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Julie K. Hersh: Finding My Pace at Big Sur

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Julie K. Hersh

In a beautifully written essay in Psychology Today, a writer and friend of Phoenix House describes how running the Big Sur Marathon taught her a valuable lesson in self acceptance. Julie K. Hersh, the author of Struck By Living: From Depression to Hope and a speaker at an upcoming Phoenix Houses of Texas luncheon, described a marathon training fraught with injuries and discouragement. As she joined other runners on the day of the race to do yoga in Andrew Molera State Park, she knew she’d “finish dead last” among the five friends running the race with her. Then heard a clear, encouraging message: “Run your own race. Enjoy the day.”

Before the race, Hersh created a “prayer band” with the name of a person to focus on for each mile of her marathon. For her first and her 21st mile, Hersh put the name of a young man and a young woman she’d met at Phoenix House. “Between, I listed names of family and friends, or people plagued with depression who had reached out to me for help.”

As Hersh’s friends passed her by and she ran the race solo, she saw the name of a Phoenix House resident, Marcus, at mile five and gained some inspiration: “I visualized Marcus, a poet, an addict, about sixteen years old, who had recited his poem to me by heart. Your Eyes. Rounding a corner, the light burst through the clouds in the mountains. I stopped and took a photo. … Who runs a race without an eye on time? Marcus might. A poet would. I did.”

Hersh ends her essay with the insight that focusing on others got her through: “When my focus shifted outward, I found my own pace.”

Thanks to Julie for her touching words about our clients and for her support of Phoenix House. Please see her website, Struck By Living, for more information about her writing and work.

If you or a loved one needs help for a substance abuse issue, Phoenix House is here for you. Email us or call today at 1 888 671 9392.

Source: Psychology Today Finding My Pace at Big Sur

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