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Race Result

Racer: Stacy Taylor
Race: Odyssey Half Iron Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 8, 2007
Location: Lake Anna State Park, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Female 40 - 44
Time: 5:37:49
Overall Place: 22 / 108
Age Group Place: 1 / 5
Comment: 1st in AG in the swim, 3rd in AG on the bike - What the F?

Race Report:

Fast bikers and slow swimmers showed up is the only way to explain it!

Bottom line : I am very happy with my race. I got a PR for Half Ironman and finished in 5:37:.49. I also PR’d on the bike and the run. The swim was a non-wetsuit swim so the times for everyone were 8-10 minutes or more slower than last year. I need to discuss the swim (of course you do, Stacy), because when I place first in my age group on the swim, there is something weird going on.

I compared last years swim and finish times for the top 3 males and females. Yes, the field was smaller this year, and not as competitive, but what I found was interesting. Last year, the fastest swim time for men was 23.26 and for women it was 23.30. This year they were 31.51 and 34.56. My question is this: because last year was a wetsuit swim and the race director said it was a bit shorter, could those two factors account for such a big difference in swim times from year to year?

Last year I did it in 38.44, this year 48.15. Ten flipping minutes! And I was still first in my age group in the swim (I was 5th last year). And, I was third on the bike – it should have been reversed – oh well.

I did the Lake Anna Odyssey Half Iron last year on September 16th, which as a week later. With the Annapolis, Reston and the Patriot’s Half taking place this past weekend, the field was much smaller. I recommended to the race director that he consider moving it next year, but then it would conflict with Savageman or Smallwood. Maybe he could make it the last week in September.

Anyway, the morning started on kind of cool, but we knew it was going to get toasty on the run later in the day. They said the water temperature was 85 degrees, but when we got in, we all agreed that it was probably more around 82. The water felt nice, it wasn’t too warm at all and was relatively clean.

The Swim:
There were two waves, the men and then the rest of us (women, teams, clydes and athenas). The men started swimming and at about 200 yards from shore they stopped swimming and started walking over a sand dune that was just below water. Allright! That’s my kind of swim – we get to run it! It was the funniest thing to watch and we were all laughing up on shore. Here were all these guys running through the water on the swim leg! But before we knew it, they crossed over and started swimming again. Apparently, the water is really low this time of year and there are some shallow places, but that was the only time they hit a shallow spot.

A few minutes later we were off. I was too wide to hit the shallow sand dune – and never got to walk/run - darn it! I decided to try to pick up my speed, which I neglected to do at the Luray Olympic. I knew without a wetsuit, my time would be considerably slower than last year. Out of my five Half Ironman’s this was the first one without a wetsuit. By the end, I wasn’t exhausted or even that tired, but it just took so freaking long. I was just ready to be done with it! It was a good test for Kona, I must admit.
Time” 48.15, 1/5 AG, 55/108 overall.

I told some friends as I ran out of the water to T1 that I decided to swim 2.4 miles to practice for Kona, as it took so long. They told me later they were starting to get worried about where I was. My T1 time was 1:33.

The Bike:
This bike course is really great – I loved it. It is two 28 mile loops. There are a few rollers, but no real hills to speak of. I saw Kevin out there and we briefly discussed the swim and discovered we swam almost the same times. My bike computer wasn’t working, but I felt strong throughout the entire bike and ended up averaging 19.4 mph.
Time: 2:53.29, 3/5 AG, 27/108 overall.

I had to change my shirt, but even with that I got out of there in 1:29. No fumbling with shoelaces today.

The Run:
While on the bike on the second loop, I was thinking about the run course. There are some long up “hills”, but also some long down “hills”. My strategy was to attack the down hills and conserve on the up hills, so I kept to that. At Lake Anna, when you head down into the cabin area, there is no shade at all. It was getting hot there. But when you come back up to the main road, there was plenty of shade. The key is to keep your head wet. At every aid station, I poured one or two cups of water on my head and I never overheated. In the end, my strategy worked and I finished in 1:53.01 – six minutes faster than last year and with much more heat on the run. 2/5 AG, 24/108 overall.

I finished the fourth woman overall and first in my AG, which is always a confidence boost, regardless the size of the race. With just under five weeks to Kona, I am feeling good. I have a big training weekend coming up (the epic 120 mile ride/20 mile run combo on Friday/Saturday). After that there are a couple more moderate weeks and then taper begins the week of Oct. 1. I guess with all that extra time I will be able to get ready for the big trip.