03 August 2015

Mental Health Monday: Coaster Concerns

This week, BC and I are in Orlando for a much needed vacation. The past few months have been so busy and left me feeling so overwhelmed, to have a week off from all of that is just pure bliss. A chance to refresh and renew after the craziness of life. I don't really take summer vacations, so I'm enjoying having the opportunity to step back momentarily to gather myself before jumping into the second half of 2015.

There's just one teeny tiny thing that's giving me severe anxiety about this trip.

Right, so, this is Orlando, Florida, home to both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios and other such amusement parks. The thing is, see, I haven't been to an amusement park in about 8 years and the last time I did venture to a park was on a cousins outing to Cedar Point and I spent a good hour or two of that trip hanging out in the rain by myself while all of my family was on one particular roller coaster because I was too fat to ride. 

In fact, this very experience was part of the reason I started trying to lose weight. See, my parents wanted to surprise me with a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my 30th birthday in November of 2011, but my sister had told them this story and the concern was that we'd get all the way down there and my by then 311 lb body wouldn't be able to ride any of the rides.

By the time it got closer to my birthday, even though I had lost about 50 lbs, we decided to travel to Vegas instead and I never got around to visiting the magical world of Harry Potter. With this trip on the horizon I, of course, have been feeling a wee bit anxious. Especially considering I gained back weight over the past two years. In fact, in the weeks prior to the trip I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at photos from that Cedar Point trip, like the one above, and comparing it to photos from more recently.

Do I weigh the same? Does my face look thinner? What's my stomach situation? How does my body mass compare? What about my boobs? Will the harness be able to close? Will I get pulled off the ride? How will I do with all of the walking? I mean, it's gonna probably be hot as balls in Florida -- will I be able to keep up without getting too tired? What should I wear that will best hide the obvious sweat stains that will inevitably show up? 

For weeks these questions have been replaying in my head. And, to be honest, I probably do weigh roughly the same but it's one of those situations where the number doesn't tell the whole picture because the actual look and shape of my body is completely different thanks to changes in muscle mass over the past several years. And while I packed my Back to the Future shirt to wear, the morning of I changed my mind because I really was concerned that I'd sweat right through that thing and ended up going with a black top that would keep sweat stains discrete while walking around.

Ugh, my arms will forever be the bane of my existence.

Turns out I didn't have to worry, since yesterday's trip to Universal Studios went by just fine. That being said, some of the seats were a little snug on my hips and at one ride I did need some help from the employees to get the harness to get down far enough to click in the seat belt thing, but that was mostly owing to my rather voluptuous rack and not much else.

It's an unfortunate side effect of being heavier, not knowing how you'll fare at the fair. Or carnival or amusement park or whatever. If you're visiting such an establishment you want to know you'll be able to ride the rides free of discomfort or embarrassment and not spend a ridiculous amount of time stressing about if you'll even be able to fit on the rides.

Universal was fine, but Disney is on Thursday so even though I had a great time and fit on everything and had no issues, there is still that little anxious voice in my head worried that my trip to the Mouse won't be as successful. 

Be sure to check out the other Mental Health Monday posts as part of this week's linkup! 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

31 July 2015

sigh of relief

The past few weeks have been a serious whirlwind. My book was published and I started a new job and last weekend I went out of town for the Shawshank Hustle and this weekend I'm going out of town as I'll be spending all of next week in Florida (try not to be jelly). And, of course, there's that whole promoting a book thing, like I did this past Monday with a book talk and signing.

Thanks to my former classmate P. for attending and snapping this pic!

Life is so freaking weird these days.

I had several past English teachers attend, which was fabulous, but all but one made me personalize their books to their first names which was the strangest thing ever. When I asked one in particular how I should sign it, she said, "C'mon, you are a grown-up now." LOL

But, this Orlando trip (which will include HARRY POTTER WORLD OMG) is really the last big hurrah of the past six months. I wish I was kidding, but we have been planning this with BC's family since Christmas and with everything going on this really feels like the finish line of a marathon.

My new job has me trying to adapt to a new schedule so that means needing to find a new time to weigh in at Weight Watchers. The past couple weeks I'd been going after work on Thursdays but I think I used that as excuse to get lazy and slopping Thursday evenings as I'd just tell myself I could start tracking Friday morning so I wasn't seeing results I'd like, because I'd usually overeat after the meeting.

Luckily, the place I go is pretty close to work and they have open hours on Thursdays so yesterday I used my lunch hour to run on over there and weigh in and was delighted to find out I was down 2 lbs! Weighing in between breakfast and lunch really made me want to stay on track for the rest of the day and I'm particularly aware of it since I want to save as many of my Weekly Points for Florida. Even though I know we'll be doing a bunch of walking at the theme parks, I don't want to rely on those APs if I don't have to.

I am so looking forward to this trip and see it as a chance to relax and unwind before settling into the second half of 2015 which should, hopefully, be far more calm than the first half.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 July 2015

race recap: shawshank hustle

Oh man oh man you guys, I have spent months waiting for this race. You see, the Shawshank Redemption is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time and it's one of my dad's favorite movies, too. Not only that, it was filmed here in Ohio at the Ohio State Reformatory down in Mansfield. I also used to work as a prison librarian, so naturally this movie holds a special place in my heart for lots of reasons. This means that as soon as I heard there was going to be a race themed around the film, I knew we had to sign up. Not only was this the first time my dad and I ran a race together, it was his first race ever!

Papa G. and I got into Mansfield Friday night. It was after packet pick up had closed for the evening, but we wanted to get a sense of where everything was so we drove over to the prison just to look around and then went to the hotel to check in. Because of the limited parking at the prison, we decided to wake up at 4:30 so we could get to the prison by 5 am for packet pick-up. Then we'd take our packets back to the hotel and try and get another hour or so of sleep before heading back in time for the 8:30 start time.

Picking up packets was fine, no problems, and after a brief cat nap we were up and ready and left our hotel a little after 7 am. I realized that we didn't have safety pins and since Papa G. would have to park in the overflow lot and bus over and all of the race information said they would only have pick up open until 8 am, I suggested he just drop me off at the prison so I could be sure to get our safety pins and he could just come over a bit later on the bus.

So this is where things got a little....complicated. This was the first year for the race and so, of course, there were going to be logistical issues. In this case, they had way underestimated the amount of buses needed to get people from the overflow lot to the prison. The race was supposed to start at 8:30 but because they had so many people still waiting at the overflow lot they had to push the time back until 9 am (I'm pretty sure they kept packet pick up open so everyone who still needed to could get their stuff). Papa G. just made it in time -- considering he dropped me off at 7:30 am, that says something about the amount of people. But it was okay because we knew we'd be in the back so it wasn't a big deal that we weren't in line when the race finally started.

For the first quarter mile all 3,000 participants were stuck to one lane so we had to walk for most of that distance because it was so crowded. But once we got off the main road and were able to spread out, the crowd thinned and we could pick up our pace a bit. I did my Galloway intervals while my dad jogged (his word; I of course would say he ran) the whole time.

I was wearing my podcast shirt and had multiple people come up from behind and tell me how much they liked it, so it was well worth the purchase. When I first posted the shirt, my friend Andrew asked why I had the logo on the back, who would read it? I said it would be read by the other people in the back of the pack and I was right.

The funny thing is, big themed races like this often bring out a lot of walkers. It actually reminded me of the Bernie Shuffle in that respect. This meant that our 1:22:45 finish time put us more in the middle of the pack than the back!

It is important to note that it was super hot during the race and starting half an hour later didn't help. This is also one of those races where it's very important to read the course map because it turns out Mansfield has way more hills than I had anticipated. Oof. But despite the heat and despite the hills, it was actually a pretty pleasant 4.6 mile run all things considered. The course took us from the prison into downtown Mansfield where certain movie scenes were filmed and then back to the prison.

After crossing the finish line we got our fancy medals (they glow in the dark!) and, of course, had to take a finisher's photo in front of the prison. Being such big fans of the movie, it really was so very cool getting to participate in the inaugural Shawshank Hustle!

Our registration allowed us free entry into the prison on a tour but the line was so long and the bus line back to the overflow lot was not. Since we can use the free pass at a later date we decided to go back to the car and make the trek back home. I'm so glad we decided to do this race and so so proud of Papa G. for finishing his first race. On the way home he was talking about looking for other races to do so I think he's caught the bug!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 July 2015

Yay! Race Weekend!

Today after work I'm headed to my parents' house because tonight, Papa G. and I are headed to Mansfield, Ohio because tomorrow is the Shawshank Hustle! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this race. We signed up way back in January, as soon as registration was open, and when I committed to running one race a month for 2015 I knew this would be my July race.

I'm also excited for tomorrow because it means I'll get to wear my new shirt! 

I ordered this from CustomInk and the words are on the back -- sort of as a shout out to the other slower runners in the back of the pack plus also a bit of a wave to the police car behind us. (Obviously, of course, it's also advertising for the podcast, but that's a bit of a given.) I'm hoping to eventually have similar shirts available for sale, but I'm still working on that. 

Speaking of running with police escort, there's a new episode of my podcast available! If you want access to all episodes as soon as they are available, be sure to subscribe to the show. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 July 2015

#wycwyc-ing it at work

So, I mentioned on Monday that I was starting a new job this week and OMG YOU GUYS. LIKE I SERIOUSLY CANNOT EVEN.

The company is way into healthy living while at work and offer so many awesome perks, I hardly know where to begin.

Let's just start with the fact that every day at lunch they offer fitness classes on site. Every. Single. Day. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are Cross Fit. Mondays also have Zumba. Thursdays are Yoga. Tuesdays is basketball. With a locker room and showers on site, once I get settled in I am totally taking advantage. Especially since learning that several of the women on my team also participate in some of the classes. There's also a walking trail around the building which will be nice if I just need to take five minutes to get outside (and get my steps in!) and a three hole golf course if I ever feel so inclined (lololol).

I also saw one stability ball chair and one standing desk. I'm sure there are more, those were just the two I spotted (to be fair, a standing desk would be pretty obvious as our cubicle walls are pretty low). More than that, on second notice yesterday I'm pretty that standing desk is a treadmill desk. I have a stability ball just hanging out in my home office -- I'm tempted, not gonna lie.

They have incentives to participate in the various healthy activities by getting Wellness Points. You can collect points throughout the year by attending classes, going to the your physical exam at the doctor, even my off-site Weight Watchers meetings count! At the end of the year, if you have certain amount of points you can get prizes like t-shirts and various gift cards.

One really cool thing they also offer is a local organic farmers market type situation that will deliver directly to the office. We can order online, picking out exactly what we want, and once a week our produce, pasta, breads, will show up. How utterly amazing is that? (Especially considering I looked at the prices and they aren't that bad!)

I know I still haven't even finished my first full week yet so much of this is still the rose colored classes going on, but seriously. I'm already in love with this company and so glad I made the leap.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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