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Meet Julie Moss

A warrior for your dreams

By Erin Chambers Smith | Photo by Robert Benson | Hair and Makeup by Kristi Colby

Meet Julie Moss

Julie Moss

When I hear the USA triathlon bigwigs call me a multisport pioneer, I think… of when I started training for my first triathlon in 1981, when the sport was so new I would have to give a full explanation every time I mentioned it. However, being a pioneer had its perks. You didn’t have to qualify to get into the Ironman, the race entry was only $85, and there was only one training group in town. It was the best-looking boys’ club I had ever seen, so I was highly motivated to hang with the pack.

The fact that San Diego is the birthplace of triathlons makes me feel… lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. It’s rare you get in on the ground floor of a sport and watch it grow up.

My favorite time of day to run is… in the morning, after coffee. Otherwise you’re chasing that run all day long.

My favorite place to run is… the San Elijo Lagoon Trail, starting at Cardiff Seaside Beach heading east toward Rancho Santa Fe. Then up and over the “Rim of the World” trail, then loop back. It’s about 10 miles. When the water is warm, I jump in the ocean and kick my legs out for instant recovery, then hit Pipes Cafe on the way home.

Training is a part of my… sanity. I feel happier and healthier when I break a sweat every day.

Of all the places I’ve traveled for this sport, the one I most want to return to is… Reunion Island, just off of South Africa. I was there for an Ironman race in the early 1990s; by far, it was the most exotic destination I’d ever imagined. Crazy to fly all that way, race, and go home.

To say I’m competitive is… true, I’ll paint a target on anyone’s back if it helps me get to the line faster. But outside of racing, I’m a cheerleader and mentor and want everyone to be their best.

Pain… can be a great coach. Listen to your body and it will teach you the difference between when to stop and when to stop whining.

My daily workout routine includes… yoga at Core Power. Without the strength and flexibility I get from my daily yoga practice, I wouldn’t be able to go out and do all the other sports.

The foods I couldn’t live without are… coffee, Greek yogurt, Lärabars, something salty/crispy paired with something cold/bubbly, and spicy chicken soup from Jorge’s Mexicatessen.

When Kathleen McCartney passed me as I was crawling across the finish line in the 1982 Ironman, it taught me… to find a way to keep moving forward. In a race, just like in life, you will fall, so get up. And if that’s not possible, then ask, “What is?” When standing became impossible, crawling was. There’s always something you can do.

Endurance sport is different today than it was 30 years ago because… the races are no longer considered freak shows. The Ironman is now mainstream. Becoming an Olympic sport was a huge jump. And now, training for this year’s Ironman you have Hines Ward, the Steelers MVP and Dancing with the Stars champion. You don’t get more mainstream than that.

As a motivational speaker, the most important tip I can offer people is… dream big AND never give up on your dreams. I recently collaborated with Kathleen McCartney, the woman who passed me all those years ago, to create “Iron Icons.” Our message is simple and timeless: Be a warrior for your dreams, be relentless in the pursuit of those dreams; you and you alone are the champion of your life.

Moss will be honored April 18 at the Bahia Resort Hotel, kicking off the ITU World Triathlon San Diego race weekend.

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