The Most Important Mile of My Life: Julie Burke

Love the tank, Julie!
Love the tank, Julie!

Today's Most Important Mile is from Julie Burke, mother runner of two who lives in Greenville, S.C.

Being diagnosed with MS was completely terrifying.  I knew nothing about this disease. The only plan I really had was to stay as strong as I could and try to not let it change my life. Great idea, but I didn’t know if I could really do it.

My first really big test came when I had a new flare-up that meant five days of intravenous Methylprednisolone. On day two of the treatment, I had an 8K race scheduled. I was determined to run that race despite what was going on. If I could run the race, I could prove that I was in charge.

Well I did run the race, but I felt awful. Suffice it to say, there are many side effects when you are pumping this much medication into your body. I decided not to run again until I was off the medication and feeling better. This felt like a huge defeat to me.

By day seven of treatment (no more IVs, but “tapering off” with large amounts of oral Prednisone), I felt sick, exhausted, and depressed.  I needed to go running. I decided to go easy on myself with a slow, short jog. Instead, I had the most amazing five-mile run that I have ever had. Getting back to what I love doing was exactly what my body needed. I needed to feel strong again. I needed the runner’s high much more than any other medication.  I needed the chance to think about everything and nothing at all. At some point during this run, I knew I was stronger than MS. I knew I would never let it stop me. I didn’t have to wonder anymore.

17 responses to “The Most Important Mile of My Life: Julie Burke

  1. Hi Julie,
    I’m not a runner, but I do have MS and I think you have the right approach. This attitude will make all the difference in the world for you. I’d love to hear/read, more of what and how you are doing.

    Please check out my blog and give me an update.

    Best of luck to you,

  2. Julie. very inspiring, even if I wasn’t your Dad..but being your Dad, it really moves me. Who knew that first 5k we ran together, years ago, would take you to where you are now. I wish we could flash back to that day,running without a care in the world, just enjoying our time together. Remember our Harrier race, drinking a beer at each mile marker, following the flour directions, and coming home wobbly and late for our own party… Dad (wobbly is an Irish word…means to move unsteadily from side to side) It might have been my allergies!

  3. You go girl. You are a great inspiration. Lauren & DeClan are blessed to have you, (Doug also) I think of you often, would love to see you..

  4. Thank you for your story! Both of my sisters-in-law have MS and I know how hard it is. (One I keep trying to coerce into trying running!)

  5. It’s so nice to hear from others that have MS and continue to be strong and participate in activities you love doing. It gives me so much hope for the future!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story Julie. You are courageous and your words are inspiring. I’m in Greenville too…..maybe we’ll run into each other in person sometime. :o)

  7. Congrats Julie! Very inspiring. Running gives you the time to work through things and gives you strength of mind and body. Thanks for sharing. You go girl.

  8. Julie, This post is awesome. Even when we start off feeling physically and mentally drained we can end a run feeling so much stronger than we ever thought possible. Bigger than whatever bad there is in our lives. And when that magic happens – it’s healing. I hope you keep finding that on your runs. You’re strength and attitude is inspiring.

  9. At first my eye caught Julie’s location since I was raised in Aiken, SC and adore Greenville. And then I read on. What a marvelous run, Julie. It was a tribute to your tenacity and attitude which I bet are still holding you in good steed. Way to go, Steel Magnolia!

  10. Beautiful Julie. You are so strong. Keep up the great work& thank you for sharing. I always tell my family – running is the BEST medicine / multi vitamin you can take for yourself. Proud of you for not giving up.

  11. “At some point during this run, I knew I was stronger than MS. I knew I would never let it stop me.”

    I started running after I was diagnosed with MS 6 years ago and that’s exactly what I think everytime I cross a finish line … and anytime I lace up my sneakers when I’m not feeling my best.

    Your courage is admirable and I hope there are many, many more miles in your future!

  12. YES! That’s exactly what running’s about. It’s about finding your strong and knowing that you can somehow handle what life throws your way. It’s about just moving forward no matter how slow even when you can barely see 5 feet in front of you.

    Way to go Julie!

  13. Wow! This is a great one. My Dad has MS and used to be a runner, but can’t run anymore. So I run for him. I’m proud of you Julie, you are one tough BAMR!

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