Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ironman Tahoe, Chattanooga, and One Happy Girl

Ironman # 1

... I had just finished putting on my wetsuit when I heard the announcement, 'today's event has been cancelled.'

Nothing like sending thousands of athletes into an emotional frenzy.

Now typing this I feel very selfish.  In the moment it did not feel so trivial.  I focused my entire season on this day.  Not just completing any Ironman, but succeeding IN Tahoe.  I felt fit and ready.  All the extra climbing on the bike, altitude swim/bike/run's, course plotting, mental prep, details on my competition, months and months of training simply smothered in smoke.  It left me feeling angry... so god damn angry, and upset, and sad, and initially with the 'all that training for nothing' outlook.  I choose Tahoe because it was known for being The Challenging Ironman.  I wanted Tahoe and I felt cheated of it.

I read an article on the cancellation that said 'a triathletes disappointment may be compounded because of the feeling of loss of control - a challenge for a sport whose athletes are typically very meticulous and control so many aspects of their environment.'   Lack of control was exactly it.  This fire flared up unhealthy comping mechanisms... when we got back to our condo, I immediately isolated.   Went for a very hard run.  In the smoke.  No eating.  etc etc etc.
Good thing I have some great people in my life to smack me back into reality! My dad asked me... 'are you going to let this wall keep you out?'.  That was all it took.  Pity party over.  Accepted the fact that the Ironman Dream was going to have to wait until 2015.

But that was only the start of the adventure...

Driving home from Tahoe I had a quick decision to make about the opportunity to jump into IM Chattanooga.  Teresa was game for Chattanooga... she ensured me I was fit and ready, I just had to believe and trust in my training!  I talked with my Zoot Team Captain and he gave me the added confidence that I've trained my ass off and was ready to be competitive... that if my heart was in it, go with my gut and race!


We got home from Tahoe on Monday night.  I tried to catch up at work, completed a few last minute workouts Tuesday/Wed and then Wednesday night, we were back on the road.  30 hours later we arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  

Pre Race

Teresa REALLY wanted me to concentrated on rest.  The emotional roller coaster of Tahoe and lots of travel takes a lot out of the body.  

Athlete check in, few workouts, some yummy food, rest rest rest rest and before I knew it, it was race day!  This Sunday, I would become an Ironman!  I had no nerves.  Sounds lame, but emotionally I had exhausted all the nervous/ excited/ pissed/ happy/ sad feelings 
and was just ready to freaking race.


'Fearless Acorn'

Swim 59:35, 22nd

While setting up transition they announced this would be a non wetsuit swim.  I need every advantage I can get in the water, so I was a little bummed but knew it was still going to be FAST ---> Hello Tennessee River! :)

Unusual swim start.  They had us line up in the order we arrived.  As the race started, we would walk out onto the dock, jump in and work our way through the point to point course.  This method moved quickly and I was pretty excited I did not have to experience a mass start.  I do think they should have had us self-seed in that line... I know a few super fast swimmers did not arrive early and ended up at the very back!

Wes had told me to be aggressive in the swim.  That was my only focus for the swim portion.  My dad gave me a little pep talk to not let people push me around right before I entered.  Usually I let people trample over me and just move out of their way.  Not today.  Today, I did the trampling.  

First half I took comfortably hard and then the last portion I made it feel like 70.3 effort. 
Ticked off the buoys which I stayed nicely in line with. With 3 buoys to go, I was feeling my arms starting to burn so I knew I had to concentrate on keeping that turnover quick! As soon as I saw the finishing arch, I focused on that, climbed up the stairs and was off to T1.

T1 3:43

Because of the late Tahoe transfer, I got the 'left over' transition spots.  Everything still went smooth though.  I think people forget about rehearsing transitions.  They are still very much part of the race.  It amazes me seeing super long T times... wonder what people do in there? :)

Anyways, pushed my way through people walking up the ramp.  As I entered I counted 
1st - 2nd -3rd pole which was where my bag was located - perfect!  Grabbed the bag and ran into the tent to the very end.  Dumped everything out.  As I put on my shoes, I asked the volunteer to put my Gu's in my back pocket.  Grabbed my helmet and put that on as I ran to my bike!

Counted 1...2...3...4...5...6....7th pole and there was ROCKY!!

Bike 5:40, 5th

My main concern this entire day was pushing the bike too hard!  (Rocky is hard to hold back sometimes :D) Teresa set me up a solid plan with my watts, HR, cadence, nutrition, etc etc etc.  All I had to do was execute. 

The first 30 miles, I guess I was so caught up in the race that I was not controlling myself - shit! 30 mile marker I made myself dial it back. I think I said out loud 'Rocky, slow it down.'  (Now looking back at my overall numbers, I think I pulled back too much!)

Being prepared for Tahoe, I found this course to be super fast!  It consisted of rolling hills, no long straightaways (which I prefer).  You ride out of town 10 miles, then do 2, ~50 mile loops, and then head back.  

The first 10 miles through town do not have the best roads and quite a few turns.  Once you get out into the loops through Georgia, roads were great.

Second loop the drafting got bad. I could care less when I see the men drafting together, but when I see ladies right smack in the center of the draft packs that really pisses me off. I mean come on ladies... you have to know something is up when you are easily cruising that fast.  

When I would see someone sucking on my tire, I might have spit to the right of me... just sayin', if you are so close that it hits you Not My Fault :)

The bike course was 116 instead of the typical 112.  Many bitched about this.  Especially the great swimmers.  Any extra time on the bike is a huge benefit for me though so I took those extra 4 miles with a smile!  And smiling was the common theme of the entire bike ride.  No real low points.  My only 'issue' was towards the end, my stomach did not want anything to do with another GU.  Grabbed a bonk breaker which did the trick!!

T-2 2:15

Another seamless transition. 1-2-3-4th tree was right by my bag.  Into the tent, I went to the very end again.  As I put on my socks/shoes, the awesome volunteers put on my race belt and shoved salt pills in my kit.  As I ran out I put on my visor/sweat bands and was off to run a marathon with a huge ass smile on my face!

Run 3:59, 4th
'Just keep moving forward'

Miles 1-4 

First mile there is a climb out of transition.  Between being happy to be off the bike and all the crowd support, you do not even notice that climb.  The rest of this section is flat along the parkway trail and I was feeling good.  Even holding back - I kept saying (out loud), keep the pace back Christie, you have a long ways to go!

Also want to note what a brilliant idea my dad had to use sweat bands.  Every aid station I would use the last of my ice water to soak them... it was keeping my core temp down perfectly!

Miles 5-9 

This section is along the highway.  Rolling/false flat and boring. I was still feeling relatively good and spirits were up.

Miles 10-13 

MY LOW of the day!

I saw my dad around mile 10 and then as soon as I approached the bridge to cross over to the North side, my legs felt like lead! Slowed down big time but concentrated on moving forward.  These miles are at the end of the first loop and it is hilly.  I'd compare it to the climb at mile 3 of the St George 70.3 course that takes you up to Red Hills Parkway.  You get the pleasure of doing that 3 times per loop. Up down, Up down, Up down, then back up over the bridge to start loop 2!

Miles 14-18 

Saw my dad again around mile 14.  He started running with me for about 30 seconds which made me smile big time! He shared words from Teresa and gave me some encouragement!  Body started getting life back into it during this section.  Although my pace was so much slower than I expected it to be, the time was passing by quickly.

Miles 18-21  

I wanted to walk so many times during these miles.  I felt like I was bi-polar... about every quarter of a mile my mood would change.  I kept hearing Shane say, keep moving forward... that helped, A TON.  At aid stations, when I would slow down to grab whatever my body was craving, I made a point to at least 'shuffle' along instead of stop/walk. NO STOPPING. Also this was when the rain started... I LOVE running in the rain so I did not mind this one bit.    

Miles 22-26.2 

Hilly Hell section again. :) Up down. Up down. Up (I'll admit I walked for a minute here) and then the final down.  You'd think those downs would be a relief but by this point in the race, they just served as quad punishment - ouch!  Then I saw the Mile 25 Marker.  I remember thinking, holy shit... this is happening... Ironman is happening.   Energy was zapped into my body.  There was a Zoot cheer section there that helped a lot too.  I gave everything I had that last 1.2.  Everything.

I don't even have words to describe the finishers shoot. 
I never ever, 
ever ever ever ever EVER cry.
and when I saw the finishing shoot ... #ALLTHETEARS

So many emotions and joy and ... I don't know how to describe it but it felt incredible!

As I approached the finishers arch, I heard Mike Reilly say 

'Christie Krompel from Price Utah, 

you are an Ironman!'


Post Race

Volunteers were exceptional at this race.  The lady let me basically hang on her while she got me food and to my dad.  Gave him the biggest hug!!!! We enjoyed our post-race sashimi tradition... and I just might have allowed myself an ENTIRE PINT of Ice cream :)


Still sporting a huge smile. Definitely one happy girl!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mont Tremblant Worlds 70.3 Race Report

Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant
Worlds Championship

Ever since my race in Kansas, focus switched from half to full distance training - so, going into Worlds I knew this was not my 'A' Race.  I did still have high performance expectations - duh :) - BUT I really wanted to just enjoy the experience.  Which I did!

Mont Tremblant was a fantastic venue and the community as a whole put on a freaking awesome event!  The village itself is gorgeous... had a small, quaint feel.  Reminded me of Europe.

Being the championships, the air was filled with excitement from people all around the world.  I do not remember there being so many from outside of the U.S. last year at Vegas.  Speaking of Vegas, Mont Tremblant outdid Vegas hands down!  From the moment we arrived at the airport, you could tell the that entire community fully embraced Ironman.

Pre-race fun....


Well... I didn't execute the race that I know I could have.  Trying to analyze why I fell apart on the run, I immediately thought I pushed the bike too hard.  The 'numbers' say I stayed within my 'limits.' - I know what numbers I have been producing in training, so together T and I put together a race plan that should have allowed me to run a solid 13.1 off the bike.

All the analyzing (because I can not make my brain resist) has been done.  Lessons have been learned.  And now, a reflection on the good stuff :)


Woke up early, had my first breakfast. They gave us tattoos for this race... felt pretty cool :) :) :)

We drove to the start early to get a good parking spot then rested for about an hour in the car.  This worked out perfect.  It was nice to have a warm vehicle to sit in close to the race start.

Seamless transition set-up, then walked our way to the swim start.  Everything was insanely beautiful!  

They had an opening ceremony with Fighter Jets and fireworks sending off each wave... pretty impressive!! 

My dad and I stood by the water edge until it was about 20 minutes before my go time.  I got in and did my warm up, had my GU, then jumped in line.  


Best swim I have had this year.  Still quite a bit slower than I expected.  The girls were very aggressive!!! The entire swim was a boxing match.  I need to find my inner tiger during the swim.

Exited in 64th place... feeling good and ready to catch me some ladies!!

Transition 1

1/2 mile jaunt to the bike gear tent, then off to find Rocky.  This went smooth and I was happy they had a carpet out for us to run on.


Favorite part of the day!  Temperature was nice and cool.  Course was challenging and included some good climbing sections.  There were several officials out today but that did not seem to stop the crazy drafting going on. Especially the men... huge groups of pelotons.

Headwind on our way out towards the first turn around.  After the first turn around things seemed to clear up and not as much back-and-forth to stay out of the red card zone.

The last section of this course is a nice climb!  I felt solid, focused, and in the zone. I ended up catching 37 women, moving my way up to 27th.  

Transition 2 

Bike catchers are awesome! Quick change of shoes and I was off.  Ready to do my thing!  


The 2-loop course consisted of short, punchy ups and downs making it tough for me to find a groove. On the second loop my pace continued to slow... and I sorta lost it.  I've never had stomach issues during a 70.3 before and they showed up today.  So unexpected that I did not even wait for a portapotty...  A shrub was good enough!

Could not get my pace to pick up during that second loop and was getting super defeated getting passed.

(Australian ladies, you totally rocked the run today!!!)

The last climb up the cobblestone in the village is brutally mean. I refused... like HELL NO Christie You will NOT walk up this bad boy.  It helped that there were TONS of spectators lining each side.

I saw 2 girls up ahead and made it my goal to catch them... which I did.  (one positive of my run :D)

So much talent out there today.  

Top girls in my age group killed it.  I finished this race completely inspired by the strong athletes I had the opportunity to race with!!

Post Race

The next morning I woke up to this...

Easy swim in complete silence as the sun rose. Perfect!

...Side note for those traveling internationally

'Report to Passport Control'

Apparently Boarder Control does not think it is funny to make silly faces in the immigration/customs photo line.  And what they do not like even more is traveling on a passport that I guess I reported lost a few years ago! :):)

We made it home safe though!

... IRONMAN Tahoe is on deck for this weekend.  



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Ultimate Challenge - Tour of Utah Ride

The Ultimate Challenge gives an opportunity for us amateurs to experience the same course that the pro's race during the Tour of Utah - 
Stage 6 "Queen Stage."

Starting at Eccles Stadium in downtown Salt Lake you ride 110 miles, finishing up Little Cottonwood Canyon with over 10K of climbing!!

This year, there were around 750 riders, 73 of those female - and with the 'OK'  to sign up from TI was one of those 73!!! :)  

I thrive off of challenges, so this event was right up my alley!!

Incredible day!!

I was very nervous going into this ride.  First, I cycle alone. I can count a handful of times I have rode with other people, let alone hundreds.  Second, I was warned about 77.777 times that I was going to get made fun of for riding a TT bike (which I did... stopped counting at 40 people).  With all the nerves, I was to just focus on this as a long training day for Worlds/Tahoe. 

Onto the race...

Slowly they had us roll out and immediately ascend Emigration Canyon.  I had never been up this canyon and was loving the gorgeous scenery - which lasted the entire day!  Having that many riders around me was freaking me out.  Focused on doing my own thing and the nerves were gone by the time we started climbing up Little Mountain. 

Key to completing this ride was nutrition and pacing - both of which I started and kept up on from the very start.  I just stayed in the moment that I was in, sippin' on my Powerbar Perform and swallowing down my GU's.

Interesting side note: Men discuss some X-rated, off-the-wall stuff when they are 'with the guys.'  Kept me very entertained. 

Worked my to the summits of both Little and Big Mountain when the course drops into Wasatch County.  FROZE MY ASS OFF!!! I was so cold.  About half way down I started to feel more comfortable, got into aero and started working. 

The entire day I rode solo other than a 10'ish mile stretch in Wasatch County when I came up on the 'Blue Boys.'  (I think they were Precision Cycling?).  Feisty older dude (who I later became friends with at the finish line) in this group quickly informed me to not **** up their line.  'Yes Sir!'  I don't know the correct terminology, but they let me work in their 'line' and I kept pace, AND didn't wreck. Score :)  

At the third aid station we all stopped... I had to pee so bad, like a gallon of water bad.  The Blue Boys ended up taking off and the rest of the ride I was at it solo again.  Uneventful miles into Park City.  There I stopped and fueled up as I was listening to all the nervous chatter about the climb ahead.  All that nervous chatter was certainly valid.  

I've never climbed for that long, at that altitude, with that grade before.  I was in my smallest gear and just mashing.  I thought I had reached the top, let out a 'heck yeah', shifted to my biggest gear to get ready for a massive descend. 

Yea, short lived. 

The actual Gaurdsman climb had not even begun.  The terrain quickly changed and it was too late.  I knew if I shifted I'd drop my chain.. so I just tipped over. 

SO embarrassing.  

As I was getting going again this ass goes, "I knew you wouldn't be able to climb on that bike."  Got back going and worked my way on the chipped-potholed-rocky road to the real top (and road past the above ass in the process :D)

Getting to the top of that beast felt amazing! That section was the toughest part of the ride for me.  I stopped for a second to just catch my breath before the decent into Big Cottonwood Canyon.  By this time in the ride, my lower back and shoulders were talking to me in a big way.  Same with the palms of my hands… I am so used to riding in aero that being up in the bars hurt.  An ambulance was taking a rider away as I was summiting, adding to my descending nerves.  Initially going down, I took it overly cautious (ie SLOW) until I hit the sharp right turn by Solitude.  Then got down in aero and had some fun!

The leg fatigue set in for me right outside of Big Cottonwood when I felt a drag during the first climb on Wasatch Blvd. (mile 100)  There was a dude in yellow I was focused on about 20 meters up, we ended up going off course ~1 mile.  Honestly it didn’t annoy me at all.  It was a flat area and nice to spin for a minute before climbing LCC.   Approaching LCC they have the final aid station.  Stopped, bathroom, ate, and shoved a ton of ice down my bra and shorts.  The sun was out and making things hot!!

Final climb time!

In my head, I saw myself just cruising up that canyon. Which did not happen.  I was so dang hot and starting to feel dizzy.  Many people were off their bikes walking...I wanted to stop too and take a break but refused to until I saw the finish line. I couldn't even really think... just counted to 7 over and over to get in a rhythm.  I was passing people which was encouraging and now instead of rude comments, I got YOU GO TT GIRL shouts. :):):)  The crowd support was insane!  Lots of people waiting for the Pro Top Of Utah riders right behind us!

As soon as I saw the 5K countdown signs I got this surge of energy.   Who knew where that came from?  Found another gear in my legs and my cadence picked up.  Dumped water all over myself every time a spectator would offer.  

And then... 

the awesome downhill finish!!!

Biked back to my car, changed out of my wet clothes, run shoes on, and headed for the trails. Surprisingly, my legs felt good.  My breath was completely labored. Running at 9K is hard.

This was definitely harder than any race I’ve done thus far.  Finishing things like this is what fuels that fire in me.  Today was a good freaking day!  

Next up -- IM WORLDS 70.3