30 May 2014

T-minus four weeks until FitBloggin

Ahhhhh! Four weeks from today I'll be in sunny Savannah, Georgia for my very first FitBloggin! After months of waiting and planning, I can't believe it's almost here! The schedule is up and looks amazing I'm having the hardest time deciding which sessions to attend.

While cleaning over the weekend I came across one of my original business cards and had to compare it to the one on the bottom, which is the one I'll be taking with me to Savannah.

Find me on Instagram

Man oh mangoberry my branding has come far. Hiring Meghan to design my superhero mascot was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions and investments I've ever made. Ever.

More than anything, though, I'm soooooo looking forward to finally meeting all of the awesome bloggers and people I've gotten to know through social media over the past two years. (Kelly told me she squealed when she saw I was attending.)

Last week at the concert, one of the guys I was with is someone I've known since high-school and he was emphasizing how important it is to have people in your life who know and understand where you come from. He was talking about our hometown, but that pretty much sums up how I feel about the people I'll be meeting in June. These people know and understand the journey I've been on, the journey I'll always be on, because we are all companions traveling the same path.

Who else can I look forward to meeting next month?!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

28 May 2014

long overdue long weekend recap

How was everyone's Memorial Day weekend? I took a half day on Thursday and because I don't work Fridays had myself a nice, long four and a half day weekend. Ahhhhh. It was, seriously, magically delicious from start to finish and full of family and friends and lovely weather and Hugh Jackman's ass ... (aka I saw the new X-Men movie on Monday).

Thursday night after work I went to a concert downtown Cleveland with some friends. Because my job has me sitting at a desk most hours of the day it takes work to get lots of steps on my FitBit during the work week and I figured Thursday would be no different. I mean, sure, I danced a bit at the concert but I had no idea how much until I synced my FitBit  and was surprised by the information that came up.

Those yellow lines represent the few hours I was at the concert. Lesson learned: do not underestimate the power of dancing, ladies & gents. Even when you don't think you do too much or aren't a crazy dancer like some people.

Saturday was a housewarming party for a friend and included some of my favorite library people along with meeting some Twitter folks in person which is always fun.

Sissy and my BIL were in town for the long weekend and on Sunday we had a cookout/family birthday celebration at the home of my cousin. When I got there I was greeted by my cousin's daughter and after taking a picture with her she insisted we do one with silly faces.

You may recognize this lil lady as the flower girl from Sissy's wedding where she and I took a very similar picture. What can I say, the girl likes her silly faces.

A couple weeks ago I signed up for a six-month DietBet challenge and so far I'm liking it much better than the month long version. Plus it ends around my birthday, which is a nice motivator. Even with the alcohol that inevitably comes with a holiday weekend and lots of eating out, including dinner at Melt Bar & Grilled, I was still down half a pound when I submitted my weigh in for the week. I will take it!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 May 2014

everything is different the second time around

Who else is excited for Orange Is The New Black's return in a few weeks on June 6th?! I do miss me some Red and Tastee and even ol' Crazy Eyes, amirite?

While putting my playlist together a few weeks ago I was looking for songs to add and was reminded of the the show's title credits song, which is Regina Spektor's You've Got Time.

Despite hearing this song with every episode, I had never really listened to it. It wasn't until I was contemplating adding it to my playlist that I took the time to really sit and absorb the song and it hit hard. See, I'm at a point in my life where right now everything really is different the second time around. My second half-marathon was a very different experience than my first. My weight loss this time around is proving to be way more challenging than when I was at this same weight a couple years ago. But, on the flip side, certain personal relationships are proving to be far more enjoyable and positive with a bit of a reboot.

Different is not necessarily good or bad. Different is just, well, different. Different gets you out of your comfort zone of familiarity. Different challenges you. Different changes you. Hopefully for the better.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 May 2014

as luck would have it

Remember how on Monday I said I wanted to start looking for some summer 5Ks and 10Ks? Well, a few hours after that post went up, I received an email from Alana over at The Dawg's Dish letting me know I had won an entry into the Pier W Copper River Salmon Run 5K on the 31st of May!

As if that wasn't enough, on Tuesday I received an email from another blogger letting me know I had also won her giveaway for that same 5K! (I explained the situation so someone else got my entry from that one.)

I mean, of course I usually enter multiple giveaways for stuff 'cause, c'mon, what are the chances of winning more than one?

Considering I also won my entry into the half-marathon this past weekend I clearly need to enter more race giveaways. Either that or buy a lotto ticket.

Any other Clevelanders going to be at the Copper River Salmon Run?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

19 May 2014

recap: rite aid cleveland half marathon

First, I have to once again thank Cleveland Marathon official blogger Anchored in CLE. Without her giveaway a few months ago I wouldn't have completed my second half marathon yesterday!

Second, I'm gonna tell you right off the bat this was a rough race and I did not finish as I had hoped. But I did finish and I'm going to focus on that.

So, maybe it was pre-race jitters (or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that my neighbors were having a party and being obnoxiously loud) but I was awake at about 4:30 am Sunday morning. So, y'know, that was fun. The race started at 7 am and having no idea what parking was going to be like and because I was already up and awake I decided to just head on over and got to Public Square around 5:30 am. They were still setting up the corrals and Start sign so that was fun to watch.

The race started off great. It was a gorgeous day and the course is mostly flat. I stuck to my plan of running 12-13 minutes, walking 3 minutes, rinse and repeat and it was going really well. (And my decision to use Armed Forces cadences as the walking cue was spot.on. Seriously.)

We started downtown right at Public Square which was a change from last year but I loved getting to run downtown Cleveland as I don't get to do it often, mostly owing to, y'know, traffic and cars. After winding our way around downtown we turned onto the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge and around mile 3, the 10K runners split off from us half- and full-marathoners.

One of the bridge's "Guardians of Traffic." No. Seriously.

At the 10K split my pace was 17:24, which put me behind my pace from Rock 'n Roll Cleveland Half Marathon, but I was going to stress it.

So all was well and good until about Mile 8 which is when my right ankle started to bother me. For whatever reason, my most recent pair of running shoes had been causing issues on my right foot since first purchased starting last week when I ran my 10 miles and end up with some chafing on the heel. Oh yay, bloody socks. Same style and size as always so I don't know what was going on, but I bandaged that bad boy up Sunday morning and putting my shoe on the heel felt fine (although by the time I got home yesterday I had the same chafing problem with the bandages having worn through).

Walking the Shoreway is a whole lot different than driving it

As for my ankle, I have no idea what happened there. After the race, I took my shoes off and it felt instantly better, it's not swollen, and while there is a bit of stiffness when I rotate it, I can put pressure on it and walk just fine. But during the race I just knew that there was no way running was going to be happening. The left foot was fine but that right foot, man. I pushed through to Mile 9 and then switched to walking and ended up walking the rest of the half. And, lemme tell ya, those were the longest fucking four miles I have ever had to deal with. After a while even walking was uncomfortable and I just wanted the whole damn thing to be over. I was hot, I was tired, my face was sunburned and it was like the finish line was never going to arrive.

Coming down the ramp to Lakeside, I saw my cousin Michelle and her daughter Katy sitting waiting for me. Once they realized that was me coming down the ramp they stood up and Michelle started jumping and cheering and it was utterly hysterical because she's so tiny, I had no idea she could be so loud. Plus seeing as how I was feeling kinda crappy about my finish time, having that cheering section waiting for me at just the right moment was a nice reminder that no matter my time, no matter my pace I was about to finish my second half-marathon. 

With that little pump of energy I decided I wasn't going to walk across the finish line so I picked up my feet and jogged the quarter mile or so left and crossed that line!

In the end I finished in 4:12:38 (chip time) with an overall pace of 19:17. So no, I'm not thrilled with my time but, hey, shit happens. Not every run is going to be fabulous and this one wasn't. But I did finish, I did complete my second half-marathon, and while I had to walk the last 4 miles I managed to run the first 9 so that's something to be proud of, too!

Obviously you'll also notice I'm not wearing the Ohio 13.1 shirt I purchased from CLE Clothing Co. a few weeks ago. Early last week, Harness Cycle sent out an email on the studio's newsletter stating that all of us running in any of the races were eligible for a free shirt! If we wore it during the race and uploaded a photo tagging the studio they would give us a free ride as a thank you for basically providing them with some free advertising. But I did wear the 13.1 shirt went out I went to dinner at Melt Bar & Grilled Saturday night (that's another racing ritual I forgot about!)

As of right now, my next race is the RnR Cleveland Half in October. I'll start training for that in July, but in the meantime I might start to look for some summer 5Ks and 10Ks. I really do love the distance of a 10K, for me it's the Goldilock distance of races: not too short and not too long.

Anyone else run any of the CLE Marathon races? How did you do?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 May 2014

racing rituals

The Cleveland Half Marathon is tomorrow morning and at this point I've completed enough races to have built up some pre-race rituals or routines. Like, say, getting all my clothes and gear and putting them on the dining room table a few days before so I can make sure I have everything ready to go before the big day.

Or, y'know, drinking wine and putting together a playlist. Normally I just throw a bunch of songs into iTunes and hit shuffle, but this time I needed a bit of a plan. Since I'm actually incorporating walking into my training I needed an easy way to know when it was time to walk without having to constantly be looking at my watch. After a friend suggested I add some armed forces cadences (the ol, "I don't know but I've been told" kind of thing), I knew that was just what I was looking for.

Through spinning I've discovered a whole bunch of songs I love working out to but I also didn't want to spend a whole bunch of money on songs I'm only ever going to be using for a running playlist so I ended up signing up for Spotify and using that to put together my playlist. So I've put together a playlist of 12-13 minutes of songs to run to followed by about 3 minutes of cadences to walk to. Rinse and repeat.

Putting the songs in order was trickier than I anticipated, mostly because I am so used to running with the music on shuffle so I have no control over what comes up. But knowing my rough pace and being able to say, well, this will be around mile 10 so what songs do I want to use to push me to keep going for those last few miles will hopefully help me tomorrow. (I mention Mile 10 only because when I ran RNRCLE back in October I specifically remember having a moment of OMG I still have a 5K left to run which was quickly replaced with OMG I only have a 5K left to run!)

I've also stopped thinking of those few minutes of walking as "just walking" and instead thinking of those few minutes as "active recovery." That's also courtesy of spinning as well!

And, of course, getting a manicure.

This actually started with the Conocophillips 10K last February and even then I only got the manicure because I was going on vacation, but it's become a bit of habit at this point. Especially when a racing medal is involved as I want my nails to be all pretty while holding it and showing it off!

Speaking of medals, I went to the Expo yesterday to pick up my bib and t-shirt and had absolutely no intention of buying a single thing from any of the vendors.

But then, well, I walked past the Detroit Metal Works station and saw all of their medal racks. I mean, I have a way to display my racing medals that I kind of Macguyvered together but I have been considering buying a proper one and, well, there was one in particular that caught my eye.

I mean, come on. How on earth could I leave without buying that?! (Especially considering it was only $30. I know the market on these and trust me when I tell you that was a fucking steal.)

What are some of your racing rituals?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 May 2014

round and round and away we go at cleveland metroparks

With the Cleveland Half Marathon this Sunday the 18th, my last long run of ten miles was scheduled for this past weekend. With a busy couple of days ahead of me, I knew if I didn't get out there as early as possible there was no way I'd be running those ten miles. So, I managed to get myself up bright and early Friday morning and was at Edgewater Park by 6:30 am.

The nice thing about Edgewater Park is that it's a big loop. Technically there are two loops: the lower beach is one mile around while the upper loop is 1/2 mile around with a hill connecting the two. It's actually a very popular place for local races, such as the Next Step Run for Shelter 5K and the Garage Sale 5K. Because the loops are pretty precise in terms of distance it makes running multiple miles easy as you're essentially just running laps.

When I was training for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon I often went to some of the other Cleveland Metropark Trails for the express purpose of not running in a loop. I'd run a few miles in one direction then turn around and run back.

During this training, however, I found that running in loops isn't that bad. Especially when I'm running on the upper loop which is just about half a mile around. In theory, you'd think that attempting a ten mile run like that -- meaning twenty laps -- would be boring but it really wasn't. I just plugged my earbuds in, turned on my playlist, and went to work. I ran a handful of miles up there, then went down and did a couple laps on the lower loop, then headed back up to finish out my 10 miles.

I do have to take a moment to say that I love love love that the Cleveland Metroparks have taken over management of Lakefront Reservation (which Edgewater Park is part of). They've been managing the property for just about a year now and the improvements they've made have been incredible and with summer just around the corner, every time I'm out there these days I've seen the Metropark trucks making rounds, cleaning the beach, picking up trash, etc., in anticipation of warmer weather when the park and beach get super crowded.

A few weeks ago I saw a pair of blue jays flying around, this time I saw a woodpecker, a goldfinch, and a tricolored blackbird. I'm going to start keeping an eye out for more birds from now on.

After my ten miles I stopped at one of the picnic benches to stretch. Not a bad view, eh?

I'm glad I got out to the park as early as I did and not just because it was already 70 degrees at 6:30 but because I am a bit of a slow runner and those ten miles took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete and I had a volunteer gig at the Western Reserve Historical Society at 11 am. When I walked into the library and the volunteer coordinator asked how I was and I mentioned I'd just run ten miles she said luckily they had lots of special projects that required sitting. Whew.

Between the run, the volunteering, and then grocery shopping, this is what my FitBit looked like by about 4pm.

Needless to say, I gave myself permission to veg out for the rest of Friday.

This was my last long run and I have to say I'm really happy with the Hal Higdon training plan I used and already plan on using it again when I start training for the RNR CLE half in a few months!

I'm so so so happy to be running outside again but because of the crazy winter we had I had to learn to embrace indoor running! So head on over to Jessica Gets Fit to read my guest post on how I learned to love the treadmill.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 May 2014

staying healthy with stylish and decorative tissue boxes from Kleenex!

As a healthy living blogger I obviously support a healthy lifestyle and that includes staying healthy. Of course with allergy season upon us that can make things a little tricky so it's important to have tissues around for me and my guests, so when I was asked to participate in a sponsored campaign celebrating Kleenex's 90th anniversary with some new fun and stylish tissue boxes, I of course said yes!

I know what you're thinking. I mean, we're talking tissues, right? But, see, in celebration of their big anniversary, Kleenex has collaborated with fabulous fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi to bring consumers four new designs which are intended to evoke confidence and inspiration.

My favorite of the Isaac Mizrahi designs is this quirky take on the classic combination of black and white. I knew it would be the perfect compliment to the Wonderland corner in my living room. (And, really, who doesn't adore Isaac Mizrahi?)

Did you know that Kleenex has been in the MOMA twice? Really, though, it's not that surprising when you consider all the different styles of decorative boxes they've had over the years.

Along with the Mizrahi designs, Kleenex is celebrating their 90th anniversary by bringing you another innovative first: The Kleenex® Style Studio. It’s a fun, inspiring way to discover more of the Kleenex Brand designs and products you love. And maybe even a few that’ll take you by surprise. Whether you’re decorating at home or adding a pop of color to your clutch, Kleenex has you covered.

Use the Kleenex Style Studio to find your style and discover which decorative tissue box is right for you! You can also watch videos featuring Isaac Mizrahi where he provides his latest style advice and shares his own experience as a design leader for more than two decades.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

07 May 2014

cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change a gal's life

I did it. I bit the bullet and bought myself some spin shoes.

At first Harness Cycle was just offering rentals but then when they announced you could buy spin shoes through them and the cost would include clips and the installation I was pretty much sold. Riding in clips has completely changed my love and appreciation for spinning. I also see the shoes as an investment because I still want to look into becoming a spinning instructor some day.

I also bought a new pair of running shoes, just in time for the Cleveland Half Marathon. With the half a week and a half away, I have enough time to break them in just a bit but without having to worry that I'll put too much wear on them. By the time the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon rolls around in October I'll be primed for another pair. Between my new New Balances and my fabulous CLE Clothing Co. shirt, I'll be dressed to kill on May 18th.

(It still kind of kills me that I'll be running in two half marathons this year.)

Often I joke that as a single thirtysomething living in the city I'm like the Cleveland version of Carrie Bradshaw but with less expensive taste in shoes. These weren't exactly the kind of shoes I meant, but whatever. At least they give me sexy legs to show off when wearing other kinds of shoes, amirite?

In other news, check out my friend Brooke who has been generating a lot of press like on Buzzfeed and Huffington Post over the past couple of days. She is a rock star and I love her and you should follow her blog because she is awesome.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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