Records for Running: Florence Griffith Joyner

Do you ever wonder who brought all the “glam” to the world of female athletes? Well, there are a few chicks in history who changed the game and one of the most well-known one is Florence Griffith Joyner. She was fashion forward when it wasn’t even popular.

TV shows like SNL (Saturday Night Live) have traditionally made fun of the female athlete. Often played by a man, she was hairy, muscular and unattractive. Admittedly, I used to laugh at these caricatures. They were funny and played by comediennes that I love. Yet, through time, I had to eat those laughs because the image of the female athlete began to evolve.

Through the years, the look of the female athlete began to evolve and today, many are now considered to be fashion icons. Yet, these new female athletes didn’t get to where they are on their own. They owe a lot to the female athletes of the past – the ones who weren’t afraid to show a different face – an extremely attractive one. Who was one of the biggest influences? Track and field star Florence Griffith Joyner.

Florence Griffith Joyner was a runner who broke the World Record for the 100 meter in 1987. Her time was 10.49 seconds. She continued on for a majority of her life to be a star athlete, but one of the things that women like myself (and a lot of men) loved about her was her look. Florence Griffith Joyner was a beauty and had a style all of her own.

Florence Griffith Joyner’s look was unique in her day for a female athlete. Her hair was thick and flowing down her back. Her make-up was noticeable (red lipstick, dark eyeliner and red blush). And her nails – well – let’s just say they were multi-colored and longer than the average gals. Florence Griffith Joyner looked more like a Hollywood actress than a runner. She was totally glam in a field that was at times totally ho-hum. Yet, this gal could run.

Florence’s ability to run and look beautiful at the same time is what truly influenced female athletes. She didn’t have to buy into a stereotype in order to be taken seriously nor seriously compete. She was an individual and brought a lot of style to her career field of choice.

Sadly, Florence Griffith Joyner’s life was cut short. And, in 1998 she passed on, but not without leaving a legacy of beauty that is mimicked today by well-known female athletes like Serena Williams. Her willingness to be glamorous allowed people like Serena Williams to follow in her footsteps with less criticism.

So now when I see those old SNL skits with manly female athletes, I understand that they are just stereotypes. Of course, I still laugh. I laugh hard . . . But for the right reason.

Vacations for the Kids: Grand Canyon

An overview of the Grand Canyon Junior Ranger program for kids that will make a visit even more memorable.

All Americans, especially kids, should visit the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. As vast as America is, with all its natural wonders and beauty, you’d be hard pressed to find any other spot in this amazing country that is more likely to take your breath away. Adults as well as kids tend to be equally overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of this extraordinary spectacle, but the park extends a special privilege to children that is not granted to their parents. If you are really looking for a destination spot your kid will never forget, take advantage of the Grand Canyon Junior Ranger program. Heck, this program is nearly as memorable as if your kids were to come across Bobby and Cindy Brady still on the lookout for their little Indian buddy. Your rugrats may not leave for home with a flashlight filled with baked beans but they will take home a really cool iron-on badge and a certificate, as well as, a trip they are not likely to ever forget.

It is ridiculously easy for you to turn your trip to the Grand Canyon into an opportunity for your kids to becomes Junior Rangers. It doesn’t cost anything and you can pick up all the information at visitor centers. The actual requirements for getting those stinkin’ badges vary according to age, but in general the idea is to get the kids to consider the vast beauty and history of the Canyon on a more personal and reflective level. This is accomplished through noting specific observations and writing down impressions. The Grand Canyon Junior Ranger program also includes attending various programs led by official park rangers throughout your visit.

The more adventurous kids are urged to become Phantom Rattler Junior Rangers. Kids aged 4 to 14 must ride down into the canyon by mule and attend the Phantom Ranch at the bottom in order to achieve this level of Junior Ranger. Just a typical visit to the Grand Canyon is certainly going to be memorable, but if you really want your kids to come home from that big crack in Arizona with a memory that they will never, ever forget, be sure to look in on the Junior Ranger program.

View 466980568's profile

History of Shoes: Running

Learn how running shoes evolved throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Having a shoe designed specifically for running seems like a no brainer, however, running shoes really didn’t get their start until the end of the 19th century. They then slowly evolved over the 20th century, leading to the huge explosion of running shoe technology and design options that are currently available. It is hard to believe that if running shoes had not been developed, we would be running in the flat soled tennis shoes.

The Birth of the Running Shoe

Running footwear had been almost non-existent prior to the late 19th century. In fact, many people ran in whatever footwear they had, including boots and sandals. However, in the 1890s the shoe manufacturer JW Foster and Sons, which eventually became the shoe company Reebok , developed the first official modern running shoe. This shoe had a tennis shoe outer with a lacing system and metal spikes attached to the sole of the shoe. The spikes were designed to give the runner traction and to help improve their overall running speed.

The Running Shoe Evolves in the 20th Century

By the early part of the 20th century, vulcanization revolutionized shoe manufacturing. Vulcanization was simply the process of melting rubber and fabric together. This molten mixture was then molded to create a sole for shoes that had a tread design. This design revolution made shoes lightweight, quiet, and flexible. It also provided the wearer with traction. Keds was the first American company to mass distribute the new “sneakers” starting in 1917.

In 1925 a German inventor named Adi Dassler, who founded Adidas , evolved the spiked running shoe design further by creating a series of running shoes. Each shoe design had a special hand forged set of running spikes and each design was made especially for a certain running distance. This was the first time designs were focused on whether the runner was a sprinter or a long-distance runner.

During the 1970s running shoes were designed based not only on the type of running the person did, but the running style the runner had. The three running styles that shoes were designed for included neutral runners, supernation runners and pronation runners. The final advancement that running shoes received during the 1970s was the use of ethylene vinyl acetate, also referred to as EVA. This material added an air cushion to the design of a running shoe providing runners with extra cushion and shock absorption when they ran.

View 467118445's profile

Snowboarding Vacations: Switzerland!

In southern Switzerland, Saas-Fee is the “Pearl of the Alps” and snowboarders can join the tradition.

What’s a good way to enjoy the finest dry snowboarding powder without spending all of your time in frigid conditions?

Try finding a spot next to some glaciers

Saas-Fee is “Die Perle der Alpen,” or “The Pearl of the Alps.” It is found in the southern portion of Switzerland near the border with Italy, so this is not exactly a Nordic locale, evidenced by an unusually high tree line. But the highest Swiss Alps runs have elevations of more than 11,500 feet, and chill air comes from the glaciers of the Dom and the Allalinhorn. So, you can have your snow and sweat a little, too!

The main village of Saas-Fee has a population of 1,700, plus maybe three times as many ski visitors and tourists. You will have to stop at a car park outside of town, because motor vehicles are not allowed inside the limits, but an electric bus or cable car will greet you post-haste.

There’s a halfpipe and a park for snowboarding, and the top European pros like to congregate here, especially during summer. Other stuff to try? There’s snowshoe trekking, tobogganing, canyon climbing, ice climbing, paragliding and hang gliding.

An especially cool feature is the world’s highest underground railway, which climbs to the top of the ski and snowboard area. Also at the top is a restaurant that revolves; therefore, this is the world’s highest revolving restaurant as well. Only goes to figure! After your meal, you can head inside a glacier, witnessing natural crevasses amidst changing colors of the ice formation.

On a clear day, you have a spectacular view toward some of the Alps’ other most fantastic peaks. And most days are clear, an average of about 300 days per year. Saas-Fee advertises that the village “enjoys a dry climate with few allergens, which is of benefit to people who suffer from allergies and asthma.”

Hotel rooms are available, of course, but many visitors opt for village apartments. Homes are required to be constructed of at least 40 percent wood, maintaining Swiss tradition and character.

In the category of “gastronomy” (???) Saas-Fee advertises more than 100 restaurants in the region. Regional Valais cuisine makes generous use of mountain herbs. And if you need ask about the wine and cheese, you shouldn’t be heading for Switzerland!

SOURCES:

saas-fee.ch<p>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saas-Fee<p>saas.fee.ski.com

View 467011699's profile

Death Defying Climbs: McKinley

Also known as Mount McKinley, Denali rises more than 20,000 feet above sea level.

Things may grow bigger in Texas, but Alaska plays host to Mount Denali, one of the famous “Seven Summits” and the highest mountain on the North American continent. With an altitude that exceeds 20,000 feet, it’s also one of the most difficult mountains in the world to tackle, even for a seasoned, physically fit climber.

Though sometimes referred to as Mount McKinley, Denali, whose name translates as “The Great One” or “The High One,” is located about 140 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. When you get within sight of this beautiful destination, you’ll want to get out and climb right away, but preparations definitely are in order, though.

Like Alaska itself, Denali is a study in contrast, with strong winds that can approach 100-mph and cold temperatures. Depending on what time of the year that you decide to challenge Denali, you also could climb on a very warm day with nearly endless hours of sunshine.

Denali is, therefore, a mountain suitable for those who are both physically and mentally ready to climb it, especially due to the high risk of altitude sickness. There are, however, climbing schools located near Mount Denali that can help you get prepared to reach the summit. Experienced guides also are available to assist you in your quest to conquer Denali.

Because this mountain is located in Denali National Park and Preserve, the National Park Service charges a “special use fee” of $200 for every person attempting to climb Denali plus a $10 per person park entrance fee. You also must pre-register with the National Park Service at least 60 days before your attempt.

There are plenty of lodges and hotel near Denali National Park, but one of the recommended places to stay is the town of Talkeetna, which offers air taxi services that offer a close view of Denali before you make the climb. Some of the major airlines service Anchorage and from there, it’s about a 120-mile drive to Talkeetna.

No matter if you call it Mount McKinley or Denali, this is one majestic mountain and one of the biggest climbing challenges you’ll ever face.

Resources:
PBS Kids: http://pbskids.org/nova/denali/where.html
National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/dena
Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce: http://www.talkeetna-chamber.com/

Running Tips: Treadmill's Can Be a Relief

Treadmill running can be a nice change from outside heat and humidity.

One of the best things I bought last year was a treadmill. I’m an avid runner , but live in one of the world’s hottest cities and, sometimes, I just don’t feel like running outside. With heat, humidity and pollution that’ll kill you, there are some days even I can’t muster up enough energy to leave the comfort of my air conditioned apartment. That’s where the treadmill comes in.

On days where the temperature is over 100 degrees and the humidity is unbearable, I’ll occasionally run on the treadmill. It allows me to do an hour of hard running but be in a cool temperature. My treadmill is set up in the bedroom and is right in front of the TV. So I pop in a DVD , turn up the volume and I’m off. An hour whizzes by and I hop off energized and refreshed. If you’re obsessed with running like I am, a treadmill can be the way to go.

I bought a low-end treadmill because I don’t use it every day. I only paid $525 for it, but it has a heart monitor, good speed controls and folds up when I’m finished. It doesn’t have incline controls or any of the fancy interval training controls but, because I only want it for an occasional run, it wasn’t worth paying an extra $500 for these features. If you do want something fancier, they come with all the bells and whistles; workout programs, decline as well as incline controls, chest sensors, fans to keep you cool and a whole lot of other stuff.

What I love about the treadmill is the freedom it gives me. I don’t have to worry about avoiding pedestrians or cars, don’t have to be on the lookout for obstacles I might fall over, and I can watch TV or wear headphones without fear of injury or death. I wouldn’t recommend a treadmill for running every day. I do find a treadmill harder on my feet than running outside. But, for the occasional run in comfort, they’re a great thing to buy. Just make sure, if you buy one, you use it responsibly and don’t overuse it, because that’s when the injuries could start. A run on a treadmill four or five times a month though gives me a break from my regular routine and often leaves me raring to get back outside the following day, less annoyed with the heat and humidity. For only $525, it’s the best money I ever spent.

The cake said it!

Every month the photo department gets a cake for everyone’s birthday of that month, and to welcome the new comers to the department. There is so much cake going on in that department!

I guess the person making the cake didn’t think that newbie was the right word or they thought it was a person? Either way, it’s funny!

Welcome New Bies! :D

Shannon on 90210, Cameron and Paul Move in Together, Naomi's pregnancy and Nicole's Baby!

By now you’ve heard that the ’90s television hit show, Beverly 90210, is coming back and bringing some of its former stars with it. Rumor has it that Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth will both have roles in the updated version of 90210, but guess who else producers are trying to get to come back as well? That’s right, bad girl, Shannon Doherty. Apparently, Shannon has met with producers of the new show and if she likes the story (and the studio offers her the money she’s looking for), Brenda Walsh just might be storming the streets of Beverly Hills again. Like how totally cool!

Cameron Diaz and her model boyfriend, Paul Sculfor, are shacking up already. Since Paul doesn’t have a home in LA, he’s been crashing at Cameron’s million dollar home. Considering the fact that these two haven’t been an item for very long, things seem to be moving pretty fast even by Hollywood standards.

And I guess it’s true that best friends really do like to do everything together. Naomi Watts is expecting baby #2 with husband, Liev Schrieber, which means that she and her famous Aussie BFF, Nicole Kidman are both pregnant at the same time and the babies will be less than a year apart.

George Clooney sure knows how to keep his ex-girlfriend’s happy. In a recent interview with Hello! Magazine, George’s ex, Sarah Larson, couldn’t say enough good things about George. She claims they’re still friends and that they actually keep in touch. Sarah isn’t wasting any time looking back or lamenting what could’ve been – instead she’s concentrating on taking advantage of her new status and maybe even meeting a British boy sometime in the near future.

A-list actress Nicole Kidman and country star Keith Urban welcomed their brand new baby girl into the world this past week. They promptly named her Sunday Rose which isn’t really as bad of a name as it could’ve been, but it’s still a little out there. There are rumblings that the baby’s name could actually be a jab at Tom Cruise’s religion, Scientology. Could it be that Nicole is still a little bitter about the whole divorce even this many years later?

Sources:
E Online – http://eonline.com
Celebitchy – http://celebitchy.com
TMZhttp://tmz.com
People – http://people.com