Throughout my life I’ve mostly had long hair. Exceptions being when I, and countless other 80s tweens, went for the short-on-one-side, longer-on-the-other hairstyle a la Madonna, and then later when I chopped it post-first baby because my daughter loved to pull on my hair.
I’ve just always preferred longer hair on me, and these days it’s pretty long. I love it this way, and I also have cursed it this summer when humid, warm runs leave it a tangled mess unless I wear it in a braided ponytail. Even then it can be a pain to comb out if it’s especially hot and I’ve sweat buckets (the latter of which is a given during summer).
I have found something else that helps, though: a headband. This came as somewhat of a surprise since I’ve not really been a headband kind of girl. For years I wore a baseball cap while running. I stopped doing this as much around the time I discovered I could wear sunglasses without them bothering me during a run. I have at times braided the front section of my hair and tied it into my ponytail, but really didn’t ever think a lot about securing my fly-away hair with a headband until I was given the opportunity recently to try out a few.
Lorrie, the creator of Heads Up Hairbands, contacted me and asked if I’d like to try out a few of her velvet-lined, non-slip headbands. She sent me a package of four, a couple with thick bands and two others slightly thinner. My favorite is a brown-and-pink wider headband. Each band can be hand-washed and drip-dried, and the company can do custom orders.
I’m always up for trying new running-related products, but I also wanted to know more about Lorrie’s story—why she started making these, what running means to her…I was happy to learn that these hairbands are made in the Midwest and that she is from Michigan originally (she’d love to get back here with her family, but for now they are in the Columbus area because of her husband’s job). Lorrie, 49, has an incredible story, not only her reasons for running, but also how she’s using her headband business to help cancer research. Here’s more from my conversation with Lorrie (and please read on for giveaway details, too!).
First, let’s talk about your Michigan connection…
I grew up outside of Flint. My dad worked for General Motors, my mom owned her own business. My husband is also from Michigan, and he worked for Kellogg’s in Battle Creek … Michigan, it’s home. My parents had a place on Crystal Lake for years. Looking back at it now I realize how incredibly blessed we were [having the place on Crystal Lake]. We would go up there and my dad would take us snowmobiling. He taught me how to ice fish. My parents later bought a smaller place in Traverse City.
How long have you been a runner?
I didn’t start running until about 10 years ago. I am not a long-distance runner. I do 5Ks. I will never do a marathon—I can’t see myself ever doing it. I have done a couple of half’s. I’ve always been really active and tried to stay healthy. A little over four years ago, I got diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout treatment I walked and ran … It’s tough, but I found comfort in doing something that is familiar. I couldn’t run every day, and some days it was a light jog. It was the only thing I could do. It was therapeutic.
That is so good you were able to continue exercising throughout your battle with cancer. Running is amazing like that, that it can help us so much.
That’s what I like about it. It clears your head. So I have continued to take that out of running. I feel better after I run. I don’t always feel better during—today was one of those days!—and I may not look like a runner. I’m not skinny. I’m an average girl. But I feel good. I didn’t’ want to go to the gym. You want to go outside. There were a couple of mornings when I went outside when it was dark—and without a hat. [Lorrie lost her hair during chemotherapy treatments]. It was phenomenal. It was freeing. To be able to do that—it was a gift. Running, it makes you sweat. I think, ‘I am getting it out.’ Whether it’s a bad day or you’re mad at your husband or kids. You’re doing something for yourself.
I am three years, three months cancer-free. I chose the day of my surgery as my ‘anniversary’ date. I feel great. They tell me I am good.
That is wonderful! Tell me about the headbands—how did Heads Up Hairbands come to be?
After I lost my hair, it came back in ringlets—curly! It’s settled down a little bit, and it’s longer now. I had made a headband, and made another one and another one, and people commented on it. They said they were cute. So I started making more, and it took off. We didn’t invent [fitness headbands], but it’s become this really wonderful business that I am using it to give back.
How are you giving back exactly?
We are working on a local level with The Stefanie Spielman Breast Cancer Fund and have designed a custom band that will be sold with 100 percent of the proceeds going to cancer research. It is super important to me to give back and maybe help someone along the way. I’m thrilled that we’ve got some wonderful things that we are doing that are going to raise funds for cancer research. It’s really cool that something that was so horrible is now going to hopefully be something that is going to help. When you’re there [facing a cancer diagnosis], it’s a really dark place. And it takes a while to come out of it.
You certainly have come out the other side and seem to be doing so well.
It gives you pause to look back at things, and gives you an appreciation of things that you just don’t sweat the small stuff. You realize every day is a gift and you’re not promised tomorrow. I think that’s huge. My boys were wonderful. [Lorrie has two sons, one entering 8th grade this fall, and the other starting his senior year]. I think it’s essential. You choose the path. You can make the decision to be happy—it’s just up to you. Sometimes there’s things that get thrown at you … It’s ‘temporary and forward.’ We say that now about everything, it’s out family mantra. It’s just what we say. It’s also part of the company. I would never wish cancer on anybody. I certainly wish I never had it. But it showed a side of people to me. From the time I was diagnosed, to when I completed treatment, people brought us food. The support—people are amazing. That’s all I can say. They hold you up. They sustain you when you need it; it’s amazing. I always new I had great friends, but wow, I am humbled to this day and thankful for what they did for myself, my boys and my husband. They taught me what giving was about. I thought I knew. I do now.
I so enjoyed getting to know Lorrie better, and I’m loving her headbands (I love that they are supporting such a worthy cause, too). Lorrie has generously offered to give TWO Michigan Runner Girl readers headbands of their choice. To enter this giveaway, please share in the comments section below why you would like to try out her headbands. (I realize this is a giveaway geared more toward female runners, but any guys out there reading, please don’t hesitate to enter on behalf of a sister, daughter, aunt, niece or mother in your life!)
Heads Up Headbands are available for order online. Lorrie hopes to expand her Michigan sales—she’s in talks now with a Flint-area store interested in selling her headbands—but if you’re in the Ohio area, her products are available in more than 150 stores and fitness centers.
[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada who are 18 years and older. It begins on 7/26/13 and ends at NOON EST on 7/30/13; the winners will be announced on 7/31/13. One entry per person. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.