Two items on the menu tonight: 1) My trip out to Victoria and 2) the 2010 CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) XC Championships.
1) Victoria - As of my last post, Kev and I were on our way to Victoria to attend a middle distance symposium hosted by Athletics Canada and the National Athletics Centre. As we were paying our own way out there, we were a little worried about value for money, however, it ended up being quite worthwhile. The symposium was about injury prevention and involved a morning session of "movement preparation" and an afternoon session learning a Functional Movement Screen. The Movement Prep consisted of a series of movements and techniques that an athlete would do before a workout to ensure that the body is ready to work hard. It involved stretches and drills to improve mobility and stability, especially in the core region (the area from shoulders to hips. Core stability is essential for efficiency, power generation, and decreasing injury potential. It just so happens that this is exactly what I have to work on to fix my knee, so it came at just the right time.
In the afternoon we learnt how to do a Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This is a sort of test that allows coaches, trainers. physios etc to determine how where weaknesses and imbalances may be present in an athlete. It consists of 7 fundamental movements that can reflect the underlying potential for injury in athletes from almost any sport. As the athlete performs each movement the assessor looks for certain criteria that indicate if the athlete is able to do the movement properly or even at all. The movement is scored on a scale of 0-3, with 0 being unable to do it at all, and 3 being a flawless execution. I somehow ended up being volunteered to be the test dummy for the symposium, so I went through the screen while the other participants learnt how to assess properly and pointed out my flaws in the process. I ended up with a score of 2 for each movement, for a total of 14 out of 21 possible points. As it turns out, 14 puts me at a fairly high risk of injury. I guess I could have told them that having just been carrying an injury for the past 3 weeks!
What the FMS does for us though, is allow Kevin to assess me on a regular basis to see what areas I need to work on. Having learnt the Movement Prep in the morning, as well as corrective techniques shown to us in the afternoon session, we have a fairly good idea of how to progess from here.
The next day involved an outline of the middle distance program for the next year. It pretty much involves everyone going down to Pheonix Arizona for the winter and spring before racing in Europe in the summer. I'll explain more about it on another post.
One of the best parts about the trip, however, was getting to know the other runners who were there. On the men's side of things, there was quite a good showing from some of the best middle distance runners in Canada. I was mixing in with Commonwealth medalists and Olympians, and seeing how they were living and training as well as other up-and-comers like myself and saw how they were making plans for their futures in running. A great group of guys all-round and hopefully training partners and team-mates in days to come.
2) 2010 CIS X-Country Championships - I'm currently in a swanky hotel in Sherbrooke, Quebec, just over 16 hours out from running my first steps in anger in almost 4 weeks. With much help, I have rehabbed this knee fairly successfully and believe that I will be able to put in a decent effort in tomorrow. While I won't be at my best, I think I will certainly be able to help the team out.
We checked out the course today and it's going to be a doozy to say the least....its a golf course, but to say its hilly and muddy would be an understatement. It may be the most difficult XC course I have seen. Bring it on baby! .....stay close to your computer for race results. If you would like to view some pre-race prognostications, check out slandersandspeculations.blogspot.com/.
Anyway, that's all for now folks. Off to bed....big day tomorrow!
Run Happy. Be Easy.