Track Tuesday: Favorite Running Music (Part 3)

I realized when I went to write this, that I haven’t made a blog post since last week’s Track Tuesday ! Not good, Alanna! 

I haven’t been neglecting my readers on purpose, I promise! Time just got away from me a bit as I started a new job, my 3 year old began preschool, and my oldest child began his freshman year of college! 

My youngest child on his first day of preschool.

My oldest baby on his first day as a college freshman.

I’ve also been trying to get refocused on my fitness routine and slowly building my mileage back up after my injury. It’s left me less time to write, but more time listening to my playlist to find some good tunes to share with you! Check out each link to hear the songs and let me know if any of them make it onto your playlist! 

1. Allegretto- Bond

This has been one of my favorites for awhile now! A modern string quartet composed of beautiful young ladies plays this ubeat tempo song that has a great buildup to a powerful ending. 

2. Fitz and the Tantrums – HandClap

I love this one! Great tempo and beats for running. This is such a fun song. 

3. Two Steps from Hell- All is Hell That Ends Well 

This one just came on my Pandora for the first time yesterday and it’s a great orchestra/dubstep mix. Wait for that beat drop at 3:05 minutes in!

Sorry for the short but sweet post today! Sometimes life happens. For those that are waiting for some makeup and beauty features on this blog, stay tuned. I have big things planned for the month of September! 

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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. 

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. 

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.

Miles Apart

Those runs took her miles apart from where she started.

Once upon a time, there was a mom. Her entire identity was just that. Mom. Nothing more and nothing less, because we all know that the title of “mom” is nothing to sneeze at.

Way back when, she used to have hobbies and interests outside of motherhood. She even worked outside the home and was quite good at every job she took! But alas, with the arrival of her 3rd child there also came mysterious health issues. Pain, suffering, anxiety, joint and nerve issues and way too many careless prescriptions from the doctors had her spiraling out of control and farther and farther from being the woman she once was. She almost lost herself entirely. She was sick, body and mind. She took the pills the doctors prescribed her as she was told not realizing how she was being poisoned. The pounds piled on, she missed out on time with her her family, her muscles grew weak, her soul weary until she physically and mentally gave up. She was using a walker to get around. She was a recluse in her room and people grew around her while she missed it all.

Eventually, something came over her…a power she’d never known before and wouldn’t see again for a long time. It was determination. She threw out all her pills and said “No more!!” they weren’t helping her and she felt they were making her worse. She was right. With the medicines out of her system she regained a little bit of her health…not all…but enough that she made a decision that since her family didn’t quite feel finished she wanted one more child.

This mom loved her 4 children with all of her heart. As these children grew, and needed her less she became panicked, for she knew not what to do if not completely submerged in them.

Her hobbies consisted primarily of “mommy groups” which she attended with her youngest. She made friends with other mothers of young ones through La Leche League, and Babywearing International and other such groups and really felt like she had found her place and her people. Of course, many of these friends were just starting these families and this mom was on her last child. She couldn’t keep her child from growing to maintain breastfeeding and babywearing as the glue that held these friendships together. She loved and valued the relationships she formed with these people but noticed and acknowledged that having kids the same age isn’t always enough.

By this point, her weight had gotten out of control. She wasn’t one of those moms that shed pounds while breastfeeding but, in fact her body seemed to store fat during this time. Her preemie child needed to be fed a lot and due to the time she spent focused on nursing him in the beginning, she grew roots into the couch where she remained for years nursing him into toddlerhood. Depression led to binge eating…which led to weight gain…which as it often does, led to more depression.

This mom was 260 lbs and lost. She hated herself and needed a change.

She joined a gym. It had a tanning bed. She loved tanning (spare the lectures, ok? This has a happy ending.) and so she told herself if she got nothing else out of this gym membership, it was a good deal for a tanning package. She just made a rule for herself that if she wanted to go tan, she had to do some exercise first. She’d walk slowly on the treadmill for 30 minutes. She’d sweat, and pant. She wanted to die. It was HARD and it was embarrassing, but she promised to do it before she tanned so she stuck it out.

Little by little it got easier, and eventually tanning wasn’t what got her there. It was that treadmill! She craved it. The fitness bug had bit her and there was no turning back!

She hadn’t changed her eating habits yet at this point but started noticing the “calories burned” counter on her treadmill. She wanted these to mean something, and so she downloaded the free MyFitnessPal app on her phone and began logging her food. She stuck with logging everyday and suddenly the pounds started falling off. She got more motivated and tried different activities. She enjoyed this and was seeing results!

She was finally beginning to find herself. Her confidence was growing, her waist was shrinking. Her kids were still her focus, but in a different way. She wanted them to grow and she wanted them to be inspired by her!

Before she realized it, a year had passed and she’d lost nearly 100 lbs. When you get that close to your goal weight the pounds come off more slowly and once again she felt a little lost. For this entire year she had shared her “weekly weigh ins” and was so encouraged by others. It kept her motivated and gave her purpose. Some weeks she wouldn’t lose any weight and she realized she needed to set new goals.

She decided she wanted to become an athelete. 36 years old is a perfectly reasonable age to start something like that, you know! 😉

She hired an amazing personal trainer and began lifting weights and even running! Running miles, and miles and miles….

Those runs took her miles apart from where she started. She went from using a walker….to placing in races. She went from 260 lbs… to 149.6 lbs. She went from wearing a 3X….to wearing a small. She went from wearing a size 20….to wearing a size 4. She went from resenting how her body failed her…to loving all it could do.