Hair

I live in the Land of Bad Hair Days; if the wind doesn’t get you, the humidity will. September usually offers a relief from the humidity so good hair days are possible, albeit rare. With the exception of this year, apparently. So what do to with hair and running. I don’t want to say I try to look fashionable and attractive while running, because I don’t (I run to look attractive in all those fashionable clothes I wish I owned), but it’s hard to run when you have crazy hair. Here are a few thoughts on hair styles and accessories.

Bobby Pins:

I wish I could tell you how many of these I’ve owned during my lifetime. Too many to count, really. But they’re kind of a necessity if I want my hair to stay off my neck during workouts. I just wish I could find even a few of the 100,000 I’ve purchased over the years. Where the hell do they go?

You will never have enough of these

You will own 5,000 but will not be able to find one when needed

The Braid Pony:

This is a dangerous hairstyle. It’s super cute on people with long hair, I admit, but  a slight turn of the head turns this “super cute” hairstyle in to a whip that slashes across your own face. Speaking from experience, it’s just too painful to deal with.

You're only hurting yourself with this hairstyle

Deadly weapon

Ah, Headbands:

I’ve got a love/hate relationship here. My best friend forever recommended a really good brand of awesome headbands about 10 years ago. Shockingly, after a decade they’ve lost some of their elasticity and the company no longer sells this product, so I’ve been forced to find an alternative. I’m fairly certain the sole purpose of this new headband is to form a permanent indent circumventing my head. Because man it hurts. It holds my hair back, too, but it also turns me into The Lion King.

Roar

Roar

The Braid:

This is my new favorite. I have cowlicks everywhere and baby hairs that never grow longer than two inches, so finding a way to tame all of that is a daily battle. Until I learned to side braid. This isn’t a side braid, but I like this style, too. It’d be dramatic to say it’s been a lifesaver, but it certainly has made life a little easier. Also, it looks like I’m skilled in all things hair. I’m not, but it makes me feel fancy.

Braid FTW

Flyaways and baby hairs don’t stand a chance!

 

Don’t Be a Jerk

This is what $300 looks like

Pay no attention to the color of the counter and carpet…

More accurately, don’t be a jerk to your body. It’s kind of my inner dialogue. It’s what motivates me to spend a stupid amount of money on fruits and veggies. It’s what keeps me going to the gym when I don’t want to. It’s what stops me from eating a daily dose of cheeseburgers. It’s what got me to cut down on dairy products: making the switch from regular cow milk and delicious vanilla custard covered with rainbow sprinkles to regular almond milk and vegan frozen yogurt covered in kiwi.

Not gonna lie, it’s not the worst. The almond milk and the taking care of myself. I notice how crappy I feel after I eat a doughnut. So you know what? If I eat it at all, I just eat half (but I assure you…if I didn’t feel like crap after eating doughnuts, I would eat them often because they’re amazing). I notice eating pasta for lunch makes me want to take an immediate nap. This is an issue at work. So I just don’t eat pasta for lunch on work days. Sometimes, even instead of my newly beloved vegan frozen yogurt (because let’s be real, I just spent all my money on groceries), I’ll make a smoothie at home. Which isn’t equally as delicious, but it’s good enough.

I love the word “balance.” Because for all of the good-for-me stuff I do, I also do bad-for-me stuff. Nobody’s perfect, I make poor decisions sometimes. Mostly in the form of mac & cheese for lunch. I don’t regret it, though. I never regret the Cheetos or the Oreos. I don’t feel bad about sleeping in on a cold and miserable morning. But I also don’t regret running in the rain when I really would rather watch a movie and drink a cup of tea (or glass of wine). I hate every God-forsaken step, but I don’t regret it.

The “Don’t Be a Jerk” mantra works both ways. I make sure most of what I eat is good, but I’m certainly not about to deprive myself of a couple, or seven, s’mores when we have a campfire. Thankfully we don’t have campfires and s’mores every night. Life’s too short to beat yourself up over every little decision. Eat the Oreo. Run your race. Don’t be a jerk.

Shop Local. Run Local #2

Seriously delicious frozen yogurt

Seriously delicious frozen yogurt

Last time I posted about shopping local I was talking about being afraid of making new friends and being wooed by cupcakes (I’m still in love with my shirt from Roanoke Island Running Company). We’re going to continue the local trend and this time we’ll Eat Local. And what will I be eating? Frozen yogurt. I’m takin’ it easy on the dairy these days, so vegan frozen yogurt truly makes my day. –I hear what it sounds like when I say that, and I assure you, I’m not really picky when it comes to eating, but if I have the choice (and in a beach town there are plenty of custard/ice cream/frozen yogurt choices), these days I’m going with the vegan stuff. –

The reason I love Surfin’ Spoon isn’t just because it’s delicious or because their Instagram posts make me crave it, but it’s because I use it as one of the landmarks during my runs. My other running landmark? An ice cream place. Convenient, I know. I’ve mentioned before how much stuff we have around here: bars, piers, bars, more bars. But we also have an abundance of ice cream-esque places, and they’re my favorite. They also make it easy for me to figure out how long I run so I don’t have to strap my 7lb Droid to my arm: something I’m not a fan of. Also, I don’t have a fancy watch that doubles as a running coach (yet), so the frozen yogurt places do the trick. They also serve as motivation because if I ever feel the need to justify my snacks, if I run there, I could do it.

Fortunately for my exercise regimen, they’re usually closed when I run by, but that doesn’t stop me from frequenting them in the evenings. I gotta say, there are few things better than eating a bowl of frozen yogurt at the beach. Except Sundays. Surfin’ Spoon isn’t open Sundays, much to The Boyfriend and my chagrin.

Morning Run: Pros and Cons

Pros:

Beach Road Bliss

Beach Road Bliss

  • No dodging other runners or cyclists- especially before 7am.
  • If it’s summertime, you beat the heat and humidity before it slowly smothers you to death.
  • You’ve already accomplished something for the day! Yay!
  • Seriously, everything else is down hill after this.
  • You’re up and out the door before your body really knows its awake, and definitely before it knows it’s running.
  • It makes Second Breakfast taste extra delicious.
  • You can watch the sunrise! Which is magical, I think.

Cons:

Trash Pick-Up!

Tip: Don’t follow the garbage truck when you run.

  • Sometimes its Trash Day.
  • Sweating so early in the morning isn’t my favorite.
  • If it’s winter, it’s absolutely freezing in the mornings.
  • Do you know how hard it is to wake up before the sun rises? This should be worth 4 bullet points because mornings are hard.
  • Nobody will notice if I go missing until 10 hours later when everyone returns home from work…everyone except me.
  • Sometimes First Breakfast doesn’t stay down as well as it should.
  • Guest Post: I’m not fully awake if I workout in the morning, so I can’t give it my all. Overachiever.

Confession

Today, my workout was a life saver. It saved someone’s life.

You ever get in a bad mood and just can’t get out of it? Where you can think of zero nice things and your patience is nonexistent and everything is stupid? That was my life for a few hours. And it was terrible. I didn’t even work out because I wanted to, I was invited to and agreed to go, and I’m so glad I did. Actually, the public should be glad I did.

I came out a completely different person. A hungrier, sweatier, less-homicidal version of myself. Thank you, workout, for saving the life of some poor, unsuspecting soul.

 

The Slump Buster

So a little while ago I was running sprint intervals (because jogging makes me sad) and was overcome by an intense pain in my stomach. So much so that a bunch of strangers stopped to ask if I was okay and offered to walk me back to my house. I was fine within a few minutes, but it scared me out of running. So I didn’t run for a while. And then I went away for a long weekend, so I didn’t run for a while. And then I was trying to get back into my daily work/life routine, so I didn’t run for a while. And then I went away again. So here I am…still not running.

Something’s got to be done. When I don’t run I don’t write, and I’d really like to write. Also, when I run I look dead sexy, so I’d like to keep that up (*Insert sarcasm font here). I’m going to try something to get me out of this slump, it’s called The Slump Buster. Because there’s got to be a way out. “Slump” is kind of a gross word, but the effects of not running are kind of grosser.

To help find a way out of this slump, I took to The Google. Some advice is more applicable to my life than others, for instance the #1 thing is usually: Rest or Take a Few Days Off!! Well, if we’re being honest, I’ve been doing a little too much of that.

So here’s my solution: Run just a little bit. Just put my stupid shoes on and walk out the door, then keep walking, maybe with a little hop, at that point I’m sure I’ll look ridiculous enough that I’ll have successfully bullied myself into actually running for real. Even if it’s only for a mile. At least it will be a fast mile and a short mile and the first mile I’ll have done in weeks. This Slump Buster is scheduled for 6:30am tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Darrin Says: IT Band Syndrome

Question: When running, what could be causing pain on the outside, lower portion of my knee? It’s painful while bending, and when my foot strikes the ground. Could this be my IT band?

Darrin: Yup, it sounds like IT Band Syndrome. This is hard because it’s not really a muscle , it’s just one long stretch of fibers, like a tendon, that runs down the outside of your thigh and connects to the outside of your knee. Sure, it’s important because it helps with stabilization, but it can really get in the way sometimes.

If you can, minimize activity with it and stretch the entire leg–foam roll your side from the knee up to the top of the hip. You need to strengthen your hip muscles. You have pain at the knee, but it’s the hip muscles that are the problem. The hamstrings attach by the knee as well, so again it is important to stretch the entire leg.

This is a video demonstrating some butt stretches that will work well for loosening up the hip area. If you need to, modifying these stretches is perfectly fine; I know I’m not as flexible as this girl!

Here’s a video demonstrating strengthening exercises. If you don’t have a resistance band or loop, just do more reps.

Having a basic understanding of our anatomy is important, not just for injuries, but for maintaining a healthy body. Knowledge such as this will help keep our bodies in balance, especially as we push them!