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
Simple.

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”

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? Continue reading “Broken Ankle Healing Using RICE and MEAT Therapy”

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. Continue reading “Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle”

The First Two Weeks With a Broken Ankle

My two week update after a broken ankle

Unfortunately, I crashed my bike and broke my ankle a bit over two weeks ago.  My primary objective for 2016 is to win a full Ironman; a goal I will maintain this season.

Staying Focused on the goal through injurygingerbread broken ankle

I am really fortunate to have Dr. Brent Weatherhead as my orthopedic surgeon.  He is an amazing technical surgeon and did an outstanding job to get my fractured ankle anatomically perfect so now we have a realistic plan and schedule to get me back to running full gas this season.

Eventually, every pro athlete faces some significant adversity. For me, that time is now. I have fractured my ankle crashing my bike. Fortunately I have an amazing surgeon, Dr. Brent Weatherhead, who is at Rebalance MD. I also benefit from having Dr Jamie Grimes and Katie Button, a great rehab team behind me at Synergy Wellness. Thanks to my incredibly supportive sponsors, family and medical team I will make a full recovery and return to racing this season. I will write about recovering on my website and I hope I can offer some support to anyone else who is frustratingly sidelined this season. So far my advice would be to stay positive, do everything you can in that moment and visualize where you want to go. Visit www.racergirl.com for updates 😀🏃💨#injury #adversity #rehabilitation #trimalleolarfracture #brokenankle #triathlontraining #triathlon #running #cycling

A photo posted by Melanie MCQUAID (@racergirlmel) on

I know a LOT of pro triathletes who have dealt with and are dealing with injury – so my story is not unique.  Triathletes and runners have different experiences with a broken ankle.  If you found this post searching “exercises you can do with a broken ankle” and “triathlon training after a broken ankle” you are in the same mindset I was in the first two weeks after my crash.  I promise you that it gets better after the first two weeks.  I am posting these recovery updates to help educate you through MY experience and inspire you with what I found helpful and motivating.  It is important to stay positive and focused during your recovery so let’s start with things you can do.

Here are THREE WAYS YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY IMPROVE AS AN ATHLETE with a broken ankle or leg injury  Continue reading “The First Two Weeks With a Broken Ankle”

Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon

 I wrote this article for www.triathlonmagazine.ca

‘Shoulder prehabilitation’ means strengthening the shoulder’s resistance to injury – thus PRE-rehabilitation.  These shoulder strength exercises prepare the shoulder muscles that are the most vulnpool swimming with paddles trainingerable to injury from everyday swimming repetitive movement.  Strengthening these muscles improves your posture and body alignment.  For swimmers, and triathletes by extension, the most common injuries occur in shoulder rotators so these are the muscles we are focused on.
Continue reading “Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon”