The Altra IQ Dance – Part 3 – The Big Show

The brand spankin’ new Altra expo booth at the Outdoor Retailer trade show is beautiful. I’m learning how to be a dancer-performer, and this is my “race report.” (Day 1 – Can you dance? | Day 2 – Some people got cut).

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While Ben’s still enjoying his spray tan by day 3, our dance crew picks up where we left off the day before. We do  dry runs of our treadmill dance show to kick off the unveiling of the Altra IQ {the first smart shoe the provides feedback and coaching on running form!}. The run-through is basically a disaster: Ben mis-steps on a treadmill and falls. Another dancer bites it. A stroller falls off the front of the stage. I keep getting my toe/shoe caught in a gap between the treadmill and the stage (which totally tore up my shoe, the One – eek!). We never had much of an audience on the practice set, so I’m extremely thrown off by the growing crowd 6 feet below.

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Experimenting with running form in my Altra skirt…

I’ve been struggling with adrenal dysfunction from stress, and this day (or this whole week?!) is not helping my cause! It’s fun, but it’s the type of anxious fun you have when you’re waiting in line for a roller coaster at Cedar Point (Six Flags for you West Coasters). We rush over from practice to our staging area, and immediately threw on costume — the stylists/designers pinned and trimmed apparel like crazy for best fit (sample size is a small, I’m an XS). I’m not a skirt wearer usually, but the skirts were extremely cute! Mini review of Altra’s running skirt: Love the material, fit, and phone pocket, but I’d tweak the liner – it’s a shorts liner (think cheerleading skirt), not your typical boyshort.

I sit down for the first time in my life with a makeup artist, She does my hair and makeup, and I feel like I look like a totally different person. I caught a few photos on day 2 to show the evolution of…my face.

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Can’t… quit… cheesing…

 

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Dem eyebrows!!

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Our producer, Whitney, calls the 5-minute warnings until we need to be at/on stage. I’m jolted by constant rushes of adrenaline each time I think about the routine. We eventually get behind the stage, waiting to go on, and all day long, I constantly run through my part over and over and over and over before we go on.

The first show goes on mostly smoothly — no one would even believe that we were the same group who’d practiced on stage an hour prior. We were a hit at Outdoor Retailer! It was cool to see people stop in the walkways, jaws dropping, whipping their phones out. We’d overhear people say, “They look like they’re having so much FUN!” We really were! We even got an article in Competitor Mag (albeit, mostly about the over-the-top-ness, but it’s press none the less.)

I was inconsistent from show to show at first, but I figured out how to fake it well enough if I sometimes got off count, as opposed to the deer-in-headlights move. By the end of day 2, I easily had it down and didn’t need to practice before each show. The scale tipped from super-stressful to really fun!

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Comfortable/rehearsed enough to smile. …THAT RUNNING FORM THOUGH!

For most of the crew, the highlight of the show – and their careers – was performing for Elder Dieter Uchtdorf, a leader in the LDS church, who stood in the audience on Thursday. It was an honor to meet him, shake his hand, and learn about the impact he’s had on so many peoples’ lives. In the same vein, I really enjoyed meeting the Altra team (mostly the Sales & Marketing crew)… they really do make you feel like you’re family.

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Altra IQ team with Elder Uchtdorf

 

Here’s the show, starting from my part, with Elder Uchtdorf’s head front and center, filmed by Ben. :)

By day 3, we’d completed ~42 full shows. Everyone – including me! – was comfortable enough with the routine that we had a little fun with it. Dana, unfortunately, busted her foot right before the last show; she was ok, but it was amazing to see how well her alternate nailed the routine, having never performed or practiced it on that stage until that show.

Ben and I were able to sneak away occasionally to visit some friends for fun, especially at the Orange Mud booth. Oh- and here’s a great video summary of what it’s like to be at the OR show in general. I looked forward to the short breaks so we could see friends (Josh, Anthony, Sally, Joe) and catch up between shows.

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Anthony, Sally, us, Josh, and Joe visiting Orange Mud at OR

 

I’m an ultra runner. These miles and efforts should be a drop in the bucket, right? I ran lightly on the treadmills between shows occasionally, so I was pret-ty sore by the end of the first day. Luckily, we had access to a massage therapist (more active release & bodywork, less the fluffy type) during show/evenings— as runners, let’s just say IT WAS VERY WELCOME!!

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Doug (Rawlinson) is the real deal!!

 

The whole thing:

Altra has some amazing stuff coming out in the Spring, and if you’re an Altra fanatic, this video’s definitely worth watching.

IQ Dance: I feel like I just woke up from a really exciting dream… Was that actually real?! With zero expectations, I’m proud  I took on the challenge with an open mind and simply tried it. This was  one of those “growing moments,” a once-in-a-lifetime experience dancing/performing. I learned/did something completely new, and that’s what gives me energy! Would I do it again? Yes. Will I be good at it? Umm, no! Do I still hear that song in my head over a week later? Yes.

I’m beyond grateful for Altra for this experience —this is a company that cares about its people and constantly challenges the Paradigm (you see what I did there?!). This show was a huuuuge risk and expense for Altra. There were plenty of skeptics. They still did it. I hope the crowd reaction, social media, and the buzz around the IQ are good evidence that presenting the brand in this very fitting and very fun “Altra” way was a good choice (well, actual sales orders would be even better, ha). :)

I also heard so many Altra employees say this week, “I feel like I haven’t had a job for XXXX years because this doesn’t feel like work.” And that’s how you know you’re good! I really enjoyed my time spent helping out at the busy booth on Saturday, too – it’s so fun talking to people about shoes. And apparel. And technology. :) {InRunCo flashback!}

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Among the runners, we spent most of our waking moments together over the last 7 days (particularly the 5 of us staying at the “runner house,” above). Because OR is the gathering of the year, this was such a wonderful week of learning new things, making new friends, and catching up with others. No matter where we live, runners make up a tight-knit community; I’m excited for us to all cross paths again.

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