My Running Journey

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It never gets easier, you just get stronger.”

Throughout the last three years, running has become a substantial part of my life. Whether training for a race or just for leisure, running has always been an outlet for me. I often come across people who are interested in running, but end up convincing themselves that they can’t…but the thing is, you CAN! Anyone can become a runner and no, you don’t have to be athletic or have an athletic build to start. There are a million and one excuses…”Running is too hard”, “I’m too slow”, “My hair will get messed up!” Listen, I’ve had all of these excuses and some! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts…everyone has to start somewhere, just as I did.

Life hits you HARD

2012-2013 were particularly some tough years for me. I experienced a very tragic loss in 2013 that put me under…way under. I was so confused about life and just…EVERYTHING. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and wasn’t motivated to do ANYTHING. Sure, on the outside looking in may have seemed as if I was happy; partying and eating ALL the time. These were all coping mechanisms. I was depressed and in a dark place for a while. I tried to think of things that would lift my spirits…other than hitting the streets of D.C. with my girlfriends. I also neglected the fact that I had packed on some pounds in the process. I’ve always been an active person and getting myself back into shape was the only thing I could think of to help turn things around.

In the beginning,  I never ran long distances…no longer than maybe two miles primarily on a treadmill. To clear my head, I began running outdoors. Something about running outside and taking in your surroundings was so liberating. I started with 2 miles (STRUGGLE miles!) and then as my endurance increased, I would push myself a little farther each run. I wasn’t the fastest, in fact I was very slow starting out. The main objective for me was not my pace but not to give up, no matter how painful or exhausting it was. I wouldn’t let myself quit… all of the sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness…all of the emotions I felt helped push me farther and farther. Then my competitive spirit kicked in and I became interested in running a race.

When one of my friends mentioned she was registering to run the Ukrop’s Monument 10k (6.2 miles) in our hometown (Richmond, VA) I was very intrigued…so I signed up! I wasn’t aware that I needed a training program so I pretty much did my own thing; alternating between running outside and strength training in the gym. Fast forward to the day of the race…so excited, anxious and nervous! I felt great 2 miles in until the sky decided to open up and pour buckets…downpours the remainder of the way (oh joy). I was pissed but wasn’t letting the rain discourage me (although it was!). I thought of all the reasons why I started running in the first place and pushed through to the finish line. I was completely DRENCHED but so elated that I had officially completed my first race!  At that moment, I understood why people run and participate in these races…that feeling of accomplishment is like no other!

From that moment of completing my first race, I didn’t want it to end there. Since then, I have completed 3 10k’s, 2 ten milers, 5 half marathons (13.1 miles), and most recently completed my first FULL marathon (26.2 miles). Through running, I have accomplished things I never thought I would and have pushed myself to limits I never imagined I’d reach (and still going)!

Running is metaphorically a lot like life. Some days are great…some days are not so great. There may even be some unforeseen twists, turns, and hurdles that you have to push through no matter how hard it is. The good thing is…through all of the struggles lies victory at the end!

Get up, get out and get moving!

:: Check out my dope running crew’s (District Running Collective) site to learn more why I love this running culture (link below) ::

www.districtrunningcollective.com

While you’re there, check out my “Journey to 26.2 miles” blog posted in their “In the Running Room” blog tab (link below).

#TrayTakesPhilly: The Journey to 26.2 miles

Until next time!

♥ Traci

My Daily Make-up Must Haves!

 

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“Beauty is about enhancing what you have. Let yourself shine through.” -Janelle Monáe

Of course nothing trumps (poor word choice) natural beauty, but there’s nothing wrong with a little enhancement sometimes…right? RIGHT! It’s safe to say I’m a bit obsessed with beauty products from skin care to make-up. It just brings so much excitement to my soul browsing through the cosmetic aisles and testing new products. Only downside is it could burn a huge hole in your pockets if you go nuts! I don’t discriminate, I’ll try ALL brands from Chanel to Revlon. Just because a product is a higher price point, doesn’t always mean its the best! It’s all about trial and error. My make-up collection consists of all different types of brands.

Throughout the years I’ve gone through a lot of make-up products; some that were AMAZING and some that were an epic fail (and waste of money)! Here’s a peek at my daily routine and the products I’m loving right now.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Water Primer

First thing’s first before applying your make-up…PRIMER. Make sure you are working on a CLEAN palette before applying your primer. I normally use the Smashbox Foundation Photo Finish Primer, but decided to give the new water primer a try and I LOVE it! This baby is formulated without parabans, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, silicone, oil, fragrance and talc. I have super oily skin so all the products that I use are all oil-free. What’s best about the water primer is that the light mist leaves your skin super hydrated and make-up flawless for hours! Just a few sprays and you’re good to go! This is perfect for all skin types as well. Since I was testing it out, I purchased the travel size which was $16 from Sephora (also available at Ulta).

Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation

After using my water primer, I then apply my foundation. I can never seem to find the right foundation for my complexion (Don’t you hate that?!). Especially with the season changes; Summer time calls for a darker shade…Winter calls for a lighter. I’ve always had to personalize my own color, mixing two foundation tones together (COSTLY!). This product is the only one that comes close to my actual complexion (a tad darker than my complexion). I purchased this from Sephora and what I love is that the ladies there have a device they use to closely match a foundation to your complexion. A lot of choices appeared  on the device but I chose the Urban Decay line because I’m a fan. I tend to go for the foundations that have a matte finish because of my oily skin. It’s also full coverage; I tend to use full coverage in the Fall/Winter months and sheer to light coverage in the Spring/Summer months. It wears beautifully and really lasts all day with not need to touch up. A little goes a long way with this product which is great; one pump and that’s it! It’s $40…but worth the splurge!

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 

So…how my bags and dark circles are set up? Concealer is a MUST and my savior! I usually apply my concealer after my foundation but sometimes apply it before…depends on the day. Picked this one up from CVS for $6. It wears really well and has a natural finish and look. Apply to your problem areas for example; under eyes, blemishes, acne scars and any discoloration. I also use concealer under my brows sometimes to make them POP.

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder 

Next, I apply my powder. Now…some folks opt out of using foundation because they already have perfectly flawless skin and just need a little powder…YOU are BLESSED my friend(haha)! My foundation is full coverage so I use very little powder just to set it. I hope powder doesn’t expire quickly because I’ve had this one for a while (Google’s…). Also purchased this at Sephora for $49…I know, but it really does LAST! I also use MAC Mineralized Skinfinish bronzer (Gold Deposit $30) for a little highlight action on my cheekbones and nose.

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Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen

Now, time to make the eyes pop. I’ve always been a fan of liquid eyeliner because it’s longer lasting and doesn’t smudge. The felt tip pen also makes for a good winged out look. You can purchase this at any drug store, again I got mine from CVS for $6 (Blackest Black color).

L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara 

Honestly, there are tons of great mascaras out there. This one is my normal go-to if I’m not trying to spend an arm and a leg on mascara. Clump-free is a must when choosing mascara for me and color of choice is the Blackest Black for a more dramatic look. Only $7 from Ulta, CVS or any drugstore. If you’re looking for length and volume, try this out!

LIPSTICKS

Last but definitely not the least…the lip color. Let me tell y’all…I have lipsticks for days and will most likely post a blog just for it! It has to be my all time favorite make-up product; it just sets everything off. How do I determine what lipstick color to wear? It really just depends on the day, how I’m feeling and what I’m wearing. One thing’s for sure, I will always love a bold lip. If you don’t care for a bold lipstick color…totally fine! Go for a nude shade or just some lip balm, it’s all up to you.

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There you have it! Whether you are into wearing make-up or not, CONFIDENCE is key and knowing YOU are beautiful with or without make-up. Remember, you wear the make-up, don’t let the make-up wear you and let that confidence shine through (promise I didn’t mean for that to rhyme)!

What are your make-up go to’s? 

Until next time!

♥ Traci

 

Everyone has to start somewhere…

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“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito

Happy March everyone!

With Summer only 4 months away, we all tend to re-evaluate our bodies and where we are physically. This typically happens at the beginning of the year when folks make their New Year’s resolutions, with the most common resolution…lose weight. Whether preparing for a summer vacation or just wanting to become a healthier version of yourself; we all have to start somewhere. One thing’s for sure…fat is not going to magically disappear off your body with no action and what better time than NOW to get moving! So…what are you waiting for?

YOU GOT THIS!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is hardly easy and that goes across the board. Ever walked into a gym and have absolutely no clue what to do? Or what machine to get on or how it even works? Been there! The gym can be a very intimidating place especially if you are a newbie…and NOTHING is wrong with that! Everyone there was once a beginner and trust me, they are focused on themselves NOT YOU! That was something I had to get over quick when I started my fitness journey.

The best thing to do is to keep it simple. Prior to starting your workout, determine what area of your body you want to focus on. This will help narrow down options so it’s less overwhelming. For cardio, the treadmill is always a great option. It may be a little on the boring side but listening to a dope playlist always does the trick! If you are not comfortable with running, start with a brisk walk…the idea is just to keep moving and increase your heart rate. For starters, 20-30 minutes at a brisk walking pace is sufficient. As your fitness level elevates, you can increase your speed.

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Another great cardio option(one of my favs) is jumping rope. So simple yet so effective and a killer at burning calories! Make sure your jump romp is adjusted to your height and get to jumping! A good 10-15 minutes will get the heart rate going. Try incorporating jumping rope in between your workout to maximize calorie burning.

Want to tone/build muscle? Grab some dumbbells! They’re perfect for targeting the upper and lower body and allows you to focus on one arm or leg at a time. Beginners, try using 5-8 pound weights.  There are various exercises you can perform with dumbbells. Try 3 complete sets of 8-10 reps (exercise of your choice), resting for 45 seconds in between.

Interested in something more creative and fun? Check out some high intensity classes! There are so many to choose from like Zumba, Body Combat and Cycling to name a few. I love participating in these classes; it’s fun yet challenging. Also, a great way to meet and interact with other people that share common interests.

WE CAN’T ALWAYS DO IT ALONE…

Motivation can be here today and gone tomorrow! You could have all good intentions on waking up at 6:00 A.M. to workout….but you lose the battle to your bed. Or even committed to running a few miles after work…but Happy Hour sounds a hell of a lot better!  Either way, it’s always best to have an accountability partner to keep you in check and remind each other to stay focused on your goals.

What are your fitness goals? Find a partner and start MOVING!

Until next time!

-Traci