The second installment of Third Level Running is with Jen Kryzanowski, a hardcore triathlete from Charleston, South Carolina. This young lady is a strong and driven triathlete that occasionally hops the fence into the ultra running world….
- You are an IronMan Triathlete. What brought you into the world of triathlons and how long have you been doing tri’s? I started competing in running and triathlons when I was asked a simple question such as “Since you aren’t dancing anymore, what are you fitness goals?” Because I always tend to go over and beyond my abilities, I decided I wanted to do an Ironman. So in March 2010, I started with the running…since I was NEVER a runner! I was told the strongest triathletes were the strongest runners. Since then, I have competed in a lot of running races, especially in the year 2010 and I’ve place 1st in my age group in almost all of them. This year, 2011, is when I got serious about triathlons. All I can say is that I am absolutely in LOVE with triathlons. I’ve been running for 4.5 years and doing Triathlons for 3.5 years. I am a 3x full ironman finisher and a 7x half ironman finisher.
- What has been your best triathlon performance? My best triathlon performance was my last 70.3 Ironman back in April 2014. It was just an overall good race. Everything except the weather went perfectly.
- Of the the three triathlon sports which is your favorite, which are you strongest in? Out of the triathlon sports I would say my cycling and running are pretty even. However, most people would say I am a strong runner.
- What is your training like on a daily basis? Take us through a typical training day in Jen’s world.
A typical training day for me in terms of Ironman is getting up before the crack of dawn (about 4:30 AM). I either go to swim practice, get on the bike trainer, go for a run, or hit the gym. I always train two disciplines a day. I rarely train all three disciplines in one day. I train for 2 hours in the morning, go to work full time, then train for another 90 minutes in the evening. This year has been tough training for an Ironman while working a “grown up” job. I’ve learned that quality is better than quantity. It is a good thing quality is better because I do not have as much time anymore. Saturday and Sundays are my long training days. Sunday’s training can range from 5-8 hours of training. My longest brick workout I usually do is 100 miles on the bike followed by a 16 mile run. These long bricks are not only done to get ready physically but also mentally. Long endurance sports are mostly mental. Your mind is so powerful, it can play a huge role in your overall performance.
- You are focusing on a double IM in 2016, – that’s twice the distance on all sports – 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, 52.4 mile run. That’s hardcore! How do you begin to tackle an event of this magnitude? What will your training be like?
My newest challenge is going to be a double Ironman in 2016. I really wanted to qualify for the Olympic trials, but right now, I am just not at that level. I love the endurance stuff. I have not figured out how I am going to tackle this event yet. I’m still learning about it. But I have a great team of support and a wonderful coach who I have faith could guide me through this process.
- Put yourself at the starting line of a race, any race. What’s going on in your head? How are you feeling? What are you thinking?
If you ask any of my friends, I am a mess when it comes to tapering; especially, tapering for big races. I am a very competitive person and no one could ever be as hard on me as I am on myself. I strive to be the best and by doing so I train hard. I do have a problem of letting my nerves get to me which I am personally working through. There are times my races went terrible because I let my nerves get to me. Because I am a sponsored athlete, I do not want to disappoint anyone. I feel as if every time I do well in a race, I must strive to do better.
At the starting line, I always think “Why do I put myself through this?” But at the finish line, I say to myself “This is why I put myself through this!” You seriously do not know how tough you are until being tough is the only thing you have left in you. I heard once that if you are not nervous at the starting line, you might as well retire. So far, I am far from retiring. As competitive athlete, you usually know who you are competing with. In triathlons, you do your research and in running, you know that you will see your competition usually right up front where you are. A lot of times I tell myself that I am my only competition; it’s me against the clock. What is difficult for me is when I find myself up front. There is something nerve wrecking when you are the leading female in a race. You must stay extra calm and you want to look behind you to see if another female is approaching but you know that small movement could throw you off.
- Gear. Tell us about your gear…what you wear, use and why. Fueling. How do you fuel for your races – IM triathlons, shorter distanced tris, any other kind of races?
My gear is usually given to me. I’m still a fairly new athlete so I’m still working on nutrition. My triathlon clothing is given to me. My running shows are K-Swiss. They are the only running shoes that seem to work for me well. I usually run with a visor. I also usually run with a water bottle for longer runs. Running belts make my stomach upset. In my open run races, I usually wear my racing jersey and shorts. The key is to make yourself feel as light as possible.
- When you look at your life apart from your triathlon training/racing world, do you live & produce by the same intensity?
My Ironman life has become my lifestyle. I never would have thought this would have been my lifestyle or I would even be good at it. My entire life is worked around my training schedule. I have friends and family who support this life style which I am extremely blessed for. I am excited to see how this lifestyle turns out for me. I would love to become a professional triathlete. My goal before I die is to do a full or half ironman in every state. I have currently completed a half or full ironman in six different states.
I had the privilege of watching this amazing athlete run Lowcountry Ultra’s ruthless Cremator 50 miler in 2013. She was traffic stopping, to say the least!
I look forward to watching Jen’s progress as she takes on new challenges especially, the Double Ironman in 2016! And, from what I’ve learned so far about this young, driven athlete is that she will expand her territory as she pushes the envelope of her training and racing.
Thanks for stopping by!
Stay tune for the December installment of Third Level Running.
All the best to you and yours.