Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Test subject: Part 1

On Monday, I started participation in a 3-week NASA sponsored study.

The study is part of a larger project with the purpose of developing exercise programs for prolonged space travel. My task is to run on the Zero-Gravity Locomotion Simulator (ZLS) for a specified duration over the course of 12 visits. I'm to be suspended by a harness and a series of cables in order to run on a vertical treadmill at varied levels of gravity.

After Day One, the experiment is nothing what I expected. I was misled by the whole "Zero-gravity" label. What sounded fun and exciting in reality is a difficult chore. The research engineer who is running the experiment failed to advertize that running on the ZLS is equivalent of carrying a 55 pound backpack. The opposite of Zero-Gravity, if you will.

The daily task is to run 30 minutes at 100% body weight, along with a short warm-up and cool-down. A thirty-minute run. Piece of cake for a marathon runner, right? Wrong. I am allowed to break up the 30 minutes into smaller parts in order to meet the required time allotment. My thoughts were, "what for?" Long story short, I lasted a whole 11 minutes before I needed to take a break. I finished the day's testing with two more segments of 10 and 9 minutes each.

Whew, I'm sore. The workout was more strength training in nature, rather than aerobic. This morning I feel it in my glutes, quads, shins, and calves. I wonder what 3 weeks of this kind of workout will do for my running.

I dread that there's 11 more sessions to go over the next 18 days. I'm toast.

(Test subject running on the ZLS. Photo credit: Sara Novotny)


Blogger JenC said...

That's some crazy stuff! I'll look forward to hearing more about it.

Great to see you Friday night!

8:42 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

wow that isn't what I pictured at all. I thought you would be in some kind of weightless bubble with your legs sticking out to run on the treadmill :)

8:56 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Chore or not... that is one h3ll of an interesting experience! Keep the blogs for it coming!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Your gonaa be some kinda hill runner in three weeks.

11:49 PM  

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