Several weeks ago I received this note via Facebook Messenger:
Hey MaryAnn, I have a question/offer for you. A while back I won 3 free sessions on an AlterG treadmill. I have been following the journey of your stress fracture healing and I want to give you the sessions.
This was from a member of Springfield Moms RUN This Town, someone I knew but not super well. (You can see why I still claim membership in that group, even though I moved from Springfield. They're a special bunch of ladies. Although I look forward to getting to know my local chapter too.)
I got this message on a day when I was feeling particularly low about my injury. So after I finished laughing and crying at the sweetness of this offer, we got the logistics worked out. I've now had one of the three sessions at Capitol Rehab in Annandale with Dr. Compas.
The AlterG is based on technology designed to help astronauts work out in zero gravity, but here on earth it works in reverse---you can adjust the treadmill so that the patient runs on a set percentage of their body weight. This is a great thing for people who are coming back from injury and are easing back into weight-bearing exercise. And, it's a total trip.
Basically you put on these super-tight bicycle shorts, with a zipper around the middle:
Then you step onto the treadmill and are zipped in. The bottom half of you and the treadmill belt are encased in a large bag that inflates and deflates based on the percentage you select. Last week I did most of my run at 50% of my body weight:
The title of this post comes from my friend Paurenia, who saw this picture and said I "looked like a sexy centaur." Ha!
I've been running on the roads a little bit, but it's been for very short distances and I've had to be very cautious about it. With the AlterG I was able to run for more than 30 minutes, pain free!
The sensation takes a little getting used to--you definitely feel lighter on your feet, though the zipper keeps you hemmed in so you can't really fall like on a regular treadmill. It's a great transition from pool running, in which you're completely buoyant, to road running, in which you're pounding pavement. And because you're running on less weight, you can go a lot faster than you normally do, which is a lot of fun.
I also want to say a good word for Dr. Compas and his staff at Capitol Rehab. He is an athlete himself and "gets it"; plus he's competent and compassionate. He helped me understand the source of my injury so I can avoid it next time. I haven't used him for chiropractic care but I have friends who have and they like him a lot.