Pushing your limits

I found this story to be hugely inspiring for me. I know so many women like Nita who do not find their passion. They struggle with their self esteem, their weight and themselves because they find it hard to establish a goal and a purpose that allow them to really enjoy their lives. I think sport is such a great arena for everyone to start experiencing passion. No matter where you were athletically in your younger years it is never too late to decide you are an athlete. Once you have made that decision, you will find this athlete’s club is very inclusive and super rewarding, no matter what your actual times are!

Her story reminded me of how important passion is. In the elite wave, only a small percentage seperates the top women athletes yet many of them will never, ever have a chance of winning. That is because they don’t have the passion and the confidence to push themselves beyond their established limits. Nita got started in running and then smashed all barriers she had for herself to ensure that she could pursue her passion without limits. Passion also buoys you in the discouraging times. No matter what, eventually we will all have a bad race. The only thing preventing us from ever having a great race is not showing up to the start. I am stoked that I get to go and start again so soon!

I hope you enjoy the story. I think it has helped to motivate me to find a that level in Maui, free of limitations, which will push me in the direction of the greatest race I am capable of having. This is how you need to think if you want to achieve your potential as well. For Nita it is not about being the fastest. It is about being the best that she can be and doing everything she can with what she’s got. I only want to display everything I have in me on Maui. Make sure you do the same!!

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Frickin Absolutely Fantastic Comment about Richmond

The following comment was posted in response to the story I wrote about XTERRA Richmond. It was well written and well thought out and I thought it was worth highlighting. I have also commented on his comments. I invite you to do the same.

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Speaking To the Best of the Next Generation at Northwestern Mutual

This past week I had the pleasure of making a presentation to the top 100 interns at Northwestern Mutual at their annual Winter Camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  What an outstanding experience!  Here is a group of future superstars in the insurance and financial industry for which goal setting is old hat and thinking about being number one is a daily affirmation.  In fact, when I suggested their goal might be “to be the best performer there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be”, not an eyebrow was raised and instead a light went on in nearly every one of their faces with “Hmmm, good idea!”  Like I said, it was a group of college rock stars present at that meeting.  I would like to thank Michael, Cameron and Lisa in particular and the many other amazing people at Northwestern Mutual for making my stay so enjoyable.

A number of people have asked how I was connected with Northwestern Mutual.  Well, it happens to be another instance where networking is the key.  First link is my good friend Tom, who I cold-called for a homestay at the Xterra in Utah last summer.  He happens to be a rock star at Northwestern Mutual as well as an accomplished triathlete.  He asked if I would make a small talk to a small group of interns at a golf tournament that was scheduled for the same week as the race.  I made a quick presentation to that group which was seen by Lisa, one of the recruiters from head office in Milwaukee.  Lisa, along with her daughter, is a competitive triathlete as well.  She suggested I would be a good speaker for the Winter Camp to Michael and I agreed to come from Feb 8-10th.  (Okay sidebar… I am only giving first names in the interest of their privacy not because I can’t remember last names.)

I flew in Thursday night to speak on Friday afternoon.    I was armed with a great video showcasing Xterra that was guaranteed to get any audience psyched and I prepared a presentation that I thought would be appropriate for the group.  I think they ranged in age from about 20 years old to 28 years old and were basically getting ready to embark on their full time career.  My presentation was called “Love the Challenges – Win Consistently”. 

In a nutshell, I discussed six attributes that I think are common among consistent top performers.  I believe consistent performers are passionate, goal-oriented, fearless, accountable, resilient and balanced.  I am sure there are many other ways to describe ass-kickers, but those six are a good start.  It was too long a presentation to go into it here but if you want to book an appearance you know how to get a hold of me.. haha!

Anyway… I will share one point I think is funny.  On the topic of fearlessness, I want to clarify.  I don’t mean the daredevil type of fearless that everyone in triathlon seems to think the Xterra crowd is.  What appears to be fearlessness is actually exercising calculated risk.  That said, in racing you need to ride just on the edge of your comfort level to be as fast as possible on the bike.   High performers are confident and believe they have a high chance of success and therefore are comfortable taking those risks.  They will go ahead even when there is a risk of failure.  It is not important what the ODDS of success are, it is important that there is a CHANCE of success.  Like in the movie “Dumb and Dumber”, when Mary says to Harry “I would only be with you if you were the last man on earth and I am the last woman on earth.”  To which Harry says “So you’re saying there’s a chance!”  Ha ha, think positively!

Anyhow, I will get feedback on how they think the presentation was but I did have a chance to talk to some interns who found it motivating.  That was the goal and I hope some of the principles stick with them to ensure they remain the cream of the crop at Northwestern Mutual.  The only problem I encountered was the sound system couldn’t handle the bass in the Deep Dish music in the intro to my video so it didn’t sound as kickass as it could have.  Oh well.

So now I am headed home for five whole days before my next trip.  Exciting stuff coming up!  More to report this week but for right now think about your goals for this year and make sure they are challenging enough.  For my last group “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be” sounded about right.  That is Mel’s new Xterra goal… and seems like the next progression, don’t you think?  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.  It is the only way to get great things done.

Thoughts To Put On Record Before The 2006 Xterra World Championships

It is such an incredible opportunity to go to a race as the defending World Champion.  The only thing better than that is to get a chance to go BACK as a World Champion having already experienced that situation and get the opportunity of a "do-over" if necessary.  To take all that I learned the last time around to the start line with me is absolutely amazing.  I feel I am mentally so much better prepared for this race, better than I ever have been.  However, I am always humbled by how unpredictable Maui is.  2003 was epically hot, 2004 I melted under pressure, and 2005 I had something to prove.  This season is a combination of all three years.  The competition will be hot since we have no idea the strengths of the Europeans, except to know they are strong.  There is pressure again for me as the returning champion with all eyes looking to see if I lose the title.  And again, I have something to prove.  This is how I see it and frankly, I am loving what I see. 

The other night we had some non-triathlete friends for dinner.  After some wine (not too much!) and chat about our upcoming Hawaii trip, Ross suggested they watch one of the Xterra videos to see what the sport was all about.  Anyways, we searched through our renovation mess to try and find either 2003 or 2005 Maui videos (the obvious first choices) but couldn’t find them and had to settle on the video from 2004.  I am SO happy that this was the video we watched.

 First off there are two words that come to mind when I watch that video:  WARDROBE MALFUNCTION.  I wore a swimsuit in that race that unfortunately was not made by Speedo.  The swim was all good but then about 10 feet into the bike the dreaded crawl began.  I think my suit spent the entire race up my butt.  The worst part of it was that it happened on the right hand side, the side on which the lead motorcycle camera was riding.  So, as they caught porn footage of my butt cheek, periodically I would decide it got a bit too far and pull it down.  Horrible!  It is very difficult to stay focused on hammering on the mountain bike when you are worried about how much of your ass is going to appear on national television.  This was an UNPREDICTABLE that happened, and on the day, it was a problem.

That was the funny part.  The not-funny part of 2004 was my attitude.  I was so exhausted from racing World Cup mountain bike races all spring, cramming tons of training in the winter with no break during the summer that by the time October rolled around I was physically done.  Instead of being fired up to win I was afraid.  Afraid I didn’t have it to repeat.  I wasn’t having fun anymore preparing for the event or even being at the event.  Once I stop feeling like it is fun I can’t handle the same workload and I don’t pay attention to details.  The details are what go into a World Championships win.  I am confident when I come to races prepared because  I know what I am capable of….

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Mels Amazing So Cal Adventure

"It’s important to take pride in what you do or what you stand for. The kind of pride I’m talking about is not the arrogant puffed-up kind; it’s just the whole idea of caring-fiercely caring." – Red Aurbach

This past week I flew down to San Diego to escape the rain. It has totally sucked here in Victoria this winter so I felt that to preserve my sanity and to improve my mood I had to spend my rest week down south. I finished the Pacificsport Cycling Centre training camp (minus one day since my sinusitis came back….. 2 MORE weeks on antibiotics) and hauled my flip-flops and swim stuff down to the mecca of triathlon… all but a swimsuit, oops. The week was incredible, not just because I had a ton of fun with a lot of new and different people, but also in the inspiration I got from meeting some of these people. Really focused and motivated people are so inspiring to me and I will recap some of the great moments from the week.

I stayed with Jimena Florit, LUNA mountain bike team member and mountain biker extraordinaire, and her husband John. Anyone who has met Jimena knows that she is the happiest, most genuinely amazingly sweet person you could ever be lucky enough to meet. Add to that she is fiercely competitive and hugely focused and you have one kickass chick. She was my hostess, so she would make me a nice coffee to drink while she went riding for six hours and I stayed home to do important things like catching up with Star magazine. I didn’t even pack a bike because I was very serious about taking a rest, but I did manage to get a couple mountain bike rides in with Jimena and if anyone is wondering… she is back! Staying with her was my first motivating experience but there was more…

Lots of stuff to do when you aren’t training! Lets see… I spoke at the San Diego Tri Club meeting, went to the Endurance Sport awards, watched me kick some butt on CBS with the Team Unlimited crew, met the Tri Geek Kahuna for some coffee and some swimming drag racing, did some radio with Bob Babbit and Paul Huddle and bummed around with Ross for the weekend (he came down for two days to check it out as well). All in all, a very busy week when you add the shopping and odd swim session in there but it was EXACTLY what I needed and I will describe a few of the highlights and how they will stay with me for a long time.

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Looking Forward to the 2004 World Championships!

While I spend the last few days here in Victoria preparing to leave for Hawaii, I can’t help but become very philosophical on WHY we do what we do, and what positive effect our actions and choices have on others. It is hard to stay focussed on "winning" things when the achievement is truly fleeting. I feel that only when you manage to inspire someone else, and they carry on to inspire the next person, that your achievement may have lasting value… Continue reading “Looking Forward to the 2004 World Championships!”