2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

2016 Ironman Miami 70.3

I went to the 2016 Ironman Miami 70.3 cautiously optimistic and was pleasantly surprised by my result.  I was sixth in a heavy field with a nearly pain-free run for 21 straight kilometers.  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

Continue reading “2016 Ironman Miami 70.3”

How to choose a triathlon coach

Choosing a triathlon 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

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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. Continue reading “Stepping back in the ring at Augusta”

2016 RBC Granfondo Whistler Recap

RBC Granfondo Whistler event was last weekend.  This was my first experience racing the women’s 122km Giro racing event and it was amazing!

It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.
It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.

The RBC Whistler Granfondo is a 122 km ride from Stanley Park in Vancouver to Whistler Village.  The event started as a community ride and has evolved to include more than 4000 riders and include a sanctioned race with a cool $15,000 going to the men’s and women’s winners.  It is the race to do in September if you are a roadie.   I think it is also beneficial to do if you are a triathlete which is why I was there – lots of fitness to be gained from long road races!

The race winner was Alison Jackson, a member of Canada’s National Cycling Team headed to the World Championships in Qatar later this year. I ended up 11th after a 20 minute time trial effort to get away failed as I am not much of a sprinter.  That is 11th out of 15 in the front pack…LOL.  I even went into the penultimate corner in 3rd so I know where to be I just can’t do the sprinting.  It really isn’t useful in Ironman so I’m very rusty.

Thank you to TOIT Events, Inc. Neil McKinnon for the invite, St. Regis Hotel Vancouver for the amazing stay, and to RBC for sponsoring this amazing community event. Congratulations to Alison Jackson on the win! Thank you to the women’s field for making it a fun and challenging race… great to see Olympians in the field like Jasmin Glaesser and Katka Nash out there adding to a strong field! Thanks to my sponsors – I am almost ready to hit the start line for IRONMAN Augusta

Enjoy the show.


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.

Continue reading “Challenge Penticton: A Broken Ankle Test Race”

How To Nail Taper Week

How to avoid common mistakes and nail taper week .

Racing is mostly a mental challenge. Nail taper week by getting your head straight.
Nail taper week by focusing on your mind.

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. Continue reading “How To Nail Taper Week”

Voodoo Flossing for Ankle Range of Motion

My trip to Synergy Wellness Center for voodoo flossing to increase range of motion in my ankle

I visited Colin Beattie, BKin, MPt, CAFCI at Synergy Wellness Center in Victoria, BC to try out a therapy called voodoo flossing.  Voodoo Flossing is a method using neurological modulation to help loosen and relax muscles to create greater range of motion in the body.  I did some non-scientific Google research and it appears Voodoo Flossing is popular in the Crossfit community.  I believe it has merit in treating the injuries common in triathlon.

I am very impressed with how it worked for my shin and ankle.  Now that I am healing scar tissue in my ankle from a trimalleolar fracture, this technique is useful to create good range of motion in my ankle as I return to sport.

The actual “Voodoo” is created using a long elastic band which is like a common physiotherapy theraband, only thicker.  After some gentle Graston scraping on the area, the band is tied tightly, but not painfully, around my leg.  Despite my skepticism, I can’t deny that immediately my calf and ankle had a huge increase in range of motion.  Read more for the full story… Continue reading “Voodoo Flossing for Ankle Range of Motion”

The 12 Weeks Broken Ankle Recovery Video Update

The 12 Week Broken Ankle Recovery Update

It has been 12 weeks to the day since I had my bike accident and broke my ankle.  In this 12 week video update, I share a bit about the people that have helped me get back to speed so quickly and kept my attitude in check.  Staying positive and engaged in the process of recovery has been the key to getting back in shape quickly.

don't give up

This injury has helped redefine and motivate my desire to race.  I feel like I am among a new generation of athletes who continue to race into their 40s and remain competitive as elites.  This isn’t “normal” and there is certainly some resistance to this notion.  Although I am more of an outlier at the moment, I don’t think this will always be the case.

I am thankful to have great sponsors and supporters who believe that fast after 40 means REALLY FAST.  I love the idea of helping to define what that is and work hard to set the bar as high as possible.  I look to my contemporaries, athletes like Jo Pavey and Gunn-Rita Dahle, who are competing as top level elites in their sports (running and mountain biking) to help me decide what level I plan to compete at.  The top level.

I am still looking at Kona in 2017.

Looking forward to setting some new benchmarks this season.

Thanks for following along.

xoxo  Melanie 🏊🚵🏃



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:

So excited for @ironmantri #2! A lot of kit to get together #organized #IMAZ #PUMPED

A photo posted by Melanie MCQUAID (@racergirlmel) on

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.  Continue reading “Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear”

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. Continue reading “How Triathlon Can Draw More Women”