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Meet Pro Triathlete Jen Perez

by Meghann on March 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity to interview Professional Tri-Athlete Jen Perez. With my Sprint Tri looming in the very near future I immediately jumped at the chance to pick the brain of some one who competes in Triathalons for a living.

Jen is not only a bad ass in the field, but she’s the same age as my younger sister and is ultimately a wonderful, down to earth person who provides honest, real answers.

Check her out for yourself…

jen_bikeFirst of all, I want to say how much I admire you for finding a passion for something you love at such an early age. When I was a junior in High School I was more concerned with boys and sneaking out then any type of sport and you were already well on your way to becoming a professional athlete. Was it hard to juggle being a teenager and training at the same time?

Of course it was! Not to mention growing up in New Orleans–it isn’t exactly the best city for good behavior. There was definitely a time when I tried to do it all, training, school, and partying. I quickly figured out that wasn’t going to work out. I realized that I enjoyed all the new experiences from racing and training way more than doing the same things with the same people all the time.

Do you remember the exact moment you realized you wanted to pursue training as a triathlete professionally? 3220395987_6fc5bd3463

To be honest, I don’t think it was an idea that had entered my mind before the coach I was training with at the time mentioned it. I don’t think I really realized my potential  until it was pointed out to me what was possible.

I am sure with so many important events coming up training days can be long and challenging. What does a typical in-season training day consist of?

I usually do at least two of the disciplines everyday, which averages out to somewhere between three to five hours a day of training. I also need to make time for massages, physical therapy (sometimes), coach meetings, sponsors to contact, blogging, school work and studying!

How does that differ from when you train off season?

3344512188_9c8ac1eabeMy in-season training and my off-season training don’t differ all that much in terms of the time put in. The main difference is just how much hard training effort I exert during that time. In the off-season, my workouts are longer, but not very hard. As the season approaches, my workouts tend to get faster in preparation to race.

  • Food is always high on my priority plate whether I have a long run planned or not, I want to make sure my body has enough fuel to make it through the day. How do you approach fueling your body for those long training days compared to rest days?

Longer workout days mean you need a bit more calories than a rest day. The most important thing with a long day is recovering your body. It is really important to help your body heal after a long day or hard effort. During a workout, nutrition is also a good way to keep that energy level up for the duration of the workout. I drink an EAS Myoplex shake or eat an EAS Myoplex bar to keep me fueled and to recover following a workout.

Are you an avid fan of supplements to make sure your body is getting enough nutrients or do you try to stick with more whole, natural foods?

Nutrition is very important when it comes to training. Obviously, if we could g3253632299_ae210e0c30et everything we need from natural foods that would be ideal, but it is very difficult to do especially with a busy schedule – it’s not always as easy to carry around a turkey sandwich to get the protein a nd carbs I need following a workout. I feel that sports nutrition products are a good way to get in the nutrition you need almost immediately after workouts, assuming you are using good reliable products. I use sports nutrition products like EAS Myoplex Lite, Endurathon, and Race Recovery to help me keep my body healthy and ready to workout day after day. EAS products are convenient to pack in my bag and eat or drink on-the-go.

I run a lot in the early morning hours, so I try really hard to stress the importance of safety on my blog. I have a RoadID, run with Pepper Spray and am always conscious of my surroundings. Do you have any advice for training safely on your own?

Safety is very important and those are some great ideas. My advice would be to use routes that are well lit or have heavy traffic (lots of people) like trails or running paths.

Finally, I will be participating in my first Sprint Triathlon this Saturday. I am very nervous abut the transitions and the swimming portion. Do you have any advice to make sure I survive?

Stay relaxed and have fun. Especially since this is your first race, expect bumps in the road and be ok with them. This is about staying healthy and having fun. A good way to get over transitions is to practice them ahead of time. Set up a fake transition area and see how it goes. For the swim, you should stay as relaxed as possible. It can get intimidating swimming with all those people so take it slow and breath. Don’t worry, you’re going to do great!

Thank you, Jen, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview with me and good luck on all of your upcoming amazing events!

—-

As far as my eats… they are relatively boring so I will just tag them on here. 🙂

Mid-morning I had a mini Cashew Cookie Larabar.

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The Cashew Cookie reminded me how much I miss their Peanut Butter Cookie version. Do you thi
nk we will ever have peanut butter products back in our lives again?!?!

Lunch consisted of yummy Eggplant and Brussel Sprout Parm leftovers.

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This time instead of putting the yummy combo over pasta I stuffed it in a pita with some Swiss Cheese. It was my version of aFigure Friendly’ Eggplant Parm Subtake that Racheal Ray!

On the side I had a Pear with a tablespoon of Cashew Butter

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… and 2 Little Pickles because one never seems to be enough pickle for me. 🙂

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So much good food on this plate here. I tried to take my time and enjoy every little bite.

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When I was done with lunch even though my belly was full and happy, my head was screaming for CHOCOLATE. I made it all the way back to the office before I saw this Tootsie Roll in the candy jar and caved.

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My head and tastebuds thank you very much for the chocoaltely treat, while my stomach said… are you kidding me? I’m already full!…. I wish my head and my stomach would just get a long already!

1 fitforfree March 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm

hahaha well a tootsie roll isn’t too much damage 🙂 but I know how one little piece of candy can put you over the top!

your lunch looks so yummy! pear + cashew butter is one of my favorite combos 🙂

2 caitlin March 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

jen is so cool 🙂

i’ll help you set up tomorrow – i have done a tri (kind of!!) before.

don’t forget to pack a reusable publix bag or a plastic bag with:

a large-mouthed bottle of water to wash your feet
towel
mid-race fuel
your helmet

3 Bec March 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I am so excited to read about your race! Love the interview too, what a cool girl 🙂

4 runeatrepeat March 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm

My head and stomach never agree! I know how ya feel.

5 Sarah W. March 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm

great idea for lunch!

goodluck on your tri!

6 Rae March 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Meghann,

I just thought of something that might help for tomorrow. If you are nervous about the swim (which is my weakest event), make sure to start the swim toward the back and to the right (if it is counter clockwise loop, or to the left if it is clockwise….aka a wide berth) it will make it a MUCH easier start and you will be much less likely to get kicked by the crazy fast swimmers. The extra 30 seconds it will take to get started is SO worth it, as it is rough enough to start the swim without fighting a million other people!!

Just take deep breath and go with it girl, you are most definitely in shape enough for this triathlon!!!

7 seesaraheat March 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I am with you on the PB cookie Larabars, I miss them sooo much, I hope we do get that stuff back some day!!

Good luck tomorrow, we’re all rooting for you! Can’t wait to hear how it went.

p.s. My head is constantly overruling my stomach but sometimes the stomach wins, haha.

8 brandi March 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

great interview! you are going to do awesome tomorrow 🙂

9 ksgoodeats March 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Love the interview! Genius idea putting the left overs in a pita!!

I was just thinking about PB things the other day – when are we going to get them back?!

10 Natalie March 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Love the interview! Jen is so inspiring!!

And I miss those pb cookie larabars to. 🙁

11 lisaheartspizza March 13, 2009 at 2:25 pm

some peanut butter products are already starting to come back- at least at the hospital i work in(they sent out a dept. wide email but it didn’t include everything) good luck tomorrow!! can’t wait to read about it.

12 Mica March 13, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Man, I totally have the same problem. My head and my stomach do not communicate AT ALL!

Love the interview! Thanks!

13 Sarah March 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Great interview! Not to be critical at all, but is EAS/Myoplex promoting these interviews to push their products? Are you at least getting some free stuff out of the deal? I just was a little thrown by her answers on the nutrition questions, here and with her other interviews, it seems to be all EAS. Not that I mind, I have a big bag of protein powder in my cupboard right now.

14 ttfn300 March 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm

i’m so behind on reading all my posts, but i wanted to wish you luck tomorrow!!!

15 Sharon March 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Awesome interview! Such wonderful information!!

16 VeggieGirl March 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Wonderful interview!!

Love your mini Larabar 😉

17 Melissa S. March 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm

ok really, you just read my mind. when will be getting all our lovely pb products back! i want my clif mojos damnit! hhahaha!

and tomorrow is going to be great. i’m getting up way before the crack of dawn to come see you race; it better be good! j/k…so excited though!

18 Marissa March 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Good luck tomorrow!

19 Missy (Missy Maintains) March 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Great interview and good luck tomorrow! And if a tiny tootsie roll was the only thing I ate when I was craving chocolate, I would be one happy camper!

20 Run Saraaah March 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the wonderful interview, and good luck for tomorrow!

21 Sara March 13, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Great interview! Your lunch looks great. Way to use your leftovers. 🙂

22 Elina March 13, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Good luck on your Tri tomorrow, Meghann! You’re going to do great!! 🙂

23 Adi (oatonomy.com) March 13, 2009 at 9:59 pm

If you have any leftovers from your lunch, can you send them to Ottawa? 🙂 It looks so delish!

24 Jenn (eating bender) March 14, 2009 at 12:19 am

Awesome interview with Jen!! I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview her last week, too 🙂 She is such an inspiration and I loved reading your questions!

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