Category Archives: The Sweat Collective

ENDURE Review – Inspiring Athletic Theatrical Experience

I recently had the pleasure and honour of participating in a presentation of ENDURE. The show is an athletic theatrical experience where the audience is as much a part of the production as the outdoor scenery in which it’s set. I say ‘participate in’ rather than ‘watch’ because, as the audience, you flow with the show as a part of it rather than a bystander seeing it pass by.

ENDURE is a 50-minute walking/running theatre production set outside, conceived and written by my friend Melanie Jones. I believe that Melanie’s original idea for ENDURE was to produce a piece of theatre that reflected her experience leading up to and including her first marathon. What she created was an emotion inducing, inspiration evolving, life reflective journey composed of sound, action, movement, and nature.

I had the singularly humbling experience to help Melanie choose the path for the production of ENDURE in Cochrane. When I attended the performance, even though I knew where we were GOING, I had no idea WHERE we were going. Melanie lead us on a journey through her thoughts, feelings, and life during moments of elation, desperation, despair, and epiphany that can reach ANY audience member on an emotional level.

The theme of the production might be getting through a marathon but it really parallels the challenges and journey of life.

ENDURE is starting it’s fall production run this weekend in Brooklyn, NY. If you need a little inspiration or want to experience a wholly different kind of theatre, check out http://www.runwomanshow.com/ for details or to buy tickets.

#ENDURE

The Sweat Collective Workout #4

Some time ago, The Sweat Collective Workout #4 was issued and it’s been sitting on my t0-do list ever since. This one has been a real struggle for me. The introduction for said workout looked like this:

“Imperfection is okay, and often its acceptance is the key to having fun, to innovation, and to recognizing your worth and success.”

I can honestly admit to being accused of being a perfectionist. In fact, Lee Saxby looked right at me during the VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program when he said, “For all you perfectionists in the class, the best you can hope to achieve with this level of training is to help 80% of the people out there.” He’s a strong proponent of the 80/20 rule and for very good reasons (which we learned all about during the course).

Melanie Jones faced the challenge of reaching perfection and wrote about it in How to be Better Than Perfect, which I highly recommend reading. This post was also the inspiration behind the latest Sweat Collective Workout, which is:

How have you reacted when you have ventured off the path to perfection? How do you handle the effort to try again? How has this affected you in your training, creativity, in your life?

My struggle with perfection (at the moment) has to do with my running form. For my natural running form clinics, I’ve videoed myself running on a treadmill several times now. I analyze my form the same way that I analyze my clients’ form. It is definitely NOT perfect. I would like it to be perfect. I want to be able to demonstrate what perfect form is to my clients. Sadly, this cannot be the case. It’s hard for me to admit that after two months of running with the new form, it’s still not where I want it to be. I just have to work at it harder.

This assignment, though, made me realize that it’s okay that I’m not perfect (no matter how badly I may want to be). I have something to work towards. I think if I didn’t have details to work on, running might be kind of boring. I currently have the excitement and anticipation of seeing my running form evolve through future videos. Despite the irksome deficient details of my running form, it is FAR superior to what it used to be (thanks Lee!). All I can strive for is to do the best that I can do every time I run out the door. It seems, what is true of running, is also true of life. :)

Thanks Melanie for the eye opener!

By the way, if you are in the Calgary or Cochrane areas, ENDURE is coming to town. For show dates, times and to buy tickets, check out: http://www.runwomanshow.com/dates/. I’ve already bought my tickets and I can’t wait! #ENDURE

The Sweat Collective Workout #3

The latest Sweat Collective Workout asks the question: What fuels you?

For me, that answer is both simple and yet complex, that being: PASSION.

It’s my passion for the quest of pain-free movement that fuels pretty much everything I do. After being so broken in body as to be horizontal for the better part of a year with motor and sensory nerve dysfunction and a great deal of pain, the drive to become pain-free in general and to move again pain-free was not only necessary for my physical health but my mental health as well. That drive is fueled by passion. That passion translated into a near obsession (using the word ‘near’ might not entirely be necessary in that statement) of minimalist footwear because I can move in them without the pain I used to feel while wearing conventionally heeled footwear. It’s the obsession for the minimalist footwear that brought me to write this blog and writing for Living Barefoot. It’s researching for writing for these websites that brought me to learn about the VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program and learning about appropriate biomechanics of movement. It’s attending the Coaching Program that has taught me how to achieve good posture, what the skills of running are, how to improve these skills, and (most importantly) how to coach it to others. Now I have a new passion that fuels me: sharing this knowledge with others so that they too can be pain-free. #ENDURE

The Sweat Collective Workout #2

The latest Sweet Collective Workout (for which I deeply apologize for being late in accomplishing) for #ENDURE asks the questions: How did others react when you began sharing your experience? What do you ENDURE that you feel you can easily share with and explain to others, or do you find it difficult to share your journey? How do you approach talking about commitments to change or improve your life? Do you feel others are accepting of your commitment to change, or find your ideas “crazy”? So without further adieu, here are my answers:

How did others react when you began sharing your experience? If we’re talking about making the switch from conventional, padded, high-heeled shoes to minimalist shoes, most people were skeptical and baffled. Most people at the time didn’t understand why I thought minimalist shoes were such a good idea for me. They were baffled at the appearance of shoes with toes for sure. (Although many people are still occasionally confounded with the look of VFFs.) There were many questions as to why, which I tried to answer with the best reasons that I had: Because they strengthen your feet. They’re good for your posture. They make you walk/run better. Because my back no longer hurts when I walk while wearing them!

What do you ENDURE that you feel you can easily share with and explain to others, or do you find it difficult to share your journey? I do not find it difficult in the least to share my journey. I love to share my story. I lived with a lot of pain before I switched to minimalist footwear. My feet hurt with plantar fasciitis and my back hurt with every step when I walked in conventional shoes with a positive heel. When I switched to minimalist footwear, my feet got stronger and the PF finally had a chance to heal. My back stopped hurting with every step. Because my heels were level with my forefoot, my posture straightened out and my back wasn’t carrying any unnecessary load. I thought they were miraculous!

How do you approach talking about commitments to change or improve your life? Very simply: conventional shoes hurt me, minimalist footwear does not. When the choice is living with pain or without it, it’s a very simple choice for me.

Do you feel others are accepting of your commitment to change, or find your ideas “crazy”? Some people still find wearing minimalist footwear difficult to accept because they don’t ‘look’ like regular shoes. Whether or not other people accept my choice doesn’t really bother me. I know what works for me and realize that it may not work for everybody. Ultimately, it’s my choice and I wholeheartedly believe it was one of the best things I have ever done to improve my life.

The Sweat Collective Workout #1

I have joined The Sweat Collective, an interactive community of bloggers, athletes, artists and those who recognize life is the ultimate endurance sport. The Collective is in support of Melanie Jones’ RunWomanShow ENDURE, opening in New York City in July and coming to Alberta in August for a number of performance.

The first workout as part of The Sweat Collective is to share who you are and why you decided to be involved in the Collective. Therefore, this blog post is dedicated to my first Collective workout.

Who am I? The answer to that question is, to me, an existential quandary that depends on one’s perspective. From the perspective of the writer of this blog and a member of The Sweat Collective, I am:

  • A runner
  • A barefooter
  • A minimalist shoe enthusiast
  • A soon-to-be natural running coach
  • A sharer of a passion for pain-free movement
  • A friend to the great and talented and inspiring Melanie Jones

Why did I decide to be involved in The Sweat Collective? Because it gives me yet another opportunity to share my passions for natural running as well as the joys and celebrations in pain-free activity. Because I want to share in the journey of ENDURE and learn how other people feel about enduring and endurance. Because I believe in Melanie’s vision and want to support its inception into the world.

To learn more about The Sweat Collective and the ENDURE RunWomanShow, check out the Facebook page. You can also read more at Follow Your Bliss: about how ENDURE’s team and the project grew exponentially from a simple idea, and The Courage to Cross a Zillion Start Lines: on everyday endurance and transitioning to natural running (and a humbling mention of me). #ENDURE