Excerpt From US Athletic Trust
For Jarrod Shoemaker, his dream to get to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, is something of a family affair. A successful runner in both high school and college, Jarrod decided to become a triathlete on the advice of his Uncle, an Ironman competitor. His sister, Jenna, also competes in triathlons, and his younger sister and brother are on his former high school swim team, which he now coaches.
Jarrod swam and ran track at Lincoln Sudbury High School and was a standout on the track team at Dartmouth. Biking, however, is fairly new on his list of accomplishments, and is an activity he took up seriously in just the last few months.
Dedication and determination are what have allowed Jarrod to succeed, despite choosing to compete in triathlons less than a year ago. He trains 18-20 hours/week, swimming approximately 20,000 yards, biking 6-10 hours and running 30-40 miles each week. Fortunately, he had always lifted weights and swam to train for running, and the aerobic training needed for each of the three sports crosses over well to support each area.
Although he was engrossed by Olympic athletes as a child, Jarrod didn't always know he would be one of them. Despite being at the top of his game in running, he didn't feel he was quite good enough to cross into the elite group of runners that make it to the Olympics. "Elite or not, I was up there in running," Jarrod said. "But I felt I needed a bigger jump in running to get to the top than I do to compete well in a triathlon."
Jarrod said he always knew athletes had to work hard to get to the Olympics, and now he is finding out exactly how difficult it is. "It's hard, but it's fun," he said. "I love getting on the starting line and pushing myself harder than I thought possible, and seeing how I match up against the other competitors." Triathlons are especially fun to see where he matches up, he said, because there are three areas in which he might win or lose, three areas to analyze after the race and improve upon.
Jarrod relies on sponsorship to achieve his hopes and dreams for Olympic glory. With his training schedule, and travels around the world to race, finding a full-time job is nearly impossible. He does coach swimming, as well as teach swimming lessons and lifeguard, and he is taking graduate classes at Boston College so he can become a high school history teacher. He is also working toward a training certificate in strength and conditioning.
With the 2008 Olympics some distance away, his focus is currently on the World Championships slated for September 11, 2005, in Japan. Medaling in the under-23 category is important to him, as it will get his name out there and put him in a position to compete in other important races.
"The Olympics is a long-term goal, but I have a lot of short-term goals I intend to reach first," he said.