20 June 2017

Road Trip to Ann Arbor to see Roxane Gay!

A few months ago, my friend Alexa let me know that Roxane Gay was going to be in her town of Ann Arbor for an author event. This was pretty much my reaction:

OMG I love Roxane Gay. I've read Bad Feminist and Difficult Women but I've been really looking forward to her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. It was a book that was supposed to come out last year but was pushed back -- during the Q&A portion, someone asked her about that and she said that it was because it was a very difficult subject to write which I can appreciate since it was a very difficult subject to read and I can't fathom opening myself up like she did on certain topics.

In her writing she's very open about the rape she suffered when she was younger and I can't relate to that, but the chapters about moving through the world today as a fat person? Yes. Yes that really is what it's like.

So, last Friday night I drove up to Ann Arbor, Michigan (much to the dismay of my Ohio State graduate fiance). This was my first real road trip since Clotapocalypse so I gave myself extra time in order to make stops every hour or so. It actually worked out really well: there was a Turnpike rest stop about an hour into my drive and then an hour after that was the Michigan Welcome Center. So I would just get out, use the restroom, walk around a little. While in my car driving I'd be doing foot exercises, making little circles or flexing my foot. Basically the same foot exercises I do on airplanes and of course I was wearing compression socks on both legs all weekend.

I got in at 5pm, met Alexa at her apartment. We dropped my stuff off then headed downtown Ann Arbor for dinner at this really good Indian restaurant near campus. I'd been to Ann Arbor before but that was in December several years ago and we didn't really walk around that much. This weekend we had an opportunity to really walk around and Ann Arbor is super cute omg.

Roxane's event started at 7pm and this amazing auditorium on campus. She read a few passages from the book then opened it up to the audience for a Q&A. I was one of the last to get my question in and I had asked about memoir writing when you just can't remember. When I wrote Running With a Police Escort I had the benefit of this blog and journal entries and such to help. With my potential Book #2, I really want to write it but I can't remember everything. Her answer, that nobody's memory is perfect and it's okay to rely on some creative nonfiction when necessary, was a bigger help than I realized because this has been me since getting home:

After, she signed books! According to her Twitter, 1000 people were at the event, 800 stuck around for the book signing and she was there for two hours. She signed everything. Talk about major hand cramps.

Saturday morning, A and I went out for brunch and visited two bookstores (because of course). Then I got back in my car and headed back to Cleveland!

I did make a small but necessary detour on the way home, though:

Campus Polleyes is a restaurant in Bowling Green, Ohio, where is where I went to college. They legit have the most magical stuffed breadsticks and I haven't had one in probably close to 10 years so when I was on the phone with my sister and she made a comment about stopping, I called ahead, explained I'd be driving through town about 1:30 and could the order be ready?

They were and they taste exactly the same. I don't know how they do it, other than using the same recipe for the past 40 years.

If you haven't yet read any of Roxane's work, I highly recommend you go get her books now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 June 2017

That Time I Got to Interview Jessamyn Stanley

A few weeks ago at one of my author events, someone who read my book asked about the place of employment I talk about, the one with the fitness classes and the awesome focus on healthy living. That would be OverDrive which, for those of who you don't know, is this magical app that lets you check out ebooks and audiobooks from your library. All it takes is having a library card and you have access to free ebooks and audiobooks.

Like I said: magical.

Among the many hats I wear at OverDrive is being the founder and co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.

Along with weekly episodes where we talk about the books we are current reading and give recommendations, my co-host Adam and I also get to interview authors, sometimes live on stage courtesy of our friends at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Several months ago, I was asked to host such an event for Jessamyn Stanley, badass yogi author of Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body.

Photo courtesy of CCPL


Jessamyn is amazing. Like, I can't even with how amazing. And I got to interview her. We are also total besties right now.

My interview with Jessamyn is up on our podcast today, so go give it a listen and then go read her book!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

31 May 2017

Giveaway: Win an Entry to the Run for Recovery 5K

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in being a blogger for the 5th annual Run for Recovery 5K, which is hosted by Recovery Resources. Founded in 1955, Recovery Resources helps people triumph over mental illness, alcoholism, drug and other addictions through outpatient programming.

Obviously, as someone who is struggling to address her own mental health issues, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. But, as many of you readers know, I used to work in a prison. I specifically worked in a prison that had a strong substance abuse program and for those inmates sentenced or drug or alcohol related charges, judges would send them to our facility because of the additional aid we could provide.

Here in Northeast Ohio we have seen an uptick in drug related deaths and according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office the number of confirmed overdoses in 2016 has increased from 517 to at least 660 as of today.

Now in its fifth year, the 2017 Run for Recovery is being held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on August 19th  and not only will I be there on race day, but I have a second entry that I can give away to one of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 May 2017

Running Angst


This is a fucking hard one, y'all. Mostly because I don't know what the fuck is going on.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have a sense of what's going on, what I don't know is what it stems from. What I do know is that running isn't fun for me anymore. Or, well, it is but very sporadically. Sunday's 10K? Those 6.2 miles were the only miles I ran for the entire month of May and I didn't even run them, I walked them.

I know that running isn't fun for me right now and hasn't been for awhile. I know that running feels like a punishment. I know I dread runs. I know that dread has paralyzed me and seeped into other forms of exercise so even a simple walk at lunchtime feels like a monumental accomplishment.

I know that right now, at this moment in time, I would be perfectly content never going on another run ever again.

And yet .....

And yet I hang out with my fellow Ambassadors and I remember at one point loving running. I remember the excitement and anticipation of race day. I remember feeling fast and furious, even when running at my slow back of the pack speed.

And yet I hang out at the Expo and see races I'd love to run (I'm looking at you Rock City 5K and Christmas Story Run). I remember the feeling that came from training and completing three half-marathons.

(Honestly, I'm in such a negative place right now about this that I forget I'm a three time half-marathoner. It seems like such a foreign concept to me at this point in time).

I will be the first to admit that some of this is because I've gained weight from last year and that's slowed me down which, naturally, frustrates this already slow runner. I also think #anklegate set me back way more than I realized. Not just physically but mentally as well. Because this is 100% a mental block. Physically, yes, had I stuck to my training and not slacked for the past four weeks I could have done my run/walk thing and been fine. Fuck, I ran 4 miles at the end of April and felt fantastic.

I also know I don't entirely trust my ankle and have a fear of reinjuring myself. So that, of course, makes me less likely to want to go out for a mile run, let alone anything longer.

I don't know but I wonder how much of this is also depression related. Actually, losing interest in things is a pretty classic sign of depression but I'm one of those people with high-functioning depression so it's always hard to classify myself as such because I'm not sad and can still function and fake it til I make it (or fall apart, as the case may be).

I lost my running groove a year ago and I am still struggling to get it back. And, in the meantime, I find myself .... not hating, but severely disliking, this activity that just a year ago I had loved. I had loved it so much that I signed up for a 4th half. I had hoped to run Akron in 2017 to make up for having to miss it last year but right now I am not in a healthy place mentally to tackle training or a half-marathon.

And yet ..... one of my fellow Ambassadors mentioned running the Cleveland Half in 2018 and I'm like "Yeah, I could totally do that, too!"


Even just in the days since I started writing this post my feelings have gone back and forth. One day I'm perfectly happy never running again and another the idea of never crossing a finish line again breaks my heart.

I am legitimately sitting here thinking "Ugh, running. Why would I do that to myself? But, yeah, running a half marathon a year from now? Totally doable."

I think my attitude towards running is symptomatic of other things in my life so, more than anything, I need to take some time to figure out what that shit is all about and not worry so much about the running portion. Actually, I think lots of things going on in my life are symptomatic of other things and I  need to really dig deep and start to identify and address some of them. I know that in many areas of my life I'm not where I want to be and I've let certain areas run away from me and I need to refocus and reign them in.


A few weeks ago I was trying to explain this all to my therapist, who is not a runner, and kept asking "Do you actually like running?" And I do, some of the time. But I was explaining that the first mile always sucks no matter who you are. THE FIRST MILE IS THE WORST. So when you are just getting back into it and can't run very far, then all you're doing is one mile runs which means every run is awful. It's a whole mental thing I realize but it's that negative reinforcement that I need to work through.

Right. So, well, that's where I am with this right now. Basically going in circles and having a very, very complicated relationship with running right now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 May 2017

Race Recap: 2017 Cleveland Marathon 10K

After expo-ing all weekend, I went to bed early Saturday night as I had an early alarm clock for race day! I was waffling all morning about what to wear and at the last second switched to a tank top and I'm so glad I did because I think it would have ended up being too hot and humid in a short sleeve shirt.

As I mentioned in my last post, my relationship with running is a bit complicated these days and I plan on talking more about that on Wednesday. But because of that, I decided to walk this race instead of run it. I tried running at the very start but I knew right away that I am mentally not in the place for that. And whatever this is that I'm dealing with, it really is all mental but that somehow makes it even harder overcome. I knew that if I felt like I had to run the whole thing I would have a horrible day mentally so I decided to just walk all 6.2 miles, so that's what I did.


There was a new course this year and I was super excited because it took me through some of my old running haunts which I haven't seen in the year+ since I moved. For out of towners it also was a mini sight seeing tour of the city that I love.

We started downtown near the stadiums as usual but instead of going over the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge as in the past, we headed down through the heart of the city. Shortly after starting I heard someone calling my name. When I looked up I saw my dear friend Jamie, which just made my whole morning.

The course continued, taking us past the Rock Hall and then down into the East Bank of the Flats then turned and went through my old neighborhood.

At this point I knew there was a big hill coming and I loved that the Cleveland Marathon placed encouraging signs along that hill, as if they knew we'd need a little extra encouragement at that point.

We passed the 4 mile marker along the hill and at the top, the 10K split from the half an full runners. I really liked this part of the race because when I had run it in the past, the split happened much sooner. As it was, we 10K were separated from the longer distances for only about 1.5 miles before we hooked back up with them towards the end of the race.

At the split I started walking with a woman I had met on Friday at the expo so we finished the final stretch of the race together.

There was no Shoreway this year (hal-fucking-lujiah) and, instead, we came in via the Detroit-Superior Bridge. As we started to close in on that finish line, I once again heard someone call my name and this time it was my cousin Michele -- the same cousin who met me at the finish line of the 2014 Cleveland Half.

As we crossed the finish line we learned that they had run out of 10K medals.

I have heard horror stories about that happening to back of the packers but had never experienced that myself, so I get to check off the box of Slow Runner Bingo. They said they were going to mail them out so okay, I guess. Thankfully, one of the benefits to being an Ambassador is having those good connections so I have a call/meeting with them today to talk about it.

So here's something you need to know about my cousin Michele: once she learned I didn't get my medal, she took hers off and insisted I take it. She legitimately would not take no for an answer and this was pretty much my reaction:

Up until she put that medal around my neck, I don't think I truly realized how upset I was to not get one. But endorphins combined with monthly hormones resulted in me bursting into tears.

So there it is! I finished the 10K and no matter what, I am happy about that because, as my friend Stephanie reminded me a couple of weeks ago, a year ago this time I couldn't walk so being able to walk 6.2 miles is pretty damn amazing.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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