Friday, April 30, 2010

Shin Splints

  I was talking to a friend yesterday, asking her when she was come out running with me and another friend.  Her response was that she wanted to but that she was currently suffering from Shin Splints and didn't know what to do.  So it dawned on me that maybe some of you were suffering from similar problems.  I used to get them in highschool during soccer season, but my coach showed me some ways to stretch out my lower leg muscles, and I haven't had shin splint pain ever again!
  By definition a Shin Split is pain along your shin bone (tibia), the pain is caused by an overload on the shinbone and connective tissues that attach your muscles to your bone.
  There are many treatments for a Shin Splint, such as rest, ice, over-the-counter pain meds (which I don't like suggesting meds ever, but just in case), wearing proper shoes (its amazing how shoes can make a huge difference) and arch supports might help as well.
  But what do you do to prevent one?  There are some stretches you can do!  Here is a great Youtube clip! Check it out:

Lesson: Don't let a shin split prevent you from running, but be aware of the pain and if it gets worse consult a Doctor because it could be a stress fracture!

Rocking Out to: Body Language by Jesse McCartney

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nova Marathon Challenge

  A friend of mine shared this Nova video with me and I loved it!  I thought it was an excellent explanation of what changes occur in your body as you start running.  It is a great way for new runners to get a good idea of the type of obstacles that they can face as they start out running and training for a marathon.  Check it out!,vepisode,1,0

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tips for Motivation

  I'm getting excited for this wonderful running season!  The weather is finally getting warm, the flowers and trees are in bloom, the birds are out chirping along the way, everything makes you want to run.  But some days no matter how beautiful the weather, I find myself unmotivated to go out.  Sometimes it means that I need an unexpected rest day but sometimes it means I just need to find ways to motivate myself.  So after doing some research, I found this wonderful article from Runner's World.  So I've picked y favorite motivation tips!
    1. A new pair of shoes - What runner doesn't love a brand new pair of shoes to break in?  There is just something about a new pair of kicks that make running that more enjoyable!
   2. Forget Time - This one I often find to be a chllenge.  Every time I go running it seems to turn into a competition with myself, How fast was I going, How far did I go, What was my pace?  While this can be helpful to know for training purposes, it is ok to run without clocking yourself.  You run will be more enjoyable.
   3. A Rockin Playlist - This I have found is crucial to any run.  Studies have shown that music does impact one's workout.  I have found that the Super Mash Bros., have great cds, their songs seem to blend effortlessly into the next, and as a result you aren't mentally counting songs, you are just running.  Plus the upbeat and up tempo songs can actually get you to run faster!
     Runner's World Suggests songs for many genres:
        Rock: "Don't Stop me Now" - Queen
                 "Break on Through" - The Doors
                 "Gimme Shelter" - Rolling Stones
                 "Come Together" - Beatles
                 "What Do You Do for the Money Honey" - AC/DC
     Country: "Cocaine Blues" - Johnny Cash
                 "Ain't Goin Down (Till the Sun Comes Up) - Garth Brooks
                 "Wide Open Spaces" - Dixie Chicks
                 "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow" - Alan Jackson
                 "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - Charlie Daniels Band
     Hip Hop: "If I Should Die" - Jay-Z
                 "Get By" - Talib Kweli
                 "Let's Get Retarded" - Black Eyed Peas
                 "Lose Yourself" - Eminem
                 "Bombs Over Baghdad" - Outkast
                 "Get Low" - Lil Jon
                "Caught Out There" - Kelis
    Alternative Rock: "Beautiful Day," U2

                "Run in Place" - The Nadas
                "Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes
                "Take Me Out" - Franz Ferdinand
                "Get Free" - The Vines
                "Just (You Do It to Yourself)" - Radiohead
  Guilty Pleasures: "Good Vibrations," Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
                "Toxic" - Britney Spears
                "Lovefool" - The Cardigans
                "Flagpole Sitta" - Harvey Danger
                "Fergalicious" - Fergie
4. Buddy Up - By finding a running buddy, you are less likely to skip out on  run, especially if your buddy is relying on you!  I have found this to be very true with running with my Dad.
5.  Run Trails and switch up your runs.  If you are running the same area all the time, it is likely that you will become bored!  Try for new places to run!
6. Run for a Reason!  If you have a specific reason to run, you will hold youself accountable and you won't miss a run!
7. REMEMBER YOU ALWAYS FEEL BETTER AFTER A RUN THAN BEFORE - as long as you stay injury free! ;)
8. Keep a Log of your runs, and periodically look back.  Are you going to feel guilty seeing a 0 on one of your days?

Lesson: There are many ways to motivate yourself, find what works the best for you! Don't be afraid to try something new!

Rocking Out to: Leavin' by Jesse McCartney

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ask Me How

So maybe this doesn't deserve its own blog post but.. it's getting one! So I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to ask me any questions they have about Interior Design, Architecture, Running, Etc. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions and help out wherever possible! As long as you realize I will turn it into a blog post. I LOVE it when people actually ask me design questions and want honest opinions and answers!

Have a problem area in your house that you just don't know what to do with? Just ask!

Stuck in a Running Rut and you can't figure out how to push past it? Just ask!

Having problems picking out paint colors for different spaces? Just ask!

Running and Fitness Bucket List

  Recently listening to Jillian Michael's podcast and one of her comments really struck me, so I thought I'd share it with you!  She made a comment about how it is so important to have a "Fitness Bucket List".  I thought that was an excellent idea.  Do you have one?  The best thing about a Bucket List, is that it is your own personal goal for what you would like to achieve.  It can be constantly changing and developing and start out slow.  It got me thinking about my own personal list, in my head I think I have always had one but thinking about it and writing them down really helped me to solidify my goals.  Does this mean that I will reach and attain every single item on my bucket list?  No not at all.  Some of mine have included, Running a Marathon, Doing a Triathlon - in the process of completing, Eventually doing an Ironman - I know maybe a little crazy but isnt that what bucket lists are about?  Those are some of the "BIG" ones, but smaller ones have included joining a running club, doing a Spin Class, etc.   So what about you?  What's on your Fitness Bucket List?  Don't have one, why not make one?  Gives you something to challenge yourself to do and once you have completed that challenge you will feel a great sense of accomplishment! Try it!

Currently Rocking out to: You Found Me by Kelly Clarkson

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ancient Architecture Part I

  As I said in my post on Church Architecture it is really important to study architecture and learn the significant aspects of each period and how we are affected by them today.  So I bring to you a series of posts on Ancient architecture.  We will start with Egypt,  but it is important to note the significance of  design and architecture from the very beginning of time, from carvings on the cave walls and hieroglyphics, etc.  These were the beginning stages of design and architecture! AMAZING!
    Now we will start with Egypt.  As with many other cultures and their histories, there are factors that made Egypt remarkable in its design, factors such as: the geography and natural resources (The Nile), religion, and their belief in kingdoms, dynasties, pharaohs and the afterlife. These factors played a huge role in the type of architecture and how these monuments were built and the significance of these buildings!
   When we think of ancient Egypt we immediately think of  their pyramids, sphinxes, temples and King Tut. 
 The pyramids were built relatively early in Egypt's history during the "Old Kingdom" when the pharaohs were seen as living gods and as such they were able to use their power to have pyramids constructed.  What is truly amazing about these huge pyramids is that they were ultimately built to protect the mummy, a deceased member of royalty, similar to a modern day masoleum.  These pyramids were a protection for them in the afterlife, the many chambers that are in the pyramids contained the rich treasures of the royal family, unfortunately most have been robbed by thieves!
 Sphinxes by definition are mythical monsters with the body of a lion and the head of another animal, either a diety or a human.  Sphinxes were very common and often would link one temple to another temple.
Now the temples are great examples of ancient interior architecture and design.  The temples were designed in an axial plan, in which the architectural elements are symmetrically arrayed around a center line.  Typically large sphinxes and statues lined the entrance to the temple.  There were large columns and courtyards with a hypostyle hall, which is a large hall with a roof that was supported by many, many columns.

Lesson: There is more to Egypt's architecture than meets the eye!

Rocking out to: Crash and Burn by Savage Garden

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Workout Myths

So like I've said in some of my other posts, I've started listening to Podcasts.  One of the ones that I have been listening to is Jillian Michaels.   What I like about her is that she doesn't beat around the bush, she tells her clients straight up what they are doing right or wrong.  Her honesty and sometimes brutality is refreshing, at times...
   Anyways, the latest podcast of her's that I listened to is about Workout Myths, whether or not they are fact or fiction.  So I did some research and have compiled a list based on her podcast and WebMD.
   1. Doing crunches does NOT get rid of belly fat! - I know this might come as a shock, but it is true, you can't pick and choose where you get rid of the fat on your body.  Man if someone could come up with a way to get rid of fat in certain areas, I'd be all over that!
   2. If you're not working up a sweat you're not working out hard enough! False!  Sweat is your body's way of cooling down, you can still have a great workout without a bunch of sweat! For example: a light walk or some light weight training!
    3. Swimming is a great weight loss activity.  Also FALSE!  You might think that seems weird.  Which swimming is a total body workout and it is a great way to tone your entire body, especially your arms and legs.  But it isn't uncommon to be really hungry after swimming.  So unless you are swimming for hours and hours you probably aren't going to loose a ton of weight.
    4. "No Pain, No Gain" Myth - I have to admit that at times, I have to tell myself this.  Its the only way I can get through some brutally long runs.  But there is a HUGE difference between actual physical pain and the mental pain that can come with these long runs.  It is always better to not "work" through the pain, it isn't worth it in the long run.  You can end up doing way more damage and harm to your body that way.
    5. You can maintain a healthy weight by just calorie counting -  This is simply just not true, it will work in the beginning to help you loose weight but it will not let you maintain it.  Every diet program has to include exercise to keep that weight off and so that you do not plateau.
 These are all myths that somehow manage to get into our heads and we somehow begin to believe them.  Ultimately these workout myths become road blocks in our workout regime and diet plans.  It is imperative that we just let them go!

Lesson: "Let Go" of the myths and stereotypes, they only prevent you from achieving your goals!

Rocking out to: Who Said Whiskey by Jake Owen

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Church Architecture

   I really believe that you have to  study the past to learn about the future, and what better way than to study architecture!  Think about it, the buildings that are still standing and that have withstood the test of time are certainly something worth studying and appreciating!  In Chicago, there are so many churches that are amazing examples of church architecture, they take the main concepts that worked in Ancient European churches and cities and implement them here. 
   One amazing example is St. Mary of the Angels, it is a gorgeous church that was finished being built in 1914. 
 It was designed by the architect Henry J. Schlacks and John A. Malin was responsible for decorating the interiors and painting the walls and amazing murals.  The architectural style of the Church was inspired by the Roman Renaissance style.  The Renaissance architectural style emphasizes symmetry, proportion, geometry.  The buildings often have columns, pilasters (a column built in to the wall for some architectural details), also semi-circular arches and hemispherical domes.  Another interesting detail of a Renaissance style church is the building plan, they have a square, symmetrical appearance.  These important architectural details are a huge way to determine if the building has been influenced by the Renaissance.
  Another amazing example is St. Hedwig, also located in Chicago.
  This church was built before St. Mary's and was completed in 1901.   It was designed by the architect Adolphus Druiding, who chose brick and bedford limestone to be the primary materials.  Stained glass windows were imported from Bavaria!!!  Unfortunately in April of 2008 there was a fire that burned part of the church, thankfully it has been restored and is back in use. 
Every Church and every building has a story behind it, waiting to be discovered.  The architecture of each building tells what was going on when it was built or what influenced the architect or was the inspiration behind the creation.  By studying these buildings we can better understand where we came from in architecture and where we are going.

Lesson of Today's Blog: Be aware of your surroundings, appreciate what has been built and learn about it.  Otherwise it is just another building that we enter that means nothing to us, we need to appreciate the hard work an effort that has gone into each of these spaces!

Currently Rocking out To: Livin The Dream (I'm on a Float) by Super Mash Bros.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Importance of Cross Training

  So for anyone out there who is new to running or is currently training for any race, I'd like to stress the importance of cross training.  It isn't something that is stressed often enough.  Most training programs that I have seen suggest it as a little sidenote, but don't explain how it can benefit your overall running experience!  I've started listening to Podcasts at work, to spice up the work day, and I've come across this great Podcast called Marathon Training Academy.
   This specific podcast was all about the benefits of Cross training, now through my own experience I have never really Cross Trained but after listening to this podcast, I'm sold!   So I took some notes and here is what I learned:
   The main benefits include:
           * balancing the muscle groups - many times runners have very strong hamstrings and so by balancing out the muscle groups you will have overall stronger muscles to make sure you cross that finish line!
           * Increased Cardio-Vascular Fitness
           * Improved strength and power
           * Decreases your chance of injury
           * Gives your injuries a chance to heal - By doing a variety of different activities and using ther muscles, you are iving your body a chance to heal the ones that are injured.  This one is probably the most appealing to me because of the different injuries I have had.
           * Busting Boredom! - Changing up your routine makes it interesting and fun!

   So now that you know the benefits, you are probably thinking ok, well what are some good cross training activities?  Here are a few suggestions:
        * Swimming - It is a great way to use all the muscles in your body, its a great work out!  Plus it is a great recovery exercise.  If you have ever had to do therapy, you typically start in  pool.
        * Water Jogging
        * Rowing
        * Power Yoga
        * Cycling/Spinning
        * Running Backwards - specifically on an Elliptical (bc it uses different leg muscles than normal running)
        * Group Sports - Make sure that once it gets close to your race you aren't participating in high impact group sports because your competitve edge will come out and you could injure yourself ultimately ruining your race plans.
        * Weight Training (using weights) and Strength Training (using your own body as resistance)

  Best thing to do for cross training and training for a race is to WRITE IT DOWN.  You are more likely to do it if you have it planned out.  Also, never let cross training become an excuse to skip a scheduled training run, but don't over do it either, make sure you are getting plenty of rest and watch for over-fatigue!

Today's Lesson: Cross Training balances your muscles and helps to ensure that you cross that finish line!  Don't skip out on training your whole body!

Currently Rocking Out to : Carry Out by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake

Friday, April 16, 2010

Listening to your body

Now, I might not be the best person to talk about listening your body to determine when to push yourself and when to admit defeat.  However, there are certain signs that should be listened to... When I went to the Expo for the STL 1/2 marathon, there was a booth that was handing out free Women's Running Magazine.
   I found this one article, particularly interesting about the impact of running, how regular runs can lead to better health but also when a run might actually compromise your health.
    One point that was made is that regular runs can improve your immune system.  This is is because during exercise and three hours after there is a greater circulation of important immune cells.  Helping you to fight off illness and actually improve your overall health. 
   Another point, which I have to say I found was the most interesting and held true for me is that you are more likely to get sick immedately folowing a marathon.  At that many mils, the immune system no longer functions normally... But have no fear! This doesn't mean that you can't run a marathon or a half marathon, it just means that you need to take control of the things that are in your power, such as getting lots of sleep, reduce mental stress, and don't loose weight rapidly while training!
   Now sick days do exist for runners and it is important to realize when you should take a a legitimate sick day.  Here are three tips for determining a sick day:
      1. Follow the "neck-up rule" - If yor symptoms are from the neck up then a moderate to light workout would probably be alright, but if the symptoms are muscle aches or a chest cold, you can do more harm if you try to run and workout.
     2. NEVER EVER RUN WITH A FEVER! This one probably seems pretty obvious, but some people are so determined to get a training run in that they will run even when they shouldn't.  The main reason that you shouldn't run with a fever is because running increases your core temperature which can put you at risk for hyperthermia or over-heating.
     3. Even if you have been sick and are feeling better, it is best to ease back into your run.  Don't start out at your typical pace.  If you are recovering from some severe symptoms, it is best to rest for 2 weeks and consult your Doctor.

Running Lesson: Listen to your body, the only way to truly determine if you should run is by listening to yourself! Only you can make that decision!
Currently Rocking out to: Break Even by The Script

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

STL Half-Marathon

Well, we did it! Every single on of us, 6 people in total, all finished the half marathon and not only did we finish but we all set PRs! Which I find to be even more amazing because that was the hilliest course I have ever run on!
    The day was gorgeous, it couldn't have been nicer,sunny and 80*.  We left our hotel around 6:30 and walked to the starting line about 7 blocks away and met up with our other cousin.  
 It was so much fun to look around and see the different kinds of peple there! There was a man who  ran the 1/2 while juggling the entire time!  The spectators were amazing as well, cheering on complete strangers, holding up signs that said "Kick some ASSphalt", or UR AMAZING, or my personal favorite "Your Calves Look Sexy!"
We all started out and ran the first mile together so that we could all be together the first time we saw our family and friends.  After the first mile though, we split off an each did our own thing.  Our Cousin Michael finished in 1:45, Greg in 1:58, Dad in 2:12, Katie in 2:22, Me in 2:30 and Uncle Steve in 2:39.  It was a wonderful experience and so amazing to be able to share it with so many family members!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gym Etiquette, Eti-what?

  Some people do not realize that there really is such a thing as gym ettiquette!  I know, shocking!  Most of these things are pretty easy and it is crazy that people don't know these things, especially since I feel like these are ingrained in me.... But maybe I am abnormal!  So one of the people that I follow on twitter (HealthyNChicago) actually posted this link on Twitter, so I am just going to show the article! Because frankly I couldn't agree more!

Pet Peeves at the Gym

March 31, 2010 by healthyinchicago
Bring a towel & wipe down equipment when you are done

We all have them… That guy next to you on the treadmill that is grunting as he sprints, the girl next to you on the elliptical who keeps peaking over to look at how long you have been on the machine. The sweaty person in class who is dripping all over the place-The pet peeves that happen at the gym that drive you nuts! There is such a thing as gym etiquette and even in a place with sweat and grunting, there are rules and customs that help us all get along at a gym and enjoy our time working out.
The 5 rules of gym etiquette;*
Be Quiet. Nothing is more annoying when the person next to you is bearing their soul to their friend/mother/girlfriend on their cell phone. We don’t want to hear about what the doctor said, how bad your boss is, etc. Most importantly, when others are loud it takes away from the mental benefits of exercise.

Clean up after yourself. Self explanatory right? But so many people don’t do it! Wipe down the machine after you are done, this includes weight benches. Germs spread through sweat.

Be careful when handling weights. Someone always does it-drops a weight in the gym which produces a very loud, disruptive noise. In addition to being annoying, equipment can actually be damaged when it is dropped with force. Another reminder, put back the weights where you found them when you are done!

Share equipment. We learn it in preschool but there are always those people who apparently don’t practice this concept. During busy times at the gym, be conscious of the time limit on cardio machines, especially if there is a wait. Doing a weight routine? When you are in between sets- don’t hog the equipment. In reverse, if someone is in a routine and using the weights you want to use, wait your turn. You’ve been that person waiting before and probably will be waiting again-remember karma can suck.

Watch your odor. If you are smelly, you will offend the people around you. Clean your clothes, wear deodorant, and don’t douche yourself in body spray or perfume.

Other honorable mentions; treating the locker room like your personal bathroom, talking in front of the water fountain, reserving your spot in class way before it starts
  To see the actual article go to: HealthyNChicago

Currently Rocking Out to: We Ready by Rasheed

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Recovery!

   As any avid runner knows, the recovery time can be a killer!  If you are training for a marathon, or any race for that matter, after longer training runs, you certainly feel it in your muscles!  Some days more so than others... So what do we do?
    After doing some research, I found the best tips from Their philosophy is comprised of the three C's: Chow, Chug and Chill.  Chow, obviously means to eat something!  This is super important to do right after a run, but they aren't talking about a 5 course meal, I mean most people would probably puke.. atleast I would!  Instead they recommend that you drink a protein shake or fruit juice, anything that is high in protein and carbohydrates, to re-fill your body.  Chug - Naturally drink something!  Not just anything, though, WATER, good ole H2O!  According to the article, a good rule of thumb is to drink one quart of fluid for every half hour of running.  That way you will rehydrate your body, and recovery time will be much quicker!  And of course Chill - you are probably thinking that it means to become a couch potato and watch I Love Lucy reruns or CSI.  But it doesn't!  Chill, really means to get your body cool/cold.  As much as runners hate to hear it Ice baths, ice, cold showers, etc. make a world of difference on your recovery time!
     But the most important lesson of all is to realize that recovery can take days and it is important to listen to your body and determine what it can and can not handle.  To push yourself too hard will end with injury.. trust me, I know!

Lesson: Chow, Chug and Chill!!!

Currently Rocking Out to: Dirt Off your Shoulder by Jay Z