Posts

running austin texas

2016 Ironman Austin 70.3

Racing the Ironman Austin 70.3 Duathlon

I raced back to back race weekends of Ironman Miami and Ironman 70.3 Austin.  Dense fog on the lake in the morning in Austin resulted in a 90 minute delay to the race followed by a swim cancellation.  The race proceeded as a time trial duathlon of a 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

Melanie McQuaid riding Ironman Miami 70.3 bike course

Duathlon is bike plus run ? Wagner Araujo

Read more

2016 ironman miami bike ride

2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

I went to the 2016 Ironman Miami 70.3 cautiously optimistic and was satisfied by my result.  I was sixth in a heavy field with a nearly pain-free run for 21 straight kilometers.  For me, this is a huge breakthrough so I am absolutely stoked to know I can finally run the distance.  Now, to get faster!  ?

This race is so fun.  The overall vibe racing with 3000 athletes in downtown Miami in electric.  The strong Latin influence makes the race different.  Many athletes from South and Central America make the trip so it is an international affair.

The race

A variety of things about this race wouldn’t be my first choice including a pancake flat bike course, three hour time change, and very long travel to get there.  Things that turned out to be excellent about this race were the convenience of the hotels downtown to the race site, the incredible organization, and the hordes of fans out cheering.  I absolutely LOVED this race and would go back for sure!

 

2016 Ironman Miami pro women before swim

Figuring out the swim course – you can’t see the strong current from the dock 🙂

Overall execution

Read more

my mentor houshang amiri

Choosing a coach

Choosing a coach

Choosing a triathlon coach is a process similar to a job interview. Finding the right triathlon coach is an important first step in working toward your goals.  If an athlete and a coach are well matched, it is certain that athlete can go on to reach potential.  However, even the greatest athletes and coaches can be mismatched and find their results together aren’t optimal. Knowing what you should ask potential coaches will help you find the right fit.

my mentor houshang amiri

I have learned a lot about coaching and training from Houshang Amiri, a brilliant cycling coach based in Victoria, BC and owner of Pacific Cycling Center.

Questions to ask when looking for a triathlon coach

Read more

Stepping back in the ring at Augusta

I raced my first IM 70.3 event of 2016 at IM 70.3 Augusta in Georgia last weekend.

Like a pop quiz, going to IM 70.3 Augusta could result in four outcomes that answer the question:  Where is my fitness/rehabilitation at right now? They included:

a) A small miracle has happened and I get a podium finish my first race back.

b) I struggle a bit from lack of run fitness but still finish relatively strong, so I know I am ahead of schedule.

c) I struggle a bit more, have a tough day, but finish knowing I am healthy but need more work.

d) I am unable to finish.  DNF.  Not healthy, not healed, not ready.

Ironman race gear at augusta 70.3Ready to race my first race of the season in Augusta. Read more

Challenge Penticton: A Broken Ankle Test Race

My first “race” after a broken ankle at Challenge Penticton.

I raced Challenge Penticton long course nationals on Sunday.  The date was exactly 20 weeks of recovery from my broken ankle.  Writing all of these words in a post are a reason to celebrate:  racing – Challenge- anniversary- recovery.  I am lucky/happy/stoked/motivated to be where I am at right now as I was first out of the water, first off the bike, and pain-free for the running I completed.

cycling Challenge Penticton triathlon

Flying over the roads in Penticton, BC at Challenge Penticton. Thank you to Powerbar for fueling the trip; Trek, Bontrager, Shimano for offering a ride; Rudy Project for keeping my head and eyes safe and comfortable; Champion System for the comfy clothes; and Cobb Saddles for the comfy seat.

Read more

Managing your mind to nail taper week.

How To Nail Taper Week

How to nail taper week and avoid common mistakes.

It is race week and all through Canada athletes are getting excited about one of their key races for the season.  Time to nail taper week.

Taper week brings with it some mental challenges that can lead to bad decision making before race day. Managing your body’s recovery, nutrition, and mental state before the race is the key to a good race.  There is no more actual work to be done.  I outline how to spot pitfalls of taper week that can derail your race.

Tapering for a big event comes with some good feelings, some bad feelings, and some challenges to your confidence.  There is a saying, “Athletics is 90% mental and the rest is in your head.”  That is true.  Let’s go over how to manage yourself during a taper so you arrive to the start line ready to express your best possible fitness. Read more

XTERRA Maui race gear photo

Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear

Triathlon Gear List: Off Road vs On Road

What gear do I need to race off road triathlon?

 

In this article I compare road triathlon to off-road triathlon gear.  Athletes trying off-road triathlon (or ‘cross triathlon’ as the discipline is now defined) for the first time often find they need some new gear to start competing.

This is the typical pre-race gear organization photo for an Ironman event:

Here I am with my stuff before the World Champs in Maui:

Melanie McQuaid compares road triathlon with offroad triathlon equipment XTERRA Maui 2014

This is me with all of my pre race gear before XTERRA Maui 2014

You can see that racing an Ironman road event and racing an XTERRA off-road event requires very different gear.  I made this list so athletes coming from any distance of road triathlon can figure out what they need to get to start racing in the dirt.  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

Broken Ankle Healing Using RICE and MEAT Therapy

Promoting Broken Ankle Healing Using the RICE and MEAT Therapy Protocols

RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION.  This mnemonic dates back to the 1970s when a doctor came up with this prescription for healing that became the standard protocol to treat acute injuries.

RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION and MEAT is an acronym for MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY

More recent medical opinions suggest that both rest and ice can delay healing rather than promote it.  Icing can reduce inflammation, and rest can promote joint rigidity, so movement without ice is suggested. The MEAT (MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY) approach is considered particularly beneficial for ligament and tendon injuries.  This all gets confusing when you deal with a trimalleolar fracture that compromises both bones and ligaments.  What is the best approach if you have a combination of issues to resolve? Read more

Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle

A Broken Ankle Doesn’t Have To Prevent Triathlon Improvements

My triathlon cross training the first three weeks after surgery.

Using hand cycling to crosstrain with a broken ankleCross training for triathlon with a broken ankle still includes plenty of options if swimming, biking and running are off limits.  I discovered there were ways to not only maintain fitness, but also improve, despite my current limitations in a “not weight-bearing” state.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment so, injured or healthy, you focus on doing everything that you can THAT DAY.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment to get better.

When I am healthy, if my legs are super tired from running, I might take a break and ride or swim.  If my shoulders are maxed out from a lot of swimming, I might run a bit more and focus strength work on lower body.  The key is to focus on what you CAN IMPROVE while your body is in repair mode or fatigued.  Even while in the critical stages after ORIF surgery, there were ways for me to train and allow my body to heal.

So what did I do when I got injured and was told not swim/bike/run AT ALL (even swimming *sigh) for the first three and a half weeks?   I focused on three areas where I could actively make improvement. Read more