From Middle Distance To Marathon - Levelle, Inc

From Middle Distance To Marathon

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.

Jess Olver, née Jess Palacio, running in first place representing the United States Naval Academy.

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.

The United States Naval Academy Women's track & field team.

What Motivates You To Keep Running?

The simple enjoyment of it and how I feel after!

What’s Your Next Event?

The Marine Corps Marathon, my first ever marathon.

How Do You Find Time For Fitness In Your Daily Routine?

It is difficult to incorporate training with balancing everything (work, kids, now selling, buying and moving house!) but I always find some time to dedicate to working out. Having a race or a goal is very helpful in accomplishing this as well.

What Is The Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned About Yourself Through Running?

I always found it difficult to take a day off from working out. I felt like I needed a hard workout every day. What I eventually realized was that in order to perform better on my hard workout days, as well as competitions, I needed to take at least one day off a week. Let my body recover. I also had to learn how to balance my running workouts with cross-training so I didn't injure myself.

What Advice Would You Give A Younger You?

Make sure to properly stretch post all run workouts and races. Also, stay in-tune with your body and know when it is appropriate to reel back training to prevent injuries from setting in.

How Do You Push Through The Mental Barriers Of Long Runs?

I tend to divert my thoughts from the run itself to something else. Occasionally, really focusing and thinking through the rest of the run or race.

What Are You Most Proud Of?

The lifelong relationship I have with my teammates. I am also humble and proud to have been able to compete at NCAA Championships and earn All-American honors in the mile.

Have You Ever Failed To Fuel Properly? What Did You Change As A Result?

Yes, it took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out what worked best for my body. The day before a competition I had to eat a well-balanced meal. For me, that was salmon with veggies and some carbs. I wasn't able to eat pasta dishes, I never felt good going into a race because of how heavy the meal was.

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 tool or habit has most improved your running? High intensity cross training.
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!
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