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Exceptional Athlete Profile Featuring: James Peronel

This week Deb chats with Personal Trainer James Peronel of JP Mission, out of Brooklyn, New York.

James tells us a little bit about himself, why he became a personal trainer, and what motivates him to keep going.

P.S. It was very windy that day so put your headphones in, and turn your volume up!

To learn more about James visit:


#tbt Exceptional Athlete Profile Featuring: Kim Williams

As we prepare to kickoff our 2016 Exceptional Athlete series, we wanted to give you a precursor of what is to come with a re-introduction to Run the Sol co-founder Kim. Read a bit about her journey below, and be sure to subscribe to our blog by entering your email address to the right so that you do not miss any of the great stories of athletes we’ll be featuring this year.

1080_014462A runner, triathlete, and mom, Kim’s journey this can only be described as phenomenal. Immediately after giving birth to her second child in July 2014, Kim jumped right back into her fitness routine and has not stopped.IMG_5409

When we sat down to chat Kim had completed Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Maryland less than 30-days prior; her first triathlon at this distance. So let’s find out what Kim has been up to since then, how she started running and her road to becoming a triathlete.

Run the Sol (RTS): Tell us about your journey to completing your first Ironman 70.3?
Kimberley Williams (KW): My journey to becoming a triathlete started with running. I ran track in high school, 200m & 400m distances, and resumed running in the summer of 2012 after chatting with a cousin at a family reunion in earlier that year about running clubs. I was first introduced to triathlons when some of the women from my local running group decided to participate in a mini (400m swim, 6-mile bike, 2-mile run) triathlon. In 2013, I participated as part of a relay team completing the swimming leg of the race due to another participant not being fully ready to complete the swim portion. I thought to myself I can do that. “I can swim, I can run, and I can ride a bike (I would later find out differently).” So in late 2013 I began training for the Power of a Woman Sprint (pool) triathlon. What was interesting was that during my training for this event I was pregnant (about 2-months along) and completed the event when I was 6-months pregnant in April 2014.

kimcoverRTS: So you recently completed your first Half Ironman? Tell us what that day was like? Most people want to know how you feel after but tell us what your thoughts were during the race?
KW: I have to tell you I was very calm going in. I think the day before when I was setting up my gear I had calmness over me compared to others who were a bit nervous. However, on race day as soon as I stepped into the water I had a mini panic attack, or at least I think I did. I don’t know how else to describe it other than that I could not breathe and didn’t know what to do.

RTS: How did you overcome that panic attack?
KW: I stopped and walked a little ways into the water and calmed myself down, and tried to push through it. I said to myself this is just another swim. I entered the water, took it easy and stayed away from the other participants until I felt more confident and could swim as I knew I could. After about 25-meters into the swim I was my old self and continued with the race. I felt good about the swim once I got over that initial hump. The rest of the race I felt really good until I got to the “torturous run.”  However, overall, it was a good experience.

kimawesomeRTS: What are you currently working on?
KW: Following Ironman 70.3 Eagleman, I took a short hiatus and only began working out full time over the past week. I’m training for the NYC Marathon, which takes place on November 1st. I must say that my marathon training is not off to a great start. When RTS asked Kim why this is the case, after a quick chuckle, Kim replied “I’ve been in a bit of a running funk” and it has been difficult to “get back into the grove of things.” However, Kim quickly assures RTS that she’s back in her “zone” and expects to resume her marathon training in the upcoming week. So much so that she has set her goal to finish…and finish in 5 hours. Yep, she said it and we’ve captured it…so we will be watching the results.

RTS: You’ve mentioned swimming a number of times during our conversation. In your opinion what activity of the three (swimming, biking, or running) presents the most challenge for you?
KW: I have been swimming since I was a child, was a lifeguard during my teenage years, and also ran track in high school. So while, I had to re-learn or re-discover some elements of those sports, biking (or cycling as most triathletes and cyclists refer to the sport), has been the most difficult. I purchased a new Tri Bike this year which added a layer of difficulty to what was already an area of opportunity for me. I continue to work at becoming a better cyclist and hope to have some improvement when completing my next triathlon.

Kim wants us to know that cycling for Triathletes is not the same as simply riding a bike. A triathlete must know how to become one with his or her TT Bike (Time Trial or Tri bike). Overall, I believe the biggest challenge of the sport is merging all three disciplines together at the same time and performing consistently in all three.

RTS: You’ve completed a Half Ironman, you’ve ran, you’ve biked, and you’ve swam in other distances. Now that you’ve had a “taste” of Ironman competition, what would you say is next for you in that realm?
KW: That’s funny. As soon as I finished my half Ironman, the first question I was asked is “when are you doing your first full Ironman? I keep saying that I can’t see myself doing a full Ironman but I also said I wouldn’t run a half-marathon much less a full marathon (chuckle), but yet here I am training for my first full marathon. Ultimately, in the back of my mind, I want to do a full 1080_014462Ironman, but I don’t know if I’m up to it physically. I think right now I want to focus on completing my first marathon and then maybe consider it (she says this hesitantly with a smile and a chuckle). “Yeah, yeah, that’s the goal she says” a bit more confidently.

Ladies and gentlemen if you’ve ever met Kim, you know it won’t be long before we see her competing in her first full Ironman. And if she continues to train with “The Brands Tri Team” this is sooner rather than later.

RTS: You mentioned dealing and overcoming physical adversities in training and on race day, however, how do you deal with mental adversities in such a physically demanding sport as a triathlon?
KW: I remind myself that I’m doing this for me. “I’m not winning any awards, I won’t be on the winner’s podium (well we’ll see!), so I just say this is for you, this is for your family, you simply have to get it done.”

RTS: Give us an example of what your typical day is like for you balancing family and your workout regimen?
KW: Each day is different so depending on the day of the week I might be doing a different workout routine. Some days are swim and bike while others may be bike and run. However, most of my workouts take place early in the morning. Given that my husband works later into the evening hours, he’s at home in the morning with the kids which allows me to do what I love. The times when I work out in the evening, I typically ride my bike on an indoor trainer at home. So I’m home with the kids but still getting my work out done.

RTS: What advice would you give to individuals interesting in becoming a triathlete?
KW: The first advice I would give is to work on improving your skills in each sport. If a particular sport is your weak point, find a way to become better at it. This might require taking a class and improving your technique. Additionally, I think joining a triathlon team provides a great deal of support from individuals who understand what it takes to be a triathlete. Individuals who are not part of the triathlete lifestyle can support you but may not have a full understanding of what goes on in the day-to-day life of a triathlete.

IMG_4615RTS: You mentioned support systems through your team. Do you have any other support systems?
KW: My husband. If I did not have a husband or a family to help out with the kids, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Right now as I’m sitting here doing this interview, he’s at home with the kids. When I’m working out in the morning, he’s at home with the kids. Now that my mom has moved out of New York, I rely on my husband and my in-laws to provide that extra support which allows me to do what I love.

RTS: What motivates you?
KW: My motivation is just to stay in shape and be healthy. I come from a family who has a history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure which is so common among black families. So I just want to stay as healthy as I can and participating in these sports allows me to do that as well as have fun.

RTS: You mentioned staying healthy do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
KW: At the moment not really (there’s that chuckle). I probably should. I try to eat healthy; however, it’s hard when you’re a triathlete and always working out. I’m always hungry all the time. “I burn a lot of calories so it would be hard for me to survive on a salad.” I think athletes need to understand that eating less is not always the way to go. You have to properly fuel your body to be able to perform well.

Kim’s parting advice: if you are looking to get into any kinds of sport, do it for you, have fun while you do it and just keep “Tri-ing”.

To follow Kim’s fitness journey check out her personal blog http://str8kim.com, Instagram http://instagram.com/str8kim, and Facebook http://facebook.com/str8kim.

April 2016 Update on Kim
785899_1039_0039Kim went on to complete the 2015 NYC Marathon; not in the time that she wanted, so she’ll be back at it again this November. She is continuing her triathlon training with the goal of completing Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 in September 2016, as well as a slew of other races. Be sure to follow her on social media to keep up with her fitness journey.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog to continue to read about more exceptional athletes and the wonderful island of Barbados as we countdown the days until we #RunBarbados this December 2016.


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