Happy National I Love My Feet Day! 

Happy National I Love My Feet Day!

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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.