Sam and I met while I was stationed onboard the USS Iwo Jima. He wasn't attached to the ship, but was with Fleet Surgical Team Eight (FST-8). He and I instantly connected due to our own experiences from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Through his involvement in social and sports gatherings as part of Team Red, White and Blue (RWB); he has led fellow active duty members and veterans within the Hampton Roads region to becoming one of the most active chapters of the non-profit organization. He's helped the chapter grow to more than 1,200 strong. A group that consist of military, veterans and civilians. For his leadership and his impact within the community, he was honored with the Volunteer Achievement Award by Volunteer Hampton Roads in April 2016. He was also picked as the 2016 Navy Times Sailor of the Year.
I recently talked to Sam to see how he was doing.
What have you been up to? Where are you stationed at now?
I'm good, bro. Currently, I'm stationed with NEPMU-2. But I'll be transferring to Great Lakes as an RDC later on this year.
So what are you doing to stay fit?
I mostly do Triathlon so a combination of swim, bike and run is what I like to do. I also have been doing CrossFit for 7 years. I found that a good mixture of the two sports (Triathlon & CrossFit), will get you ready for anything.
What was your best or worst moment in competition?
Worst moment for me would have to be DNF'ing Ironman Chattanooga this past September. That race day I had prepped and trained for 9 months, and it just happened to be the hottest day in Chattanooga since 1939. I suffered from Heat Stroke (which was my second heat injury) and it completely took a toll on my body. This event was huge for me because it was something I promised my cousin I would do and finish for him right before he passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in September 2015. Realizing that I didn't finish hurt but I realized that even Pro Triathletes have this happen to them. It's how we bounce back from adversity. That's how we are defined as people.
How long have you been competing in Triathlons?
Triathlon is something relatively new to me. About two years solid racing. This past year I went into the Ironman Distance (2.4 Mile Swim 112 Bike 26.2 Run = 140.6 miles in under 16 hours) Crazy right?!Crossfit is something I found on deployment 7 years ago. Working with guys in the SOF units it was a big piece to their daily routine so I wanted to blend in so I gave it a whirl. Murph was my first Crossfit workout (1 mile run 100 pull-ups 200 push-ups and 300 air squats and then a 1 mile run with a vest) I was completely trashed but I loved it. I was completely hooked from then on.
What are your future goals in the sport?
My goals for this year will be to complete a full distance Ironman in 2017. Anything else would be a bonus!
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about competing in a Triathlon?
Start small and pick the brains of people who have been doing Triathlon for a while. This sport is so much more than swim bike run. It's all mental and learning how to fuel your body before, during, and after is critical, as well as recovery.
Favorite quote or saying?
"The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday" SEAL teams motto is something I think about every day!
I just want to thank Sam for personally showing his support to Fit To Fight from day one. He was one of the first to represent and get behind me on this. More than an apparel, but a mindset we live by. I hope to someday inspire and lead like he has. Thanks brother!
Follow Sam's fitness journey on IG @s_johnson_26 and on Twitter @johnson_tri26