Get to know the Barefoot Team – Physio Caitlin S’s Barefooter Story

1 – What’s something you love to do outside of work and how does it help you live your Barefoot Lifestyle?

Anyone that knows me know I am very passionate about food. I take time to sit and plan my menu for the week – on weeks where I know I’ll be busy, I pick easy meals I’m familiar with but when I have the time I love trying new recipes and learning new things. For me cooking is a way to express my love for those around me (including myself) and it’s also a great way to delve into and appreciate other cultures. I also love the process – from buying the ingredients at the markets or smaller Asian/African grocery store and supporting small businesses and making those human connections, to the moving meditation of chopping vegetables or kneading dough, I love it all and that’s why when I can, it makes up so much of my week.

2 – We know that bodies love to move, what do you enjoy to do movement-wise?

It likely comes as no surprise that I love to run. Since retiring from competitive track about a year ago, I’ve really had to redefine my relationship with “exercise” as opposed to “training”. So rather than running max effort 300m reps to the point of near collapse, I now spend much more time on the road running at any easy pace – taking the new found opportunity to really listen to my body and adjust my pace and distance depending on how I’m feeling. I’m not naturally built for endurance so its been a fun challenge slowly increasing my distance on the longer runs. The steady state run really gives me space to clear my mind and I always feel better after going for a run. I also love the feeling of being strong so you can find me in the gym a few times a week and I still run hill sprints for fun!

3 – Tell us about a happy memory or memories and how it shaped the person you are today?

Can I say when I finally got to pat a wombat on a recent work outing to Lone Pine Koala sanctuary? Wombats are the perfect balance of systematic planners (they build very complex burrows) + fierce loyalty (they’ll sit on a fox’s head and crush it to protect its burrow).I love those qualities and my obsession with wombats knows no limits!

On a more serious note, it’s probably an obvious one, but I have to say the Rio Olympic Games. Making the team was a goal for 8 years, so just to be there was a huge tick off the bucket list. More than that though, our relay team had a great team culture and we knew we were in the position to do something remarkable. For a country of our size, its tough to get 4+ women running fast all at the same time but everything came together and we all stepped up and ran for each other. The moment we got confirmation we’d made the Olympic final was just pure joy. To have my family there to support me in Brazil was so special too. That memory is reflective of just some of the skills my athlete life has given me – discipline, delayed gratification and immense gratitude both for those sweet moments and the people around you who helped make it happen.

4 – If you could choose your dream holiday would you prefer an international or local destination? And what has been your favourite holiday so far?

It’s very hard to pick! I love a beach holiday and Australia has so many incredible places to explore but I think with COVID really limiting our options lately I’m currently pining for an international destination. I’ve only done very limited parts of Europe so I think that is where I’d love to go. I’d say my favourite holiday would probably be White Christmas in the USA before my husband moved to Australia. There is something a bit magical about snow and it’s always great spending time with my in-laws because we don’t get to see them very often.

5 – What made you want to become a Physiotherapist and what has been a standout moment for you as a physio?

I grew up in a healthcare household and the value of caring for others was instilled in me from a young age. Growing up as an athlete I had injuries, including one that took me out for a whole season. Seeing the difference good physio care could make to my performance and quality of life made me want to help people the same way my physio had helped me. I don’t think there is any singular standout moment in my career – I have lots of small moments that are important to me and they are all centred around making a positive difference in people’s lives. It is truly a privilege to walk alongside someone and witness all the highs and lows of their journey up close. So to come to work and do that every day is something I am very grateful for and enjoy, even when its hard.

Bonus question: With World Championships and The Commonwealth Games just finished for another year, what is your favourite athletics event to watch and why?

I think I’m going to have to say the Olympics. Even though this year’s World Champs were an incredibly high standard and the Aussie team did superbly, there is just something extra special about the Olympics. It’s hard to explain but there is something different about wearing the green and gold when the Olympic rings are also on your chest and it really brings out the best in athletes.

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