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Thursday, January 31, 2013

February 2013 Goals

My goals this month are centered on getting back on track. These past few months (November, December and January) I've been plagued by illness that has really halted my fitness goals. 

I haven't suffered from anything serious, just the annoying common cold. But when you're sick you can't get out there and it starts to catch up with you.

This week, for example, I haven't been able to do anything because the antibiotics I'm on won't allow me to sweat. 

I have one of those strep throat infections that I blame on the germy kids I have to teach everyday.

 So Friday I take my final pills and that's when I'm getting back out there. I really miss running and it's only been a week. However, because of these non-planned hiatuses (is that a word?) I won't be running the Seville Marathon this year.

I am simply not ready and if I run it again I want to improve my time from the one I ran in Ciudad Real. I also don't want to get injured by running that much distance when the last time I ran (after the 25K) was only 8 miles. I don't need to prove anything to anyone and I'd rather be injury free.

One thing I have been doing is looking tentatively at ultramarathon training schedules and tips and tricks. For this month I want to mentally, and physically, prepare myself for running longer distances. I don't have a particular race in mind or timeline but I need to get back on a regular running schedule.

My first run on Friday will be 6 miles and then I'll build up from there. I want to start running 5 times a week, which will be adding on a day from my previous running routines. 

Right now I'm sticking with my own manufactured running schedule. Once I feel like I'm back at my marathon fitness level I'll start seriously pursuing my ultramarathon investigations.

In a nutshell: February goals are to stay healthy, stay running and stay injury free. I've put together a new legs routine to strengthen my quads as I don't usually pay much attention to them. I'll share that workout routine soon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Things I'm Loving: January 2013 Edition

It has been a MINUTE since the last time I've done a favorites post. Mainly because it's been a minute since I've tried something new and splurged.

However, I finally broke open my vegan cookbooks and I have been cooking up a storm. Instead of posting them all at once I will post a new one every week starting next week. So stay tuned for that!

I had people from my job come over for lunch and the next day everyone was begging me for the recipes! So you know they're good! Maybe I'll start with a dessert...

But first, here's my humble list of yummy food items I've been loving this month:

These are the BEST potato chips I've tasted in my entire life (and I'm not exaggerating!). A little mom and pop style shop makes these fresh right in front of you. As in you walk into the store and you can see them cutting and frying up the potato chips. They are so flavorful. I can't eat normal, packaged chips ever again.

These cookies are easily the best store-bought vegan cookies ever. I mean way better than those vegan cats cookies we used to buy at Trader Jo's when we were in the States. These things are dangerous because there aren't many and the hubby and I can definitely gobble up the entire box in one sitting.

 The last item was a nice cold weather treat. You can only drink tea so much before you start craving something more decadent. I love my green teas, my roobois, white and black teas... but no winter is complete without hot chocolate. Even better is that this hot chocolate is organic and fair-trade so there is no way I feel guilty about drinking it!

I'm also loving my crockpot or slow cooker. I remember awhile back it was on my wish list and I finally got one! 

That's the end of my humble list but do stay tuned for some seriously delicious vegan recipes starting next week!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hair Update: 1-month In

I mentioned in my New Year's Eve post that I had some new hair goals this year. (Read that post if you want to know in more detail). In that post I promised I'd come back each month with an update on how things have been going.

Well, so far I have been loving taking a break from twists! On wash day it makes the process so much easier and quicker. It's a breeze to detangle my hair and after my deep conditioning I don't have to waste time putting in twists. I just moisturize and then put it in 4 chunky twists for bed.

I've also been experimenting with oils in my deep conditioner. I love castor oil in my deep conditioner because it makes my hair ridiculously soft. Last week I also added some sesame oil to it (not the toasted sesame oil you put in Asian cuisine!) in addition to my olive oil, jojoba oil and castor oil.

Besides the ease of wash day, I've also been able to be more in tune with my moisture levels. When I wore twists it was harder to gauge when my hair needed moisture. Sometimes I wouldn't even moisturize because I didn't want my twists to get fuzzy.

Since I take my hair down every evening to prepare it for bed (and every morning to style) I can feel and see when my hair needs something. I'm also able to pay special attention to my ends. I get a lot less tangles.

In the morning it does take me longer to do my hair but the benefits outweigh the cons. I'm also forced to actually learn to style my hair without the aid of twists. For the past two weeks I've been trying roll, tuck and pin styles courtesy BlakIzBeautyful on youtube.

Every so often she has a winter protective style tutorial that is just so easy to try. So I'm getting better with experimenting with styles that aren't too complex for my skills.

This style here is just a roll, tuck and pin with a bang and the back rolled up.

The next one also features a bang but the back is my version of a french roll.

The last style is super, duper easy and a definite go-to style when you don't feel like doing you hair but want it to look decent. Here's my version of the high-bun.

As for the Curly Girl Method, I bought the book but my sister has to ship it to me from the US. Once I receive it I will read it (obviously) and see whether it's something feasible for me to do. Right now I'm simply enjoying my hair and re-realizing the joys of being natural!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My very first 25K: La Luisiana - Écija (Seville)

First off...HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope it's starting off well for everyone and that you're still sticking to your resolutions (if you made them).

I'm still running and still vegan. In another post, coming soon, I want to talk about some new healthy lifestyle goals that the hubby and I are thinking about incorporating.

However, this post is about the 25K I ran this morning. It had to be the most BORING course but it was fun anyway since running is always fun for me!

I got to Écija and then had to take a coach bus 15 minutes to the next town (La Luisiana) where the race started. It was a race from La Luisiana to Écija, which are both in the province of Seville in Andalucía.

The race was officially called: RUTA CARLOS III CIUDAD DEL SOL

There were tons of people because the prizes were really good. Even the 10th woman to place got a monetary reward and a trophy!

I came in 14th and then 5th in my category, so I didn't get any prizes. But I did run it 8 minutes faster than I expected at 2 hours. So I'm happy with that.

My next race will probably be the Seville Marathon that I ran last year. It's during the second week in February.

Like I said, more posts to come (including my long missed monthly favorites). For now, enjoy a few race pics.