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

A New City, a New Outlook and a List of What's Hot in Ottawa
By:  Alana Thomas   (2007/09/24)


For the past two years I have lived somewhere between Mississauga and Hardwood (about 140km door to door) in a ‘94 Honda who has come to be called “Old White”. Perhaps I didn’t literally live in Old White, but we did spend an awful lot of time together. I was going to school and working in the city three days a week, and training at Hardwood the rest of the time. It seems crazy, but it was fun for a while, training was exciting, school was interesting and I had my two best ski seasons to date. Then, this spring things changed. I suddenly hit a wall, the commute seemed to double in length, and wherever I was, I felt like I wanted to be in the other place. I had commuter burnout. I needed to find somewhere I could do all these things, within the same city.

Enter Ottawa, what I consider to be the ultimate environment for balancing ski training, school and social happenings.

After two years where the annual record for most consecutive nights spent in one town had been set at training camps and/or nationals, I can proudly say I have spent 3 weeks here in my new one! Now that I’m settled into one place, I have more time and energy to put towards becoming a faster skier, which is excellent, but a bit overwhelming. As planning for winter training camps and racing trips begins, I suddenly feel like I should be in top form right now, miles ahead of where I actually am. I know that I am not going to wake up in that kind of shape tomorrow, or even the next day, without a lot of hard work. The task at hand feels daunting, almost impossible, when I look at it like that. I needed another approach.

“Make a small improvement every day”

I’m not sure where I first heard it from but I am sure that it meant something to me, I liked it. Luckily, I remembered it one afternoon where I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, so I wrote it down on a piece of paper and stuck it to my wall. And now that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing things one day at a time and I’m trying to make each one better than the one before. To me, the best part of this is that its meaning stretches so much further than its application to ski racing. One workout at a time, one lecture at a time, one stretch at a time, one assignment at a time, simple as that.

There are so many things that are new and exciting to me here, I thought I would make a list of some of the best to share.

Things I’m loving in Ottawa:

  1. Training with XC Ottawa
  2. Lindsay and my macroeconomics prof, who looks just like Craig
  3. The view of parliament while riding across the old bridge back into Ottawa after an evening road ride
  4. Cruising around town on my blue and gold 80’s Bianchi
  5. Doing anything on the bike paths along the canal
  6. Sleeping in the same bed every night of the week
  7. All the active people walking/running/biking/rollerblading about the city
  8. The pull-up bar at the Carleton gym (it’s one of those special ones that seems to make you able to do a few extra, even though it appears to be a normal bar)
  9. The clean, fresh feel of the city
  10. Making smoothies with the “Miracle Mixer” my mom got for me, I think it is the only product ever to have “miracle” in its name and not be a total scam.
  11. Actually having to worry that Old White might be getting lonely instead of worrying that Old White might be getting tired!
Interesting Reading. . .
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