30 June 2014

Favorite FitBloggin Fotos

Ohmygosh, you guys. I got back to Cleveland yesterday evening and I'm still trying to process all of the awesomeness that was FitBloggin' 14. Like, I can't even. The people, the sessions, the city of Savannah -- all of it came together to create a magically delicious weekend.

Friday night was the big Ignite presentation and Bama + Ry Jewelry was there selling these amazing bangle sets that I, of course, had to buy. I ended up doing a ton of walking in Savannah, partly because I stayed at a different hotel than the conference, but when I got back Saturday night I was floored by how many steps I had taken that day, including my trip to Butcher Tattoo for my new ink.

A few weeks ago I said I was most looking forward to meeting the people and it really was the best part of traveling to Savannah. Not only did I get to meet people I knew were going to be there, like Alan, Emily, and Brooke, (and, not pictured, Emmie and Liz, who brought her daughter E2 who was amazingly well-behaved and super popular), I also met people I didn't know where going to be there, like Dawn, and made some new friends, too, like Mickey and Stephanie

The view from my hotel room was to die for. Which is fitting, considering Savannah is reputed to be the most haunted place in the United States, a little fact I learned on the two ghost tours I took including a rather spontaneous decision to take the trolley Ghosts & Gravestones tour Saturday evening. Because I was staying at the Marriott I walked the River Walk at least twice a day, although technically I cheated a bit Friday night and took a pedicab part of the way back to my hotel.

(Shhh. Yes, I know my tattoo is technically upside down. I'm a weirdo like that)

The conference covered many meals, including breakfast all three days, but most of the sponsors had yummy snack options during the breaks. Ninja Kitchen provided awesome smoothies and California Almonds had a make your own trail mix station while California Avocado had these amazing blueberry muffins baked with avocados which sounds weird but were super good. 

But most of the time we were on our own for dinner but it was okay because Savannah has some fucking outstanding restaurants and it was a great opportunity to connect with fabulous friends, such as Kelly and Nathan, and meet new ones as well! 

That's right: in 2015 the FitBloggin family is hitting Colorado! It's entirely possible I already started looking up flight options. Just to see.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 June 2014

i love ya, tomorrow. you're only a day away

This is my dining room table right now:

Tonight after work I'll pack everything up and do a final sweep to make sure I have everything I think I'm going to need for FitBloggin and try to get a good night's sleep because my flight out of Cleveland Hopkins leaves tomorrow at 8:30 am!

So, I'm going to spend the weekend in Savannah, Georgia. At the end of June. It's gonna be hotter than Hades, let me tell ya. My plain, seriously, is to spend the weekend in yoga pants and t-shirts. Like this one:

This, ladies and gents, is a shirt from Custom Ink, designed by moi. Pretty bad ass, amirite? After Nathan posted his shirt I had to check the site out and happily paid the $2 rush fee to have it arrive in time to take with me.


Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 June 2014

Yoga Rocks the Park with Poise in Parma!

Saturday evening I headed to Lincoln Park in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland for some Yoga Rocks the Park led by my friend Alicia from Poise in Parma with special musical guest Christopher Eff.

Right from the start I knew it was going to be just a lovely evening: the weather was just gorgeous and it was wonderful seeing so many yogis setting up their mats in the middle of the park. I even ran into one of the students from the school where I work and had a glimpse of downtown Cleveland from my spot.

I am admittedly a little out of practice as of late, which was one reason I jumped at the opportunity when Alicia asked if I'd be interested in being a YRP Cleveland Official Blogger. This means I get to attend all the YRP sessions for free and Alicia led us through a great class that allowed me to get back to this practice that I've unfortunately neglected. Just being outside brought a wonderful element to the entire experience and I can't wait to attend the other sessions this summer!

Because of FitBloggin I won't be able to attend the session next Sunday, but I should be able to make all of the other ones this season and I hope to see some of you there!

In case you missed it, I'm running a short reader survey to find out more about all of you! Thanks in advance if you decide to participate!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 June 2014

you're looking at a future certified spin instructor!

Bit of blog housekeeping: Since you guys know so much about me, I decided I want to know more about YOU! So, I've set up a quick 10 question survey to get a better idea of who you fabulous people are. Participation is, of course, completely voluntary but I would super appreciate you taking the time. The last two questions in particular are proving so far to be super informative so thank you to everyone who has already submitted their answers!

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to research becoming a group fitness instructor. I wasn't really sure what form that would take, but the more often I was spinning at Harness Cycle the more I started to think and feel this was the path for me. I love the power and energy I get from the class and the support from the instructors. I've been spinning 2-3 times a week since October, which just kind of kills me because it doesn't seem that long at all!

So when I saw that Harness was hosting a one day certification course at the end of July, I, of course, wanted more information so before class yesterday I was asking the owner Annie about it all. She said it was being run entirely by Schwinn, Harness is more acting as a location, but after she told me about the eight hour class and all that would be involved, I decided this was an opportunity I couldn't let slip by and signed up.

Obviously, after being certified I'm not going to quit my job and run off and become a spin instructor. But it's nice knowing that I'll have it as an option for side jobs and making extra money. Really, though, I see it as another way to share my story and inspire other people, especially those other women and men who walk into a spin class and don't feel like they fit the "look" of the other people in the class. This is another one of those red herrings because it doesn't matter what you look like or how much you weigh, it's your ride and you get out what you put in, regardless of outside factors. Most classes are all-levels, with options for everyone from beginners to the more advanced students, and I'm excited to not only learn more about this activity that I have come to love so much but also I'm excited to become more involved from the other side of the bike.

For all you favorite Clevelanders, don't forget that this tonight there is a Yoga Rocks the Park event at 5:30 in Tremont's Lincoln Park! This particular session is being led by the awesome Alicia from Poise in Parma and I hope to see you there!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 June 2014

Single Digits! Eight Days Until FitBloggin!


One week from tomorrow I'll be headed to sunny, sunny Savannah because FitBloggin is only eight days away! Plane tickets, my hotel room, and conference pass were all purchased back in early February and it's time already!

I seriously can't handle this, y'all.

This is my "SQUEE!" face

My dining room table is currently acting as my home base when it comes to packing and keeping track of everything I'll want to take with me, including my business cards and work out clothes/shoes. I work Wednesday night and have a pretty early flight out of CLE on Thursday, so advance planning and packing is necessary (although luckily I a) am usually up pretty early anyway and b) live pretty close to the airport). 

Months ago I purchased this lil clipboard thingy at Target on clearance with no real intention for it and last weekend realized it will be perfect for this trip.

There's a legal pad of paper for note taking during sessions and a pocket on the inside where I can keep track of my hotel/plane reservations and a print out of the FitBloggin' schedule.


Awhile ago I decided I needed something to commemorate completing not one but two half-marathons and being a gal who loves her ink, a tattoo was perfect. Considering FitBloggin is a health and fitness conference, it also makes sense to get my half tattoo while I'm in town for the conference, so that's what I'll be doing Saturday afternoon!

When I was scheduling my appointment with The Butcher Tattoo Studio and had to describe my tattoo I mentioned I was coming in from out of town and said it was an outline of Ohio with a red heart over Cleveland and 13.1 in the middle. I didn't even have to explain the significance, because the woman immedietly said "Oh, you should come back in November for the Rock 'n' Roll Half!" (Considering I'm registered for RnR CLE in October I couldn't swing that, but I bet Savannah would be nice. Maybe 2015...)

If you want to follow all my FitBloggin fun, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and to like the Year of the Phoenix's Facebook page! FitBloggin also has their own Twitter and Instagram accounts as well.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 June 2014

fridays and the flea and fitbits, oh my!

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, especially all of the father's out there.

My weekend started with a trip to Planet Fitness Friday morning. Usually on Fridays I am either volunteering or going to spinning class at Harness Cycle, but this past weekend I was scheduled for neither and was long over due for a trip to the gym so I packed up my stuff and off I went!

I ended up walking on the treadmill for an hour and watching The Price is Right for the first time in, like, ever. It was actually a pretty fabulous way to start my weekend.

That night I had an Art Walk date with the new boyfriend, BC (don't worry, y'all didn't miss anything regarding the change in my single status. I think this is might be the first time I've mentioned him!). We grabbed some pizza at Edison's first before walking around the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, checking out all the galleries and boutiques. I even found a super cute birfday present for Sissy (shhhh don't tell her).

Between walking at the gym and walking around Tremont, I had quite a few steps on my FitBit!

Saturday, BC and I had brunch at the West Side Market Cafe and then headed over to the Cleveland Flea. Between the two of us, we totally cleaned that place out, let me tell you. He bought a bunch of great art for his house as well as some neck ties and I bought adorable servers from a vintage stall and a bad ass canvas covered journal from c.irene.

This is the exact conversation I had with the seller of the veggie dishes:

Me: Are those really $15 total for all six?
Her: Yup!
Me: Do you take credit cards?
Her (smiling): Yes.


Now that I think about it, the first time I went to the Flea I also bought some vintage kitchen goods and an original handmade item related to writing. Clearly I am quite predictable in my shopping habits.

Speaking of FitBits, that's what Sissy, Mom, and I got Papa G. for Father's Day!

A couple weeks ago, Sissy and I were discussing it as a gift option and then when she and my BIL were in town over Memorial Day weekend, our mom suggested it. Done. I had lunch at their house yesterday and after we were done eating I helped him get it all set up! Sissy and I both have a Zip but we decided to get him the FitBit One, which tracks sleep and steps, too, and I have a feeling he is really really going to like it.

In other news, I was inspired by my friend Fit and Free With Emily to redo my About Page! Take a look at the new one and let me know what you think.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 June 2014

brain over binge

A couple weeks ago, I caught a conversation on Twitter between Kelly and Sarah discussing the book Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. Considering my own history of disordered eating, this seemed like a good book for me and I, luckily, had some money left on an Amazon gift card.

I'm only about 100 pages in so I don't want to give a full report until I'm finished, but I can say that it's been very thought provoking. Hansen's main argument is that people don't binge because they are trying to fill some emotional need or because there are undiagnosed issues from childhood. People binge because they have an urge to binge. In other words: conventional therapy suggests that binging is a symptom of some larger problem whereas this book suggests binging itself is the main issue.

As someone who spent years having binge eating episodes, I must admit that much of what she says makes sense. When I went vegetarian years ago, it didn't automatically cease all episodes but it certainly reduced them. It really was a mind-over-matter situation in which I recognized that I had an inability to stop myself from eating an entire bucket of KFC in a single sitting all by myself. So, it stood to reason, if I stopped eating chicken then I'd stop going through that drive thru multiple times a week for a ten piece.

Does that sound like a crazy and overly simplistic way to address a binge eating habit? Yes.

Did it work? Yes.

At this point, I've been slowly reintroducing meat back into my diet although I've been eating small quantities of it over the past few weeks. At any point over the past month or so I could have easily gone to the KFC up the street (ooooh, or the Popeyes. They have those good seasoned fries) and gone all chicken crazy. But I haven't nor do I have any desire to do so nor do I worry that urge will return.

Yesterday I had someone tell me that because I happen to be reading this book that means she doesn't buy my statement that my relationship with food has changed for the better.

The thing is, people read books for lots of different reasons so just because I happen to be reading a book about binge eating doesn't mean I'm still binge eating. That's on par with blaming video games for school shootings. Do I have times when I overeat? Hello. Of course. I'm a fat girl and an emotional eater. My weight gain wasn't spontaneously. So, yes, sometimes when I'm having a bad day I have an extra scoop of ice cream.

But over eating is not binge eating.

It is important to recognize that Binge Eating Disorder has very specific symptoms and parameters that need to be met before a person is diagnosed with BED and merely over eating every once in awhile does not qualify. If merely excess eating was enough then every woman in every Weight Watchers meeting across the country would be diagnosed with BED. And while I understand and anticipated that some people would be disappointed in my decision to go back to eating meat, it is important to acknowledge that I am the only one who knows what my relationship with food is like now compared to what it was then.

These days, a "bad day" for me is about 2500 calories total. That used to be a single meal years ago. A single meal had multiple times in the same week. So when I say that trusting myself enough to eat meat again is a sign of progress, I ask you to take me at my word.

Also, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you: I would rather be at a higher weight, enjoying life, completing half-marathons, having a healthy relationship with food, and, most importantly, loving everything about myself than be a smaller weight and still seeing food as the enemy.

That being said, while I greatly appreciate any and all concern related to my health, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone, regardless of your eating habits, that it's really not cool to get on a soapbox and judge a person who happens to consume different foods than you. C'mon, can't we all just be friends?

Has anyone else read Brain Over Binge?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 June 2014

going omni

For about six months now I've been thinking about making a really, really big decision and after talking it over with certain people and really considering my reasons behind the decision, it's official:

I'm eating meat again. 

When I first made the decision to go vegetarian six and a half years ago, it was for health reasons. Don't get me wrong, I love animals and all that, but this was a conscious choice made in a effort to reduce my binge episodes.

I've always been very open about my history of disordered eating and the fact that I was going through the drive thru at McDonalds and Taco Bell and KFC, like, five times a week and eating 3000 calorie meals each time. It was at a point where I couldn't figure out how to curb my episodes and the only remedy I could come up with was to stop eating meat. If I don't eat beef then I can't go get four cheeseburgers as a "snack" before my full dinner.

Over the past few years as I've been losing weight and traveling this particular path in my life, my relationship with food has completely changed for the better and it, naturally, made me reexamine my choices, particularly in regards to cutting meat out of my diet.

Knowing the initial reasons behind my move to vegetarianism, I had to be sure that I could introduce it without falling back on old, bad habits so lately I've been, well, testing the waters while out at dinner (considering I've been vegetarian the entire time I've lived in Cleveland it's certainly given me a new appreciation for some of the restaurants here). Because I've been thinking about this for awhile I had done my homework so it's not like I went out and ordered a Porterhouse steak or anything, but I have been experimenting with small amounts of poultry, pork, and beef.

When it became pretty obvious to me that I could "unofficially" eat meat without worrying I'd fall victim to prior temptations, I knew it was time to make the official switch.

Of course, this is all still part of wanting to have an overall healthy diet, so when my mom and I were discussing Father's Day dinner and fancy gourmet burgers, I told her I'd like the turkey burger knowing it is a slightly healthier choice than beef (and, to be honest, I never consumed that much red meat even when I did eat meat on a consistent basis before). Plus, the amounts of beef that I have had up to this point have been pretty minimal and it's advised to start with poultry and work your way up so it's probably a bit early to have myself a big ol' hamburger.

So it is that after six and a half years of being an ovo-lacto vegetarian, I'm transitioning back to being an omnivore. Not that I'm going to suddenly no longer eat meatless or vegetarian meals. I mean, despite the other protein options, the avocado green curry with tofu at Bac is just too good to pass up. And let's not forget the vegan bakery options at Nature's Bin. Plus I have a ton of meatless recipes and cookbooks that I'll continue to use. It's more about having...options, I guess. Like everything else, it's really about having a balanced healthy diet, including animal protein.

But, more than that, you have no idea how self-satisfying it is to be able to say I trust myself enough to open this door again. Despite whatever number appears on the scale these days, to know that I have developed a healthy enough relationship with food to allow that back into my lifmeans more to me than any pounds lost or regained over the past few years.

Hey Northeast Ohio yogis! You still have time to enter my giveaway to win two passes to a single Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland event!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 June 2014

GIVEWAY: I'm a Yoga Rocks the Park Official Blogger!

A few weeks ago, the fabulous Alicia over at Poise in Parma asked me if I would be interested in being an official blogger for Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland. Last summer I attended the YRP class that Alicia led and had so much fun, I of course had to say yes.

Being a YRP Official Blogger means I am provided with a season pass to attend all of this year's yoga classes for free in exchange for blogging about the sessions I go to as well as promoting YRP on the usual social media platforms. I'm also able to offer one of you two passes to a single YRP event (there are two passes so you can invite a friend to attend with you!)

Here are the dates and times for this year's season:
  • Saturday, June 14 10am Marni Task 
  • Saturday, June 21 6pm (evening event) Alicia Hansen 
  • Sunday, June 29 10am Linda Stevenson 
  • Saturday, July 12 10am Scott Supler 
  • Sunday, July 27 10am Tiiu Gennert & Deanna Black 
  • Saturday, August 9 10am Jennette Zimmerman 
  • Sunday, August 24 10am Theresa Gorski 
  • Saturday, September 6 10am Krysia Maciuszko 
  • Sunday, September 21 10am Tammy Lyons (Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival will follow YRP at noon) 

Picture from YRP Cleveland Facebook Page

As you can see there are both Saturday and Sunday classes throughout the season with one evening session on June 21st. All of the classes take place in Tremont's Lincoln Park and in case of rain the classes are held right on the corner of the park at Merrick House.

If you and a friend want to join me at one of the above sessions, now is your opportunity thanks to a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. Anyone in the Northeast Ohio area (or anyone willing to make the trip to the 216!) is eligible to enter.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 June 2014

National Running Day 2014

Wahoo! It's June 4th which means it's National Running Day! This is a day when we runners celebrate our love of running and reaffirm why we run.

After crossing the finish line on Saturday, this is exactly how I felt: powerful and strong. I did not feel that way after the Cleveland Half, so it was a good feeling to remember why I run and the positive physical effects it can have along with reminding me of all the amazing things my body can do.

I also signed up for the Gordon Square 5K in July and I'm considering signing up for a June 5K if I can find one that fits my schedule. Weekends are getting a bit busy and, of course, then there's FitBloggin!

Another thing that I've been thinking about and researching is hosting a virtual run for my birthday. It's not until November, but I like to plan ahead and seeing as how I've never hosted a virtual run before so, y'know, looking into the logistics of medals and donating the proceeds. Plus, of course, I need to gauge interest so if I were to host a virtual 5K/10K, is that something you, Dear Readers, would be interested in?

Edited to add (after realizing not everyone may know what a virtual race is): This is basically a run you can run (or walk!) anywhere -- even on the treadmill! -- during the approved time period (most likely it will be as long as you run it during the month of November you'll be good to go). You pay a registration fee like any other race (as of right now it would be $25) and will also get a medal that I'll mail to you after the deadline. The proceeds from the registration fees will go to a non-profit of my choice (still working on the details) but because there's no overhead from a "real" 5K, more money will be able to go to the organization!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 June 2014

Recap: Pier W Copper River Salmon Run 5K

Thanks again to Alana at The Dawg's Dish for her giveaway that let me run the Pier W Copper River Salmon Run 5K for free! 

The weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect for a 5K -- not too hot and with a nice bit of breeze. The race started and ended at Lakewood Park which I had only really been to once before when I ran the Nature's Bin 5K a year and a half ago but this time I got there early enough to walk around while I warmed up.

Lakewood Park is gorgeous with lovely views of the lake and lots of recreation options. Both the baseball fields had games going on, there was yoga happening on the back porch of the indoor pavilion, tons of kids on the huge playground, and lots of runners and walkers just enjoying the lovely day. I may need to add it to my list of parks that offer good running locations.

There is also this super cute gazebo which had a picture perfect view of the skyline.

Follow me on Instagram!

Later, my friend Kelly told me that most of Lakewood High School takes prom photos at the gazebo while my friend Corinne said me that she had friends who were at the park yesterday and got engaged there. Awwwww.

The course for this 5K was (I think) the exact same course as the Nature's Bin 5K, which I was anticipating since both are hosted by Hermes, which is one of Cleveland's road racing management companies. It's entirely flat and winds through some of Lakewood's nearby neighborhoods.

After the half marathon a couple weekends not going nearly as well as I had hoped, I really, really needed a good, strong race to get me back into my running groove. I actually hadn't been running since the half, just because I was feeling kind of blah about the whole activity. With the shoes, I opted to wear an older pair after the ankle fiasco and they were just fine so I think maybe I just got a bad right shoe or something.

This race was just what I needed and after running a decent 3 miles, right at the very end when we turned the corner from Lake Avenue and head back into the park and towards the finish line I was able to really pick up speed and finish with a chip time of 45:22. With an average mile pace of 14:38, that's my fastest time in almost a year and my first sub-15 mile since July! (Well, technically, at the Garage Sale 5K I ran a 14:56 but that's close enough to just round up).

To say I was happy with that time is an understatement and I've already started looking for more 5Ks to run in the next couple of months before I start training for RnR CLE.

Speaking of Nature's Bin, since I was in the neighborhood I swung by after the race and was delighted when I saw they had their vegan S'more cake that day.

That's right. I said vegan. Even the marshmallow. Seriously, whenever I go to Nature's Bin I always go for the vegan baked goods over the regular ones because they are so fucking good. (The red velvet is my favorite, but this is a very close second.) After such a good run it was a nice and yummy way to celebrate adding another race to the books!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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