Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday, 12 pm to 5pm

Lively Artist Andrea talks pace groups and bed pans (and launches a new design!)


Lively employee Kristen models our brand new “Run Illinois” shirts, designed by Andrea Charest. So cute!


Lively is excited to be working with local runner/artist/friend, Andrea Charest, to release this line of awesome t-shirts and tops featuring one of her designs.

To celebrate this collaboration, Lively co-owner Anne had an email conversation with Andrea to discuss art, running, pace groups, and other fun stuff.


Anne: The t-shirt we commissioned you to design is the state of Illinois with the word “RUN” super-imposed on it. How many states have you run in? What’s awesome about running in Illinois?


Andrea: The first 5K I ever did was in my hometown of Allentown, PA. It’s still the only race that served hot pierogies at the end. I’ve also run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in DC, the Indianapolis Marathon, the Chicago Marathon and I ran through some random small towns in Wisconsin, in the middle of the night, for the Ragnar Relay. The best thing about running in Illinois is that it is totally flat. And the lakefront path isn’t too shabby either.


Anne: What’s your favorite distance to run?


Andrea: My favorite training run for the marathons was 12 miles, which sounds nuts now. Maybe because it was the exact calorie count of the brunch I planned afterwards? My average distance is usually 4 miles. I like to run and chat, so any distance accompanied by good conversation is fine by me.

andrea runs

Andrea bites her Ragnar medal. Sorry, lady; don’t think it’s actually made out of gold.


Anne: One thing I admire about you is that you’re very comfortable and confident in your pace. I meet a lot of runners in my line of work (selling shoes to runners) and they all have this psychological inability to call themselves runners. It’s like they feel that if you’re not running sub-6:00 minute miles, you’re not a runner. What’s your pace? How did you make peace with your pace? Any advice to newer runners who feel intimidated?


Andrea: I’m really trying to change the way I talk about my running pace. I used to call myself slow in a disparaging way. I didn’t realize how lousy it sounded until I heard other runners say the same thing “oh, I’m so slow” and apologizing for it. I don’t think one has to apologize for a double-digit pace. It’s just a pace. For some people a 10-minute mile is slow, for others it’s a lofty goal. But in the end it’s just another pace, the same as 7:00, 8:30, 9:15, etc. All of those paces can be described as fast or slow by someone. When I trained with CARA we had different pace groups and they weren’t called “fast” or “slow” they were listed by time, and there was no judgement about it. I trained for my marathons with a 11:30 run/walk group and you know what, we ran the same distance as the 7-minute folks. We worked just as hard, sweated the same (or more) and our accomplishment was something to be proud of. We felt like athletes, and we were. If you want to feel proud of your pace, find others who are the same speed and get out there and enjoy yourself. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to improve my pace, or myself, but I don’t obsess about it. A pace that feels good, that day, for that run, is fine.


Anne: Your other career, when you’re not a t-shirt designer for Lively, is medical illustrator. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever drawn?


Andrea: It’s true I am a medical illustrator and some of things I’ve drawn I can’t talk about in polite company. One of my cooler assignments was to draw a rhinoplasty surgery and I used the People magazine of Heidi Montag’s surgeries for reference. I also did some illustrations to teach Nigerian children about how to avoid the Ebola virus. I’ve also animated retrograde ejaculation. Do any of these keywords help you out Anne?

Anne replies:  I’m not sure that people searching for a new athleticwear boutique generally type in “cute yoga pants” “ebola virus” “oak park”, but I guess we’ve now captured that market, if it does exist.  Thanks!

Anne: Kate did a post about completing a squat challenge, and it’s one of our most popular posts. In fact the search term “squatter butt” often leads people to stumble upon our website. Let’s give the people what they want. Any chance we could convince you to use your exceptional medical illustrating skills to knock out an extremely muscular butt?


Andrea: If you were interested in capturing the audience of people googling “bed pans” “urinals” or “endometrial ablation” I can totally help with that. If I ever do an illustration of the glutes in the future I will be sure to share it with you.

Anne replies: So sorry, late night “squat challenge” googlers!  Since Andrea is a tad too classy to respond to my request, please enjoy the following absolutely horrendous graphic by a complete non-professional:


Andrea Charest’s “Run Illinois” shirts were custom designed for Lively Athletics and are available for purchase solely at Lively, 109 N. Oak Park Avenue.  Come by today and grab one for yourself and one for a friend.

Want some medical illustrations?  Maybe you’d like to frame a picture of plantar fascial tissue and then drive over it with your car? Check out Andrea’s work at



Lively Athletics


12 Jan, 2015



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