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Impossible to Possible Fundraiser - What I learned
By:  Katie McMahon   (2014/10/16)

A couple of weeks ago, XCOttawa athletes Katie and Andre attended a fundraising event for the Impossible to Possible organization.
'Impossible to Possible' or (I2P for short), for those who are unfamiliar, in brief, is a non-profit organization that hosts high-profile adventures designed to push the physical and mental limits of the expedition team, while delivering Experiential Learning Programs to students around the world. Basically, this volunteer led organization in pretty freaking cool! If you are a youth between the ages of 16-21, take a look at applying for one of these amazing expeditions, or if you are a teacher look at following one of these expeditions with your class for free!

As a volunteer organization, one of the ways funds are raised to support these expeditions is through various events throughout the year. The event that we went to, featured talks from Adam Van Koeverden, Jen Segger and Ray Zahab. As you can imagine, the combined wealth of knowledge from all three of these incredible athletes was overwhelming and we tried our bests to soak it all in. However; for the brevity of this article, I will narrow it down to one thing learned from each speaker.
From left to right: Adam, Jen, Ray
*picture taken by I2P

Adam Van Koeverden:
-Olympic Gold medalist in sprint kayak, World Champion, 3x soon to be 4x Olympian and Olympic Flag bearer.

To say it was an honour to hear this man speak is an understatement. My main take-away from his very interactive talk was the whole concept of being in charge of your own goals.
An analogy Adam liked to use was "You are driving the figurative car towards your dreams. It is your foot on the gas pedal. No one else's". Taking accountability for achieving the goals you set for yourself was a big take away. One example he used for this was all about finding people faster than yourself to train with. He gave the example of flying himself to Australia and tagging along with the Swedish national team guys, getting his butt kicked, but rising to the opportunity this gave him to train with learn from the people beating him in the race season.
I am very fortunate in the fact that I train with my teammates on XCOttawa who also happen to be some of my greatest competitors every day. This reminded me to stay open and learn from them so that I myself can become just as fast as them. As well, I think that the monthly time trials between all the clubs in the area has helped to give an opportunity to race/train against our winter competitors!

*side note: I got to hold his Olympic Silver Medal from London. It was very cool!
Training with these awesome and fast ladies is not only fun, but it challenges me to become a better skier!
Photo by XCZONE.tv

Jen Segger:
-Adventure racer and Ultra runner extraordinaire

One of the top females in the world of Ultra running, Jen had a lot of interesting tidbits of information for endurance athletes. The main subject that jumped out to me was all about making training fun. As endurance athletes, the reality is that we have to put in a ****ton of hours in order to build up our volume. Day in and day out, this can really become tiring not only physically but also mentally. Therefore, one of Jen's secret training weapons is to not necessarily go "training" but go on an adventure. Train with people you don't normally train with, go somewhere you have never been before, explore! If training isn't enjoyable, it's going to be a long season!
We didn't go training, we went on an "Adventure"! Run around Lac Philipe to Lusk Caves and back with awesome friends!
No adventure is complete without some cave exploration! Note the sheer excitement and slight terror on my face.

Ray Zahab:
-Ultra Runner, Founder of I2P, and oh ya, he has run across the Sahara desert amongst other insane things.

If you are from the Ottawa area, you have probably heard of Mr Ray Zahab. If not, google him and I dare you jaw not to drop. After that, if you are still like "I don't get it. Why do people think this guy is so cool?" watch 'Running the Sahara' the movie. All those doubts will be answered.
Having heard Ray talk numerous times, it was refreshing to learn something new and very relevant to cross country ski training. In endurance events, like a 50km ski race for example, refuelling the body (i.e. eating and drinking) becomes very important and can mean the difference between passing that person at the finish line or bonking and crawling across the line on your hands and knees. However; in order to be able to feel comfortable fuelling in race situations, one must eat and drink in training: acclimatization and adaptation. If your body isn't used to taking on food in training, odds are when you try this in a race the results won't be pretty. I find mixing some Eload products in with my water is a great liquid energy source for both training and racing. For a more solid training food, all Cliff Bar products do the trick!
Re-fueling with awesome Eload products! Maybe Andre should have tried taking some Eload to fuel during his workout. That way his body could learn how to use fuel on the go and avoid bonking ;)

All in all, it was an amazing event! I hope I was able to convey and share some of what I learnt with you all.
Interesting Reading. . .
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