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Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 50 Hair Part 2

In my haste to post my hair update this week I completely forgot to share one of my new hair purchases: butterfly clips! This is one above that I bought and I also bought three other smaller ones in different colors.

I'm really into hair accessories for the summer as well as head wraps. Tons of scarves have just been collecting dust in my drawers with no real use. 

They are too thin to wear during the winter and some are too small to wear around my neck at all! However they are perfect to be used as hair accessories. 

Youtubers have really inspired me by showing me how to tie and rock them in cute ways. I've already tried a bunch of different styles that I hope to share in the upcoming weeks.

Also, my puff that I showed in Week 37 Hair is going to be my primary protective style over the summer. As I've stated before, Córdoba weather is incredible drying and I'm already noticing that I have to apply more product to my hair.

So to protect my ends from excessive drying I've decided that when the real heat arrives I will tuck my hair away. The headbands that I showed in Week 46 Hair I plan to rock to spice up the puff along with any further hair accessories I buy.

My goal this summer is to retain moisture so that I don't experience any unnecessary shedding or breakage. I will definitely come back with pics of my scarf styles and once I finally start rocking my puff.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A quick break

This was me mentally the last few days! (GoogleImages)

So this post is an "addendum", so to speak, to yesterday's post about taking it easy ("Tómalo con calma"). I've been off from work for the May festivities here in Córdoba since Thursday and I haven't run since then!

My first day back running was today after I took a break on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

I don't feel guilty, bad, fat or any of those negative things I used to feel when I would miss even a day from running. Honestly, I feel like my body needed a bit of a break. Plus, what better time to take it than when I'm off of work as well?

This post just reiterates the importance of listening to your body and relaxing when you need to. This morning I felt recharged and ready to get back out there. 

It was starting to feel like a bit of a chore with work and having to get up before sunrise because of the heat. Now I feel like I've renewed my dedication while also giving my mind and body a needed escape. 

I recommend that everyone take a mini-break from life whenever they can. You will thank yourself later!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Tómalo Con Calma"

 Exactly, so why does every training day have to be the hardest training day? Well, it doesn't, and most importantly, it shouldn't because your body won't be able to fully recuperate.
I've written a few articles on this topic (such as Beginner Runners Part 2 -- Start off Slow, and, I am not invincible) and I keep coming back to it because:

  1. It is so important and
  2. I forget every now and then

The days that I take it slow are just as important, perhaps even more important, than the days I have to kick my own butt. 

In theory, about 70% of the miles (or kilometers) I run each week should be at a comfortable pace

This will help me to run faster on the days I need to and I will get more out of my training, according to my beloved Runners World magazine.

Currently, I only have 1 fast run per week, 2 slow runs, and 2 long runs at a steady pace, which I tend to run slower than my race pace. (Check out my conditioning program for more details.)

However, I have it in my mind that every time I run it has to hurt and I have to exert the maximum amount of effort possible. If I don't than I feel like I failed or that I didn't get the most out of my run.

It's crazy because I genuinely appreciate the days that I can take it a bit easier. In fact, I notice the difference in how my feet and legs feel when I do. 

They don't feel as tight, don't ache as much, and I have a lot more energy to do other things like spend time with my husband, go out, and go to work.

To help me slow down I've been running with one of the women I work with who runs at a much slower pace than I do. I run at her pace so we can chat while running and I don't even think about how "slow" I'm running. 

When I can't run with her I have to really focus on my speed. I pretty much know how long it should take me to run my current route when I'm running at a normal pace. So I concentrate on running slower than usual by looking at my watch and seeing how long it takes me.

I'm doing well, I think. It helps when I can read things that tell me that taking it slow will help, not hinder, my training.

So just some further reinforcement once training starts again this summer. My goals this time are to learn from past mistakes and not make them again!

How do you take it slow when your body needs a break?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hydration Revisited

I wrote a post way back about hydration and how important it is to hydrate when exercising in general, and especially, during hotter months.

Hydration has come back into my mind because I will be,yet again, training during the brutal summer months here in Córdoba. Where I live, the fall and winter are incredibly mild but the summer months are extremely dry and extremely hot. 

Temperatures can reach up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) during the day and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) at 12am. So there's not even much of a respite when the sun sets!

The best way I knew how to combat dehydration when I started training was to use a Camelbak. This allowed me to bring hydration (in the form of water) wherever I was.

It worked well but I've recently come across some literature that states that water alone may not be the best way to replenish liquids we lose while exercising. 

I was attracted to these articles because after an intense run I would drink at least 2 quarts of water (or 2 liters) and not feel completely hydrated. I'd still feel thirsty and a bit sluggish.

To combat this feeling I would make sure to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables with high water contents like cucumbers, watermelon, melon, lettuce, tomatoes...things like that. Eventually my fluid levels would come back to balance and I would feel OK.

This time around I want to try something different. I sweat a lot. After an intense workout I can lose anywhere from 2-3 pounds (about 0.96 to 1.36 kilos). That's a lot in my opinion. I want to make it easier for my body to hydrate itself during and after workouts. 

This is just another way I'm trying to take better care of my body like my foot stretches or my dynamic stretching routines. I hope this extra pampering will help me be a better and more efficient runner.

Here are some tips that I hope to incorporate into my training:

If you run for less than an hour...

The best way to hydrate is with mineral water because it supplies the body with liquid, calcium, and magnesium. You can make your own mineral waters by adding 200mg of calcium, 100mg of magnesium, and 1 gram of baking soda for each quart (or liter) of water you drink. 

According to this magazine, the baking soda helps enzymes in the muscles work at their optimal level for a longer period of time. Another good way to hydrate is with diluted fruit juices (2 parts water to 1 part juice).

If you run for more than an hour...

The best way to hydrate is with an isotonic drink that has a balanced mix of carbohydrates and sodium. When you run for longer than an hour our cells not only get thirsty, but they also get hungry for carbohydrates, which is their energy.

To make this use mineral water, carbohydrates (maltodextrin), calcium, magnesium and salt. You should only use about 8 grams of maltodextrin for every 3.38 ounces (or 100 milliliters) of water. 

In addition a 1:1 ratio of water and fruit juice is another choice (50% mineral water, 25% apple juice, 25% grape or pineapple juice).

Hydration after training...

Of course you have to continue to hydrate after running because your muscles need to recuperate energy, nutrients, and minerals. 

The best beverage is beer without alcohol because it is an isotonic drink. It contains calcium (which helps carbohydrates reach the muscles), magnesium (which aids against muscle cramps), and phosphorus (which aids in the growth of bone marrow). 

The runner up is chocolate milk, which I used to drink after running before I went vegan, and finally, vegetable broth (a surprise to me).

I am very excited to try these drinks using my Camelbak! You can buy maltodextrin online and at different health food/sports stores so I will check it out this summer. 

Either way I'm sure that I will be more properly hydrated and, as a result, feel better during and after my workouts.

Like the magazine states, water (just water) should never be drunk by athletes because it doesn't contain calcium, sodium or magnesium! It's just not adequate enough. Other "no-nos" are:

iced tea
non-diluted fruit juices
oxygenated water

Many of these drinks contain way too much sugar and lack other nutrients like the ones mentioned above.

What do you drink to stay hydrated during and after workouts?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 50 Hair

Well, it's almost Week 50 Hair. It will be this weekend but I actually washed my hair yesterday because I had to.

I'd gone almost 4 WEEKS without shampooing my hair! It was simply because of lack of time (work is no joke) and laziness. So it had to be done.

This time around I think I will just wash my hair with the twists in. So I will shampoo every week but only once every two weeks I'll take the twists down.

I want to see how it goes because I really don't like having a dirty scalp, especially with the weather getting warmer and me about to start training. Even now I sweat A LOT! 

So I know this is a super short post but just wanted to let you know what is up with the hair. Maybe I'll come back with pics next week as I wash with the twists in. 

I'm nervous because I know I'm going to have to battle frizz. We'll see how it goes...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Foot Stretches

I often forget that recovery after a run or weights session is just as important as the sessions themselves. 

When I first started training I didn't have a normal 9-5, so I had a lot more time to dedicate to my training and working out.

This time around I feel as if I'm constantly rushing and cutting corners. 

As long as I get my runs in or my weights done, I don't care about anything else! 

So I'll stretch super quick and ignore those pesky aches and pains because I don't want to miss a run.

Well no more! I'm starting to get more proactive about taking care of my body so that I don't get injured. In another post I talked about dynamic stretching. Now I'm focusing on the feet.

Normally I don't pay them much attention but they are essential to everything! Not just for exercising but for getting around as well. With the warm weather already here I find myself flocking to sandals and realizing that my feet need a lot more tender love and care!

Last week I gave myself a pedicure. But I also noticed that my feet have been feeling really tired lately. So I want to take better care of them, especially since the training for my next marathon starts next month!

Of course my trusty Runner's World magazine came through for me again! Below are the exercises I've been incorporating into my workout regimen. I realize the explanations are in Spanish...but you get the idea.

If you want some detailed explanations (in English) on what to do then just do a google search. I'm NO expert so I'm not even going to try to act like I am. Do your own research and find out what works for your body and your schedule.

I'm learning as I go along to and I think this is a good first step to taking care of my feet.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Vegan Recipes Starring: Soba Noodles and Leeks

These vegan recipes are the first time I've eaten soba noodles and leeks and now I'm hooked! I have about 5 packages of soba noodles in the kitchen cupboard and I buy leeks weekly...or whenever I run out! 

Actually my husband and I had some sauteed for dinner last night along with a delicious tomato salad!

I found these recipes in my Runner's World magazine strangely enough. In the nutrition section of the magazine they always feature a seasonal vegetable or ingredient. 

These recipes were super easy because I didn't have to buy any extra ingredients. They were also super easy to make vegan. For the soba noodles dish I substituted the peanut butter for almond butter because that's what I had in the kitchen.

The soba noodles dish

6 Tbsp. soy sauce (the recipe recommends tamari but I used what I had in the kitchen)
2  Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted peanut butter (or almond butter like I used)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (I used 1 tsp. dried ginger)
2 cloves of garlic minced
Soba noodles
5 small spring onions chopped
1 Tbsp (or to taste) sesame seeds
some peanuts cut up for garnish (I used cashews)
some cilantro for garnish (optional --my husband hates the taste of it so I left it out)

In a large bowl mix the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, peanut (or almond) butter, vinegar, ginger, garlic and 2 Tbsp. water. Meanwhile cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. When they are done rinse them with cool water and add them to the bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and garnish with the sesame seeds, spring onion, nuts and cilantro.

The leek dish

1 Tbsp. Jerez vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. capers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 leeks 
spring onion

Rinse and cut up the leeks and then put them in a large pot to boil for 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain them and put them in a large bowl and then add the vinaigrette. Garnish with spring onion (optional).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Weights Routine

This time around I'm trying to mix things up so I don't get bored. I was talking to my sister the other day and she told me about these two women on youtube.

Here's the first channel.

 Here's the second channel.

Once you get past the big boobs, short shorts, and porn like camera shots....these workouts BURN! 

I tried them on Tuesday of this week and the bottom half of my body is sore. Actually so are my shoulders and back so I will definitely stick with this routine for awhile. When I get bored I'll switch to something else. 

I'm also enjoying this butt routine and this arm routine. I've been doing them since I started my conditioning program in March. For now I will interchange them and then when my body needs something else I'll add it. 

I will probably change my weight routine again in July during my training.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hill Training

I definitely don't have any of these closeby. 

Yea, this is more like it.

Today is the day I start my hill training. As I said in my last post about my conditioning program, one run a week I do a faster run. 

Currently I've been doing fartlek (4 minutes at a fast pace with 1 minute recovery is one set) but I'm getting bored. One of my running goals is to incorporate hills into my training. While I'm not training yet, I feel like now is a good time to get a taste of some hill training.

I went over to the handy Runner's World once again because it's so convenient! I took a look at 2 programs, (Program 1 and Program 2), but think I'm going to combine them to create a workout that fits with my goals, my time restraints, and the area where I live.

The terrain where I live is super flat. So I have to search out my hills. Tonight after work I'm going to jog to a park that has some man-made hills to start my training. I am going to start off with 15 minutes and then increase 6 or 7 minutes each week.

My workout is as follows:

  1. Run up the hill for 60-90 seconds at a fast pace (5K pace) or until I get to the top
  2. Jog down slowly
  3. Then repeat until I clock 15 minutes

Pretty simple right? In the summer when I have more time to venture out further to find hills I will try some of the other hill training exercises. For now, I'm content.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Conditioning Program

Here it is finally, my current running schedule:

Initially I set out looking for something that would keep me in shape until I started training again. I, roughly, know when I want to run another race (in the fall...more on that later) so I just needed to coordinate it with training.

This program lasts about three months and has me running five days a week.

I like it because one of my goals this time around was to increase my running frequency. There's an option of cross-training one out of the five days and I use it as I need it. I don't want to do too much and injure myself before I even start training! So I'm very mindful of how my feet and legs feel.

Another reason why I like this program is because it's not focused on distance. It's focused on endurance, which is measured in minutes. I run for a set time period and don't concern myself with miles (or km where I am!) at this point.

Each week I increase my time by roughly six or seven minutes (an increase of about 10%). I do two, shorter, less intense runs during the week along with one day of fast running. The fast run can include tempo runs, fartlek, hill repeats etc. So far I've only done fartlek but I plan to start hill training this week. I also continue to weight train three times a week.

Right now I run: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday but once the school year ends I'll run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday because I prefer to have a rest day before the long runs on the weekend.

I've been on this program since March and I feel good. I plan to start training in July so I'll let you know if this kept me in shape. So far so good.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Henna Application 2

Definitely how I felt while appling the Henna! (Googleimages)

Please take a look at the pictures posted in Week 43 Hair: Henna Madness to see how I do my mix and apply the product.

This time around it was faster and I had a more even application to the strands. It was still a mess though! I'm convinced that this will always be a messy process. 

Next time around I plan to:

  • Do it overnight.

It is SO BORING having to be in the house all day with this stuff on. Plus it's heavy! As long as I wear a robe with a hood and protect the pillow I'm sure I'll be OK. The day I applied it, it was raining all day so I was lucky. But on those nice days coming up soon I'm not wasting a weekend! Once I start training I'll just have to reshuffle my long run once a month to make room for the treatment.

  • Add more water.
I did this time as well, which made the application process easier. But I think making it just a tad more pudding like, and less mud like, will help. It's hard to measure though because you don't want it too runny or it will leak.

It's amazing though how Henna makes you feel like you have so much hair!

My next wash day will be in two weeks. This works out perfectly, yet again, because the next two Saturdays I have to work.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dynamic Stretching

This was me today. Except I was in running gear and a hot pink running jacket! (Googleimages)

The weather here in Córdoba has been frustrating me recently! For the past two weeks I've had to modify my longs runs, and/or reshuffle runs, for the week due to rain. (Which is highly uncharacteristic for this area, in general, and especially for this time of year.) 

Córdoba does need rain so I'm glad for that. I'm also glad that I haven't had to deal with unbearable hot temperatures, which are typical to this area this time of year. However, tomorrow the rain stops and next week the heat begins. So running will get back to normal...although I'll also have to wake up super early to run before the heat gets too intense.

Today I attempted to run in the rain. It was a semi-fail but at least I went. I have a water repellent (I think) jacket but it's definitely not water proof. So I was soaked through within 45 minutes. I had to take the hair dryer to my running shoes so they'll be dry for tomorrow! I have two hours to do. I should've done two hours today and then 1 hour 57 minutes tomorrow. But one can't control the weather!

I plan to discuss my conditioning program in a later post because I want to take this time to share an interesting video I found on Runner's World the other day. It's about dynamic stretching.

While haven't done "extensive" research on it, I know enough about it to want to incorporate it into my workout routine. It's supposed to be more productive (and safer) than static stretching before a workout. Typically, you should warm up before stretching since not doing so can lead to pulled muscles and other injuries. You should never stretch on "cold" muscles.

Dynamic stretching gets the muscles fired up in a way that is more useful. Of course everyone should do their own research before trying anything, but this works perfectly for me and my body. I actually don't stretch before I run even if I do warm up before. I find that my muscles are too tight and it feels like they are pulling when I do stretch before. In fact, my muscles ache a lot less since I stopped static stretching before my running workouts.

My body would benefit from some type of pre-run preparation and that's why I've decided to try these moves. They are all fairly easy and I plan to do them before my long run on Sunday. Of course I always thoroughly stretch after every workout.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week 46 Hair

I haven't done too much with my hair these past months. Like the above pics show I've been sticking to the basics: twists and puffs. During the week I have my twists and I either pull them back into a bun, pin them up or do a combination of both.

Tomorrow, or tonight, I will take out my twists in preparation for my wash. I do this at the end of the week before a wash to aid the detangling process. Currently, I wash my hair every two weeks because of time restraints. This will be week three since last weekend was super hectic.

I did recently purchase some headbands just to spice up my 'dos. I've been doing the same styles and just popping one of these on for some flare. I love headbands and flowers!

If you don't know this youtuber, BlakIzBeautyful, then check her out. She also has a website, kinkycurlycoilyme.com. She hosts tons of natural hair gatherings as well as provides tips, tricks, and inspiration for naturals. 

Jenell also has a shopping service for those naturals (like me) who are abroad and can't find their favorite products. She shipped me the headbands, 2 bottles of coconut oil, jojoba oil and another container of Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. 

I also wanted to try some African black soap so she shipped me two bars. I paid for the products, the shipping costs, as well as her fee, which you can find on her website. I live in Spain and my products came in less than a week with all the recepts included in the box. It was great.

My sister (yay for sisters!) also sent me the Aussie Moist shampoo and its  3-minute miracle. I've used the shampoo once and have yet to try the other product. I think I'll probably use it more in the summer when I need a "quick fix." I start my training over the summer and the heat here is intense. So I will need it to protect my hair so that it doesn't dry out, especially since I sweat a lot.

Here are the products I got from BlakIzBeautyful and my sister.

This weekend I have another Henna treatment. This will be the second time so I hope the process goes faster. I definitely like how my hair looks and feels afterwards even though I don't enjoy the long process.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May is Upon Us

Yes, it's me at la batalla de las flores.

So I'm gone for only about 2 months to find that blogger has a new interface! Grrrrr...annoying... 

I've switched to it now because I put off the Google one for so long that when I was forced to switch I had no idea what I was doing. Actually, I still have no idea what I'm doing so I don't know why I'm typing in the past tense. Might as well force myself to learn it now...

Anyway... I'M BACK PEOPLE! 

I am alive and well and still running and being vegan and taking care of my hair. 

This month will soon mark 1-year since I started my healthy hair care journey (HHCJ)! 

While I won't be doing any length checks I do plan to post some "before" and "after" pics of my hair.

I don't want to make this post too long...since I have A MILLION things to catch up on like...

1) My new running program (conditioning)
2) Future races
3) New vegan recipes
4) Hair stuff -- including styles and my 1-year anniversary!
5) May favorites

All of that and more is yet to come. Instead, here's some pics of what I've been up to today. 

Today is el día del trabajador (Workers' Day). So I have the day off. This also coincided with demonstrations to protest the recession and other politics in Spain that have hurt "normal people." The hubby and I went to show our support and protest! This is only the 2nd demonstration I've ever attended.

Also, in May, there is a month long festival in Spain full of events like: la batalla de las flores (battle of the flowers), el concurso de los patios (contest where people decorate their homes and the most lavisly decorated with flowers is the winner), and la feria (the fair). It's an exciting time!

La batalla de los flores was today.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and please come back to the blog! I'm here!