I did it! I completed my 2nd half marathon, just one year and 4 months after doing my first 5k. The Cox Providence Rhode Races / United Healthcare Half Marathon is in the bag.
I can’t believe it’s just 4 more days until my second half marathon! From Sunday until today I was feeling a lot of anxiety due to all sorts of “what-ifs” running through my mind. But as I sat down to write this blog about feeling nervous, I looked back and my feelings turned around.
Two weeks ago, I ran my 12 miles and felt strong.
On Sunday I did 8 miles and felt awesome. I never thought I’d be able to say that I enjoy 6-8 mile distances the most.
Tuesday I did a short 5k run. I always struggle with my weekday runs partly because it’s in the evenings, and also because I can’t get into my groove during the short run. But this one was finally a good one!
Tonight (Wednesday) I went to kickboxing. I worked hard and felt so good.
Sunday I will be ready to crush it.
Some prep that I need to do:
- buy almond butter & bananas for my favorite pre-race breakfast
- figure out what to eat the night before and shop for that
- choose an outfit (yes, that’s important!)
- make a playlist
- scrutinize the map of where the water stops, gatorade stops, and port-a-potties will be
One of my goals for living healthier is to slowly replace my conventional beauty products with cleaner, greener, more natural products. When my jar of moisturizer ran out, I saw another opportunity to go green. I have been using the oil cleanse method for about 5 years now, so I decided why not go with the easiest and most natural option: pure oil. I use almond oil as a base for my cleansing oil, so I just started with that. After more than a month of dabbing on the oil in the morning, I could safely conclude that this was NOT working out for me. My face was definitely breaking out more than usual and I had more clogged pores in the form of white bumps, but kept forgetting that I needed moisturizer so I just made do with what I had.
One day as I was grocery shopping I remembered that I needed a moisturizer so I stopped in the skincare aisle in Whole Foods. I didn’t realize that I was walking in unprepared. They have a much bigger selection of facial moisturizers with SPF than I would’ve guessed. I love that they have testers of just about everything, so I went about swatching away on my arms. Unfortunately all of my options were really heavy and sticky. Plus, they all cost about $20-$30. With a basket full of groceries on my arm and a grumbling stomach, I wasn’t prepared for the pressure of choosing one on the spot AND paying more than I’ve ever paid. Besides; I didn’t even really “like” any of the ones that I swatched. It was more like, “These are the 5 that I hate the least…” I wasn’t about to spend $30 on something that I simply “hated least”.
Empty handed, I returned home and did some more reading. Clean beauty products is totally new to me and my knowledge is very limited and kinda arbitrary. What I found out was that the nature of natural sunscreens is going to make all of them heavier than conventional products. Conventional products use chemicals to get SPF – oxybenzone is the most common. Mixed into the lotion, the chemicals absorb or react with sun rays to prevent the sun from damaging your cells. Critics say that chemicals from sunscreens can be absorbed through the skin and leads to hormone disruption. According to No More Dirty Looks, it helps other ingredients jump into your body too. And if it’s not in your body, it’s being washed into the ocean.
Green products, however, use a “physical” sun barrier. Instead of chemicals, the lotion contains titanium dioxide or zinc, putting a layer of minerals over your skin that physically blocks out or reflect the sun. It can also leave a white cast on the skin. Does anyone remember movies and pictures from the 70′s and 80′s where people would have white stuff on their noses? That was zinc oxide. So that is why natural SPF products will inherently be “heavier” than conventional products. Since they are not absorbed by the skin, physical sunscreens are widely regarded as safer. There are some newer and more expensive products that take physical sun block components and break them down into nano-particles, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a non-chemical sunblock. Here is an great source that summarizes physical vs chemical sun screens.
After I have studied up on sun block, I resolved that a) I would have put in some work to find the most tolerable lotion in terms of texture. and b) I would have to shell out some more dough for it. I guess I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact quality and purity is going to cost more (just like with food). I’m almost 30 so I guess I’m supposed to spend more than $8 on moisturizer anyway. As luck would have it, I came across a great moisturizer at a beach bar of all places. Review coming up next.
When I finished Rondeau’s Biggest Loser program, I had only lost 4 lbs but the inches were very significant. Back in December, I bought these two dresses from BHLDN:
Cute right? And such a good sale. Having never worn anything from that brand before, I ordered the dresses in size 10 based on their size chart:
Natural waist: 30
I chose the size 10 because it was closest to what I thought my bust was. Well when I got them home, the dresses fit over my waist and hips but when it got up to my ribcage, they would NOT ZIP at all. Not even close. It felt like 4 inches too small.
Fast forward to about a week after my final weigh-in at Rondeau’s, I remembered those dresses in my closet and ran to try them on. Drumroll…. THEY ZIPPED. Redemption! Unfortunately no picture of me in the dresses yet because they are too long and need to be tailored still.
I finally noticed that all of my work pants were falling off my butt, so I hit up the mall really quick to get some pants. Like most people, most of my close come from a few main sources. In my case, it’s Macy’s (esp the INC stuff) and Ann Taylor Loft, so I know that I am fairly consistent in those brands. Last time I had bought pants at Macy’s (in January), I was a solid size 8 but borderline 6. At the Loft, I was a 8p or 6 regular. If I got tapered/skinny leg pants in either store, I usually had to get the size 8. This time, I bought a pair of INC skinny leg pants in a 6, and a skirt in SIZE 4. At the Loft, I got 2 pairs of skinny-cut pants at the Loft in 6p! (BTW, according to the Loft size chart, that’s 27 inch waist)
I’m glad to know that my puny 4 lbs still translated into a full pant size down and slightly smaller bust. It feels so good and really emphasizes how the number on the scale doesn’t tell the full story.
After a grueling Crossfit workout one day, my sweetie and I stopped at the farmer’s market to pick up some stuff for dinner. This was when I had just started Crossfit. My knee was hurting so bad I could barely walk. As I browsing the stalls, I came across a table for Farmacy Herbs. Desperate, I picked up a jar of their Ache Away salve and put it on during the car ride home. I instantly felt better and I couldn’t believe it.
It doesn’t help you guys since you can pretty much only get this in Providence, but I wanted to give a look at how this completely natural product can actually work for you. Every time my muscles are sore, I use this and it works. It has a bit of an herbal smell but nowhere near as vile as Ben Gay or Icy Hot type of rubs. My jar is over a year old and I can tell that some of the “oomph” is fading, but it still works and best of all, the ingredients are completely free of chemicals. Keep reading for more info about what makes this stuff works.
I just finished the 12 week session of a program called the “Biggest Loser” class at Rondeau’s Kickboxing. It’s also sometimes called the “Transform You” class. A little background: Christina Rondeau is a former professonal kickboxer and opened a women-focused kickboxing gym. The “Biggest Loser” session is a special set of classes that lasts for 12 weeks, and you meet with the same class once a week. You also get some diet counseling, plus weigh-ins every week to keep you accountable. The session costs $250 for unlimited classes during those 3 months, however I got in while there was a sale and paid only $125.
Keep reading for my review and my after picture!
When I started this blog, I also wanted to write about being holistically healthy as in, what I’m putting in and on my body. So here’s another review about a new “natural” products I’ve been trying.
Use Me Cleanser for Dry & Coarse Hair
I asked my stylist to recommend a shampoo that would work for both my oily dandruff hair without making it dry or stripping my color. I always feel like I have to choose one of those and sacrifice the other two, and I usually end up choosing clean scalp over longer color. She recommended a new line called Use Me Products. There’s a lot to read about the company, so go to their website to check it out. They are based out of Portland, ME and are all about being good for your hair and good for the environment. Um, I kind of I love anything that comes out of Portland, ME.
I am using the Cleanser for Dry & Coarse Hair. I have extremely thick, coarse hair to the point where I almost never wash & wear my hair the same day. I need to wash it at night and sleep on it, let it settle, and often use a straightening iron. Otherwise it just looks way too big and poofy. This is a pretty good representation of how my hair looks having washed it, slept on it, but without straightening:
You can see how it is dry, dull, textured, and has this annoying “wavy but not wavy” thing going on. By now, I have been using Use Me shampoo for three months and my hair has improved so much!
My review, including after photos are after the jump: