Run Long Run Strong Endurance Coaching, LLC

Heidi D.

11 Nov

Run Long Run Strong: How old are you?
Heidi D: 33

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
HD: I’m an electrical engineer, and not married and have no kids …unless you count my dog and two cats. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
HD: I did cross country in middle school and high school “to stay in shape for basketball” but stuck around even after I stopped playing basketball because of the social aspect and that feeling I got when I crossed the finish line and got a PR. I took a break from running most of college until my last year of college when I started finding much needed stress relief in my solo runs. I was able to push myself pretty hard and ran some fast 5ks and half marathons and marathons, eventually qualifying for and running the Boston marathon. But then I got a stress fracture and had moved close to a trailhead for some mountains-to-sea trails and so I started running those focusing less on speed and more on fun. I signed up for my first 50k, and never looked back! 

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
HD: Originally, it was my competitive nature, and always striving to do better than the time before, but lately I am finding it is what keeps me grounded, it provides structure to my life, a place to go zone out or meditate, clear my mind and most importantly it helps me manage my anxiety & depression better when I am able to have that base of running. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
HD: I am an avid reader, and am working on writing a novel! I also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons, participating in the Bachelor/Bachelorette Fantasy League with my friends, and hanging out with my boyfriend and our pets. Also, fixing up my very vintage 1950’s house. 

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
HD: I love the Columbus Marathon because it is my hometown and I’ve run it probably 5 times, I know the course, I know the city, and I love how flat it is. I also love the Bigfoot 50k for similar reasons – I’ve run it twice and I know the course. However, it is very much NOT flat, and I like it for that. 

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
HD: I’d love to just do one 100 miler once in my life so I know what all the hype is about. Otherwise, I would love to go back and do really any race in Western NC because it is such a gorgeous part of the country. 

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
HD: For some reason, I always get a ton of compliments on my leggings during races! The other funny thing was when I slid in a muddy section of a trail race and fell on all fours, getting my knees and hands muddy. When I finished the race I had muddy handprints all over my leggings. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
HD: Finishing my first 50 miler was probably the proudest moment for me. In training, I had a lot of doubts about if I should drop to a shorter race but decided the worst to happen would that I would need to drop out. It was that day I decided I would run and would finish the entire race. It was then I realized that you really have to want the finish to push yourself 50 miles and I got the finish, even if it was not pretty at all. 

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
HD: I wish someone told me to take it easy on easy days, rest on rest days and for heaven’s sake – please fuel yourself properly for the distance you are running! 

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
HD: Don’t let your mind get in the way of what it *thinks* you are capable of – you are always capable of more than you know. But sometimes we just have bad days, don’t let it stop you from going out there again the next day. 

3 Steps to Train Smarter and Get Results

05 Nov

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein

Are you tired of finishing a stock training plan and not getting a PR? Do you often feel like you’re doing a lot of work but not seeing much progress? Are you following the same plan as your running partner, yet you can’t understand why you struggle to make small improvements while he or she has amazing success and it’s driving you nuts? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are experiencing the cookie cutter conundrum.

Each athlete is an experiment of one. What works for your friends may not be the right training plan for you. This is the problem with canned training plans – they don’t take the individual into consideration! While you will most definitely be able to follow one of these plans and finish your goal event, stock plans won’t help you be the best athlete you can be – and will often lead to you wasting a lot of time.

No one wants to put in a lot of effort without getting results. So what can you do to avoid the time and effort sink? First you should create a plan to fit into your life, one that can absorb the changes that often happen on a daily basis. Second, simplify your workout library and use just a few key workouts within that plan. Finally, monitor your progress and change what isn’t working for you.

Create a plan to fit your life

It is really easy to download a pre-written training plan and plug it into your calendar; however, most of these plans don’t take into account that adults have busy lives. Many runners have families with kids that have their own activities, jobs that take up way more time than you would like, and other obligations that are in a constant battle for your attention. Oftentimes your training is the activity that needs to take the backseat to all the other commitments, and when life throws a monkey wrench into a pre-constructed plan and you have to miss a few workouts it can be difficult to know how to get back on track.

A better approach to your training is to take an honest inventory of how much time you reliably have to dedicate to training, and then create a schedule that can be organic when life goes sideways. Maybe doing shorter runs five days a week with one long weekend run fits well into your life because you have long work days or activities every afternoon. Or perhaps you might be better able to get your mileage in if you do longer runs 3 or 4 days a week in addition to your weekend long run because you have evening meetings or kids’ activities a couple of times a week and can’t run every day. The takeaway here is that your workout schedule needs to be flexible to ensure that you get the proper training in for your event.

Simplify your workout library

The key to a successful training plan is awareness. You have to be observant enough to notice when you are plateaued in your progress or when you are overreaching and accumulating too much fatigue. A platform such as Strava or TrainingPeaks can be useful to monitor your progress by using algorithms to calculate your training stress from your uploaded workouts.

We all want to be stronger, faster runners. We read books and articles on training and plans and see terms like VO2max intervals, tempo runs, ladders and progressions. What’s the difference between them? How do we know what workouts to do and when to do them? With so many workouts to choose from, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to put together a training plan that works.

There are a multitude of speed workouts to choose from, but I use just three: VO2max intervals, tempo effort, and steady state effort. When I construct a plan for an athlete, I take into account their strengths and weaknesses, and also what event they will be running. I stress event specificity last in the training plan and whatever is least important to the race first; therefore the plan for a road marathon will look vastly different than a plan for a 100 mile mountain race, but I still use just those three speed workouts.

Change what isn’t working

Here comes the fun part. You’re chugging along, doing your VO2max intervals and checking off the days on your training plan when you realize that your training stress numbers are flat.
You’ve been following the plan, so why aren’t you progressing? The problem is that you’re an individual, and we all react differently to different types of training. If you’re not seeing progress using one type of workout, it’s time to switch to another. The same is true if you are experiencing a high level of fatigue. If you aren’t recovering from one type of workout, you need to make adjustments and try something else.

Does this all sound confusing? This is where a good coach comes in handy. A coach can design a plan for you and then tweak it based on your progress and recovery. This allows you to simply do the workouts and not worry about the logistics of the training plan. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to communicate with your coach about how you’re feeling, but at least you can feel confident in knowing that you’re getting the most of your training by letting a professional plot it out for you.

I hope this information helps you to make more informed decisions about your training and that you’ll be better able to reach your athletic potential. I’m happy to design a training plan that will maximize your effort without wasting time on workouts that aren’t effective for you. Are you ready for success? Head on over to our contact page and let’s get started on your future!

Coach Faith is a UESCA certified running coach and has her level 1 sports nutrition coach certification through Precision Nutrition.  She has taken continuing education credits in women-specific training and nutrition and works with athletes of all abilities. She lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband and two fur babies.

Matt B.

07 Sep

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Matt B: 43

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
MB: Married to fellow RLRS athlete – Barbara Balossi. We have three boys ages 22,15,12. We live in SoCal and I am the Assistant Head of School for Sage Hill School – a private, independent high school in Newport Beach.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
MB: I played soccer in high school and college but used to hate running until my soccer days started to wind down and I found it the best way to stay in shape. When I was younger, I ran a bunch, mostly on the road. Several Half Marathons, two full marathons. A couple 20k trail races. I never “raced”, just used them as training goals. I took a long break from running though due to a series of back and knee injuries and am now psyched to be back and feeling good!

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
MB: I love training on trails – being outside, in nature, on a trail – the more remote the better. Clears my head and soul. I love to push myself physically, too. My work is very interpersonal and often ‘heady’. On the trail I rejuvenate and recharge mentally and emotionally. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
MB: I enjoy hanging with family, cooking, mountain biking, camping, backpacking, fishing. I also love to watch a good sporting competition (Avid Liverpool and StL Cardinals fan. Will enjoy watching playoff/finals of just about any sport too.)

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
MB: I don’t have a favorite, yet.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
MB: Hmm, would like to pull off 50 and 100 milers.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
MB: I’ve got nothing on this one, so far. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
MB: Probably my first full marathon.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
MB: I wish I knew how much more fun it was to run trails then on the road. 

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
MB: Just relax and enjoy it! 

Matt R.

07 Sep

Run Long~Run Strong: How old are you?
Matt R: 48 

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
MR: I have a 26yo son who just returned from Australia backpacking due to the virus. I work for Allstate Insurance as a Claims Manager, I have been in Insurance for aprox 20 years. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
MR: I started running the first time in my early 30’s for fun anyways, I ran while in the Army but that was more because I was told too lol. I struggled with some injuries so I took some time off in my late 30’s-early 40’s. Now I’m back at it, I run because I enjoy it, (like food) and I like to see how far I can push myself. 

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
MR: Have I mentioned food yet? No it’s really more about keeping the focus on my long term goals and plans. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
MR: Biking and swimming? No I enjoy the theater, movies and I play computer games (yes a dork).

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
MR: This one is easy, Chuck Norris 5K for very obvious reason (hello Chuck Norris). First I have been involved in martial arts since I was 6, I grew up watching Chuck and all of his movies. So when I had the chance to do a run sponsored by him and where you get a high five (thats right a high five) from the man the myth the legend Chuck Norris I just couldn’t pass it up. It was a total blast with 5000+ runners dressed up like Chuck.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
MR: A full Ironman, any desert stage race, but mostly Marathon des Sables and the Race the Planet 4 Desert Ultra Series.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
MR: My first marathon I was running along and there was a guy probably 30+ years older than me running along side/passing me. There was a medic on a bike and he asked the guy how he was doing and if everything was ok (keep in mind he had a knee brace on). I was like why are asking him he just passed me so from where I’m at it looks like he is fine (we all got a good laugh at it) and him and I ran the rest of the run together. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
MR: This is a hard one, I don’t take any of my runs for granted, but I would have to say my firsts (first full marathon, Ultra and 1/2 Ironman. 

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
MR: Nipguards for long runs

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
MR: Enjoy it and don’t stress about always being quick, it’s about the fun and camaraderie. And if it’s a guy, Nipguards for the long runs. 

Running on Gratitude

04 Apr

Today was an incredibly special day.  I didn’t run in some beautiful place, nor did I set a PR or complete a bucket list event.  I ran in my own neighborhood on roads I’ve run a hundred times.  It was the same unseasonable weather we had been having for weeks.  It was your standard, run of the mill, everyday run. Yet nothing seemed the same.

These days COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind and in every conversation.  Races are cancelled, schools are closed, and grocery store shelves are empty.  People are scared.  There is uncertainty, anger and negativity all around us.  Will we stay socially isolated for weeks or even months?  How many of us will lose jobs or miss out on once in a lifetime events like graduations or weddings?  Our collective head whirls with the unknown.

It would be so easy to slip into the “why bother?” mindset and just sit on the sofa and devour bag after bag of Cadbury mini eggs.    If races are going to be cancelled anyway, what’s the point of training?  I can feel the questions bubbling up in my athletes.  I can hear the unhappiness in their voices and see the flagging of their motivation.  I will admit, I’ve had my “fuck it” moments over the past couple of weeks.

So today when I set out on my run, I decided to make a change.  A change in my attitude.  A change in my perception.  A change in how I viewed the world and the experiences that came my way.  I decided, at least for today, to stop being angry about things I couldn’t control.

The skies were blue, and the sun was shining, and for that I felt truly blessed.  How many other little traces of gratitude were waiting for me to discover them?

Instead of focusing on my footsteps, I paid attention to my breath.  How amazing it was to feel the air moving in and out of my lungs.  Lungs that until today, I had taken for granted.  I took in huge breaths of fresh air and was grateful that I have never known what it was like to struggle to breathe, and I prayed that I never would.

Here in New England, robins are a sign of Spring.  About a half mile into my run I spotted a flock of robins off to my right.  My first thought was “it’s Spring, big deal.  Going to be stuck in social isolation for who knows how long, so who cares?”  Yikes!!!  I quickly spun that around by smiling at the robins and watched them watching me, as I tried to quietly run past them so as not to disturb their search for food.

Usually when I run these roads, I’m so engrossed in my own mission that I don’t pay much attention to cars going by or people in their yard.  Today, I made it a point to wave at each person I saw.  Didn’t matter that I didn’t know them.  I pictured each of them smiling a little to themselves as this crazy runner waved to them from at least 6 feet away, and hoped their day was just a little bit brighter.

The most profound experience happened about a half mile from home.  The smell of smoke, presumably from someone’s chimney, caught the breeze and filled my nose.  Normally this smell hits my PTSD response, as I have been the victim of not one but two housefires.  This time, however, something magical happened.  When I whiffed the smoke, I was immediately transported back 45 years to when my dad had built campfires in the backyard for evening get-togethers with my best friend.  I lost my dad several years ago, so these memories are precious.  I took a moment to have a private chat with daddy, thanking him for those campfires and wishing he were still here.  I shed a few tears, took a deep breath, and finished my run.  I have no doubt that from now on, the smell of smoke will no longer evoke feelings of panic and fear, but of love and comfort.

We all feel defeated, stressed, and negative at times.  Training doesn’t always go as planned, and we might feel inadequate when we have a bad run.  Or a rogue virus may cancel our dream race and we get angry and want to scream at the circumstances.  All of this is normal and its ok!!  But dwelling on those emotions causes us to miss the beauty in life and in our sport.  I challenge you all to make your next run a run of gratitude.  Notice as much as you can about the world around you.  Smile at everyone you see.  Breathe deep.  Be thankful.  And remember that this too shall pass.

(The day after this run, I took a hard fall on a familiar trail and fractured my humerus.  Oh, the sweet irony of life.)

Betsy S.

17 Mar

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Betsy S: 45

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
BS: I’m married celebrating 20 years in September. No kids but 2 dogs. Hawkeye is a 12 year old black lab and Henry is a 7 month old Viszla. Hopefully he will be my new running partner! I work full time as an LIS Coordinator at a hospital. I basically sit at a computer all day building and maintaining the laboratory computer system.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
BS: I started running in 2015 as a way to lose weight. I used the C25k program and mostly ran on the treadmill. Then in 2016 a coworker and I decided we wanted to run some 5k’s. To make sure we were committed we signed up for a series called the Thirsty 3. Been hooked ever since!

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
BS: I just feel better emotionally and physically when I’m running. Plus I’ve met some great friends in my local running community.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
BS: I try to knit and read when I have free time.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
BS: Too many! At the moment I would have to say anything at Mohican. I’m new to trail running and it is just beautiful and challenging to run there.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
BS: Mo50. After that maybe a trail Ragnar.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
BS: Nothing comes to mind yet!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
BS: Not a race moment just something I’m proud of. At the end of 2016 I fractured the sesamoid bone in my foot. I was off of running for almost 6 months. I eased back into running the summer of 2017 and ran my first half marathon that fall. Coming back from the injury was hard and often discouraging. I’m so glad I never gave up on myself!

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running
BS: I’m not sure how to answer this one. I guess when I started running it was just some 5k’s. Then I said I wanted to run a half marathon and a marathon and that I would stop running long distances. I really didn’t enjoy running the halfs but when I ran my first full marathon something just clicked. It might take me a long time to run but running that distance just seemed so much more rewarding. I guess my take away from this would be maybe you don’t have to be fast like with a 5k but you can be a steady paced runner and conquer distances that some other runner can’t.

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
BS: Don’t compare yourself to other runners. Pace isn’t everything just get out there and keep moving.

New Year, New Journey: How to Enjoy Running Again

02 Jan

Starting a new year is always a good time for reflections on past achievements and goal setting for new ones.  Starting a new decade makes it, well, ten times better!!

I was out on my first run of 2020 and it occurred to me that a lot of athletes might be doing the same thing, at the same time, and having the same thoughts.  “Why am I so slow?  I only took a little time off and it feels like everything is SO HARD!!  Lots of my other running friends took time off and it doesn’t seem like it slowed them down at all.  Their workouts on Strava look so fast!!  What’s wrong with me?”

Nothing is wrong with you.

The problem stems from comparisons.  Comparing your workouts to your spouse’s or your friend’s workouts.  Comparing yourself to your last year’s self.  Comparing yourself to the version of yourself that you hope to be.

Capitalizing on the ten times better reference, let’s talk about ten ways that you can be a better athlete without that pesky comparison problem getting in the way.

  • Be realistic.  You are never going to be the same as you were last year, 5 years ago, ten years ago.  And you don’t know if or when you will get any better in the future.  The only thing that you CAN do is to be the best that you can be RIGHT NOW.
  • Be honest.  Do you really know how much time everyone else took off?  Do you know what other things they might have been doing in terms of cross-training, nutrition, recovery?  No two people train or recover the same way, so you shouldn’t expect to come out of the gate the same way, either.
  • Be present.  When you tackle a workout, be an active participant in each moment of it.  Don’t zone out to your tunes or worry about that 20-mile run you have planned for next weekend.  Pay attention to your breathing, your foot strike, your posture.  Take in the nutrition and hydration that you need.  Make each workout count.
  • Be in the know.  Why are you doing a workout?  Is it a recovery run?  Is it a threshold run?  Is it a VO2max workout?  Knowing WHY you are doing a workout can be as important as the workout itself.  If you don’t know why you are doing a certain workout, ask your coach.
  • Be patient.  Every run is not going to be a PR, nor should it be.  Eighty percent of your workouts should be easy, well below your threshold effort.  If you get annoyed because you aren’t getting faster each time you run, refer to #4.
  • Be happy.  Yes, smile while you run!!  If you don’t believe that smiling can make your runs more enjoyable and more effective, ask Eliud Kipchoge.
  • Be observant.  Feeling particularly fatigued after your long run?  Check back over what you did over the past few days.  Did you get enough sleep?  Did you hydrate well?  Did you fuel properly?  Or did you binge watch Criminal Minds all night while scarfing ice cream and knocking back Red Bulls?  Often the reasons we feel sluggish after (or during) a run have nothing to do with running at all.
  • Be encouraging.  Instead of getting frustrated at your friend’s pace and thinking snarky thoughts, drop them an encouraging message.  Cheerleading for someone else has a sneaky way of making YOU feel better.  Spread some joy and watch it come back to you – and it might just make your feet lighter on your next run, too!! 
  • Be a participant.  Seek out your local running club and offer to be a sweeper on their next group run.  Not only will you get your miles in, but you’ll most likely be a big help to someone else who is struggling.
  • Be kind – TO YOURSELF!!  We are our own biggest critics, no secret about that.  Make your relationship with yourself a priority and think about the things you say and think about yourself.  Would you say those things to your best friend?  

Remember, running is supposed to be fun.  You may want to get a PR, or a podium spot, or finish that 100 miler, and that’s great!!  However, running is about the journey and not the destination, and each of our journeys is different.  Stop worrying and enjoy the process.  Happy running!

Do you have a Casper the (not so friendly) Ghost?

12 Dec

You have an athlete you’ve been working with for a while now.  They’ve not always been the most consistent, but they usually get most of their workouts done.  Each week, you email or text to check in and you get a response 70% of the time.

Fast forward a few weeks, and now the athlete is barely doing workouts and your emails and texts go unanswered.  Then, soon after, even the workouts stop getting done.  You wonder what’s going on when the answer hits you.  You’ve been ghosted.

You look back over your communications with the athlete, searching for signs of what went wrong.  You scour workout histories and race results.  In the end you are still left scratching your head and wondering if you could have done something different, and not only have you lost an athlete, but your self-confidence probably took a hit, too.

The truth is, chances are that you did nothing wrong and neither did your athlete – at least from a coaching standpoint.  Oftentimes the problem begins before you even sign the athlete on.  There are a few things you can do to hopefully avoid circumstances that allow for ghosting to happen.

It starts with the initial contact.  Whatever method you use to fill your athlete pipeline, you can have multiple points at which you can use effective interviewing questions to gather information and create an athlete profile.

Have a few key intake questions attached to your contact form or scheduler that the athlete has to fill out before confirming an initial consult.  Ask things that are absolute deal-breakers for you. Questions that clearly reveal a discrepancy in philosophy or show that this may not be a good athlete/coach relationship could save you trouble down the road.  Based on the athlete’s answers, you can either do some follow-up questioning to dig a little deeper or send a respectful reply in which you explain that your roster is currently full, and you are not taking new athletes at this time.  Be sure to have a network of coaches that you can refer them to so you can end the communication on a positive note.

If an athlete answers the initial questions and you determine that the relationship might be a good fit, go ahead and book that consultation.  It is during this consult call that you will have another opportunity to ask questions.  It is important for you to understand that you are interviewing the athlete, not the other way around!  It is YOUR business, and you determine who you work with.

When interviewing an athlete be sure to ask them how much they value communication and what their preferred method of contact is.  Also ask what he or she thinks a coach does, what they expect from a coach, and what he or she thinks you will expect from them as an athlete.  Questioning like this will help you establish a good foundation with an athlete and will also point out some red flag behavior.

Finally, have a clause in your athlete/coach contract that clearly states what you consider ghosting to be in terms of communication and getting workouts done and what the consequences of those actions (or inactions) are.  Be sure to stress to the athlete to read the entire contract before signing it.  You can also add spots for the athlete to initial (next to the points of the contract that might get “skimmed”) so you can later point out to them that he or she agreed to these points if the need arises.

Ok, so you’ve done all your questioning and the athlete has signed the contract, and you determine you are going to start working together.  A few months down the road you begin to see early signs of ghosting behavior.  What can you do to mitigate the situation before you have to enforce the contract clause?

If the athlete is still communicating with you at all, you can use some motivational interviewing to see if you can figure out what is causing the ghosting behavior.  Does he or she have family issues going on that is preventing workout compliance?  Could he or she be sick, injured, or burned out?  Have the goals changed?  Does the athlete just not want to run anymore?

Use the answers as a guide to change the plan going forward, or to gently end the working relationship if that is what the athlete needs.  Try not to take anything personally – life is organic and dynamic and sometimes things happen that require the athlete to redirect his or her attention and focus less on running.

If all communication from the athlete has ceased yet they are still doing their prescribed workouts, you will have to decide whether or not to keep them on your roster.  While your job as a coach is to provide your athletes with workouts tailored to get them fit and ready for their goal races, it can be very difficult to assess progress and recovery without their input.

If communication has ceased AND the athlete is not compliant in his or her workouts, then it might be time to enforce the contract.  If you need to take this action, be sure to outline in your final email any attempts by you to contact them, note the prescribed versus missed workouts, and state your intention to terminate the contract (include the exact date and remind them of the contract clause regarding ghosting).

Every coach hopes to avoid encountering a ghost athlete, but the reality is that we will all most likely have at least one during our coaching careers.  Use these tips to refine your athlete on-boarding and remember that each athlete, from the 100% compliant to the ones that disappear, will teach us something about ourselves and our methods.  Find the positive in each relationship, and you will become a better coach and a better person.

Happy coaching!!

Ben N.

19 Nov

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Ben N: 46

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
BN: Daughter and 2 grandkids. Married to Laura.  She understands my mental state quite well!  I am a physician assistant and have been so for 24 years.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
BN: I started running consistently 10 years ago after several of my patients convinced me to train for a half marathon. I have been addicted since.  

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
BN: Signing up for the next race!  Running with my dog. She is a pound rescue and she helps keep me motivated to get out there even when it is -10.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
BN: Hunting and anything to do with the grandchildren

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
BN: Teton Ragnar Ultra relay.  That was an amazing trail race with the most awe inspiring views! I would never change up my team of 4. Second would be Glendo WY trail 30K I ran with my dog. She was the true winner of the event. She set the K-9 course record even though it was the inaugural year. Third would be Lean Horse 50K in Custer SD.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
BN: American Heroes Ultra.  I signed up for the 100 miler for Sept 11, 2020.  I would like to do a destination marathon like the Great Wall event.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
BN: Being chased by a cow moose was not funny at the time!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
BN: Winning my age for the Lean Horse 50K.  Introducing my love of running to me eldest brother, he is addicted to the run. 

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
BN: Proper nutrition and hydration during ultra events. 

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
BN: Sometimes it is important to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the views.  Slow days are very important. Pay attention to nutrition and hydration.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just NEVER GIVE UP” – Dean Karnazes

Lesa D.

19 Nov

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Lesa D: Old enough that I should know better than to get peer pressured into running races! LOL 

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
LD: I am twice married now to my soul mate. Or at least I like to think so. We have no children but a rescued Carolina Dog. Of course we guess that’s what she is because ‘someone said so.’ Her name is Mebbie after Meb!!!

I am a social worker at a VA hospital in NC and currently work with service members (mostly combat) that are transitioning off active duty into the VA Health Care system. I’m originally from W. PA just North of Pittsburgh.

Believe it or not, I totally use to hate running, I mean, LOATHE it!! But, I found that I can have fun and now that I found ultras – Mind Blown!! I can walk if I want to. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
LD: I started trying to run in the summer/fall of 2012 and failed miserably. I didn’t know what the crap I was doing and ended up getting horrible hip pain all ITB crap. I saw a group doing run/walk intervals one day and I thought for sure I could do the same. The winter of 2013 my husband signed me up for an all Ladies beginners running group and I learned to use run/walk. I actually was a group leader for the same group for 6 years. 

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
LD: In the times of this pandemic, have something to work towards and an actual training plan has been keeping me motivated. Coach Faith offered several of us the opportunity to do a Dopey-like challenge which was held the last week in June. It was a 5k, 10k, 13.1 and 26.2 four days in a row. She coached us through it all with training plans and sheer crazy wit! 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
LD: Drinking craft beer, trying to get back into reading.  

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
LD: I’ve run a ton of races, but I think the most memorable one is Flying Pig in Cincinnati – all of the aid stations had some pig- themed food or dressed up so funky. The volunteers were fabulous, and it was a party within the race!  

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
LD: I’m unsure but I’d love to run somewhere out west or somewhere where there is vert.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
LD: Meeting up with a friend, who I was supposed to train MCM with and didn’t. Out of 30K runners we bumped into each other at the porta-potties and we ran 23 miles together. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
LD: Completing my first 50miler! (coach’s note: Lesa completed this ON HER OWN with no official race). Of course once again, COVID-19 struck when my race was scheduled and I was hell bent on not giving up on all the training I’d done. I took matters into my own hands and created my own race with an out/back 5mile segments, made my own food. My husband was my Aid Station Guru and I had 5 friends either run or bike with me for 40 miles. My finishing medal was a cymbal that was hanging in our basement left from the previous house owners. My husband painted it #safesix50 with a runner girl on it. Get this, the cymbal was made in Wuhan China!  

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running
LD: Don’t get the pretty shoes. Get the shoes that are supposed to fit your feet best

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
LD: Don’t compare yourself to other runners because if you do you will take the fun out of running for yourself. Bad runs happen and they are bound too, but you keep going. Forward, relentless, motion.  And stretch, stretch and stretch!