December 10, 2010

Create... Art. Gift!

Painting! Why don't I paint more? I feel like I will always ask myself this question. I will probably be asking myself this same question every day for the rest of my life. My art teacher in high school asked me the same question (usually loudly, in the form of a yell) when he knew I hadn't been expressing my creative ability in one-way-or-another. That art teacher, who I hated until he retired and was no longer there to push me, is now what I consider to be a great influence in my life and aforementioned creative ability.

I know that I am very fortunate that my career allows me to design - therefore expressing my creative ability. Not only 40+ hours a week with a pointy marketing hat, but also for friends, family and a few freelance clients. Lately I've been noticing that once I get a non-work related creative idea (many thanks to this crafty couple and this swell lady as of late) I simply cannot stop thinking about getting it done! I'll share more about that in a later post. Back on subject, though, I know I need and want to create art more often and that's what I've been trying to do - on top of my career, boyfriend, family, exercise and running, and now three (count them... 3!) pets.

Today I want to share my latest acrylic paint and canvas creation. I ventured into creating a copy of a famous piece... can you believe this is the first copy I've ever done? I guess I didn't really know that it was "PC" to copy another piece of artwork. Anyway, this is a Christmas gift (I was thinking very "season of reason" low cost gifts this year) for my Grandma Rosie and her long-time boyfriend who is practically my Grandpa. I know my Grandma likes scenes with people and nature and I think she has a few mother-daughter scenes in her home already. So, I pulled out a few of my gently-used art books that I purchased at the Denver Public Library Used-Book Sale this past summer to see what she might like. Ta Da! Mary Cassatt had several, but this one was perfect! I've always liked Mary Cassatt's "motherly" or maybe "caregiving" impressionist style. Check out the original below, followed by my copy.

Mary Cassatt, American (1844-1926) Summertime, ca. 1894. Oil on canvas. The Armand Hammer Foundation.
Kathryn Shanahan, Acrylic on canvas. Pose from Mary Cassatt's Summertime.
Low-resolution photograph (I'll post more later).
The original in the book I had was not so pink. I am not sure why it looks different here, there's several reasons I suppose, and it probably looks different on your computer screen anyway. I am happy with how it turned out - of course, I'm never really happy with the way my artwork turns out but it usually grows on me. I tend to overwork a piece to the point of ruining it... but I didn't have time to do that with this one since it was traveling from Colorado to Iowa about 9 days after I started.

Copying a piece of art is a terrific way to learn and develop skill. I have a long way to go with skill (with 6-year gaps between paintings!) and am so excited to keep working at it.

At the time I'm writing this Christmas is still 2 weeks away, so I don't know if my Grandma likes it. Though - she's my Grandma, she'll absolutely love it. If you know her, don't spill the beans!

October 26, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon!

After this blog post, I promise I will write about something other than running... this is for those who asked how it went and for beginner (since I still consider myself a beginner) training tips and thoughts.

The Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon was on Sunday, October 17th at 6:55am. After sharing a protein and salt filled breakfast with my cousin Brianne (made by my lovely mom) we headed over to meet Megan for the big race. I was a little excited and pretty nervous so I don't think I gave myself enough time to digest breakfast; luckily that didn't come back to haunt me as badly as it could have. Let me back up a little and talk about training...

I knew training for a Half Marathon (which is 13.1 miles) would be daunting. I had read a few websites, blogs and magazine articles about training for the race but decided to take a pretty relaxed approach. You all know I have a Nike+ sensor (click here to see my runs) and love it; so I just clicked on the "NWM Half Marathon" training coach through the Nike+ website and it gave me a schedule to follow. I didn't follow it. No lie.

I did start training in July. I actually started training while I was in Iowa > Worst. Idea. Ever. It was so humid that I felt like I was swimming in a bathtub filled of muck. I'll run in high-altitude over humidity any day. So, I continued training for 12 weeks. Some weeks I ran 7 miles and other weeks I ran 17 miles. My furthest run before race-day was 10 miles. Quite an accomplishment if you ask me, but I didn't know if I was ready or not. I took the optimistic approach and talked myself into being ready.

Vinny loves running

Ten things I learned about running, myself and my body while training:

  1. Yes, my appetite increased. I was hungry most of the time and craved salt like no one's business (pickles in particular) - I could have done better with nutrition during training and am actually in the middle of setting a plan for myself for the rest of the year to avoid post-training weight gain.
  2. I did experience a little pain - my collar bones felt like they were pulling my shoulders forward, mostly after long runs but also while going about my day - I think this is from having really tight shoulders. Massage is really important if you're feeling tight, ignoring aches and pains will lead to injury. I wish I could afford to get massage more often (and I even work for a massage company!).
  3. After about mile 4 or 5 Vincent gets tired and thirsty, so I had to start leaving him at home and that made me sad so, of course, I had to make up for it by taking him on more walks.
  4. I love having a running buddy. The important thing about running buddies though, is they have to run around the same pace as you - lucky for me, I have one of those - Megan. I did find that if she couldn't make a running date, I'd skip it too.
  5. After about mile 7 my right knee and IT band show some pain - love the foam roller for this (check out this video to see how).
  6. I must have water if I'm running 5+ miles. I bought the Spring Palm Holder at Dick's. I had to get it online because they only had the larger versions in the store. Like carrying anything while running, it's annoying and I only take it on longer runs.
  7. I only got around to trying one sports snack - I used Clif's Shot Bloks and I think Cran Razz is the best flavor. In my opinion these really helped. I had 3 Bloks every 5 miles (long runs only) while training and only ate 3 during the race - at mile 9.
  8. Talking about the training is as important to me as training itself. It's good to talk to seasoned runners as well as non-runners because it keeps the idea of running (and the guilt of not running or maintaining your training schedule) top-of-mind.
  9. Running has become an addiction. If I feel anxious or fatigued I immediately say "I need to go for a run!"
  10. I set pretty realistic goals for myself for this race. First, I just wanted to be able to finish. Then, after my 10 mile run I set a new goal - to finish in 2 hours and 40 minutes (12 min. 21 second miles).
View of the Colorado State Capital Building from the finish line (I think)
Training under way, goals set -- now off to the race! 

Rock 'n' Roll does a great job. This was the first year for Rock 'n' Roll in Denver, so I expect next year will be a little different and even better (you will see my note about the music below). The Expo on Friday night was really cool - lots of freebees and neat stuff to learn about.

Megan and I got into the same corral (pen for livestock, or... ummm, start area) and stuck together through mile 9. Brianne was quite a ways behind us because her corral crossed the start-line several minutes later. At mile 9 I absolutely had to hit the porta-potty and ended up waiting in line for 4.5 minutes! That was a little discouraging because I lost Megan. I knew that I'd see my boss, coworker Todd and Katy at about mile 10.5 and they were there, sign and all (how sweet, thanks guys!) - I will tell you, seeing people you know (or anyone) cheering for you is the ultimate motivator! I wasn't expecting the excitement it gave me and I am so grateful everyone was there. 

I walked a little between mile 10.75 and 11.5 (at Cheeseman Park) but don't feel bad about it at all. Walking helped me be able to have a strong finish.


Finished In:

Kathryn Shanahan
Denver, CO
Age: 27 | Gender: F
Overall: 6873 out of 9177 · Division: 993 out of 1260 · Gender: 4450 out of 6334
Pace5K10K11.0 MiChipTimeClockTime

FINISH TIME: 02:37:34 or 
02:33:24 if you exclude the wait at the potty

I waited in the "family wait area" for my mom, Lee, Mike, Aunt Debbi and Brianne for a good 40 minutes and that is when I felt the worst. I thought I was going to die. All I wanted to do was get to the couch ASAP but I knew that walking around was the best thing for me at the time anyway. I was sore for a good day - my right knee and IT band were aching and I was very tired. I felt pretty good Monday (I was very happy I ended up taking Monday off work) and by Tuesday I was back to normal.

This is me after the race, when I thought I was going to die!
Brianne (when she thought she was going to die) and me again.
A better shot of Brianne and me.
My bestest fans - Mike, my mom and Lee (mom's fiance)
One thing that bugged me is that the live bands during the race were not as LOUD as they were at the Bolder Boulder. That was quite disappointing and I hope they step it up next year (I don't really like to wear my iPod during big events like this) for the runners. Another thing that bugged me was that the FT shirts I ordered were wayyyy to short so I had to wear two shirts, poooo.

For those of you who are interested in training for a Half, here is another training tool a few people had recommended to me: Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training for Intermediate Runners. I think I will follow this 'to the T' next time, to help increase my pace and so I feel a little more "normal" after the race.

"Dear Lord, I pray that there is someone behind me to read this" was definitely the best t-shirt and "F X X K CANCER" was the best marker-tattoo I saw at the race!

Happy Running Everyone - Remember, personal fitness and nutrition are two of the very few things controllable in your life.

June 11, 2010

Bolder Boulder 2010

I finished 23,859th out of about 54,000 runners and walkers at the Bolder Boulder on May 31, 2010. I think that finishing in the top 50% is quite impressive. The race was a 10k, or 6.2 miles, and I think it's just about as far as I've ever run in 68 minutes and 21 seconds.

I'll just mention that I was never meant to run, it wasn't "in the cards for me" and is not a natural ability I have. Heck, I'm knock-kneed! But I want to be a runner. It's something I strive for and have to work at every day. Since January of this year not only have I been running, but I've change what and how I eat, I've been attending amazing hot yoga classes (I don't see how anyone can run without yoga!) and I'm practically obsessed with running clothes and gadgets.

I love it, and running is good for me (I've lost 20 lbs this year); but without these few people who've pushed me, I'd wouldn't be a runner. My cousin Traci because she encourages me to be healthy physically and emotionally- she runs. My met-on-Craigslist old roommate and bestie Megan because we are doing this (running, yoga, eating better) together. Another cousin, Brianne, mostly because we're competitive- she runs too. My chic Minneapolis girly, Marci because she shares my running and yoga retail-obsession and is usually available on gChat 40+ hours a week. And all the other strong female runners and yogis in my life - Jessie, Melis (although she's way out of my league), Katy, Briana and many more. I am so fortunate to have so many awesome ladies in my life!

Megan and me after the BB

Runner’s World magazine named the Bolder Boulder America’s Best 10K in its annual “Best of Running” issue.

Stats from my run at the Bolder Boulder:

overall place: 23914
place: 381 out of 743
gender place: 10,145 out of 26,494
mile 1: 00:10:20.64
mile 2: 00:11:16.88
mile 3: 00:11:25.02
mile 4: 00:11:09.68
mile 5: 00:10:33.68
mile 6: 00:11:16.00
net time: 01:08:21.11
pace: 11:00 (based on net time)

My goal was to finish in 70 to 72 minutes or less. I finished in 68 minutes and 21 seconds and couldn't be happier. In late July I'll start setting a goal for the Denver Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon. I don't think running would be fun if I didn't have a goal or something to compete with - whether it's another person or just myself.

Here are some of the tools I use to keep myself motivated - Nike+, a Polar Heart Rate Monitor, Runners World and I stay connected with other runners on Twitter.

And finally, in case I didn't inspire you enough- here are some great Reasons to Race.

June 10, 2010

Okay, now seriously...

Are all blogistas just the cutest, most fashionable little beings? In my mind, they are. And, they have the ability to soak up many of my free-time hours. How do they do it? How do they find the time to shop, dress, create and on top of all that, blog? Maybe they get paid by web-angels to blog. Maybe they have little bloggery-helpers who run their errands and cook their fresh-amazingly-colorful-and-organic meals all while they just write blogs to pretend they are super-chicks. Maybe they hire cute little models to pose for pictures. Perhaps they even hire photographers to take the always-perfect photos for their blogs. I want to say they don't have the time, energy and funds to do all these amazing things and then write about them. But I can't. I bet they are 100% for-real and it makes me sick.

The greatest, latest and always-there. Check them out. There are more, but I don't have the energy to find them.

May 24, 2010

Holy moly it's been a while...

"I'm very encouraged by the increase in opportunities available to inhouse graphic designers over the past few years. Companies are now recognizing the benefits of having a strong internal creative team and are leveraging those talents for profit, growth and success. Internal creative departments have the potential for being the resource for all things design. Design touches every department in a corporation, giving inhouse designers a broader range of projects and interactions with a wider range of employees than anyone else in a company. In addition, many companies are now providing a boatload of incentives to lure designers to the other side so they can thrive creatively and be happy, productive employees. Still, we need to be more resourceful and savvy and take a proactive stance. The design industry has become very competitive. It's the idea that counts, the story and they way you visually communicate that idea. It's our expertise, talent, experience and in-depth knowledge of our corporate brand. That's the value we bring to the table." - Glenn John Arnowitz, director of creative services at Wyeth.

In 2009, not only did we create two brand new, optimized websites for both Fitness Together and Elements Therapeutic Massage - we created new location (franchise) sites and a whole new back-end for the franchisees. It's been busy.

More recently, we just wrapped up a 5-session teleconference series teaching the franchisees how to get the most out of all types of Internet Marketing, all while publishing and releasing 2 second quarter marketing plans. We're exhausted and ready for the upcoming 3-day weekend, that's for sure; but not until we're finished with Elements Franchise University this week.

Personally, I'll be running in the Bolder Boulder this week with my friend Megan. I hope to finish in 70 minutes or less - I mean I will finish in 70 minutes or less! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

November 6, 2008

type of update

Hi there, I just updated I've had a few freelance jobs here and there, but nothing too straining (that is your hint to send more my way). My "real" job is taking up a lot of energy as we've been undergoing a large, very large, market research project for both franchise brands: Fitness Together & elements therapeutic massage. I have learned so much over the last few months that I could not have imagined when I started working for this company.

There was particularly great feedback from the focus groups [qualitative research] for elements: the customers love, and more importantly - understand - the elements logo. I couldn't be more flattered after what they said in Denver that night, about a logo that I designed over 2 years ago. It's not about how "pretty" it is, or "relaxing", it's the fact that they nailed our idea of a (work-in-progress) brand dead-on; just from viewing the logo! They had never even been in a studio. A logo doesn't make a brand. The consumers make the brand. It was/is so awesome.

On another note, the marketing campaign run by president -elect Barack Obama's people was phenomenal. I couldn't be prouder to be one of the majority, 'under 30 ethnic minority and college-educated whites,' that voted for Obama; after consistently being bombarded through every medium I view daily (,, Google, text messages, e-mail, Signage, people). They hit it hard, they did it right - backed by the statistical data focusing on who they needed the votes from, my generation. I was constantly impressed.

WE DID IT! (with the help of a lil' marketing)

June 15, 2008


June is underway and it feels like time is just flying by. I have updated my site, check it out if you have not already (I am really excited about it)
I hope to get more freelance work through this site, so please pass it along to your friends and family; especially those who own/work at small businesses!

Have a great summer!

This photo is from a street-art festival in Denver, some really amazing stuff - just in the middle of the street!