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Written by Elaine Gower    Monday, 17 January 2011 08:00    PDF Print E-mail
Elite Racer and Clearwater qualifier Chris Jan Berg


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Chris Jan Berg RunChris Beg is an Elite and Top Age Group athlete and a coach with Breakaway Training.  Chris qualified for The 70.3 World Championships at the Boise 70.3 this year and also took two 1st place titles at the Solana Beach Triathlon and Mission Bay.

Chris comes primarily from a competitive swimming background.  As a senior he was able to set 9 high school records, but his love for multisport goes back further than that.  Competing in triathlons since he was 12 years old by suggestion of his father, Chris found a passion for fitness and sport that continued to grow.

Through high school and into college Chris competed casually while completing his degree at the University of San Diego.  After graduation and a brief stint in public accounting, he decided to pursue triathlon full time.

Chris comes to Breakaway Training to help individuals grow as athletes and push their limits with a youthful exuberance and work ethic that cannot be matched.  His love of the sport is undying along with his unrelenting commitment to excellence.

EJG:   Chris, where did you grow up?

CJB: I grew up in Princeton Jct. New Jersey.

EG:  What brought you to San Diego?

CJB: Sunshine!  I came our here for college in the fall of 2003 to attend the University of San Diego.

EJ: How did you get into Triathlons?

CJB: This is pretty much my father's fault.  When I was about 12-13 years old my dad asked me if I wanted to have a go in a sprint triathlon in New Jersey.  I went for it and snagged 3rd in the under 16 age group.  He had always been active in marathons and triathlons since I can remember, and since I was a swimmer he said I would fare pretty well for at least 1/3 of the race.

EG:  You did triathlons before you came to San Diego, tell me a little bit about the type of triathlons you did in your earlier years.

CJB: It was just sprints, about one a year.  I spent a lot of time swimming, playing ice hockey and volleyball.  New Jersey has a small window of racing weather and triathlon was certainly not as big then as it is now.  There are more races to choose from on the east coast these days which is great to see.

EG: You came from a competitive swim background and you set 9 course records, tell me a bit about your competitive swimming and did you win any national competitions?

CJB: I was never a national stand out, but did hold my own well on the state level.  I was just a swimmer at my summer swim club, but in high school I began the winter swimming routine.  My junior year I went for a local club team and started to see some great improvements and blossomed into a pretty good mid-distance swimmer.  My individual records were in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle, 200IM, 100 fly, and 100 backstroke.  In my few attempts at the 50 free I only managed to tie the school record.  I also was in a few relays that held some records.  I had the privilege of swimming with and against some high-end talent in the pool.

Chris Jan Berg BikeEG:  What was it like racing in (Boise) to your Clearwater winning slot?

CJB: It was nice.  It always is great to have something to show for your races, whether it be a qualifying spot, podium, or new personal best.  Boise was a windy day, and the bike course saw me being blown around the road.  It definitely took some pop from my running legs, but everyone was dealing with the same conditions.  I ran well enough to hold onto 2nd in the age group, which secured the slot for Clearwater.

EG:  You won 1st place overall at (Solana Beach and Mission Bay) tell me a little bit about your win and how it felt to win the whole field.

CJB: Solana Beach was interesting.  It was nice to have the overall victory for the first time.  What made it unusual was that the duathlon that day had started before the triathlon, so a number of the duathlon athletes had already crossed the finish line before me.  I crossed the line and wasn't even announced as the winner, I was an after thought to the crowd, and got the, "thanks for playing" clap as I crossed the line from most of the spectators aside from the ones who knew the order of the day.  Mission Bay I got to enjoy a little more because I was the first one across the line and the finish chute there is more tunnel like than Solana Beach.  Also Mission Bay holds so much history as the birthplace of triathlon.  I am proud to associate my name with a race like that.

EG: What was your preparation for Clearwater after a full season of racing

CJB: It was harder this year than most.  Motivation was hard to muster up.  Most of my training partners were winding down their seasons and I was still going after my final race.  With the odd weather in San Diego I spent more time on a bike trainer than ever before.  I had been nursing an Achilles injury all season so I had to be careful on long runs, and my tempo runs.  I learned a lot about staying healthy this year, which will serve me well moving forward.  Also for the first time since I was in high school, I stopped writing my own swim sets and started swimming at a masters program coached by Anne Cleveland who was just inducted in to the marathon swimming hall of fame.  There are some pretty good swimmers there, and every now and then I get to hammer along with some younger hotshots who have some pretty big dreams in the pool.

EG: Tell us a little bit about your year overall, the ups and downs and wins

CJB: The year started off on a sour note.  I DNF'd in Oceanside with an Achilles problem, and I was also suffering a lot from asthma.  I had been free of asthma symptoms since I was around 15-16 years old and to have it come back 10 years later was devastating.  I was short for breath all the time, and was being dropped from rides I usually crush.  I got the asthma issues resolved, and started the healing process for the Achilles.  I came back into racing finishing fourth overall in a sprint and the 2nd place in Boise.  Then there were a string of good races with the win in Solana Beach, an age group victory in Calgary 70.3, which also had me as the 2nd amateur, and top 20 overall.  I hit the overall podium again in the Surftown Sprint.  I missed a paycheck in the Malibu Olympic distance race by 1 spot, finishing 6th overall behind some stellar athletes before winning Mission Bay and having another age group win at OC International.  Clearwater was a bust as I had some stomach issues and couldn't put together a great run.  You take these experiences and learn from them, good or bad, re-group and improve.  It is a roller coaster, up and down.

Chris Jan Berg Star of IndiaEG: What do you do to maintain a healthy diet and what do and you eat during the off season?

CJB: I am not sure my diet is so healthy.  I eat by the saying, "if the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn." I submit to my cravings, no matter how abstract or odd they may seem.  Holding weight was a problem for me in high school.  No matter how much I ate, or what I ate I could never gain weight.  Most of what I eat is out of necessity or else I would whither away.  I have some standard meals which I eat on a weekly basis, pizza on Tuesday, sushi on Wednesday, oatmeal for breakfast everyday, two or so sandwiches for lunch, snack when I want to, protein shake once a day.

EG: What do you want people to know about you?

CJB: Not sure, there is a lot about me people may find interesting, other parts not so much.  I joke around quite a bit and try to keep things easy-going.  Keep me fed, let me get my sleep and I am a pleasant person.  If I miss a meal or don't get to bed on time, I am not that fun to be around, just ask my girlfriend.  I hate any and all reality TV, love cartoons and my couch.  I am more likely than not the best dancer I have ever seen, I don't sing, I like ice hockey... a lot.  If I could have any super power it would be to teleport.  Metallica is my all time favorite band, and the best pizza I ever had is Aljon's in Princeton Jct, NJ.

EG:  Do you think you will go pro one day?

CJB: I plan to.  When I first started getting serious about triathlon training and racing, I said that if I was not in a position to obtain a pro card within 3 years I would go back to a desk job.  Now, almost three years later I feel I am in a position where it is within reach so I will keep training and working towards that goal, then work towards goals beyond that.  I knew none of this would happen instantly, and that is hard to swallow in an America where the masses expect instant results.  There is nothing else I would rather be doing.

Elaine Gower | Founder/Owner 
Racedaysherpa

"Knowledge Speaks - Wisdom Listens"
Cell:  619-980-3281
Fax:   619-342-8521
www.racedaysherpa.com
elaine@racedaysherpa.com

 

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 January 2011 07:18 )
 

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