Happy Wednesday friends! Here in Canada it was a long weekend and so my work week feels so off. I keep thinking it's Tuesday, so thankful for a short work week! What are some of your favorite things to do when it's a long weekend? I enjoy being outdoors and my long runs always feel better for some reason. Today's Behind the Chair interview with someone who I met through the running community here in Toronto, at NRC! (Nike Running Club)
Today on Behind the Chair, I am so excited to introduce to you someone who has become a good friend of mine, y'all have probably seen lots of her on my Instagram, it's the lovely Melissa Offner, blogger of MELSAYS! We met last summer and teamed up on an amazing project for the Nike Women's 15k Race that was held on the Toronto island, we did a seven day series of different hairstyles you could do for race day! Mel is a sweetheart, an amazing athlete, super funny, and has been a blessing and encouragement since I've started Cabello by Carolina. I am so excited for you all to finally meet the lovely Melissa Offner.
We met up at David's Tea, and had a lovely chat in their beautiful garden. We didn't do a fitness shoot this time around but we definitely talked about upcoming races, travel plans, life, and well just about anything and everything. The hairstyle I created on her is one, that she likes asking for me to do on her. The braided top knot. (You can get the DIY tomorrow, so come back to read the how-to)
Get to know Mel:
I grew up just outside of Montreal doing every imaginable sport. During my teens, I focused mostly on dancing, becoming a professional dancer for a few years. I have always had a passion for music so when came time to figure out what I wanted to do, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a music television host. After studying in Broadcast Journalism and freelancing as a photographer and writer for a handful of music magazines, I started my own radio show that I co-hosted for a few years called We.Are.Canadian. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto 7 years ago that my dream of working in television really came true, first working as a co-host for AUX Weekly and then co-creating my own music television show called BRBR on TFO. Having been in music for so long I felt the need to expand my horizons and started my own website a few years ago to explore my other passions for all-things travel, fitness/wellness, food, surfing, etc. via MELSAYS.COM. After having been in the television world for the past 7 years, I have decided to spread my wings, I recently announced that I will be working full time on my website and also working with my husband to produce content as a freelancer going forward.
When did you start your running journey and why?
My running journey really started when I moved to Toronto. With my schedule being so irregular and also me being on the road so much, I gave running a shot. Though I would have preferred to surf every day, running appealed to me because it was free, could be done anywhere in the world and also on my own time. Though I never considered myself a runner, beforehand, starting to run had a hugely positive impact on my anxiety, stress levels and also just mood in general. Last year, I also started participating in races (that’s when you know you’ve officially become a “runner”) and have been hooked since. My goal is to complete my first half-marathon before the end of 2016 and am well on my way, having already participated in 5 races this year including two OCR races, which have also become a favorite discipline of mine.
What are some of your favorite races to do in Toronto (and anywhere else you've raced)
I think my most memorable race thus far has to be the Nike Women’s 15k in Toronto last year, it was my first 15k race and such a huge event for me. Having trained with Nike during 10 weeks leading up to the race, it challenged me and also really helped me become a better version of myself. I also really enjoy any kind of race in Vancouver or California, as the scenery there is just unreal!
How do you find balance between work and training?
It’s definitely hard to get workouts in when you travel a lot but I have decided to make my health and fitness my #1 priority even when I travel. I always find a bit of time to work out even when I’m really busy. I may have to adjust a workout or switch it up due to location, timing, etc. but I always find a way to be active. I mean, all you really need is a pair of shoes and you’re set to go. If I can’t do a long workout, then I’ll make sure to be active for at least 15-30mins and it will make my day 100% better.
What is some advice you'd give to someone who is looking to start training for a race?
My advice would just be to take your time, listen to your body and set yourself realistic goals. Give yourself enough time to train and join a group or speak to other fitness enthusiasts around you to get tips on training, nutrition, etc. Joining a running group was hugely helpful for me. There are so many located all around the world that are free and a great resource when training for your first race.
Can you recommend some of your favorite artists or songs for playlists for your runs?
I love using Spotify. I usually create a new playlist per season so that I don’t get fed up of the music I run to. My playlists are always SO diverse. It’s usually a mix of hip hop, top 40 as well as rock and alternative music. Last year, when I ran my first 15k race, it was to an early 2000s emo/scream playlist that I had created for training. Kind of ashamed to admit it but it was quite motivating! You can check out my profile here: melisshetu
I always like asking this question, what is your favorite way to wear your hair?
To work out, it has to be up and out of my face, so either a high ponytail or even a bun are my go-tos. For everyday life, it’s either down and wavy or when I have time I straighten it (but those days are few and far between unfortunately!)
If you're in the Toronto area and are looking to join a running group, there are so many in the city. One of my favorite groups is the Nike Toronto Crew, make sure to check them out!
A huge THANK YOU to Nelly, for the pictures!
Have a great hair day!
Ps. As usual if you see a hairstyle on here, post it and tag it @cabellobycarolina and use #cabellobycarolina we'd love to see your go to hairstyles you use to go to the gym or on a run.