2013 XTERRA West Champs, Vegas

The kickoff of the North American pro XTERRA series was Saturday and although some of the global athletes were competing in New Zealand, the core group of XTERRA professsionals were on hand to duke it out for the points and money up for grabs in the 2013 season.  After the considerable amount of dust settled, Josiah Middaugh and Lesley Paterson were the top male/female athletes and I finished in fourth. 

 In the wake of the bombing in Boston I thought of how important sport is to so many of us.  Anyone in endurance sport knows that all of us our connected by our mutual passion for all the values that sport espouses.  I know I was riveted by the coverage of the event and was inspired by the top athletes- as were many of us around the world -so to end the day with a bloody attack at the finishline was raw and painful and disorienting… who would do that?  My heart goes out to the victims of that attack.  I read that an 8 year old boy died after giving his dad a hug the finishline.  That is heart wrenching.  Sport is about celebrating the human spirit and to have such a bright day darkened by people with such bad spirit is terrible.  We want to express ourselves through sport and through competition but at the base of it all we just want to be loved and have our loved ones be safe.  I am so sad today.  However, I am going to go back to swimming, biking and running and will participate in as many big events as I can in this lifetime because sport is part of my life and always will be.  One act of violence cannot prevent me from enjoying sport as much as I possibly can and it shouldn’t stop you either.  Much love to you Boston.  We will endure this and be stronger after.

I did recap the race on Saturday if you still feel like reading but I get that it is much less important than an event of the magnitude of the one in Boston so maybe you want to go for a run instead and I encourage you to go for a run today for Boston.

Anytime I get on the podium is a good day.  I am happy that there were lots of things to be happy about.  First, I managed to squeak into the lead group for longer than I ever have on the swim, cruising along in my new BlueSeventy wetsuit like a rockstar right up until I completely and utterly blew up.  I watched two pro men swim up to my right and tried SO hard to stay with them but I was in massive O2 debt.  When the main pack caught me I settled into the middle and the pace was so easy so there was nothing lost and some knowledge gained.  The first moment of female domination was when Christine Jeffrey came out in front of all the pro men.  Every guy got chicked.

Then we went out on the bike and I went back and forth with Suzy Snyder for most of the bike. My Bontrager 29-1 tires were really good in the sand as I kept riding past her in that section.  I would like to think the big fat tires were why I was slower on the uphills as Lesley Paterson was riding away  but I think I am just not in good enough shape.  We came off the bike too far behind to challenge the win.  Especially since the second episode of “You Got Chicked” was showing, as Lesley ran faster than all the pro men.  Wow.

Discomfort. 

My run was terrible.  My legs weren’t good as soon as I came off the bike which is frankly, lack of conditioning.  I am doing some weird things that I normally don’t do because of my hip and this time I tried to run with orthotics.  This was dumb since they were moving all over the place in the hilly terrain.  This honestly wasn’t terrible on the uphill but I couldn’t run downhill at all as I had no stability.  My Pearl Izumi N1 Run shoes are great but one must glue orthotics down for hilly courses if you must use them.  Shonny V caught me on the run but I managed to hold off fellow Canadian Danelle Kabush who rounded out the top 5 on the podium.  Congrats to Emma Garrard for her return to racing after having a baby and nice to see the other Canadian momma Brandy H on the startline.  I love that there is a good contingent of Canucks in the women’s race – Buttons you were missed!!

Now I have kicked off both 70.3 and XTERRA season with both races about the same in terms of performance, I have some work to do.  The level that the 70.3 athletes and the XTERRA athletes are setting for triathlon is certainly intimidating but I know I have more work to do and frankly, it is super motivating to have a big challenge.   I was there before so I know I can get there again with some time. 

Sometimes Taurus needs a reminder.  

I do need to get some training done before I go back to racing.  I am going to take a break to get some work done and reset my form before I race again.  In that time I have another visit to Wolf at Endurance Rehab and Pariac at Cyclologic in Scottsdale for some more help with biomechanics so that I can get back to high intensity training and hopefully back to my best performance.

Thanks to Trek and Bontrager for my amazing Superfly SL which I love love love to ride.  Thanks to Greg and Katie from Shimano for being there to cheer and chat about how perfect the XTR on my bike was that day.  Thanks to Champion System for the fantastic outfit that was so comfy.

The race day rig before full prep

Thanks Powerbar:  needed 7 gels and 3 bottles of Perform just for 2.5 hours. Thanks to Polar USA for the heart rate monitor that can objectively measure that performance beyond the results.  Thanks Rudy Project for the great looking helmets and glasses for both mountain bike and road triathlon. 

Mel n CJ the superswimmer enjoying some preride time rockin full Rudy Project helmet/glass combos 🙂

Shoutout to Blueseventy for a wetsuit getting me closer to the front group on the swim, so exciting!  Esoles rocks for putting together my recovery plan with my crew in Scottsdale and Houshang Amiri for helping build a solid program to come back, even if it is taking longer than I would like.   Thanks to Cycleops and Powertap for the power measurement devices for my bike and trainers that I find essential for my training.  Thanks to Pearl Izumi for shoes, USANA for supplements, Esi Grips and Sci Con Bike Travel Bags for the support.  Can’t do it without you guys.

 

My other passion can now be indulged thanks to spring #sevenwatermelonvarietiesthisseason

Another of my favorite things… very thoughtful gift from Kirk at www.esoles.com after a trip to Spain 🙂

Or unless I miss her birthday altogether… then we won’t be celebrating either.  Happy Birthday to @DayDeansBuchan1 🙂

I am standing in an awkward position hence my awkwardlookingness.  Podium.

 

2013 Oceanside 70.3

The spring kickoff for Ironman racing in North America was last Saturday in sunny Oceanside, California.  The field was stacked, particularly on the women’s side, so as returning 2012 champion I had a formidable challenge to repeat.  70.3 racing at early 2013 international events has been inspiring, with eye popping splits and real breakthrough performances.  It appears the bar has been set much higher for this year, not just by the influx of ITU racers (although they are part of it) but also by massive improvements from the 70.3 specialists as well.  The racing at Oceanside last week continued this trend with Heather Jackson taking the win ahead of Heather Wurtele and Lesley Paterson who just nipped Linsey Corbin for third.  Great job ladies!  I was 13th

photo 3

A very, very nervous Mel- not my usual composure before races

While my Oceanside result isn’t where I expected to find myself at the finish of the race, realistically it is a step forward and can be viewed in positive light given my challenging offseason.  On Saturday, I endured a nightmare swim, put my head down on the bike and pulled myself back up briefly into single digit position with Vodickova and Joyce off the bike and then ran to 13th.  Although I am not stoked about my race, it is the first in a long time that I have been steady start to finish without physical problems.   Now I will pocket the fitness, get back to work and look forward to continued improvement at my next race.

The injury has forced me to reassess aspects of my biomechanics for Ironman racing.  This process and my partnership with eSoles custom insoles has brought some amazing professionals in physical therapy and bike fitting to my team.  I am stoked that I had a chance to visit Endurance Rehab and Cyclologic in Scottsdale as I feel both Wolfgang and Paraic have made a real differences in my recovery and my ability to ride a tt bike.  After a complete revamp of my bike fit and bike cleats things are looking great with respect to training and completing recovery and my Oceanside finish demonstrates that I can start to build from here.

Being a returning winner for a title defense was exciting but also nerve wracking as I knew I wasn’t 100% flying.  I couldn’t sleep for two nights before the race I was so nervous.  The experience was a stepping stone that I had to put a foot on to find my way back to the pointy end of a race. 

I really benefitted from prerace support and advice from Mark Andrews at Trek and prerace/onsite support from Heather Fuhr.  She is our pro athlete babysitter and we are helpless without her, thank you Heather!  I also love my friends from Maui and a big happy birthday shoutout to Aaron and a huge hug to my friend Jody, both of whom flew in to see the race.  Mahalo you guys xx

My personal army starts with Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Cycleops/Powertap, Rudy Project and Polar for supporting me with the fastest stuff.  With objective data from Polar and Powertap I can track exactly where I am with power and heart rate data from racing and from training that will show my progression through the year which is going to be motivating to look at.  I have Powerbar helping fine tune my nutrition to figure out how to fuel events this long.  I have Champion System making gorgeous custom kits to keep me looking good and comfortable in aero position which is an amazing feat.  I have eSoles/Endurance Rehab/Cyclologic taking a real interest in my recovery and sorting out the insoles, physio and bike fit needs that have become increasingly important as I do more Ironman events.  I have Synergy Wellness Management in Victoria monitoring and treating my pesky right hip and providing the yoga sessions that have become essential in my training.  Sci Con Bike travel bags keeps my bike safe, Pearl Izumi sorting out my footwear needs and Usana, Genunine Innovations and ESI grips round out the supporters that help keep me healthy and safe on the road.  Thanks guys, I appreciate you guys so much. 

See you in Vegas.

2013-03-29 17.12.37 480x640Pretty Maui gift from Jody 🙂