General stories about life and/or philosophy

NDSS Hall of fame

2019 NDSS Hall of Fame Induction

I was shocked to be inducted into my high school’s hall of fame on June 6, 2019 along with the 1977-1978 boy’s basketball team.  Thank you so much to Glenn Johnson and Gunnar Myhrer for the honor.

As much as I always wanted to be an athlete, I don’t think any ability was evident in high school.

It was appropriate that my dad accompanied me to the event because he has been my biggest supporter my whole life.  I was really proud that after all I put him through he was a part of a night he could also be really proud of.  We went for sushi after and he reminded me of some of the ridiculous things I did when I was in high school and we discussed a lot of the ways in which we are really similar.  It is so long ago that I went to NDSS but it is informative to think back on how I made decisions even then.

I thought I would share the words I spoke to the athletes, parents, and teachers in attendance at the event.  I hope they resonate with some of you.  Thank you again for the honor!

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lap swimming in austin Bartholomew pool

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

I did a lot of lap swimming in Austin before the Ironman event in October 2016.  After visiting a variety of pools in the city I’ve written a tourist guide for other swimmers and triathletes who find themselves in Austin wanting to know where to swim at the best lap swimming pools in Austin. This is not an exhaustive list but does include some of the highest rated options.

The following list of pools to go lap swim in Austin includes my thoughts on the pros and cons as well as the workout I did when I was there. Read more

How Triathlon Can Draw More Women

How Triathlon Can Draw More Women Into The Sport

Getting Kids involved gets more women involved

Ironman CEO Andrew Messick posed the following question at the San Diego Triathlon Business Conference in January of this year: “Can you figure out a way to position triathlon as their (women’s) next great challenge?” He was suggesting that the goal should be to draw more women from marathon running into Ironman racing. I think he needs to reframe that objective: triathlon shouldn’t be their next challenge, it should be their next opportunity. Triathlon needs to recognize the main barriers to entry for women and offer solutions to address these issues. Then it can be seen as an ideal sport for women from more diverse backgrounds. Read more

2014 In The Books

That’s a wrap folks.

After the fun outing jogging at Kualoa Ranch this weekend, my season has come to a close.  Well, maybe my  body decided it came to a close more like a month ago but my brain pushed it a little and frankly, would push it more if my body would let it.  I have never had so much motivation to race and fun with a season.  Thank you all for being a part of it!  It was also a pretty darn good season as well.  I thought I would recap with a few pictures since they save me a lot of words.

The season started a bit slow with a 7th in Oceanside and an 11th in St George as I solved a niggle in my right foot.

st g

 

The I finally started rolling with a 3rd place and fastest bike split at Honu 70.3 (won by Angela Naeth).

Then my season broke through with the win at Boise70.3 the following weekend.  It was wire to wire with the fastest swim and bike splits and a solid run. 

 

boise

It  was fun to share the podium on the day with my friend Brent McMahon.

brent

 

Then I went on and won the Saskatoon 5150.  Since it was a chase format and there was added money if the handicapped girls could hold off the men, I was first into transition.  I also won the chase that day with a strong run.

lonebike

sask podiu

Pretty special to be on the box with Brent McMahon and Jeff Symonds.

After that I won XTERRA Canada and while I was home managed to teach some mountainbike skills and build some stoke in a fun group of mountain biker/XTERRA/Ironman types.

clinic

Then I tested my resilience by stuffing in the Vineman half Ironman and took a fourth place (won by Meredith Kessler) which, although SLIGHTLY disappointing, just let me know when I reach the limit of my racing: training ratio.

vineman run

Battling Rachel who had a very strong race.

 

I followed that event with another super solid win at the Lake Stevens 70.3 holding off super fast Liz Lyles with a run that was almost matching her for 9 miles.  It was a breakthrough running race for me and another wire to wire win.

stevenswin

Then I crashed.  So all the work for the 70.3 worlds kind of ended up not showing and I had a terrible day in Quebec.  Oh well.

worlds

I turned around and tried mountainbiking again and got myself as high as 4th place at XTERRA World Championship in the race but finished in 8th.  It was solid but a reminder that without specificity I will not achieve my goals in races.  I need to stick to what I am focusing on.

mtb grass

So then I went off to Australia and despite having more illness in 30 days than I have in five years I won another race wire to wire.  I took fastest swim, fastest bike and second fastest run at IM70.3 Ballarat and really gave myself some confidence that I might be good at Ironman racing.

ballarat win

So now it is time to relax, reflect and refocus again.

First thank you to Mike.  He doesn’t want me to talk about him on the internet at all but he was a huge part of my success this year. xoxo

Thank you to Trek Bikes, Bontrager, and Shimano for keeping my wheels rolling.  In addition, thank you to the Trek Race Shop, Trek Procity Victoria, Shimano Australia, Cycles Galleria, Cyclescape Ballarat, and Trek Store Santa Rosa for the fun times and the support this year.  I love being part of the Trek family and Shimano, as my longest sponsor, you have been incredible as far as staying at the forefront of the industry forever and as the most amazing supporter of athlete’s dreams.  Trek and Shimano = awesomeness.

 galleria

My team in Melbourne 🙂

Thank you Champion System for creating competitive outfits that also help me to show my own personality. Personalization is so special but comfortable kits are essential 

Thank you Rudy Project- for supplying me with helmets and glasses for lightning fast bike splits and sunnies to help me look cool and composed during interviews.  I love the casual line very much and couldn’t find a better performing glass both on and off road from anywhere.  Keep up the excellent design.

Thank you Powertap for the ability to measure my bike output and to train indoors with precision.  I have been a Powertap fan for many years now and it is so great to see exactly where my training is at.  Keep making awesome measuring devices!  Thanks to Chris Till and Monza Imports for helping me to train while in Australia by making some equipment available.  You guys are amazing.

Thank you to Blueseventy for helping provide me with a wetsuit that allowed me to swim to the front 3 times this year – the first time ever in my career!  Blueseventy wetsuits, goggles and swimsuits have turned me into a fish.

Thank you to Powerbar for providing the nutrition I need to work towards full distance racing.  Thank you USANA for keeping me (mostly) healthy (overdoing it just can’t be fixed with nutrition) .

Thank you to Nick at Frontrunners and the folks at Asics for sending me some sweet kicks that kept me healthy as I try to push the run volume up to what would make me competitive.  I still have a long way to go but I think given I just started bumping into a decent volume range in August I would like to see what I can do now that I am honestly 100% healthy (that took until May!!).

Thanks to Jamie Grimes at Synergy Wellness for putting my body back together.  I wouldn’t have a career right now without you.  Also big appreciation goes to Markus Blumensaat for some excellent therapy and advice along the way. You two are my A team in Victoria- much love.

Thank you to SciCon for providing me with bike cases that kept my babies ready for race day despite more than 50,000 kilometers of travel.

scicon

Thanks to Triathlon Magazine Canada for helping me hone some media skills.  I appreciate the opportunity and I plan to continue some professional development to further improve on my ability to contribute to the magazine.  Thanks to my brother Shawn for helping me learn more about social media and online marketing – you are a wizard!

Thank you to Ironman and Ironman Asia Pacific for the invitations to compete and for putting on great races.  Thanks to Lance and Paul for the invite to the Saskatoon 5150 and to XTERRA for continuing to invite me to compete while I have gone to the “dark side”  J  Thank you Monique for creating XTERRA Canada in Victoria and building such a fun event.

Thanks to the long list of homestays (mostly nicknames here to protect identities – they know who they are and I love them) – Rodsquad, Sueblips, Marcy and Bo, Tobinators, Mark, Dr Aaron, Wardo, and Pipes and Jared – what an incredible year of memories.  Hugs to you all.

Thanks to Kelly Guest for being a phenomenal training partner and swim coach for the second half of my season.  Thanks to Clint Lien for putting up with me for most of the season and to all the talented pros in the Tuesday Swim Squad for the comraderie.  Thanks to Marilyn, Buttons and Danelle for the fun times training.  Thanks Houshang Amiri for inviting me to train during the Pacific Cycling Center sessions and to all the strong cyclists in Victoria for helping me to prepare.  There are loads of people I have done sessions with so I am sorry I am missing some of you but you know  those days are what makes the quality of my life so great and I appreciate you all.

I don’t think I am done yet.  I am not sure I am ready to fully announce plans yet because I want to take some time to think about what journey in 2015 would really make for an album of memories I would cherish.  I still have so much desire to crush races but I also want to be healthy about this stuff.  So soon I will talk about 2015 but it has to be a bit later.

Mahalo.  I am sure we will have more to celebrate in the coming year.

2014-07-12 10.29.02 640x565

 

 

Putting all the pieces together

I just came home from another visit to the masterminds at Endurance Rehab and Cyclologic down in Scottsdale, Arizona.  My main goal for this trip was to test my progress in my hip rehabilitation and reassess my bike position once the progress of my injury had been analysed. 

I was very disappointed with the opening races of the season but in reality, I was pretty far behind my competition in preparation and the outcome reflected that.  The races early season indicated I would be better off getting in some work rather than competing so I scratched from some events I had planned for early May in favor of taking the opportunity to do a solid block of training and then reassess.

There are a lot of really great professionals in Victoria who have been so helpful in getting me back into a position where I can fully train.  I have a huge amount of support from Synergy Health Management, in particular Jamie Grimes, which is why I am on the comeback trail from injury.  Had Jamie not been realistic about where I was at and adamant that I had to stop training I would probably be just scratching my head wondering why my back was sore and I was racing so poorly.  The issue is that although we have great people here in town, they don’t get to work together.  My bike fit with Houshang needed to be alongside a therapist like Jamie but coordinating that is tough/impossible.  This is why I am lucky to get the chance to work with Paraic at Cyclologic and Wolfgang at Endurance Rehab in concert with one another.

Paraic uses the Dartfish system when he does fits.

This is where this facility stands alone as great minds get to work side by side to ensure that everyone is aware of EVERYTHING.  They have many years of experience and have the ability to work directly with eSoles for any kind of orthotic required so an athlete can find the most biomechanically correct position and then find what makes them the fastest from head to toe.  I have been so fortunate to take advantage of this.

My main problem moving to the 70.3 distance is very little body awareness as far as what should be comfortable for aero position.  In essence, I was so hurried in trying to transfer fitness from mountain bike to time trial bike I just set things up without really reassessing what I was doing or how it was feeling.  In doing so, once I committed to more riding on my Trek Speed Concept in 2012 I ran into trouble.

It is taking weeks at a time for my body to relax and adapt to the changes we are introducing it to but I do feel like I have more support for putting together my best triathlon now.  The latest visit also included some new exercises to challenge my hips to support more explosive power.  I will be sure to share one or two with you on Racergirl Television.

I was soaking up the strength exercises like a sponge and wanted to take all of the equipment home with me to recreate the Endurance Rehab environment in my own training room.  Nate was so kind to let me take some of the equipment right off the floor, haha!  I was pretty excited to drag my giant blue foamy block through the airport.  Thanks Nate!

Still a work in progress for sure!

We also had the chance to do some VO2 max testing with Jeff Kitchen and test some shoes out to see which Pearl Izumi shoes would be appropriate for training and racing.  Video analysis tells you a lot about what is going on with your feet so I would highly recommend using this technology in making your own decisions.

I have been pleased with my progress during the last few weeks so I am looking forward to testing myself again at the XTERRA event in Alabama.  I miss pushing my limits so much!  In hindsight though, I am learning so many things I did not know before which I am sure are going to make me so much better. 

This is where I insert the big fat thank you to Adam Zucco at Trainingbible for his help in overhauling my return to run form.  I work really well with Houshang for my bike program but my run needed more guidance.  Thanks also to Simon Whitfield for graciously offering his advice to us when he “trains” with us long course types at Clint Lien’s morning swim club.  That guy has a lot of good info and we are lucky he is fairly mellow about his own training right now because his input into our efforts has been invaluable.  I also have been fortunate to be surrounded by athletes like Brent McMahon, Tenille Hoogland, Sara Gross and Magali Tissyere which is definitely lifting the performance bar for the YYJ long course pro triathlon group.  It is an exciting time for triathlon in Victoria and it is about time we had a proper group of long course athletes training here.  Victoria is the new Boulder people, pack your stuff and get here!  J

Who isn’t excited to run with custom Champion System running shorts! #awesome

Thanks for following along and see you at the races!

I know you are dying to know the garden’ progress so here’s a short update 🙂

April 5, 2013

 

May 5, 2013

Thank you, AVIA!

Although the lineup of partners for the 2013 season looks almost identical to that of 2012, there will be one significant change of note that I thought I would take a moment to recognize.

AVIA was wonderful in offering years of support to myself and many athletes, particularly those in off road racing. Through AVIA I met a lot of great people with interesting backgrounds. I learned a lot about shoe technology and was given the opportunity to think about what I really like in a shoe which has helped me as an athlete to learn what really does work for me.

AVIA will not be continuing with endurance in the future and I am excited to announce that I will be running as well as cycling under the Shimano umbrella for the coming season. I will be running in Pearl Izumi shoes and as I get more experience with the shoes I will be posting my thoughts on them for you to consider.

I am excited to further my relationship with the Shimano family by adding Pearl Izumi run shoes as they represent one of my longest relationships in sport.

This year Shimano will be rolling out a number of fancy pro bikes including my own with the new 11 speed Di2 group FC-9000. It just keeps getting better and better.

Thank you to Trek, Bontrager, Rudy Project, Powerbar, Polar, Shimano, Champion System, Cycleops, Nineteen wetsuits, ESI grips and USANA for the opportunity to go after that 70.3 Worlds event with vigor this season. Kicking things off with the event in Panama which is entirely too early but will be a good test to see where things are at early in the year. Certainly Oceanside will be the main focus for the start of the season but due to the points chase I chose to go to a race to get some points on the board early and try to not be in the hunt late in the season.

Thank you again, AVIA, for everything. Sorry to see you go but I only wish you guys the best as you establish yourself in sport.

 

Stay tuned as I test what PI shoe fits these feets the best;)

The last thoughts and thank yous….

There isn’t much left to do at this point beyond some pre race interviews and some fun clinics at the expo.  At this point I want to do two things.  One is give you a peek into my mindset before this race and the second is to thank all of those people who have delivered me to the line of this race with a healthy mind, healthy body and the best tools and products available to perform at my best.

As for my mindset, I looked back at my thoughts immediately after the race last year that I wrote in an article for Triathlon Magazine Canada.  They will spell it all out and follow these short paragraphs.  Basically, five weeks ago I was tired, frustrated and unhappy with what I was doing.  I raced too much quantity, lost the quality and wasn’t having enough fun.  Luckily five awesome weeks have past and I was fortunate to connect with Ian Rodger.  He picked up a burnt out, grumpy and frustrated Melanie, dusted me off and then proceeded to build back the strengths that form the backbone of my best racing.  All the while he made me laugh.  A lot.  I plan to showcase that form and happiness which makes me my most fierce and competitive self – which leads to my best results.

First thank you to Trek’s Mark Andrews and Ray Waxham.  What a difference to have you guys in my corner!  xxoo

Thank you to AVIA for designing the Mantis and for being at all the races.  Adam, Shawn and Ed, you are awesome.

Thank you to my local  team: Jamie Grimes, Paul McIntyre, Markus Blumensaat and Alex Forsythe for essentially, fixing me.  Thanks to Procity Trek Store and Wiink2 out in Millstream for outfitting and styling me.  Thank you to Mike for delivering the hugs when I was getting too crazy.

Thanks to the coaches and athletes that helped me to train: Cindy Maybe and the Island Swimming superstars ( especially Sam for being funny and Molly for helpiing push me on best avg sets), Clint Lien and all of the morning tri group for putting up with my lateness, Carolyn Murray and Pat Kelly at the NTC and all those little NTC rippers (well, they aren’t that little), Houshang Amiri for the awesome cycling group, Jon Brown for the good running group, Marilyn Arsenault, Hillary Stellingwerff and Ian Hallam for waiting for me constantly, Zeke Cabell and the Catalyst crew, Scott, Tammy and Maia (until we abandoned our training for watching The Bachelor) and the other athletes I train with: Katie Button, Sara Gross, Annie Ewart, Jason Binab, Jamie Cameron (and the Procity teams), Paul McIntyre (no idea why I put you in here as an athlete but there you go, haha), Jodi for all the awesome swims here and all of Housh’s amazing athletes including Nik and David that pushed me on group rides and all of the other people i train with that I haven’t specifically mentioned:  you probably crushed me so I am still getting over it.  Just joking!  

Also thank you to my amazing homestays this year: Dave and Kelly Rideout, Jay Paul, Mark and Dianne,  Rose and Madi Serpico, the awesome Sara Tarkington, Kevin Deighan and family, and my Park City family Rob and Linda Karz, and finally my Hawaii aloha crew, Jodi Jackson and family along with Dr Aaron.

Big thanks to all of my sponsors: Trek Bikes and Bontrager, Greg at Shimano, Chris at Rudy Project, AVIA, Gina, Wayne and Chris at Polar USA, David and Natalie at Powerbar, Roni and Scott at Champion System, Wolf at Nineteen Wetsuits, and also thanks USANA, Esi Grips, TP Therapy, Sable Optics, Powertap/Cyclops and Genuine Innovations. Thanks to the crew at Team Unlimited for putting on these awesome races.

So incredibly thankful.  I want to do you all proud.

The www.xterralive.com website is going off with GPS trackers on all of the pros so you can follow the race from there.  Also, there is a bunch of cool social media initiatives you can take advantage of with XTERRA World Champs Twitter hashtag #xterraMAUI.  Join us from home.

So I hope that my story from last year inspires you all to have your best performance possible on Sunday.  I am really proud of my performance last year at the World Championship and what I want is to deliver the best that I have on the day.  Focus on reaching inside to get the most out of yourself without a lapse in concentration during the entire event..  That will allow you to execute your best race.

Go get some.

It is very humid in Hawaii right now hence the crazy blonde afro I am rocking at the moment 🙂

From Triathlon Magazine Canada January 2012:

“If you get up one more time than you fall, you will make it through.”

-Chinese Proverb

 

On October 23, 2011, I fell unconscious yards from the finish line at the XTERRA World Championship of off-road triathlon.  Nearing the finish line what looked like a sure win turned into an utter disaster.  It was both the best and the worst moment of my entire racing career. 

On that day there is no doubt that I was absolutely 100% in terms of performance and commitment to my best race on that day.  It obviously turned to the worst moment as I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  It is always a knife edge you ride at your peak performance.

I would like you to keep in mind that I have done just short of one trillion triathlons and most of those are of this off-road variety.  There is no shortage in experience in my arsenal and yet I still made a critical error in my preparation going into that day.  Even putting that into words makes the control freak in me cringe and start to obsess, just a little.   When I am really cruel to myself I ask myself why I need to keep learning at this point in my career.  Can’t I just start to get it right?

The answer is no.  Excellence is a continual journey up a staircase where there is no top step.  Every time you think you are getting closer to the top you are presented with a new, and better, potential self.  Sometimes you can’t even see what you could become until you take another step.  Who you are today is nothing compared to who you could become tomorrow.  You just have to keep focused on looking up to find that potential.  You will only find your maximum potential when you stop trying to improve.

At the start of the event I was essentially carrying a perfect season of off road triathlon racing in my pocket.  I wanted every single ounce of anything I had in me from a great lead up to the event to be displayed at the World Championships.  I was racing no one but myself and the race course.  I tried to race at a new level and in taking that risk was defeated by the all of the other participants and by the course itself.  

Fast forward to 2012 and I know what I am capable of.   I remember my preparation, my mindset and my mistakes.  I wouldn’t change anything about how I actually performed that day as I simply went for it with a bloodthirsty mind.  I will get myself back to that raw and real determination.  That is how you win.

When I prepare for races I am only concerned with preparing myself.  I don’t look at the competition.  I look to how I can be at my absolute best, using my greatest strengths and hiding any weakness.  I use some of the competitors around me to gauge my effort or to create more advantage but I am not trying to beat any particular competitor at any given moment.  I am simply emptying the tank in a brutally methodical way.  When I get to the finish line the tank should be empty at which point I would check the scorecard.  That is how you give it 100%.  That is the way to ensure that no matter what, you are exposing your true potential in racing. 

Fear of failure is a funny thing.  It is like a governor on your body that will always prevent its top speed.  You will never, ever, know how fast you could be unless you put it all out there.  You might think that you believe that you could have done something but unless you really go for it, you don’t know.  You have to go out there and show yourself what you are capable of.  Even if it means you fail.  Who cares about the lesser expectation you might have achieved?  It was less.

My mind is trained to turn my body’s complaints regarding discomfort off.  Racing to unconsciousness is basically indicating that I have the ability to use my mind to push my body further than its actual limits.  I am completely stoked to learn that I have that skill in my arsenal and I plan to use that strength to full advantage in future events.    When I toe the start line again at full strength don’t you agree that this ability might instill some confidence in me and fear in my competitors?  Who else is ready to race to near-death, honestly?  Bring it!  See you next year.

They say that everything happens for a reason.  My science brain says that my meltdown obviously happened due to overheating or a salt imbalance in my body and thus the mystery has been solved.  However, that little hippie that likes to live somewhere in the back of my mind says that there has to be a bigger reason for that disappointment to happen.  I don’t know what that reason was but time will tell.  This experience has absolutely solidified my resolve to continue to strive to be even better in 2012.  You should never underestimate the power of disappointment.

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

 – Dalai Lama

Canadians Are Crazy

Did I mention that Canada had the second largest delegation at XTERRA Worlds this year? Well, after the race it seems that the entire Canadian triathlon community has crushed my twitter, email and Facebook accounts with support for going down in a blaze of glory. I love you guys so much! Here is just one example:

Dear Melanie,

Just want to say how much of an inspiration you are and how courageous your performance was this past weekend. I am more impressed that you left it all out there and DNF’ed than had you won!

You make me proud to be a Canadian.

Sincerely,

Mike

Insert my tears of pride here. However, no plans to try to inspire with that particular strategy next year. That last 35 yards was expensive. 🙂 Thanks guys. Oh Canada! xxoo

Welcome to my garden

I don’t know if Dutch heritage is enough to create a zest for growing things in a person but I have that desire.  So do some of my other Dutch friends so there could be some truth to Dutch people being mad gardeners.  I think my gardening passion is starting to border on obsession.  That said, what don’t I get obsessed with if I am passionate or excited about it, really?  Who am I kidding?

There is so much in life that just starts with what amounts to a seed.  An idea might sprout an invention.  A chance encounter could sprout a relationship.  A dream could create a champion.  There is so much hope, vitality and potential packed into a seed.  I just love them.  Especially special, rare and difficult ones.

This year, my challenge was to grow nothing that didn’t start as a seed.  I wasn’t going to buy little plants and nurture them to adulthood… I was starting from scratch.  I couldn’t have chosen a worse year to do so.  However, like inventions, relationships and competitions sometimes you have success and sometimes you fail.  Certainly, this was a year for me of both success and failure.   

I started my garden early this year.  I had planned well in advance what I wanted to do, prepared my greenhouse, compost, pots, seeds and you name it, I was ready.  However, there was no sun.  I lost some prized watermelon seeds given to me by my friend Thomas last year because the soil, even in the greenhouse, was too cold.  It was a bummer.

Two months after that first planting, I started again. There were a few seedlings that survived the dark spring but the watermelons did not.  The cucumbers were not happy.  Some of the flowers were okay but not great.  Restart in May.  When there was still no sun, really, but it was warmer.

Fast forward to August and I have discovered that my cucumbers are just not going to yield what I had hoped for pickles this year.  This jar is going to be VALUABLE Laughing

cukes

Yep that is pretty much it.  There are some gherkins out there but I am not sure it is ever going to be worth it.  Same goes for the corn and perhaps my red onions.  Very average year especially for hot weather plants such as these.

But it wasn’t all failure this year.  I did get some wins.

garden

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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 (http://pacificcyclingcentre.ca/news/article.html?d=news/2010/02/12/140/).  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!