Monday, June 25, 2007

2007 Eagleman Half Ironman

I've procrastinated two weeks now on writing a report, but I want to get down a few words about the 2007 Eagleman Half Ironman just for my own reference next year.

Note: In my third trip around this course I don't mention much about the course itself - more details are in my reports from two previous years.

Weather on race day was perfection:
Mean Temperature 68 °F / 20 °C
Max Temperature 75 °F / 24 °C
Min Temperature 62 °F / 17 °C
Average Humidity 71%
Maximum Humidity 88%
Minimum Humidity 53%
Wind Speed 5 mph / 9 km/h
Max Wind Speed 12 mph / 18 km/h

Swim: 1.2 miles in 48:50 (386th woman) 2:18/100 yards pace

I was in the 2nd-to-last wave starting at 8:08. That was too late, especially since it meant I was nearly all alone on the course during the run leg with dispirited walking stragglers such as myself. Next year I need to remember to enter as an age grouper and start at 6:50AM and have folks with energy around me the whole race.

I wore the sleeveless wetsuit and don't recall even thinking about the temperature of the water, so that must have been about right. However, I made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless jersey under it and that chafed me badly. Next time spend the 30 seconds in T1 to put on a dry jersey.

I was surprised by how choppy the water was on such a calm day and the strength of the current sweeping me off course on the outbound leg. It seemed like a long swim to me and I had difficulty swimming straight. I had made the overconfident mistake again of not carefully scoping out the currents and the course layout before the swim. I got bumped and jostled by other swimmers more than any race I recall, especially when I was overtaken by the relayers in the wave behind us. It just seemed like a very long, tedious time in the water. I was very happily surprised to see a PR swim time when I stumbled up the ramp.

T2: 7:13 (396th woman)

I measured the transition run at about 0.31 miles, which means it should take me nearly 4 minutes just to jog it. My division also had one of the longest transitions-with-bikes of anyone this year with a new rack layout. My question isn't why is my transition so slow, it's how the heck is everyone else so danged fast in T1? Okay, maybe I shouldn't have taken time to say hi to Carrie Apple and ask how Jude did in the Chesapeake Bay swim. . . .

Bike: 56 miles in 3:24:55 (375th woman) 16.4 mph

This was my best bike leg of all time, I think. I felt quite good the whole way, supplemented by 4 Lemon GUs and a lot of water and salt. I paced myself exclusively by heart rate and tried to hold it between 145 and 150. I lost concentration a couple of times and found it drifted down to 142-143, and when I felt good it crept up to 153-155 a few times, but mostly I held it steady and kept my focus. That worked well and for the first time I still felt strong on that long homeward leg on Egypt Road when we had a headwind. One or two other riders even remarked then that I was riding strong. Toward the end I was able to pick up the pace to take advantage of occasional tailwinds. The final speed numbers aren't tremendous, but I felt great about having my most steady, consistent ride to date - which was a lovely surprise considering my light mileage this year.

T2: 3:58 (260th woman)

This transition was about 0.24 miles in length. I was relatively faster but I still did things the same old way I always do them, I think. Rack the bike, change shoes, grab the visor and go.

Run: 13.1 miles in 2:43:33 (368th woman) 12:30 min/mile pace

I trotted out of T2 and felt reasonably solid - get my runner-legs working again and put in a comfortable first mile. I thought I had fueled carefully on the bike leg, and reinforced it with another gel at the first run aid station. Then I just maintained a jog through the first half, just walking through aid stations to get enough hydration and salt. I hit the turnaround at about 1:15-1:17 or so, don't recall exactly.

All of a sudden I was thinking it was a long, long way back to the finish line. I kept trying to hydrate and take on energy and salt, but I was suddenly feeling quite fatigued. I was right on a pace to finish under 7 hours, which would have been a nice achievement for me. However, the lights went out quite suddenly between miles 9 and 10. Maybe I had started drinking the Coke too soon? I just ran out of gas and started needing to walk a significant amount. Naturally that burned up a lot of time and I trudged slowly back to the finish line about 10 minutes later than I had hoped most of the day. Good thing I wasn't racing age group, because 4 or 5 women in my age group strolled past me in those final 3 miles and I could only watch them go by. It took me a while to bounce back from that depressed feeling of a low-energy bonk.

Total: 7:08:27.60
3/4 Athenas 40+
377/400 women
1480th overall/1530 finishers

It was still a big PR for me for the Half Ironman distance by about 22 minutes.

However, about 15 minutes of that PR improvement was simply from avoiding flat tires during the bike leg that I experienced in my two half Ironman races in 2006!! So I can only really get credited for bringing down my time fitness-wise by about 7 minutes - a little in the swim, but mostly in the bike leg.

But a PR is a PR, I'll take it! It was also fun to be on the course with so many folks I know now - Holly, Jonah, Chuck, Michele, all the great Cambridge Multi-Sport gang - always full of good cheer!


Fe-lady said...

I think it's a fabulous time for an "over-the-hill-old person" like yourself! :-)

GeekGirl said...

Good job on your placing! 3rd place? Did you get a trophy,huh? Huh? I think we should all start posting finisher's medal pics and trophy pics.

Nancy Toby said...

Heh, thanks! I think I got another eagle trophy, but I didn't pick it up. I'm waiting for them to send it to me.

That's the last one from there, if I start racing age group there next year!

Holly said...

A PR is a PR and you looked GREAT when I saw you at mile 7 of the run, Nancy! I guess you just need to dial your nutrition in a little more and you will have it going on! Good Work!

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on your PR!

Nice job on the swim and bike and way to go pushing through to the finish to get third in your division.

Lisa said...

22 minutes is an AWESOME PR! Congratulations!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Congrats on a strong race and the PR.