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Age Group National Championship - Olympic Distance - TriathlonOlympic

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
USA Triathlon
60sF / 0C
Total Time = 2h 29m 15s
Overall Rank = 1365/2677
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 93/160
Pre-race routine:

Note first that I write these reports as I experienced them so you can know what I went through and felt. With that, here's some commentary about time prior to this event.

I was pretty excited to have qualified for this event at two of my 2012 events. Since this was the first time I had qualified, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go. Though I'm fairly experienced now, who knew about 7 years ago that I'd actually qualify for any sort of National Championships? So come Feb 2013, I registered for the race and to take a chance to at achieving a higher level of this sport.

Fast forward to the week of the race, August 2013. I had originally thought about traveling in 1 day to Milwaukee but ended up staying overnight in Indiana. This was a good decision as it gave me much of the next day to take care of a lot of race business beforehand. And what a nice several days it was to be too! Weather was definitely going to cooperate thank goodness. So, first I actually drove the return part of the bike course as it was essentially along the way to the race site. Noted for the most part it was flat or lightly rolling except the one highway bridge we'd cross twice. Then at the northern end of the course there was also an incline but it didn't look that bad and we would be rewarded with a nice downhill on the way back. Now one thing the guide discussed was parking but this was mostly the day of the race. Found out that there was plenty of 3 hour parking along the street not too far from the race site and then free parking at several of the small parks along that road that are along Lake Michigan. So, I just kept my car in one of these locations rather than paying for parking during the next couple of days. Check in went pretty smoothly and I walked around the Expo. Now I knew that Chrissie Wellington would be at the dinner tonight (which I decided not to go to) but to my surprise, there she was at the Tyr tent! So, I had just had to get in line and talk to her for just a bit more. I met her earlier this year at one of her book signings but didn't say much then. As I had read her book since, I told her just how much of an inspiration she was to me and that I was just in awe of her accomplishments. She was pleasant as ever, autographed a small picture and the hat in my swag bag, and then posed for a couple of pics. What a class act she is! Spent some time taking more pictures and also spent about 20 min in the NormaTec recovery boots which were there at the expo. When offered, I take advantage of using these even if beforehand since I used such boots prior to Eagleman 70.3. Felt very good and gave some thought to buying a set they were discounting. But, let that go. Then I took my road bike I brought to check out the run course. Did this twice just to get about an hour's worth of doing something for the day. Flat course which I welcomed. Finally, checked into my hotel (which was the Mainstay Suites BTW...nice place to stay, relatively inexpensive with USAT discount, and close to the race site).

Next day was practice swim which I was glad I did. For the swim, we were going to first jump off a pier by Discovery World and swim under a foot bridge. This was going to be a significant bottleneck and we'd have to come back the same way too. For this practice swim, we only went out just beyond the bridge and then back. Wow, I didn't wear a cap and found out that the water was a bit colder than expected. It was still nice but it did chill the top of my head a bit. The swim exit was a steep ramp where I tried to stand up and nearly fell back! Fortunately, plenty of lifeguards there to catch me as well as others behind me pushing up. Whew! I wasn't sure but decided to do this again just for some additional practice and to get the ramp down for the next day. LOTS of folks taking advantage of this today! One thing I told USAT about is that there wasn't anywhere for folks to secure items like keys and such. There were a lot of folks with friends and families, but I was alone here. So, just put things under a bush with others. I guess the chances with all of these folks around was somewhat slim. But, still a bit concerned.

After the swim, it was time to get my bike together and bring it to transition. Just to note and I'll remember next time, I tried to wrap the bike number around my seat tube but it got squished by my gear bag. I should've wrapped it around my brake cable instead which was also recommended...remember for next time. But, I did have to ask a USAT official if my number was okay once I got it into transition. Then came back to listen to the rules briefing. During this briefing, I heard someone behind me mention my name and of all things, my friend Jason G is there! I had my Mercury Endurance tri top on and Jason recognized it since I said I would have it. He just happened to sit right behind me for the briefing! His wife Mj and a few other friends also qualified and had driven in from WV today. So, after the rules briefing we chatted for a while before going our separate ways.

I'm pretty sure that I decided to take in the Art Museum right next to the expo on this day and perhaps should've have gone to Discovery World instead. Athletes got free admission to both but I only really had time for one of these. It was still a nice museum.

Went back to my hotel and had my usual pre-race dinner, which was really breakfast at IHop. I do this now before significant races since I ate such an evening meal prior to my PR at Eagleman in 2011. Yum! Relaxed the rest of the evening. Next morning I had my usual strawberry jelly wrap and coffee. Think also a banana and orange along with Powerade Zero. Got my race number tattoos on too and they looked pretty cool since I had never had those on before. Headed off to the race site. We had been given maps of parking areas but they could've been a bit more specific. Cost $5 and I picked one that wasn't too far from transition. I found later I could've gotten closer and kinda wish this had been noted a bit better.

Now due to the Boston Marathon bombings USAT had extra security precautions and we wouldn't be allowed to leave transition bags in transition or any extra gear. And the way it was briefed, we wouldn't even be allowed to bring bags into transition. Found out after I was already on my way that this wasn't true. We could take bags in but couldn't leave them there nor at the bag check-in area. Well, IF we had had an athlete's briefing the day before, we could've asked that question. I gave this as feedback that they should've had a live athlete's briefing to ask any pre-race questions that the online briefing either didn't cover or had changed. I thought not having this was a significant oversight. Anyway, it all worked out though it meant carrying this gear in a clear bag they provided that didn't even have a drawstring. Got my gear set, pumped tires, took my clear bag with after-race items over to the bag check-in, and took other things back that I really didn't need like my pump. Then really just chilled and relaxed before the race.
Event warmup:

Considering how much walking I was doing back and forth from my car, I didn't think I needed one.
  • 29m 40s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 49s / 100 yards

I'm in the 5th wave starting at 8:01 AM, so moseyed over to join my wave when time. Can't really tell what's going on but we are a bit delayed it would seem. Found out later this was due to clearing traffic off the highway which would be closed to traffic. Struck up a conversation with a few guys there. One guy close by sees my tri kit and asks if I know Jamie Boward? Well, sure, since he's sponsoring me! Found out this is (Philip) Andy Mixell from Wisconsin. Andy's going to Kona this year and I remembered seeing him in a pic with his Mercury Endurance tri top at the Tour de France in a post on Jamie's FB wall. But, things are not completely well with Andy as his wife has like days to live after a long battle with cancer. Very sad. Andy's there because his wife would not let him quit. Man, I think we were all really feeling for him after hearing this. He actually finished 12th in my AG and so will be going to Worlds if he chose to. And 5 days after this event, his wife did pass away :`(

Okay, after a the 15 min delay, it's at last my wave's turn. Zip up, wish each other well, and head down to the pier. Jump into the water shortly thereafter, though it might've been a bit soon since the water's a bit chilly. But it's sunny out and that's helping a bit. Well I don't have too long to wait as they're getting ready to get us started. Give a rousing cheer and wait for the start....countdown commences....annnndddd...WE'RE OFF!

I had thought that perhaps staying back would help a bit with the crowd but it really didn't and I was bumping up against A LOT of guys! And this didn't really let up much as we all had to get funneled to round the first buoy on our way under the foot bridge. After several thoughts on where to place myself for the swim, I actually think being more up front is better. Well, not thinking about that right now, just trying to stay on course best as possible.

The water is pretty clear and I was actually able to stay behind folks here and there quite often, especially in this more confined space. Somewhere about halfway out, I picked up my cadence but I discovered later that this may have been a bit too soon. But I do remember feeling pretty good about this at the time and sped along (for me) quite nicely. Got to the turn around and headed back to the bridge. Now somewhere along here, I'm starting to get a bit tired as the higher cadence is taking a bit of a toll. And since it seems like I'm maintaining pace with another guy beside me, I decided to fall back and follow him to the ramp. I didn't seem to be gaining and it just seemed like a better idea to let this guy do more of the work. Pass by under the bridge still with this guy and make the dogleg left to the ramp. I lost the guy here but it didn't make much difference on this last stretch. Thank goodness I did the practice swim and knew what to expect here as I get to the ramp along with a few others, let the volunteers and guards grab me, stay low so as not to lose balance, and get up the ramp! Yes - swim leg is done!
What would you do differently?:

Not much really. Perhaps stay up front rather than back and also started a faster cadence a bit sooner than I should've. Still, found out later this is a good swim for me in an Olympic distance, even with a wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 02m 50s

Now with over 2600 competitors, the transition area is HUGE! But, it's pretty easy to navigate as the bike/run out are at one corner and the bike/swim in are at the opposite diagonal one. My bike is near the bike/swim in interestingly in row D (for Dave) and near the Maryland flag :) Still kinda a long jog/run to get there from the swim exit. But, I'm able to make fairly quick work of getting out of my wetsuit, into bike gear, and then make the LONG jog with my bike to the opposite diagonal to start the bike course.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Decent time for me considering just how big transition was.
  • 1h 10m 15s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 21.22 mile/hr

As I had previewed the bike course ahead of time, I knew this was going to be a fast course. And because it was closed to traffic made it all the more enjoyable! I indicated the road surface was smooth but there were some sections along the first part that weren't as smooth as I would've liked and you had to be wary of these. So, heading out and after mounting my bike, wind along just a bit from transition to get out onto the first main section of the course. I head north along Lincoln Memorial Drive which parallels the Lake Michigan shoreline along with many others out on the course now. As this part is flat, I'm motoring along at decent clip though others of course are catching me from behind. As this is a USAT-run event, LOTS of motorefs are out on the course as well and I had thought at one point that I was a bit too close to a guy up ahead of me. Thankfully, no penalties again. Always think I'm a bit too close to someone when the refs come by. Well, the first gradual hill comes up and I don't have any issue with this, getting up it in fairly short order. Turn around and it's a screaming downhill for a bit! YEE HAW! Gosh how I love going fast on my bike! Back to flat and really do make good time coming back to where I entered the course. Now have to go up the only real hill on this course, the Hoan Bridge on 794 (Lake Freeway). Fortunately, race folks put covers over the road openings over this bridge with volunteers ensuring folks didn't have a problem with them. Spinning uphill here as best I can passing a few folks and getting passed as well due to my heavier bike and to a lesser extent, heavier me (I'm not that heavier per se anymore but could still stand to lose a bit more). Over the top and now it's REALLY a screaming downhill!!! YES! As I'm coming down the backside, I notice a power generating windmill which is pointed to Lake Michigan - uh oh...headwinds on the way back! Well, deal with those on the return trip. So, on the flat/rollers now and next we go up an entrance ramp turning left onto Howard Street and then right onto S Lake Dr. From my course preview, the remainder of this course is now mostly light rollers and I'm pretty much able to cruise pretty well during this stretch to the second turnaround, especially with the light tailwind at my back. It's still sunny out and I'm sweating a good amount though it's not overly hot. Taking in regular Powerade to ward off any carb and electrolyte depletion. Make the second turnaround and headed back. Now the light tailwind has turned into a headwind and it's detracting my progress a bit. Not overly so and still cruising along. During this stretch, I took a couple of Clif Bloks as well to keep me powered up. This seemed to work pretty well at the last Olympic distance. About halfway on back on Howard, see activity ahead and slow. Darn, someone's down with a good number of folks attending. Always hate to see that happen to folks and hope they're okay. Didn't hear what happened. Pass by and it's back to the race. Done with Howard and zoom down the entrance ramp back onto 794. Nearing the bridge, the headwind now really hits. It's not bad but any headwind plus now going back up this bridge is a speed killer for me. Take the last two Clif Bloks to get me powered up for the run. Look at my time and it's looking like I'm going to have a nice time here coming in faster than the du Olympic course a few weeks ago. I thought perhaps under 1:15 and turned out better than that! Well, I'm now spinning up the bridge the best I can now and knowing that I'm almost done with the bike in a good time motivates me a little more. But, have save myself for the run too. Over top and zoom down the other side. As I'm nearing the end of the downhill, I see the right turn I'll have to make back to transition and start getting out of my shoes. Do this successfully, make the turn, make another quick right turn, see the dismount line, swing my leg over to balance on 1 the bike running into T2!
What would you do differently?:

Y'know this was probably my fastest Olympic bike time and average speed! Other than losing a bit more weight and having a better bike, I don't think I could've done anything much differently.
Transition 2
  • 01m 28s

The Bike In is the same location as the Swim In. So, find row D (for "Dave" ;) ) and I'm at my rack in no time. Had just a bit of an issue getting the bike racked but not significant. Also a slight problem getting into my socks and shoes. But after that, grab everything else and go! LONG run out of transition, but this helps get my legs warmed up and I prefer this rather than a shorter run. Well, I prefer a smaller transition area altogether ;)
What would you do differently?:

Not much really. I just rushed myself rather than being smooth. This is a decent time considering the long run to the Run Out exit at the opposite diagonal from where my gear was.
  • 44m 59s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 07m 14s  min/mile

Coming out on the run course, I'm just a bit concerned with my left foot big toe area. A little over a month ago, I apparently sprained this area and really hurt it at the Maryland Olympic Duathlon (see race report if interested). So, I've not been running ever since! I did tape it as this seemed to provide enough cushion as I was walking along. So this is on my mind as I'm on the first part of the run. But, I'm not feeling any pain or having issues and decide to just put forth my best effort. Sunshine is still out so hydration and keeping cool is going to be one thing I have to be mindful of. This first mile and so is an out and back right along Lake Michigan's shoreline north of the race site. And I'm doing quite well here, smilin' for the camera and seem to be passing some folks every so often. Pace is pretty decent too at the 1st mile which is somewhere around 7:15. Somewhere along here, a guy in the next AG passes me and I kinda just groan a little bit. He's definitely is moving better than me. I try to keep tabs on him as I'm going along. Mile 2 comes up and I've slowed a bit too much coming down to 7:26. I want to have a good run, so I start being more mindful of my pace. Pretty sure I take in at least Gatorade at the next aid station and press on. There are few folks passing me here and there but I'm doing quite a bit of passing myself since the run is my forte now in triathlon. Starting to get just a bit uncomfortable coming into mile 3, but I'm still maintaining a good pace. It's somewhere along here that I see the guy who passed me stop and stretch as he's having cramps. Pass by but not too long afterwards, he repasses me. Well, keep watching. Reach the turnaround not too long after the nice beach we pass on the right and head back. Mile 4 comes up and for some reason I actually started to kick a bit here. So much so that I believe I had 6:40 pace between miles 4 and 5. And this was a bit of a mistake too as I was definitely feeling the run and pace after mile 5. See the guy with cramp problems one last time and thought I was going to stay ahead of him this time. But, he regained his lead and didn't have a problem after this last cramping time. This last mile I went into "finish the race" mode, putting out more effort here and beginning to pant a bit as I was doing so. It wasn't as good as the last mile but I was still moving along quite well. Folks along the course were giving me encouragement saying the Finish is just up ahead. And coming under a walkway bridge, there's the Finish up ahead! Now pumping to the Finish and hearing my name being called ("David Miller of Frederick Maryland!) as I go into a sprint! Actually pass one guy just before the finish, raise arms in triumph as I go under the Finish arch...YES! First USAT AG National Championships DONE!
What would you do differently?:

This is probably my best finishing run time on an Olympic course! The only mistake was kicking a bit too soon at mile 4 when I should've done that at mile 5. I think I was just feeling pretty good at that point and just took my pace to the next level. Hopefully, I can continue to get faster in my new AG next year.
Post race
Warm down:

As I've just put forth a tough effort, I'm understandably just a tad out of sorts and have to recompose for just a bit. I get a nice medal and some nice water from the volunteers who I thank a lot for their help. I'm moved along away from this area to keep finishers from bunching up so others can finish unimpeded. I saw the guy who was having the cramps and congratulated him on a good race. He said he just kept getting them for some reason but decided to work through it after the last one in order to finish without wasting a lot of time. I hung around there for a bit and then found where they were handing out your results printout. So headed over there and picked up my slip. While I had some delusions of grandeur going into this event (i.e. qualifying for Worlds), I was feeling those just a bit more as I know I had a good race and probably a PR for me for the distance. So, I'm actually disappointed to see where I placed in AG - 93rd. I'm kinda just staring at this and thinking "REALLY?". I guess I should've expected as much when I'm up against the "best of the best". I suppose my recent podium place and a few other decent AG places have lulled me into a false sense of "greatness" if you will and it's little tough being thrust back into reality. It's okay, though. I mean checking my bike and run times/paces - I'm elated! Over 21 mph on avg with the bike and despite my foot problems, 7:14 pace on the run! I guess it's just a bit difficult to accept the speed of others ahead me. Well I just have to get faster, huh? ;)

Not too long afterwards, I meet back up with my friends Jason and Mj. Have a few pics taken and I point them to where they can get their results. Then we go over to get some post-race food. I get another pic taken with my new Finisher's medal and grab some food. I think Mj and Jason got their bags and wanted to go see about their other friends they came with. I needed to sit down and eat, though. So, gave my cell phone number to Mj and asked to let me know if they're going somewhere afterwards. Food was okay - box lunches. Shame as I've been at other events with buffets. Think I told USAT this. It was okay, but just okay.

Well decided to get my bag, head back to the car, and start the packing up process. Changed into dry clothes, dumped other gear, went back for my bike. They were letting us get our gear after a while and took that back as well. Then kinda hung around, found a beer cart to sample some of a local brew, headed back to the car, and back to the motel.

Not long later, Mj texted me about meeting up at a local brewery that was along the bike course, St Francis Brewery. Thoroughly enjoyable with good brew and food. I topped it off a bit later by having some of the best frozen custard that I've had in quite some time.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Two things: my swim and my bike. I could still use to lose some lbs too though I've gotten back down to the weight I was last year for the Ironman.

Event comments:

Overall, this was a good race and I did quite well for me. A humbling experience to be sure but it was good to experience my first real National Championships and I'll know where I really have to be if I ever want to really compete and make it to Worlds some day. The course was awesome and if you get the chance to go, do so! USAT did a decent job with the race though I did let them know about what I thought were a few shortfalls. Still plenty of volunteers and race support. Closed bike course is a plus for me. The swim was interesting but really nothing terrible, just different. Milwaukee treated us very well too! I'm afraid I probably won't be back next year before it changes again as I have other priorities. Enjoy if you do! More pics in my USAT AG Nationals 2013 Album if interested.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-02-06 12:00 AM
00:29:40 | 1640 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Age Group: 121/160
Overall: 1864/2677
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Sprint Full
Course: Tread water after jumping off a pier by Discovery World, swim out, and then back after first going under a foot bridge, keeping buoys on the right until last buoy where that's on the left and doing a dogleg left to the swim ramp finish.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:50
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:10:15 | 24.85 miles | 21.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 119/160
Overall: 1457/2677
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: A 1 lap counter-clockwise thin loop closed to traffic mostly along the shores of Lake Michigan. Fast course with a good number of flat areas or lightly undulating sections. There is one gradual hill before the first turn around on the northern part, a bridge to cross over out and back providing another hill, and then gradual rolling to flat after that.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:28
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:44:59 | 06.21 miles | 07m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 63/160
Overall: 965/2677
Performance: Good
Course: 1 lap of a counter clockwise loop mostly along the shoreline of Lake Michigan on wide footpaths/trails of the Oak Leaf Trail. Mostly flat with just a little bit of undulation here and there. If memory serves, think we had one short section on the road just before the finish.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-09-15 7:40 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Frederick, Maryland
Subject: Age Group National Championship - Olympic Distance

2013-09-15 1:38 PM
in reply to: #4855845

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Age Group National Championship - Olympic Distance
Well done! We are in the same AG and I did both AG Oly and Eagleman this year. No doubt we crossed paths at some point.  Interestingly, my prerace dinner is typically "breakfast supper" as well. Lots of really fast and fit guys in Milwaukee and at Eagleman. Keep up the good work!   
2013-09-15 7:33 PM
in reply to: slornow

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Extreme Veteran
Frederick, Maryland
Subject: RE: Age Group National Championship - Olympic Distance
Originally posted by slornow

Well done! We are in the same AG and I did both AG Oly and Eagleman this year. No doubt we crossed paths at some point.  Interestingly, my prerace dinner is typically "breakfast supper" as well. Lots of really fast and fit guys in Milwaukee and at Eagleman. Keep up the good work!   

Thanks and to you too! It was a great race, though, and glad I got the opportunity to race in it. As I wrote, a humbling experience to be sure. But, just makes me want to strive to that level all the more so. Not sure if I'll get there but like to be one of those really fast and fit guys one day Perhaps we'll cross paths again sometime...have to look you up if we do. Good luck with the rest of your season!
2013-09-16 3:16 AM
in reply to: #4855845

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, North Carolina
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Age Group National Championship - Olympic Distance
Sounds like an awesome experience.  Smoking fast race!  Well done out there Dave!!!
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