In May 2013, my wife packed up our belongings in New York City and moved westward to her hometown, Seattle, WA. Knowing that I would have to reinvent myself on the west coast, I had reached out to several friends and acquaintances to find out if they had any recommendations of people to contact in the Pacific Northwest. The one name that kept surfacing was Ben Wobker. Ben is a physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, running enthusiast, and owner of Lake Washington Physical Therapy in Kirkland, WA; a thriving outpatient physical therapy facility just off the lake. Naturally, he was also the first person, who made time to meet with me.
On a quintessential, overcast Seattle Saturday afternoon during the late Fall of 2015, my wife and I ventured to Kirkland, WA to celebrate Ben’s 40th birthday at Chainline Brewery.
On the car ride over, I was talking my wife’s ear off about about running, which is close to becoming a forbidden topic in our household. This time I was specifically discussing the role of cadence as a means to address various running related injuries (RRIs), and the fact that it was shocking that no simple APPs existed on the market to assist runners with this basic metric.
As a research junkie, who has taken a keen interest in the role of gait retraining, I was eager to get to the party because I knew it would afford me the opportunity to chat with other PTs and clinicians considering Ben’s network while sparing my wife of being a soundboard.
After sucking down a few IPAs ("Trail Gnomes" to be exact), while mingling with Ben’s friends and family, folks slowly started exiting. Fortunately, this meant that we would finally get the chance to catch up with the birthday man, who had managed to escape the party room as well as daddy duty. After wishing him a happy birthday and catching up on happenings east and west of Lake Washington (we live on separate sides of the lake), we naturally got on the topic of running and physical therapy.
As I started to discuss cadence, Ben had chimed in with excitement to share an idea that he was thinking of developing. As he started to speak, my wife, Mimi, and I nearly dropped our glasses because what he had just described was exactly what I was discussing on the car ride over with Mimi. Right then and there it was obvious that Ben and I shared a similar vision while understanding the tremendous benefit this would be for the running community.
After a couple days, we began exchanging emails related to developing this App. Invariably, the ideas started flowing. It soon became readily apparent that we were on the same page and officially decided to team up on bringing this App to fruition.
Our ultimate goal was to help runners, clinicians, trainers, coaches, and researchers across the globe make better use of this simple metric from both a rehab and performance standpoint. Considering the expanding body of medical and performance literature on cadence, we are confident that it will foster healthy and strong running. While there are no “hacks” to running, understanding cadence as a means to reduce one’s step length, is the closest one can get. See you on the streets, track, and/or trails.
Here’s to beers, friends, and ingenuity!!!