On August 13th I raced the USA Triathlon Age Group Olympic Distance National Championships in Omaha. My goal was to earn 1 of the 18 slots for my age group to represent Team USA at the 2017 World Championships in Rotterdam.
I had invited my cousin Ricky Jacob to the race as he lives in Winnebago, NE, about 90 miles from Omaha. Ricky and I found one another about 10 minutes before the race. That made me feel so good as he has supported my athletic career all the way back to my Little League baseball days. This was Ricky’s first triathlon so I was extra motivated to make him proud. Ricky was the awesome spectator as I heard his cheers when I finished all 3 disciplines.
Omaha is a warm place in the middle of August, but we had mild conditions compared to how hot it could have been. Race day only heated up to the mid 80’s with some humidity.
The 1.5K (0.93 mile) swim was held in Carter Lake which is actually in Iowa. The water temperature cutoff for wetsuits is 78. The lake temperature was 84 so wetsuits were not allowed. I predicted I would swim just over 24 minutes. I felt like I had a really good swim. I swam hard. I swam straight. I had minimal bumping with the other guys so the swim felt pretty good to me, but I reached the swim finish in 27:02. I did not know it at the time, but that put me in 29th place. The very best swim was 21:09, but only 2 guys were in the 21’s. Most of the guys ahead of me only had 2-3 minutes on me. I learned after the race that the swim course was probably a bit long by 100+ meters.
The 40K (24.8 mile) bike course was advertised to be very hilly and challenging. I guess that depends on where you come from. Training on all the hills in San Diego had me well prepared. I found the Omaha hills to be pretty easy. A lot of the roads had recently been paved so the conditions were fast. It was a simple out and back route with very few turns. My bike split was 1:10:25 (21.2 mph). I felt like I biked great and very few guys seemed to pass me, but I learned after the race that I only had the 55th best bike split and I had dropped down to 34th place. It is hard to know what place you are in at any given time, but I would have guessed I was in a better position than 34th.
The 10K (6.2 mile) run was pancake flat, but the challenge was going to come from the heat. The course was pretty simply – out and back to TD Ameritrade Park where they play the College World Series. We actually ran a lap inside the ballpark on the warning track and could see ourselves on the Jumbotron – pretty cool! I had a very solid run as I had the 3rd fastest run split in a time of 39:09. This effort moved me up to finish 17th out of 105 men in the 50-54 age group with a time of 2:20:02. I finished 250th out of 2,048 overall finishers.
Mission accomplished – I had my spot to Rotterdam! Once again God has really blessed me as this will be my 24th Team USA. Since the Rotterdam World’s will happen in 2017, the Team USA slots are determined based on our ages on 12/31/17. I will be in the 55-59 age group at that time. I placed 8th based on our ages on 12/31/17 so I qualified pretty comfortably. Sheesh! 55-59 – that’s old!
Click on this link to see my race pictures:
Living the life…