Tuesday, December 7, 2010

120 Band-aides

Today we did a high density EMG, ~120 sensors in a grid over my entire residual limb.  The goal was to map out all the motor units for about a dozen different motions - including big toe up & down.  The goal as I understand it is to push the limit and determine how much information can be gathered from the re-innervated sites + the muscles in the rest of my residual limb.

After all of the signals have been processed it should result in some pretty cool graphics, communicating what things are firing when I think about doing various motions.

I've asked for a copy of the ~1.5 GB of data gathered, but I'm not sure if they can give it to me.  I'd love to crunch it myself.  I don't think they've had a patient quite like me.  :-)

Oh, and yes it felt like pulling off 120 Band-aides, one at a time when we were done.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hi-Tech leg fun

This week I'll be in Chicago at RIC, Center for Bionic Medicine doing some experiments with neural controls for powered prosthetics.

Today I had 24 EMG sensors on my stump for ~ 6 hours.  We did various iterations of gathering data, traning classifiers, checking classifier accuracy against more gathered test data, then using those classifiers to realtime control a virtual limb.  By the end of the day I was able to fairly accurately control flexion & extension of both my lower leg & ankle ( on a virtual avatar, mechanical devices to come later ).  Very cool stuff.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday runs

My good friend Greg Ireland has taken over leadership of our churches youth group - and he has convinced me to hang out with them sunday night.  I'm excited about the oppertunity to get to know the kids there!

We've decided that after everyone leaves on Sundays we're going to run.  Greg pushed me a bit and we put in 2 miles ( with a couple minute rest in the middle ).  Fortunately for my ego Greg wore way to many cloths and consequently broke a sweat.  Wow was I sore on Monday, my right quadriceps were very mad at me.  On the bright side some of my goals - though far away - are seeming achievable now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Peglegs & Pirates

I realized there was only one sensible thing to do for this Halloween - make a peg leg.  I got some serious double takes at a local carnival, even had a kid ask me "are you holding your leg up?"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

1 mile - its all about the speed

So I finally ran 1 continuous mile, no stopping, no walking, no crashing.  I had to take a knee, thank my God, shed a tear ( seriously ) and catch my breath.  :-)

Some of the recent changes to the running foot have made it possible for me to go considerably slower.  Running at a slower cadence, and shorter stride keeps me from becoming anerobic so quickly.  So ultimated its a combination of training, prosthetic changes, and running slower that has allowed me to push the distance up fairly quickly.

More on the news front, I'm scheduled in early December to go help with a research project at RIC.  They are building and studying the best way to control a powered prosthetic leg controlled using the targeted reinnervation's that were done when my leg was amputated.

Monday, October 25, 2010


When I arrived at the track Rainier's C team was warming up for a game - decided to run anyways.  There were some very serious looking clouds quickly heading into town.  On the third lap it started to rain and wow was it cold.  I forgot how much that cold air burns the lungs when you are breathing hard.

I was pretty destroyed after the 1200, while walking back to the car I was pondering if on my next trip to the track I would shoot for the mile.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

2 x 800

I was foiled yet again by the Rainier football team - they had a JV game that was not on their posted schedule.  So after a diversion to Yelm HS track I was able to run 2 x 800m.  Slow but steady improvement.

I've got my eye on the mile mark now.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Plyometrics & It still hurts

Plyometric sounds all fancy but basically I've been repeatedly pushing on the floor of my car.  The idea being that my thigh muscles have significantly atrophied and need to be rebuilt.  They have atrophied so much that they don't store much energy, an a large number of the energy producing mitochondria have gone bye-bye.  The plyometrics is just a way that I can exercise my leg while driving.

So I've been doing that for a couple of months now - hence no updates, its kinda boring.  This evening I went out to the track in Yelm ( after finding out that the Rainier track was in use ) and ran a couple of 400's.  They felt some amount easier than previously but I still got anaerobic rather quickly.

I am hoping to get to the track at least once a week, and will keep at the plyometrics.

I've emailed Robert Gailey, and hope to meet with him later this month when he is in Seattle.  He's one of - if not the top expert on amputee running. See here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finally felt like "running"

I only ran for 600m this evening, but for the first time I actually felt like I was running.  It felt great!

I had my mind set on going 1/2 mile, but I ate track, o-well.

Its been difficult to not push myself really hard, I felt guilty leaving the track after only doing that much.  I've always battled in my head, not wanting to cop out and quit before it gets really hard - and in the past I've almost always won that battle and pushed really hard.  So on one hand It feels like I'm giving in and not working hard -- but I want to enjoy running & I want to enjoy the rest of my evenings with the family, sans headache.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Back on the horse

So I brought the headaches up with my doctor - being cautious he asked that I not run until we rule any really bad stuff out.  So after an MRI, chest X-Ray & exam nothing turned up except that my heads empty, chest is full of lungs and I've still only got one leg.  He referred me to a neurologist, but I've decided that I'm just going to deal with it and hope they go away.

I went for a 'lunchtime' run on Wednesday, 2x400m.  I decided not to push it very hard, hoping to not return to work with a headache.  For the most part it worked, only a mild headache and some stink on return to work.

On Thursday after work I did another 2x400m on the track at Rainier, and only got a mild headache again.

Feels kind of pathetic to call half a mile a run and consider it a workout...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This afternoon I did 2x400m + 1x600m.  I've been getting headaches every time I run.  I've had them years ago towards the end of very difficult workouts, but never this sever, and certainly never with this small of a workout.  I've been hydrating a ton before workouts, but to no avail.

I also did a workout last friday, 1x300m + 2x400m.

Slowly gaining distance, it is getting easier & I've not fallen down since the first run though I've had a couple of close calls.

I've been relearning how to start running - the first few steps.  I've always pushed off with my right leg, but that doesn't work so well now.  I've been playing around with a bunch of different ways to start, but they all feel pretty clumsy & goofy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Its a monday

I met Greg at Yelm HS track this afternoon for a workout.  We did 4x300m, I had a headache come on after the first one.  I'm fairly sure its a combination of hydration & O2 debt, but its hard to know for sure.

I'm having to continue adjusting my attitude - one of the soccer coaches said "that thing works pretty good."  I blerted back "you should try it" and under my breath ( because I didn't have much ) I said "that will change your mind."  I need to be thankful for what I am able to do.  That I have people that care enough for me that have enabled me to run again, that the tech exists, that I have a running foot - that I can even run.  And really in the end he was just trying to be friendly.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

1 Week of running

Friday after work I did 4x300m on the track at Rainier HS. Got to have some fun & interesting discussion with some of the HS athletes about what happened, and track in general. I only caught my toe once, but that last 300m was brutal.

Certainly some improvement over last Friday. I'm a little concerned about my stump, the scaring on the bottom back edge is quite sore. Its getting pressed on during the stance phase ( when prosthetic is on the ground ). Aside from that all seems to be working well.

I've been hunting for a heart rate monitor that will work with my android phone - it would be interesting to track those stats as I get in better shape.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More track meets!

On my way home from work I planned to go for a run on the Rainier track - but instead got to enjoy a lovely large ball field next to the high school.

I did 4 x 200m + 1 x 400m. It went fairly well but the 400 was really ugly I almost fell once and ugh, my form came apart toward the end, it felt like the last 100m of a 3200m in high school.

There were a couple of parents sitting in their cars watching their kids practice baseball.  I ran past them a bunch of times - they probably think I'm crazy.  Oh well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Garth my prosthetist was gracious enough to spend some after hours time and meet me at North Thurstons HS track. He torqued down some loose things, threw in some more loctite, and we headed to the track. Unfortunately there was a track meet happening - oh well, plenty of grass. We did 6 x ~150m and he made several adjustments to the alignment of the foot & knee.

Again no crashes, and the adjustments seemed to help.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Second Run

After pondering the workout two days earlier I realized the main reason way I was falling. I'm in really bad shape & this takes a lot of energy. That means that in very short order my body cant supply enough O2, and my form goes down the drain, the right leg gets slow because its weak next thing I'm lying on the track.

All that to say I've concluded that the way to go is try to run a pile of 200m intervals - well, not really intervals because I'm going pretty slow, but they hurt like intervals.

I went to the track in Rainier and did 3 x 200m without falling! Towards the end of the third one I noticed a funny sound coming from the prosthetic.  I quickly realized that there was some issues that I needed to have Garth take care of - yikes could have been an ugly crash. I hobbled back to the car, off to see Sound Prosthetics.

At least no more track burns.

Friday, April 30, 2010

First Run

I went out to the track at Yelm HS, unfortunately it had to be late - about 10:00pm. Greg came with, after putting on the running foot we took off. I think I lasted ~100m before taking a dive on the track. It was ugly - we ran a total of 800m, and I went down about half a dozen times. It was surprisingly anaerobic - I ended with a pretty serious O2 debt headache.

It was fairly discouraging - its going to be a longer road that I hoped. On the bright side the stump felt great, no issues there.