[Editor’s Note: In December, Spartan Jason Jaksetic is off to compete in one of the world’s most elite races, the EpicMan Triple Ironman (http://www.active.com/triathlon/honolulu-hi/epicman-challenge-2011).  In this blog he writes about how Spartan Race is the ideal platform to take yourself from couch potato to bad-ass athlete.  Here is his story of going from utter newb to aspiring Triple Ironman.]

jjSpartan Race offers something to racers that no other obstacle race does:  a systemic approach to go from your couch to the world’s most extreme race.

Seven years ago, I started with a 5k St. Patty’s Day Run.  (Spartan Race wasn’t around.  If it was, I would have been there for sure.)  This 5k run was all about the free beer for me.  I didn’t even have athletic socks or shoes – I went out and covered the course in ratty Converse and plaid socks.

Tomorrow, I’m leaving for Hawaii to compete in the prestigious EpicMan Triple Ironman (http://www.active.com/triathlon/honolulu-hi/epicman-challenge-2011).  It’s invitation only.  7.2 mile swim, 336 mile bike, and 78.6 mile run – without stopping

Between the 5k and Triple Ironman I did my first marathon and then first Ironman.  Then I tacked on my first Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifications.

jj2Last month I took fifth overall in my first Double Ironman.

It’s all about progression.  You don’t just go from beer runs to triple Ironman without some bumps in the road.

Like DNF’ing my first 150 mile run (Peak Races) and dropping out of the Death Race.  Yes, I failed on the Death Race.  (I can attest to The Death Race being more difficult than a double Ironman, and will let you know about how it compares to EpicMan in January.)

You need to visualize realistic goals and put it on the line to get there.

Spartan Raceis probably the best race series in the planet because it has built into its structure a step by step goals to becoming a legitimate badass.

Working with Spartan Race and going to events I’m amazed at the people achieving things they never thought possible.  They get hooked by doing theirfirst Spartan Sprint.  It’s like a gateway drug.  From there they can build fitness and confidence as they tackle a Super Spartan and then Spartan Beast.  And, hell, maybe step up to the Death Race.  It’s all there for the taking.  Spartan Race is just asking for people to step up.

As an elite athlete I have the following to say:  there is nothing elite about me.  I’m just like you.  I’m the guy in Converse and plaid socks still.  I just took endurance racing for a ride.  I really wish I had Spartan Race to help me along the way – it would have helped!

I encourage everyone to push themselves by signing up for what might seem beyond their capabilities.  You will get there.  I invite you to join me in this.  Hell, I invite you to come on out and race the EpicMan with me.  If you think you are qualified to race there are still spots for eligible athletes.  Just contact them.  Sign up for a Spartan Sprint or sign up for the Death Race.  Either way, push yourself and rise up in the structure of bad-ass that Spartan Race embraces.

Jason Jaksetic is a professional endurance athlete, fitness coach, and consultant for Spartan Race.  He can be contacted at JasonJ@SpartanRace.com.  While in Hawaii he will be working with Hawaii Spartans to bring them a race.  Speak up if you want a race!  We are serious about bringing them to you.  Home grown efforts have already brought a race to Indiana!

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by Carrie Adams

168637_1888033484512_1351697261_32224619_4752253_nSpartan Race’s email/database guru and overall rad guy, Jason Jaksetic is heading off this weekend to compete in a Double Ironman in Virginia.  Yes, double Ironman triathlons exist.  As if a single were not enough!  There’s triples and Deca’s but that’s for another day.  One of Spartan’s Founders and Death Race Race Director Andy Weinberg will also be competing. 

Interesting, though, is that this double Ironman triathlon is Jason’s warm up for a triple ironman distance triathlon this December called EpicMan where he will attempt to swim 7.2 miles, bike 336 miles, and run 78.6 miles.  Non stop – before the 60 hour time limit expires on New Years.

Jason has just announced that he will be racing EpicMan in order to benefit the Pittsfield Hurricane Relief Fund for his beloved town of Pittsfield that was so devastated by Hurricane Irene.  You may remember our coverage of Pittsfield on this blog which is also home of Spartan Race and the Death Race.

We wish Jason and Andy luck on their journey this weekend! 

The follow was posted in his blog that can be found at www.JasonJaksetic.com

I am wrapping up my season, and 2011 too, for that matter, with what might be the greatest Triathlon spectacle I’ve heard of since I was first captivated by the Ironman World Championships at the fable location simply termed “Kona”.  The privilege of participating in EpicMan on December 29th, still keeps me up in night in anticipation.

7.2 mile swim, 336 mile bike, and a 78.6 mile run.  Non Stop.  On the island of Oahu.  The cut off time…New Years – 60 hours after the start.  24 competitors to throw down and see who can get it done first.

Getting to the starting line of this event will be in no small part owed to the town of Pittsfield, Vermont where I have lived and trained all of this 2011 season.  And as I exit 2011 and head to 2012 I want to give something back to the town that stood vigil over my runs through the mountains.  The community here is something deeper than I’ve known elsewhere.  And this showed most prominently when Pittsfield was recently struck by Hurricane Irene.

I still pass the collapsed houses and properties on my rides and runs.  I still can’t ride without considerable detours and construction plaguing the trip.  I’ve seen resolve and strength in the people of Vermont that far outshines anything that I’ve encountered.  I am in admiration.

This is why I will be competing in EpicMan to raise money for The Pittsfield Hurricane Relief Fund, www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org, in an effort to help this town to which I owe so much.

So as I head into the Double Ironman this weekend in VA and as I ready for Epicman in December I am going to continue to point everyone to: www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org.  There was an outpouring of support immediately after the hurricane, but this needs to continue.  Just like an extreme endurance event, focus and persistence are required.  We still have a long way to go to get back to where we were.

This is why I’m dedicating my racing of Epicman to raising money for www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org. Please contribute directly on that site or contact me as JasonJ@SpartanRace.com if you can help in any other way.

 

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by Carrie Adams

[Editor's note: In just 12 hours, Jason Jaksetic, Spartan's legendary Barn Beast, begins the 150-mile McNaughton Ultra in Pittsfield, VT run by Spartan's sister company Peak Races.  Stay tuned to the blog, twitter, and facebook for live updates.]

Stumbling in the barn at 2:15 A.M. March 7, 2011 after 62 hours of effort, Jason Jaksetic had accomplished his mission: 100 miles on snow shoes in the books after 30 days of training.  Thus was born the Barn Beast.  Defying the naysayers and the experts, he accomplished the seemingly impossible–but that’s nothing new to this alternative athlete.  To Jason, there is no such thing as “normal.”

As a boy growing up in Stanhope, NJ, no one would have thought that the self-proclaimed “band dork” would become the athlete he is today.  As a traveling musician who both performed and taught, Jason didn’t enter his first long distance event until age 22.  With no training, he was immediately in over his head.  His first event was the esteemed Boston Marathon.  But there was a catch: he entered on a dare, he ran it bandit (and for you who always follow the rules, that means you crash the event and run the course), and still managed a 4:20 finish.  He’d previously never run more than four miles at one time.

Boston was the catalyst, and Jason wanted more.  Setting his sights on the Ironman, he got serious about training, and completed five Ironman events in two years.  At age 24, he qualified for Kona with a 10:23 finishing time in Lake Placid.  Jason seemed on the fast track and trained hard for a big showing in the Louisville Ironman in 2010.  Then, during a long training run, Jason felt a slight hitch in his hip.   Alarm bells went off in his head, but he dismissed them, not realizing that at that moment that he had suffered a stress fracture.

No injury could stop him.  He planned to destroy the Louisville swim and bike and then get through the marathon as best as possible given the hip injury.  The swim went well, but after pounding the bike for 70 miles, Jason bonked.  At mile 101, he woke up in an ambulance suffering from what appeared to be cardiac arrest due to exhaustion and dehydration.  This, his first DNF, weighed far heavier on his mind than on his body.  He escaped to Swaziland, Africa to reevaluate his training, his goals, and his expectations.  In the airport, he found a passport belonging to Joe Desena, owner of Spartan Race.  It was a turning point.

Not long after, Jason impulsively packed up and moved into the training facility, aka “the Barn,” in Pittsfield, VT, to work for Joe and to train for several ultra-distance races, including the infamous Death Race.  Abandoning his militant Ironman training style, he adopted a more non-traditional approach in the rugged mountains just outside his back door.

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