30 April 2014

dressed for 13.1 miles of success

With the exception of themed races like The Christmas Story House 10K and St. Malachi, I don't really plan my race outfits. I just wear what's comfortable and, y'know, clean. During winter I obviously layer it up and have to plan for cold weather, but other than that I'm pretty last minute when it comes to what I wear on race day.

My next race is, of course, the Cleveland Half Marathon in just under three weeks and when I was at the CLE Clothing Company over the weekend and saw this shirt I, of course, had to buy it.

Seriously. How awesome is this shirt? (And for you CLE marathoners out there, they do offer a 26.2 version as well.)

I'm a huge fan of CLE Clothing Co.'s shirts and love showing my CLE pride when I'm in another city like Houston or Washington D.C. The green I Heart Cleveland Metroparks shirt I wore when attending the National Book Festival last September is probably my favorite shirt to work out in. Considering how I often I run in the Metroparks it is a natural fit but it's ridiculously comfortable to run in so when I saw this 13.1 bad boy I just knew I had to have it for my upcoming half. And probably every other half I ever run in the future. Because, y'know, why not?

(I also bought this It Will Always Be The Jake t-shirt as well and I am soooooo looking forward to breaking it in this Saturday at an Indians game with my friend Missy!)

Do you have a method for deciding what to wear on race day or a favorite shirt to run in?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

28 April 2014

if the spin shoe fits

Y'all know I love me some spinning classes over at Harness Cycle. In fact, I love them so much that this past Saturday I did a double, with back-to-back spin classes led by first Katie at 9:30 followed by Renee's 10:30 am class.

Crazy? Maybe. But I loved every sweaty second of it. And, surprisingly, it wasn't my legs that hurt after the second class but my arms. I mean, hi. I'm a runner who is currently training for her second half-marathon. I got me some pretty strong legs. My arms, on the other hand, are somewhat neglected.

See, in spin class we work our arms as well. One song is dedicated to using our upper bodies against the handle bars and another song we use 3 lb free weights. Even though the weights are pretty light, working arm muscles while trying to stay balanced on a bike takes, well, work. It wasn't until we started working arms in my second class that I realized the flaw in my whole pulling a double plan. But I kept going (although, admittedly, when I woke up Sunday my triceps were pretty sore) and honestly would easily considering doing back-to-back classes in the future.

One new thing is that Harness is now renting out Shimano cycling shoes!

Rental is $3, although your first time it's free. When I was checking in and the receptionist asked if I'd be interested in trying them out, I debated but my first instructor Katie was standing right there at the desk and said I should go ahead and do it, although she warned I'd get addicted.

Yeahhhhhh. She wasn't kidding.

Riding with cycling shoes clipped into the pedals is a totally different experience from riding with regular sneakers in cages. I wore them for both Katie and Renee's classes and I'm pretty sure I'll be renting from here on out.

Until, of course, I end up buying my own pair. Which at this point is only inevitable.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 April 2014

rounding the final stretch with one month to go

Soooooo looking at the calendar, it turns out that my second half marathon, which will be the Cleveland Half, is four weeks away!

I, admittedly, have not kept up with my training as much as I would have liked this last week or two. Like last weekend, when I was suppose to run 7 miles and only managed about 4 1/2 before calling it quits (multiple beers and uber greasy pizza the night before a long run do not mix well). As such, I was a wee bit nervous about this past Friday's 8 miles. I mean, I hadn't really run anything close to that since, well, since my first half marathon back in October.

Turned out, however, I didn't need to worry about anything as I totally rocked those 8 miles in just over two hours. I know that doesn't sound very fast, and comparatively speaking it's not, but it's faster than I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half back in October plus I saw a friend over at Edgewater Park while I was there and talked to her for about 7 or 8 minutes so ultimately I actually probably ran faster than I think.

Incorporating walking into my training run has been one of the best decisions. I run for 10-12 minutes, walk for 3, then repeat. It allows me to keep a steady pace, has increased my endurance, and the mental shift is incredible. Instead of telling myself I have to run for 8 or 9 or however many miles, which sounds daunting, I tell myself I just have to run for about 10 minutes. Please. I can totally do that.

One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to beat my RnRCLE time. If I'm able to keep doing what I've been doing, I should have no trouble at all doing just that!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 April 2014

single in the city

Because The Year of the Phoenix is primarily a healthy living blog, I try not to talk too much about what goes on in the rest of my life unless it somehow relates to this particular chapter in my life. (Admittedly that can be a bit of a vague stretch to make it work, but whatever.)

One area of my life I definitely don't talk about very often is my dating life. It's something I often want to talk about but don't because it doesn't specifically fit into this particular medium and content of the blog. Aside from the differences between dating at 311 pounds and dating at my current weight or discussing why I opted to stop mentioning the weight loss in my online dating profiles, there's really not much to talk about that would fit here.

But as a blogger, of course, I have options. Like, y'know, starting another blog called Cleveland Is My Boyfriend.

And, yes, I totally was inspired by the Sex & the City episode where Carrie calls New York her boyfriend.

Seeing as how I often joke I'm the Cleveland version of Carrie Bradshaw, just with a less expensive shoe collection, it makes sense. Plus, as my first post over there indicates, I'm not really looking for a boyfriend in that "let's be boyfriend and girlfriend" kind of way. I'm 32. I've got my shit together. I'm past cutesy labels.

But I am looking for someone in it for the long haul, regardless of what we call each other, and as a woman on multiple dating websites, well, I have lots to blog about. So for those who want to hear about my dating (and potentially my sex) life, feel free to mosey on over there!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 April 2014

what a most perfect weekend in cleveland looks like

Ever have one of those weekends that was just absofuckinglutely perfect from start to finish? That was me and this past weekend. Because of my work schedule, I actually had three full days of absofuckinglutely perfectness, starting with a 6:30 am spin class at Harness Cycle Friday morning. That was followed by a few hours of volunteering at the Western Reserve Historical Society library and topped off with some patio drinking with friends at Edison's Pub.

I probably should have skipped at least one of the beers and possibly the greasy piece of pizza I had Friday night, because I knew I had to get up and run 7 miles Saturday morning as part of my half-marathon training. Needless to say, those were some rough miles, but the weather at Edgewater Park was gorgeous and I am so happy happy to see spring here in Cleveland (although I refuse to address the weather forecast for tomorrow. I'm still in denial about the stupid snowflake they keep showing).

If nothing else, while those miles weren't the easiest, they probably helped burn off that pizza I had the night before because when I stepped on the scale Sunday morning I was actually down a bit.

That afternoon I headed over to The Cleveland Flea, which is this huge outdoor market here in the city with a ton of local vendors selling everything from vintage, to handmade, to even fabulous food. Basically think of it as a CLE pop-up Etsy festival. Not only did I run into my cousin Claudine, but I picked up this lovely vintage tray and typewriter print.

The tray perfectly matches the colors in my kitchen and the print is already framed and hanging out in my home office. The Flea is held once a month between now and October and I'm already looking forward to the next one and all the fabulous new things I'll find.

Saturday night I babysat my friends David and Erin's daughters. Well, technically I babysat both, although the one-year-old was asleep the whole time. The three-year-old and I watched Frozen and read Highlights magazine. Erin pretty much knew she had me at the mention of Frozen.

The next morning I drove out to Eton for brunch with the always fabulous Wine Librarian. We picked Paladar, which pretty much had us sold on the whole bottomless mimosa thing (I mean, really. How can anyone be expected to say no to that?). The rest of the day was spent enjoying this beeyootiful weather!

Today I was up early and at the gym before 6 and now I'm rocking one of my most favoritest Joan Holloway-esque dresses. So bring it on, Monday!

How was your weekend? Any other Clevelanders attend The Flea?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 April 2014

hello houston!

Over the weekend, I traveled with Sissy and our mom to Houston, Texas, for a long weekend visit with family. I, of course, had to show some Cleveland love while in town with a shirt from Cleveland Clothing Company.

Follow me on Instagram! @Jill_Grun

My maternal grandmother has recently been moved to an assisted living facility, so part of our reason for going to Houston was to help my aunt and uncle clean out her house and decide what we wanted to take home with us. Sissy and I both have contemporary Fiesta as our everyday dishes so we split up my grandma's vintage Fiesta.

My grandmother owns some pretty bad ass vintage kitchen fabulousness. My own kitchen has a vintage vibe and I love knowing that years and years and years from now I'll still be cooking and baking with items originally purchased by my grandmother.

Of course, we also spent a lot of time going through old photo albums.

Yes, that is me. No, I'm not sure what's going on with the look on my face. I am sorta looking at the McDonald's lunch with a bit of skepticism, like I'm not so sure about this whole fast-food thing. OH IF ONLY MY FIVE YEAR OLD SELF HAD TAKEN THAT AS A SIGN TO STAY FAR FAR AWAY LOLOL.


I will also say that we ate and drank really, really well. My uncle has quite an impressive wine collection and my aunt is a wonderful cook. She makes cooking a community experience, where guests are always given tasks to help in the preparation of the meal which I love.

On Saturday, my cousin, sister, and I went out for lunch at Local Foods where I had a fabulous veggie sammich and vegan chili. And, yes, beer.

Day drinking FTW.

I continue to find it thought-provoking that if I go on vacation and don't really track what I'm eating, I actually tend to do really well and make good decisions and don't snack all the time. Same thing happened a few months ago when we were in England. It's as if intuitive eating just sort of happens naturally when I'm not really thinking about food all the time. The key now is to figure out how to incorporate intuitive eating into my every day life.

One of the 14 goals I set for 2014 was to travel more so this was a nice first step in that direction!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

03 April 2014

the prodigal yogi returns

Since October, when I first started spinning at Harness Cycle, my yoga practice has been, well, pretty much non-existent. What can I say? I fell for the shiny that is pulsing music beneath the machine of a bike and dripping with sweat.

My half marathon training calls for "Strength & Stretch" on Tuesdays and I, admittedly, kind of half ass that one. I have yoga and strength training DVDs so those usually work if, y'know, I get up the motivation to actually, y'know, do any kind of strength or stretching on Tuesdays which, in most cases, I don't.

I knew my instructor Jessica teaches an Ashtanga class Tuesday mornings at 6 am, but even knowing that I couldn't get myself up that early. Not, that is, until I started to see the benefit to early morning workouts and knew that yoga would be a wonderful addition to my half training schedule. When it comes to my practice, my body is very good about letting me know when it's ready for certain things, like specific poses and I've learned to listen to it. I knew it would let me know and all day Monday the steady rhythm of It's Time, It's Time coursed through my veins. So I registered for the next day's 6 am Ashtanga class.

Walking in, I knew this was gonna hurt and I knew that I had lost some of my flexibility. Naturally there were times during the class were I thought that if I had been more consistent with my practice over the past few months then certain poses would be less challenging than they were that morning. But that's not what I wanted the focus of my practice to be. I wanted to harness positive energy, not negative.

So, instead, I tried to focus more on the flexibility that was still there and the poses that came to my body with ease. Or, at least, came easier than I had anticipated. I was still able to pop up into Wheel and while I required the wall, my headstand was lovely and I was able to hold it for just under twenty breaths.

I also was reminded why I first fell in love with yoga to begin with because in many ways it did feel like my very first class. During the practice I felt heavy and cumbersome and for the first time in almost two years, yet again nearly suffocated under the darlins.

Because, to be honest, I weigh what I did just about two years ago. Today I'm headed to Houston for some time with family and after Sissy reminded me that my aunt and uncle have a pool, I went looking for my swimsuit. The one I bought last year fits in the sense that, sure, yes, I can get into it, but not in a way that is at all comfortable. Luckily, however, I still have my swimsuit from two years ago so that is the one going to Texas with me.

This, folks, is the reality of this chapter in my story. But I keep reminding myself that all it is is a single chapter and I'm thinking long term. I will also say this: while the number on the scale is the same as it was two years ago, I can see a huge difference in the shape of my body so consistent exercise and muscle mass can and does make a difference.

Like many bloggers, I keep track of stats and traffic sources and such. Yesterday I noticed multiple hits from some random forum so I did a bit of investigating and it turned out to be from a blog post where someone was asking about links to any good Weight Watchers blogs. Someone responded with MY blog saying they really liked it, adding that I had lost a bunch of weight in the last year through WW, but is honest about gaining back some of it and getting back on track.

That made my entire day. Not the recommendation part but in that it's difficult admitting that I did indeed regain some of the weight but it's satisfying knowing that someone out there found value in the fact that I don't try to hide that chapter in my story.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 April 2014

halfway point and back to simply filling

I just started week six of my twelve week half marathon training for the Cleveland Half, which means I'm just about halfway through the program! I can't believe my second half-marathon is only about a month and a half away. Crazy, just crazy.

My Planet Fitness membership has been immensely beneficial to my training. Like, I can't even. Admittedly, some mornings it's really tough to get my ass up and out the door before 6 am, but those early morning workouts are a saving grace in more ways than one. There's a lot going on professionally that has left me feeling increasingly frustrated and unsatisfied with my job, but I have found that I go into work with a better attitude after I've worked out. I think it's the Elle Woods theory -- endorphins make you happy and happy people don't shoot their husbands (or, y'know, their co-workers).

I haven't been talking about my weight loss as of late, mostly because I'm in a bit of a holding pattern. Trying to lose weight while training for a distance race is difficult and I'm still trying to find the right balance between eating enough to keep my body fueled for all of the exercise but not eating so much as to derail my progress. After months of counting points, I've switched back to Simply Filling and just a week in and I'm so glad I made the choice to go back to SF. It's something that just makes sense to me in terms of choosing the foods I eat.

Weight Watchers has also been supporting Simply Filling a little more since the beginning of the year with the launch of their Simple Start plan and this time around I've noticed a bunch more brand name foods in the Weight Watchers app are marked as being Simply Filling which is awesome. I tend to do more cooking from scratch on the plan but every once in awhile I'm lazy and it's nice to know I can stock up on certain canned soups (as an example) if I'm just not in the mood to make a whole big meal.

The whole idea of Simply Filling is not having to track Power Foods and I don't. I only use the Weight Watchers app to track my non-power foods which will come out of my 49 weekly points. But I am tracking everything I eat in MyFitnessPal so at least I know my calorie count and it stops me from going completely overboard in what I eat. I think that's the one thing that makes people hesitant about trying Simply Filling -- you eat until satisfied and for some of us, we've done so much damage over the years that we can't trust our bodies to tell us when we're actually full. So by keeping track of calories I have a better overall picture of my food choices, which is helpful and makes me more aware of what I'm eating.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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