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June Athlete Spotlight- Joe Perez

June's athlete spotlight is on Joe Perez. Joe found GRIT Endurance Coaching through a Facebook page dedicated to thru hikers of the Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon. I had replied to a post and he contacted me for coaching shortly after. We have been working together since November 2021 as he prepares for his first 50K in almost 6 years! Joe lives in Texas and is training through the summer heat as he acclimates to the weather that he will endure in July at SpeedGoat 50K in Utah!

What are you currently training for?

I'm currently training for a 50K mountain race, in Utah, called SpeedGoat

How did you get started on your running journey?

In 1993, I was in the Air Force and traveling the pacific theatre. A stop in Hawaii aligned with the Honolulu Marathon. I was not exactly a runner, but the confidence and impulsiveness of youth resulted in me signing up for the full marathon. I started way too fast and was walking by mile 15. In my 5+ hour "run", I was passed by Japanese nationals wearing traditional wooden shoes, parents pushing strollers, dogs, and kids. I remember laughing at my foolishness and loving every minute of the race. I ran the Okinawa marathon shortly after and have been running ever since.

What keeps. you motivated?

Sanity and vanity keeps me running. Sanity- a lot of my miles are run alone That time allows me to mentally unpack things and think through personal and professional obstacles. Vanity- I just turned 50 and my fastest miles are behind me. Transitioning to longer distances and more difficult terrain allow me to remain competitive in different aspects.

Do you have a mantra or quote that you use when things get tough?

When things get tough, I ask myself, "Are you injured or are you just in pain? If you're not injured, you feel most alive when in pain".

If you could give any advice to another athlete, what would it be?

Run once a month completely disconnected from technology. Listen to your body and run how your body tells you to.

What is your favorite workout so far in your training program?

Vertical work on the trail is my happy place.

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