Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Surf League (Yes I was once a National Champion at Something) + Beach Running

Some of you may not know but not only have I competed in Track and Field but I also was once the National Champion in Beach Flags. YEP I WAS A NATIONAL CHAMPION. Back in 2005 in Nova Scotia I was the National Beach Flag Champion, I even beat out the only other female at that time to ever win it in history...my teammate Katie Campbell! I was also the runner up at Grand Beach in 2007 (I may have the years wrong I'll double check later). Anyway for those of you who don't know what beach flags is or Surf League I will tell you!

NSLS, The Nova Scotia Lifesaving Society started what is called the Surf League in Canada. Surf league is a lifeguard competition operated by NSLS. Started in 2000, it is Canada's first lifesaving competition series. It is pretty much the same as what goes on in the Australian professional lifesaving circuit called the Nutri-Grain Surf League. It's huge over there, and there is also a World Competition event.

Basically Lifeguards compete on the sand and in the water in a multitude of events that include rescues, paddling, swimming, distance running and my premier event: BEACH FLAGS as well as sprinting relays (which I was also a member of a national winning team on both of my appearances) :)

Now Beach flags is my favorite event and resulted in my dream coming true of being a National Champion of a sprinting event....SOOOO what if it wasn't on the track :P

Now what is Beach Flags you ask. Well Basically the athletes are divided into different groups and approximately 20m away there are hoses(flags) put into the ground. However there is one less flag than there is a runner in the heat. So every heat someone gets eliminated. Athletes lay face down in the sand with their heals together, hands are crossed, the official says "heads down" at which point all athletes lower their chins on their hangs, the official blows a whistle, and at this point the athlete must react by getting up as fast as they can and sprinting to get a flag. The trick is that you don't have to get the flag directly in front of you and you can go for any flag...therefore athletes dive into the sand to reach the flag first. It can be visious and very crowd entertaining (especially when athletes miss the flags or cant find them). When the heats get small enough they are combined...and by process of elimination it comes down to two athletes and 1 flag. :) SOOOOO MUCH FUN!

In fact this event was so much fun to me when I coach youth i always like to include it for fun at the end of season training just to add some spice into the workouts and get some extra fun time for the athletes. They always seem to love it!

Check out some of my pictures from Nationals in Winnipeg!


Phewf I got a flag!

Me, diving in the Sand for the flag!

Can you tell who the sprinter is ahahhahaah GOOOO ME!

Ok so if it's just you or you and your client you obviously can't do beach flags. However, for summer fun workouts I suggest beach running. It is tough so plan for a few days recovery after. Especially if you are doing it in your bare feet. The reason is that sand is an unsteady surface, it forces you to use your intrinsic muslces and stabalizers that don't normally get used, so you will be working twice as hard, and usually means you will be twice as sore...especally in your feet. Its fun though. You can either do sprints (start short and do walk back recovery or do it in a there and back relay i.e shuttle relay), also start with shorter distances for the first few times and then gradually increase your sprinting distance the next time you head out. Or you can go for a nice long run. If you stay closer to the water the sand is more packed and not as loose so it makes for easier running, the higher up on the beach you get the more difficult it is. Remember try not to do too much too soon so gradually increase your speed and distance if you are going to go for a long run.

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