Laura Kloepper, 30, hailing from Providence, R.I., took an unusual route to triathlon. Now she is an elite age grouper with a seriously studious side. We delve into the atypical life of this stellar athlete.
Growing up, Kloepper was a “band and theater nerd up to graduate school.” Not until her first year in grad school did she run a 5K…definitely not the standard cross country/swim team origins we see of top age groupers. After completing the 5K, she turned on the training dial to complete a marathon. Ending up with a complete facture of the pelvis during the marathon, she learned to swim and bike for recovery. The following year she completed her first 70.3 and has since completed a 140.6. “Despite all my training and racing, I still have a hard time calling myself an ‘athlete’ since it still feels so new to me,” says Kloepper.
By day, Kloepper’s a scientist. Specifically, she studies echolocation in bats and dolphins—if that’s not a mouthful. “I’m currently a post-doc, which is this awkward stage between getting your Ph.D. and (hopefully) getting a professor position. I absolutely adore research and teaching and am so fortunate to have a career that brings me so much personal fulfillment,” she says.
She also maintains a hobby that brings much personal satisfaction: triathlon. A Rev3 veteran, Kloepper already completed halfs at Knoxville, Quassy and Williamsburg, and will do the full at Cedar Point. “I chose Rev3 because I kept hearing about how fun the races were from my friends. I watched as Rev3 got bigger and better and more people kept talking about the races. It was such a natural transition to move to Rev3 events, and now I get to witness the fun firsthand,” she says.
How does she do it all? “The key is waking up early. With the nature of my work I don’t leave at a certain time each day; I leave when the day’s tasks are over. And that typically means more than eight hours a day of work. As such, I can’t rely on getting workouts in each day in the evenings,” she says. Instead, she carefully plans her day and never leaves her computer for lunch. “I spend a few hours each Sunday preparing all my meals for the week so I always have grab-and-go nutrition.” (Nice tip!) She also keeps a social life by combining sport with friendships. She completes a lot of weekly runs and swims with friends and trains with her boyfriend on the weekends.
Favorite TV show: I don’t have a TV, but when I need to numb my brain I go for scandalously bad reality TV
Favorite nutritional product: Powerbar Performance Energy Cookie Dough
Best time for a workout: Sunrise
Best workout song: Something ridiculously catchy and poppy. Lately it’s been “Call Me Maybe.”
Tech love: I have a blog (frayedlacesracing.com), which allows me to network with triathletes around the world. Having a virtual support group is so important. My “virtual friends” have kept me emotionally and physically healthy over the years and continually inspire me to keep reaching for new goals.