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Lisbeth Kristensen's Blog

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Challenge Wanaka

January 19th, 2010 by lisbethkristensen

A long time ago, I decided that I would like to do the Ironman distance Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand. A few of my friend had done the race and they’d always told me what an amazing place Wanaka is. So last week, I got on the plane and went to Wanaka and I didn’t get disappointed, what an amazing place. After 3 months in Australia where especially the lat month has been very hot and humid, it was nice to be breathing again. Wanaka is surrounded by mountains and because their summer so far had been quite cold, there was even a little bit of snow left on some of the mountains. Wanaka is right on the lake too and the water is so clean that you can drink it. But because of the bad summer weather, a lot of the water in the lake was coming from the mountains so on race morning it was only 13.6!!!
I got picked up at the airport by Felix who is the main organizer of all of the Challenge races, the nicest guy and full of passion for our sport. He drove me to the edgewater resort where I stayed through out the race, the nicest resort that I’ve ever stayed in before a race, as one of the other athletes said, I got the jackpot!!! It was right on the lake with an amazing view so I almost forgot about racing…
The race was on Saturday and we all started at 7. I got in to warm up and even though I’d been in already a few times, it was still a shock to my body to get i the 13.6 cold water. It was hard to try to go fast, the muscles just didn’t react very well but finally after 57 min, the swim was over. I could barely get my wetsuit off and struggled to get into my bike shoes. I also struggled to get my legs going, they just didn’t want to push. But after 3 hours, I finally got into race mode…and I was finally able to go a bit harder, I think that I was enjoying the beautiful scenery a bit too much. Unfortunately, i was already a long way behind Gina and Rebekah. The run course was stunning and constantly up and down. Time went fast because it was the most amazing run course but a little too much up and down for a giant!!! I had very sore legs when I finally got to the finish line.
It was the greatest experience for me going to Wanaka. It’s a little paradise. Thanks so much to Victoria, the race organizer, for looking after me so well and to Felix. I also had the best time hanging out with my Team mates Bek and Keegan, thanks guys.

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Ironman WA

December 8th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

On Saturday, I started Ironman WA. This race was supposed to be my last and Ironman number 5 this year. I won this race in 2006, it’s my favorite race in the world and I love it here.
My training had been going well except for a few back issues but they were almost gone.
It’s always an early start here, at 6 am the gun went off for all the pros. I had an Ok swim, I managed to get on the legs of a few guys and to stay there. The start was pretty hard but then it slowed down and it was easy just to stay in this group.
After the swim, I got into the transition tent where 2 very nice ladies helped me pulling my wet suit off me, they pulled so hard that I felt off the chair so we all had a good laugh!!!
Onto the bike which is my favorite leg. The course here is a 60 km loop that we have to do 3 times and it’s totally flat.
I actually felt a bit flat myself once I started but often it takes me a bit to get going. I often vomit a bit in my races but I’ used to this so it doesn’t bother me. And so far this I’d been lucky- not too much throwing up!!! But on Saturday it started pretty early and it just never stopped. Everything I took in came up again. I always ride with my own drink that I like and that I’m used to but I thought that maybe my stomach for some reason had a problem with it so I tried to drink what was out on the course but the result didn’t change, it all came up. After 120 km. I got caught by Charlotte Paul and now my goal was just to try to stay with her. I managed until 155 km and then it just hurt to much when I was vomiting and I had to slow down and 5 km later I had to stop and then my breakfast came up and I had diarrhea too and then I had nothing left in my body. I always wanted to finish the bike course even though I rode a lot slower than what I normally do but I just had no more energy to do just one more pedal stroke.
I got picked up by an ambulance and taken to medical where I got some anti vomiting drugs. It wasn’t anti nauseous though so for the rest of the day I still felt sick and had a few toilet visits!!!
I don’t know why I got sick maybe I had a bug in the body, it’s hard to know. Astrid was sick on the Sunday before the race and she got sick on the plane when we travelled out as well. So that might be why. Since I’ve had Astrid I’ve been sicker that I ever have. So now I’ve decided that I’ll have to try to go to races without bringing her!!! It’s getting frustrating to do all the hard training then comes race day and I get sick and it’s all been a waste.

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Sunshine Beach- Australia

November 3rd, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

Time flies and I can’t believe that it’s more than 3 weeks ago since I raced Hawaii. After Hawaii we, AJ, Astrid and I got on the plane to Brisbane. After a few nights with AJ’s mum and dad, we travelled up the coast and found a nice little place at Sunshine Beach where we will be staying for the next 6 month. AJ already took off again after only 2 days, for work, so now it’s just Astrid and I hanging out together. She started creche yesterday so that she can be with other little people and so that mum can train. It’s all about getting into a new routine. It’s gorgeous here and the weather’s wonderful at the moment, not too hot and humid yet. There’s the local bike group to ride with, a swim squad and the running is great because the national park is only 5- 10 min. away.
Only after 5 days here on the coast, I got a very sad message. A good friend of ours and my bike mechanic, Tavis Johannsen had passed away in his sleep, only 42 years old. He was so healthy and fit and I find it hard to believe that I shall never see him again. He was the nicest guy, a superstar, always so helpful. I’ll really miss him.

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Mental challenge

October 11th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

Today, I raced Hawaii. I was very excited to race here again, it had been 3 years since the last time. I didn’t get to race here in 2007 and 2008 because I was pregnant and had Astrid.
I’m a bit of a slow starter in the swim, I always find the first 200 meters so fast and hard but then I start to find a good rythme and sometimes I even catch up to athletes that got away from me in the beginning. Today, this just didn’t happen. I actually got caught by girls that I normally swim a bit faster than. They passed me and I desperately tried to hang on but I really struggled. I finally got out of the water knowing that I was a bit further behind than I expected but I was alright. Onto the bike which is my favorite leg. I had a very good ride in my last Ironman and I was very excited about riding well here too. I tried to go as hard as I could. But I just wasn’t going so fast and eventhough I felt alright, I just didn’t feel the way that I’m used to. And again I got caught by a few girls that I’m normally quite faster than and I couldn’t even manage to stay behind them, I just kept getting dropped and there was nothing I could do. I finally finished the bike, so far behind that Aj was sure that I had dropped out. My plan was to put on my running shoes and then stop and retire from the race whenever I saw Astrid and Aj on the course. I saw them already after a few minutes and I stopped to have a little chat and then decided to run a little bit more. So I kept running. I actually managed to run out Alii drive and then back and then up Palani. My plan was then stop and retire from the race when I thought that I would see AJ up on the hill but he was smart enough and wasn’t there so I kept going. After 1 1/2 hour, I was thinking that now I just have to do a 2 hour Sunday run and then I’m done so I kept going. I found it very hot and humid, like everyone else I guess, so I actually walked through the aid staions to make sure to get enough fluids inside. After a very long day, I finally made it to the finish line.
The race today was the toughest thing ever for me, not physically but mentally. I thought that I was going to be one of the first ones off the bike but I was a very long way back so all day, I had to change my goals which made it possible for me to keep going. I know that finishing this race will make it so much easier for the next one and for next year!!!

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News from training camp in Leysin

September 24th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

A few days after I came back from Louisville 3 weeks ago, everyone had left and had gone to Jeju. I decided to stay here because it would be too hard for Brett having to look after Astrid while coaching as well!!! And since Aj has had a real job for the last year, he wasn’t able to come with me to help out. And here in Leysin, we do have a great creche that Astrid loves and then we’ve got my new helper as well, the chariot, a bike- and run trailer!! So much easier to stay here for me. I was really sad though when everyone was gone. But I’ve been so lucky, the weather has been amazing, a real indian summer. I do miss my training partners though, not so much on the bike where I normally train on my own anyway but for the swims in the mornings and for the track sessions. But guess what, I managed to convince Aj to come and swim with me a couple of times a week and last time, I think that he even did 1500m!!! He still looks very good in the water, guess you can’t take away talent!!! Can’t get him to join me on the track though…
My mum left 3weeks ago and I can definately tell!! She made my life a lot easier. But Astrid and I will see her in Kona next week where she’ll join us and help me out for the big race.
So Astrid and I are getting ready to fly out next week and to see everyone again.

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One step closer to the top

September 1st, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

Exactly one year ago, I went to Louisville with AJ to do the Ironman. It was only 8 months after I gave birth to Astrid so I was still breast feeding so both my mum and Astrid came with us and we had such a nice time. Therefore, it was not hard for me to make up my mind wether to race this Ironman again or not , unfortunately without my family this time.
Last year, I ended up in medical and the doctor who looked after me was Kelli Miller. Kelli is an obstetrician and we had a lot to talk about since I’d just given birth and we got on really well and exchanged emails. Kelli said to me that if ever I came back to race the following year, I could always stay with her, her husband Jeff and their 4 year old daughter Olivia. So I took her offer and I’ve just had the greatest home stay, it’s been so nice. Besides, Kelli was actually going to do her first Ironman. See, that’s a real challenge!! Being a doctor working 40- 60 hours per week, being a mum and wife and then preparing for an Ironman!!! Luckily, she’s got Jeff!!
On race morning, we all got up early, earlier than usual for me but since it was Kelli’s first Ironman, she wanted to get there early to prepare well and for me it meant for once that I had loads of time before the race and therefore wasn’t the last pro to leave the transition which was quite nice!
All the pros had a separate headstart before all the agegroupers got in the water. I tried to hang onto the group in front of me but I struggled and had to let them go and therefore I ended up being in front of my group for the entire swim. It was a non suit swim which I really like and I felt strong the whole way, just wished that I’d had someone a bit faster to pull me along because I lost 3-4 min. to Nina Kraft and Maki. After a quick transition, I got onto my bike. The course is flat for 30 min. or so, then we do an out and back on rolling hills, then two laps on more rolling hills and then back into town again. Normally, I prefere the flat courses but I really enjoyed the course here this year, I must be getting better at getting up those little hills!!! And not too tecnical so I didn’t loose much time there!!! And then I had my lovely new HED 3 spokes on my P3, nothing wrong with my equipment, now I just had to deliver!! I knew that Maki and Nina were in front of me but didn’t exactly know by how much. It took me 2 hours to catch Maki and then Nina a bit later. But from then on, I started to feel so good on the bike and I quickly got away from them. I’m starting to feel really strong on the bike again which was such a nice feeling, I even passed some of the pro men on my way back into town- and that always makes you feel good!!! I rode 5.02 and broke the bike record.
I quickly got ready for the run and headed out. First you do an out and back on a bridge and then you do 2 laps. After I’d finshed my out and back on the bridge, I saw Nina and could tell that she was app. 9 min. behind. I just had to worry about my own speed and was hoping that I could run fast enough to stay in the lead. Unfortunately, Nina caught me after a couple of hours or so. But I stayed focused and kept going as fast as I could. As always, it was great when I finally got to the finish line!!!
Afterwards I was taken to medical where I had a great time!!! I saw familiar faces, some of the nurses from last year and they recognized me too so it was cool lying there, having a good chat, a nice cup of soup and a massage!!
I didn’t get out there in time to see Kelli, my home stay, finishing because she was a lot faster than expected!! She finsihed her first Ironman in 11.40 so that was pretty cool.
Today I’m flying back home to the swiss mountains. Tomorrow night it’s time for something different, I’m taking Aj to see Coldplay, can’t wait!!

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European Champs

August 10th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

On Saturday, I raced the European Championship in Prague. It was like racing back 30 years ago, or actually I wouldn’t know since I didn’t race back then but that was the way it felt like as the organisation was pretty poor. The swim wasn’t too bad organised, it was in a river and it was quite easy to figure out where to go but once we got onto our bikes, there were a few things that could have been different. There was only one water station, the helpers were hard to spot because they were their own clothes and they were just standing still, not trying to run with us as we came on our bikes, the water bottles were only 500 ml, the lids were still tight on them and there were only a few handed out. Some of the slower pros and age groupers didn’t even get any water towards the end because the organiser ran out of bottles. I was lucky to have our national coach, Michael there who handed out extra bottles for us but that was only for the elite. The bike course was actually really cool, 20 km, first a flat section and then a steeper section and then a pretty steep section before the turn around. I rode with my 53-12 but wished that I’ve had a bit heavier gearing on because I was just spinning down the hill instead of being able to really push but lots of people had to do like me. No one counted our laps and no one showed where to turn after the last lap so luckily that for once I knew exactly where to go and how many laps I’d done!!! On the run there wasn’t any kilometer signs which I always use a lot, especially on the first few km’s so that I know that I’m not going to fast . But since there was none, I couldn’t do that. There was only a few helpers showing us where to go on the run, otherwise the run direction was marked by chalk on the ground!!! Luckily it didn’t rain!!! There were only a few aid stations which was a shame because it was very hot but worst of all, there was NO coke!!! We knew of this before we started so the danish national team had organised their only little bottles with coke but it was only 6 times during the whole course that we could drink our own and unfortunately, our coke still had a lot of gas in it so it was very hard to drink!!!
I had an alright swim, coming out of the water, I was 4 min behind Lucie which is OK. I felt good on the bike and within the 2nd lap, I’d caught Lucie and everyone else except for Virginia who later on won the race. I remained in 2nd place for the whole ride. I’ve been running well in training so I was very excited about running the 30 km off the bike. But I didn’t feel the best and I never really found a good rythme like I did when I raced the IM in Zurich 4 weeks ago. Maybe I started out too fast. I was still in 2nd after 28 km but then I got passed by Edith and then Charlotte and unfortunately, there was nothing I could do, my legs couldn’t run any faster!!! So it was my turn to get the chocolate medal this time!!! A little dissapointing but that’s racing and I had a good day of training and a very nice time with my friends from the national team.

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Back on the podium

July 15th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

On Sunday, I raced IM Switzerland. Normally it’s the bike that is my strength and that gives me a lead on the good runners but today, I was saved by my run!!! And because I managed to pull out a good run, I finished 3rd.
I had an alright swim but I was leading my pack for the second and last lap and by the time the swim was finished, I went to the right instead of the left, unzipped my wetsuit and took off my swim cap when I realized that I had to get back into the water to swim to the other side. So I jumped in again with my unzipped wetsuit and swam an extra 25 m.!!!
The bike course consisted of two laps. Unfortunately, it had been raining and I hate wet roads but it wasn’t too bad, I was on the flat. After 30 km or so, it got a bit more undulating but I was thinking, this course really isn’t too bad!! But half way through the lap, the climbs got a bit steeper which also meant steeper downhills…And I’m just not a descender, the joke is that I climb faster than I descend, and it’s not even a joke… so I lost so much time going down. I was better on the the 2nd lap though because the roads were dry but I was still a catastrophe. Unfortunately, there was a lot of drafting on the course. I hate drafting and I always try to avoid it but it was almost impossible to avoid it so after the 2nd lap, I just sat upright on the flat behind a big group pf 50 guys or so with a heart rate of 100. Too many people on the course and besides, the organisers only gave the pros a 5 minutes head start on the age groupers and not 15- 30 minutes which means that as a pro girl you really have to ride most of the course on your own. This is a massive problem in our sport. More and more races give us this head start but it has to be all the races that do it to make it fair and individuel. But eventhough I was in a group myself this time, I lost it descending…
I’ve always been scared and worried about the marathon because I always hurt like hell on the last part of it and haven’t really been able to figure out yet how to do a good last half. This Sunday, I got off the bike and felt good. It was a 4 lap course and it was the best course, I’ve ever seen. There were spectators everywhere, it was awesome. I tried to run the best that I could and felt alright. I got passed by a couple of faster runners but I didn’t let it affect me. I was a bit scared of the 4th and last lap and the pain that I know so well. I had to stop to vomit big time after 32 km or so, people were looking at me because it doesn’t sound so nice and then when they see me continuing after this little episode they look twice!!! But then I started to feel good, better than I’ve ever felt in a marathon before!!! And my last lap might even have been the fastest!!! With 5 km, Doc was screamimg out loud, pretend that you’re just doing a short distance!!! So that’s what I did. I was in 4th place by then, I caught the girl in 3rd place and with 2 km to go, I could see the girl in 2nd place. I pushed as hard as I could but I ran out of time and she beat me by only 30 seconds!!!
But I was vey happy to be back on the podium and most of all to be feeling so good toward the end of the marathon.
Big thanks to my mum. She’s been helping us out for the last 2 months, she’s great with Astrid and we’ll struggle now that she’s back in Denmark, fortunately only for a short time and then she’ll be back again.
And thanks to Doc for screaming at me!!!

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Road trip to Germany

June 15th, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

Wednesday last week, I made the decision to go up to Kraichgau, Germany to race the half IM, Challenge Kraichgau. A very late entry, I know but Rebekah contacted the organizers for me and made sure that I got a start and accomodation- thanks Bek. My triathlon bars broke in Brasil but thanks to AJ and Steve, I got some new old ones on just before I left on Saturday, lucky me, thanks guys. My mum and Astrid came with me, the car was packed and then we started our five hour trip up to the race. We got there very late afternoon, I checked in and we all got settled in our hotel.
The swim was in a beautiful lake, 1900 m. I had a good swim and excited the water with Rebekah, Keegan and James. I struggled a bit to get my arms out of my wetsuit so I had a very slow transition, next time I better use a bit of vaseline. I got unto the bike and started the 90 km into the beautiful surroundings of Kraichgau. When I got to the first hill and changed from the big to the small chain ring, my chain came off. Oh no, I was thinking not a mechanical problem again!! The chain actually jumps out off the little wheel below the derailleur so I had to get off the bike and had a hard time getting it back on again, and this happened not just once but twice again, better get that sorted… The course was extremely technical and I’m not so probably the worst bike course for me but I still really enjoyed every second of it, it was beautiful and with a lot of variation. The bike was one 90 km loop and we finished in the middle of the town of Bad Schoernborn. Doc had told me to run a negative split so I tried not to run to hard in the beginning and I almost made it, the negative split!!! Gotta start even slower next time. I felt great on the run and was able to push hard all the way and loved the red bull on the course!!!
It was great to finish and to find my mum and Astrid at the finish line. It was an awesome race, the Germans really understand to put on a good race. Lots of spectators and the best atmosphere and the coolest music at the finish line. It’s the first Challenge race that I’ve ever done and I| was very impressed!!
At 17.30 in the afternoon, we packed the car again and in front of me was now the worst part of the whole trip, the 5 hour drive back to Switzerland but we’d all had a great time.

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Ironman Brasil

June 1st, 2009 by lisbethkristensen

Yesterday I raced Ironman Brasil. The race took place in the southern part of Brasil, on an island called Florianopolis, a very beautiful part of the country. The start was a mass start with the pros starting 10 meters in front but this doesn’t really make any different because it seems as it just gives the agegroupers more room to run us down when they start behind us!!! So in the first 5 min. of my swim, I just got run over and swum over by all these people, one big mess but then you just have to go with the flow and get out of all the mess as soon as you can. The water was very rough and it felt as if it took forever to do the course. I had a really good swom, for the first time in a long time, I actually could say that I swam well. I was only 1 1/2 minut down on the swim leader, Dede so it was a very good start for me. Onto the bike I felt great and by the 25 km mark, I was in 2nd place and then I punctured, for the very first time ever in a race. I was lucky to have mechanics right there but for some reason they were just not so good at getting tyres on and off, I wished that I’d done it myself so that I could only get angry with me!! And it took them an eternity to put the wheel back on as the cervelo back wheel has to go on in a special way and the wouldn’t let me do it so it was a bit of a farce. Well, onto the bike again after a lot of girls had caught me and put minutes into me but I knew that I was riding well and was aiming to catch them all again. After 100 km, I was in 4th positon and had almost caught the 3rd girl when the left side of my tri handlebars broke and I almost came off. So for the rest of the ride, the was no more riding in the time trail position, I had to sit upright, I’ve got a very sore neck and shoulders today!!! I caught the 3rd girl a little later, she stayed with me for a while but then I finally got away from her until my chain came off up one of the hills and I had to get of to get it back on!!! So then I was passed agin but once on hte bike again it didn’t take me long to get back into the 3rd spot. I held this position onto the run. I tried to push it a bit in the beginning of the run and I felt alright. After 20 km or so, I didn’t feel so great anymore and I really started to slow and by the 22 km mark, I just couldn’t get around the fact that I had to do another 20 km so I stopped. I always hate to stop and normally only stop if I’m injured or sick, I was just so tired that I couldn’t go on. Well, never a good thing to stop so I just have to forget about this race and try to look forward to the next one. Well done to Reinaldo who finished second.

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