Not too many folks would have predicted that Jarrod Shoemaker would earn himself a ticket to the 2008 Olympic games and/or appear on a Wheaties cereal box. But Jarrod made both those scenarios come true and he chatted with Slowtwitch before the ITU Worlds in Vancouver.
ST: Jarrod, the World Championships in Vancouver are just a few days away. Are you ready?
Jarrod: This will be my third elite World Championships and I feel that I am ready to go. I thought I was ready to go the past two years, but this year I feel a lot more confident. I have learned that World Champs is much different race than regular World Cups. My preparations for Beijing have allowed me to focus specifically on certain races this year and World Champs is one of those races. As a US team we really need to get a medal, our last elite male medal was in 1993.
ST: You grabbed the first spot for the Olympic team last year in Beijing. How much has that changed your preparation for 2008?
Jarrod: I would say that little has changed in my preparation for Beijing except that now I have August 19, 2008 circled on my calendar as the most important race of the year. This has allowed me to focus my training all year long on Beijing. I changed coaches last October to Tim Crowley and we have been having a lot of fun working together so far and I feel that my training has been going excellent.
ST: Do you have any thoughts on Cliff English being let go as the US National Coach?
Jarrod: I was surprised to hear that Cliff was let go as US National Team Coach. I have enjoyed working with Cliff as he has a wealth of experience and is a great sounding board for both Tim and myself.
ST: How much of a media circus have you had to deal with since your qualification?
Jarrod: It has been a night and day change since I qualified. My email and voicemails have been constantly filled with requests for interviews. I have had a lot of fun working with many different media outlets and have learned so much about the business of sports. Some weeks are more hectic than others but I have probably had 3-4 media requests per week. The hardest thing is balancing them all between training and recovery.
ST: What is your athletic background and who or what inspired you to race triathlons?
Jarrod: My Uncle raced triathlons in the 90s and raced in Hawaii in 1998. He told me that I would be a good triathlete if I continued to swim and run. I had no clue what the sport was and kept it in the back of my mind as I went through college. I ran track at Dartmouth College and realized in my junior year that while I was good I was not going to be of Olympic caliber on the track. I decided to play around with some easy swimming and biking to compliment my run training and it went very well.
ST: Please describe a typical hard training week for us.
Jarrod: A hard training week includes a hard track session on Tuesday or Wednesday with a fartlek or tempo run and a long run. On the bike I usually do 1-2 intense shorter interval workouts of 2-5 minutes and 1-2 longer tempo type workouts. I have 2-3 intense 5000m swims a week, 1 easy swim and 2 open water swims.
ST: How you typically spend the off-season?
Jarrod: It would be nice if there was an off-season in triathlon! The ITU now has World Cups scheduled from March through the beginning of November. I think it is pretty hard to race all year round but that is the schedule we have to follow. After my last race in November I usually take a week or two of doing whatever I want training where I bike, run and swim as I feel. Then it is back into building up slowly as I move into December and January. Over the off-season I am the assistant coach for the Lincoln-Sudbury High School swim team (my alma mater) so that keeps me busy and on schedule during the cold winter months.
ST: Do you have any gripes about triathlon?
Jarrod: I am sure that my wife could answer this one for you. Alicia races for Canada and has been around the sport forever so she tends to tell me that this is the way that it always is and always has been. I guess I will list some of my biggest issues.
- At ITU meetings they never tell us how to get to the transition area, sounds small but last year at World Champs Mark Fretta and I spent 15 minutes trying to get into transition because there were no markings.
- There are way too many different sets of rules (mostly for non-drafting races). I feel that they should have to take a picture or carry a video camera to show you the point where you had an infraction because even though you feel like you are doing something right and not trying to draft they can see your position in a totally different way and in the end what they see is called.
- There are not enough draft legal races in the US.
- Triathlon is never on TV.
That all being said I think that triathlon has the potential to be a huge sport if it can solve some of its growing problems.
ST: Have you had help with your bike fit?
Jarrod: Actually I just got my brand new Orbea Orca refit for me yesterday. Husam Sahin at ATA Bikes in Concord, MA in my man for bike fits; he is really awesome and knows his stuff. He had been using Dartfish for fittings for a while and now he has the new Retul fitting system which is pretty sweet. I think the hardest thing about triathlon bike fits is finding the comfort level between a normal road position and a position where you legs are not overspent going out onto the run.
ST: How are things going for you in terms of sponsorship?
Jarrod: Things are going great in terms of sponsorship. I have a long list of great sponsors, Hormel, Nike, Orbea, Xterra wetsuits, Rolf Prima, Team Psycho, ATA cycle, and General Mills.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Jarrod: I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan. They are favorite team and I follow them every day of the year. I also love watching the Celtics and Patriots. I also try to keep up with running news as best as possible. I am pretty excited to see how Ryan Hall and Dathan will do in Beijing.
ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?
Jarrod: I love any kid of lean meat and having Hormel as a sponsor works out great for this. I love eating fruit, hamburgers, pizza and cookies. The only thing I can’t stand are olives.
ST: Well, we assume you like Wheaties?
Jarrod: I am a big fan of a great breakfast. Wheaties have a great balance of vitamins and gets you off to a great start on the day. I still can’t believe that Wheaties decided that I would be on their cereal box and it is a great honor.
ST: What about music? Anything you listen to more often?
Jarrod: I listen to just about anything. I have been listening to a lot of Dropkick Murphys and Sean Kingston lately. We had a lot of fun in our training camp in Chula Vista in March and April listening to lots and lots of rap music, but now that I am back in Boston the station is usually WFNX.
ST: What was the last book you read?
Jarrod: I am currently reading a book about the history of Beijing. It is really interesting and hopefully I will learn about the city before I head over.
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jarrod: Hopefully 5 years from now I will have just finished up another Olympic cycle and be ready for another successful season on the ITU circuit. I will be 30 years old and should be in the prime of my career.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Jarrod: Nothing really interesting, just that I love living in New England and have a lot of fun training and racing. I think that sometimes people lose sight of why they participate in sport and my main goal is to have fun and enjoy the process.
More on Jarrod Shoemaker on his site jarrodshoemaker.com