Boston Bound 2018: Jesse Blondin

Boston Marathon is coming right up! Everyone's qualification journeys, training blocks, and race goals are so different, but the magic of Boston brings it all together on Marathon Monday. 

We'll be spotlighting a few Athletes for Yoga as we countdown to race day. First up, Jesse Blondin, who is using Jasyoga to train for her 2nd Boston and 9th marathon. She's a mom who gets the bulk of her training by running her commute. Get to know this super inspiring woman and join us in cheering her on April 16!

My name is Jesse Blondin and I'm from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I've been running for about 12 years. I was a rugby player in high school and university, and found running as an adult looking for a new athletic outlet. 

Boston 2018 will be my 9th marathon, and 2nd Boston. I ran a few marathons before I had kids, but Boston seemed like a far off goal at that point (my first marathon was 4:15). After my kids were born, I focused more on the Boston goal and finally qualified in my 6th marathon. Last year's race was truly a dream come true, and the marathon lived up to all my expectations. 

I have two kids — aged almost seven and almost four. (My daughter's birthday is actually on marathon weekend, which means I'll miss her special day again this year! Cue the mom guilt).

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When they were younger, I did a lot of stroller running as a way to fit in the miles and juggle childcare when they woke up early in the morning or when my husband was traveling. 

As they've gotten older (and heavier!) I've had to get creative with my training. For the last three years, I've used run commuting as my primary way to get in my weekday runs (hence the handle @runs2work). One day a week, I drive into the office and bring in clothes and lunches for the week. The other 3–4 days, I run to and from work (just under 5 miles each way), which allows me to fit in the training runs during the time I would normally spend commuting. It isn't always easy to juggle, especially with the challenging winter weather, and I've been known to show up to meetings in sweaty run clothes, but it works. I work as a manager in the federal government. 

Is this your first Boston? 
No, I ran my first Boston in 2017 and will return this year for the second time. 

What's so magical about Boston?
My first Boston was an almost magical day after almost a decade long journey to get there. 

I cried at least five times on marathon day last year! When a volunteer at Athletes Village wished me a good day, when I crossed the starting line, when I saw my husband in Newton, when I turned onto Boylston Street and when I crossed the finish line. It was an emotional day — in a good way. 

Where did you qualify for this year?
I qualified at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon in October 2016. My training partner and I ran the race together but separated around half way through. The best part was waiting for her in the finishing chute and discovering that she had qualified, too. We'll be traveling together for Boston this year. 

What are your A, B, C goals?
My A goal is to set a personal best  (sub 3:29) — I know it won't be easy on the tough Boston course, but my training has been solid. 

My B goal is just to have a strong run, regardless of the time on the clock — adjusting for the weather, or whatever the day throws at us. I've run enough marathons now to know that race day can bring many surprises.

Ultimately, I want to soak up the Boston experience again!  

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What was your most challenging workout in this training block?
My Tuesday night track workouts with my team always fill me with the most anxiety. I know they're going to hurt. I'm very thankful for the support of my teammates who push me outside of my comfort zone. 

What was your most encouraging workout in this training block?
Last week, I ran a shorter long run of 22km at close to marathon pace. I felt strong throughout and it was a big confidence builder after many slow long runs due to cold and snow. 

How do you use Jasyoga in your training? 
My favorite thing about Jasyoga is how it breaks yoga down into manageable bite-size chunks. I work full time and have two small kids, so time is a constant juggle. I can't fit a 90-minute studio class into my week these days (or even an hour long at home practice!). But, I can fit in a video or two or three when I have a few spare minutes and really feel the benefits.

For example, Sunday is my rest day, so I try and do a longer recovery video in the morning in my pajamas while my kids do their own yoga video or play. I'll fit in a 5-Minute Reset on a particular problem spot while my kids are playing in the bathtub or I'm waiting for oatmeal to cook on the stove. 

What’s your favorite pose for workout day?
Legs up the wall

I do a track workout on Tuesday nights and get home just as my kids are going to bed. I lie in my three year old son's bedroom in the dark with my legs up the wall and he tells me about his day, while I sneak in some recovery.

Favorite video for recovery day?
High Mileage Reset. This is my Sunday morning choice when I have a bit more time. 

Favorite video for long run day?
Quick Post-LR Reset

I do my long runs early on Saturday morning before a busy weekend of family and kid activities. I usually have just enough time to wolf down some food and hop in the shower before it's in the car to drive someone to music or gymnastics. This Reset is short enough I can do it while I have a drink and wait for the shower to warm-up, and it helps my body to loosen up even if I don't have enough time for the full recovery I would like. 

Do you have a go-to, can’t live without video this training cycle?
The 17-minute Full Body Reset is just the right length and hits all my body parts. I traveled recently for work and used it each day in my hotel room to deal with the stiffness that comes from airplanes and boardrooms. 

It's mile 24, what will you think of to pull you to that finish line?
I think back to all the hard work I've put in over the past few months — I didn't do all of that to quit now. That's what keeps me pushing forward. 

Do you have a mantra for when it gets hard? 
Tenacious, Relentless, Drive, Desire. (This was the mantra for my varsity rugby team in university and those words continue to inspire me.)

Follow Jesse on Instagram and Twitter and be sure to give her some love as she approaches race day!

Are you racing Boston? Don't miss The 26.2 Collection (hello, Taper Meditation) and be sure to prioritize those Resets in the coming days! Share your journey with #athletesforyoga