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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 40 Hair: Length Check/Reflections

Very cute style courtsey AfricanExport on youtube!

I couldn't find my camera with the move so I had to take this pic with my phone! (No it's not HD obviously!)

This HHCJ started along with my marathon challenge: Grow 4 and 1/2 inches of hair by the time I ran my first ever marathon.

The plan was to have a length check at each 3 month mark. But life happened so it didn't quite work out that well. 

I took the first pictures of my hair back in May although I didn't actually take any measurements. In August I corrected that mistake. (I took measurements but rounded up a bit to make myself feel better! Yes, I admit it!

There were no actual numbers to compare, but I knew my hair had grown. In any case my hair was a lot more manageable and healthy.

For my final length check here are the actual measurements for August 2011  and February 2012. I didn't take any pictures this time. So look at the links above to see how I measured my hair :

Left Side Back11 inches to 13 inches (the longest part of my hair measures 19 inches, but the bulk of the strands were at 13 inches)

Right Side Back:  10 inches to 13 inches (the longest part of my hair measures 15 inches)

Left Side Front:  9.8 inches to 12.6 inches

Right Side Front:  10 inches to 11 inches

Bangs:  9 inches to 11 inches

All in all I'm happy with my growth. Healthy hair grows at a rate of 1/2 an inch per month. So I should have grown about 3 inches of hair from August 2011 to now. It seems like the right side was a little stunted. But it tends to grow slower than the left side in general. Not sure why that is!

Most important to me is that:

  • I know my hair is healthier. 
  • It is stronger, thicker, and more manageable. 
  • I know what my hair likes and doesn't like.
  • I know how to pamper it when needed.
  • I have learned so much throughout this entire journey.


In the beginning, my HHCJ regimen was really long and it had a ton of steps. I've learned to make it a lot simpler. As long as my hair is moisturized and my scalp is clean I'm fine. I know have a repertoire of protective styles for the super hot dry summers in Córdoba. So that I can be sure my hair is protected year round.

I also have more confidence in styling my hair. When I go out I know how to jazz up my hair and make it presentable. Overall, I LOVE MY HAIR!!! While I'm not sure I will do any more length checks, I will still keep the blog updated on my progress. Including any new things that I try.


Since moving to Spain I've had to readjust my products a bit. Things that I can find easily in the States either don't exist here or come in another form. So here's some things I'm using now:

All of the products (except for the GLISS) I bought from my local herbalist shop. They are completely all-natural products. The Henna I'm going to use as my protein treatment since I had to leave the ApHogee in the States. I'm excited because I've always wanted to try it and it's super cheap. I bought two boxes and each box only cost me 4€ ($5.38).

I'm also really liking the restructive conditioner (the bottle next to the Henna). I use it as my deep conditioner. It is infused with horse's tail and sage. In the past I used these 2 herbs in the herbal rinses I used to make. They are really good for dry, brittle, hair. 

I also added some honey, olive oil, and a few drops of orange essential oil for fragrance. In the future I want to also add coconut milk for added protein and moisture. I got this recipe from another of my favorite youtubers: Afrikanhairgod.

My hair felt wonderful! It was super soft and luscious feeling even when I rinsed it out. I was worried because I no longer have the use of a hooded dryer. So I just put on a plastic cap and wrapped my hair in a towel. I left it on for about 3 hours simply because I was doing some things around the house.

The shampoo is decent and smells really good. There are tons of others I want to try from the same shop that have other herbs infused that are great for the hair. 

The GLISS I use as my detangler. It says on the bottle that it contains liquid keratin to strengthen hair. That may or may not be true. I just bought it because it was cheap. It smells horrible though. So I will probably try something else once I run out of that.

In the Week 37 Hair post I mentioned that I had bought some new products because I'd run out of other things. So check that post for further information on what I'm using now.

The only other thing that I need is the aloe vera juice. It's expensive here. It costs 20€ ($26) for one of those big bottles. The good thing is that it lasts a very long time. Since I only use 2 tbsp. once a week it will last me at least 6 months. 

This week I used aloe vera gel. We have a humongous aloe plant and my husband cut off some of the plant and blended it to liquefy it. He added some water to it. So I had to add 1/2 a tbsp of vinegar to re-establish the pH of 4.5-5.5 of my kimmaytube leave in. Since I kept the deep conditioner in my hair so long the smell of the vinegar dissipated by the time I needed to use it. But I'm buying the aloe vera juice on Monday!

For more information on my journey be sure to check out the posts below if you haven't already. As well as each week's update to see how my journey has changed and developed these past 9 months. Be sure to also check out my Hair Styles page to see all the styles I've been rocking.

Hair Regimen Part 1: journey and products


Hair Regimen Part 2: application



There are definitely more hair updates to come including my first attempt at applying Henna on March 11th!


Saturday, February 25, 2012


In the Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja de Sevilla where the race started.

I know I promised the FULL marathon recap earlier this week but work was no joke! I am infinitely grateful to be working full time and with full benefits, but it is taking some getting used to. 

As the saying goes "teaching isn't a 9-5 job." It really isn't. I'm used to working for myself and on my own time. So getting used to having a boss, deadlines, and a set schedule....has been challenging. 

I've only had time to eat, work, and sleep this week. Today I finally washed my hair after two weeks (look for my length check!). So....sorry to keep all those interested waiting. Let's jump right in.

As you all know from my last post, circumstances didn't permit me to run the BI-LO Marathon as I had planned. I mean it came so much down to the wire that I even know what my bib number was (1724)! But it didn't really matter to me where I ran as long as I got to run my 26.2 miles!


First off this has to be the cheapest marathon in history! I bought my ticket for the BI-LO Marathon on the first day it was possible and it cost me about $75. 

I bought my ticket for the Seville Marathon 6 days before it started and it only cost me 42€ ($56). If I had bought it before the final days of the event it would have only cost me 21€ ($28). I mean you can't even run a 5K in the States for that price!

The runner's fair was decent but not super spectacular so I didn't take any pictures. However, I bought a 5 month's subscription to Runner's World for 10€ ($13). With the subscription I got a cool t-shirt, a sports bag, and a travel case. 

I also bought one of those cool neck warmers that you can use to cover your face and head for 9€ ($12). It's cool because the material by your nose and mouth is thinner to make it easier for you to breathe. Plus the material is molded to your mouth. I used that on marathon morning because it was freezing. I love it!


Again, for this race to be so cheap I got some great goodies in the race pack! I know this is my first marathon, so I really have no idea what you get in race packs. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

As you can see I was given a complete running outfit including socks! I mean those kind of shirts with the sports bra included I LOVE LOVE LOVE and quality ones can be expensive. Plus, I just recently discovered the benefits of quality running socks. So this was a great addition to my summer running gear.


I mentioned in my marathon countdown post that I wanted to make sure to fuel properly in the days leading up to the marathon. As these days were quite hectic with packing, travelling to another country, and starting a new job...my plans were kind of thrown out the window.

Even so, I still made sure to eat a balanced diet and good things. I never eat airplane food anyway so we made sure to pack food to eat and to replenish once we got to our destination. 

The day before the marathon I had a nice plate of whole wheat pasta with veggies and some fruit for dessert. For dinner I had a salad with beans, shredded carrots, cucumber, and tomato with fruit for dessert. 

I wanted to eat something light (but satisfying) before going to bed so that I wouldn't have stomach problems in the morning. This really worked for me. Especially since I didn't eat breakfast and I still had energy to run the race.


I kept my plan of not eating before the marathon. I woke up at 430am and drunk 1 liter of water. I wanted to make sure I was hydrated.... and had enough time to pee some of it out before the race started! We left the house at 6am and got to Seville at around 730am. It was a cold morning but we were all in high spirits.

Hubby taking the pic and the 2 friends that came with.

I did end up peeing once before the race but that was it. There were tons of guys peeing all during the race. It was lucky that they could do so in front of any tree. I however, would have been out of luck! 

The race started in the Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja and ended there as well.

I ate a pack of my Sports Beans half an hour before the race started (9am) with some water. During the race I ate another pack of beans at kilometer 28 (mile 17) with some water. From kilometer 32 (mile 19) on I would eat oranges, drink water and/or sports drinks at each aid station as needed.

During my long runs I wouldn't usually refuel but I felt fine during the marathon. I felt like it gave me that extra bit of energy to finish the race. I even sprinted the last few meters! 

Here's some footage of me crossing the finish line. (Just look out for the girl in pink!)

It was such an incredible event and I had such a great time. It was nothing like the half marathon in NC where no one was there to take pics of me at the finish line. These wonderful people took a TON of photos and videos.

I finished my very first marathon in 3 hours and 47 minutes.

I was surprised at how good I felt afterwards! Only my legs hurt. I ran this marathon super conservatively because I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to finish. 

There were no time goals in my mind. I just wanted to run the entire time without stopping. I accomplished that and then some! I felt like I could have kept running or even increased my pace.

I know it's crazy but I already have my time goal for next year: 3 hours and 30 minutes or better!


I was still on my high although my legs were KILLING me! It was super painful to walk and I had to go to a job interview the same day. I was lucky enough to get the job. But that meant that on Tuesday I was on my feet for about 12 hours. Teaching is not a sedentary job! 

My wonderful husband gave me a massage the day after and actually moving around really helped. Right now (Saturday the 25th) my legs feel completely fine. I plan on running again on Tuesday.


I did no running for the entire week after the marathon. Since I feel better I want to start running again so I don't get out of the habit. Although I won't start training or planning my next race until March 17th

So now I'm just running for pleasure and to stay fit. I'll update the blog more on my post marathon running schedule once I get it finalized.

For now I'm just happy that I did it and had a great time. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Complete 360

I realize that I've been COMPLETELY MIA these past couple of weeks. My last post was on the 7th and it's now the 20th of February! However, I have a super legitimate reason...


We got here on Tuesday (the 14th) in the afternoon. So that's why I didn't have the time to update my blog or fill you guys in. It was a kind of spur of the moment decision. I didn't want to "let anyone in on the secret", so to speak, until everything was finalized. Although I sort of mentioned it in my February Goals post.

I can honestly say that we are happy with the change and the move. I'm not going to elaborate on all the details, except to say that we were not happy in North Carolina. This move was like a new beginning and I'm excited to see where it will lead us.


I didn't get to run the Myrtle Beach BI-LO Marathon as planned....so I ran the Seville Marathon on Sunday! It worked out perfectly! We bought our travel tickets on Monday and that same day I registered for the Seville Marathon.

I still got to run my 26.2 miles!

Don't worry, I will give you all a full recap of the Seville Marathon including:
  • Runner's Fair
  • Race Pack
  • Fueling the days leading up
  • The night before
  • The day of the marathon!
  • The day after the marathon (today)

I went with my husband (of course) and two friends, and they all took tons of pictures.


There's also some hair updates I want to let you all know about. I've had to adjust my regimen because of the move and get some new products. As well as let some other products go. Thankfully I have an awesome sister who is planning on sending me some care packages with hair products!

I've also been experimenting with some new hairstyles that I saw on youtube. When I got here I wanted to give my hair a "treat" so I wore it out and attempted to do some styling. 

Next weekend I also have my next length check! The plan was to grow 3 1/2 inches of hair by the time I ran my marathon. The marathon goal has been accomplished! On Sunday (February 26th) we'll finally see whether this HHCJ paid off!


So yes, I'm slowly getting back into life in Córdoba. I'm working full time already and love it! Even the supermarkets have prepared for our return! There are TONS of vegan and organic options now available in our local supermarkets! This is a BIG change from when we left.  We've been seeing family and friends and overall enjoying ourselves. It was also great to have our car back!

So for those of you who've been wondering where I've been, I'm still alive and kicking, as they say. I'm also fully prepared to get back into the blog. I've missed it! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Look for all things marathon-related tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reflections: The Countdown

There are officially 10 days, 12 hours, and 24 minutes until the marathon! (...and counting...)

I am super excited.... and scared out of my mind. Plus this week (Week 2) I can't do any weight training and I only have 3 super short runs scheduled. I'm getting kind of antsy.

I feel like I have all this free time (and in free time I mean time that I usually would spend exercising) on my hands that I don't know what to do with.

That's coupled with this anxiety I can't seem to shake. So instead of driving myself NUTS I decided to do a little reflection.

There were a couple of runs I didn't get a chance to mention on the blog yet. Plus I want to let you all know about my race day routine.

Here I am at the end of Week 1. right before my run. I had to do my 8 miles on Friday because it rained all this weekend. I ran it in 1 hour 3 minutes.

My last long run

This took place on January 20th after work. I usually run on Sundays. However, it was planning on raining that weekend so I had to rework a few things.

The plan was to make this a true "mock run" for the marathon. I wanted to wake up at the same time, eat the same things, and wear the same clothes.

Since I had to go after work, the whole waking up at the same time thing didn't work out. I wanted to at least still eat the same thing though.

I've written about how I usually don't eat before a run because I get stomach problems tons of times. But I wanted to give it one more chance and see if I could do it.

  • So I ate an apple and a slice of whole wheat bread with almond butter 3 hours before running
  • 90 minutes before running I drank 16 oz of a sports drink
  • 30 minutes before running I ate a pack of Sports Beans with some water
  • Throughout the day I made sure to stay hydrated
Once I got off work I got dressed and and set out. This time around I ran a bit faster than my first attempt. I wanted to see if I could do it. Even though I knew this would NOT be my pace for the marathon.

Things went really great except that on the way back I did get stomach cramps and almost vomited. I didn't stop though (unlike last time) and finished in 2 hours 55 minutes.

I was really happy with this run. Again, I DO NOT plan on running this fast for the marathon. It was more of a mental challenge for me. Now I do feel like I can actually finish the race. I won't, however, eat anything before the race. 

Honestly, it doesn't seem to matter how much time I wait to run after eating. It still upsets my stomach. I didn't eat breakfast (although I got up at 7am). Instead I waited until 10am to eat my snack and then 1pm for the Sports Beans. I didn't refuel until around 430-5pm! A really big span of time. I don't recommend this. So I just have to do what works for my body and work on fueling better the next time around.


As far as fueling goes, I am going to mimic what I've been doing for all of my runs since my training started. I recently incorporated the Sports Beans. But I love how my body feels and my performance level while running.
  • Take 1 pack of Sports Beans 30 minutes before running with water
  • Take another pack around mile 18 (or as needed)
  • If I need to munch on a few more while running I will do so around miles 21-23
  • At the end I will take another pack with water to refuel
This should work for me. I will bring extra packs with me just in case but I doubt I will need anything else. I am usually very good about refueling after running. So I will be sure to munch on a banana or whatever else is available at the finish line.

Other than that, Week 2 is coming to a close. I ran 20 minutes on Monday and will probably skip my second short run this week. My feet need a break.

I went on a 2 hour walk today, which I feel was good to get my  muscles moving. I'll probably run my last long run of 4 miles on Friday so that I have the entire weekend to relax. Then my final week, Week 3, starts!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 37 Hair

Want to know how to go from this

To this

In 10 seconds flat?

Well, wonder no more!

Janet Collection Afro Puff (Color 2)
CandidAnn, a youtuber that I love, hipped me to this afro puff after I saw her rocking it on her channel a few times. (She also has an awesome blog that you should check out as well). It is so realistic looking and SO EASY to put on! This is my first hair piece. So I needed something easy, and natural, for my first experience.

I doubt that I could even attempt to rock a wig. Plus, I'm not really into straight hair. This puff though was right up my alley. I kid you not on how realistic this thing is. My mother and siblings all thought it was my  hair! Seriously. I went to work and got compliments all day long. Of course, I didn't bother to tell my co-workers that it wasn't my hair.

What I do is I open it the widest I can get it and then just pin the ponytail on. Since I'm using it as another option for a protective style, I want it to cover as much of my hair as possible. I plan on wearing this all week to take a break from rocking twists.

As hair accessories go, I'm loving this one! I even purchased two more:

In May, I purchased two Goody Clips in black and brown but they are a bit small now to fit my twists in. I mentioned in this post that I like them more than ouchless bands because they never pull out my hair. This is a large one I purchased on Amazon. The headband is so cute! I have to get more of those. It jazzes up any style in 1 second or less.

Like I said, I will be rocking my afro puff this week and am excited about it. Underneath I have my hair twisted and pulled back into a bun. 

It is kind of awkward to place it on because my bun is big so I try to flatten it out as much as possible. With time I will become a master. Now I just need to figure out how to do flat twists! This is my favorite video explaining how to do them:

It's cute to have the flat twists in the front and the puff in the back. I know how to cornrow...other people's hair. When I have some time (and above all, PATIENCE) I will take a stab at practicing some more. For now I don't mind slicking the hair in the front and then just tying it down at night so I don't have to reapply everyday.

Other than that, I did a protein treatment and bought some other hair products since my staple ones are running low:
  • Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner -- 3 bottles for $19 on Amazon
  • Cantu Shea Butter -- I wanted to get my Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie but my local area Targets and Walgreens had run out. Then they wanted to charge me $22 on Amazon! So I bought the Cantu for $5. I've been wanting to try it anyway.
  • More castor oil -- 32 oz bottle for $7 on Amazon
  • Darcy's Botanicals Organic Coconut & Aloe Moisture Pudding -- I've heard good things about this brand of products so I decided to try it. I, currently, don't have any styling products and this serves that purpose. It's supposed to help braids, twists, and locs look fresher longer.

Week 38 Hair

Detangle with conditioner
Deep Condition
Kimmaytube leave in

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

BI-LO Marathon Tapering Schedule

Technically I'm on Day 4 of my tapering schedule. It's going fine so far. I'm pretty sure the first week is the easiest week because running isn't cut back that much. The only thing I've eliminated so far is speed training. 

Here's the breakdown:

WEEK 1 -- No Speed Training
14 miles 

Rest day -- I was supposed to do 30 minutes on the static bike and some abs but I had to run a ton of errands

25 minute tempo run in the morning followed by weight training (legs) in the afternoon.

25 minute tempo run in the morning. Instead of weight training in the afternoon, me and the hubby went to lunch at Mellow Mushroom for some vegan pizza!

Toppings: artichoke hearts, black olives, pineapple, banana peppers, BBQ tofu, and Daiya (vegan cheese)

Weight training in the afternoon (arms, legs and abs)

Probably some further leg and ab work at the gym

Rest day

WEEK 2 -- No Weight Training

This is going to be a torturous week because I love my strength work. I am going to have all this free time! Luckily, I downloaded some free books on my Kindle Fire a few weeks ago. I'll also start putting together the final touches on my race day routine. But I'll cover all of that in a future post.

8 miles

30 minutes on the static bike and abs

20 minute tempo run


20 minute tempo run



WEEK 3 -- Relaxation is Key

This week is not about training. This week is about "getting in the zone." I want to make sure that my nerves are kept at bay and that I don't stress myself out in preparation. We pick up the rental car at 2pm on Friday and then have to drive about 3 hours to get to South Carolina. We will probably check into the hotel and then go to the Runner's Fair so I can get my bib number and race pack.

4 or 5 miles

30 minutes static bike, abs

2 mile tempo run

2-3 easy miles -- This is the day I make sure I fuel up enough for the marathon. The goal is 60% of my calories from carbs, 20% from fat, and the final 20% from protein. I also want to make sure that I stay hydrated so I will be drinking tons of water (and peeing) throughout the day.

Rest -- I really want to be sure to rest today since I doubt I wil sleep soundly the night before the race.

2 miles just to curb race jitters


There are many more updates and posts to come so stay tuned!

February Goals

It's that time again. Honestly, 2012 is flying by already. I can't believe we're done with January so quickly. Looking back, I pretty much only accomplished the marathon parts of my January Goals.

The hotel and rental car are booked!
My race day gear is set!
I've also got my Sports Beans!
Most importantly, there are NO INJURIES TO SPEAK OF

That's the easy part. Now I'm working on tapering (currently on Week 1, Day 3...more on that later) and getting my mind right. Running isn't only physical, a lot of it's mental, and I feel like life is starting to get a bit hectic for me right now. So I'm trying to not lose focus.

My main goal for February is this:
  1. Run my butt off at that marathon! Enough said.

    There are also some important changes brewing in my life. I don't want to say anymore until I'm sure of what is going to happen. But to deal with these sudden changes my goals are simply these:

    • Be strong
    • Open
    • Receptive
    • Positive
    • And above all HAPPY!
    Change can be scary, and trust me, I've gone through so many changes these past four years. My past experiences have also taught me that sometimes change is for the best. It should be embraced even if scary.

    It's also taught me to be grateful for what I have, now, in this moment. Because who knows what will happen tomorrow?

    So wish me luck for this following month because I will need the support!