Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Esprit de She Chicago 5K recap

On July 18th I finished the Esprit de She 5K in Chicago’s Diversey Harbor. After a great experience with this race series at the Esprit de She Naperville triathlon in June, I decided to participate in one of their road races. I registered for the 10K but in response to the 90 degree we had that day, race officials canceled the 10K and moved everyone into the 5K race.

At first I was disappointed, but once the race got started I was soon ready for it to be over. It was hot. Harbor runs are usually graced with a nice breeze off of Lake Michigan. But, Diversey Harbor is separated from the water by Lake Shore Drive. So the air was thick and stagnant. Despite the heat, I finished! The race officials did a good job keeping us cool with water misting fans along the route and hydration stations at miles 1 and 2. They also had ice cold towels and popsicles at the finish line. The best part of the race? The post-race party.

Photo credit: Esprit de She

The avocado- chocolate pudding, hummus and flatbread pretty much blew the usual bagels and bananas post-race fuel out of the water. And for the adult runners, the bubbly bar was a nice touch.

I sipped champagne well into the night with a few ladies from my running group. The race swag was nice too, I love the orange sleeveless tech tank.

Photo credit: Esprit de She

Summer races are always a toss up because of the weather, but I really enjoyed this event, heat and mosquito bites included.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

10 years of natural hair

Ten years ago today I walked into Napps Natural Hair Salon in St. Louis, Missouri and asked a barber to cut my relaxed hair off to the new growth.

At the time, I had not relaxed my hair for 9 months. My goal was to go an entire year without a relaxer. But, the hot and humid summer weather had another plan. Dealing with two textures proved to be a challenge I did not have the patience to deal with. So when I sat in the chair and the clippers started to buzz of nearly 10 inches of hair, I had no qualms about what was happening. I was ready to Big Chop!

I first became curious about natural hair during my senior year of undergraduate school. I spent hours on end scouring and perusing the Fotki photo albums of other natural women. I was intrigued by the varying hair textures and wondered about my own hair’s texture. I did not start relaxing my hair until high school, but I wore a press and curl and even a curly perm (yikes) during grade school. Other than childhood photos, I didn’t really know what my unprocessed hair would be like.

When I walked into my workplace the first day after my Big Chop, the reactions were priceless. Don’t people know it’s rude to stare? I knew it was a shocking change for everyone, so it was actually something I expected. As my hair grew and I was able to switch up my styles I received more compliments and comments like, “I wish I could go natural”. My response was always, “Go for it! Just chop it off”. But I realize that is much easier said than done. Being mentally prepared to cut your relaxed hair is 90% of the battle.

Today the natural hair scene has absolutely exploded. What a difference 10 years makes. What I simply consider a way of life is the hottest trend going! From my days of obscure website hunting, fast forward to an abundance of social media and blog coverage on natural hair. Many main stream hair & beauty companies have also jumped on the natural train. The greater ease of social sharing has made access to information and product much easier. Women have so many resources available to them, it’s a great time to be natural.

I’ve experimented with every style from a TWA, BAA, locs, twists, puffs, flat-ironed styles, up-dos, color-treatments and now, 10 years later I’ve chopped it off again into a short tapered style (which I think may be my favorite style of all!) I’ve tried nearly every popular product line and tool available. Variety is definitely half the fun of being natural. I love each and every one of my tightly coiled strands. Here’s to 10 more years of love and happiness with natural hair.

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