Hometown Happenings: 3rd Annual Brunswick Pumpkin 5k Run / 1 mile walk

I’d like to bring a little something to the blog for my local readers! Let’s talk about the things happening in and around Cleveland! 

Today, my focus is on the city where I currently reside. Brunswick, Ohio! 

Recently, while on a run at Brunswick’s South Lake, I bumped into a lovely woman who put me in touch with Councilman Alex Johnson. Alex is her husband and this will be the 3rd year that they together will host the Brunswick Pumpkin Run! The race is set for 11 am on October 7th. 
I was eager to sit down with Alex and find out more about this 5k happening at my favorite place to run in Brunswick! 

Brunswick’s South Lake in Brunswick, Ohio

Like me, Alex Johnson discovered running as a way to lose weight.  Like me, he knows that we all start somewhere…and sometimes that somewhere is running slowly…or even just walking. He wants this event to appeal to everyone! So if you are a more seasoned runner hoping for a PR, this is a race for you!  If you are a newer runner looking to attempt to finish your first 5k, this race is for you! If you prefer to walk, this race is for you! If you wouldn’t think of running at all unless zombies were chasing you….well…keep reading! 

Brunswick Councilman, Alex Johnson

While the zombies are not meant to scare you, there will be zombies along the course to assist runners and keep everyone heading in the right direction! A big “thank you” to Girl Scout Troop #90502 for volunteering to organize and perform this fun and important role! 

Along the course there will be many other Halloween ghouls and goblins to admire on your run or even stop to take some selfies with! 

Just a few of the monsters you’ll meet along the course at the Brunswick 5k Pumpkin Run!

Halloween is Alex’s favorite holiday and he knows how to do it right! Beyond the fully decorated course, there will also be many other family friendly attractions like face painting by Vita Bella Salon and Spa, balloons, a pumpkin patch reminiscent of “Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” including free pumpkins for the kids, costume contests, spooky music and leading the race will be Ghostbusters: Cleveland and their Ectomobile to act as a “pace car”! 

Ectomobile

Need more of a scare? Enter the tent to see The Monster if you dare! John Merk in association with Xtreme Creators are bringing a beastly attraction that is not for the faint of heart! It stands over 13 feet tall and comes “alive” as it grunts, groans, and growls its way into your nightmares!

Are you team #WillRunForSwag like I am? No worries here! The Brunswick Pumpkin Run is hooking it up!!!! From tshirts, to finisher medals, and tombstone trophies for the top overall men and women as well as the top finisher in each age group, plus generous giveaways…they have got us covered! Hurry and sign up, like, yesterday in order to guarantee a tshirt. Time is running down quickly! There will also be free samples of Do Terra Deep Blue to soothe all the post run aches and pains away! 

Finisher Medals for the 3rd annual Brunswick Pumpkin Run

Once you finish the run (or walk) what are you going to do? Head home? Nope! Head over to Panini’s Bar and Grill for the after party from 11:30am to 2pm! 

This sounds like a lot of fun, right? Who doesn’t like having fun?!? You should probably go sign up now. 

What’s that, you say?  Oh, you don’t like having fun? Ok, well first off, lighten up, weirdo. Life is too short and you need to enjoy it! Secondly, even if “fun” isn’t for you then surely helping others will be enough to persuade you to sign up

The race and after party benefit The Brunswick Food Pantry. I asked Alex how many families in Brunswick benefit from this resource and was surprised to find out that the pantry extends far beyond just our town to help several communities including Brunswick, Brunswick Hills, Hinkley and Valley City!  Alex really wanted a way to give back to this community and couldn’t think of a better way than to support so many of our friends and neighbors. Whether you realize it or not, someone important to you has likely utilized this resource at one time or another. To date, the Brunswick Pumpkin Run has raised over $2400.00 for the Brunswick Food Pantry and Alex really hopes to keep that amount growing. We hope you’ll help support his efforts! 

Alex has really put his heart and soul into this event.  He begins planning in January and works tirelessly to make the event fun and meaningful. Of course, he couldn’t do it without his sponsors! Please consider doing business with these sponsors that have generously supported the Brunswick Pumpkin Run!             

I’m hoping to finish with a PR at this event since I’m so familiar with the course, but even if I don’t hit that goal I’m really excited to run with people from my community!  Please come out and give me some support or some friendly competition! When you arrive, make sure you thank Alex Johnson for all of the hard work he has put in to make this an event that everyone in town is sure to enjoy…and tell him that Muscles, Miles and Mascara sent you! 

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Maskcara Beauty: An eye opening experience in highlight and contour!

It’s week three of our September Beauty Series, and this week we are exploring Maskcara Beauty! Maskcara Beauty is a newer direct sales company founded by blogger Cara Brooks and their consultants are referred to as “artists”. Tegan Kesler is a Maskcara Beauty Artist who earlier this week wrote us a fabulous guest blog explaining how she gets her perfect highlight and contour! Tegan sent me the Maskcara Beauty IIID Foundation HAC which translates in simple terms to a highlight and contour duo that works as a foundation that gives your face 3D depth instead of the “flat” look you get with traditional foundations. You can read more about the concept in Tegan’s guest blog post! It’s a super innovative new way of applying foundation that I had to experience for myself. 

The packaging is stunning to say the least and what Tegan said was the cherry on top to why she joined this company. The tins are all unique and display beautiful imagery. 

I also recieved a magnetic compact to put the tins in which was very asthetically pleasing, wonderfully handy, with a great quality mirror and a very helpful diagram explaining where to apply my highlight and contour. 

Even with the diagram and some tips from Tegan, I was very intimidated at first. I’d tried other cream contours before and had such a difficult time blending them out that they ended up in my “reject makeup” basket. I tend to prefer a powder contour. 

I told Tegan that when I first started playing with the IIID Foundation that I experienced about 50 thousand thoughts and emotions. I had moments of “What the heck have I gotten myself into, this is terrible!” to “OMG best product ever!” and everything in between. It’s a product that comes with a learning curve for sure but as I played with it I figured out how to make it work well for me. 

Some things to note, the highlight portion is very, very creamy and soft. A little goes such a long way! If you use too much initially you will have a hard time working with this beeswax based product. However, applied lightly it gives a nice light to medium coverage. It can be built up to fuller coverage but it was a little tricky for me to do that so I prefer it for lighter makeup days. The highlights are bright and warm toned and give your complexion a fresh and awake look. They are used to bring foward and brighten the areas of the face they are applied to. They work perfectly to brighten the undereye area and no separate concealer is even needed, in my opinion! I love that!

The contour shade is used to add definition and depth to your face. These shades are a bit “stiffer” and firm than the highlight shades. I assume because you really want your contour to kind of “stick” where you place it. It still blends out easily…but not too much to where you lose your contour. These are cooler toned to mimic a natural shadow. 

Together, they blend seamlessly to give your face definition with just one layer. The finish is quite dewy and glowy.  The feel on the skin is kind of odd to me, but not in a bad way. Just odd.  It’s not heavy at all. It’s very light feeling! However, it also has a strange way that it kind of sits on top of the skin rather than disappearing or melting into it. It feels smooth and almost a bit tacky when you touch it with your fingers, but not in such a way that it transfers or rubs off. Definitely a unique texture that might not be for everyone, but like I said, I didn’t mind it! My husband said my skin looked “more natural than usual” which I took as a compliment. He mentioned it several times how much he liked how it looked on me. 

After using these products numerous times since recieving it, I can say that I prefer to  wear it like this on days where I’m going for a “no makeup” makeup look v.s. using it for my “full glam” days. This is not a negative, because my quick natural days happen a lot more often than my all out makeup days. I will often want to throw on just a touch of makeup when I’m working or babysitting, or even when I’m going out for a run so that I look a little more put together but not “made up”.  This is perfect for those days because as I mentioned, it gives more definition to your face than traditional foundations. Before, if I just wanted a little coverage on my skin, I could get that with a light layer of foundation but then I’d still need to add a bit of contour, blush and highlight or my face would look flat. By the time I added the other steps I would have so many layers of makeup that I may as well have gone full glam. I’d end up looking like I was trying too hard. Because this works as multiple steps in one layer it is a very quick way to get an even more natural version of what used to take me a lot more time. 

For my more glam days, I felt the coverage was a bit too light and as I mentioned, it was a little difficult for me personally to build up, and it was almost too natural looking for my taste so I discovered that using a matte foundation all over on those days and then strategically using the HAC shades to brighten and define over that was a perfect compromise. I’d defintely recommend trying the products this way if for some reason they didn’t work for you in the way they were intended. 

I think if you have very oily skin you will need to experiment with different primers, powders and setting sprays but for other skin types it will work well. 

I think this is a product I will definitely want to purchase in the future when I run out and I am officially converted to cream contour fan after using Maskcara. At only $12 a tin it’s very comparable price wise to drug store foundations but with much higher quality.  The tins are small but you use so little that if used correctly they should last a very long time! I looooovvvvveeee that this direct sales company appeals to a budget conscious makeup enthusiast! If you want to try this product that I enjoyed so much, you can shop for it directly through Teagan’s shopping link or you can join her Facebook group and she can help color match you and answer any further questions you have about this innovative new foundation concept! 

Marathon Makeup by Guest Blogger Jessica Gray

As part of our September Beauty Series we welcome guest blogger Jessica Gray to tell us about her marathon makeup routine!

How do you keep your makeup in place all day long? This is an age old question and something I have spent so much time perfecting over the last year. All these terms like primer and setting spray make it sound like you are prepping for a renovation right? But taking just a little extra prep you can stay looking refreshed all day. This is all about my top favorite types of products to keep you looking your best.

Jessica can help you create your own marathon proof makeup look!

A waterproof concealer is super important to me, I’m sweating all day with three kids running around. I also have little time to touch up my face. So I want a concealer that covers my dark circles and blemishes but also stays right where I want it. No slipping and no streaks from sweat (or tears).

Next up is a fantastic mascara that gets my straight lashes a little curl, adds some volume, and takes them to lengths they can’t achieve all on their own. My perfect mascara is a formula that does all of the above without any flaking whatsoever. Because again, maybe tears and lots of little hands touching my face.

Another must have is an eyeshadow that doesn’t fade through the day. I prefer coppers and pinks with my skin tone. With hooded eyes as well, the crease tends to get a little muddy half way through so give me tons of pigment! I want that little bit of color to keep popping until bedtime.

Finally, the most important key or method to my madness, if you will, is a tried and true setting spray. I need this to be tough. I need it to help keep my makeup from settling into fine lines and keep my makeup vibrant. It’s like staining a deck without sealing it all, no fade please! 

LimeLight little black box, double layer magnetized palette $38

10 years younger finishing spray manufactured by Skindinavia $28

Waterproof complete concealer $24 

Perfect mascara $20 


Pick and choose your own shades-

Double blush palette $40 (single $22)

6 well perfect eyeshadow palette $64 (singles $12)

Running the World

When I started this blog, I really didn’t know what would come of it. I started it at a time where I had a lot of emotions taking over me, and I thought maybe writing them down would help. It did. I debated a little bit about whether or not to make the blog public or not but decided I would because as much as it was mostly for my mental health, I thought perhaps it might inspire someone else. I also thought a happy side effect *might* be someone noticing this blog who could help me figure out a way to reach my surgery goals faster…but really, I didn’t expect it to get many followers or views and expected it to fizzle out quickly regardless of any “big plans” I had in my head.

I need to cut it out with this doubting myself crap! This blog has gone so well! I have gained followers on InstagramFacebook and subscribers here on this blog. Everyday I am astounded by the number of new visitors and views I’m getting from all over the world! 

My blog has had viewers from all of the highlighted parts of the map!

I still don’t really know what will come of this or for how long it will continue, but I’m so thankful for the support and for this outlet. I really hope I can keep it going for all of us! 

On that note, I have some exciting news to share! 

  I ran my first race since my injury this weekend. It was the Run The World 5k at Kent State University where my son is a freshman. This race supports the study abroad program and I thought it was a great race to participate in since my son is required to study abroad for his major. Besides that, I loved the idea of exploring his campus on a run! 

I’d planned to register for this race a long time ago, but then when I sprained my ankle I put off registering because I was unsure if I’d be ready. I ended up finally registering the day before the race, so I hadn’t exactly prepared myself the week leading up to it like I normally would for a race. I babysat late the night before and got up early for the race not feeling well…but I kept calm and carried on, laced up my new Saucony Ride 10s and gave it all I had! 

The race fell on a day that is pretty significant to me. One of my very best friends had a beautiful son named Tyler who was born on September 9th, 2001. Tyler lost his life when he was 7 years old to a pediatric brain tumor but race day would have been his 16th birthday. Like I said, I was not feeling well when I woke up for this race…but, I will always run for those who can’t. Especially Tyler…always for Tyler. 

I felt really awesome during my run in spite of being a bit under the weather. I didn’t get a PR but considering all of the factors I thought would make it a terrible run, I was extremely happy with my time and ranks! It was also a really fun run which is the most important thing! 

Something else very cool is in the works that will take me a bit more “global” as well!  I was approached at a race a few months back by a lovely woman from an internet radio station who asked if she could interview me about running. I love running, but I wasn’t sure I was quite what she was looking for. I’m still a fairly new runner, and I’m not even the greatest at it. Apparently though, that is exactly what she wanted. Relatable, down to earth talk about running and what everyone can gain from it.  I recorded a show with her which will air September 19th at 2pm EST and will be replayed after that. 

I think it went really well, because she messaged me telling me that she spoke to a local running store and we have a meeting set up for this week to talk. She said they are interested in possibly partnering with me for a weekly show or sponsoring one for me! I’m praying about it. It sounds like a very incredible opportunity to share my story and inspire people…maybe brand myself a little for some unknown reason that God will surely reveal to me down the line! I hope you’ll tune in to hear me! I’ll be sure to link all of the shows here on the blog. 

A “Younique” Experience 

As part of my September beauty series I am so excited to bring you reviews from several direct sales beauty companies. The first company in our series is Younique and Rebecca Weed is the lovely consultant who provided me with these products in exchange for this review. She also did a fun guest blog post with some great tips on how to multitask with the items in your makeup bag so please check it out! 

While I was provided these items free of charge, I promised my readers and the consultants an honest review, so please keep in mind that this is exactly what you will get! 

Rebecca provided me with three items from Younique and they arrived shipped from her, and not directly from the company so I can’t speak to Younique’s shipping packages. However, the makeup itself has very nice packaging overall and I will break that down more for you later. 

The items I was sent for review: Pressed Shadow (single) $18 (also available to purchase in quads for $52), Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes $29 and the Lip BonBon $22 all available for purchase here.

The first product I was sent was the Younique Lip BonBons Tinted Lip Balm in the shade Red Velvet Cake which is described as “very berry”.  The Younique website details the product by saying “With fruit extracts and natural oils, all you need is just a touch throughout the day to add a subtle hint of color while moisturizing and pampering your lips.”
My first impression when I opened the box was how impressive the packaging was! Inside the box is a very weighty metallic tube that is not only beautiful but feels very well made. The cap is a screw on, which I love because I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had the caps come off of my lip products in my purse or pocket. The screw on top is beautifully secure and will save many purses from disaster! 

There seems to be quite a bit of product inside as well, which is good considering these run a bit pricier than your average lip balm at $22 a piece  (or in a bundle of 5 for $99). 

This tinted lip balm went on like butter! It feels very nourishing and moisturizing and it lasts! It was several hours before I felt the product had worn off but even then the beautiful tint and smooth lips remained. 

The Lip BonBons are very subtly sweetened and scented but with names like “Vanilla Milkshake”, “Raspberry Cheesecake” I expected the scents and flavors to be more noticeable. This could be a pro or a con depending on what you like. I personally love everything to smell like a donut shop so I hoped for more noticeable flavor and fragrance. 

The next product I opened was the Moodstruck Pressed Shadow single in a metallic champagne shade called “antsy”. I noticed when I opened my package that the shadow came in a plastic package along side a very nice magnetic compact that the shadow itself could be transferred into! They even included a sticker with the name of the shade to label the compact which I felt was such a nice touch. Rebecca tells me that these shadow singles retail for $18 each or can be purchased as quads for $54. Refills without a compact are $14.     

I really enjoyed this shadow and in the look I created for this post I used it on my lid, inner corner and I even used it as my highlighter on my cheekbones, nose and cupids bow. When I swatched it (with and without primer)  the finger swatches were very nice. The brush swatches were less impressive but that is typical for shimmers and metallics. What did impress me was the color payoff I got on my eyelids! Sometimes with metallics I don’t get the payoff I want unless I either apply with my fingers or with a wet brush but in my look, the shadow was applied with a dry brush only! I am excited to see how it looks with a wet brush in a future look. I’m sure it will be even more intense and gorgeous! 

From left to right: finger swatch (no primer), brush swatch (no primer), finger swatch (with primer), brush swatch (with primer)

Last but not least, Rebecca sent me the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ mascara which retails for $29. I will admit I had a lot of anxiety about reviewing this product because from what I hear most people either love it or…they loathe it’s very existance. I did some research before trying it and found that it’s common for there to be a bit of a learning curve and so I went in determined not to make my final judgements until I gave it a fair shot. 

While I was exceptionally pleased with the packaging of the other items I was sent to review, I felt like the packaging for the 3D lashes was kind of an overkill. There was a shrink wrapped box, from that you slide out another box, lift a flap to read some details about the product, and inside that box is a fabric pouch containing the steps for the 3D fiberlash+. I really loved the fabric pouch and think it’s cute and handy. I just think it easily could have fit in a smaller box with less waste. 

Younique says: Ready for a reboot? Built from the ground up, the all-new, wholly re-engineered Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ will boost your lash look like never before. We tossed out the old formula and started from scratch, and the result is a product that is built to last. See up to a 500% increase in average volume* with your first coat—and you don’t have to stop there. Whether you’re feeling subtle or sassy, defiant or classy, the new Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ will help you go wherever your mood takes you.


* Averaged results observed in independent laboratory testing, when compared against bare lashes. Two coats provide up to a 900% increase in average volume.

To see if these claims were true, I followed the instructions which were to apply the transplant gel, then the fibers and follow again with the transplant gel. The transplant gel reminded me of a typical mascara. The fibers….were weird. They are made of natural plant fibers but look just like tiny hairs and cling to their applicator like clumps of fuzz. 

Transplant gel (left), Fibers (right)

Fibers
Regardless of how weirded out I was about these fibers, I promised to give them a fair shot so I applied the product right away. I had no other makeup on but asked my daughter how my lashes looked to which she replied “They look a little bit glumpy.”  Bummer! Upon closer inspection, my lashes didn’t really appear “glumpy” to me but there were a significant amount of fibers loose on my face and around my eyes. I washed it off to try a few more times and I will say, I love how easy this was to remove! Definite pro! No raccoon eyes! 

First application, showing loose fibers on my skin

I played with the mascara quite a few more times that evening and eventually got my lashes looking pretty good. There is definitely a learning curve to determine how much of each step to apply and how long to wait between coats so if that’s not something you’re willing to work through this probably won’t be a new experience you’ll enjoy. 

However, with some practice you will definitely notice a significant increase in lash length and especially volume and the outcome is a very bold full set of lashes! 

Younique 3D fiberlash (one coat) + vs bare lashes
I tend to prefer a more separated and wispy lash look, so at first I was thinking this look wasn’t for me but after wearing it with a full face all day it ended up growing on me and when I would catch glimpse of myself in the mirror I felt like my lashes looked quite pretty. 

I’ve seen claims that this mascara was a good alternative to false lashes…and that’s a “no” from me. It’s a completely different look. It is however a very good mascara if you like a very bold mascara look.  

The mascara, once I got my technique down, wore well without leaving fibers everywhere and even made it through a sweaty run! 

Later in the day, I tried to apply another coat and unfortunately this time ended up a little “glumpy” so once you get your technique for coat number one down, I suppose you can work on building up! 

I’ll definitely keep playing with this one. It’s not what I’d typically go for in a mascara but I do see a lot of potential and will continue to use it.  

I want to thank Rebecca again for generously sending these products over to Muscles, Miles and Mascara! Please head her way if you want to try any of these products for yourself or to see all the other items she carries! I HIGHLY recommend the pressed shadow, and think the Lip Bon Bon is pretty great as well. I’m undecided on the mascara but Younique has a great satisfaction guarantee so you can pick it up and try it for yourself without risk! 

Stay tuned next week as we welcome another guest blogger and review some more direct sales beauty products! 

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. 

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.