I’m super tired already and it is only Monday. This week is also shaping up to be *super fun* because it is report cards time + I’m switching schools this week. Fun! This past weekend I was at OFSAA XC (Ontario Champs for high school students). It has been quite some time since I’ve been to OFSAA XC. I’ve been to OFSAA track every single year since I’ve started teaching, but XC not so much. I helped run OFSAA in 2011 when Ottawa hosted the event, but other than that – I’ve never been! Some years, I wasn’t able to coach XC for various reasons, but for the last two years I’ve been able to coach. Last year, we had a single athlete qualify and she went with her parents so no teacher was needed. This year, even though I hold more of an “assistant coach” role, I took a team of Senior Girls to the event.
We were up bright at early to catch the bus at 6:45am on Friday to get on our way to Collingwood, Ontario. Ottawa travels as a city – all four boards have the option to let the National Capital Association book travel on our behalf. It saves us lots of time and also helps with supervision duties. The OFSAA bus is a perfect place for students to make new friends. We made great time on the road and was at the OFSAA site just after 2pm. The student-athletes ran the course and got their OFSAA sweaters. Then we checked into our sweet accommodations at Blue Mountain. We were pretty clear with the students that these “super nice” accommodations would probably never happen again as normally we tend to frequent university/college dorms. But, Blue Mountain was all that was available. We stayed on the resort in 1 bedroom suites. The coaches are 2 to a room, and my coaching friend said I could have the king sized bed, while she took the pull out coach. I think I owe her a giant Starbucks soon. We didn’t actually know where on site we were staying – all we were told was the “Blue Mountain Resort”. There are numerous hotels on site, so we didn’t know that the rooms had full mini-kitchens in each room. The girls on my team decided to make their own dinner that night – simple pasta and sauce. They did invite me up, but honestly – I wanted a burger. I went to a small burger restaurant and had an organic beef burger. It was pretty tasty! I also was able to watch the news and not a child’s program.
We were up super early the next day to catch our shuttles to the course. The weather was sunny with an occasional burst of hail-rain. The winds were moderate and the temperature was just right for racing. We had hours to wait before our senior girls race, so the girls hung out and watched some races. I watched all the races with a few other coaches. We ended up getting into a routine: with 10 minutes to go, we ran to the top of this hill where we would watch the runners run the first loop. Then, when they passed we would book it down a steep hill to catch them before they went “into the woods”. After that, it was next to impossible to watch them again until they came back to finish. We did manage to find the “mud pit” where apparently runners were going down into the mud all the time. We definitely did a bit of running that day!
When the Jr Boys ran, I stuck around with the team while they warmed up. At 10 minutes to go, they were in their corral and we booked it up once again to the big hill. We saw them run – cheered them on and took some pictures. I had not been to the “mud pit” zone yet, but planned to go into the woods for the Sr Girls as I knew our alternate and a few other people were going to cheer at the finish. I had my phone ready to take pictures and everything. The mud in this section was no joke. My friend lost her shoe at one point, and my shoes were completed covered in mud. The point that we were at was the bottom of a fairly steep hill that went straight into a pile of mud.
We had to wait a bit for the first few girls to come by. One of the top Sr Girls is on my competitive track team and was in the running to win the race. We saw another girl go by first, which was unusual. A few seconds later we saw our Ottawa runner coming down the hill. But something wasn’t right. She was wobbling and she looked awful. I turned to one of my coaching friends and said “she doesn’t look good”. Then as I turned my head back towards the hill, I heard cries coming from the bottom of the hill. The girl had completely collapsed to the ground. There were three Ottawa coaches right there and we ran over. One of the coaches is the wife of the girl’s competitive coach and she went to get him. Luckily, there was also a doctor right there (a random spectator?) and she helped us out. The next 15 minutes or so was pretty intense while we waited for the medics to arrive.