.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

A New Perspective
By:  Megan McTavish   (2013/12/11)


This past weekend marked the first NorAm races of the season. Although it has been a few years since I have raced in Silver Star, this is the first year since high school that I don’t have any racing plans at all! Instead Karl and I have another “big event” to look forward to/anticipate/get nervous for around the same time as the Olympic Trials races in Canmore…the arrival of our first baby.

Instead of following a training program and thinking about which races I want to get ready for, I have been slowly getting bigger and slower and growing a little person that is squirming around inside me as I write this. Quite a strange phenomenon! Personally I wanted to make sure that I could stay involved with the great people on my ski team this training season and decided that the perfect way of doing this was to help John with the coaching where I could. 

Although I do not consider myself a coach and I don’t have any certification, I have been ski racing for a long time. I have also trained and raced for many years while either working or going to school, which is the case for most of the skiers in XC Ottawa. John makes all the training plans and is the "big boss", but I have enjoyed spending time at workouts watching and analyzing technique with him as well as just spending more time doling out advice to people (whether they want it or not!). It is fun to watch everyone get more and more fit, improve their skiing skills and get excited for that first race of the year. It has been very satisfying trying help people reach their goals and their full skiing potential. I will definitely feel excited when my teammates have great races and frustrated when things don’t go their way. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do out there. Only a week and a half until the first official XC Ottawa trip of the season – the FIS races in Craftsbury VT.

On top of the satisfaction that comes from being involved with a great team, and trying to help people ski fast, I believe that staying fit with skiing, running, rollerskiing, ski walking etc. has been really good for me. So far everything has gone very smoothly and I have generally been feeling great. The main thing I have learned is to listen to myself in terms of fatigue and to not get carried away trying to go faster than is comfortable or longer than feels good. Usually, if I messed up one day and did too much, I could tell and then adjusted the next day to make sure I got some rest. My rough plan, so to speak, has been to get out and “exercise” in some manner most days (out of habit, I still take Mondays off). I go to the team workouts, but go my own pace and take breaks when I need to. I also try to get the most out of the social atmosphere that comes with being on a team. I haven’t tried to do any “intensity” or “racing” because, although some people seem to do this, I just don’t think it would be fun. My personal "rules" (based on what I could figure made sense from speaking with my doctor and reading a variety of articles about pregnancy and exercise)  were: 1 - make sure your doctor is ok with your exercise plan, 2 - keep the intensity easy (generally zone 1 or below -the speed varied day to day, sometimes it was a run, sometimes a walk), 3 - don't get too hot, 4 - don't get dehydrated or low in blood sugar, 5 - don't do anything that you might classify as "extreme".

One more month (give or take) to go, then I expect a whole new adventure to begin!

Good luck this winter on the racing trails. I hope to be cheering for everyone at the sidelines with our new “little friend”!


Rollerskiing near Zach Caldwell's house in Vermont at the end of August.


Beauty ski walk/run with the team in late September.


Run/hike at Cypress in Vancouver at Thanksgiving with XC Ottawa Alumnus Tom McCarthy and Karl (well behind actually, they had to keep turning around for me).


Ski walk in October, posing with Justin at the start before he and Karl took off.


First skiing in early November!


Team training camp at Montmorency - November 21-24.


And snow at home at the end of November.

Interesting Reading. . .
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