Julian James Rockwood has been known to frequent a class or two at Free Mvmt Shop. Let's just say, he is very connected! We were able to follow along on his journey to the Glass City Marathon, his 2nd full marathon to date.
FMS: What inspired you to get back on your feet at this point in your life?
JR: When my mom passed away from cancer in 2015, I immediately felt differently about wellness and taking care of myself. I don't like going to traditional gyms, so running became my path to health.
FMS: Is there anything you bring to the table from your days as a cross country runner for St. Francis de Sales high school?
JR: Absolutely. There's a lot that goes into how you train. I was exposed to different training programs at a very young age. More than anything, race strategy and how to manage your body during the course of a race. Shout out to Gary Bryan. Lastly, discipline. I didn't appreciate it as much then as a kid but now I know you have to work your tail off and stay focused.
FMS: Your first marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2017. Can you touch on that experience?
JR: It was really a trip. A world major. 40,000 people entered. Every neighborhood with hundreds of people cheering. It will always be special because it was my first. While I finished, I redlined pretty hard. It was 70 degrees and I didn't take in enough fluid or carbohydrates. At the last 10k to go my legs froze up and while I was happy to simply finish, I'd say I was not 100% satisfied with the outcome.
FMS: So you knew you would return to a marathon to upstage your previous performance? How did you select the Glass City Marathon of all places?
JR: Toledo, my hometown. You're not a winner if you can't win in your hometown. The race starts and finishes at The University of Toledo, where I graduated college and where my mom taught for half of her life. It was full of meaning. Plus, it's a spring marathon.
FMS: So you had to train in the winter in Chicago? Yikes.
JR: Part of my motivation was to get out of bed in the winter when it is easy to lay and cuddle. Running in the winter in Chicago isn't as bad as you think, if you have the right gear. It's actually pretty calm and nice in the city. Getting up at 5am in 25 degree or even better, 5 degree weather is tough. But what other sport would push you do such a thing? I feel grateful that I had that time to myself each morning. Plus it is a great way to start the spring at a high fitness level.
FMS: Having completed a marathon before, one might say you were "woke". What did you do differently this time around to prepare?
JR: Without giving away all of my secrets. The first was just about finishing. Secondly, I focused on how to create the training that fit me best personally. I focused a lot more on nutrition, hydration and managing those for a good performance.
FMS: We are excited for you to share your Spotify playlist with our movers, but in the meantime can you tell us who you were listening to on runs?
JR: Meek Mill, Royce da 5'9", J. Cole, Rolling Stones. "Dream On" just to happened to be the song on when I crossed the finish line. I saved my music and didn't actually turn it out until I needed the extra boost.
FMS: How did your experience at Free Mvmt Shop support your work towards completing your second marathon?
JR: I knew a strong core would be critical. I attended Monday's Abs on Abs for 6 weeks. I'm a big fan of Devin's abs class. It was very challenging and a game changer for me. I also went to the Free Stretch on Fridays. Stretching and rolling out were crucial. Both classes were on my cross training rest days and were very helpful for body development outside of running. Side note, I started taking ice baths after long runs. Tip: wearing socks during the bath really helped.
FMS: For anyone who isn't a runner yet but feels inspired and might be looking to start running, what advice do you have?
JR: In most communities, there is a local run group. Chicago is full of them. Groups of people to hold you accountable, run together each week and who will assist you in getting started. Also a running store, like a Fleet Feet will help you get set up with the right training regimen and gear.
FMS: Speaking of gear, what shoe do you run in?
JR: In the snow I wore a Saucony Gore-Tex Ride 10. And my main shoe for training in good weather is the Brooks Ravenna 8, which is a speed meets stability shoe.
FMS: What is your favorite scenic route in Chicago?
JR: Long runs south past McCormick Place, past 31st street beach. Quiet, peaceful. Just you and the lake.
FMS: You shaved 25 minutes and 49 seconds off your time from the Chicago Marathon finishing the Glass City Marathon at 3:29:03. That was a personal record. That seems like a huge improvement. What was different?
JR: Weather. Training. Nutrition. I ran with a bottle of hydration. Race strategy. I put together my own plan versus one prepped by others. I also took in a specific number of calories during the race.
FMS: Sooo....what's next?
JR: I want to do another marathon and I need my wife to not fight me on it. With a new benchmark set the possibilities are limitless. I am happy with the results of Glass City, but certainly I can improve. Detroit. Portland. Hawaii. Tahoe. Philadelphia. I'm sure she (my wife) will be happy if I make a fun family vacation out of it.