Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ironman Racine 70.3 Race Recap

Racine 70.3

My father and I made the 24-hour road trip to Wisconsin.

When we first got into town, we drove straight to the race start to see Lake Michigan.  Which should be called Ocean Michigan.  It's huge. And unlike a typical lake, there are 'ocean' waves.  Which made me freaking nervous and text Teresa instantly. WTH is this?? How do I swim in this?? and her response...


One of the things I love about Teresa is she has the perfect balance of caring AND toughness.

We ended up staying at the Radisson.  Location was awesome.  Hotel not so much.  Next time I'd probably choose somewhere else to stay.

Friday and Saturday were filled with pre-race swim/ride/runs, driving the course, pack-pickup, met-up with some IG friends, and taking it easy.

OH - and hydrating.  I was to

'hydrate like it was my job.'

<<<<Water bottle in hand at all times :)

The morning started off with an amazing sunrise over Lake Michigan.  The reflection made the lake look like it had a shadow of fire across it.  Perfect weather.  Quick transition set up.  

You walk 1 mile to the swim start.  Amateurs were allowed to warm up, so I took advantage of this.  The water was sub 60 so it was nice to get that initial shock out of the way. 

I have been seeing improvements in the lap pool. They did not translate today.  Kicked off goggles started the series of 'road bumps' I would have throughout this race.  I refused to let these ruin my race.  You can not change what has happened, don't make excuses, just keep moving forward... JUST GO!

Point to point swim followed by a longer than normal run up the beach to transition.  (Practice running in/out of about knee deep water to prep for this race)

Transition 1 went smooth.  My glasses got moved, but other than that I grabbed Rocky and we were off!


During my pre/post race rides, the less than ideal road conditions were super annoying... they have road seams about every 15 feet.  During the race, I do not remember being bothered by this at all.

This is a fast bike course.  Flat with a few rollers.  The first and last 30ish minutes of the ride have several turns that slow you down a bit.  I rode a new bike PR today which I am super excited about.

Right out of transition you have to mount on a hill.  I made sure to be in my easiest gear so I could spin right up it.  As soon as I got to the top, I fixed my watch (accidentally had it on Auto Powerdown mode) and then started focusing on nutrition.

Time to put my head down and hammer!

The series of unfortunate events followed me to the bike with some flats... chain drop... water bottle flying off.  HELL NO was I throwing in the towel.  You can not change what happened - JUST GO!

>>>>>>>>>> Missing water bottle (I think i was more mad I was going to have to buy a new Profile Design water bottle)>>>>>

The miles flew by and I was back to transition.

Jumping off my bike I thought I was in for a solid run.  Leading up to this race I have had a few niggles in my calf but I was feeling fresh and ready to GO!! 

My legs on the other hand...

were not ready to go like I would have preferred :)

The run is a 2 loop course.  Flat with a significant climb that you hit at mile 1 and 7.  Now that I am getting more courses under my belt I can compare a little better - I'd say this one is similar to Lake Stevens.

My rating so far (St George > Lake Stevens/Racine > Kansas > Boise)

So back to the race - I did not have 1 mile that felt good. 

I kept thinking...

1 more mile and my running legs will show up.

Take a GU! How about some cola?

I repeated every dang mantra I have.

Counted steps... tired to work off other ladies...

Add in the heat and my legs just would not respond.  I stopped looking at my slowing pace and told myself just.freaking.GO

AND - Do not walk!  I wanted to walk so bad.  But in the back of my head I knew the 'tough T & my dad would kick my ass... :)  There were quite a few other Team Zoot'ers out on the course that helped as well.  

Ended up finishing in the top 5 of my AG. Thumbs up to that! :) 

Racing is my favorite aspect of Triathlon.

You can not replicate the feeling of it in training.  Pushing your  body.  Testing limits.  Responding to the unknowns.  Truly seeing how you respond under pressure. And learning.  Not so stellar races serve as huge learning opportunities.  Gaining knowledge for your Big Picture goals. 

Of all I learned today, most important is to not allow your mind to make excuses.  

Make up your mind to 

Most awesome dad award goes to this guy!

Racine... I will be back for you next year!!! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ironman Kansas 70.3 Race Report

Ironman Kansas 70.3
4:54:47, 2nd AG, 3rd Amateur, 17th Female

We stayed about 20 minutes from the race start in Topeka.  The weekend accommodations were pretty dang awesome. Renting homes instead of hotel rooms is the way to go! 
Restored mansion. Fabulous owner. Quite, home-like feel.  

We arrive Thursday evening. Spent Friday/Saturday going through packet pick-up, getting wheels on Rocky, final pre-race rides/runs, and most importantly VISUALIZING my race plan!

Race Day

We arrived at Clinton State Park right around 5am.
The start of this race is a little clustered so GO EARLY.

There is about a 2 mile walk from where you park to the race start, so I would suggest not checking your bike in the day before so you can ride it to the start. 

Dad got me that new Rudy helmet! LOVE.

Calmest I have been pre-race.

I felt ready.

Quickly got T-1 set up
Gels Taped.
Powerbar Perform In.
Shoes/Helmet/Glasses Out.

Swim 36:29

Lets just wrap this section up with more swim time for Christie is needed :) 

Relatively calm water. Heading out I felt pretty good... coming back I guess I decided I wanted to swim some extra and got out of line about 777.77 times!

Transition 1 went smooth... BIKE TIME!!

Bike 2:40:05

First - Kansas is not flat.
I definitely underestimated that :) That being said, this bike course is my new favorite of the 70.3's I have done so far.  Pretty, rolling countryside with short, challenging climbs.     

70.3 bike PR for me :)  

Perceived Effort.  That was how I rode this course. Initially, my watch was messed up and my HR/Watts were not where they were supposed to be.  I had no clue of my mph. distance. time. Just Rocky and I grinding it out.

Pulling into T2 I was told I was in 6th place - Time to get my RUNNING on!

RUN 1:34:37

Teresa told me... first 2 miles EASY then descend.  I use to be a balls-to-the-wall kind of girl which = blowing up at the end of every race.  NOW - I practice patience and get to finish strong

I loved this 2-loop run course (another 70.3 favorite).  It is not Boise 70.3 FLAT but nowhere near St George hilly.  Crowd suppord is amazing.  You run through little ups and downs with the only significant climbs being at miles 3/10.

Downhill I focused my vision down. Leaned forward.  Picked up my turnover.

Uphill I got up on my toes, calmed my breath and pumped my arms.

The REAL hurt came around mile 9. Somehow, my mind went into a trance, I focused, and everything around me seemed quite as I pounded out those last miles.

Crossing the line I had NO clue of my time until my dad told me my new PR and 2nd in my AG. 

Incredible Day.

I know all races can not and will not be like today in Kansas... 
so this excitement I feel, I am really appreciating.

Progress feels GOOD! 

I say this after every race but REALLY, I am SO dang lucky to have some incredible people in my life.  It has been a fun, new experience getting to race on the Zoot Team this year! Teresa continues to teach me so much about this sport... which somehow always has a way of translating to day-to-day life.  Constant support from Ember means the world to me.  

and... who wouldn't be jealous of this dad????

I wouldn't be where I am without him!

....Racine, Worlds 70.3, and Tahoe are on deck! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ironman St George 70.3

Ironman St George 70.3

5:00:23, 33 Female, 8th Amateur, 3rd AG and a PR  :)  

Leading up to my first HIM of 2014 did not go exactly... smooth.  The first few months of the year I was injured, which does not translate to an ideal race build up.  Good thing I have an awesome coach who helped me focus on the things I could do and once healed, we were able to get in some solid training.   

I was able to spend a few weekends doing some course specific training

I ran up and down some hills a time or two

Added in some heat acclimatization

and quickly... MAY 3rd was here!


35:02 Swim Sand Hollow was beautiful race morning.  Mother Nature was playing nice and held off on the crazy winds.  

Typical Christie tripped over a rock getting into the lake which added in some 'fun' for the day :) My little trip threw me off a bit at the start, but I was not about to let that ruin my race!


As soon as I put on my cycling shoes I felt my foot and negative thoughts filled my head... 'maybe this was not going to be my day.'  I was already bummed about my swim time BUT I had a little MAN the freak UP talk with myself and with that I was back in the zone.

I love this bike course.  Hilly.  Fun Descends. Not many sharp turns. I was able to see my Dad and Janice 6 times!!! Best part = Snow Canyon.... Gorgeous & upupUP'ness!   

Run 1:37 I REALLY wanted to hit this run smart.  Last year after mile 3, the entire run flat out sucked and I did not want that to happen again.  Goal was to take it easy climbing up to the top of mile 3, then progressively pick it up.  Climbing up to the top of mile 3, after hammering it out on the bike just flat out HURTS fyi :)

Once I hit the top of mile three, I let my leg turn over pick up, I started focusing in on individual people to pass and consciously keep the effort 'comfortably hard' until I got back to the top of mile 8.  

I had several out-loud conversations with myself when the heat, or the foot, or fatigue started to get to me.   

The last 3 miles was a super close race with the #2 girl who ended up finishing 15 seconds ahead! Mile 11, a guy named Lech, came up super supportive and we ended up running stride for stride together until the finish line.  Those last two miles hurt, but at the same time I felt good.... I was SO happy to be finishing this race strong and fast!!!


I had a realization after this race.  The past year'ish, I have really found myself disappointed in my racing and pretty frustrated in myself with results.  It is a huge goal of mine to race on the elite level in triathlon.  It is my 'BIG' goal and I have allowed my mindset to be solely focused on achieving it.  Typically, that disappointment would have followed this race.  I wouldn't have let myself enjoy that I PR'd, on a tough course, in hot weather, with a broken toe, by almost 5 minutes!

So the realization - working your ass off, and being dedicated, and driven, and focused is all necessary if you want to achieve big things.  But just because you are a hard worker, just because you are dedicated and driven and focused does not exempt you from being PATIENT TO THE PROCESS.  I think too often we get SO focused in on our big dreams that we forget things happen in stages.  We forget that those stages include both failures AND victories.  I think it is important to stay focused...relentless...have that inner fire burning - BUT take a minute to recognize those small steps. Throw your hands up in the air and appreciate and celebrate the small victories and the fact that you are progressing!  So... all that rambling said, before I get all Gung-ho on my 'BIG' goal again, I am allowing myself to celebrate and be proud of this small victory.

...and that feels good! :)

SO freaking thankful for the supportive people I have in my life!! Especially that Dad of mine... he kind-of rocks!  I couldn't be more grateful to work with the most awesome coach!  And to top it off, I feel so lucky to be on a a team representing ZOOT this year.  Next up.... KANSAS --->>> I am coming for you!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Starting 2014, Icebreaker Triathlon

was how my 2014 started. The time when fresh starts, goal making, motivated and eager to start working athletes are ready to get going again after 'off season'... my body told me to STOP! 

Injuries suck.  Being held back by our own bodies is never fun.  Life has a funny way of breaking you down just when you think you have figured things out... akhilandeshvari!  The first two’ish weeks when I couldn't do anything (even swim) I was not the happiest camper J  It took those weeks for me to realize this 'IS WHAT IT IS' – what I needed to do was focus on the things I COULD do while injured.  So that being said, the first quarter of the year I definitely missed out on some initial season build up, specifically my run training has suffered, BUT what I chose to spend my time focusing on was my swim, being a stronger biker, and strength training. 

Now back and gearing up for St George 70.3, Teresa and I decided the Icebreaker Sprint Triathlon would be a great way to kick off the 2014 season.  I raced this event last year and although I finished a little slower this go-around, I am happy with how I raced!

My father and I drove to American Fork the morning of the race.  After I picked up my packet, I did a quick warm up, set my transition area up, and headed to the indoor pool.  Warm up included a ride checking gears with a few surges and a easy jog with strides.

Swim: 300M
The swim start is self seeded and last year I noted that I started too far back in the line.  Based on the ladies registered, I knew there were 3 very fast female swimmers so my plan was to line up right behind those three.  I ended up getting right behind the 3 and the BAM/SLC Tri guys which worked out perfect! Exited the pool feeling good and my heart rate was not super high like it usually is.  Hit the wall in 5:34 - Huge improvement from last year!

Quick T1

Bike: 12Miles
Double loop course basically uphill, downhill X 2.  I felt really strong on the bike and dismounted at 31:42 so about the same as last year (31:56). Colder this year and wind... my toes were pretty dang cold starting the run. I clearly do not pay attention to things going on around me because I guess I almost got his by a car going into T2 and do no remember it at all, Yikes!:)  Here is a clip...  


Run 3.1Miles
Quickly in and out of T2 ready to run!  The course is up a nice hill mile 1, flat, then back down to the finish.(21:08)  I definitely felt the lack of speed work during this run and is where I lost the minute from last year (20:08).  Crossing the finish line, Amanda was finished before me and I thought she had won because of my slow run time... turned out the bike saved me and took first overall female. 1:01:11 

The race directer of this event is a super nice guy and takes care of all his athletes participating!  Always awesome to have my dad there to support me out on the course.  Love this event and was the perfect way to start off the 2014 race season! 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mission 2014


Stop Fearing.
Start Leaping.

"And the day came for the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud 
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" -Anais Nin

So. Dang. Excited. to be apart of Team Zoot for the 2014 race season!
Building My Machine - Giddy-up!!!!!!!!! 

*going to find that inner lion*
Relentless Determination

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim

I sit here, still on a complete high from such an incredible experience I had last weekend in the Grand Canyon.  What ended up being the entire Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim loop, was so much more than saying I completed this Ultra.  It was so much more than the run or the miles or just finishing... This experience was one of the best days of my life.

In 2009 my father and I hiked half the loop, Rim 2 Rim, it took us all day, and I barely made it to the top of the South Rim alive.  When a good friend, Walter Brown, invited me to join in on a group him and Steve Anderson were organizing, I knew this was something I had to do… I had a vendetta with that canyon

The Friday after Thanksgiving, our group, which ended up being 12 people (8 finished), got into our Fun Bus RV and traveled down South.  Road trips are not road trips without some obstacles... few blown tires made it interesting.  The group I was with was great through.  Everyone was easy going, willing to jump in and help out, and Steve, being the awesome person he is, ended up forgoing his R2R2R trip to fix the RV for the group - amazing guy. 

Going into this I knew I could handle the distance and had the mental focus it would take to complete this trip. Truth though - I was still nervous as shit!

  • Fact - I am the Queen of Tripping 
  • Fact - I've never 'run' any real trails
  • Fact - No Ultra Training
  • Fact - Head lamp? What's that... Camelbak? What's that...
  • Fact - I am determined so all above I needed to just Man UP and

I didn't get much sleep that night and was ready to go just before 5am at the top of the North Rim, 8,300ft, 17 degrees.  We started in some snow and I found myself at the very back – scared of slipping. 'Seriously?... already falling behind?' The snow only lasted about a quarter of a mile and we were in the clear.  Descending down into the canyon was amazing.  I remember just tuning everyone out, looking at the bright stars, feeling one with the canyon, and just wanting to scream with excitement... it was surreal.

By the time we reached the ranger station we were split into our groups that would pretty much remain for the remainder of the day - I found myself with Walter and Clyde.  Talking with a friend whose tackled this in the 8 hour range gave me pointers, one being - this is a long day, pace yourself.  So, that being said, I made Walter and Clyde let me run in front so I could pace at my speed to not totally crash at the end.  I probably held them back because both of them are super strong runners.

Within the first two hours, I had stripped down to shorts and a tank; the weather was perfect and we were at Phantom Ranch before I knew it.  This was our first real break, enough time to eat (PB&J for me which was freaking delicious), refill water, and head back out for the first real ‘work’ to be done going up South Kaibab.  

Heading up Kaibab was hard, and freaking cold/windy! Like... 
I want to punch someone in the face cold. Run/power-hike method with a mini sprint to the top (Clyde won... I took 2nd), got us to the South Rim in 4:29:19.  People kept saying 'good morning,' which was throwing me off.  It felt like it was afternoon but it was barely 10am!  We were WAY ahead of my anticipated schedule.  We took the shuttle, refilled water, ate a little something, and got ready to finish our trek back.  – I used the hand dryers in the bathroom to dry my sports bra and shirt… best.idea.ever.  It was so much colder than I had expected because of the fog and later, we would learn that the fog trapped in the Canyon was a rare weather occurrence.   

Heading back down the South Rim via Bright Angel was fun! Walter took off, I knew he would right here, and I could tell he was loving this section.  A lot of travelers clapped, made some you are insane comments, we ran into the rest of our group who were heading up, and I kept telling Clyde I feel so good still – ‘bottle it up for the North Rim assent.’ - yes sir! You could really let yourself get carried away on this section, but we made sure to hold back so our quads were not completely beat up.  Once we hit the river I started to mentally prepare myself that after Phantom Ranch the suck was going to start.

At Phantom Ranch, again we refilled water, ate, and got ready to do work. This sounds so lame, but while at Phantom Ranch, in my head I repeated some of my mantras that I use in races over and over until we left…Teresa has taught me how important the mental aspect of endurance racing is, so no reason not to use it today. 

Clyde decided we would run at a nice, steady pace to the ranger station, then power hike the rest of the way up.  This section was nice because it was runable (ie didn’t have those mini logs that prevent erosion) From Phantom to Cottonwood was the only section that I had a series of mini mental battles.  I’d look at my watch and we’d be running 9-10 pace and I’d think why the hell does this feel so dang hard! Every time a negative thought would creep in, I’d use some vulgarity to push it back out and carry on :)  This section is where Walter’s legs were starting to give him some issues and he started to struggle - I got worried.  I think he didn't take in enough calories and then the 5 hour energy drink he took just pushed him over the edge.We got him my compression socks on and continued.

Just after the ranger station I saw Steve and he looked like he was just skipping down the canyon having the time of his life! He had all of our warm clothes we had shed and some more nutrition. I took Walters backpack for him, and Clyde and I headed up for the final miles while Steve and Walter stuck together.

I don’t really remember these last miles but this section was hands down my FAVORITE.  Clyde and I could have really hammered out this last section, but instead we power hiked most of it and mini jogged some sections.... just really enjoying and taking in what we were about to accomplish. There was an amazing view when we hit just above the cloud cover and finished just as the sun was setting. I kept thinking the last mile, HOLY crap we are really doing this.…under 10 hours... NO bonking… holy crap why do I feel good?  When we came around the corner and saw that North Rim sign, it was a flood of emotions… I felt such a sense of accomplishment and all I wanted to do was call my father and tell him I freaking did it… healthy… and strong


Finishing this still feels surreal… I needed this day in so many ways.  Seeing everyone’s faces and senses of accomplish that night in the buss was the best... you are capable of so much more than you can ever think!  So thankful to have had the opportunity to join this group. THANKS GUYS!!! 

Nutrition: I think my nutrition was KEY to me not bonking this trip.  Oatmeal and a banana for breakfast.  I made sure I was taking in ~120 calories an hour from the very start consisting of GU/ Chomps/ PB&J/ Powerbar, and sipping on my PowerBar Perform Water mix all day long. 2 caffeine pills (1 at Phantom Ranch and 1 at the ranger station all on the way back).  Took a total of 12 hammer electrolites pills throughout the day.  Increased carbs 3 days prior

**For those reading looking for suggestions/advice a few things:

  • Recommended route would be Down South kaibab, Up North Rim, then loop back going up Bright Angel
  • Do this early/late in the year.  It WAS cold but I can not imagine doing this in the heat
  • Stay on top of your nutrition from the very first hour
  • If I were to 'train for time', VERTICAL training would be top priority 
  • Have some Zoot Compression pants to put on the second you get done - Legs will thank you :D