Run Long Run Strong Endurance Coaching, LLC

Joni G.

14 May

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Joni Gommo: I’ll be 52 years young in the summer of 2019.

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
JG: I’m happily married to the best guy in the world and I have two grown kids. I was also just blessed with my first grandchild! I’m a “retired” nurse, turned Keto Coach.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
JG: 5 years ago I started Keto to reclaim my health and weight goals. When I started to feel better and developed more energy, thanks to Keto, I started walking. One day, I decided to challenge myself by jogging mailboxes. That eventually morphed into 7 half marathons, 1 Ragnar relay and countless other smaller races.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
JG: The visual I have of crossing my first marathon finish line, coming up this fall! I don’t want to let myself down, so I am utilizing Faith as my coach. I don’t want to let her down either!

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
JG: I’m passionate about Keto Coaching and my clients, and I love to cook and bake all things keto! I even self-cater my own Keto Lunch ‘N Learn events. My three mini-schnauzers (one of whom is paralyzed and just did a Swiffer commercial!) also keep me happily busy. I maintain the social media site for my special needs pup and occasionally write local articles about him as well. He’s a little celebrity!

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
JG: I’ve run 3 Disney Wine and Dine half marathons and loved all the on-course entertainment! I also enjoyed the Publix A1A Half in Ft. Lauderdale. What’s better than the beach at sunrise?!

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
JG: The Rock and Roll Vegas, The Grand Tetons Half and The Marine Corps Marathon

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
JG: I was running a 10K in Hilton Head, and a half was being run on the same course. I always look for my husband when I cross the finish line (he’s much faster than me), but this time, he was nowhere in sight! I was also really impressed with my time. It was my BEST 10K EVER! A few seconds after I was patting myself on the back, I looked at my Fitbit and realized I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because I shorted myself almost 2 miles!!! On sheer principal, after the race finished, I did those two extra miles just for ME. I was so mad at myself at the time, but now I find it funny!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
JG: I will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line of my very first half marathon! I’m SLOW, but shortly after crossing, a gentleman came over to thank me, saying that he used me as his pacer the entire way! You just never know who you may be inspiring!

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
JG: That more people than not do intervals and that interval runners are sometimes even faster than full on runners! I was so happy to see this because I’ve had neck surgery and this is the only way I run!

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners? 
JG: If it were not for intervals, I wouldn’t have been able to run all these races. If you want to run but think you can’t, try intervals! You can always increase those intervals as you build up! 

Another piece of advice I have is really more of a mantra from my best friend and fellow runner, Janice. We’ve both had similar neck surgery, so we realize how fortunate we are:“It’s not that I “have” to run. It’s that I GET to run!”

Coach’s note: Joni will be running one of her bucket list races in the fall of 2019 when she takes on the Marine Corps Marathon. We wish her all the best!!

Courtney B.

01 May

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Courtney Beaulieu: 21

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
CB: I’m currently a health sciences major at Eastern and graduating in May then moving on to an accelerated nursing program. I am a dog and nature lover. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
CB: I started running in high school because wanted to get into shape and be a part of a team sport

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
CB: The runners “high” and the feeling of accomplishment after a run. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
CB: I love hiking, netflixing, eating, traveling, kayaking. 

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
CB: Racing really isn’t my favorite in general, but I love racing with running friends and the race HAS to have food after it, that’s the best part.  

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
CB: Just more marathons! No specific event

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
CB: During a race, when I was in cross country, a team mates shorts completely ripped while taking a digger. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
CB: Finishing the Sehgahunda marathon.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
CB: Shoes matter!

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
CB: It does get easier; In the beginning, it feels like you can’t go any longer but eventually, you do get stronger and it gets more enjoyable. 

Laura B.

26 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Laura Bachiochi: 42

RLRS:Tell us a little bit about yourself (kids, married, job)?
LB:I have two kids, aged 13 and 14, and I work as an insurance adjuster for The Hartford. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
LB:I started running a couple years after my divorce and after a break up. I needed a healthy activity to do while I healed, and I went back to what I enjoyed doing as a kid.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
LB:My goals. It is one area where I’ve had some success, so it keeps me motivated to try something new and bigger. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
LB: I enjoy photography, painting, hiking, swimming, biking, crocheting, and reading.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
LB: That’s a really hard one. I really enjoyed doing the Rangar Trail Ultra with my friends. It was a special time.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
LB: An Ironman.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
LB:I left my race number in my car a mile from the start and had to sprint
to my car to get it and sprint back, missing the start by a couple minutes. Not really funny at the time and I was exhausted to start. 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
LB: Finishing my first 100 miler with Faith. (Coach’s note: It was Faith’s first 100 as well!)

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
LB:Don’t wear random sneakers from Payless from 3 years ago. I got knee issues and I seriously didn’t understand why. 

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
LB:Don’t give up. The pain of being new is temporary. If you have to run-walk from one tree to one tree or one telephone pole to one telephone pole there is no shame in that. It is how it works. Don’t expect to go out and run several miles without stopping and think that it is going to work out if you have no history of running. There is no reason to discourage yourself so early. It is a long but beautiful road. Also, don’t be scared of a little pain. Blisters, shin splints, falls. Those are normal and while they seem scary at first because you are not used to so much discomfort, you’ll be fine. It is part of the sport. 

Elizabeth W.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Elizabeth Wren: 31

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
EW: I am a mother of three boys, Gavin, Kaden and Blake, 12, 11 and 9 respectively. I work full time for a Pharmacy Benefit Manager corporation. It is fulfilling and rewarding as well as challenging. I am currently in a deeply committed relationship with the man of my dreams; Rings and a wedding are in the future. I have been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous for just over 8.5 years. Being sober is by far the best thing that I have ever accomplished. My children do not remember me when I was in my active alcoholism, for which I am extremely grateful!

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
EW: I ran track and cross country in high school. Then 3.5 years ago, after the end of a bad relationship, a dear friend took me on a run and I have been hooked since!

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
EW: My own personal goals, my children, and my sobriety.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
EW: I enjoy cooking, reading, baking, and shooting.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
EW: That is a tie. Burning River Relay last year because it made me an ultrarunner. And it was absolutely beautiful. And Forget the PR 50k April 6th. It was the best race I had ever had. Perfect weather, I felt absolutely amazing and finished feeling like I could have kept running!

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
EW: Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe a hundo some day? Or maybe Barkley Marathons? To be honest, I just want to run far in beautiful places because I have a strong body that will allow it.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
EW: Nothing yet.  Stay tuned!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
EW: I have 2. One, finishing my first 10k (3 years ago). I was solo, alone, and still standing when it was over. It was a distance PR as of then. Two, finishing FTPR with a HUGE smile, feeling amazing, 90 minutes faster than my goal time.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
EW: That you don’t have to be so damn serious all the time. It’s not all about “getting faster” or a competition. Running because you love it is so much more enjoyable.

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
EW: See my above answer!!  Also, have fun. And try a trail run or two!

Monica B.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Monica Briggs: 32

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
MB: I am a working mom to a 1.5 yr old. I am trying my best to juggle work, motherhood and typical life “stuff” while getting back into a running routine.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
MB: I started running in 2011 when a friend suggested that we do a half marathon together. I ended up the only one who trained for the race. Even though I have hated running previous to that training, I learned to love it. It was a great way to relieve stress and have alone time to myself.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
MB: I love the idea that running gives me something to improve on, whether it be run faster or longer.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
MB: Predominately cooking and baking! I love trying new recipes or creating my own. Other items on that list are listening to podcasts and audiobooks, dabbling in a crochet project here and there, and learning about personal finance.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
MB: Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, VT. Beautiful scenery, great pizza nearby for carb loading pre-race and a cool river to soak your legs in post-race! It also holds a special place in my heart since the second time I ran it I was pregnant with my son.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
MB: Great Wall Marathon

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
MB: My friends like to joke about the long time I spent at the aid station of a trail half marathon. Didn’t necessarily happen to me, but it was about me. I guess I was pretty hungry and tired so I spent a decent amount of time going back and forth eating and socializing before heading back on the trail! 

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
MB: Finishing my first 50k. It was challenging since I struggled with IT band issues towards the end of my training. I pushed through after getting my leg taped up at the med tent and got to the finish line! It wasn’t pretty but it was the longest distance I had ever completed.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
MB: Cross train with weights, it’s so beneficial!

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
MB: Don’t compare yourself to others!

Maria R.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Maria Rosa: 33

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
MR: Living with partner in Ledyard, professor in Biology Dept. at Conn College.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
MR: Started in 2011 because I wanted to get fit, I used to be more active but got into lazier habits in grad school. Decided to do a tri, since I used to swim and bike regularly, which meant running. I did 0.8 miles on the treadmill and almost threw up lol. But it reminded me how out of shape I had gotten even though I didn’t look or feel fat. So, I started running more as a way to get more active and to do regular workouts when I didn’t have access to a pool or bike.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
MR: A lot has to do with how far I’ve come, and I like to set goals. I think of running as a long-term life style change. I feel better when I run regularly, so even if I fall off the wagon, I like to get back to it. Setting a goal (a particular half- marathon, get to run a 10k weekly etc.) helps me get back on track.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
MR: I like to do a lot of reading, also hiking and playing team sports. I have not done as much of that lately but want to get back into it.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
MR: Any race I can finish! But generally, I love a 10k. I haven’t found a race yet that I love, though there are some I like to consistently do every year (Frostbite Five Miler, Hare Hop 5k, etc.) (coach’s note: both of these races are put on by Kelley’s Pace in Mystic, CT)

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
MR: I want to do one of the Disney half’s, but do all race events on that weekend.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
MR: When I push myself sometimes my stomach rebels, they don’t call it running for nothing. Once I hurled at a finish line, just glad it wasn’t from the other end!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
MR: Finishing the Ocean’s Half Marathon. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. Part of it was not having trained well or being prepared. But until I crossed the finish line, I did not think I was going to make it.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
MR: That it is hard for most people. Feeling inadequate, not wanting to do it, or not having a fun race happens to most everyone. Having a crappy run doesn’t mean running isn’t for you.

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
MR: Have a goal and stick to it but give yourself a break if you don’t meet those goals. Getting back to it and consistency is way more important than hitting that PR. Took me a while to get that one, and I’ve done a lot better since I did.

Jamie J.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Jamie Johnson: 42

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
JJ: I am an English teacher at a technical high school. No kids, and I’m eternally single. Sigh. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
JJ: I started running as a senior in high school. I was incredibly shy in high school and it was out of character, but a teacher pushed me to join and I haven’t stopped running since.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
JJ: I like to push myself, and I love the feeling of being REALLY physically fit. It keeps me much happier mentally, as well, but what I love most about running is the time spent with great friends in the outdoors, which is priceless (both the friends and the nature).

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
JJ: I have a “special” dog and an elderly horse that I spend a lot of time with. I also love reading and movies.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
JJ: Sehgahunda! I’ve done the full marathon twice, and it is quite the (awful? marvelous?) experience.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
JJ: I’d love to run a big race in a country like Scotland or Ireland… Or New Zealand?!

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
JJ: Hmm….too many crazy moments to choose from, but there is nothing quite like “trail talk.”

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
JJ: Probably the first Sehgahunda full. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, the conditions were rough, and I really wanted to quit. Finishing that race taught me that when you think you can’t keep going, just keep going.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
JJ: It is okay to walk the hills sometimes!

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
JJ: Compete against YOURSELF, and don’t ever judge yourself against someone else. Enjoy the journey… Each and every one.

Stefan R.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Stefan Rodriguez:I am 45 years old.

RLRS:Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
SR:I am happily married to Jill, with two boys (Maddox, 12 and Holden, 9).  I work as a transmission lineman for Eversource Energy.

RLRS:When and why did you start running?
SR:I started running in 2014 when a friend asked me to do a Warrior Dash 5k.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

RLRS:What keeps you motivated to train?
SR:Two things keep me motivated.  One, I’m super competitive! And two, the people I run with (I mostly run with the CT Trailmixers and it’s like having a second family).

RLRS:What are your hobbies outside of running?
SR:I’m kind of a geek.  I have a 3-D printer, laser cutter/engraver and a CNC router.  I also like to make awards for local races.

RLRS:What is your favorite race?
SR:I loved the Zion 50k.  It was the first destination race I did the with CT Trailmixers.  The course was made of Jeep roads and single track, and the views were amazing.

RLRS:What is your bucket list event?
SR:The Empire State Building Run Up.  It’s a race to the top of the Empire State Building.  86 flights, 1576 stairs. I’ve tried the lottery for three years.

RLRS:What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
SR:Nothing that I can think of…yet LOL

RLRS:What is your proudest race moment?
SR:Qualifying for Boston at Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine, with no road training.

RLRS:What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
SR:Listen to your body.  When it hurts, take care of it so it doesn’t turn into a bigger problem.

RLRS:What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
SR:Be patient and increase your mileage over a long period of time.

Coach’s note: Stefan’s spotlight was published in early April 2019, and he has since finished the Boston Marathon in a time of 3:36. We congratulate him on his awesome achievement.

Ellen F.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong:  How old are you?
Ellen: I am 31 years old.

RLRS:  Tell us a little bit about yourself (kids, married, job)?
Ellen:  I am married to a 3 time Boston Marathon finisher and Ironman!  I have two kids (2 years old and 8 months old – only 16 months in between the two)  I work full time for a custom home construction company. I love my job and the team I work with!  We also have two Chihuahuas who have been with me since I was a senior in college. They are now 12 years old.

RLRS:  When and why did you start running?
Ellen:  I started running in 2013.  My husband ran cross country in high school, but hadn’t run since then.  We lived in Wilmington, NC and decided we would sign up for a local 5K together.  He won his age group and I really had a good time doing it, so we both started training for longer events.  I trained for my first half marathon and enjoyed training so much and felt so accomplished that I went on to do 10+ half marathons in the next two years.

RLRS:  What keeps you motivated to train?
Ellen:  I’m not really sure what it is honestly!  I think the fact that my husband runs is the best motivator.  And it is something we have in common and enjoy doing. Running helps my mental health and I love the feeling of being so accomplished finishing a long run or a race.  I also want to show my children that if something is important to you, you make time for it. I hope to run races with them someday. I have dreams of crossing the finish line of a big race with at least one of my children one day.

RLRS: What are you hobbies outside of running?
Ellen:  I don’t really have time for too many other hobbies at this stage of life.  Spending time with my kids and husband, watching anything on Bravo, or reading.

RLRS:  What is your favorite race?
Ellen:  I think the Divas Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first half marathon.  I also love the Chicago Marathon because it was my first marathon and my husband, dad, and best friend came to spectate and that was a great moment for me.

RLRS:  What is your bucket list event?
Ellen:  I don’t really have a bucket list event.  I have no desire to do Boston, but I think it’s because I really love spectating that race.  I have no desire to train faster or become a 3 hour marathoner. I just enjoy running and the fact that I get to do it!

RLRS:  What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
Ellen:  Well, it probably wasn’t the funniest, but during the Chicago Marathon at mile 21 I threw up!  It was a really hot day and I had taken some Gatorade which I typically don’t drink. I threw up right near a medical tent and I remember the doctor who helped me was very nice looking and I was so embarrassed!

RLRS:  What is you proudest race moment?
Ellen:  I think my proudest race moment was finishing my first half marathon and finishing my first full marathon.  No one in my family runs (except my husband and sister in law) so they all are blown away by my accomplishments.  I think my most proud moment will be finishing the half marathon I am training for currently. It will be my first race post-babies and something I have worked EXTREMELY hard for.  It is very rare I hit all of my runs during the week. But, training and working hard to make the time with two kids under two and a full time job is exhausting and I feel like I have a lot of excuses not to run that are pretty valid.  So, finishing this next race will mean a lot personally and I think will top this list.

RLRS:  What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
Ellen:  I wish I could go back and not worry so much about times.  I feel like when I first started running I compared myself a lot, and still do, but that doesn’t matter.  Post-babies I have reset my watch and basically acted like a first time runner. Get you a good coach, a good support system, a good pair of shoes and just run for yourself!

RLRS:  What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
Ellen:  Stay consistent!  Consistency is key for running and building up a base.  It is SO hard, believe me, I have had to start from basically zero after having two kids and breastfeeding for the past three years.  But, with a lot of support and staying consistent, I have managed to build back up pretty well. Don’t give up on it and it will eventually become easier!

Samantha G.

25 Apr

Run Long ~ Run Strong:  How old are you? 
Samantha Graham:  Thirty-One 

RLRS:  Tell us a little bit about yourself (kids, married, job)? 
SG:  I am married to my best friend, Sean, and we have a cat.  I live 1300 km from my family, so I have a support network of close friends who I love dearly and have become my family.  For work, I am a self-employed Instructional Designer – I design and develop curricula and learning experiences for corporate environments. 

RLRS:  When and why did you start running? 
SG:  I began running primarily to boost my endorphins and stave off depressive thoughts.  Without writing a novel, I had been working full-time from home for a couple of years after previously working in an office for several years.  I love being around people, even if it is just in an office and I am not directly socializing with them.  Working from home, alone, was mentally challenging.  I kept seeing pictures and posts on social media from friends who were running, so I signed up for the March 2018 Frosty 5k in Burlington, Ontario.  Never having run before, I had every intention of training for it but didn’t due to work trips and catching strep throat.  I ran that 5k in just over 33 minutes, but it took me another 45 minutes to thoroughly cool down and breathe normally again.  Even though I was utterly exhausted, I decided I wanted to finish a race without feeling like my heart was beating out of my chest.  I signed up for a 10k group clinic at a local running store, and the rest is history! 

RLRS:  What keeps you motivated to train? 
SG:  My training runs are a significant part of my self-care.  I thoroughly enjoy running; it gives me a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle of life, clear my head, and re-center myself. 

RLRS:  What are your hobbies outside of running? 
SG:  I love food and wine; I have a long list of brunch restaurants around the Toronto area to try now that we have reached spring!  I enjoy cooking and baking for myself and others, so much of my regular free time is spent in the kitchen.  I also SCUBA dive, and look forward to my annual diving trip! 

RLRS:  What is your favorite race? 
SG:  in 2019, I ran the Dopey Challenge at Disney.  I was able to run the 5k and 10k with my husband and then ran the half marathon and marathon on my own.  It was my first marathon, and my first time at Disney.  It was absolutely magical to run through all the parks! 

RLRS:  What is your bucket list event? 
SG:  Do I have to have one? I don’t currently have a bucket list event, but ask me again in 6 months! 

RLRS:  What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race? 
SG:  I don’t know about funny things to happen during a race, but I have some pretty funny race photos! 

RLRS:  What is your proudest race moment? 
SG:  So far, my proudest race moment was at the 2019 Around the Bay 30k.  I had planned to run it as a training run during my build up to the 2019 Toronto Marathon, but a friend of a friend had a goal finish time in mind and could use the motivation and assistance of a pacer.  She is in her early 40s, and she wanted to beat the finish time her sister set at age 22 of 03:27:00.  The target finish time was well within my pace capability, so we ran together.  We beat her target finish time by almost 5 minutes!  She ran hard, crushed her goal, and I was SO PROUD of her! 

RLRS:  What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running? 
SG:  The first several kilometers are tough to slog through!  Smile, keep your chin up and your legs moving! 

RLRS:  What is your best piece of advice for new runners? 
SG:  Have fun!  Seriously!  Don’t take yourself so seriously that you forget to have fun.  Being able to run is a precious gift, and it should not be taken for granted!  Oh! Remember to smile! You never know when a photographer is going to catch you!