Okay, so coolest thing ever went down a month or so ago, and I just haven't had time to write it all up. Let's just say....this is.the.coolest.thing.ever!!
Wasatch Running and Intermountain Sports Medicine Specialty Group have kind of partnered up together to serve the running community along the Wasatch front. There are several Intermountain Sports Medicine Specialty clinics available in various locations, just click to find one near you.
At many of those locations is a Running Lab. Not just a treadmill in an exam room, but an actual Running LAB. I was lucky enough to have the whole lab experience myself.
First of all, it is a team effort. I called the number, the friendly girl scheduled my time after coordinating with three other offices, gave me some simple instructions of what to wear, how much time to plan on and how to download and fill out a questionnaire to bring with me.
The day came, I donned my spandex, grabbed my waterbottle, laced up my shoes and headed for the lab in Riverton. After I checked in at the front desk, they asked my t-shirt size and then handed me a prepared swag bag. I know right?!?! I haven't even run yet and I'm getting swag!
For the first 30 minutes or so, I met with Dr David Brinton, an orthopedic sports medicine physician. We talked about my running history, past injuries, current training habits, races on the agenda etc. We covered it all. Towards the end of our talking time, he had me get on the treadmill and start a simple walking warm up for my muscles in prep for the next piece.
Next up was the Physical Therapist. Pam is the head of the physical therapy department at that hospital so I felt like I was in great hands. To add the icing to the cake, she actually knows what CRPS is! I mean, HELLO! - Rarely does anyone ever know what the hell I am talking about when I bring it up, but not only did she know the term, she knew what it means for me as a patient. She did an overall body assessment. Symmetry, strength, flexibility..... I sort of felt like a performing monkey, but hey, it was fantastic. After putting me through her series of games, she showed me where I was strong, where I was weak, and the areas in my body that need to be functioning better and more efficiently to help me be a better runner. As I got ready to work with the next person, she printed off a packet of exercises and stretches (with pictures) including instructions on how often to perform the repetitions. LOVE HER!!
The next person on the team is the exercise physiologist Nate. Dude is straight up STELLAR! He got me on the treadmill, hooked up to a heart rate monitor, water bottle and sweat towel at the ready and started again with a warm up. Over the course of the next 20- 30 minutes, I would run at an ever increasingly speed, while Nate occasionally pricked my ear lobe to draw blood checking my lactic acid. I also would verbally tell him how I was feeling as he watched the heart rate monitor and the pace on the treadmill. Keep in mind, while all this was going on, he was video taping me running. At all angles. The camera was on a tripod that he just moved from angle to angle. In the background, Dr Brinton and Pam were watching as well as offering a comment or observation on occasion.
After we reached the max that he wanted, I was able to slow the treadmill, cool down and towel off. We talked about some preliminary things that could be seen right off the bat, and then set an appointment for the following week. This would give Nate time to "crunch" all the numbers and put together all the data. He would then review everything with me.
I left so stoked! I felt like the team that had worked with me were stars of the field! They were expert in their consultations, teaching and answering all the questions that I had. I was particularly excited to start the exercises that she gave me.
The following week, Nate and I met again at the clinic. He pulled out his laptop and brought me up running on the treadmill (gross) and put my body into a graph chart. He showed me at each frame of my gait cycle where each part of my body was and where it should be to allow maximum efficiency. He showed me where I was losing some effort with my upper body, where I could adjust my foot strike position slightly, and how strengthening my core with my PT exercises would pull it all together.
(those projected numbers? Based on my current training. Think what I can do after I start implementing their customized tools)
I was ecstatic to know that I wasn't a full-on mess of a runner. I have a nice gait, nice strike, and fairly symmetric body line. BUT, there are some tweaks and some major strengthening I can do to make myself better and faster.
We talked a bit about nutrition. I had just done the Ogden Marathon, so I whined about the "bonking" at mile 18. He was nice enough to gently inform me that basically anything after 18 is nutrition. Bonking was due to my lack of it. So we discussed some ideas to help me in that area since I despise GU's, can barely stomach shot bloks or chomps and sports beans isn't enough. I think I am going to have to figure out a way to start packing a PB&J!
He has a list of drills for me to start and he stressed that for me, I no longer need to train based on heart rate so much anymore. I can check it once in awhile, but now, he would rather I train based on pace. That was the clincher for me. I've been debating on whether or not to invest in a Garmin but his advice was the final seal of the deal. Because Pam wants time for me to work on the exercises she gave me, I will meet with him again to go over the drills. With the busy week last week, and the next week no easier, it might be another week before I get back to Nate. But by then, I will be stronger (yes those exercises work since they make me sore) and I'll be ready to incorporate more into my training.
As I left the second time, I felt like I had been give a huge gift! The time spent with me from three highly trained professionals is something I never thought I would get to do. I always felt like I was floundering around, listening to advice from all different sources, googling, reading and trying to figure out something that I thought would work for me. Now I have some concrete tools. Some REAL instructions designed just for me! All that I have learned from them in the short 2 hours I have spent, is incredible. I am more than grateful for the opportunity to participate in their Running Lab experience. I have what I need to be a better runner myself and to help others in the game as well.
Best part? Since we are partnering with them through Wasatch Running, I can refer runners to their facility and actually have the experience to back it up. I can let someone know exactly what they are in for, how it can help them and what they can expect for their experience. It's interesting as I work with different runners with their shoes, conversations always include training and I have been able to identify rather quickly those customers/runners who would love this. But most importantly, it can help any runner at any level be better. From a beginner, to a life long marathoner, the Running Lab has something to offer by way of knowledge and improvement.
Side note? The cost to do a Lab analysis at the Riverton or Avenues location is just $125.00. A steal people! A freakin steal!!! Even better? Come see me at Wasatch, get a referral card from me and you get 15% off of that! Yes? Pretty dang good eh? Dang good deal.
I have to give one more huge shout out to Dr Brinton (Dave), Nate and Pam. They are straight up OUTSTANDING! Thanks guys for the knowledge, advice, time and most importantly the pleasure of meeting you, working with you and the ability to give a solid referral knowing that anyone I send there will get the same stellar treatment!
And lookie at Momma's new prizey!!
I hope I can figure out how to set it up. Anyone wanna offer a tutor session?