At 32, Jenna Lee is the youngest anchor on cable, co-hosting a show called “Happening Now” for Fox News. When her husband, Leif Babin (a former Navy SEAL), surprised her by signing her up for a triathlon, she thought, “This is crazy!” but managed to train despite her busy schedule. Here, she shares some highlights from her May 20 experience competing in the Redbank (NJ) Triathlon (http://redbanktri.com).
Q. What was the first thing you did when you found out that your husband signed you up to compete in a triathlon?
A. I thought about how little time I had to even prepare for it. It was about two months out, a rather short time frame considering I had never been biking (just spinning) or a competitive swimmer. Leif is training to do an Ironman Triathlon in August, so I thought, “Okay, I can do this with his help—it might even be fun!” I live in midtown Manhattan and did not own a bike, so I had to borrow one from a friend and rented a wetsuit for the swimming event.
Q. How did you fit the training into your schedule?
A. I had no specific plan, but just thought if I can run for an hour and a half (I once did a half marathon), and swim for half an hour or so, and then bike for the same, I can get it all in. A couple of days a week I would split my workout (like bike in the morning and swim in the afternoon) and on Saturdays and Sundays I would do a really long run—Fridays I took off. Mornings were a very important time for training. I usually get up at 5 a.m. to prepare for my show, so I rode my bike indoors on a bike trainer while I answered emails. In the afternoon after the show I could usually manage another workout. Leif was a good partner in crime—he kept me going. He started his training for the IRONMAN before me and shared his workout techniques.
Q. What was your diet like?
A. I had to learn to eat in a different way. It’s really important to get enough “fuel,” meaning plenty of healthy food, which in my case included a lot of free range and fresh meat, sustainably caught fish, and organic produce. One of the things that changed most for me was being much more in touch with where my food came from and the quality of it. We ordered grass-fed beef and pastured chickens from around the country. I had so many packages waiting for me when I got home every day!