I had been in contact previously with Carmen Jackinsky, a racewalk coach and shoe pioneer (Re/shod walking shoes; more on these in Part 3!) from distant Oregon. She had been kind enough to review a couple of videos I had done of my "technique", give me some pointers and exercises, encouraged me to get a muscle imbalance assessment from a Physiotherapist and to check out a friend of hers who is a walk coach in London, Ontario (fairly close to here). Interesting how one contact leads to another...and another!
First, I scoured the internet and found a PT clinic relatively close by that specialises in athletes and sports medicine and even hosts races! I went for an assessment and several followup appointments in February to learn strengthening exercises with Steve Georges at Loaring PT. Helped me immensely! Now that I am through this race season I am going back for some followup core, posture and balance work. We did another assessment last week and found improvement in almost all areas!
Next, I searched Carmen's friend on the internet and found out that she was going to be running an all-day racewalk clinic the very next weekend about an hour-and-a-half away! Needless to say, I was so there. Enter Sherry Watts into my life; she is now my coach! We interact over the 'net, through videos and discussion and she sets up training schedules for me. I can't begin to tell you how great this has been!!!! Looking forward to next year under her watchful eye.
This is also the year that I discovered Walkers and Runners Around the County of Essex (WRACE). Sherry actually mentioned them to me. They are a local club that sponsers twelve races throughout the year, ALL with walking divisions, ALL almost in my backyard! How could they have been there all along without my really knowing what they were all about???? I participated in three of their races this year and will enter as many as I can in 2013. This introduced me to the 5K distance, which I discovered I like!
And then there is my "walking family' - the wonderful people at the Walking Site Forum who have been my sounding board for a lot longer than just this year. A more supportive, friendly, caring group of internet friends you could not hope to find. They were with me every step of the way in 2012, and hopefully will be for many years to come.
Next up - Part 3: The Gear!