30 March 2015

(half) marathon monday: week five

After being ridiculously lazy last week, I knew I had to get back on the training wagon again. Luckily, my body agreed with me: last week I could barely get myself up by 7 am. This past week, my body was awake at 5:30 am pretty much every day, entirely on it's own.

So here's the weekly break down:

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: Spinning at Harness Cycle
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Spinning at Harness Cycle
Saturday: Free Weights + Dance Party (lol)
Sunday: REST

This week was a little different, owing mostly to the Cleveland International Film Festival. Normally I reserve Fridays for my long run but with six miles scheduled and not wanting to sacrifice any screen time (especially since Friday was a full film fest day for both myself and BC), I decided to shift my schedule around a bit.

My body apparently agreed with this plan because originally I was scheduled for a 6:30 am spin class on Monday but when I woke up at 5:30 I decided instead of going back to sleep for half an hour or hanging around my apartment for an hour, I'd just go down to the little mini gym in my building and knock those 4 miles right out.

Then, on Thursday, I planned on waking up at 5:00 to get six miles in and I woke up at 4:45 am. Whatever, it allowed me to get down there a little early and boom, done before 7 am.

The Friday morning spinning class was very last minute. I was on the Harness website Thursday evening around 6 or 7 and noticed that Katie D's class the next morning had openings which is very unusual as there's usually a waitlist.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 March 2015

get your read on

This weekend is a full of film festival fun! I'll be spending today, tomorrow, and Sunday hanging out at Tower City Cinemas for the Cleveland International Film Festival (say hi if you see me!) so while I'm indulging in my love of independent film, I thought I'd pass along some reading recommendations!

First up, the book I wrote!

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you probably know that I've been working on a book behind the scenes. It's not related to this blog in any way (which is why I only really ever mention it in passing) but it is about my hometown. It's being published through Arcadia Publishing and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. The official release date is July 20, 2015 and there is already a fancy debut reception party type thing being planned in conjunction with the Hudson Library & Historical Society and the Learned Owl Book Shop.

This isn't my first publication. I've had poetry published in Potomac Review and an essay on librarianship in C&RL News. But, like, this is, y'know, a book. Like, an actual physical book that will be sold in stores with my name on the cover.

The second book is the short story collection I Will Love You For the Rest of My Life, written by Michael Czyzniejewski.

Mike was my college mentor: along with interning under him at the literary journal Mid-American Review, he was also my thesis advisor. He's hysterical and his stories are hysterical and I highly recommend you read it.

Finally, Tim Gunn's The Natty Professor which comes with a somewhat silly story.

So, like, a year ago or something I filled out some online survey thing about my favorite teacher or something and then promptly forgot all about it. No, seriously. I forgot all about it. So much so that when I got an email from Simon & Schuster asking for my address to mail me a signed copy of the book I had no idea what they were talking about.

Even then, when the book showed up this week and it was a personalized signed copy I was still so confused. Until I started flipping through and suddenly it all came flooding back.

Needless to say, Tim Gunn and I are, like, totally BFFs now.

Have you read anything good recently? Share it here!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 March 2015

Running With Police Escort

Recently there have been two very different news stories floating around about two women's very different experiences being slow runners. Obviously, as someone who has come in last place at multiple races, this is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Like I always say, it's not last place -- it's running with police escort. 

I really should trademark that shit.


The first story comes from across the pond and a woman who says she was pulled out of a 20 mile race after only 1.5 miles because she was going too slow and told the race wasn't for people like her. She says she was pacing 12 minute mile while the race director claims it was over 15 minutes. He went on to say that he told Ms. Edwards that most people finish in 4 hours and he wanted to relieve the crew within that time and was concerned she was going to take more than 5 hours to finish. She says she was pulled from the race, he says she withdrew on her own and was given her entry fee back. Either way, she didn't finish. (Ironically, the person who did finish last did it in five hours).

I think this is a situation where there are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in between.

The main issue with this story is that the 4 hour cut off time wasn't advertised anywhere. Even the director admits that. As a slow runner I always look for course time limits. I also look to see if they welcome walkers, as that usually indicates they welcome slower runners as well. My April race says people may walk the race, although they may be moved to the sidewalk so they can open the roads back up (which is, of course, entirely understandable).

I understand the need for course time limits but if a race has those, they have to actually let the runners know. That way the runners can make an informed decision about signing up. Holding runners to an unpublished course time isn't right.

It can be tough being a slow runner. Often for smaller races I don't get any official race photos because the photographer has left before I even got to the finish line. Likewise, the post-race tents are usually packing up their stuff. Some have even left already. Basically, depending on the race, the support -- especially near the very end -- can be non-existent for slower runners.

Which brings me to the second story that recently went viral. Asia Ford was participating in a Louisville 10K and around mile 5, one of the officers noticed she was struggling and decided to assist by walking with her, arm in arm, the rest of the way to the finish line.



Luckily, most of my experiences have been more like Asia's -- at Running the Bridges, my friend Gina got off her bike and walked with me and at SnoBall 5K, the office in the police car gave me a thumbs up when I made the final turn to the finish line.

For awhile now (at least six months), I've had an idea in my head to write a book about this topic. Being a slow runner, that is. It's what my FitBloggin Ignite Spark covers but I only get five minutes for that. This would be an opportunity to really dig in deep on the subject. Not just with my experiences but the experiences of others, too. I don't know, maybe I should see these two stories happening so closely together as a sign from the universe that I really should plow ahead with this plan.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 March 2015

(half) marathon monday: week four

Right, so I'm not even going to pretend this week wasn't anything other than me being completely and totally lazy.

After going to see the doctor on Monday and even after her telling me it was okay to keep exercising and all that, I also took heed of her warning that doing so might prolong my stupid cold or whatever this is. So I, instead, took advantage of the idea that rest is training too and basically did nothing.

I know. Terrible.

But, I do feel so much better and it's still early enough in the training plan that I'm not at all worried. Plus, my long run for this past week was supposed to be 5 miles, which is what I did at St. Malachi so it's not even like I missed mileage or anything.

Woke up this morning and did 4 miles and got back on the training horse and off we go! Only downside is being physically lazy made me nutritionally lazy so I have to be more careful and aware that.

One unusual thing that did happen is I needed to go downtown on Friday for jury duty. I was super bummed because I hadn't needed to go in all week and so, naturally, thought I was off the hook and then got called in on the last day and I planned on spending that day at the Cleveland International Film Festival which -- if you've been reading this blog long enough you know -- is my most favorite time of year in the Land of Cleves.

But, I decided to take advantage of the situation as best I could. Not knowing how long I'd be at the Justice Center, but also knowing I'd head to the CIFF after, I decided to park at the film festival and walk the few blocks. Not only did I get my steps in, it was going to be way cheaper than had I parked at the Justice Center.

Terminal Tower lit up with this year's CIFF colors

Of course, I ended up downtown earlier than I needed, mostly because there was a weird time confusion for the jury duty, so I spent a good 30-45 minutes just walking around the city which was fun because it took me to parts I don't see very often.

So this week I'm re-arranging my training schedule just a bit so I can get my long run in earlier so I don't have to worry about it because I have a very busy weekend up ahead with another set of film festival fun and a Cavs game!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 March 2015

mini banana peanut butter muffins with goji berries

So, it turns out that March is National Peanut Month. How fun is that?

To celebrate, Peanut Butter & Co. asked those of us on its Yum Squad to come up with a recipe utilizing peanut butter and one mystery ingredient that we wouldn't know the identity of until it showed up at our house. Naturally I was super excited when I came home and saw the box waiting for me.

My mystery ingredient? Dried Goji Berries!

For peanut butter I was given a couple different varieties including The Bees Knees, which is one of my favorites since it has honey in it. I also looked around my kitchen and realized I had some over ripe bananas and a mini muffin tin that had yet to be used. That could only mean one thing.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup Bees Knees peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
3⁄4 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup dried goji berries

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the peanut butter, oil, eggs, milk and bananas.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold the goji berries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into 36 lined mini muffin tins (or, do it in two batches if you only have one tin). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I love the mini muffin size, I can just pop them into my mouth when I need a quick little bite. The goji berries also pair nicely with the peanut butter for a nice flavor.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 March 2015

(Half) Marathon Monday Wednesday: Week Three

Obviously this week's (Half) Marathon Monday post is happening on Wednesday but my blog so I can change the rules like that.


Man, this past week was a doozy.

First, I was still getting over being sick. Actually, no, I was still just sick. Period. And, as it happens, I'm still sick. This has to be the most annoyingly obnoxious common cold I've ever had, with some sinus infection issues thrown in as well. Even the co-workers who got me sick weren't sick for this long. LIFE IS SO UNFAIR.

Second, of course, was the time change which combined with already feeling lethargic from being sick meant it was a struggle to get myself out of bed most mornings. Somehow I magically managed to do it in order to get to spinning class on Monday, but beyond that....Normally I'm a morning exerciser but man on man that was sooooo not happening this week so most of these were done in the evenings after work.

Monday: Spinning Class at Harness Cycle
Tuesday: 3.5 miles
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: St. Malachi 5 Miler
Sunday: Rest

Another reason I love St. Malachi's race is because the 5 mile distance fits in perfectly with my training schedule!

I did go to one of those Minute Clinics this week just to make sure this lingering cold wasn't anything super serious and she told me everything looked fine, but that colds this season are taking forEVER to clear. Plus the weather changing isn't happening. I mentioned that I was training for a half marathon and she said it's okay to continue to exercise but to be aware that it could prolong it just a bit so I've been trying to take it easy this week. Luckily it's early enough in the training process to not be too concerned if I skip some runs. I just have to keep reminding myself that rest is training, too!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 March 2015

race recap: 35th annual st. malachi 5 miler

I ran St. Malachi in 2014 and 2013 and it's one of my favorite Cleveland races for many reasons, although the major selling point is that it starts and ends, quite literally, right outside my apartment door. Considering this is one of the city's biggest races in terms of participants, not having to deal with parking or driving is awesome.

When I committed to running one race a month at the beginning of the year, I knew there was no question that this would be my March race. At 5 miles, it also fits in perfectly with my half marathon training. (Speaking of, don't worry -- (Half) Marathon Monday will return on Wednesday!)

The race is always held around St. Patrick's Day and of course I had to get in on the fun.

The day itself wasn't too bad -- it rained all night the evening before and part of the morning but, luckily, had stopped before the race started. The temperature itself wasn't too bad, a little on the chilly side but I was prepared by wearing my fuzzy running jacket with a million pockets, which is helpful on race day so I can travel light with keys and cell phone and such.

After the race I was on the Hermes Facebook page and looking through all the photos and spotted this one.

I swear to goddess I thought I was looking at the camera when we passed haha. Next to me, in the pink hat, is a woman I met through the Cleveland Marathon FB page -- she runs their social media -- and in the beginning we were running together but my cold caught up with me and I was struggling a bit so I let her go on ahead. I finished in 1:24:43 which is kind of eh but I started out a bit too fast and then with the cold and blahblahblah I then spend the first mile or two just trying to regain a reasonable pace. This was also my first run outdoors in a loooooooong time so that's always going to be a challenge.

I did, however, finish strong which is all I really care about.

This year was different in that they also offered a finisher's medal! (Not gonna lie, I don't quite understand the math -- I mean, I was born in 1981 and am turning 34 this year....all I can guess is they had a race in 1980 and intended it to be a one-off but then brought it back the next year and that's when they officially established it as the St. Malachi Church Run or something).

ETA: Counted it out on my fingers after someone on Twitter mentioned doing that and it actually does work out. Weird.

I love having another medal to add to my rack. My next race is the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler on April 25th and after that it will be my third half marathon in May!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 March 2015

get #marriedinmodcloth with their wedding style collections!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Ah, spring is upon us which means  wedding season is upon as well. Now, make no mistake: I am not getting married anytime soon. But it is that time of year when lots of other people are. That, of course, means you as a wedding guest need a fabulous outfit to wear to the ceremony. As luck would have it, ModCloth, one of my favorite sites for dress porn has an entire selection of adorable wedding styles  to choose from, whether you are a guest or the bride.  

When given the task of selecting three pieces I'd put together to create my ideal wedding guest outfit, I came up with the following combination:

Windy City Dress in Teal: $69.99
Sipping Sherry Earrings: $8.99
Boogie Downtown Heel in Beige: $34.99

The dress is cute and whimsical with a flirty little skirt and like many of ModCloth's dresses, goes up to a 4X so even we curvy girls can get in on the fun! (Their support of the plus size community is one of my favorite parts about the company.) Also, the deep jewel tone will get you through spring, summer, and fall weddings. Just throw a little shrug over your shoulders when the weather gets cool and you'll be good to go. 

I love nude heels because they help elongate your legs and basically go with anything. These also have a heel that's high enough to give me a little oomph in my step while also being low enough to allow me to dance the night away without killing my feet. Tie the dress and shoes together with a lovely pair of earrings that match the teal of the dress and add a little bling to the occasion. 

Want to see more pairings? Check out the community page for real life inspiration of women who got #marriedinmodcloth!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 March 2015

temporarily changing my weigh in day

After finishing two half marathons, I know what days work best for me with regards to different parts of my training program. Like, getting my butt up early Monday morning for running? Unlikely. Getting my butt up early for cross-training? No problem. Sundays are a good rest day because it gives me a day to decompress and unwind before heading back to work.

I work four days a week and Fridays are the perfect day for long runs. I usually wake up feeling motivated to go out there and get it and usually don't have anything going on that day so I don't have to usually rearrange stuff to fit the runs in. Plus, then it's done and out of the way and I don't have it hanging over me the rest of the weekend.

There's just one problem: Since October I've attended a Friday morning Weight Watchers meeting.

Now, I could make both work. But it would require waking up super early Friday mornings, which I'm already having to do the rest of the week to get my work outs in before my job. Granted, sleeping in for me is, like, 8 am (thank you cats) but still. I also know myself well enough that the longer I put it off, the less inclined I am to do it, so if I were to try and run after my meeting, there's a good 75% chance I won't do it.

Thankfully there is another location near my job that has a Monday evening meeting and this past Monday I headed over. Work commitments meant I wasn't able to stay for the meeting, but I at least wanted to weigh in.

And this is where things got a little....nostalgic because it's a non-automated location. That is, no computers or anything. Which isn't that unusual I know, but for years I was online and doing everything at home and then when I started going to meetings it was at one of the stores which are computerized so this was just a little....old school.

In fact, when the woman asked me if I kept my paper record at another location it took me a minute to realize what she was asking (and then after she looked at my tracker and realized I had sticker print outs for my weekly weigh-ins she realized I didn't have one of those, it's all on the computer). But just the mention of the record like that reminded me of when I signed up for Weight Watchers the very first time, back in 2003, the summer between my junior and senior year of college.

Me back then, with David Mayfield before he got all famous

So, here's the thing. I'm not at my lowest weight. But, I've maintained my FitBloggin weight now for almost a year and as long as I don't do anything stupid over the next few months, I'll be speaking at FitBloggin 15 weighing what I did when I attended FitBloggin 14. Which, let me just say, for someone who spent her life either gaining or losing (mostly gaining), that is just astounding to me.

Follow me on Instagram!

So, I'm not at my lowest. But, see, lots of women spend their 30s and 40s chasing the weight they were in their 20s. Me? At 33, I weigh thirty pounds less than I did when I was 21.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 March 2015

(Half) Marathon Monday: Week Two

Another week of training for the Cleveland Half Marathon is in the books!

Monday: Spinning at Harness Cycle
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 Miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Yoga for Beginners video via Amazon Prime

The first thing you'll notice is that I have an extra rest day in here than I did last week. The reason for this is I ended up catching a nasty cold from some co-workers and had that on top of my (warning: TMI) period, which meant I literally spent the week wiped out of any and all energy. It was so bad I took Thursday off from work which, considering how rarely I call off, is saying something. But despite not feeling well, I did manage to get all my miles in, so I'm okay with skipping a day of cross training to give my body some much needed rest.

Of course, not feeling well didn't stop me and BC from heading over to Buckeye Beer Engine Saturday night to celebrate my friend Staci's 40th birthday! Along with the usual cakes and cupcakes, they had a Mitchell's Ice Cream Sundae Bar.

I wasn't aware that was a thing -- that is, getting Mitchell's to come to you -- but apparently it is and it's THE MOST AWESOMEST THING EVER.

This upcoming week is going to be a bit different as I have the annual St. Malachi 5 Mile race on Saturday which means I'll be using that for my long run instead of doing it on Friday. Because of this time of year the weather can always be a little iffy on race day. In 2013 it was awful but 2014 wasn't too bad. So far the weather is showing a chance of rain but I will totally take that over snow.

Today is the last day to register for any of the Cleveland Marathon events before the price increase so if you've been thinking of signing up, register soon!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 March 2015

Make Races Fun for Friends with Spectator Bingo

Hi everyone! Today I have a guest post for you about a fun way to keep your friends and family entertained and occupied while they are waiting for you to cross the finish line at your next race. In full blogger disclosure, I was financially compensated for this, but that being said, I think this is a totally awesome idea and kind of wish I could play while running!

Make Races Fun for Friends with Spectator Bingo
Help them enjoy the marathon as much as you do with a fun bingo game

Much as many of us enjoy competing in marathons and would love to have the support of our friends and family as we run, it’s not always easy to get them to come with you, especially if they've watched you race before. The reason is much simpler than you’d think: watching a marathon can be extremely boring. All the spectators really do is wait and cheer, and with half-marathons lasting up to 3 hours depending on your pace, spectators spend more than enough time twiddling their thumbs. 

You can, however, make marathons more enjoyable for your spectator friends! All you need to do is print out copies of Spectator Bingo cards, and they’ll be keeping their eyes peeled throughout the race. Bingo is a game that just about everyone knows how to play, and although its popularity waned after the 60s, it’s come back with a vengeance, especially online. Playtech, the company that owns the Virtue Fusion software that runs the bingo games on Betfair, is constantly churning out bingo games with different themes, and even independent bloggers have come out with their own versions of the game.

Spectator Bingo is one such variation. Created by Susan Lacke and found on Competitor.com, the game pokes fun at all the funny and strange things one can expect to see at a marathon, from women wearing makeup and teased hair to tribal tattoos on arms and calves. The idea is to give one card each to your spectator friends, and similar to iSpy, they keep an eye out and try to spot the items on the card first, marking them off as soon as they see them. The first to complete a BINGO pattern or cross out the whole card wins the game!

 The game isn't just a neat way to help your friends pass the time – it’s also a convenient way to make sure that they’re actually paying attention, rather than just texting on their phones the whole time. Once the race is over, you’ll also all have something to talk about. As you point out that you managed to pass about a dozen runners wearing “neon-colored running shoes” or experienced some "overly enthusiastic high-fiving" from either other runners or spectators, your friends might chirp in and say that they managed to see that too – and they're got the marks on their bingo cards to prove it.

Isn't that so fun?! I totally want to print out some copies to give to my family next time they come and see me run. In fact, knowing the way I race, there are at least three things that can be checked off about me! 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 March 2015

(Half) Marathon Monday: Week One

As an ambassador for the Cleveland Marathon, that means regular posts about my training progress up until the race on May 17th. I decided this was a good way to adopt a regular weekly blog series that I'm calling (Half) Marathon Mondays!

So here was what my first week of training looked like:

Monday: Spinning class at Harness Cycle
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Kettlebells using Shred It With Weights
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Yoga video
Sunday: REST

Normally I wouldn't have done two runs back to back on Tuesday & Wednesday, but BC's birthday was Wednesday night and we went to his parents for dinner which is about 45 minutes from Cleveland. I didn't want to worry about being out late and or waking up early Thursday morning to get my miles in, so I switched days. It was a good idea, too, because I was exhausted by the time I got home and woke up late on Thursday, but not so late that I wasn't able to get a kettlebell workout in.

I'm still working on slowly building up my running since I'm sorely out of practice. And I mean that literally: my calves were screaming by the end of the week, even with most of the miles being walked. But with 11 weeks to go, I know I'll get those legs conditioned and running more. I have yet, however, to brave the cold and have been braving the dreadmill instead. I am hoping to get myself out there for Friday's long run this week.

Speaking of Kettlebells, inspired by my friend Nathan, I decided mine needed a name (technically I own three - a 5 lb, a 10 lb, and a 15 lb. I never use the 5 and alternate on the 10 and 15 so they are all sharing the name). ANYWAY....After thinking about it for a few days, I decided to name my Kettlebell Meghan.

1) I'm using it for cross-training, which makes the Kettlebell a Trainor.
2) When you look at a Kettlebell you can clearly tell they are all about that bass. 


Saturday morning I was debating going to a yoga class or doing a video at home and opted to do it at home. Partly this was a timing issue but also a financial issue: with FitBloggin in June and a Florida trip in August I'm trying to be more careful with my money and was able to find one I really liked on Amazon Prime.

I did have a partner, though:

I haven't been to a yoga class in months and I'm glad I decided on a video at home because I'm pretty sure a class would have killed me. (Obviously, not really.) But man was my body tight. I also did learn that the House of Blues downtown offers donation-based yoga classes on Saturdays, so that's good to know for the future.

How is everyone else's training going?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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