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Monday, January 30, 2012

Things I'm Loving (December/January Edition)

These past few weeks leading up to my tapering (only 18 days until the marathon!) have been hectic! I haven't written a decent blog post in a couple of weeks and I apologize! I have SO MUCH to catch you all up on such as:
  1. My tapering schedule
  2. February goals
  3. My last long run update
  4. Plus tons of debate/discussion topics!

But first things first. Here is a list of some of my December/January favorite things.

I tried to take a picture with my camera but it didn't come out so well. It's nutritional yeast, and I LOVE this stuff! I put it on everything! It's also rich in B vitamins, especially B12, which you can normally only find in meat.

Here's a better photo. We buy ours from Whole Foods in the bulk section where you buy nuts etc. It is ridiculously cheap. It's supposed to be a substitute of cheese. In a previous foodie Wish List post I mentioned I wanted a food processor. One of the reasons is to make cheese sauces with this stuff. But it is absolutely delicious as a topping.


This is also another product rich in vitamins and minerals. I like to add it to oatmeal, smoothies, stir fries...anything really. I haven't had much time to experiment yet, but it is incredibly versatile. It is high in Omega 3's, which are great for the heart, and usually found in salmon, walnuts and sardines.

I know I've mentioned these delicious cookies before, but they are worth mentioning again! They are that good. Please get some.

These energy beans are a life-saver. I still haven't mastered the skill of fueling while running. I get incredible stomach aches if I eat or drink before running. These beans are great because they give me necessary energy and fluids lost while running. I've tried every flavor I could find. My favorite is Berry (the purple package).

This is my handy backpack that I use when I go to the gym after work. It fits everything I need. I like it better than those one shoulder bags. I've used this almost everyday for the past two months.

OK, so these aren't the exact fig bars I love. Like the greedy person that I am, I ate them all before I could take a picture! So this photo I grabbed online just to do this post. Since I haven't had time to replenish the stash. I bought them from Whole Foods. They are also located in the bulk nuts section. THEY ARE SO DELICIOUS AND VEGAN! I mean I can eat a whole bag by myself in a few days. The bars at Whole Foods are more substantial than the ones featured in this picture. They are so good.


The next two photos are Christmas presents from my mom. She was sick of me wearing the same gear all the time to do my runs! So she bought me these shirts from the Nike store, which are actually really cute.

I think every runner needs a cute t-shirt, headband, hat...whatever. It really is inspiring for those long runs.

One thing I failed to take a picture of, but am also loving this month, are running socks!

I don't even remember the brand but I got them from Fleet Feet. I was never, ever, concerned about socks. But I've worn them about 3 times already and my feet know the difference when I don't wear them. Seriously, be kind to your feet and wear the correct socks for your sport! I've seen cycling socks and even yoga socks!

What are some things you've been loving this month?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week 35 Hair

One of the styles I rocked last week. I have to buy more of these Goody clips because I love them! They are a lot better than rubber bands because they will never pull your hair out. I use ouchless bands but sometimes hair still escapes when I take it out. Not when I use these bands. 

I also need to get the larger sizes. When I first started my HHCJ the small size was perfect. Now my hair has grown some and it is a bit of a chore to get all my hair in it. That's why I typically use two of them. This style is essentially a bun but with Goody clips. This was on day 3 hair.

On Sunday I think I'm going back to twisting my hair while wet. I really like how versatile my hair is with dry twists because they are longer and don't get as frizzy. But I'm lazy. I have to prep my hair on Sunday (by twisting it), then take them down again the next day and twist again. It's most definitely not a time-saver.

This past Sunday I prepared my hair and then wore it in an updo because I had to go to work. (I didn't take pictures of it but I will try to recapture the style the next time I wash my hair.) I could have rocked that for a couple of days. Then when my hair started gettiing frizzy, retwist the perimeter. I wear my hair up anyway.

Plus I don't like having my hands in my hair so much. When I twist it wet I just leave it alone until it's time to take it down (moisturizing as needed of course). Or, like next week, I will retwist the perimeter as it gets frizzy.

My hair still feels and looks great though. It's incredibly moisturized and doing well. I have no complaints there. But it's almost time for my next length check and I want to baby it a bit more.

Week 36 Hair
Detangle with conditioner
Deep condition
Kimmaytube leave in

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wish List: Food Items

I know, this is supposed to be another yummy recipe for you all to try and enjoy. But honestly, for the past couple of weeks I haven't made anything remotely interesting. Just a lot of salad, pasta, couscous, crock pot stuff and smoothies. Things that I love but have already shared.

Even though I haven't made anything new it hasn't come from a lack of want, it comes from a lack of time. There are TONS of ingredients and recipes that I really want to try. 

My husband and I were gifted 3 vegan cookbooks this Christmas. So I feel like I have all the tools, yet things still don't get made.

It's been about 3 months since we started the vegan challenge and it's time to get a little more adventurous.

This week I have a list of things I've been thinking about trying. Hopefully, in the coming weeks (and months), I can scratch some of this stuff off the list!

So here goes:

  • "Live" Brownies -- I just subscribed to an interesting youtuber who has been vegan for more than 12 years. In 2011 she took a live (or raw) food challenge and it completely intrigued me. While I will NOT be joining her in this endeavor, there are some recipes I'd like to try. Here's the video that inspired me to read up on it if you're interested.

    • Kale -- I've heard it's similar to collard greens but have never used it. I'd also like to make kale chips.
    • Raw cocoa powder -- This is one of the ingredients needed to make the "live"(or raw) brownies.
    • Almond milk -- I want to try to make my own. I don't have a food processor though so this recipe will have to wait until I get one.
    • Vegan cheese sauce -- This is another recipe for the food processor. I have a blender, which only really works for mixing liquids and smoothies and such.
    • Dressings -- My vegan cookbook has TONS of different recipes for dressings. We always use the same one in our salads (olive oil and vinegar). So I want to branch out and experiment with some new flavors.
    • Brown rice flour -- A tasty sounding vegan gravy is used with this flour. Apparently, it lumps a lot less than whole wheat flour making it a breeze to use. I'm sure it has other uses as well.
    • Tofu mayonnaise -- I don't even care for mayo but my husband does so I'd try it for his sake.
    • Polenta -- There are so many things you can make with this stuff, including pizza, which I miss!
    • Desserts -- We need more of these
    I know these ingredients are haphazardly thrown together but they were the things that caught my eyes as I skimmed my cookbook. I'm hoping this list will push me to get it together! So stay tuned for more recipes.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Marathoning A-Z


    One of my Christmas presents this year was the Kindle Fire. I'm not really into technology (I don't even have a smartphone) but I have been trying to give it some use. So far my favorite apps are Pandora...and all the other free stuff

    I've been downloading free books like crazy since I got it. There are actual, real, copies of books in my possesion right now that I don't even have time to read. However, the lure of FREE has hypnotized me. What can I say?

    This book I came across in the solo sports section. It's the Kindle Fire edition. It's nice in that you can bookmark pages and highlight passages for later review. 

    If you haven't read this book already you might as well get it, especially if you own a Kindle Fire. While it didn't really tell me anything life altering, it was a good read. 

    The book definitely reinforced a lot of things. Things I've read about already, for example, and some other things I've been thinking about throughout my training and when race day comes along.

    Honestly, it was quite motivating, and nice, to know that there are tons of us out there. We are a unique "type" of person. I haven't even run my marathon yet and I've already made lots of cyber friends.

    My favorite quote in the book is this:

    "Whenever someone asks you why you are running a marathon, simply reply: Because I can."

    Man do I wish I'd read this book months ago! That is the perfect comeback for those sneering people who think that running a marathon is just ridiculous. 

    There are those that ask, in awe, and that's harmless. But there are those "haters" who just want to get you down.

    There are tons of funny little lines like that in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably re-read it again at some point. Probably when I'm preparing for my second marathon!

    What are some books you've read that inspire you?

    Week 34 Hair

    Another freestyle updo that I rocked this week. It's actually just another version of this style. By the end of the day some of the bobby pins were annoying me. So the next day I wore the ends in a clip to use less bobby pins. It was a success.

    Nothing new this week with the hair. I didn't put in the dry twists until Tuesday since I was loving my previous updo style so much. For that reason I was able to keep my hair in for Saturday. I took the twists out Saturday night and then washed my hair after running this morning.

    Depending on how the week develops I will either install the dry twists on Monday or Tuesday.

    There's only about 34 days until I do my next length check

    It'll be after my marathon in February. I'm excited to see what growth I was able to maintain!

    In addition, I will probably do a reassesment of my products thus far. I'm running out of some stuff and I want to try some new stuff.

    Week 35 Hair
    Detangle with conditioner
    Deep condition
    Kimmaytube Leave In

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Fleet Feet Sports


    This is a local-owned store that specializes in everything running. I stopped by last Friday because I was on the search for some new running shoes. (I mentioned this in my last post.) They have trained professionals who fit you into the right shoe for you.

    It was my first professional shoe-fitting and it won't be my last! I loved it!

    I went after work that day. My long run was on Sunday so I really wanted to purchase something that day. Actually, last week was when I should have bought them but I didn't have time.

    The day before I went browsing on their website and it said that I should bring my old running shoes.  I had also read somewhere that the best way to get fitted was by close inspection of old running shoes. So I was already impressed.

    I've written past articles about my running form and pronation but to sum up: I moderately overpronate

    My old running shoes are a pair of Nikes that are supposed to correct my type of pronation. I'm not an expert. But I researched a lot about it. I also read a lot about the injury I suffered last year so I knew what I needed.

    Well, I go into Fleet Feet and Mike tells me that the old running shoes look great. The wear is straight down the middle and I should get something similar to what I already have. I was shocked and proud of myself! I had diagnosed myself people!

    Anyway, the first thing he did was measure my feet. Then look at my calves and ankles as I walked around the store barefoot. Of course I rolled up my pants first. He wanted to see if my calves and ankles did anything out of the ordinary. But I was fine.

    I also remembered to bring the socks that I run in and tried on my first pair, which were the Mizunos. If you forget this step they have tons of socks you can use. From there I tried on a pair of Asics and then a pair of Nikes. The Nikes are like the ones I have now but the updated version.

    Nikes are nice because they have that foam that makes it feel like you are running on pillows. However, I wanted to try something new. So that's why I picked the Mizunos. They are also narrower and sturdier around the ankle. It is taking some getting used to.

    In each pair of shoes Mike took me outside to watch me run. My ankle, according to Mike, tends to rotate just a tad when I run. But I looked good in each pair.

    I also tried them on with some amazing orthopedic inserts. This was to correct the slight ankle rotation. At that time I didn't think it was absolutely necessary to get them but maybe if I feel like splurging one day. (They cost $40 a pair but last for 3 pairs or running shoes).

    So basically the choice was down to what I wanted because any of the shoes could work. The Mizunos were the more expensive pair (the Nikes the cheapest). It's always good to try out different brands of shoes so I figured this was the perfect time.

    Right now I'm trying to break them. I've run on them twice already. Once during a long run of 16 miles and the second time during interval training on the treadmill. Tomorrow I'll do a short run of about 3-4 miles or so to further break them in. Then I have a long run on Sunday.

    I'm loving these shoes! 

    I say definitely try to find a professional running shoe retailer where you live. Not just any place, a place where they can actually fit you for a shoe. It is so worth it.

    Long Run Updates/Week in Review


    These are the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8. Love them!

    This is one of the most exciting parts of being a runner. I love when it's time to change up my running shoes! Some are "experts" and have 3 pairs that they alternate during training. I haven't quite graduated to that (and neither have my pockets!). However, I'm extremely happy with my purchase.

    I went to a local store called Fleet Feet. (Thumbs up for local businesses!) They have a staff of trained professionals that actually fit you for a shoe. This was my first experience getting professionally fitted for a shoe. I don't want to give too much away since I'll write a post on that experience later. But it was AMAZING and my shoes are AMAZING! 

    It was fun starting to break them in Sunday. I ran 16 miles (in a relaxing 2 hours and 14 minutes). I also ran in them today on the treadmill as I did interval training. My goal is to use them enough before the marathon so that I'm completely comfortable and don't have any unfortunate surprises.

    This week is shaping up well. I did 30 minutes on the bike and some arm work on Monday, interval training and legs today. Tomorrow I will do some more weights, and on Thursday probably run in the morning before work for about 20-25 minutes. Then 2 rest days together because I will do 18 miles on Sunday.

    But let's backtrack for a minute:

    This past Saturday (December 31st) I ran 20 Miles. It was my last run of the year.

    It was also my longest run to date. There were some snags along the way but overall I'm happy with my effort.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have my Sport Beans. The two packs I ate two weeks ago were my last.

    (Luckily, I stocked up when I went to Fleet Feet to get my new running shoes! So I was able to use some for my 16 mile run Sunday.)

    It was unseasonably warm that day. I ran in short sleeves. I could've worn shorts but I didn't want to overdo it and then get sick later. But I could have worn them, that's how warm it was. So I had that to deal with, along with it being super windy, and the fact that I didn't have my Sport Beans.

    Now, I'm not trying to make any excuses for my run. I bring this up just to set the scene a bit.

    This long run was hard for me. 

    My hardest run was that long run when I was sick. This long run comes in second. Honestly, I do attribute it to all of the above factors. But facts are facts, this was not one of my best runs...at all.

    I had to stop at mile 19. I walked for 7 minutes. I set my goal when to start running again (a stop sign) and ran the rest of the way. If I had kept running I would've done it in 3 hours and 3 minutes. Instead I clocked 3 hours and 10 minutes.

    This run was not a highlight for me. But I didn't beat myself up over it. It was my first 20 miles and I will make the next 20 even better!

    I run 20 miles again on January 22nd. That'll be my last long run before I start tapering. Hopefully all goes well.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Week 33 Hair

    This is one of the styles I rocked last week. I'm trying to wear more updos just for variety. Typically I wear my twists in a bun during the week. I was getting tired of that. I do it because it is SIMPLE and absolutely NO FUSS WHATSOEVER. But I decided to be adventerous and do something different!

    This pic was taken on Friday. That's why the twists are frizzy.

    The style below is one I made up on the fly this morning! I was extremely happy with the results. These are chunky twists. I prepped my hair yesterday for the twists I am going to do today. Instead of braiding my hair like I have done for the past two weeks before installing my dry twists, I decided to simply twist. 

    My hair is so curly that when I braid it wet it gets really defined. That's great if I want to rock a braidout. But annoying when I try to smooth my hair out for twists. I hope that makes sense. 

    Basically these are just chunky twists overlapped and pinned. It took me 5 minutes (or less). I also glammed it up with a flower. I would've preferred a cute headband though.

    This weekend before I shampooed (on Saturday) I took down my twists. I really wanted to separate them well this time to speed up the detangling process. Luckily detangling doesn't take me long anyway. 

    While I was taking them down I decided to do a bit of grooming. I started snipping off those "fairy knots" or "single strand knots" that we naturals are plagued with. 

    Normally I leave them alone. But I had nothing else to do so I decided to be productive. It was not exactly a trim because I, literally, just snipped the knot off each strand. I know I didn't get them all but it took me 3 hours to do my entire head. 

    My hair feels great now and it was SUPER DUPER EASY to detangle. I can't commit to a next time because it was really time consuming. Maybe before I do a protein treatment (I did one yesterday)? Don't quote me on that though! 

    The following are pics of my hair after the snipping.

    As for other hair-related news: I finally bought some jojoba oil. I've been wanting some since I started my HHCJ in May. I bought mine at Trader Joes for $7. Yes, it's expensive, but I only use it in my kimmaytube leave in mixture. It will last me awhile. 

    Other than that business as usual with the hair. I will install the dry twists today and keep them in until Friday. Last week I retwisted the perimeter of my hair and kept them in all week. Usually I take them down at the end of day on Thursday. But I kept them in until Saturday and they looked decent. I'm definitely content with my hair.

    Week 34 Hair
    Detangle with conditioner
    Deep condition
    Kimmaytube leave in

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Thoughts of the Gym

    Google Images


    This is a short and sweet post but I had to tell you all how I love having friends at the gym! It seems like only males frequent the gym sometimes. So it's nice to see "regulars" who are females. 

    I recently befriended two such women. It was surprising to me because I don't make friends at the gym. I'm not a mean person. But I'm usually so concentrated or "in my zone," as people say, that I hardly even recognize anyone.

    They made the initial contact. I see them about a few times a week and we make small talk about our personal lives and working out. One of the women even asked if she could do ab exercises with me! I felt like such the personal trainer

    So that's that...

    Oh, and one weird thing I hate about the gym:

    I hate changing in front of people.

    I know we are all women and have the same equipment but it makes me blush! The bottom half is fine but when I get ready to put on my sports bra...it's like I'm in a race.

    Actually today I had to wear a sports bra that's like a shirt because nothing else was clean. Normally, I like those because I don't have to worry about wearing a shirt, it's all in one. Well this one fits, well, like a second skin. So sometimes it takes me a bit of effort to get it on.

    That was extra true today because my arms were sore from weight training earlier in the week. I'm struggling, trying to hurry so no one looks at my boobies (and trust me, I don't have much anyway). Meanwhile women are all around me talking and joking. It was the worst.

    I finally got it on but had deodorant stains all on the sides. It was quite embarrassing even though I know no one was paying attention to me. I deal with it because I feel like a child going into the bathroom to put on my bra.


    What are some of your pet peeves about the gym? Or exercising in group settings?

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Week 32 Hair

    Nothing much to talk about this week. I've been sticking to the dry twists and I continue to like the results. I was lazy this weekend after running my 20 miles so I didn't deep condition as I usually do. 

    I just couldn't bear sitting under the hooded dryer. So I just coated my hair well with the deep conditioner and then put on a plastic cap. I left it on as I did some chores around the house and ate lunch. 

    Afterwards, I rinsed it out and prepared my hair for twisting the following day. This weekend I have a protein treatment so I'm not that worried about it.

    One thing that is kind of exciting is that some of my products are getting used up. This means that I will soon be open to try other things. What I've been using so far has worked great in my opinion but I do want to try new things. 

    I probably won't buy anything else (unless I completely run out) before my length check in February. Just so I can accurately measure my growth with the products I've been using.

    I know that I will probably never replace my kimmaytube leave in conditioner. 

    It just closes those cuticles so nicely and my hair stays moisturized the entire week. I had severe moisture problems before starting my HHCJ. My hair just never seemed to get moisture. I know it had to do with the dry, brittle climate of Córdoba, but I don't want to go back to that! 

    The products I'm thinking of trying would be moisturizers, leave ins, and maybe some oils. I don't care much about my shampoo or detangler. I just pick the cheapest product.

    It's amazing that there are only 6 more weeks left of my initial journey. I don't plan on stopping what I'm doing now but I am curious to see if my hair has been growing. Chema says that he's noticed that it's longer, but I haven't. 

    Well, the moment of truth is in 6 weeks people!

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    January Goals


    I've been MIA with good reason: I have been enjoying my time off work! I had Friday off and I have today (Monday) off as well. So Chema and I have just been relaxing and avoiding the Internet.

    So I have tons of posts to catch back up on like: the Things I'm Loving Series (which will be December and January combined this month),  my hair update, my long run recap, weekly update...and some other odds and ends.

    But first here are my goals for the month of January. I don't "do" resolutions so these are just my overall goals for the month. Just like I did for November and December. So check those out if you haven't already.

    Google Images
    1. Stay Injury Free -- This one is my overall goal until I run my marathon in February. I keep it on the list to simply remind myself to stay within my limits.
    2. Get Race Day Meal and Clothes Together -- I wrote about how I love Sport Beans in my long run update last week. So I need to get more of those and get my gear together so I can start practicing in it. I'm also purchasing some new runnning shoes this week that I need to break in as well.
    3. Book Hotel and Rental Car -- The marathon is so close now! I have 3 more weeks of training and then I start tapering. I definitely need to start getting some of the paperwork stuff out of the way so I'm not stressed about it. It would be quite unfortunate to not have anywhere to stay! Luckily, the marathon website provides a pretty complete list of hotels.
    4. Finish Scarf -- This is a pretty random goal but I'm learning how to crochet. My mom and sisters are pros at it but I was never interested in learning. They've finally convinced me and I'm making a scarf. The most annoying thing about crocheting is that what you are making never seems to get finished! My goal is to finish this scarf and move onto something more challenging like a hat.
    5. Get Another "artsy" Activity -- The scarf making has inspired me to take on some other art activities. I am not a creative person, at all. But I figure if I can learn how to make a scarf...anything is possible! So I saw how to make some cute button earrings and crochet earrings on youtube. They make it look so easy that I want to try it. Plus, I'm trying to save money anyway. Why buy earrings when I can make them?
    6. GET LICENSE -- It's coming down to the wire people. This month is the month of truth.
    7. Redo RSS Feeds -- One of my goals last month was to reconect with family and friends and other bloggers. Well, Chema reformatted the computer and it didn't register that I would lose all my RSS feeds! Now I have to go back and try to remember who I was subscribed to or just find new people to follow. I welcome any and all suggestions.

    Do you make New Years Resolutions? What are some goals you've set this month? For 2012?