Today started off on a new shoe when I neglected to put on my famous gray Skechers that have traveled to Lennox Head, Sydney and now Canberra providing the latest fashion and comfort along the way. After rolling out of bed at 7:42 am with only 13 minutes to get to breakfast, I decided it was time for a change so I threw on my Nike tennis shoes for our packed day of lectures and tours. Although this switch in daily attire caused quite a large amount of distress within the group, my polka dotted Nikes got along with my feet fabulously! It was a long and cold first night in Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport, as most were curled up with the extra blankets and heaters found in their rooms, Maura and I froze. We didn’t open the cupboard with the blankets for fear of spiders (Maura’s favorite), so I slept next to the heater that provided less heat than a cube of ice and Maura froze on the top bunk. Better luck tonight. Our dorm style living really brings back memories of freshman year in college, with two people in each room sharing a bunk bed. The warm weather here is on point, with a high today of -5 C (23 F), however we don’t have to do much walking outside here as in Lennox and Sydney so we might survive… might. We always have something exciting to look forward to here… like food. We are well fed in the dining hall, and although it is all you can eat buffet Lisa is a little salty they don’t put salt on a lot of the food, no pun intended. You can spot her around AIS in her purple quarter zip with a salt packet at any given moment. Zack ventured out to really immerse himself in the Aussie culture and tried spaghetti for breakfast. He said it tasted like spaghettios, extra long spaghettios, that is. It is awesome getting to eat in the same hall as all the athletes and trying to figure out what sports each of them play.
After breakfast and catching up on the news (which by the way is a lot about what’s going on in America), the AT students and Leah (the lone sports management student) headed over to the AIS Recovery Centre where Stewart, one of three recovery physiologists at the Institute, gave us a tour. Stewart was knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. He shared their philosophy on recovery and resources available for all Australian athletes training here. The foundation of their recovery process is nutrition and sleep, and everything else is built upon this. Stretching, foam rollers, Gatorade slushies, massage chairs with compression boots, compression leggings and hydrotherapy pools are just some of the unique things we got to experience. One of the unique resources was a float tank with a high salt content that allows athletes to float in the water while relaxing. They even have a tendency to fall asleep in the water, and it’s safe since there is no way to sink in the sensory deprivation float tank. The cold pool was 59 F, the warm river was 81 F and the hot pool was 100 F. As a group we tested out the hydrotherapy pools for ourselves beginning with the warm river, then 5 minutes in the cold pool, 5 minutes in the hot tub and 5 more minutes in the cold pool. It was a shock to some at first, but after the initial plunge we realized we would survive yet another moment in Aussie land. The best bet was to jump in the cold pool after everyone was already in, so I did. This insures the maximum amount of splash received by my classmates (Maura’s hair needed the help, anyways). It was a tight squeeze, as Maura’s shoulders took up so much room in the cold pool that people were forced to move to the second cold pool. Afterwards we tested out the massage chairs and compression boots. That was my first time actually wearing compression boots and they felt great during and afterwards (the massage during wasn’t too bad either)! Maura really enjoyed chugging the chocolate milk before getting into the hydrotherapy pools, she said it was a do again.
AT students, Leah and Lisa at the Recovery Centre (picture by Linda)
AT students testing out the waters of the warm river (81 degrees F) and then cold pool (59 degrees F) (picture by Linda)
Hot pool (foreground) and warm river (background) (picture by Linda)
Later in the morning sports management had a lecture with Mathew Corby, the camp manager at AIS since 2003. He discussed his background in sports administration and his role at the institute with managing camps and groups of people who come to stay at the AIS. Everyone found it informative and he even talked about opportunities for internships at this great facility.
Sports management students attentively listening to Mathew speak (picture by Linda)
After lunch the AT students had a lecture from Lauren Dixon, a sports physiotherapist at AIS who works mainly with the Australian men’s U18 football (soccer) team. She talked about the benefits of injury prevention including improved performance and cost reduction. She was able to show us the types of tape they use for “strapping” the athletes, which are very different from what we use in the states. We showed her a roll of coach tape and she had never seen one before! It was great getting to learn a lot from her while sharing our perspectives as well.
Both sports management and AT had a tour of the physiology lab from Nicole, an exercise physiologist on site. We saw all the equipment in the lab including a treadmill two times the width and length of a normal treadmill, cycling bike, DEXA scanner, 3D body scanner and biochemistry lab. We had a very packed day and have an early morning tomorrow as we leave to tour Canberra at 9am after a 7:30am breakfast time! Thankful to have shared these past 17 days with such a great group of people, and looking forward to the next week. Trevor aka Dad has displayed his hidden talents for taking care of the crew and we are in the process of finding him a lifelong mate on one of the online sites the group has chosen. Bryan has been the most impressive by far as he skillfully picks out a new footy teams to play in each city we stay in, usually ranging between U8-U10. He hasn’t lost yet! Also thank you to Linda for the great pictures!
Outer view of High Performance Centre (Pic link broken)
Maura and I before tour of physiology lab (note the gray skechers) (Pic link broken)
P.S. Hi to the fam and Grandma! Let’s go Cavs, the athletes here are cheering for Dellavedova!
P.P.S. Despite everyones’ differing views on who they want to win the finals, we are all collectively praying for LeBron’s hairline…and also for a future Steph Curry/ Skechers partnership as I am in the market for some new basketball shoes and will not settle for anything less than the best.