On August 14th I raced the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint Distance National Championships in Omaha. I had raced the Olympic distance event the day before so I was not going to be at my best for the Sprint race, but I figured I should race since my bike and I were both in Omaha.
All the distances were exactly half of what we had raced the day before. The 750 meter swim was in Carter Lake. The water temperatures were still well over 80 so no wetsuits allowed. Just before my race started I happened to hear my friend Tim Yount announce some of the All-Americans and Team USA members in our wave. Tim announced my name as “Craig Are You Going To Eat All That Zelent”. Tim has seen me eat many times so he knows what he’s talking about. My swim time was 14:25, good for 24th place. Yes, I was tired from the day before!
The 20K (12.2 mile) bike was an out and back on mostly flat, smooth roads. I did the best I could, but could only manage the 56th best bike split 36:59. That dropped me down to 41st place. I wish I could tell you my brakes were rubbing. So tired!
The 5K (3.1 mile) run was also an out and back. Typically I want the run to last forever so I can reel people in, but I felt like I was carrying a piano on my back. Somehow I still managed the 3rd fastest run split 18:31 to finish in 1:13:21. I ran my way up to 26th place out of 74 finishers in the men’s 50-54 age group. If I had the energy to be 1 minute faster I would have moved up to 19th place, but it does not work that way. I was 266th out of 1,248 overall finishers.
I think about 15 guys in our age group did “the double” and raced both days. I had the 7th best combined time. I’ll take that. I love to race and I had a lot of fun.
One of my San Diego rivals Steve Thunder was “all in” for the Sprint race. The top 8 in each age group from the Sprint would qualify for the 2017 Sprint World Championships in Rotterdam. Steve dropped me like a bad habit about a mile into the bike. He had a great race, finishing 6th so I was really happy to see him earn his slot to Rotterdam.
And one of the great sights during the weekend was the pair of 86 year olds who raced. On 8/13 Sister Madonna Buder finished the Olympic distance in 4:23. And on 8/14 Winston Allen finished the Sprint distance in 2:22. Needless to say, both won the 85-89 age group in their respective races.
To see my pictures from the Sprint race click on this link:
Living the life…