What do you stand for?

Looking at the heaps of snow outside and the lingering sub-zero temperatures, winter has arrived.  And so has the racing season, and Team Canada is back in Calgary from the Fall World Cup Circuit.  We are now three weeks away from the Canadian Olympic Trials - the competition where the team racing at Sochi Russia will be selected!

A panorama of the Speed Skating Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah at the ISU Essent World Cup #2 in November.

With an event like this so close ahead, it is so easy to get pulled away from the actual moment, the now.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the future or in the past, but it is so important to embrace the moment.  As an athlete, I’m looking at my daily approach, and on a personal level, I’m focusing on how I want to show up every day.  What do I want to stand for?  Why am I doing what I am doing?  When you are chasing a goal, it always goes back what your purpose is, and what is meaningful to you.  That fuels your fire and motivation to aspire towards your best.

So during this Christmas season when it approaches the crunch time, make sure you are in the moment, and remember all the small things you are grateful for.  Whether you are marching into Olympic Trials or marching into the office, or a presentation, take a step back and contemplate how you want to approach your daily efforts.  Be positive, encourage others, be grateful for the people and health in your life, be in the moment.  This will allow you to cultivate the most energy and allow you to be the best you can be.

That’s my plan anyways leading up to Olympic Trials, and I strongly believe that the athlete’s approach to races and training is parallel to life outside of sport.  Decide who you want to be every day, and embrace the moment.

ImageLauren McGuire pushing through the pain in her 3000m at the World Cup in Calgary, her debut on the international level. (Photo credit: Arno Hoogveld Daydream Images.)


Some words for thought for the Team at Intact!  Thank you for being part of our team and for your continual support!

Team Canada will be training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary through Christmas in preparation for the Olympic Trials beginning December 27 to January 3, so come on out and cheer on the very best in Canada, and see the athletes who will be competing at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games this coming February!

Thanks Intact for being part of my journey as well as Team Canada, now let's go kick some butt!

Lauren McGuire




Intact Essent ISU World Cup Calgary

Zipping off my jacket, I take a deep breath and skate over to the start line.  The announcer calls out to the crowd: "And from Canada on the inner lane, we have Lauren McGuire!"  That feeling for me, was one of the most memorable moments at the Intact Essent World Cup in Calgary last weekend.  It was my debut on the World Cup circuit, and it is such an honor to have the opportunity to represent our amazing country.

I am Lauren McGuire, native to Ottawa, I moved out to Calgary in the summer of 2007 to train at the Olympic Oval and chase my Olympic dream.  This fall, I reached an enormous milestone in my athletic career qualifying a spot to compete at the World Cup. The Canadian World Cup team this fall has five rookies on the team, and I am one of them!  The World Cup in Calgary was a great experience for us to learn the ropes and step up and race amongst the best in the world. 

At the press conference, we had former team member and four-time Olympic medalist Kristina Groves help introduce our team, and all five of us rookies were standing at the back of the group of athletes.  As I was standing there, looking in front of me at the other members of our Canadian World Cup team - including a handful of Olympic medalists, World Champions, and our very finest in Canada - something hit me.  I was standing behind a couple rows of titans, behind a couple rows of athletes who have pushed the limits and who have found the courage to find their best, and are now the top speed skaters in the world.  I gazed over our team, and realized that I am part of a team that is aspiring for excellence, in everything we do and in everything that we are.  We are all searching for our highest potential and embarking on a journey to learn and grow as a person and athlete.  And I am honored to say that I am part of a team that is inspiring excellence amongst ourselves and amongst others.  Whatever your journey in life may be, go for it!  And surround yourself with supportive and empowering people!

So thank you Intact for being part of our journey for excellence, and keep cheering us on during the following World Cups leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia this February!


Standing behind a row of titans, proud to be part of this amazing World Cup team inspiring excellence amongst ourselves and among others.  Go Canada!

Lauren McGuire

Photo credit: Bob Blondin



Make Moments Matter!

I was surprised that I had never heard about this disease before.  It was the summer of 2010, when my dad slowly started showing symptoms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  It is a degenerative neurological illness that deteriorates the motor neurons, ultimately leading to complete paralysis.  It was a shock to our family to receive the news of the diagnosis a couple years later as the ALS progressed.  This spring we are coming together for the ALS WALK in Ottawa to raise awareness neurological disease. Popa Joe enjoying the sun at the Big Rideau Lake!

"Make Moments Matter" is the slogan for the walk this year.  And interestingly enough, this hits home so much further than you'd initially think.  The small daily things I took for granted were enormously amplified going on this journey with my dad as he gradually lost the ability to do the simple things like speaking, walking, and lifting an arm.  I became acutely aware of, and forever in tune with a constant reminder of gratitude towards being able to pursue my goals, and to take the joys from the small things in my daily grind.

I am a long track speed skater on the Canadian National Development team aspiring to be one of the best world class athletes in the world, and place my two feet in Sochi Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in February.  I have overcome so many obstacles within myself, to be able to grow as a person and an athlete to be where I am today.  So much of that journey of cultivating my self-awareness as a person, goes back to my father (Popa Joe), and back to what he taught me growing up, as well as what he continually teaches me today as he fights against ALS.

"I have found so much growth from my realization of simply being grateful to BE ABLE to get up in the morning and pursue what is important to me."

I am grateful to have the opportunity to aspire to my full potential.  Extracting a pure joy from the healthy and active lifestyle I've committed to as a high performance athlete, is one of the most fulfilling things.  Likewise, I have found so much growth from my realization of simply being grateful to BE ABLE to get up in the morning and pursue what is important to me.  To challenge myself to run faster, be stronger, bike harder - I have essentially embodied the qualities and values that my Dad has taught me as a person into my daily approach to training, school, work, family and friends.  I've taken what has happened to our family as an initiative for me to reach out to others.

This journey of ALS and the degeneration of mobility that my dad has endured, allowed me to come to many realizations.  Firstly, I have learned to set aside all excuses, limits and boundaries I had placed on myself.  My father has so many physical boundaries he did not place on himself, and cannot remove- so for my dad - I make sure I don't place any form of limitation upon myself.  This has allowed me to be 'real' about what I need to change about myself for speed skating, whether it be physically, mentally, or technically.  It's takes a lot of courage to be 'real' about yourself, and face your weaknesses; and to ultimately develop the perspective you need to see about what you need to change about yourself.

Lauren McGuire speed skating at the Calgary Olympic Oval where she trains with the National Team.

Secondly, I have taken the opportunity.  It’s all about the now and making this moment matter.  I have taken the initiative to actively be the person I want to become.  I am no longer wishing, or would-having or should-having about things I could have done.  In contrast I have decided to take the initiative on the now.  Embodying the person you want to become, will allow you to continuously and slowing-but-surely guarantee that desired outcome.  Whoever that ideal person of yourself may be, you must be it in its entirety: talk, feel, think, act, eat, and interact like the person you want to become.

Something so empowering I have learned from the unspeakably difficult circumstances ALS has brought to our family is to cast away the maybes, and the ‘another day’.  Make moments matter.  Make your thoughts matter and influence you in a positive manner.  I shifted gears from wanting to be, wishing to be, continually doubting myself - to a gear where I am doing, acting, believing.  Shift into actively being.  Be the person you want to become.

The ALS Walk in Ottawa is this Saturday Jun 15, 2013 10:00 AM, and I encourage you to spread the awareness of ALS by participating in the walk, or sharing this link on your social media.  The greatest compliment to me would be your effort to spread the word about ALS, and support the case to find a cure and treatment.

Popa Joe and his youngest of four daughters, moi!