Start List/Liste de Départ: Cross Country Season!

Yeah, it’s cross country season, baby. My favourite time of year. Of course, it’s not cross country season in Canada or the USA: just everywhere else in the world. It’s hard to say there is a direct connection, but as long as we continue to get our buts kicked in distances 5k+ at the international level, one might want to look at our obsession with indoor track as a cause. Europeans and Africans get a solid winter of base-training, mud-running, and true distance events, while we get blister- and bursitis-inducing turns around and around an indoor track. We make do with what we have, I know. But it’s possible to have a true distance build-up in Canada, even in eastern Canada. If more people made the jump, I wonder where we’d be…

Actually, Canada did all right against NACAC competition at the IAAF Area XC Championships this weekend. The junior teams (men and women) both won, while the senior teams were both second. Maybe the senior men would have fared better, but both Derek Snider and Alex Genest were down with the flu, so they were well off their usual standard.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, The National in England, and the Ethiopian trials went down. Now that is some real cross country!

Keeping it real in downtown TO, G.I. Jane dropped a century, and not a mention of the indoor track.

Another option for winter endurance training is of course, nordic skiing. Dylan Wykes thought about it. Meanwhile, in Halifax, the Nordic session of the Canada Winter Games is underway this week. Special shout-out to Jennie Mae Roy, representing Nova Scotia, and who is also a member of the Concordia Stingers XC (running) team.

Thanks to Alex de Trimes for suggesting a new site for us to add to the Start List. From Mzungo.org we’ve gotten a few good stories. Here’s one about age-group athletes doping. My only thought is: if you are doping at that level, you take your fun a little too seriously, bro.

Speaking of doping, here’s a cycling story. It’s not about doping, but there is a “spike” involved. (It’s right at the end and it’s kind of gross. You have been warned!)

Moving from cycling to triathlon, the long running and well established Muskoka 70.3 may be on its last legs. (Note: Muskoka is a Half Ironman only. My apologies to those in the know.)

The stride rate/length debate continues. I can hardly keep up. Maybe I should increase my cadence? Or is that my stride length?

A couple more science bits. Sweat Science comments on a pretty in depth review of a Blaise Dubois seminar. Follow the links, it’s a good read. And Blaise is out of Quebec: local content!

Another debate that will likely never be completely resolved is the one surrounding carbo-loading. It seems that a recent study questions the idea that it’s the actual carbs that make you go, but rather, that an abundance of carbs sends the signal to your brain that it is ok to go. A fine distinction, to be sure.

We’ll end today with a very good question. Should you run when you are sick? Lauren Fleshman says: it depends.