Levelle was born from intimate conversations with tough as nails female endurance athletes. We heard fascinating story after fascinating story while we were dreaming up the business and have reconnected with some of the athletes to share those stories here, with you.
Determined, driven and focused Jess Olver became the best female distance runner in the history of the United States Naval Academy in 2012. She ran the 800m and 1600m in high school and college, and while at the Naval Academy, she attained six track and field and cross-country records and won nine Patriot League championships. From enlisted Marine, to Midshipmen, to Commissioned Officer, Jess’s path took a special kind of dedication. She’s run through it all, and when asked to describe herself she made sure to include that “I like to have fun running.”
Now training for her first marathon while continuing her service, raising two beautiful children and moving house, Jess shares a little about balance, competition and how she fuels for race day.
Why Did You Start Running?
I started running as a way to think through the day.
What Motivated You To Start Competing?
My high school track coach saw potential in me and bought me my first pair of running spikes (black-and-yellow tiger striped pattern), I used those shoes to run 800m and 1600m races. Running for me started late in high-school and really expanded when I entered the Naval Academy. The majority of my career's success is attributed to my XC and Track & Field coach, Karen Boyle. She was the most dedicated and inspiring person; who really cared about her athletes on the track, in class, and professionally. To this day we remain very close.
What Motivates You To Keep Running?
What’s Your Next Event?
How Do You Find Time For Fitness In Your Daily Routine?
What Is The Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned About Yourself Through Running?
What Advice Would You Give A Younger You?
How Do You Push Through The Mental Barriers Of Long Runs?
What Are You Most Proud Of?
Have You Ever Failed To Fuel Properly? What Did You Change As A Result?
The day of the competition I would eat a light breakfast, typically oatmeal and coffee. Pre-race I would take a GU energy gel with caffeine (my favorite flavor was "Expresso Love"—it is still my favorite!). Between events I would either take another energy gel or electrolyte blocks.
What does athletic success mean to you? Putting my best effort in.
Favorite post-race meal? When I was very competitive pasta. Now, I enjoy pizza!
What's in your hydropack/ running belt? Gels and electrolyte blocks — always happy to try new things with my workouts.
Morning or evening run? Prefer evening, I am so much more awake! Mornings are for pre-race shake-out runs!
Best race sign you’ve seen? N star for Navy!
Favorite distance? Right now, 13.1, maybe it’ll be 26.2 after I run my first marathon.
Favorite way to indulge in your wellbeing? Definitely, deep tissue massages!