Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PT visit #2..domo arigato

Today was my 2nd visit to PT....another whirlwind of learning. 

The experience is best described like this:

You are a machine...and are broken. You don't really know why or how, but you know something isn't right. You have adjusted yourself to function, and function you have! ...but it isn't factory stock anymore...oh no.

For your entire existence the other robots have sometimes asked you why you are limping when you are just moving the way you always have. You reply it's how I was built. Sometimes they forget the answer and ask again a few months later 8/

The PT does a lot of subtle things you don't understand fully and shows you in a way you can finally perceive some of the broken-ness for the first time...what is not working right.

Then she does some less subtle things that are very odd....moving your parts to angles and combinations that you didn't think were really part of the user's does't hurt.... just very awkward and a little difficult to do. 

Again, we are shown the's less now.  Hmm...there's more to do..


Essentially, it appears that I run without using my core at all... My legs and arms are bolted onto a big cylinder that doesn't's all locked up.  I use my legs and hip flexors and that's about it...they have to work much harder as a result. She says this is not atypical at all..too much sitting it chairs,  but that doesn't make me feel too much better.

She drew upon Usain Bolt as the perfect example of core-based stride and suggested I look at a video of him in slow motion. Sigh. Maybe a good example, but a very high bar for the average Joe!

Then she really surprised me: she told me that when you get it right, and you running from your core, you'll feel very different as....she said it's described like floating feeling.  WTF? When did I not get this memo? I want to float too!

I googled for this:

running core pace +floating -point feeling

Here are some of the quotes I found on various blogs (the -point is to get rid of hits on floating point arithmetic polluting the search results):

"Finished sub 6:30 pace and it felt like I was floating"

“..and after that it just feels like floating. "

"..when I felt that “floating” feeling for the very first time during our run"

"..know I'll get that floating feeling that is harder to achieve running"

I can't say I've ever experienced this..sure I've had runs where I felt strong..but never "floating".

Have you ever experienced this?

Anyway, floating aside, my efficiency is probably very  poor..the good news (I guess) is that there's more speed to harvest in addition to preventing injury 8)

This PT stuff is by far the most unusual semi-medical experience I've ever had. I wish I had video to replay and absorb the farrago of information conveyed in the all-to-brief 45 minutes.

She gave me more of which was to try to be more aware of my pelvis and core during the day and when running. 

As I walked later I could feel that I was much less imbalanced than ever before...that little rolling limp was not nearly as pronounced. Still quite messed up mind you but less so. Without warning, a wave of emotion passed over me. I though to myself...I...I .. really can change this?!


I asked her about upping my mileage and she said the usual cautions apply ..e.g. listen to aches and pains, don't over-do, but otherwise go for problemo.

Super! Hear that Jill?


  1. Interesting. I get a floating feeling quite often but how do I know if it is that floating feeling. I just run and I've never looked or worried about form or core or anything else. I do tend to stay injury free so I'm not changing anything. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones...

  2. I listened to Jay Dicharry talk about core stuff a while back (he's a top-notch PT at U. of Va). He talks about how we can have abs of steel, but still not engage our core. It's a tough thing to learn, but one that pays off. I'm still not there!

  3. If you want that floating feeling, get on one of those Zero-G treadmills. :-)

    Not sure I can say I ever felt like I was floating on a run, but I do do a lot of core work.

    Glad to hear you are getting things taken care of.

  4. I want to feel that 'floating' feeling too!

  5. Very interesting stuff!

    Engaging the core all sounds good in theory, I have no idea if I do it right or not. My guess is that I don't do it right.

    I have felt the feeling like I'm floating occasionally during runs, but I think it mainly has happened when I've been in awesome shape and simply destroy a workout. It has felt like I was expending not much energy to go super fast. This post is the main one where it felt like I could run forever, not sure on the reason, but I'm not going to question it.

    Definitely curious to hear more from you about your PT!

    And that is awesome that you were standing next to CCR at a concert!

  6. I really like all you PT posts -- and find the body mechanics stuff fascinating. I have some friends who are going to this guy who is working with them on similar things as your PT is doing (he's not a PT, I think just a fitness guy but seems to have some background in similar things) and I've thought about seeing him for a bit to get analysis and tips.

    I have experienced that floating feeling though I've thought of it more like Nelly, just not expending a lot of effort to go fast. It actually happened last Thursday for those 2x3200 intervals that I was dreading. During both sets I got to the point where I even thought it was like my feet weren't touching the ground -- so I guess floating it is. :) It has also happened a few times during longer runs and I've just thought it must be what people talk about with the runners high.

    The trick is how to capture it all the time. I have plenty of runs where my posture totally collapses, my legs feel so heavy and the sound of my own footsteps annoys me.

    I can hardly wait for round 3 with PT.

  7. I've never floated, but I have felt like I was flowing along. I'm sure I don't use my core enough either. Sigh. So little time, so many things to fix.

  8. Do I get a bonus for insisting you go see a PT? ;)

    I've been going to my PT 2x/week since February and each time, I walk away learning something more about my running. Usually, it's something wrong I'm doing but whatever, I'm learning! I'm going to call your PT and see if she can't work with you until next August!

    Floating. I wonder if that's like being in the zone?!? Where you aren't forcing anything, you're just out there doing your thing and before you know it, the job is done and you can't remember one thing about the run? I've had a few runs like that - in particular when I ran my first BQ Marathon in St. George; I was trying to recount the race to my then-trainer and I was having a hard time remembering many details. Unfortunately, those have been far and few between but what an awesome feeling when you have it. I think I'll write a blog post about floating...I'm very curious to what others feel.

    btw, my kids tell me I have a hard time hearing. Personally, I think it's because they mumble. ;)


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