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XC Ottawa Athlete Diary: Sheila Kealey
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2005/09/15)


Itís hard to believe that my xc-ski racing season gets underway in about 10 weeks! In November Iíll be going out west for the first races of the NorAm Cup series at Silverstar Mountain-Sovereign Lake (Nov 26-27) and Canmore (Dec 3-4). Other XC Ottawa athletes heading out for some of these early season races are Ed, Craig, Eva, and Wayne. Megan and Karl wonít have to worry about jet lag or altitude, since theyíre already in Canmore, which will be their training base through December.

The Canmore event is a qualifying race for the FIS World Cup races to be held at Silverstar Mountain and Canmore in December. Itís been over a decade since Canada has held a World Cup in cross-country skiing, so our national team is looking forward to racing the Europeans on home turf. As a host country, Canada has additional starting positions, so many athletes (including myself!) are vying for the opportunity to race against some of the top skiers in the world. It will be tough since the sole qualifying race is 10k classic (Iím more of a distance skating specialist) and I wonít likely see any snow before I head out West to race, but Iím up for the challenge and look forward to some great competition. Regardless, the Silverstar week will be a good little vacation and a chance to enjoy some great skiing, with the bonus of having the company of my husband John and son Evan, in laws, and good friends.

To prepare for this early season racing, my summer training has focused on xc-skiing. Now this must sound odd to many of you, since this is what most xc-ski racers do in the summer! But for me, April Ė November have typically centered around triathlons, duathlons, and runnning races. Last year (my first summer with XC Ottawa), swimming, cycling, and running were still the bulk of my summer training, but I did include one team dryland session/wk and started roller skiing in the Fall. This year, Iíve continued the weekly dryland session but started roller skiing in May and have added strength training to my routine.

I still competed in triathlons, but as much as possible tried to incorporate the racing into my ski-centered program. This meant not being entirely sharp or race ready, and lacking some speed and specific training, but I still had a lot of fun, and ended up with four 1st place finishes, one 2nd place, and a 3rd place.

My training volume has been higher than previous summers, but will drop soon to incorporate more speed and specificity so Iíll be race-ready in November. With work and family priorities, Iíve had to be fairly flexible with my training program, which sometimes meant training less than planned (oh well), missing out on some sleep (not good), and squeezing in some creative workouts. I took advantage of easy days (and added some) and enjoyed monthly low-volume recovery weeks that I used to recharge my body and catch up on the rest of my life. Iím a firm believer in rest and recovery!

After Christmas, Iím looking forward to racing the eastern NorAm and Canada Cup races and Nationals. Since I love the longer distances, Iíll also compete in some of the eastern events of the Salomon Marathon Cup series, which includes my favorite event, the Keskinada 50k skate.

Overall, Iím pretty happy with the amount of ski-specific training I did this summer, and canít wait to see how it translates on snow.


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