Run Long Run Strong Endurance Coaching, LLC

Rocky R.

09 Sep

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Rocky Reid: 41

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
RR: 2 kids (15 year old son and 13 year old daughter). Both kids play basketball at school and AAU basketball as well. I have served as the Director of Women’s Basketball for Team Hickory Basketball Club for the past two years but I’m stepping down and will just be coaching this year during the AAU season. I’m divorced but have a pseudo-spouse (we’re both divorced but we live together and haven’t felt the need to get married again). Spent the past few years selling medical devices for a distribution company but recently switched companies and I’m now a sales rep for one of actual manufacturers. 

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
RR: I’ve ran off and on since 1996. From 1996-2000 it was required for my college baseball team. Afterwards, I dabbled off and on over the next 15 years or so until I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been much more consistent with my efforts for the most part.

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
RR: My diabetic condition is my primary motivator. I want to keep all of my limbs and vision long term. The other motivator for me is just the peace and quiet I find while running. It’s my personal time to just be 100% in the moment and not focus on anything but my next step and breath. 

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
RR: Coaching basketball, college football, kayaking, camping.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
RR: I haven’t really raced a lot. My favorite run is the Art Loeb Trail in NC. I ran it last year with one of the doctors I call on for work. 

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
RR: I have so many right now. Bel Monte 50k in March 2020 is my first true “ultra” race. I keep finding new races through my research that I would love to do. UTE 100 and Kettle Moraine 100 are the two that probably stand out the most. 

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
RR: Nothing yet, but if you ask me after Bel Monte I may have a different answer.

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
RR: None yet. Finishing Bel Monte 50k WILL be my first ultra so it’s going to hold a special place for me when I complete it.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
RR: When I first started running, I did not understand the importance of building an aerobic base. My goal when I first started was to try and run every run faster than the previous one which is ok when you’re 18-21 and in college but not as beneficial when you’re 41.

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
RR: Stay committed. Stay patient. Have fun. And remember why you started. I look at running as a free therapy session for myself. 


Natalie D.

09 Sep

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Natalie Dielman: 43

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
ND: I work at a library doing programming for adults.  

RLRS:When and why did you start running?
ND: About 10 years ago – I never understood why someone would run for fun and then one day I decided to try it. No idea why!  

RLRS:What keeps you motivated to train?
ND: RI love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a race (or long run).  I’ve never considered myself an athlete but I’m constantly amazed by what my body (and mind!) can do when running.

RLRS:What are your hobbies outside of running?
ND: I love to read, hang out with my family, and explore new places.

RLRS:What is your favorite race?
ND: I loved the Dublin Rock and Roll Half Marathon – great course, fun support, and a wonderful city.

RLRS:What is your bucket list event?
ND: Reykjavik Half Marathon!

RLRS:What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
ND: I’m a pro at posing for race pictures – even if I’m so over the race at that point, I can get a big smile on my face for the picture.  At the Dublin race, mile 12 or so, I started my race picture pose and the photographer said something like “smiling! Very impressed!”, lol.

RLRS:What is your proudest race moment?
ND: Finishing my first half marathon (Disney) was surreal and amazing.  

RLRS:What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
ND: That it is so mental!  I really have to make sure when I think I’m ready to stop that it’s not my mind talking (and it usually is my mind telling me I’m tired, not my body).

RLRS:What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
ND: You can do it – really!  And the more you run, the better you get.  

Lisa B.

08 Jul

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Lisa Brown: 51

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
LB: I have two kids, ages 20 and 25. Right now, I’m in the middle of a move to Ohio where my guy is starting a job at the University of Cincinnati. I’ve been a librarian for about 20ish years, the last 14 in public schools. Not sure what I’ll do in Ohio, so stay tuned!

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
LB: I was originally a road runner and triathlete when I started. It’s funny because when I finished my first 5K, someone mentioned that I should do a marathon. I remember shooting that idea down – and now I have two successful 50Ks under my belt. Oops. A couple years ago, I went totally to trails. Never looking back!

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
LB: My weight! Seriously, I love to eat and running makes me happy and calms my anxiety. The woods are my happy place.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
LB: I’ve rediscovered a love of cooking – see what I’m saying? I like to read, hike, bike, travel, pretty much anything outdoors.

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
LB: I don’t think I’ve had one yet!

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
LB: I really wanted to do Twisted Branch this year, but nagging injuries have plagued me. It’s still on my list of “I really want to do this race!” 

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
LB: I was delirious during the end of the Dam Yeti 50K last year. About a mile or so from the finish, there was a dead raccoon who’d been struck by a car on the grass next to the trail. Out loud, I said, “guess you should’ve run faster.” Unfortunately it was out loud, so the other runners around me heard it, and cracked up. Lightened the moment and we still talk about it!

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
LB: It’s a tie – my first race six months after back surgery, and crossing the finish line at Algonquin 50K – my first successful race of that distance. 

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
LB: I’m not sure. I research everything to death (hello, librarian), so I like to think I’m sorta well-informed. 

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
LB: Go your own way. Be open to advice and criticism, but realize that you’re the one who has to be disciplined enough to get out the door. Kick your own ass and be proud!

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!

Laurie C.

04 Jun

Run Long ~ Run Strong: How old are you?
Laurie Chick: 53 (54 in July)

RLRS: Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
LC: I have been married to my husband Jack for nearly 21 years.  I have two daughters, Jessica (from a previous marriage) and Kailey.  Being that my husband has some years on me, I have been fortunate to have shared the life and love of 5 Granddaughters (from his grown children).  I left the workforce to stay home and raise my younger daughter who is now 15.  It was then I snuck in some schooling and received a degree as a Certified Surgical Technologist.  I worked in the OR for a period of time before returning to more familiar territory when I took a Human Resource job doing payroll for the State of CT.  

RLRS: When and why did you start running?
LC: I started running with a friend of mine when I was about 40.  For many years, we met in the early morning hours several days a week and pretty much stuck to a three-mile route.  From there I added more distance and eventually started signing up for various runs. 

RLRS: What keeps you motivated to train?
LC: I stay motivated by my desire to stay active and to improve as a runner.  Creating challenges for myself provides further motivation.  This year I signed up for the New England 10 Miler Series. It is this type of challenge that leaves me no choice but to get out and run.  Having Coach Faith to be accountable to is a huge motivator. Above all, it’s the quiet time spent during a run and the way I feel afterwards that keeps me lacing up my sneakers.

RLRS: What are your hobbies outside of running?
LC: I love photography, kayaking, taking day trips – whether it be to Maine or Vermont, NYC, or a ferry ride to a nearby island.  I enjoy sitting on the beach in Kennebunkport and hope to do a lot more traveling to faraway places in the years ahead. 

RLRS: What is your favorite race?
LC: I’ve enjoyed all the races I have taken part in, but I think the race I had the most fun running was the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving in 2017.  It was the first time I had run with my sister and we had an awesome time. I especially loved the energy along the route.  It felt great going home afterwards and putting a Thanksgiving meal on the table.

RLRS: What is your bucket list event?
LC: My bucket list event isn’t just one event.  I have a crazy idea of wanting to run a race in each State across America.  Not sure how realistic, but I haven’t given up on it yet!  A more realistic bucket list item is to run another half marathon – a Disney Half, perhaps Disneyland Paris. 

RLRS: What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
LC: Can’t think of anything at the moment.

RLRS: What is your proudest race moment?
LC: My proudest race moment was running the Falmouth Road Race with a very special friend.  We ran for the benefit of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and in honor of her young daughter who was battling cancer at the time.  It’s a very special memory for me.  I’m happy to add that after 7 years, I’ve made it through the selection process and will be returning to run again this August.

RLRS: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started running?
LC: The value of working with a great coach.

RLRS: What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
LC: Whatever your goals, your journey as a runner isn’t always going to progress the way you would have hoped. Each day will bring new challenges and along with your accomplishments may come possible setbacks.  Never give up on your dreams, but don’t be afraid to explore a different path if the one you are on isn’t working for you.  Success as a runner looks very different for each of us.

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!!

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!

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.