Julie Wolf, a retired tech industry professional, is living her best life in Lago Vista, Texas. She runs, she bikes, she swims, she’s skilled at water skiing. Julie also enjoys hiking, camping, and visiting Texas State Parks and National Parks with her husband of 33 years in the travel trailer they picked up in 2013, the year before retiring from her cyber-security consultant position with Dell Computers.
“I started running some after college, mainly to stay fit,” explains Julie. “It wasn’t safe to bike around my North Dallas apartment, but everyone seemed to be into jogging. I didn’t participate in competitive sports back then. It wasn’t until my 30s that I signed up and finished my first 5K. Still for years, I never imagined I could run further than a 10k.”
But Julie discovered her abilities and grit, and today she is an accomplished Ironman triathlete competing at the Master’s level. “I raced my first sprint triathlon, the Danskin Women’s Tri, 15 years ago,” Julie recalls. “I was 49 years old and read about the race in the Austin American Statesman and became inspired. Since then, I have finished too many races to count including a full Ironman (2012 Coeur d’Alene in Idaho finishing in 13:55:32) and multiple half Ironman distances, even making it to the podium twice!”
In December 2021, Julie ran her first stand-alone marathon which qualified her for the illustrious Boston Marathon in 2023. “Iput my name in the hat when registration opened, was accepted, and plan to be on the starting line in April!”
Julie is also a baker, whipping up and decorating cakes and cookies for her step-grandchildren along with other family and friends. “I make other goodies like candy truffles, too. Those can be tricky, but rewarding when the batch turns out well,” she says. “I’ve noticed no matter how “bad” I personally think my baking and candy creations look; they always get gobbled right up!”
Read on to learn more about this amazing woman who has been a great friend and inspiration to many during her eight years to date on the Texas Beef Team.
Beef Team Memories: Great memories of the 2020 Austin Marathon, one of the last races before the pandemic shut everything down. Texas Beef Team had a very large showing of participants and volunteers and it was so much fun having teammates at every corner. Also appreciate the hands-on education at the Grilling 101s with Jerry. So fun to learn from an expert, understand the various grades of beef, and get to grill my own steak.
Favorite Races: The Kerrville Triathlon Festival, a Beef Team-sponsored race, is amazing! Two days of racing and volunteering in the beautiful Kerrville landscape. This race closes out my triathlon season each year and it’s special to see everyone before fall and winter set in. I’ve also enjoyed the Easter Hill Country tour which is a three-day bike out of Kerrville and through the Texas Hill Country – what’s not to love about that?!
Favorite Beef Cuts: I like grilling New York Strip Steak and eating BBQ Brisket purchased from a good BBQ joint.
Favorite Beef Recipe: My favorite beef recipe is Chile Verde Con Carne (Beef Green Chili) and it’s the dish I brought to the Beef Team Chili Cookoff in January 2020. The beef gets extremely tender and the recipe includes three types of peppers – Hatch Green Chili, Poblano, and Jalapeño. Very good on a cold winter day.
My Motivation: A desire to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight keeps me motivated. Competitive friends also keep me motivated. Also, I remember a coach one saying, ‘Miss one workout, YOU know. Miss two workouts, YOUR COACH knows. Miss three workouts, YOUR COMPETITION knows.”
Overcome Obstacles: I broke my shoulder blade after tripping on a run 10 days before the Decker Half Marathon in 2019. I had finally signed up for the full Austin Distance Challenge (5 races, including Decker and ending with the Austin Marathon). I considered walking Decker just to finish, then realized my shoulder couldn’t even bear the drive to the start line. I got pretty depressed about it. Eventually I was able to bike indoors while still recovering my shoulder. While I didn’t complete the Distance Challenge, I was able to run Austin – switching to the half marathon. My grand-total training consisted of running 90 min on Saturday and 60 minutes on Sunday the week before the race. I figured if I could endure that, I could run the half marathon. Being able to stay active on the bike trainer really helped keep my spirits up and kept my legs in shape.
Getting Through the Pandemic: In November of 2019, one week before I broke my shoulder blade, I bought a smart trainer (KICKR) so I could ride through the winter using Zwift to keep in shape. Little did I know that investment would be a life-saver both to stay in shape rehabbing my shoulder and to literally “ride out” the early months of the pandemic. I rode with people in online “meet-ups” and, where we not only trained together but also supported each other about life in general – some really great friendships were formed. In fact, through online riding and racing, I met two friends from Texas and we all traveled to Colorado and met up with another online friend (from Colorado) to participate together in the six day “Ride the Rockies” event. As for running, I typically run alone or with Beef Team member, Nancy Moore, who lives near me. So, the pandemic didn’t affect my run training, but sure did cancel a lot of races. Glad to have those back and to see more Beef Team friends again.
Post-Race Reward: I like to reward myself PRE-RACE with items I think will contribute to my success. For example, going for a new shoe fit for running shoes for the race instead of ordering the current brand I’ve been using online. Recently, my PRE-RACE reward was the purchase of a new road bike with disc brakes along with a bike computer and rear radar before Ride the Rockies in Colorado this summer to help me achieve that goal.
Favorite Race Distance: I enjoy 5K because they are short. But for endurance, I prefer the half marathon. Marathon training takes too much time and can be very hard on the body.
Pre-Race Food: The morning of a race I always eat crunchy peanut butter on a toasted English muffin, a banana, half a cup of coffee and an electrolyte drink on the drive to the race.
Best Advice: For the marathon, just start out slow and build. If you’re not carrying hydration on a half or full marathon, never skip a water station. Test out your nutrition during training, learn what works and what doesn’t work for you. Also, test out the dinner for the night before and what you’re going to have for breakfast before the actual race approaches.
My Must-Have Gear: Asics Gel Nimbus shoes, a visor, and a SPIBelt.