Track Tuesday: Favorite Running Music (Part 2)

Happy Track Tuesday! I hope your workouts last week were fantastic! Did you try incorporating any of my suggestions from last week’s Track Tuesday into your running playlist? If so, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought! 

Every Tuesday I will be sharing some of my favorite songs to run to, last week’s songs were all instrumental tracks, but this week I’d like to change it up and showcase some songs with lyrics I find especially motivating!  Click the title to go straight to a video for each song and listen now! 

Me at the finish of my first 5k.

1. T-Ferg ft Meech New Era -Keep Pushing 

I first heard this song during a workout very early on in my fitness journey. It was within the first week or so of joining the gym. The song begins with a sample of a motivational speech by Eric Thomas where he says “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” and from that point on something in my brain decided that success would be my oxygen! That speech combined with lyrics that tell you to overcome your obstacles through hard work and dedication make ‘Keep Pushing’ a great song to run or workout to! 

2. Till I Collapse – Eminem 

Ok, so not all the lyrics apply to my life and he doesn’t use the most wholesome words out there, but with it’s military cadence (left, left, left, right, left…) and lyrics like:

Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. 

But you gotta search within you. You gotta find that inner strength.

And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation not to give up. 

And not be a quitter no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

This is the perfect song to run to when you want to push your body to its absolute limit! 

3. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

This needs no explaination. It was good enough for Rocky so it’s good enough for me and you, mmmkay? 

Enjoy your runs this week! Let me know how you like these songs, and as always I’d love to hear some of your favorites so leave them in the comments! 

Goal Digger

I’ve come to realize that I thrive on having goals. I need to have my sights set on something big and I flourish as I work towards achieving it. 

I’ve come to realize that I thrive on having goals. I need to have my sights set on something big and I flourish as I work towards achieving it. 

I’ve gotten away from that a bit lately and I’m ready to jump back, in a big way! 

My goal for over a year was to lose 110 lbs and when I reached it, I set another goal. I wanted to do something athletic and decided a 5k would be the next thing to shoot for and after achieving that, I set another goal. I wanted to get my skin removal surgery. This is where things got complicated. 

I had hopes and expectations that my insurance would cover that surgery. I knew insurance wanted to see stability in my weight as evidence that I was maintaining. I had already hit my goal weight and was perfectly content maintaining if that’s what needed to happen. I enjoyed the freedom I had for awhile since eating to maintain takes so much less thought and effort than eating to lose.  When insurance denied my coverage I kept the goal of one-day getting this surgery, but of course now I see that this is a very long term goal. Saving the money is going to take me a very long time…

I have been sadly complacent since then. My eating habits haven’t been awful, but I’m not proud of them. I’ve neglected to log some meals. I was running pretty regularly but wasn’t making it to the gym. Then, of course that nasty ankle sprain kept me from even running and I ate more out of panic, depression and boredom. Cheese and carbs are my comfort foods. 

I decided I need some new goals to get me back on track and think that publishing them here is just the accountability that will get me there. What good is a fitness blog from a chick who just writes about her past achievements?!?

So, here it goes…

My first new goal is to lose 10 more pounds, and I hope to do this not because I’m unhappy with my weight but because I probably should have had those additional 10 pounds in my initial goal from the start. I didn’t because my goal of 110 lbs seemed impossible already, but I knew back then that I wanted to because this would take my BMI to a “normal” range. Right now, I’m still technically considered “overweight” and in 10 lbs I won’t be…but, it’s really not about that. It’s more about knowing that the only reason I left those 10 pounds out of initial goal was fear, and I’m just not afraid anymore. 

My second goal came courtesy of a good friend of mine who announced on Facebook that she is looking to run a certain kind of race in the future. A certain kind of race I thought I had no interest in doing. Unfortunately for me, when one of your best friends tells you she found a great training plan and it sounds super doable you just add run a half marathon to your list of goals. Then you immediately regret typing it because now there is no turning back! 

These are not going to be easy to achieve. Losing weight when you are obese is a lot easier to do than when you weigh less. These 10 pounds will be worlds more challenging than the first 10 pounds I lost. Running my first 5k was hard…but a half marathon is 10 miles more than that and I’ll be training after an injury that kept me from running for over 3 weeks.

I’m hoping all of these challenges I’ll face in my near future will at least help me create some interesting content for this little blog! Feel free to let me know what kind of documentation of this journey you’d enjoy seeing. 

Now it is time for me to turn in and rest…I’ve got big goals waiting for me in the morning. 

Happy National I Love My Feet Day! 

Happy National I Love My Feet Day!

Today is the day!!! I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting it! Or…maybe you had no idea it was even a thing until just this second! Probably, the latter. Either way, it’s here: National I Love My Feet Day.

So, what does that mean? I’m not quite sure, but as a runner I say we celebrate all the things our feet do for us and show them a little respect for the pounding they take from us in the name of running! 

Blood blisters, water blisters, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, tendonitis, blackened or missing toenails…

Sure doesn’t sound like us runners love our feet! So, what can we do to care for our feet to show them some appreciation for the many miles they carry us? 

Read on for a few suggestions on how to pamper your tooties today! Your feet will thank you…maybe with a new PR on your next run!

1. Yoga for feet! Yoga can be a wondeful way to both prevent and heal injuries and pain in all parts of the body, but you might be surprised to know that there are poses and postures specifically for your feet! Yoga teacher, Adriene Mishler has a great 30 minute foot specific yoga flow that you can watch here that might make a huge difference in your plantar fasciitis or other foot related pain! Try it and let me know what you think! Namaste! 

2. Massage! There is no denying that a massage feels great and can be very soothing. Some areas of the body are hard to reach on your own, and therefore require the help of a friend or masseuse to massage. Luckily, your feet are easy to massage on your own! I love freezing a water bottle and rolling it under my feet to massage them after a run! The cold is soothing, and the shape and pressure is perfect for stretching out your arches and breaking up fascia! You can see a video on the technique here and get some other great tips for healing foot pain! 

3. Pedicures have always been known as a great way to get your toes ready for cute strappy sandals, but I wonder how many people consider getting one before their race! Getting a pedicure isn’t merely cosmetic! Your pedicurist can trim your toenails. This is very important because if they grow too long and hit against your shoe as you run it can traumatize the nail bed causing abscesses and even the loss of your nail! They can also treat your calluses, moisturize and massage your feet! 

In addition to these tips, you can treat your feet kindly by wearing properly fitted shoes, and moisture wicking socks! 
Let me know how you plan to treat your feet today and leave your best foot care tips in the comments! 


Track Tuesday: Favorite Running Music (Part 1)

Track Tuesday!!

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to check my ankle today, and I am happy to report that I got the go ahead to slowly begin running again! *happy dance!*

I thought it might be fun to start a little something I’ll call “Track Tuesday” where each week, on Tuesday (duh), I will share a few of my favorite songs to run to! If you like them, add them to your running playlist! If you hate them, tell me why! Feel free to leave some of your favorite tracks to run to in the comments as well! 

Hopefully you will find some new artists and genres you will enjoy! I’m always looking for something new to try as well. 

Each link will take you to an official YouTube video for the song. Please comment on the video that you were sent by Muscles, Miles and Mascara. Enjoy! 

1. 300 Violin Orchestra – Jorge Quintera

300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintera is probably my most favorite song to run to! It’s a track that has been used in trailers for action movies and in numerous sports videos. It’s a song that makes me feel strong, powerful and fast! This was the last song that came on just before the finish of my first 5k and therefore holds a very special place in my heart as a runner! 

2. Roundtable Revival – Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Sterling is a name you will hear often on Track Tuesday. She is an adorable little violinist, composer, dancer, and performance artist who plays some incredible electronic classical crossover dubstep…which happens to make for wonderful running music in my opinion! Upbeat and strong! 

3. Army of Kings – Audiomachine

This song makes me feel like I’m running in one of those motivational videos up the side of a mountain or something! Audiomachine will likely make a few more appearances on Track Tuesday, as well. They are a production company from California that produces some really powerful epic music. 

Rash

Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.

Yesterday I discovered a nasty little surprise.  

Oozing. Stinking. Angry. Painful. Itchy. Weeping. Inflamed. Burning. Disgusting. Embarrassing. 

I got my first full blown rash from the loose skin I am carrying around after my weightloss.

After insurance denied me coverage to have this excess skin removed, many people suggested I “encourage” rashes. You see, insurance companies often like a long history of rashes before they will cover this surgery. 

“Almost” rashes like I typically get aren’t good enough. The fact that I need to constantly think about preventing rashes isn’t good enough. Having to figure out which clothes will not fold my skin certain ways where it will rub during a particular type of workout isn’t enough. Having to worry about making sure I can clean and dry myself promptly after sweating or risk a rash under my skin isn’t enough. Having to use anti chaffing cream and powders regularly to avoid a rash isn’t enough. 

No, the inconvenience of these things isn’t enough. 

They need you to have the rashes. Oh, but not just have them. Have them and suffer from them badly enough that creams don’t clear them up. 

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s bullshit. 

So, I refused to “encourage” these rashes. Mostly because…..ew, gross. Secondly, because I think these people who intentionally let their skin get that bad are doing a disservice to everyone else. These fabricated rashes minimize what other people actually suffer from. Lastly, I’m not a perfect person, but I try to be honest and transparent. 

Therefore, I am careful to do everything I can to avoid rashes when I can. I’ve done a good job so far. I’ll see red and sore patches sometimes after I wear a certain item of clothing…or after a certain kind of workout. I just care for that sore area right away and take measures to keep the skin healthy, clean, dry and comfortable. 

Despite my best efforts I’ve ended up with a rash. Its really gross. I’ll spare you from pictures. Its quite uncomfortable. It’s definitely a nuisance and I’d be much less grouchy right now if I’d been able to avoid this. 

However, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. I know I’ve spoken a lot about wanting surgery to remove this skin over the past few months. I’ve been met with doubt by a few people over these months. Many who have implied my desire for surgery was for mere “cosmetic” reasons. Even though I know what I deal with daily, some of these comments got into my head and made me question myself for a moment. Was I overreacting?

I have a follow up with my doctor today so she can check my sprained ankle. I plan to show her the rash while I’m there, hopefully get some treatment advice and I’ll have her document it. Maybe someday, I’ll suffer enough for insurance to take my need seriously. 

In the meantime, at least I can take myself seriously and try to distance myself from the doubt that others want to infect me with….like an incurable, persistent rash. 

Facing Myself

I’m simply telling a story of a girl whose greatest struggle was once that she couldn’t face herself… and look how far she’s come! 

I’ve always loved makeup. I admired the beautiful looks that I’d see people create. I loved to hear about different trends and products. I loved stories about how women would use it to enhance their features and their confidence. I could spend hours in the makeup aisle looking at all of the colors and finishes, even the packaging intrigued me. 

I’ve worn makeup since I was pretty young. At first, it was about wanting to look more mature, but eventually it became about hiding. I didn’t use makeup in the way I admired it from afar. 

I would pile on foundation, concealer, and powder. I wouldn’t add blush often because that would enhance my features and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. 

I would wear the most pale lip color I could find. Pale gold. Pale pink. Clear gloss. Nudes so nude that they merged right into the rest of my face. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and certainly didn’t want to have to spend any more time in the mirror facing myself than neccessary! The sooner I could turn away from myself the better. 

My eyes were my one feature I liked well enough. I always wore eye makeup and thought I was enhancing them but, in retrospect, I wasn’t doing myself many favors with the thick black rim of liner all around them and frosty white eyeshadow. 

One day, about a year before I started my fitness journey, I happened across a makeup group for moms on Facebook. I would mostly lurk at first. Then, every once in awhile I would pipe in with advice. Afterall, I’d admired makeup for many years. However, I’d almost never post pictured because my face did not in any way reflect the passion I had for makeup. These girls were gorgeous and confident. They didn’t cover half of their face with their hair, and filter their faces into oblivion like I did. They’d face the camera head on instead of having to angle to hide their insecurities. I wanted that so badly!

It took a lot of time for me to get there, but as I began my fitness journey and learned to love myself more, it became easier to face the mirror a bit longer. To spend more time playing features up instead of applying a mask. 

I’d ask for advice in the groups and spend time watching tutorials on YouTube and Instagram. I learned to actually try utilizing them instead of just admiring from afar. I learned not to be afraid of myself. 

I don’t know if the weightloss made it easier for me to love and embrace myself more in order to branch out with my makeup or not. Maybe the makeup increased my self confidence more and helped with my weightloss. I’m not sure, because it all seemed to kind of happen together. I’d like to think it was all just physical manifestations of my newfound self love. 

The time I spend on my makeup is really a time of self care. It’s how I show love to myself. It’s an artistic expression. It’s a time of prayer and meditation. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s challenging and rewarding. It’s now absolutely everything I admired about makeup so many years ago! 

I know there is still room for improvement in my makeup abilities. There is always room for improvement…I thrive on that in every aspect of my life!!!

I’m not saying that I am a better person because I can “do makeup” now. I’m not saying my confidence comes from makeup. I’m simply telling a story of a girl whose greatest struggle was once that she couldn’t face herself… and look how far she’s come! 

Recovery

I will run…

I am a runner. 

I love to run for stress relief, exercise, fun. I love to set goals. I enjoy taking my 3 year old out in the jogging stroller and spending time with him… letting him see his mama as a strong, fast and motivated role model. 

Alanna with Killian (age 3) after a stroller run.

 I experienced my first real running injury a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had normal running strains and aches and blisters that may have set me back for a few days before but nothing like this. 

I was about 3 miles into what could’ve been a very long run. I was feeling wonderful. I had my music going, my feet felt light, my breathing felt good! I ran off of the paved path and onto a trail near the lake. The trail has a lot of roots and one caught my foot and my ankle snapped. I was on the ground instantly. 

 I sat there for what felt like an eternity trying to decide if I needed to scream out for immediate help, call my husband to get me, brush the dirt off and jump right back into my run, cry, laugh….I was in shock.  I decided to slowly stand up and see how I felt. I put a little pressure on my foot. It hurt…but I thought “Maybe I can run it off…” 

In retrospect it had to be the runner’s high. They say adrenaline can be a powerful analgesic and this to me is proof! 

I ran home. I ripped off my shirt and sat to have a drink for a minute like I usually do after a run. I told my husband about my fall and said “It must not be bad. I ran home!” However, 10 mins later when I stood up to change there was excruciating pain. I knew it was a bad injury. I iced it and went to sleep and it was puffed up like a balloon by morning. 

Based on the pain I thought for sure I had a fracture, but my doctor told me no amount of adrenaline would allow me to run home on a broken ankle. She diagnosed me with a sprain and told me to take at least two weeks off running. 

It’s now been over two weeks and while Im at least off of the crutches now and walking, I am not yet able to run. 

I never knew how badly I would mourn for running! I have never cried more in my life than I have in these two weeks. Sometimes it’s actually because I want to run. Sometimes it’s for some other dumb thing that upsets me that running would usually make me feel better about.  Mostly, it’s all the stuff I’ve had time to hear, see and feel when I’m not busy running. 

I don’t know how long it will take until I can get back out there. It makes me nervous. I don’t want to be afraid and put it off too long. I don’t want to do it too soon and set my healing back. 

There is a race coming up in a few weeks that I really wanted to run but I can’t afford to sign up if I won’t actually be running by then. 

This sucks.

I will say, I am excited for a comeback. I know that this will make me appreciate every run and push me so much harder once I’m out there! 

You would think that a formerly obese couch potato turned athlete would already know better than to take her ability to run for granted, but I used to. 

No. More. 

I am going to run every run with purpose. 

I am going to run every run with a mission.

 I am going to run every run to improve my mind and improve my body.

 I am going to run every run to glorify God and thank Him for the chance to get out and see miles and miles of the beautiful world He created. 

I am going to run. 

Thoughts 8/13/17 10:43am

If you tell someone you want them to be happy…

If you tell someone you want them to be happy and you truly mean that…try listening to what they say will make them happy and support it instead of trying to change their mind about what might make them happy. You might find that just showing unconditional support could teach you both something. 

PR

A PR is limited only when you stop trying for more. Don’t quit. I won’t.

Personal Record. 

It’s a term any runner is familiar with. We strive to beat our OWN best time or pace. We celebrate it when we do. It’s a race only against ourselves. Nobody else is needed in order for us to win…or lose. 

In my first 5K race, I placed 2nd in my age group. My time was good. Lots of people were faster than me… many were slower. I was not unhappy with my time. I was proud! I was so happy and nobody was going to take that away from me. 

In my 2nd 5K race, I knew I wanted more. I knew the variables would be different. Different competitors, a different terrain, different weather (good golly, the humidity! 😓) , different everything! Except me…I wouldn’t be different unless I tried to be. 

Because I knew so many variables were different and I was inexperienced at that point in understanding exactly HOW, I just randomly set an odd goal. “I want to at least place in the top 15 in my age group…and beat my time from the last 5K.” Don’t ask me why I said that about the top 15. That was so random and unnecessary. I couldn’t control how many people ran slower or faster than my best…heck, I didn’t even know how many people were running in total, let alone in my age group! For some reason though I felt like I needed a way to compare myself to others. 

I began my race, and it was a hard one for me. I started off really strong but maybe too hard with too much humidity and got lightheaded. People started passing me…what felt like tons of people. Definitely more than 15 people…I tried to notice how many appeared to be in my age group.  I was ready to call my husband not even a half mile in to tell him I quit. 

Then, I remembered the other part of my goal. The important part. I wanted to beat MY own race time. I could control that. So, like Forrest Gump, I was running. 

I ended up placing 4th out of 21 in my age group this time. Not 2nd like in my last but I beat my own time. I didn’t get a medal for 4th, I didn’t “win” against my competition but I knew that I’d beat the only person in that race that I was really competing against. Me.

My race stats from my first 5K compared to my 2nd 5K showing that I didn’t place as high against my competition, but beat my own PR.

I feel like a lot of people worry about my state of mind when it comes to my body image after the weightloss. They think I’m comparing my body to other people. That I’m striving for perfection…or a theoretical “top 15 in my age group”. I’m not. I promise I am not comparing my body to yours or Kylie Jenners or Marilyn Monroe’s or anyone else. 

I am unapologetically striving for more from myself though. I’ve EARNED that with the efforts I’ve put in. 

If I don’t train for a race, I have nobody to be angry at but myself if my time is not up to par.  If I train hard, I know my time will reflect that. 

I’ve trained HARD for this body. Hard. I’ve logged every bite of food for over 500 days. I’ve put in hours at the gym and worn through countless pairs of shoes to get here. I went from not being able to do a single “modified” pushup in a workout to doing 90 decline pushups in a workout. I’ve gone from not having any core strength to doing advanced abdominal exercises while smiling through them (I LOVE medicine ball situps on a decline with russian twists, ok?!). 

My body is not reflecting the efforts I’ve put in because of my stubborn skin that can’t be exercised or dieted away. It’s OK for me to want it gone. I’m not vain. I’m not letting other people’s bodies determine how I feel about mine. I’m just trying to get my outside to more closely be the “result board” that reflects the effort I’ve put in to get to this PR. 

I want to word this next part carefully…

I’ve gotten many, many, many messages and comments from other moms who say they have loose skin as well and were never obese like I was. They tell me that pregnancy did that to their body. They remind me that I may have had the loose, saggy skin even if I never carried or lost all that weight. That I may have ended up with a stomach that looks like this just from carrying 4 children. 

They remind me that I am blessed to have gotten the chance to carry and birth 4 children because some don’t get that chance and please for one second don’t think that I don’t agree! 

Some of these women have learned to love and embrace the bodies they have because of the story their body tells. 

I UNDERSTAND and RESPECT all of that. I do. I think it’s BEAUTIFUL and admirable. I feel like I would likely feel the exact same way if I were them.

I’m not them. This is not their story. This is mine. 

Yes, my body tells a story of my children but it also tells the story of the many years of abuse I put my body through. This story is the one I want to forget. 

 I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. I hated the old me. Its ok for me to want to forget her and be done with her. Anyone who knows me will recognize that I’ve never hesitated to cut toxic people from my life without a second thought so why should I feel differently about trying to let go of my old toxic self? I did not hate myself BECAUSE of my weight. I ended up that weight BECAUSE of how much I hated myself. 

I just want to embrace and love the new me without it being tarnished with reminders of some very dark times. 

Please, try to understand. Stand by my decision as friends and encouragement. 

I know every person who messages me is trying to help me feel better. They are trying to show solidarity or give a different perspective. They mean well and are trying to be helpful. I’m not mad at any one of you for trying but I will tell you that despite your best efforts or intentions it is not helping. 

I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t lived through exactly what I’ve lived through to understand my feelings. That’s not why I am writing this. I’m writing so that when someone who IS feeling this way stumbles across this blog, maybe they won’t feel so alone and ivalidated.

I’m not striving for perfection. I’m not here to compete against anyone but myself. Only I will ever understand the tough competitor I can be against myself…

A PR is limited only when you stop trying for more. Don’t quit. I won’t. 

Running Away

Nomatter how far I’ve come, I can never run away.

Nobody warns you about this part. Ok…maybe they do, but you don’t listen. 

You don’t listen because you think it won’t happen to you. 

You think that getting fit and slim will be all sunshine and roses. You know it might be hard to get there, but in your head you think that once you’re “there” everything will be perfect. 

It’s not.

That’s not to say it’s not good. There is so much good that has come from this! 

I will say without a doubt that if I could have felt the way I feel now for just one day when I was heavier, I would have started my journey so much sooner. Being able to go up a flight of stairs without getting winded, running with my kids, having a normal blood pressure for the first time in years and perfect bloodwork (and avoiding the morbid but warranted warnings from my doctors that I may not be around to see my kids grow up!) these are all amazing things. These and many other wonderful outcomes that I’ll save for a future blog post. 

It’s not all good though. 

I’ve noticed people treat me differently. I don’t blame them. I AM different. I’m a completely different person than I used to be. Sometimes they miss the old me, but I don’t. I wasn’t happy then. I didn’t like myself then. Not because of my weight…my weight was a by-product of a lot of self-hate. So while some miss the old me, I’m begging them to try and love the new me the way I do! Unfortunately, just as they are stuck on not wanting to get to know the “new me”, I refuse to hang on to the “old me”.  Therefore, we grow apart. That’s ok. It’s life. However, just because it’s ok it doesn’t make it easy. 

My body is still betraying me. How can a body that I’ve pampered and groomed and treated with such care still go against me?  I’ve fueled it with the right foods and the perfect amount of calories and macros. I’ve taken time everyday to stretch and strengthen each muscle. I’ve rehabilitated the organs I abused for so many years. I shed 110 pounds… I’ve done everything I could to show my body that we are not what we used to be and part of my body disagrees. 

Let’s call this part of my body Ms. Skin. She’s a bitch. 

Ms. Skin tries to act like she’s on my side. She claps for me when I run. She hangs from my arms and stomach and thinks she’s cheering me on. *clap*clap*clap*

Ms. Skin doesn’t realize how much it hurts. Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rashes that could develop because of her clapping. She doesn’t know that I hate running without headphones because I need to drown out the sound she makes. Ms. Skin doesn’t realize that the faster I try to run to get away from her the more she holds me back. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care that tucking her into my clothes makes me appear much bigger than I am. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t understand how embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to refuse to do exercises my trainer assigns that involve jumping because of how much pain she causes me. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about how my 3 year old tells me my stomach is “just like a monster”. 

Ms. Skin doesn’t care about the rude comments from strangers. 

Ms. Skin just likes to cling to me, reminding me of the “old me” that I hated….Reminding me that I can change and control so much but that nomatter how far I have come, I can never run away.