Saturday, February 28, 2015

Team Every Man Jack Training Camp

A few days ago I returned from Team Every Man Jack's annual winter training camp in San Diego. Other than being met with the harsh reality of several fresh inches of snow at the Denver airport, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent meeting new teammates and training outside.  Here, I'm going to highlight my favorite parts!

The camp took place in Oceanside, California.  To accommodate the 45+ people attending the camp, two incredible houses were rented, right on the beach.  The houses each had several floors, a couple full kitchens, tons of bedrooms with incredible views of the ocean.

Just outside the door was a section of the Oceanside 70.3 run course and a nice bike path.  It was shorts weather--even at night!  And while the mornings started off foggy, they always cleared to sunny skies by the afternoon.

Everyone knows that triathletes eat a lot on a regular basis.  When at training camp, we take that to a whole new level. The main kitchen area in one of the houses is where we ate most our meals.  Sag Monkey played an enormous role in getting food ready for all of us before workouts and for dinnner each night.  For early mornings on the way to the pool, breakfast burritos were warm and waiting for us to grab out of the oven. After returning from a morning workout, there was granola, yogurt, fruit, bagels/bread and PB&J.  
Nutella and Banana rice cakes!

Sag Monkey also made a huge daily batch of Skratch Labs rice cakes for long rides.  The rice cakes were a huge hit with the guys.  All of us really appreciated everything done by Sag Monkey because it allowed us to focus on what we were there for; training and getting to know one another. Thanks to Team Every Man Jack's nutrition sponsor, GU, there were several different flavors of chomps, gels and drink mixes available for us to use during workouts.


I hope I'm not the only one who is thinking this, but all of the swims we did at camp were hard! The pools were outdoors which was nice.

At the first swim, we did a crazy long pull set, totaling around 4000m of just pull.  Yea, "m", as in meters, as in we swam long course.  Man, that was rough.  One morning we were lucky enough to meet representatives from Roka, Team EMJ's swim sponsor.  They have some sweet new products coming out soon so be sure to check out their site.

There were rides scheduled for every day of camp. Team EMJ is known for having all-around strong athletes (most of whom focus on longer distance races) and this was definitely made apparent on the rides.   The routes took us up and down the coast, inland to a beautiful area with punchy hills and included some incredible descents.  One day the session called for hill repeats which we did on a section of road that led to a nice overlook.

Inside Sag Monkey's van
Once again, Sag Monkey provided incredible support with extra wheels, nutrition and blocking intersections for our rides.  We all were wearing our new Louis Garneau kits and rocking new Rudy Project helmets and glasses. Everywhere we went we got a lot of comments and questions about Every Man Jack.

TP file from hill repeat day
 I enjoyed the rides for several reasons.  The first hour or so almost always started off at a reasonable pace.  During this time we were able to get to know each other, and more often than not remark at how our arms felt as if they were about to fall off after the morning swim or how sore abs were after Meridith Kessler's core workout.

Meredith Kessler whipping us into shape!
After a while, the pace would start to pick up. I knew some of the younger guys likely were itching to turn some screws.  I tried to reign things in and remind myself that it was a four day camp and it made no sense to destroy myself on day one or two.  Interestingly enough, the more veteran guys on Team EMJ seemed to gain strength as the rides went on and even throughout the camp! Instead of launching an attack 10 miles in (like on local group rides), guys at the camp would start cranking things up around 50 miles into an 80 mile ride.

I think one of the best ways to get to know someone is by going on a long ride with them.  Before the camp, I knew a lot of the guys through social media, but going and participating in all the workouts, especially the rides, allows for more personality and uniqueness to come out.

We had runs were scheduled for every day in San Diego.  The first few days were "low stress" runs after rides, while the last few runs included some progressive efforts.  Running along the beach was fantastic.  Having people to run with for every session was nice, too!

We capped off the big training with a long run in our new Lululemon gear.
Meeting People
One of the highlights for the camp took place one evening when we all cleaned up and went to the Tripalooza awards.  The ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of American endurance athletes and featured appearances from endurance celebrities such as Dave Scott, Bob Babbitt, Meb Keflezighi, Taylor Phinney and several other phenomenal athletes.

Matt and I with Meb, 2014 Boston Marathon winner!
Meredith Kessler, one of the top women in half/full distance triathlon, trains frequently with Team Every Man Jack members and joined us for the first few days of our camp.  After thoroughly kicking our butts for three days, she accepted an award at Tripalooza. The evening was incredible and filled with lots of inspiring stories from survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings and Challenged Athletes Foundation.  The Team is planning on doing a large bike ride fundraiser for CAF at different locations across the country.  I'm excited to be involved and raise awareness for such a great cause.

Everyone I've spoken with had a fantastic time in San Diego.  The camp was well organized and definitely got us all excited for the upcoming season!

Next weekend, I'm heading back to Clermont, Florida with MP Multisport and some fellow CSU Triathletes for some draft-legal racing.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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