Run Long Run Strong Endurance Coaching, LLC

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. 

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.

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!

Susan G.

05 Jul

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Susan Gilstrap: 44

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
SG: Married 12 years to a wonderful, supportive husband, Ken. I have two fur babies, 1) 5yr old purebred American Bulldog who is a meathead and loveable and 2) Winnie a 10 year old Corgi mix who just wants to lick you to death! We live in Dallas, TX. I work in advertising in downtown Dallas as a Sr. Art Director. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
SG: I started many years ago, around 2006ish and just wanted to get into shape.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
SG: Honestly, I’ve lost motivation throughout the years especially after my marathon in 2015. I’ve started again and it’s the feeling I get after waking up in the morning (and I’m NOT a morning person) and knowing throughout the day that I got my workout done! Plus, I love seeing the green after I’ve completed a workout in TrainingPeaks!! hahaha

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
SG: I love horses and use that passion to create handmade cards/art.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
SG: Not sure I have a favorite. Depends on where I’m at with my training. A good 5k is always great for motivation because the distance doesn’t kill you and you get a medal!

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
SG: Ooh, maybe the Honolulu Marathon and a 50 miler. (although the 50M seems almost impossible!!)

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
SG: During my marathon in 2015, we did it in Eugene, OR where my husband is from. About mile 15, both my sisters-in-law and their kids were driving up and down the street in their grandma’s old Caddy screaming out the window! Then, some of them jumped on course with me!! Mile 15 was when things were still funny! (not at mile 19 though!)

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
SG: Crossing that marathon finish line!!!

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
SG: Don’t stop believing in yourself!!

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
SG: Take it workout by workout. Try not to get overwhelmed by your goal race. “My race, my pace.” To try and not compare to others paces.

Cynthia T.

08 Jun

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Cynthia Thompson: 50 years old

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
CT: Two sons, ages 31 and 20.  Oldest is married and has given me three adorable grandchildren (5 and 2-year old boys, 6-month old girl).  Single. Work as a purchasing manager in the chemical industry.

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
CT: I started running at the young age of 46 when I realized I was playing in two different tennis leagues but still felt like I was out of shape – and I quickly learned that I was even more out of shape than I believed! I put myself through an unplanned C25K and . . . kinda got addicted!

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
CT: I love the friendships I have developed running – having so many amazing women to train with keeps me going even when I am having a rough time.  I also love a challenge – once I have committed to a race, I hate the idea of letting myself down!

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
CT: Wait, there are things to do outside of running? OK, OK.  I still play in a Summer tennis league, I try to get on the water as often as I can with my kayak, I live the dream as Mimi to my grandkids whenever I can . . . and does binging Netflix crime series count as a hobby?

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
CT: I try to never run the same race twice – I like the adventure of trying new and different things!  I have to say that Big Turtle 50 miler is my favorite to date – but maybe that is because I am so very proud of the accomplishment of it.  It was a beautiful course too in the Daniel Boone National Forest in KY.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
CT: There are too many races to run! I love the idea of the Volcanic 50 which circumnavigates Mt. St. Helen’s – I so vividly recall watching that volcano erupt, and the idea of running it fascinates me.

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
CT: Hmmmm . . . I was struggling with IT band pain during the Carmel (IN) Marathon, and there was an aid worker with pain spray – but I couldn’t pull my compression pants up far enough for her to be able to spray the outside of my knee!  So  . . . yeah, I kinda pulled my pants down right on the side of the course (yes I was wearing moisture wicking undies – no mooning my fellow runners)! Sadly, it didn’t even help much and I ended up finishing the half instead of the full.  But hey, it was quite the moment!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
CT: Crossing every finish line for a distance PR has been a proud moment – but I definitely became the most emotional when I finished my first full marathon (Little Rock).  I will always be thankful to my friend Cari for running the entire 26.2 with me, motivating me, and even singing Disney tunes to me LOL.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
CT: I wish I knew that every runner has insecurities, fast or slow is a matter of perception, and your only competition is yourself! (Sorry, I know that’s more than one.)

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
CT: Join a run club and run with friends!  I have formed some of the most amazing, supportive friendships through running, and the training is so much nicer when you do it together!

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!

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!