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Third in her age group at the Rope Mill Trail Half Marathon. Way to go, Julie!
Third in her age group at the Rope Mill Trail Half Marathon. Way to go, Julie!

Julie Frais, 31, is an avid trail runner, but she also couldn’t go without her beloved treadmill. She seriously adores her ‘mill: “My treadmill and I are best friends. Without it, I would never be able to get a run in. My husband works long hours, and with my son still young, I am not able to just run out whenever. I trained for all of my races, including my marathon, primarily on the treadmill.” Here's more about Julie, a mother runner who lives in Acworth, Ga. with husband Chris and their son Carter, 8.

Best recent run: My last long training run, before my first marathon. It was 20 miles and I was extremely nervous about it. I had two friends who were willing to split the run with me. Vicky ran the first 10 with me, getting up at an ungodly hour for a Saturday morning in order to beat the heat, and Shannon, who ran the second 10, encouraging me through the hills and miles that were harder the second time around. Their support through such a mentally tough training run meant so much to me. The miles went a lot faster with their company and it ended up being an amazing run that left me feeling confident that I would finish my marathon strong!

 

At her first 26.2. Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon, which she finished in 4:49:38.
At her first 26.2. Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon, which she finished in 4:49:38.

Wine or beer? Wine! Always a welcomed reward for a tough run.

Sit-ups or plank? Sit ups.

What calms me after a long day: Books. I have always loved to read. I always have a book or two going at any given time.

Funniest (or most embarrassing) running experience: I went on a run when I still lived up north [northern Michigan] while it was tent worm season. They were everywhere!! I couldn’t avoid stepping on them and came home slightly traumatized, it was so gross. I stuck to the treadmill after that until they were gone!

Half-marathon or marathon?: I absolutely love the half-marathon, especially trail half-marathons. It’s the perfect distance to push yourself but not have to train like it’s a part-time job to accomplish your goal. Trail half-marathons are by far my favorite because it’s an added challenge and who doesn’t love running through the woods? I get lost in the sights, sounds, and smells of the woods. I always end up feeling like I am 10 years old again!

What I’m running away from…: I never feel like I am running away from anything, more so running toward a happier, more confident me. Running helped me find a strength in myself I never knew I had.

Favorite way to cross-train: Umm, cross train? I know I should but nothing is as fun as running. Does reading about running count?

Carter finishing his first 5K: proud mother runner moment.
Carter finishing his first 5K: proud mother runner moment.

Best Mile Ever (and Why): My best mile ever wasn’t mine but my son’s. I watched him—7 years old at the time—finish his first 5K. I ran the first 2 miles with him to make sure he navigated the course OK, and then dropped off to let him finish alone. Watching him come in fast and strong at 33:29 was one of my proudest moments. I had tears in my eyes and could barely cheer I was so choked up. I was so proud to see him accomplish his goal and share the love of running with him.

Piece of running gear I can’t bear to part with: Altra shoes. I definitely would not be the runner I am today had I not discovered these amazing shoes. They keep my feet happy and healthy mile after mile. You will never see me running without a hat either. Must have a hat.

Julie and BRF Holly at the Blankets Creek Trail Half Marathon.
Julie and BRF Holly at the Blankets Creek Trail Half Marathon.

My next race(s): I have a local trail run series that begins in March, that I plan on running but the next race I am most excited about is the Lighthouse Half Marathon in Traverse City, MI. My very good friend, Holly Schurg (another mother runner) and I plan on running it together. Even though we live over 900 miles apart now, we have stayed very close. Helping each other through training highs and lows and we try to plan a race together each year.

Your running, described in three words: Powerful, fun, happy

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