Mel is in Bermuda (Part One – with Ross)

I flew directly from Minneapolis to Toronto, met up with Ross, had a tiny visit with my favorite old roommate Chris and his new wife Sacha, got to sleep for about a minute before waking up to speed to the airport for our flight to Bermuda. We basically BARELY made it since I decided an hour would be plenty of time when in reality, we were stupidly late for an international flight. No matter, we made it and arrived to beautiful sunny weather.

What am I doing here? Well, our friend Dave Morrison asked if I could come and join Chris McCormack for two weeks of triathlon mania here on the island. Chris spoke at the annual awards dinner and both of us donated some clothing to raise money for the tri kids programs. In addition, I did a training session with the TRex Trikids program, spoke to a group about nutrition, did a number of interviews with local press, and will host a clinic on how to ride a mountain bike the day before I race an offroad duathlon March 2. Phew! I also did 24.5 hours of training this first week and will probably be around that again for the second week even with smaller training days for racing on the weekend. I have been busy….

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Elite Performers And Elite Attitudes

Teaching Your Body To Follow Your Mind

As published on www.triathletemag.com. (NOTE: I am available, subject to my racing calendar, for speaking engagements/appearances. You can contact me through this website. This article is adapted from a recent presentation I made.)

By Melanie McQuaid

Feb. 26, 2008 — I really admire exceptional ability. Being a professional athlete, it’s easy for me to quantify my ability based on medals, titles and racing achievements. In life, there are exceptional achievers all around us, some of whom get recognized and others who don’t. Bill Gates is recognized as an exceptional achiever in business and now as an ambassador of philanthropy. David Suzuki is a scientist who has been recognized for his efforts with regards to the environment. Clint Eastwood is recognized for his achievements as an actor and as a director. The general public recognizes such individuals for displaying exceptional abilities in their field. What is interesting about high achievers is the attributes that make them exceptional is consistent regardless of their vocation.

So what does this mean to us as competitive triathletes? I think many athletes in both the pro and the amateur ranks share the same attitude much of the time. It is more a difference in priorities than in talent that separates the top pros from the ranks of the field. Often our potential is determined by our own vision. Yes, it takes a certain amount of talent to be an exceptional athlete, but I also believe it takes a lot of elite attitude to make something of that talent.

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PowerTap SL 2.4 Disc, Cool Ad – Even Cooler New Product!

I TOLD you it was coming… look for this in the coming weeks and ask in a dealer near you. The Powertap mountain bike power measurement hub is now available. Get’em while they’re HOT!

Oh, and check out the new custom Lazer helmet… red/white Canadian style…

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Brian Frank, Attacking the Canadians?

I just read the story about the lawsuit between Keat, Vine and Neben against Hammer Nutrition. They are alleging that Endurolytes were contaminated (and have tested the bottles of Endurolytes that Keat had used in two labs to prove they WERE in fact, contaminated with noradrostendione) and caused each athlete to test positive during in-competition testing. Well, the whole story sucks because who thought they would test positive taking ELECTROLYTES.. not me! It is interesting because the two sides have already headed in an ugly direction….

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Update On The Training Front

Another 28+ hour week in the hopper and Mel is feeling GOOOOOD! 5.5 hours of swimming (20km), 3.5 hours of running and 19.5 hours of riding. It is a balancing act of mixing intensity with volume so a week this large included mostly base aerobic efforts. However, for each of the three sports there was at least one workout that I call quality aerobic. For the swim, the bike and the run, at least some of the week was focused on quality base work.

I think some of us get a bit too caught up in the concept of base training and think it all needs to be very low intensity, low quality work. I disagree. I think base fitness should start with some easy miles after a break so that you give your body some time to get used to doing work again. After that, you just need to decide on what you plan to focus, and then build a training plan that focuses on addressing that need. For XTERRA I think a large aerobic base is most important because you need to have a very strong aerobic engine in order to build some anaerobic capacity on top of it. Last year I tried to build a lot of aerobic strength incorporating a lot of running but unfortunately, I am not a strong enough runner to withstand the stress of it and my cycling really suffered for it. So for me, as a stronger cyclist, I am probably better off to do more of the work on the bike to maximize my strengths. Of course, doing that additional running last year really has helped me get to a new level of running for this year. It never showed in my splits last year but I have done some local racing which has indicated that yes, I have taken leaps in my running ability. So now, I will go back to focusing on the bike while carefully nurturing this running ability for the coming season. Depending on your strength between the two, you may choose one or the other option… more running or more riding. However, more time is up for grabs on the bike so if it is your weakness, it is well advised to put some emphasis on overall riding strength.

I have been doing lots of strength work that I am going to post an entire story on. I think the strength stuff has done more for my running than my running… if that makes any sense. Also, lots of single track riding. LOTS. Two to three workouts a week on my mountain bike, rather than one. The difference is shocking, really. You just can’t ride single track fast unless you ride a lot of single track really fast. It was easy, actually, to find another workout to do on my mountain bike. I got a Powertap for my mountain bike and replaced an interval workout on the road bike with one on my mountain bike. Magic! I am such a stickler for numbers for myself that I always preferred to do the intervals on the road just so I knew where I was at… so now that I am creating a database of numbers that are specific to mountain biking I think I am going to get a much better understanding of what exactly we do offroad and how to better prepare for it….

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