Brazen Thoughts

Just a peek into the things that go through my head daily

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Little Hip Action

One of the most important parts of your body, especially for runners is the hips and it’s most often the most neglected. I fully attribute my back issues to a misalignment and/or lack of strength in my hips. A few years ago, I had to take some time off from running, which really sucked! Back story, I trained and ran two marathons in a ten month span, all without properly strengthening my hips. Really, really bad idea! Don’t follow in my footsteps! Even though I am very active and a trainer, many times, the trainer needs a trainer, so I went to physical therapy and gained more knowledge on what I had done to myself and how to heal it. I learned more about the gluteus medius and pirifmoris, which aid in stabilizing the hip bones. I, obviously, had learned about these muscles in college, but we went a little more in depth. Plus once injury hits you, you are a little more invested into learning about the problem. So anyway, here are a few of my favorite hip strengthening exercises:


hip1 hip2

Lay on your side, back, butt and bottoms of your feet flat against a wall (this is important, because you don’t want your hips to move). Lift your top knee towards the ceiling, making sure that your hip does not open up. When starting out, don’t worry about your range of motion, that will come as you get stronger, the key to this exercise is slow, deliberate moves, while keeping the hips still. As you get stronger, you can add a band around your thighs to add resistance. You should feel a burning in your glutes, this is your gluteus medius (glute med) and your piriformis working. It sucks, but it’s totally worth it in the end! Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps. Make sure to repeat on each side, I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but I don’t want one of you coming back at me later and yelling at me 🙂

Side leg raise:

hip3 hip4Same body position as the clamshells, this time with top leg straight out. Place your heel against the wall, point your toe down and lift your leg, keeping heel against the wall. You can make this one more fluid by taking your shoe off or placing a towel on your heel. Make sure your toe stays pointed down, which will close your hip, engaging your glute med and piriformis more. As with the clamshells, add a band if the exercise begins to get easier.

Traveling side squats:

ss1 ss2 ss3

Start with feet together, standing tall, as you would for a regular squat. Take a step to the right side and come down into a squat, as you rise, bring your left foot in to meet with your right. Continue to the right side for the length of the room. Then come back using your left leg first. I would highly recommend using a band for this, but it can always be done without anymore resistance. There are many variations of this exercise, so if you want to make it more challenging, you can do forward/backward traveling squats. In which you would bring your right foot forward on an angle, squat, then bring the left foot up to meet it. Then switch to the left side, bringing that foot up on an angle and so on until you are at the front of the room, and then you can walk it backwards in the same fashion.

The only problem with these is exercises is that I forget to do them, until I’m injured! It never fails, as soon as I start to feel better, I stop doing these and then I have to start from the beginning again, instead of just keeping up with these at least a few times a week. Ugh, I’ll learn one of these days!

Do you have those exercises that you just cannot keep in your routine, even though you know you need to? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!!)


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Along the Chicago Lakefront

As an avid biker and runner on the lakefront, there are things I see and all I want to do is yell at people to tell them to stop! And there are many times that I do. This type of blog has been done a billion times, but I wouldn’t be doing my own blog justice if I didn’t touch on this topic. So here we go, here’s a list of my top pet peeves on the lakefront.

The easiest and most important rule to live by on the path is to treat it as if you were driving on the road, it really will help in every situation.

-DO NOT for any reason stop in the middle of the path. Would you stop your car in moving traffic, probably not (at least I hope you wouldn’t). If you have to stop, move to the right side, yes the right, not the left, and take care of whatever you need to take care of there.

-Stay on the right side of the path. Again, this goes back to the being on the road. Are we in England? Nope, so you wouldn’t drive on the left side, so don’t walk/bike there either.

-Please do not let children/dogs run wild. This is for the safety of everyone! If your child runs into the middle of the path when a bunch of bikers are coming, they may not be able to stop in time or they may not hit your child, but they may injure themselves.

-When passing someone check over your left shoulder, if someone else is coming, slow down, wait until that person passes, and then you can pass the person in front of you. This is especially true if you are running and a biker is coming up behind you fast and furious. Not looking before passing is a death sentence.

-Also when passing, nicely say “on your left”. This will alert others that they need to make sure to stay in their lane and not weave into you as you are passing. If there are only a few people on the path, you probably don’t need to do this, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

-Only walk in pairs. Any more than that and you’re taking up too much of the path. OH and STOP walking three deep, each with a bicycle. First off, get on your damn bike, second, you are taking up so much damn room! Are you that rude that you think on one else should be able to enjoy the path?

-Stop it with the bell! Awesome, you are visiting our fair city and you’ve rented a bike to tour the lakefront. Fantastic! It’s a great way to be active and see the sights. There is a bell attached the handle bars, use it when passing someone, not every flippin second!! You are annoying and I want to throw you in the freezing cold lake!

The Chicago lakefront is 20 miles of fantastic views and wonderful motivation to keep active. We can all enjoy the path, as long as you approach it with common courtesy, and common sense (which I know is not that common).

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Honeymoon #2 research!

Dan is the traveler in our family, he researches and dreams up new places to go. All. Day. Long. So when it came time for our honeymoon, I gave my opinions, but I left it in his very capable hands and with destination numero uno, he did very well. Right after the wedding we flew down to Playa Del Carmen for a few days of relaxation, and it was nice. I probably wouldn’t go back, all inclusive resorts seem like a thing of the past (drunken college days when I could drink anything and not get a hangover) or the future (taking children to a beach/pool to run around and be kids), but it was nice to sit on a beach with a cocktail for a couple days.

Now that we’re back and the wedding has passed, I promised Dan that I would help in the research for our actual honeymoon…Thailand!! We knew early on that we wanted to go somewhere around the world and to a once in a lifetime destination. We went back and forth between Thailand and Bora Bora, choosing Thailand in the end because it would give us more of our type of vacation. We aren’t sit on the beach and “relax” type of people, we get antsy and need more stimulation than that, there is nothing wrong with those vacations, they just aren’t our speed.

So we booked our tickets with Dan’s plethora of miles on Cathay Pacific (in business class!!) to Hong Kong where we will spend a couple days seeing the city and (trying) to get acclimated to the time change. We’ll then fly to Chiang Mai to trek with elephants, then off to relax on an island down south, then over to Bangkok to finish up the trip! It’s going to be a whirlwind, but that’s how we travel best!

Like I promised, I would help with the planning, but this is harder than it looks! We’re probably only going to get here once in our lifetime, so we want to make sure we get the best out of our trip, and hopefully not make any mistakes. I think that the toughest decision that we are trying to make is which island to go to! I know that you can’t go wrong, but I’m not a great decision maker. Well, we’re narrowing it down and getting into the groove of planning city by city and I cannot wait for October to travel to Asia! (although we have two other trips planned between now and then. It’s going to be a busy summer/fall!)

If you’ve been to Thailand, what did you do and where did you go? I’m looking for suggestions! Help! 🙂


For Love of Exploration