26 May 2015

make a splash this summer with a new swimsuit

**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase I get a small commission**

It's the day after Memorial Day here in the United States which means we are right on the cusp of summer and BC and I have two trips planned for the season ahead: in June we are headed to Denver for FitBloggin and then in August we are going away to Florida for a whole entire week with his family. Naturally, and especially with a beach on the horizon, I'm looking at swimwear.

Obviously when you are a foxy and fabulous curvy gal like myself, swimsuit shopping can be fraught with frustration and failure. While looking for a bathing suit, I came across a bunch and decided to share a few of my favorite to hopefully help your own buying process. I've even included the bathing suit I bought and am taking to Florida with me (spoiler alert: it's a two-piece!)

But first, here's a fun infographic from ModCloth on the history of the swimsuit!

You guys know I'm a huge ModCloth fan. One of the reasons I love them so much is they are super plus size friendly and that extends to their swimsuits. Here are a few of my favorites:

Next up, Kiyonna!

Last, but certainly not least, we have Swimsuitsforall.

So now, of course, you want to know which swimsuit I'll be sporting this summer, yes?

I know, right?! 

This is the first bikini I'm pretty sure I've ever owned, mostly because I'm usually far too self-conscious but when I saw this one on SwimsuitsForAll, I just had to have it and as soon as I tried it on I knew I made the right choice. It just makes me feel so fabulous, like I can't even. The fact that I'm finally brave enough to rock a two piece says more about my sense of self and body image than anything else.


Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 May 2015

told cle: hills like white elephants

Lots of runners have pre-race rituals. But if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I actually have a post-race ritual. Specifically, adding a new page to my running scrapbook. This one is super simple compared to the other ones in the book -- no fancy or fun stickers or anything themed, but I love having the other CLE Marathon Ambassadors in there, too!

Ambassador Andrew wrote a great post about all of us, so if you want to get to know the other amazing runners I got to connect with you should head to his blog.

You guys also know that I'm a slow runner. I actually take a lot of pride in this for no other reason than I never ever thought I'd be any kind of runner, so speed means nothing to me. My first, second, and third half-marathons may have all taken me over 3 1/2 hours to complete but I still get to say I'm a three time half-marathoner.

In face, I came in last place at my very first race. But I love being able to say that because, seriously, who comes in last place at their first race? Like, I really would like to see the statistics on that.

About a year ago I was given an opportunity to tell the story of how I came into running at a Told CLE event.

Told is a live storytelling show that happens here in Cleveland several times a year. I was a Featured Storyteller at the very first event (this was the story that made the Mile 8 spectator last Sunday recognize me) and have since had my name pulled from the audience bucket a few times since then, including last summer when the theme of the show was Foreign Territory.

Told also has a podcast (that you all should totally subscribe to) and this week, my story was pulled from the archives to appear on ToldCast. Since it relates to my being a slow runner I'm super excited to be able to share it with you!

Speaking of slow running, today I'm also going to be interviewing my first guest for my Running With Police Escort Podcast! Ah! This is all seriously starting to happen, you guys! Be sure to like the podcast on Facebook to find out when the first episode airs.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 May 2015

what i love wednesday: bondi band

At Sunday's Cleveland Half Marathon, I broke the cardinal rule of race day:

Don't run in anything brand new.

This is a rule that makes a lot of sense, especially when it comes to clothes. If it's something you're wearing for the first time like shoes, sports bra, top, even socks, if you don't know how your body feels while running in it, it's a horrible idea to use race day to test it out.

Like, the Friday or Saturday before the race I was talking to my sister about the heat and how I only have capris to run in and she mentioned she had recently found some running shorts from Old Navy that are not super short and fall right above the knee. That would have been the perfect length for me to comfortably run in and even though I already wear Old Navy bottoms, there was no way I was going to risk buying those shorts and using 13.1 miles to break them in.

(But with summer races on the schedule I'll definitely be shopping soon!)

When BC and I headed to the Expo on Saturday, I was specifically looking for the Bondi Band stall because I love their headbands and was in need of a new one. As a slow runner I, of course, had to buy this one:

But then I was looking at their other products and realized they also make armbands!

I've been in the market for a new method of carrying my phone, keys, fuel, etc., while running and after trying on one of the armbands available I was immediately sold. It stretches nicely and has a ton of room to hold everything I need and then some. There's a small hole in the top which I can feed my headphone cord through and it slips on and off without causing any irritation, like, say, exposed Velcro because your arm has a wider circumference than the armband had been intended for.

Or, y'know, something like that.

So I not only had to buy one, but I also used it the next day at the race.

Luckily this was a risk that paid off because I absolutely love it.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 May 2015

Race Recap: Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon

So. First things first. Obviously I spent the past few weeks of training talking about how I knew I had a very good chance of PR-ing and, as you'll see below, at the 10K split I was right on target.

And then the sun and the humidity came out and ohmygod I wanted to die. In the end I finished in 3:46:13, which is a 17:17 minute mile average and slower than my previous best. So, not what I hoped for but the conditions were brutal and I know I wasn't the only one who struggled with time. Also, despite not finishing like I would have liked, overall I had a much better experience this year than last.

Second, I thought it might be fun to do this particular race recap a little bit different. Instead of just recapping, I'm going to give you a look into what thoughts ran through my head for those 13.1 miles.

Before: Oh HEY! There are the other CLE Marathon Ambassadors (or at least most of them). Picture time!

Thanks to Melissa for posting this after the race!

This was seriously the most amazing group of people I had an opportunity to connect with and I'm so glad I got to join them. So big thanks to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for selecting me as one of the Ambassadors for the 2015 race. I will definitely be applying again in the future.

Mile 1: What the hell did I get myself into? At least it's overcast and there is some rain to cool me off.

Mile 2: Okay, I'm feeling good. Starting to get my groove now. This isn't so bad.

Mile 3: Hi Tremont! Hi sleeping friends!

Mile 4: This whole Run-Walk-Run Galloway Method really is the bees knees. I'm glad I found it sooner rather than later.

Mile 5: If I had signed up for the 10K like I originally planned I would be nearly done. Probably not the best thing to be thinking at this point in the race.

Mile 6: Oh, sweet! According to my split time I'm totally on pace to PR!

Why yes, I did sign up for my own LiveTracker results lol

Mile 7: THANK YOU random stranger who had her sprinkler on for all of us runners. You are officially my new best friend.

Mile 8: Spectator recognized me from the very first ever Told event which was well over a year ago. I'M FAMOUS.

Mile 9: Time check. Oof. That PR is gonna be a close one. The fact that I desperately had to stop and use the porta-potty about half a mile back probably not gonna help. At least I didn't have to wait in line.

Mile 10: Oh. My. God. This humidity. I just want to kill Mother Nature right now and I still have three fucking miles to go.

Mile 11: Time check. Ugh. Not going to PR. Boo.

Mile 12: I'm never ever ever doing a stupid half marathon ever again.

Mile 13: Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running.

Finish Line: Hey! I'm now a three time half-marathoner! Ooh! My medal! Ooh! Chocolate Milk!

Later, after shower, a nap, and some food: Legs are sore and I can barely walk but, I mean, in the end, it wasn't that bad....

I had said if I PRed I'd buy this Champion Charm Bracelet and my Sissy is telling me that I still should. I think she's worried that by not getting the time I wanted I'm diminishing the accomplishment of finishing my third half-marathon. It's not that, it's just, I set that as a reward for completing a goal I didn't get. So it feels like it would be cheating.

But then, see, I was thinking and perhaps trying to figure out a way to get it because, let's face it, I want the bracelet, and while I didn't get a personal half-marathon record, I did get a course record. My first half-marathon was the Rock n' Roll Cleveland Half. That's the one I ran in 3:37:53. When I ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Half last year I finished in 4:12:38 so technically, this year's 3:46:31 is a record for me, just not the one I was aiming for. So does that count?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 May 2015

(half) marathon training: final friday

This is it, you guys! This is what I've spent the past twelve weeks working towards. This is why I've been waking up at 5:30 am multiple times a week and why I've been foregoing sleep and social engagements. For three months I've been pounding the pavement and now all that stands between me and the finish line is a mere 13.1 miles.

When I started training back in late February I was, admittedly, a little hesitant about this process. My 2014 Cleveland Half Marathon experience did not go well at all. In fact, when I found out I was going to be running this race as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, I honestly didn't know which distance to pick and almost ran the 10K again. I decided, though, that I needed to run the half just to prove that I can. I needed to prove, to myself, that my first half was not a fluke.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was out running and I had a moment where I couldn't believe I ever thought about not running the half marathon. Like, it was crazy to me that I had even entertained the thought of running the 10K. Here I was given this opportunity -- this gift, really -- to run as an Ambassador, to represent this city, to represent slow runners and I almost let it go because I was too scared to tackle those 13.1 miles again.

And in that moment I realized how fucking excited I am to run another half-marathon.

Who saw that one coming, amirite?

I am, however, a little bit nervous about the weather forecast. It's gonna be a hot and humid one on Sunday. Oof. This has been my motto for this entire week:

Seriously. My huge waterbottle has been getting lots and lots of refills on a daily basis.

That being said, I firmly believe that I have an opportunity to PR this weekend which is incredible for so many reasons, the least of which is that I'm, like, 30 pounds heavier now than I was at my first half. The Hermes 10 Miler made it more of a reality and with the heat it might not be as big of a PR as I would have liked, but a faster time is a faster time.

If I do PR I'm going to buy myself the Champion Charm bracelet from Alex and Ani. It will look absolutely fabulous with the Phoenix one I got at Christmas.

This is it, you guys. THIS IS IT! Tonight I'm headed downtown for a cocktail reception where I'll finally get to meet the other #CLEMarathon Ambassadors and then of course have to figure out when to go to the Expo to pick up my packet and scope out the vendors.

For everyone running a Cleveland race this weekend, be it the 5K, 10K, half or full, good luck and see you on the other side of the finish line!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 May 2015

my new secret weapon

This past Saturday, my parents and I met up with BC's parents and his sister to attend a community theater production in our hometown that featured my younger cousin. It was a super warm day and I was looking forward to wearing this fabulous floral dress:

Lovely, no? It's from Gwynnie Bee which is basically like a Netflix for clothes and luckily my shipment last week included multiple dresses perfect for Mother's Day weekend.

The thing is, the warmer months can kind of suck for a fat girl. Actually, it's not just fat girls, it's anyone with thighs that touch. It gets hot, it gets sticky, the skin rubs together and it can be a whole ugly scene if attention is not paid. In the past, I've always defaulted to shapewear like Spanx and while, sure, it gives my figure some nice shapes and adds a buffer between my inner thighs, it also tends to make me feel incredibly overheated. Because, y'know, I've basically stuffed myself into a sausage casing. I've also defaulted to wearing leggings under dresses. Yes, even in the summer.

But over the weekend I tried something different, something that allowed me to wear the dress without having to worry about the dreaded chub rub.

I'll admit, only a few weeks ago did I realize there is an entire conversation happening about what women can do to avoid chafing beneath dresses.

I know -- I have no idea why it never occurred to me to seek out other options, so I'm so very glad my friend Terri posted the above linked article because it's like my whole wide world opened up. The Gold Bond isn't listed in the article but while reading other articles I came across it and it sounded like a good place to start.

Here's the other thing about that dress: since I'm relying on the Gold Bond, I'm not wearing any Spanx. That means there's nothing holding me in. All the curves are happening in that photo: both the good, like my hips and bust, and the bad, like my stomach and pooch. But, y'know what? I don't really care. I'm so past the point of caring if people know that I gots some extra belly fat or whatever.

This dress -- or, really, the wearing of this dress -- represents so much in regards to my own sense of self and body image. It's pretty much me taking a stand and saying This is who I am, all 235ish pounds of me, and fuck all y'all who don't think I look absolutely fabulous.

I've been at roughly the same weight for a year now (I'm up a bit, thanks to half-marathon training) and while mentally I know I look good and emotionally I feel self-confident, I think this weekend was the first time I truly know and felt that physically.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 May 2015

(half) marathon monday: taper time

YOU GUYS. The Cleveland Half Marathon is one week from yesterday. I can't believe it's here already! I swear, it feels like I just started training the other day and not, y'know, three months ago.

Here's the run down from last week:

Monday: Spinning
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: 2 miles
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 2.5 miles

For the past 10 weeks I've been following one of Hal Higdon's training plans, the same plan I used for my second half-marathon. The plan only allows for one week of tapering but the more I was reading about tapering the more I realized longer tapers were encouraged. So, I improvised and started doing research.

Much of what I read suggested 14 day taper window for half-marathon. While reading up on tapering, I came across this piece from Jeff Galloway and decided to go with that. His Run-Walk-Run method has been the most amazing thing ever, so I see no reason to stop trusting him now. Of course, the flip side of going by time is that if you're a slow runner like me you can't get a lot of mileage in but I'm going to try and trust the plan. Sunday's race will of course be the true test so I'm a little anxious, but not much I can do about it now.

Of course, my cats Chloe and Linus have spent the past 11 weeks with me waking up at 5:30 am every morning so they were a little confused last Wednesday when I was still in bed at 7:30.

Tapering means cutting back on exercise and in turn my body suddenly wants to EAT ALL THE FOODS. I'm trying really, really hard to make good choices when that happens (with occasional splurges, of course). I'm also trying really hard to not let the scale freak me out. I've been weighing myself at home and as of this morning I'm 8 pounds up but it is what it is and I feel confident in my food decisions. If nothing else, at least my body image seems to be back to a more positive place!

My plan for this upcoming week -- my final week of training! -- is to not go stir crazy from tapering, stay hydrated, get lots and lots of sleep, not over analyze the weather forecast too much, and to remember that food is fuel and I'm not going to be successful if I fill it with crap.

Wish me luck!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 May 2015


Like. I seriously can't even.

When I was given the idea for a slow runner podcast, I didn't really know what to expect, but I knew I needed some financial help. I crunched the numbers, I figured out the very minimum of what I would need to not only get up and running but to sustain the podcast for a year, and then I turned to Kickstarter.

And the support just blew my mind.

I don't even just mean the financial support, I also mean all the people who said it was such a great idea and they can't wait to listen. I'm so excited about this project but I'm even more excited that other people are excited for it, too.

This is really totally happening, you guys. I'm starting a podcast!

There's a lot going on behind the scenes now, like working on the full website!

I have my first couple of guests lined up, episodes will start recording soon, and I'm hoping to officially launch at the end of June! My Ignite Fitness presentation at FitBloggin covers the same topic, so that seems like the right time to get this whole ball rolling, amirite?

In the meantime, be sure to Like the podcast on Facebook to stay up to date with everything going on behind the scenes and to find out when the first episode is available!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 May 2015

(half) marathon monday: week ten

Last week was my final full week of regular training and now it's officially May and the Cleveland Half Marathon is now two weeks away!

Monday: Spinning
Tuesday: 3.6 miles
Wednesday: 2.25 miles
Thursday: Spinning
Friday: 4 Miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 6 miles

So like last week, I was supposed to run two 5 mile short runs but split them up a bit. It works out really well with my schedule and I like being in the habit of running 3ish miles before work during the week. I'm hoping to keep it up at least twice a week after the half is over.

My six mile run on Sunday was .... not bad, but slower than I would have liked if I want to PR in two weeks. Then again, I have to keep reminding myself that it was hot yesterday and that's always going to slow me down. I did, however, have some negative splits in the last couple miles which is a very good thing.

Now is the time when I have to step back and trust the process and trust my body knows what it's doing. After Hermes 10 Miler I knew I was in a position to PR so now I have to not psych myself with slower times.

Only two days left to become a backer for my Running With Police Escort Podcast! Pledges start at $1 and everyone who gives at least $10 will get early access to the first episode.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 May 2015

hello may!

The Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler is totally throwing me off because I keep having to remind myself I still have a half-marathon to run in a little over two weeks! Like, that's why I ran the 10 Miler -- because it was part of my half marathon training (although, even if I don't do the half next year I'll still probably run the 10 Miler again since I really enjoyed it). But, seriously, I still have to keep telling myself "You still have 13.1 miles ahead of you!"

I also, of course, had to put together my page from my racing scrapbook.

Can you believe this was my 23rd race? Not bad for a girl who used to walk the mile in high-school. And now here I am, training for my third half!

Not only am I running the Cleveland Half, I'm running it as an Ambassador and earlier this week my shirt showed up.

Man on mangoberry I can't wait to wear this on May 17th. And not only because whatever company they use makes their shirts a little bit bigger than others, so this Ladies cut XL actually feels roomy and not a bit tight like some of my other tech shirts.

The Expo is being held at the Convention Center downtown which is a change from the IX Center. Not that I'm complaining -- the IX Center was a pain to get to and I can actually walk to the convention center. On the list of vendors is the company that made my medal hanger.

I bought it at last year's convention and now it's all full. Which brings up a very important question: Do I start doubling up or buy a second hanger? Decisions, decisions.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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