Today@Sam Article

Student Completes IRONMAN Texas Triathlon

May 15, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry


A 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run—this is the IRONMAN Texas triathlon.

The event took place last month in The Woodlands for the third consecutive year. The athletes have 17 hours to complete the race. One Sam Houston State University student took on the challenge and succeeded.

Jacob McCauley, computer science major from Montgomery, completed the triathlon—his first ever.

“I had never run a marathon or biked more than 30 miles previous to this, so the learning curve was quite steep and I didn’t truly know what to expect,” he said. “I mean 2.4 miles of swimming isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I had quite an extensive background of swimming throughout my youth and high school years, so I felt very prepared and confident in that part of the race. 

“From there, I knew I was stubborn and determined enough to not give up and quit,” he said. “I also knew I was going to need a lot of help from God to get me through this and actually finish before the 17-hour time limit was up.”

McCauley trained 16-20 hours a week in between his school and work schedule. He had three swim workouts per week, more bike workouts than he could count, and a handful of running workouts. 

“I had Wednesdays off this semester and it was a good point in the week to catch up or get ahead of the homework load or nap the day away,” he said. “When I hired my coach Pat Green, and he agreed to take me on as an athlete, the vast majority my time in a week was completely taken up with either school or training.”

His only goal for the triathlon was to just finish the race.

“I’ll be honest, it hurts more than anyone can help you mentally prepare for,” he said. “I have some truly amazing teammates in the Conroe Triathletes Tri team, and they all warn you that it is just going to suck beyond anything you could ever imagine, and they are absolutely right, but you can’t mentally prepare yourself as you’ve never pushed your body that far before.

“I can tell you that the only things that got me through that day was a tremendous amount of strength, reliance on God, the amazing preparation and training my coach gave me, and my wonderful teammates in Conroe Triathletes,” he said.

Some aspects of the race didn’t go accordingly for McCauley, but he was happy with the outcome.

“My swim was slower than expected, I was cramping and severely dehydrated on the bike and I wasn’t able to run as much as I would have wanted,” he said. “However, I finished and became an Ironman.

“I placed 20th in my age group out of 29 who finished,” he said. “There were several in my age group that didn’t finish, so overall I’d say I really didn’t do too bad.“

After the race, McCauley didn’t feel the need to lie down to rest or go straight to bed.

“Everyone, myself included, thinks that when you get done you just want to go find a good spot to lay down and go to sleep, but I found that wasn’t exactly the case,” he said. “Instead, I wanted to go find a hot tub to help relax some of my sore, cramped muscles and eat a buffets worth of food.

“As far as my muscles go, my body started to shut down and go to sleep,” he said. “Once I stopped moving after the race it was difficult to get moving again. I had my mom drive me home that night. I was working my body hard for almost 14 hours, so physically I was pretty tired for sure, but when I did finally get home and go to bed, I didn’t fall right to sleep like I thought.”

McCauley signed up for the race for the sole reason of checking it off his bucket list.

“It then provokes the question ‘Aren’t you a little young to have a bucket list and already be checking things off of it?’” he said. “I would respond yes, but our time on this earth is limited and we don’t know when our last day is, so until then, chase your dreams and goals until the good Lord calls you home.”

After the events in the IRONMAN Texas triathlon, McCauley said he would definitely participate in another one.

“In a twisted way it is actually quite a lot of fun,” he said. “My current goal is to try and qualify for the 2020 Olympic team in the Olympic triathlon distance (1500-meter swim, 24-mile bike, and 10k run), so I’m only training for that right now. I am in no way guaranteed a spot on the team just because I did the Ironman, but like everyone else trying to get on the team, I, too, have a shot.

“If I make the Olympic team I might do another Ironman in 2021. If I don’t make the Olympic team, I might do another Ironman in 2020,” he said. “We’ll just see what happens, but until then, I’m trusting God to take me wherever I can bring the most glory to his name.”

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