Sep 26-27 2015
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US Olympic Gold Medalist, Jess Steffens, will be with Jamba Juice at the San Jose expo.

US Olympic Gold Medalist, Jess Steffens, will be with Jamba Juice at the San Jose expo.   Read on to learn from Jess herself on how to achieve race day greatness.

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 US Water Polo Olympic Gold Medalist, Jess Steffens, will be attending the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon expo in San Jose on October 5th.  We took a moment to catch up with her and learn about what it exactly takes, both mentally and physically, to reach her goals within the sport.  For a chance to personally meet and chat with Jess, stop by the Jamba Juice booth and grab a Jamba Energy on Saturday, October 5th from 9:30am-12:30pm.


Who was/is the most influential person to you, within your sport?

Maureen O’Toole was apart of the FIRST women’s Olympic Team for USA and soon after the Sydney Games she moved to my hometown. Even though my dad and my uncle taught me a lot, Mo taught me a lot about water polo and playing on the National Team


Who was/is the most influential person in your life out of your sport?

My dad, he always has words of motivation and continually encouraged us to be among the best in everything we do. 


What got you motivated on those mornings when you just didn’t want to get out of bed to train?

My team. I can’t let the team down!


After continued success and such a high level of recognition throughout your career, how did you keep yourself motivated? 

I never forget dad’s words…to be among the best….I never wanted to be a mediocre player or person, if you are not continually striving to improve yourself, then what are you doing???


To you, personally, what was your biggest accomplishment throughout your entire water polo career?

 2008 Olympics. It was my first huge event and I loved it…I had never been so focused and determined. Of course, 2012 was also incredible, but I will never forget that first attempt.


How do you keep the game fun at such a high level of play?

There are so many fundamentals to improve on every day. I still have things to learn and practice! But going through practice everyday, it was always my teammates that helped us get through it. We become family.


What was it like having your sister Maggie on the National team with you?  Was there a little sibling rivalry there?  No rivalry, at that point we have made it to the team and became teammates. If anything, we were the MOST supportive of each other!


After shoulder surgery in 2010, how did you motivate to rehab and get back into the water to play again?

I wanted another chance at gold and I wanted to play with my sister…so somehow we made it happen. 


Attending Stanford University and playing as a varsity athlete, it’s clear you have great balance between academics and athletics.  Do you have any tips on how to “accomplish it all?”

Thanks! Definitely, stay focused and don’t get lazy about fundamentals. Kids that get lost or overwhelmed with homework or practices  have 2 options: give up or make it happen. With a lot of help from my family, I always did my best to make it happen and give myself the best opportunity to succeed. I’d say that strategy worked!


Training for a half marathon or marathon is difficult, but training to become an Olympic champion is a whole other ballgame.  What did a typical training day look like for you?

In the water 5-6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Generally with physical therapy or rehab in between. Weekends are games or recovery time. Eat and nap in the middle of the day…Dinner is always big and healthy to replenish lost calories and nutrients and we always sleep hard! Thankfully I always have my teammates to keep me on schedule!


Do you have any advice for those participants that are almost to the finish during the half or full marathon?  How do you push through that last mile (or in your case, last minute) to achieve a personal best?

 I’ve done so many conditioning workouts and played in so many situations where I am just beat. But I always think about my opponents and how much harder it is for them in that moment. Maybe that doesn’t apply to this race, so here’s a correlation. You trained for this moment, your body is prepared for this moment, make it happen!


Any tips on pre-race nutrition for our half and full marathoners?  What works best nutritionally for you the day before a big game?

 Some people can’t eat before a race, but I can’t imagine working out without fuel! Just make sure you aren’t doing anything new before a race. How do you train? You should compete in a similar fashion.


Finally, after a great game or tournament, how do you reward yourself? 

Huge dinner and awesome sleep! And definitely at the end of a tournament I will celebrate with my teammates.

Schedule of Events

September 26 – 27, 2015

Health & Fitness Expo

San Jose McEnery Convention Center
Friday, September 25, 1:30pm – 6pm
Saturday, September 26, 9:30am – 5pm

Expo Details

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose 5k
7:30am: 5k

Event Details

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Race Day

8:00 am: 1/2 Marathon Wave Start
8:00 am: 10K Wave Start
Event Details