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


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!