"Not going to the Burger King makes a difference"
He ate what he wanted until he discovered his intolerance to foods that crushed his stomach. Today, at 30, Juan Antonio Chiqui Pérez has just made history in athletics: lose 1 hour 1 minute on average. But the difference is that today it doesn't leave even a random spoonful of honey.
This is the story of a village boy who returned to live in his village: Carrión de Calatrava (Ciudad Real), where he bought a two-story house. He did well. Nowhere else could I be happier. But this is also the story of an athlete who did what he wanted. When it comes to eating and living: Juan Antonio Chiqui Pérez, a guy with the face of a good person who, at 30, no longer leaves a spoonful of sugar at random. Now, you will hardly see him having dinner at a Burger King or a Telepizza. The challenge to the marathon has changed his life. Thanks to him he discovered what he needed to make history. And, whatever happens, something extraordinary has already happened on the trip: it has dropped from 1 hour to 1 minute on average. He has shown that in 2013, when he risked healing all the money he had to become an athlete again, he was right. "I have suffered a lot to get here," he explains today.
I have always thought of you as an athletic worker.
I have suffered a lot to get here. I am from a town in Ciudad Real where, except for my sister and I, almost no one runs, a town in which winters are very hard and yet, here I am very comfortable and that is why I have lived here again ... and it is true that, yes, I give credit to everything that has happened. Nobody gave me anything.
Nobody usually gives us anything.
No, that is clear. But what I want to tell is the difference from where I was ... I was a junior athlete that became international. But in 2013 I couldn't run even twenty minutes. I had a knee problem that hurt a lot. It affected my whole body. Nobody knew how to tell me what I had and everything I earned working was spent on doctors, physios, going from one place to another.
Yes, of course, because of something you have to live. I worked in a sports shop in Ciudad Real, in Sprinter. But I didn't want to stop being an athlete and that's why I only know what I tried until that day that they told me to go to a doctor, Dr. Francisco Javier Hidalgo, "see why it's very good." I remember that I answered, "yes, very good as everyone", but it was to leave his clinic and see everything differently, to understand that he was going to return.
And it came back.
And I came back, yes, of course.
Did you know I had so much class?
I knew I was good at running. I knew I could do something. I talked to athletes and they told me the kilometers they did or what they took care of and then I thought 'Chiqui, it has nothing to do with what you do, you do what you want, you drink a Coca Cola with a lid at any time and if then you have to go to the Burger King or the Telepizza you go '. And then I asked myself: ‘Why don't you start doing things like others do?’
I didn't know that about you.
Well, that's how it was, yes, I didn't pay attention to it now, I could go out to train at any time. But now I understand that you can't be like that, that you don't go to a Burger King for an athlete, in the end, make a difference and, do you know why it was, because this year I took a food intolerance test to try explain things that happened inside me and that I didn't understand why they happened.
What was happening?
I was very bloated. I even got spots on the skin. I woke up many days with a heavy stomach. The alarm sounded and I felt tired. I was wondering: ‘how is it possible if you slept ten hours? Why is this? ”But in the test he said that I had an intolerance to the egg and many of those days when I got up badly, I had eaten a potato omelette prepared by my mother with chicken eggs from the town. So, since I passed the test, I haven't taken it again and it doesn't happen to me anymore.
This conversation teaches us to eat.
I do not know. I am not who. Nor do I pretend to say that the egg is bad. I'm just telling what happens to me, the test results. But I also tell him that, once the Valencia marathon is over, one of the first things I will say to my mother will be, ‘mama, I want you to prepare me to eat a tortilla of potatoes like those before. I can't fool you: I'm looking forward to it.
It will taste better then.
Yes, perhaps, but what I intend to tell is that this must be so in whatever you do in life. If something feels wrong you have to leave it, you will live better: I am now another. I feel finer, I look better, I am no longer afraid of feeling bloated in the morning when the alarm sounds. But he was a mathematician. I remember that 3,000 that I went to run to Ireland with Toni Abadía and with those breakfasts they put in English hotels ... In the afternoon my gut hurt. There are things that I don't want to happen again, because it goes wrong, yes.
His life has changed.
I risked to change. I risked to make history and I'm making my story, yes.
No one could have stayed in a gift.
I think we are all someone. But it is true that when I returned after the injury no one counted on me anymore. However, in my first 10,000 back, in the Spanish Championship, I was second behind Toni Abadia and ahead of Fernando Carro. I showed myself that one day I could achieve things. It was important to me.
Did you imagine going down 1 hour 1 minute in half marathon?
No, that never. Moreover, I went to Valencia without that idea. The idea came up there and it was from Toni Abadia and then I said ‘well, let's try it’. But I did not see anything clear because until Thursday I did a normal marathon week. In fact, on Thursday I made 10 × 1,000 with 1’00 ”of recovery and finished the last one in 2’46” and with the afternoon I got 29 kilometers…
I already tell him, because I had 1h02 ″ 18 on average and do that time…. But if I told Toni, ‘let's try it’, we had to try to get off 1h1m. Then, I saw that I spent 5,000 and I said, 'I'm doing well,' 10,000 in 28'12 ”when I'm 27'59” and then I asked myself, 'what are you doing?' It seemed to me that I was being a little kamikaze and there were hard kilometers, but since we were there, since we were so close ... I knew that the pace of 2'56 ”in the 1,000 I have it very dominated and that if I kept it…, I have done it so many times…
Perfection is born of repetition.
Above all, to insist, yes, of those days when you put on your shoes and say 'I can't', but then you start and you see that it is not so difficult, that the body wakes up ..., and it will be hard, yes, but Everything is hard. It was also hard to work at Sprinter. It's also hard what my friends who work in the field or in construction do. They leave home at seven in the morning and don't arrive until seven in the afternoon ... and I remember them.
You could also be one of them.
Yes, of course, I have no doubt.
But is not.
No, I am not.
He has a better life.
Well i don't know. In the end, have the life you have, the most important thing is the mental, whatever you want it to be. Look, I sometimes tell Mareca, my coach, "I can't today" and he answers me, "Chiqui, you have to go out even at 4'20". And then I realize how important it is to do everything as it should be done. Without going any further, I could go out to train at 11 but there is no day that I do it later than 9.30 or 10.00 because otherwise you leave enough time for the body to recover. And you discover these things over time: I have understood them this year. It's about doing what you should do, not what you feel like.