Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How Hard R U Willing 2 Go? Interview with Jake Peterson

Jake Peterson was 1st across the line at this year's Salem, East Canyon and Daybreak triathlons, has reportedly lowered his diaper changing PR a full 15 seconds, and, according to multiple sources, recently outran a black pepper snake in a field near his Bluffdale home.

The dude is fast!

Among other things, here he discusses his "Hit List," calls out the Blow The Whistle guy, and gives some great advice on getting faster.

Thanks for the time, Jake!

What's your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

When I was young I played about every sport in the book. Then later on I focused on racing dirt bikes nationally before focusing on basketball and track. After winning a few state titles in high school track, I had the opportunity to be a hurdler at Utah State and UVU.

My dad one day said I need to come race a triathlon. At the time I had no idea what the heck a triathlon was. He took me to the pool and had me swim a couple laps without drowning. Then I borrowed a neighbor's old 25 pound bike and wore my track shorts for the whole thing. I actually ended up winning and was hooked for life.

Editor's Note: had some trouble getting this video to embed in the interview... so here's the direct link to YouTube - Jake Peterson Outran a Black Pepper Snake!!

How would you summarize your season so far, and what races are left on your 2017 schedule?

I would say it started slow back in April due to a horrible respiratory virus. But since then it has been on track to be my best season yet. I've been getting faster every month while increasing my watts by 25% since April, indicating progress thanks to Wesley and strength coach Andrew Stasinos.

There are a few races left on the schedule. I'll be racing the Sprint at Echo & Jordanelle, and then the ITU world championships in the Netherlands to cap it off in September.

What are your goals for the rest of this season as well as the next few years in the sport?

Goals for the rest of the season would be to stay healthy and make small base hits in progress every month. My main goal is to win Worlds in September. As of last year I was sitting in the top five of the 8 that will be going from the U.S. But I know that I am a totally different athlete from last year and I know it's possible if I stay consistent and trust the system.

Jake with Kona Qualifier Anatoliy Uspensky & local legend David Warden @ East Canyon
If my life would allow me to train more than 8 hours a week, my goal would be to win my age division at St. George next year and race a couple other half distance races. My big one would be to race Ironman Florida and qualify for Kona 2019. But again, it depends on time and if Sir Wesley would let me move up. Since the half and full (Ironman) distances are less competitive than the sprint and olympic in my division, it will only get harder if I wait with age.

At Daybreak (Sprint) you had the fastest swim, fastest bike, fastest T2, fastest run, and, of course, fastest overall time. That said, you had only the 2nd fastest T1 split... what are you doing to address this glaring weakness in your game?

Seriously though, compared to elite rivals at Nationals, Worlds, etc, what would you consider to be your biggest relative strength and biggest relative weakness?

I guess I need to get my bike closer to the "bike out" area... room for improvement at Echo!

On a national and world level for the sprint distance, I would say I am an Average Joe in the swim and on the bike. My strength is definitely the run. I haven't ran on a true 3.1 mile course yet this year so I'm excited to see exactly where I'm at at Echo which is the most true course in Utah in my opinion. My main goal would be to get to sub 16 off the bike in a draft legal race because the legs will be fresher. But for Echo I'm shooting for a high to mid 16 minute run.

Rumor has it Jake sleeps in full wetsuit, goggles, and cap the night before a race. Minimalist Jorge de Amorim Filho is known to race in nothing but goggles & race belt.

Had Andrew Hall raced the sprint at Daybreak, what would've been the gap between you two (and who wins)? Same question if you had raced the Olympic?

If we raced the Olympic, Andrew would have definitely won by 2 minutes and maybe more if he didn't drop his chain. I have nowhere near the endurance he does on the run. We like to say when he races a Half/70.3 that he is in a different zip code.

Last year I had a horrible oly race at nationals the day before the sprint. The next day Andrew beat me by 20 or so seconds in the sprint. This year being a different year and being a different athlete. I think If we raced the sprint together, I would have won by 50 seconds to a minute. The last two times he raced the sprint at Daybreak he went 1:08. I went 1:07:31 with a 25 second water break on the run because my stomach was turning upside down. Any other distance and Andrew would win of course. I have a lot of respect for Andrew and he's one of my favorite dudes on the planet.

Daybreak overall men's podium: Jake, Brad Johnson (2nd) & Jake Ruston (3rd)

Honest question... can anyone in their 20's hang with you on the local, short course scene? Who are some "friendly rivals" who push you?

Well I thought it was going to be the "BLOW THE WHISTLE" guy, but that whistle must be full of  cotton mouth spit and sweat from trying to keep up with the big boys, haha.

I don't have a rival list, but I have what I call the "Hit List." The hit list is what I started back when I started with Wes three years ago. It started with about 10-12 dudes that I need to beat in order to cross them off. There are only three left on that list. For one or two of them I would have to move up a couple distances, but one of them may or may not be racing this weekend. It's something that keeps me focused during hard training sessions and helps me reach my goals.

As far as in their 20's? Nobody I can think of in their 20's besides Connor Weaver. But he is on another level than I am. The dude qualified for his pro card and was top five in the nation before his mission. He is back and going to win Olympic nationals I'm sure. But if he raced the sprint, I'm sure it would be close. The cool thing is that we are on the same team and have the same coach, so I'm excited to learn a lot from him. He will be at Echo. Last time he raced there I think he beat the "KING" at the time by a few minutes. So if you don't know who he is, you should Google him.

How long have you worked with BAM / Wes Johnson and how have they helped with your development?

To give you an idea, before Wes I would get in the pool and swim 8x100 and think I was good. My first day with Wes I swam more than I ever had in my life. Then shortly after I got on the bike and couldn't even do the workout. So since then Wes has brought my game from an F to an A.

The three years I've been with BAM has been an amazing journey for sure. What people don't understand is how it takes a village to build an athlete. I couldn't tell you how many at BAM have contributed to my success. Jeff Sherrod has taught me so much about handling and other bike mechanics that have made a huge improvement in my times and handling skills. The strength workouts from Andrew Stasinos have made a world of difference for injury prevention and how I've been able to improve my run times, etc. My training partners have pushed me to be a better person and to succeed in other parts of my life. The BAM family is a great place for all levels of talent and personalities.

What's your podium for favorite local races and why?

1) Salem Sprint, because it is the best spectator friendly race in Utah and is one of the best courses.

2) Daybreak, because my wife can walk and yell at me every part of the swim.

3) Echo, because it is usually very competitive and the most true course in Utah.

this year's Salem Spring saw a rare 4-way tie for first

If someone came to you and said "Jake, help! I wanna get faster!" what would be the top pieces of advice you'd give them?

1) Trust the system, be coachable, and be as consistent as possible. Most athletes who don't trust their coach usually fail. Biggest lesson I learned as an athlete.

2) Don't compare yourself with others. Everyone is at a different stage of development and life. Basically stay away from what I call "the groupies." They are always training in what we call the grey zone and always comparing times with others. They have to have the latest and greatest in equipment. They are those that when they go to the pool, they are there just to race the person next to them with no purpose. Or they chat about stuff they have never done in their life. I also call them Lifetime or Vasa bros. For me I swim at a rec center and usually swim next to seniors doing water aerobics. Trust me they aren't interested in talking up smoke or racing. Not everyone at Lifetime is a groupie - if you're offended by what I said, I'm sorry.

3) Take easy days easy and hard days hard. Every workout has a purpose and you should follow it to a T. Everyone thinks I just run 6 minute miles when I run. The majority of my recovery runs are at ten minute pace and a walk every four minutes. When it's time to go hard, then I go hard. Avoid the "grey zone" as much as possible.

In your opinion what does it take on the mental side of things to excel at short course racing?

You just have to decide how hard you want to push yourself, and the hardest thing is holding that pace the whole race. I always visualize the race and how hard I'm going to go. Mentally it is always hard to do, especially in the swim. I just tell myself "I'm okay" over and over again in my head. Anyone can do it. But the question in your mind is how hard are you willing to go?

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