Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peak Performance Analysis at Finish Line Therapy

Yesterday started out slightly disastrously: instead of my firm being billed for my Bar Exam review course, I was billed $4,000. Not exactly pocket change. I had to get that charge fixed ASAP and was stuck on the phone, making myself late for a very important date. Thankfully, things turned up once I finally made it downtown.

I had made plans to have coffee with Carrie and meet in person before my appointment at Finish Line Physical Therapy. After apologizing profusely for being late, we sat down and had a great conversation. We both agreed that it can be hard being "young" and training for endurance events since so often people in their early 20s don't really understand the concept of early bedtimes or dawn workouts (actually, I'm not so great about those dawn workouts either...) 

It was such a fun coffee date and I can't wait to meet up with her again soon! And the day only got better from there as I headed to Finish Line.

Ok, the Finish Line mascot isn't the reason the day got better. But he was part of it! His name is Miles. How adorable is that? Any place that has a dog wandering around is instantly a place I'm going to like.

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by Finish Line Physical Therapy about coming in for a Peak Performance Analysis by a physical therapist there. To say I was excited is a slight understatement since I've had some recurring pain in my right arch (and there was also that whole possibly-pulled-muscle during my second half-marathon). I took them up on their offer immediately and found a date that worked.

Here's Finish Line's description of themselves from their website:
Finish Line Physical Therapy is a private, outpatient clinic that utilizes a personal, functional approach to rehabilitation, injury prevention and performance enhancement. Our goal is to evaluate and treat the entire body as a functional whole—a fresh alternative to conventional methods of physical therapy that generally isolate individual joints or body parts.
I started my visit with a run on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Yes, you read that right. Anti-gravity. It essentially lifts you up so that your legs are only supporting a chosen percentage of your bodyweight.

what the set-up looks like
Do I really have to describe in detail how cool this was? I was zipped into the top and then air filled into the chamber, taking weight off my legs, and then I started running. I spent most of my 2.5 miles running at a 7:30 pace (8 MPH) and 65% of my body weight. I wanted to get in part of my 4.5 planned miles and figured this was the perfect opportunity!

It was so cool to be able to run faster because my legs felt far less weighed down. I'd be a pretty speedy runner if I weighed 50 lbs less! I even tried sprinting up hills and they felt like gentle inclines. Basically, I should move to the moon and become a professional runner.

If you're wondering what on earth this is used for besides astronaut training, it's actually very helpful for those recovering from injury and older runners who want to keep running but at a lower impact. 

Finish Line is a gorgeous facility, by the way. It's a large, wide-open space filled with all kinds of physical therapy and exercise tools, including bikes and treadmills. There are changing rooms, showers, and appointment rooms that look a lot like a doctor's room, but better because they have pictures of runners in them.

After about 20 minutes on the AlterG, I unzipped myself and waited for a few minutes before my Peak Performance Analysis with Alison. This meeting was SO helpful. I was filmed from a variety of angles and Alison then went over what each camera showed about my running form. She was able to figure out a lot of issues I have based on my form. (Tight calves? Yep. Tight hips? Yep.)

my analysis!
(contact details edited out)
Alison also identified my weak glutes and limited hip extension, things I definitely need to focus on in my strength and yoga practices. While I was aware of the symptoms of some of my issues, I really didn't understand why or how they were occurring. Seeing exactly how my foot reaching out too far as I land could affect the rest of my body was extremely helpful (and very cool).

After going through all of her findings, Alison gave me a few ideas on how to stretch for a run and a couple of great ideas for keeping my legs and feet healthy as a part-time office dweller (and full-time computer user), such as bringing a lacrosse ball to work to use for pressure point massage of my feet under my desk.

I had a fantastic experience at Finish Line and was sad to bid it (and Miles) farewell, thinking I couldn't afford to return until I started work since I assumed my student insurance plan wouldn't cover physical therapy. But, thankfully, the friendly woman at the front desk offered to call my insurance to check for me (this is something I would never do because I hate being stuck on the phone unless there is $4,000 on the line -- it is irrational, I admit it).

And great news! My insurance will cover 8 sessions of physical therapy, so it looks like I should be able to do regular appointments as I train for my spring half-marathons and my first marathon this fall. 

I'm really looking forward to making Finish Line Physical Therapy a part of my training and to getting rid of the lingering arch pain once and for all. To me, physical therapy makes sense as a part of a complete training program, alongside strength-training, yoga, and spinning. I just never thought I could afford to make that happen, so I'm ecstatic that I'll be able to. Running pain-free is wonderful and with all the running I have on my schedule this spring, I want as little pain as possible. 

Ok, and I'm also excited to see Miles again...

Have you ever tried physical therapy? Would you want to pretend to be an astronaut train on a treadmill that decreased the body weight on your legs?

Disclaimer: I received the Peak Performance Analysis complimentary, however I was not compensated for this post. I was not asked to write a post about my experience, but I wanted to based upon my experience there and the fact that I will be returning and making Finish Line part of my training.


  1. OMG. Jen!!! That is so exciting! I am so excited for you (well, sans the $4,000 bill, did that ever get resolved?). I keep hearing about the place and it just sounds like fun.Glad you got the opportunity for a free screening AND chances to return :) MIght as well use the insurance you pay for

    1. Yes, thankfully, it was resolved! And I've never loved my insurance more ;)

  2. Loved meeting you in real life yesterday, Jen! And I'm so happy you had a great appointment at Finish Line! Alison did my appointment, too, and she's basically a genius; I couldn't believe the accuracy of her findings. I need to see if my insurance will cover PT sessions--fingers crossed! :)

    1. My student insurance is pretty stingy so if mine covers PT then hopefully yours will cover PT, too!

  3. That looks like so much fun! I hope you got your bill resolved. I'd totally do the anti-gravity treadmill! That'd be freakin awesome! Glad you got some good info from your session!

    1. It was SO cool and now I want one. So if I find $25k lying around (how much they cost, apparently) that'll be tops on my list ;)

  4. Happy you were able to get out to one of my favorite places! It seems like everyone I know is going there now.