Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Hairs

I got myself some new hairs! Well, they are still the same old hairs, but they look brand new.
I got tired of my hair being 3 different colors and ugly, so I decided to do something about it! It seems crazy dark to me, but I guess it's probably pretty close to my natural hair color.

Here is a hair diary of the process over the past 2 years. I know everyone cares about this a lot.

Josh is happy with my decision because it is pretty close to what my hair looked like when we were dating. (below). So that's always good. 

The whole process started last summer when I decided I wanted to dye my hair blonde. I figure everyone has to try that at least once in their life, right? And now I will never do it again. 

 The latest that my hair looked like. Dark tops, light bottom, no style. 

The new 'do

Life's been crazy busy. Typical schedule: run, work, school. And....of course my favorite TV shows all started this week. Parks & Rec and the Sing-Off (and Glee. but not as much as the other two) completed my week and kept me company while Josh was out of town.

Here's the running update:
We went 10 miles last Saturday. My muscles and cardiovascular endurance felt fine, but I have been having an awful problem with cramping. Every time I get to about mile 3, I get a sharp cramp in my lower right abdomen. I've never been known for my ability to handle pain, but this cramp it unbearable! It had made me super depressed at various points this week because I have had to question if I will indeed be able to do a marathon. My wonderful husband sent me this info he found on the all-knowing internet:

Ways to Prevent or Lessen the Pain of the Common Side Stitch:
1) Do not Run on a Full Stomach
You shouldn't drink large amounts of water or eat 2-4 hours before exercise. Sip small amounts (1-2 swallows) before and during exercise and wait to fully re-hydrate until after the workout. Dehydration can cause cramping as well, so do not ignore water/Gatorade during running. Always sip a few swallows at regular intervals if running for more than 30 minutes and in hot temperatures.
2) Decrease Pace and Breath Deeply
Decrease fast pace for a few minutes and continue deep breathing techniques during running. A common running sequence is a three step inhale and two step exhale pattern. Slowing down your pace will allow for you to keep up with that pattern. As you increase to near maximum speed, your breathing will become more labored. However, you can push through the pain and keep your pace if you concentrate on breathing deep by pushing your stomach out when you inhale and relaxing it as you exhale. 
3) Pre-Stretch With Side Torso Twists
Pre-stretch before running by doing side torso twists. One of the best ways to pre-stretch the area is to lift your arms over your head and lean to the left and right at the waist.
4) Perform Lower Back and Abdominal Exercises
Do more lower back and abdominal exercises - see "Achieve Washboard Abs" for more ideas. Having a strong core will help you prevent the side stitch.
I hope these ideas can help you during your timed runs and training for faster paced running.


Side stitches are a muscle spasm of the "diaphragm". The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. In essence, it provides a boundary between the organs of the abdomen and the chest cavity where the heart and lungs are located.
The diaphragm assists in breathing. When we inhale, taking air into the lungs, the diaphragm moves down. When we exhale, the diaphragm moves up. (This detail, it becomes important later.)
Spasms of the diaphragm occur because of the movement of the internal organs as they jounce up and down whilerunning, thus pulling down and straining the diaphragm as it moves up while exhaling.
The liver in particular is usually the cause of this. It is attached to the diaphragm by two ligaments. The liver is the largest organ in the abdominal cavity and is situated in the upper right abdomen. Hence most people experience stitches on their right side, immediately below the ribs. A stomach full of food may cause this as well.
In addition, most runners are "footed". They begin and end a respiratory cycle on the same foot while running, usually in a stride to breathing ratio of 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running very fast. As the runner's breathing then becomes synchronized with his/her stride, exhalation consistently occurs on the same leg. If one repeatedly exhales (causing the diaphragm to move up) when the right foot hits the ground (forcing the organs on the right side of the body to move down), a side stitch may develop.


The most effective way to prevent a side stitch is to avoid "shallow" breathing. Shallow breathing can be defined as taking in a small volume of air with each breath, using only a small portion of the total lung capacity. When this occurs while running, the diaphragm remains in a consistently high position and never lowers enough to allow the connective ligaments of the liver to relax. The diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or "stitch" results.
Instead, one should breathe "deeply", also known as "belly breathing" while running. This allows the diaphragm to fully lower and reduce the stress on it.
Here's an exercise to try. Lie down on the floor, place a hand on your belly and breathe deeply. You are belly breathing correctly if you feel your hand raise slightly. If only your chest moves up, you are not breathing deep enough.
A technique that is very successful in preventing side stitches while running, is to periodically "purse" the lips while exhaling, as if blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Again, deep breathing is required to be effective. (This works best for me as well as most of the runner's I work with.)
Another technique that helps, is to exhale as the left foot strikes the ground, instead of the right foot. The organs attached to the diaphragm on the left side of the body aren't as big as those on the right side, so there is less strain on the diaphragm.


Running downhill exacerbates side stitches since it increases the forces exerted on the entire body with each foot plant. Novice runners should walk down hills until breathing techniques are mastered.
Don't eat within one hour of running and only eat lightly within three hours of running. DO DRINK FLUIDS!!! The stomach drains fluids rather quickly. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue and should be avoided.
Preventing a side stitch using the above techniques is preferred. If you get a stitch while running try the "purse" method (blowing out the birthday candles). If the stitch continues, it is best to stop running and instead walk while concentrating on deep breathing. Continue running after the stitch goes away.

I highlighted the good stuff. Can you imagine what my textbooks look like?
Anyway, I tried to push my stomach out while I was inhaling and that made all the difference! Woot woot. I had to run slower than normal so that I could more consciously think about my breathing, but I did it! I went 7 yesterday (only 5 less than I was supposed to...) and it was good, so I think I'm still going to try to do the December 10 marathon. This week we'll have to (GET to) run 13 miles, which is essentially the farthest I've ever gone before, so it should be exciting! I'm loving it.

We still miss the mountains, but are learning to like it here, too. The people and our programs are what make it worthwhile. Otherwise, we would be in Colorado. Ah, someday.

That's all folks!


  1. So funny - I def. read that same article after talking to you about it but it seemed like you already knew everything I'd read... obvious to me now because you'd read the same thing ;-)

    Glad you were able to put some of that into practice and run 7 miles! Hope that method continues to help and you can keep working your way to your goal!

    And I LOVE the new hairs, can't wait to see the new-do in person!

  2. Dark hair is the best! I'm always jealous of dark haired girls, especially you, pretty lady! Also, you're an inspiration -- I bought tennis shoes about 3 months ago and they're still in the box....

  3. looooovvvveeee your hair!!!! and you can totally do the marathon. you're amazing and if anyone can do it it's you :)

  4. The hair looks great, just like when we first met you!
    The deep breathing has always worked for me, too, when I get cramps while jogging. Kind of like you learn in yoga, breathing helps all sorts of things! Good luck in your training!