I forced James to stop moving and sit down so he could tell me about the Fallen Officer Challenge he is doing this February and his 2017 goals.
James Schissler is the lead instructor at South Jersey OCR (SJOCR) located at the I Love Kickboxing location in East Greenwich, NJ. I first stumbled into SJOCR back in the summer when I was looking for a good way to knock out some workouts for a challenge I was doing. At SJOCR, I found workouts and a whole lot more. James prides himself on his teambuilding as well as the butt kicking workouts.
James’s credentials as a runner are impressive. He has finished a number of OCRs, Spartans, road and trail races, and this past summer finished his first triathlon at Greenfields, placing fifth in his age group. He is hoping to place higher this year. James has a number of age group and overall wins to his name, including first in his age and second overall at Run the Vineyard 10 Miler in 2016, first overall at the Ohio Spartan Super in 2014, and first in age group at Jonas Cattell 10 Miler in October 2016. James often has podium performances in 5k races.
Out of the many races he has completed, James’s favorite is the Viking Obstacle Race in New York. He particularly enjoyed the many unique obstacles there and the terrain of the Catskills. He is looking forward to their plans to start offering their race twice a year.
In spite of his many achievements as a racer, James says his proudest achievement is “watching people grow and find the confidence in themselves.” James encourages the people on his team to set high goals for themselves and he prides himself on supporting them along the way, often tailoring workouts to meet the needs and goals of the people on the team. “If you want your goals bad enough, you’ll make time to do it,” he says.
James is preparing now for his third year doing a month long challenge to raise money for a scholarship fund that benefits children who lost a parent in the line of police duty. In 2015 and 2016, James ran one mile for every officer who died in the line of duty in the previous year. He got sponsors through a gofundme and donated the funds to the scholarship fund. This year, he plans to modify the challenge, instead running a 5k and following it with a burpee for each officer. James anticipates having the gofundme site set up within the next few weeks. (I’ll update with a link here when it is set up.) (Edited to add link for donations.)
James started running when he was in high school and ran cross country. Given his competitive nature, I figured he probably was awesome in high school XC, but he says, “I was lazy.” He liked race day but hated training and preparing, and reminisced that his coaches would have loved if he would have worked as hard then as he does now.
If you go to SJOCR, you will notice that training is barefoot. James says he runs in minimalist shoes, and that barefoot training helps strengthen the muscles of the feet and ankles. When he does wear shoes, James pairs them with MudGear Compression Socks. He says they really hold up well through all the abuse that a runner and OCR racer can put them through and he has pairs that he’s been wearing for two plus years and they’re still going strong. He hates messing with pins for a short race, so he runs in X Racewear shorts, which have a pocket for your bib. Being in the market for a hydration pack myself, I asked what he uses, and he recommends Orange Mud’s hydration vest.
If you’re new to running or working out, James says, “Take it slow.” He recommends working gradually towards your goals to build strength without injury.
In 2017, look for James on the Xterra trail series. He set a goal to finish in the top of his age group for the series. In April, he is racing at the Spartan Ultra Beast which will cover 32 miles and 65 obstacles together with some other members of the SJOCR team. You will also find him training with the Goliathon training group doing trail runs, and sometimes he joins with Road Runners Club of Woodbury for their Thursday night fun runs.
You can join in the workouts at SJOCR at 5 am Monday through Friday, 8 pm on Monday or Wednesday, or a 7 am on Saturday or Sunday.