Santa's been a bit tardy in getting his presents delivered this year, because he's only just got around to leaving my Cheetah leg under the tree.
Spent the morning thrashing away on the treadmill at the hospital, trying the leg with six different alignments to try to find the optimum level of springiness, speed and performance. It was rather like fine-tuning a racing car -- except that in my case I'm the equivalent of an octogenarian Sunday driver who's suddenly been thrust behind the wheel of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. The engine's humming with power and acceleration but my driving skills aren't exactly up to Formula One standards.
I clicked the leg on and we videoed me running on the treadmill. When we played the tape back in slow motion it was much easier to see how the Cheetah was performing -- whether the weight distribution was correct, whether the toe was striking the ground in the right place and whether the foot was rolling over properly.
Here's a clip of the fitting -- it's 23" long and is just under 500Kb:
Taming The Cheetah (.wmv)
After several hours tinkering with the alignment, I was finally allowed to take the beast home to start preparing for my first London Marathon. My punishing training regime will start....tomorrow. Honest.
Before I left the hospital I got another Christmas present -- this time an unexpected one.
My prosthetic technician, Andrew Palmer, is an accomplished amputee long distance runner. He's a left leg amp and I'm a righty.
Andrew bought a new pair of top of the range running trainers for the San Diego Marathon a few months ago -- and the redundant left shoe was still in the box. Luckily for me, we just happen to have the same size feet and needless to say, I was more than happy to take the spare sneaker off his hands.
From now on, whenever Andrew gets a new "pair" of trainers so will I.
With the running leg taken care of, we'll do the fitting for the new walking leg tomorrow.
A note for American readers -- American amputee sprint champ and fellow Cheetah wearer Marlon Shirley will be featured on the CBS Early Show from 0700E tomorrow.