My Wednesday At The Olympics

On Sunday I finished the last of three build weeks before I was scheduled to take a rest.  I was starting to show some cracks but when I compare this block to the first one I did in January, there was monumental improvement.  I managed to hold the same kind of volume with some higher end aerobic intensity so my fitness has gone up quite a bit.  However, I am still not fast.  This was fully evident when I was dropped when it got hard going up the Malahat and I got dropped in the first kilometer of Hatley Castle 8km.  Although I am sure I am better than both of those performances, they were both good reminders that you can’t do volume and be fast and be Melanie all at the same time.  I was on struggle street by the end.   I was still pretty stoked about the overall picture though:  I am swimming a lot better and have appreciated some positive feedback from Ron even when I have pushed the bar up and gotten disappointed with some days.  Small victories people!  Don’t overlook them – as I so often make the mistake of doing when I decide I can be even better than I thought.  Also, although Magali took a ginormous chunk of time out of me in the first kilometer of the 8km, essentially running out of sight in 1000m, I did manage to claw back some time in order to see her again at 6km, only to lose probably the same again up the last hill when she probably had a kick and I decided to cruise it in.. alone… as another guy sprinted past me -haha!  She is a very quick runner and I was just happy that I could see her during the race, something that would not have been possible a year ago, fresh or not.  And the cycling… well, my riding is okay/good but I am doing a lot so when fresh people fresh-leg me, what can you do?  I got in some awesome training while I parked my ego solidly in my back pocket.  The awesome thing about Victoria is there is this insane wealth of talent so no matter what you do, a group ride, a local run race, a dip in the pool – there is someone with a big giant trophy on their mantle at home waiting to kick your butt.  I love it.  This has been a good winter of training and not only because of the weather.

So because I had a rest planned, when my friend Alan from USANA invited me to go watch the 5000m women’s speedskating finals I happily packed my bags to head to Vancouver.  I was treated to a night in a hotel so I would have time to do some shopping, run in the Capilano Dam trails, eat breakfast at the Elbow Room and go to the oval to enjoy some skating in amongst the people watching.  The most fun were the Dutch fans (I almost wanted to sit with them given my Dutch heritage but I could only admire from afar because I was going to be a Clara fan!).n  Unfortunately, my camera is junk and every single photo is garbage.  Time for a new one.

It is amazing how emotional the Olympics are.  I have raced at numerous World Championships events but none have had the weight of a country on an athlete’s shoulders like the Olympics do.  It would be so incredible/stressful/powerful to experience that.  I had so much fun cheering for the Canadian girls:  Clara, Cindy and Kristina and all three were classy, fantastic and powerful.  I was proud to see such sportsmanlike and poised women kick some ass.  Very cool.  Way to go girls!  Especially Clara.  Wow – class of her own in terms of sports history.

Now I am back and getting ready to join Houshang’s group for a four day training camp (  This should be just the added boost I need to get my riding up to where it needs to be.  Although I am inching closer I am behind the amount of riding I did last year.  That was necessary to effect the changes in the swim/run that I needed to do to get here.  This is why I am not racing until later.  I wanted to do the most enormous body of work over the off-season possible, push my start to late and in so doing, race at another level.  Hopefully it all works according to plan.

Happy training!


Have you met my friend Jasper?

Jasper Blake is a phenomenal athlete as well as the funniest person I know.  In fact, I am pretty sure there is no one on the planet with a better attitude than he has.

He and his wife Jude just welcomed baby #2 (Ruby) into their lives and I thought I would say a big congrats publicly while sharing some of his best work with you.

Jazz is a legend.  Please read.. you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Hemp Hearts

As published for Triathlete Magazine in my column “Singletrack Mind” as Getting To The Heart Of Hemp- I have been enjoying hemp hearts in my morning smoothie… so I thought I would let ya in on my little “secret” Tongue out




I am normally not the one who discusses food in her columns.  However, if anyone has the street cred to talk about hemp, I guess it might be the chronic, tatted, pierced mountain biker, right?  Well, not so much.  I don’t really have any credibility in that regard.  However, I was introduced to EATING hemp hearts years ago, so introducing you to the latest fad in hemp-eating will be a pleasure. 


Here is how the conversation went two years ago in regard to the food I am introducing you to:


Guy in the bike store:  “Yo, Melanie.  You heard what Ryder’s (Hesjedahl) secret diet food is?”

Me:  “No?”

Guy in the bike store:  “Hemp hearts.  He eats them for breakfast and says he stays fuller for longer so he doesn’t need to eat as much.”

Me:  “Really?”  (thinking that it might be a stretch for Ryder to have had this conversation with this person and does Ryder honestly ever need to think about weight?)


So I left the store that day to check not the reliability of my source but more the reality of the tip.  Sure enough, hemp hearts have a place in an endurance athlete’s diet.  Victoria’s favorite tour rider is not the only one who may be tuned into the benefits of eating hemp hearts.  The seeds of the hemp plant have no drug chemicals in them at all so you do not need to worry about any of the effects attributed to marijuana.  However, these little seeds are packed with amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and protein and thus are rapidly becoming recognized as a new superfood. 

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A Three-part Mini Series on Butternut Squash – Part 3

The last recipe in our butternut squash series will likely fool even those most adverse to the squash itself.  Basically, the squash is sliced and roasted before being laid as a layer in a lasagne dish.

The lasagne I make doesn’t really look like the one my mom used to make.  The soggy noodles, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese really made me want to gag when I was younger and I was never really a fan of the dish.  This lasagne is a little different.  I took guidance from a recipe from Jamie Oliver before adding and subtracting to come up with this one.

If you really love goopy cheese in your lasagne, omit some parmesan and add mozzarella.  Although there is some “white” sauce in this recipe, it removes some of the cheese that you might use so I think you end up equal in terms of fat content.  You can use light sour cream mixed with skim milk rather than creme fraiche but the texture will definitely not be the same.  In fact, if you are really adverse to using creme fraiche as a bechamel sauce then I would just do extra layers of meat sauce with some ricotta and call it lasagne.

If you are like me and aren’t adverse to a little bacon, meat and creme fraiche now and again, read on but be forewarned!  This is TIME CONSUMING!!!  Especially if you are making your creme fraiche which I recommend because it is stupidly expensive and hard to find and very, very easy to make.  The creme fraiche needs 48 hours to be good to go.  So here is a schedule for you:

Friday night:  make creme fraiche, leave on counter

Saturday night:  make meat sauce in a double batch, serve half on a bed of braised greens, put the other half and the creme fraiche in the fridge

Sunday night:  assemble and enjoy lasagne!

Read on for the recipes:

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