

Ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks for Pancreatic Cancer