Hair Confessions From A Female Runner. 

Hair is always something that concerns women since they are little girls. My mom use to cut it too short when I was a kid. I used to HATE that so much that I ended up not cutting it ever when I grew up. My hair has been long for the last 10 years and I don’t think I will change that in the near future.  Not even because of the fact that now I run. This is my simple and convenient routine to keep my hair healthy and pretty, without skipping my runs.

I don’t die my hair and a I cut it myself twice a year.  My hair is naturally black, and won’t get greasy too easily, which facilitates my life a whole lot.

When I started running my hair suffered. In the past, I used to wash it every five days because that’s how far I can go without washing it (TMI, I know). But once I started running, that cycle had to be reduced to three days. The frequency of washes increased and I also needed to style it more often (because hair tights will leave a mark on your perfectly straightened hair). This only caused dryness and damage in my hair.

So I started doing Olive Oil masks. Whenever I get home from a run and it’s a “third-day hair”, I soak it in Olive Oil and put it in a high bun while I do my stretching. Twenty minutes later, I’ll wash it twice to remove the oil. The result is a much more soft and moisturized hair. I only do this once a month or when I have enough time.

I like to have my hair styled at all times. So I would normally blow dry it after it’s washed. I’ll apply a hit protector that I believe is pure placebo. And lastly I will flat iron it, because my clean hair won’t hold curls. I know the flat iron is not the best for my hair, but I’ve been doing it for years now and is the only thing that will really help me control my volume.

If I came back from running in the night and had to wash my hair, I’ll feel very lazy and won’t style it at all. I’ll literally go to bed with my hair still wet. Next morning when it’s all dried naturally, I’ll flat iron it and wear it like that for the next three days.

I do use different hairstyles for running depending on the day. First and second-day hairs are pretty simple. My hair is freshly clean and straightened. So I’ll do a low pony tail for running, which will help me keep my hair styled afterwards. When I finish, I’ll normally re-style it a little bit with the flat iron and dry shampoo if necessary.

Third-day hair is when I normally wash it. So for my run I’ll do a french braid because: 1. I love braids and It’s easier for my hair to hold on to a braid when it’s dirty. 2. It is comfortable to not have my hair jumping around my back. I’ll come home afterwards to repeat the process I’ve mentioned before.

This could be the least fancy hair care routine you’ve ever read, but is pretty real for sure. Female Athletes will normally cut their hair very short. However, this is might not be the rule for female runners.

It is not easy to maintain your long hair when you’re feminine but still want to run who-knows-how-many miles a week. So hey, you gotta find what works best for your hair and running routine.

What is your personal tip with Running and Hair? 

Sunday Run And Health Update.

Hello friends!

Hope this Monday has treated you well. I finished my Sunday with another 3.2 mils recovery run at 12:58 average pace. That was a really slow run! but I did it intentionally. I was really sore and wanted to get rid of all that acid lactic in my calves and hamstrings. Sometimes running slow can be painful and I realized about it yesterday. My soreness went away completely so I guess it really helped me.

Now I wanted to talk about another issue that got me frustrated. I don’t like to go around life complaining about everything that goes wrong with my health. Sometimes I know something is not right but try to ignore it with the hopes that eventually will go away and I’ll feel better. Sometimes it works but some other times it gets to a point where I have to do something.

I’ve been complaining about my gut for a little while now. If you read my Down2Earth 10K race recap, you’ll know that I started feeling sick to my stomach in the middle on the race which considerably reduced my pace. Also, if you read my Story of a Bad Run, you’ll know that I felt miserable that day because of the same reason. But those two cases are just a minimal portion on how bad I’ve been feeling these last couple of months.

In an effort to fix this problem, I decided to talk to my doctor (who happens to also be my uncle) and now I’m under medication, which hopefully will help me to feel better. I wish I could explain why is this happening but I seriously have no idea. I’ve heard that stress and emotions are 100% involved with these illnesses that our bodies manifest, so I guess I’ll have to check up on that as well.

The best thing my Uncle told me was “you’re exercising a lot so you have higher chances of healing faster”. I’m very (very) thankful for being a runner at this moment, because I can’t wait to be back at my normal stage.

Also, please excuse the fact that I’ve been complaining a lot over here. Sometimes talking about it is my way of staying positive over the adversities.

Thanks for reading!

N.

 

 

Sunday Run And New Running Goals!

Hey guys!

Hope your week had started pretty well. Last time I wrote here I was pretty disappointed on how bad my run turned out. Well, I decided to go for a second try yesterday and it was just amazing. As you see in the picture below, the wind was crazy.

The temperatures in South Florida are finally going down (yay!). Yesterday it was around 50 degrees, which I think is just the perfect temperature for running. I went out yesterday in shorts and people asked me “hey! aren’t you cold?”. People here in Miami are very sensitive to cold temperatures. 51 degrees and we already think is winter! However, my legs don’t get cold very easily.

 3.20 mile done. I could’ve had gone for more but I had some house chores I needed to get done before the start of the week.

In other news, I decided to participate in the Run Eat Repeat’s Run Camp because my only 2017 running resolution is to run faster and farther. This is a 21 day challenge to run Faster, Stronger and Better. Just exactly what I need.

Our task for today is to enlist my goals.

Last year I started to train for a half marathon, but because I was just starting with running that was an unrealistic goal to me. I still don’t know If I’m making realistic goals or not, but I decided this time that in the next 21 days I want to:

1. Run 8 miles again. It’s been a long time since I don’t pass the 6.25 miles.

2. Speed up my pace to one minute less per mile. That means, speed up from 11:50 to 10:50 per mile.

Number one will be more easy to attain than number 2. I see a lot of track workouts and tempo runs coming in my way!

Any running goals in the short-term? 
How was your running this weekend?

Race Recap: 10K Down2Earth. What It Feels To Run Being Sick.

Hello!

As I promised on my Instagram account,  today I’m bringing my Down2Earth 10K race Recap of yesterday.

For those of you who are not familiar with Down2Earth events, they organize obstacle races and trail runs here in Miami. Yesterday we ran on a trail course with small portions of pavements (I run in trails pretty often so I though it would be a fun race to do). The course was a loop of 3.22 miles, so I needed to run it twice for the 10K and my Dad needed to run it four times in order to complete the half marathon.

But first, lets talk about my non-existent prep for this race. The last few weeks were full of stress for me with the end of the school semester. On top of that, I had a very bad cold that did not get better for the day of the race. So, my expectations went down to just make it to the finish line in one hour and twenty minutes.

Having no expectations was actually pretty good, because it took away all the anxiety I normally feel the night before. I went to bed at 11:00 pm and woke up at 05:00 am feeling so fresh and rested. I had a cup of coffee and a Clift Bar two hours before the race.

Time went so fast after that. Suddenly, I was on the starting line and my Dad gave a me hug and wished me good luck. As the race started, I knew from the beginning that it was going to be TOUGH.

Mile one was the fastest and the hardest one. I ran it at my regular race pace. I remember feeling a headache, and difficulties to breath as I normally would. My body yelling at me “hey! I’m still sick and you’re making me run this stupid 10K”.

At that point, I knew I needed to run considerably slow if I wanted to make it to the finish line feeling like I was going to die. So by mile 2, I managed to lower down my pace. By mile 3 I was still feeling pain in my neck and chest, so I had to slow down even more. I remember there was a killing hill to get to that water station.

Something magical happened at mile 4. All my pains went away and I started feeling great. I remember thinking “wow, my body is finally surrendering to the endorphins”. But the magic didn’t last too long, as I started feeling bad to my stomach in mile 5. By mile 6, I didn’t know if I was hitting the wall or if the wall was hitting me. I was struggling with my whole body to get to the finish line.

Dad passed me at some point and he told me “You’re almost there! And you have a good pace”. That really cheered me up to beat the wall.

When I crossed the finish line, I was hyperventilating more than usual but I was happy I did it. Even with the fact that I was not at my 100% and that the trail reduced considerably my pace. My time was 1:18 minutes. Twenty minutes later, Dad crossed the finished line being the second one from the half-marathoners. He got a medal and I got a big hug!

Takeaways from this race:

  1. The mind is such a powerful tool. It makes you do incredible things even with stuff you can’t control.
  2. Running might be good for colds. I’m not sick anymore.
  3. I’m not sure how I feel about Clift Bars before races. I need to give that a second try.
  4. I met an old lady who finished the 10K with her son. She’s so sweet and awesome and I want to be like her at that age. BTW She’s turning 80 today. Happy Birthday!
  5. Running is such a rewarding sport and I think I love it every day more.

I’m definitely looking forward to next one!

 

 

 

 

The Best Fitness Advice for Being Consistent.

Even though I haven’t been a runner for my entire life, I’ve always been kind of an active person. During my college years, I used to go to the gym and even practiced CrossFit for a few months. Yup.

I gotta say that people used to think that is very easy for an active person to actually stay active: “It comes natural to you because you are genuinely an active person”, they used to tell me. But the true is that you can be whatever the heck you want to be in your life. Therefore, that argumen of “exercise comes natural to you” is not quite an accurate explanation of why there are more active people than others.

The key is not having the natural ability of being active, but the consistency to get active and stay like that. I know this might not be something new to you, and you probably would think that being consistent is easier said than done. However, the fact that this is coming from an active person doesn’t mean that being consistent is easier to me than it could be to you.

Once my Dad was dropping me off at a CrossFit class, as I was telling him how lazy I was feeling and how much I didn’t want to exercise that day. My Dad, a marathon runner, instead of judging my statements he said: “I know. I’ve been there. There are days were you just don’t want to do anything. But the key is not letting that moment win over your training and your goal. Just don’t think too much about it. And when you’re exercising I promise you’ll feel way better.”

Probably that’s the best advice I’ve ever received in this matter. Once I realized about this, I think I mastered the art of being consistent. This is something that works for me in other aspects of my life, beyond exercise.

So next time you want to start a new project or a new fitness routine, just don’t think too much and do it.

What is the advice for being consistent with your runs/exercise?

 

 

My Post Run Power Bowls.

Hello! how was your weekend?

Mine was full of Christmas prep, school prep, 10K prep, meal prep. Yeah, that’s a lot of preps. Sometimes we keep our lives busy with preparations for just a few minutes of glory, isn’t that ironic?

Yesterday I went for a run with zero expectations. I was feeling pretty tired and not really in the mood for running or doing any kind of motion. The fact that I have to make myself go out for a run is not very common in me, but it happens once in a little while. Now, with a 10K race coming up I can’t really afford to skip my training sessions. So I just followed my Dad’s old advice on how not to skip your exercises.

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I ended up running 5 miles which was not that bad considering how tired I felt, and how sunny it was. The most important thing is how good I felt afterwards, and how hungry as well.

I’ve notice that I do get hungry right after a long/tough run, but is not as bad as it gets a few hours later. Normally during dinner time, I will be so “rungy” that I just want a bowl with many stuff in it. So this is how I came up with my power bowls, which are not much than white rice, some sort of protein, two types of vegetables, avocado and a runny egg on top.

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The most amazing thing about these is that they never have to come up equal. You can always adjust this basic formula to what you’re craving the most. Sometimes I crave beans, cheese, and/or hot sauce. But yesterday I worked with what I had, and it was still delicious.

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The most important thing about these power bowls is that they don’t only satisfy my cravings, but they also seem to be very nutritious and will usually provide me with the macros that I think I need. And I say “I think” because I don’t really count my macros.

What do you crave the most after long runs?

Holiday Weekend (Part II) + I Haven’t Trained For My Upcoming Race.

Hello! it’s been a crazy week already and I need a the weekend to be here already.

The second part of my short trip consisted in running at very low temperatures. My last run at Texas was of 4 miles at 51 degrees. Again, that is very cold for someone used to the South FL weather. Even though the cold went away after a couple of miles, I strongly think I didn’t have enough layers on to run on those conditions.

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Of course, having a lot of food was also part of the trip.

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Roasting chestnuts outside.

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Eating dessert. My cousin told me he took away all of the calories from this cheesecake 🙂

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Puppy sungles.

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And lastly, spending a lot of quality time with family which is absolutely the most important part of the holidays. Two years ago I left my home and my whole life behind to pursue a graduate degree and a better future. Even though the reasons are valuable enough, this whole experience had made me realize how can we take for granted the time we spend with our families. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to enjoy your holidays more than being grateful for the great company you have.

Now, back to running news. I have a 10K race coming up in two weeks and I’m zero trained for it. Even though I’ve run longer distances in the past, this will be my first 10K race. Should I freak out?

Even though I’ve been running a lot and building my weekly mileage, I haven’t been sticking to a training plan for pursuing any race time. My speed and strength trainings have been practically inexistent since a couple of months ago.  So, probably the best strategy right now is to focus myself on finishing that 10K without any fancy PRs.

Family visits and the end of the semester have been giving very little time to exercise. And I certainly would like to invest that little time into something I know I will really enjoy. At this point, running is more a need than a training for the next race. Isn’t that ironic?

Have you ever gone to a race without having the training you wished you’ve had? How did it go?