Team EMJ Camp

Some of you may already know, some of you may not…. I will be racing for Team Every Man Jack in 2017.  Contrary to popular belief, Every Man Jack is not just an all-male elite amateur triathlon team.  They are actually an all-natural male grooming and skin product brand founded by Ritch Viola who just happens to be one of hell of a triathlete and an all-around awesome guy.  You can find their products at your nearest Target or Whole Foods.  Or you can buy online at and use SJACKSON17 for a 25% discount.

Over the non-existent south Florida winter and leading up to the team camp, I stayed pretty fit…. especially for the off season.  As I learned towards the end of last year, consistency is key/crucial and we’ve kept my run frequency up with 5-6 runs/week.  Eric and I ended up adding an additional bike workout each week to increase my bike volume as mine has been pretty low for most elite amateurs.  I did end up taking a week off for my bachelor party in the beginning of February and then I proceeded to catch something on the plane ride home and felt pretty miserable for the next day or two after getting home.  I rarely get sick anymore since I moved to Florida 5 years ago.  Fortunately my immune system was able to kick whatever I had out my system in just a couple of days, which left me with just enough time to get in another 2 weeks of solid training before camp.

The team has an annual training trip in Vegas to kick off the season and when I originally talked to Ritch back in October before joining the team, the camp idea sounded awesome and I was really excited but I had no idea what to expect.  It felt like going to college as freshman all over again.  Going to a new place with a bunch of luggage (my bike) not knowing really anyone at all.  I was a bit nervous and a little intimidated but I stepped out of my comfort zone and embraced the situation.  Let’s just say that camp did not disappoint.  It far exceeded any expectations I had.  I met a lot of cool new people who all were very welcoming and very helpful throughout the camp.  I felt And most of all, I had a lot of fun.

Let me paint the picture for you…….

Imagine 60+ male triathletes crammed into two big houses/castles, 4 straight days of hard training, and a bunch of awesome gear/swag from our sponsors.  Almost sounds like an episode of the Real World right?  Anyone remember that show?  Vegas just happened to be my favorite season.  Coincidence?  Maybe….

As far as the training, I put in the highest volume I have ever put in (by about 6 hours) and gained a whole lot of fitness. I got swim, bike, run, and do yoga with a bunch of really fast dudes.  I haven’t been pushed that much in a swim workout since college as there were a bunch of solid swimmers some of whom who qualified for Olympic trials back in their swimming days.  We biked to Red Rock Canyon and on the old 70.3 Silverman/World Championship course which were challenging but a lot of fun.  I actually got to use all of my gears which was a nice change of pace.  Sure which I had some more hills in Florida to train on.  We also ran to the Hoover Dam and into Arizona which was freaking awesome.  We finished up the camp with a Matt Dixon coached swim and run.  The run was hill repeats on the old 70.3 Silverman/World Championship course, which was very challenging in itself, let alone with all the training we had done the 3 days prior.

I was very pleased with camp from a training perspective.  I gained a ton of fitness going into the season… way more than I was expecting.  I felt that I managed the training load extremely well.  I made sure to get in enough nutrition in between sessions (maybe a little too much as I actually gained weight) and tried to stay hydrated as much as I could.   One thing to note was that I did not sleep well at all.  I usually sleep very idered, it was a successful camp and I am happy I went.well but for whatever reason I slept off and on all throughout camp.  All things cons

I want to say big thanks to Ritch for putting together this camp.  It was great meeting everyone on the team and start developing new friendships.  Also big thanks Donna Trauger/her mother for the outstanding cooking, GU Energy for the SAG support and the best aid station ever on Saturday’s ride, and Talbot Cox for all the photos and videos he took/put together.   Lastly, thank you to all of our sponsors as they made everyone feel like like a pro….Every Man Jack, Louis Garneau, Lululemon, Garmin, Roka, Normatec, Cobb, Felt, ENVE, GU Energy, Boco Gear, Sock Guy

Day 1 Video

Day 2 Video

Day 3 Video

Day 4 Video


2015 Plans

2014 didn’t exactly turn out how I wanted it to.  While it started great with a solid race in Naples, my season abruptly came to an end after a bike wreck 2 weeks before Eagleman.  3 surgeries, 1 STAPH infection, lots of antibiotics, and a bunch of rehab,  I’m finally back to training full time.  I spent most of the summer on my couch, eating, sleeping, and feeling sorry for myself.  It was the most trying time of my life.  Fortunately, I am passed all my medical issues and ready for what lies ahead.

I had a lot of time to think this summer about what I wanted to do in 2015.  I was originally hoping to have a late race in 2014 to salvage any kind of season, but my elbow had other plans.  I’ve been wanting to qualify for Kona for a while now and I really thought I was going to get it done at Eagleman.  Qualifying at a 70.3 is much harder than it is at an IM race in my opinion.  The few 70.3’s that were qualifiers had pretty stacked fields and my age group usually only had 1 slot allocated.  In my mind, I had to execute the perfect race to qualify at a 70.3.  I had been eyeing Ironman Texas since May as I think the race suits my needs and I really just wanted to do an Ironman (who doesn’t want to be able say they swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and then ran a marathon?).  The course is relatively flat, its hot as hell there in May (what better training environment is Florida?), and its early in the season (I didn’t want a mid summer IM and then have to do Kona right afterward).  I figured IMTX, gave me a pretty good shot at qualifying even if I didn’t execute the perfect race.  My age group allocated 3 slots to Kona last year and with Texas being the North American Championships in 2015, there will be even more slots allocated to my age group than last (my guess is 4 or 5).  Little did I know that Ironman was planning on removing all Kona slots from 70.3’s starting in 2015.  Once I learned this, it was a no brainer to add IMTX to the schedule in 2015.  I’m also planning a few local 70.3’s starting in March with Toughman Florida and then Florida 70.3 in April.  
I would say all eyes are on qualifying for Kona, but I’m trying to not put so much emphasis on it.  I can’t control what everyone does but I can control what I do.  My biggest goal is to just get to the start line in Texas healthy.  If I can do that and just focus on doing the little things right in training, everything else will fall into place.

Back At It

It’s been a few months…(life happens). Let’s recap what happened since Age Group Nationals:

After Nationals, I took a week off of training.  I think I worked out twice, maybe three times just out of shear boredom.  In the back of my mind all season, I’ve been thinking about attempting another 70.3.  The first go-around (2012 Eagleman 70.3) didn’t end too well and I have been itching for redemption ever since.  So after Nationals I decided to take a shot at Miami 70.3.  I put in a GREAT 5-6 weeks of training.  I was hitting some big power numbers, and I was running effortlessly at paces I used to struggle with.  Then one day during a 12 mile run, my achilles flared up.  I hoped it would only put me out of running for a few weeks but I wasn’t that fortunate.  Not wanting to risk further injury (worst case: a rupture), I pulled the plug on Miami 70.3 for the second year in the row due to injury (something tells me I’m not meant to do this race).

I dropped all training for 4 weeks and gained a few pounds in the process (my metabolism isn’t what it used to be).  Once I recharged the batteries and got my body healthy again,  I picked up training little by little.  As far as races for 2014, I will kick off the season with the HITS Naples half-iron distance in January.  Part of me needs to prove to myself that I CAN race this distance.  Fast forward to today and a two weeks until race day, I’m happy to report that I am healthy and ready to go.

In other news, I am very excited to be working with First Endurance this year as one of my sponsors!  I’ve been using their products for about a year now and I can’t imagine training without them.  They not only provide all my nutritional needs, they also taste great! (I highly recommend Ultragen cappuccino flavor)  If you are running low on your current nutrition or just want to try something else, be sure to check out FE.

Thanks for reading!