"There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met." — Jim Henson.
Yes, I am writing a double post or two days in a row on the incredible Jule Hughes! But today, I'll focus on getting to know her and how she has written (4) books since I met her when she joined W.I.C. (Writing in Community 2 in March of 2021). That's a lot of writing, deep thinking, and tenacity to put it together and publish! She's undoubtedly an inspiration in her writing and running long-distance running.
Julie and I think similarly about getting our feelings and words out, even though some things may never get published. It's a way to think about the legacy for our children, grandchildren, and family lore, written in books, a notebook that will never see the light of day, or journaling on the computer (Google Docs/M.S. Word/Scrivener.
Born and raised in a family of seven (parents and five siblings, including Julie) in Otisco, New York (near Syracuse), Julie, 43, found joy running around the rural areas of her youth beginning at age 6. Her Uncle Tim introduced her to 1-mile kids runs, track clubs, and the Family Reunion Bloom Run 2-mile loop on her Grandpa's poultry farm, which enabled her to run Track and Cross-Country in High School and college.
Her dream to run in the Boston Marathon was whetted from a young age. On the back cover of Staring Down a Dream: At 20, running was still a dream. At 41, she finished strong and claimed her place in Boston history.
But first, Julie, a BLUE & yellow-loving gal, graduated high school in 1998 and received her Bachelor's Degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2001, majoring in Exercise Science. A few years later, in 2006, Julie received her Master's Degree in Physical Therapy and continued her education through 2007, where she earned her D.P.T. or Doctorate of Physical Therapy from D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York. She worked in the field for years and even ran her own shop as a licensed physical therapist until she had a family.
Over a dozen years ago, Julie met the love of her life, Jeff, on a sort of blind date at a Syracuse Men's Basketball game (they are both big fans). They will be married 11 years next month and have two children, a son, Brindseley, 10, and a daughter, Delaney, 9 (today is her Birthday!). Julie said becoming and being a mom makes her brave. And she is deeply grateful for her health and her family. I couldn't agree more! However, due to testicular cancer, Jeff's health has been compromised in the last couple of years. Julie is in the midst of writing about their journey, working title: Our Tango with Testicular Cancer.
So how does Julie do all that she does—running lots of miles and training for her next race, or writing books and raising her young family? Well, it may start with her no-fail motivational song by AC/DC -Thunderstruck; plus, she employed courage to write her stories and found her voice to inspire others. She also revealed that the most beloved thing she owns is her running sneakers, so ultimately, she could adventure to Ireland and run in major marathons around the U.S.A. and beyond. And...she still gets butterflies as she toes the line of every race! Go, go, go, Julie!!
My final few questions will represent how thoughtful and sweet Julie is to everyone she meets or what she does daily. Julie mentioned that she loves the mountains as her favorite place on Earth; the world needs more service and less consumption, and when she runs (without headphones, by the way), she often works out dilemmas or problems in her head. However, she switches to listening to the birds and the water on her trail runs, the smells of the grasses and flowers, and feels blessed she has the space to work out all of it. She finishes her runs renewed and refreshed to tackle the day.
Julie's superpower: She pays attention to the good. (I love this!) And...Julie Manufactures a lot of Sunshine, too!
When we finished up, I asked Julie what she wanted people to know about her the most. She quickly answered that she self-publishes her books and didn't go to college for a writing degree.
If that is not the inspiration for anyone to start writing, anything, something small, bullet points even, I don't know what is. If you've got a pen and paper, you can do something - doodling counts too!
For runners and those who support a runner, please consider reading one or all of Julie's books - all can be ordered on Amazon.
Julie hopes that her story will inspire you to find your truth and listen to your inner voice of courage so that you can travel your road to achieve your dream.
Julie B. Hughes books:
My Road - A Runner's Journey Through Persistent Pain to Healing - https://www.amazon.com/My-Road-Runners-Journey-Persistent/dp/1737690713/
Staring Down a Dream: A Mom, a Marathoner, a Mission - https://www.amazon.com/Staring-Down-Dream-Marathoner-Mission/dp/1737690756/
Run to Boston - Poems for the Marathoner - https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Run+to+Boston+Julie+b.+hughes&i=stripbooks&crid=2CWK1NFJSXAOM&sprefix=run+to+boston+julie+b.+hughe%2Cstripbooks%2C92&ref=nb_sb_noss.
Running into Poetry - https://www.amazon.com/Running-Into-Poetry-invitation-present/dp/1737690748/