Colleen's Hair Monsters
Have you ever woken up on the day of a key workout, big race, important meeting, final test, or deciding game and realized that the hair monsters were out to get you and would not be shut away in the deep dark dungeons where they belong? You know, hair monsters. The creatures that make your hair feel dry and frizzy or oily and greasy. It won’t lay right, it either looks flat or way too poofy. Uh oh, bad hair means I feel off my game, can’t concentrate, can’t think straight, can’t lead, can’t muster the energy. Bad hair leads to a bad attitude, we can all admit that.
Now I am NOT superstitious. I don’t believe in “lucky socks,” nor do I have a particular food I must eat the night before a race. I’ve always felt those superstitions took away from the incredible amount of WORK I have done leading up to the moment that I stand on the starting line with a bib pinned to the front of my uniform waiting for the gun to go off. If I run well, I don’t want to attribute an ounce of the credit to some random number I have decided to give extra power.
I subscribe to: “I don’t wish I work.” That kinda vibe- you get it.
But then I had a kind of change of heart. I still absolutely do NOT have a lucky number that I look for on race day, hoping it pops up in my room number, hip number, race start time, etc. Buuuuut I do one thing that is a ritual and I do it because it makes me feel good. Before every race and any big workout, I always build in some time to do my hair in a way that makes me feel…
For me, the style always involves some kind of braid. Sometimes it’s a style I saw on a friend or a follower’s recent post on Instagram. Other times I just start with a small braid somewhere and let the design flow out of me, curious to see what I end up with. I’ve tried french braids and dutch braids and even a few cornrows and fishtails. I do one braid down the back, a braid that wraps around the front like a crown, two braids along my head that meet at the back into a ponytail, a braided high ponytail, and my latest one that is a more of a twist called a topsy turvy ponytail. The style doesn’t really matter.
Because it’s not really about hair.
It’s about that feeling.
When I’m done, I stand in front of the mirror with my shoulders back and down, no longer attached to my ears. My walk has a deliberate cadence to it and I state my opinions without starting with “I think….” A whole body transformation just because of hair? Is it possible?
I’m adamant that the hair doesn’t MAKE me fast. I AM fast. The hair just serves as a reminder.
Because when I take the time to wash, brush, dry, moisturize, part, braid, brush again, braid some more, and secure my hair into the perfect style that matches my mood for the day… I FEEL good. I feel more like my fast self. I’ve done the work, so after I braid my hair I know I can go out there and show off my work without anything standing in my way.
The braids are all different, but one thing that I know I can rely on is my hair tie. No matter how many braids or how high the ponytail, I can always tie up a TIY in 1, 2, or even 4 loops in the perfect color for that day to make sure that whatever badass style I have created will stay in place while I do the most important part… run! Because oh yes, don’t think that just because I took extra time to do my hair now I don’t have to put in the work to achieve my goals. Not in the slightest. However, it does feel a little less like work when I’m having fun. And I can have fun because I feel good. and I feel good because I’ve tamed my hair monsters and I know I look strong and sleek and fast and capable and resilient. Are you following me?
There’s more. I’ve noticed that when I show off my latest fast braid style and brag about what I was able to accomplish in my braids, other women and girls get excited and it sometimes even inspires them to braid their hair and go after a big goal in their own life. Those women often end up posting about their fast braid story (a PR in the 5k, their first triathlon, cross-training through an injury, or even winning a championship), which will inspire others who follow them to do the same and on and on and on… hair monsters all over the world are running scared of these women in braids!
Are you inspired yet? Grab a brush, a comb, and a TIY and get yourself braiding! Feeling confident is my “superstition” and I make sure to find that confidence through braids before taking on any big challenge in life. Not because I have to or because I think it won’t go well if I don’t, but because I want to and I have more fun when I have my fast braids in.
One more thing. Because I feel like I can be honest here. I don’t braid my hair every day into the sleek looks that I post on social media. Some days the hair monsters creep in and I secretly kinda welcome them. Sometimes I rely on a trusty 4-loop TIY and throw the whole crazy frizz ball into a high bun, pretending it was intentionally messy and chic. Every once in a while I ditch the brush and turn my camera off on Zoom and just let the monsters have a field day. I’ll get em tomorrow.
- Colleen Quigley