29 April 2015

(half) marathon monday: week nine

Obviously it's not Monday, but that's what happens with a race weekend!


Monday: Open Flow at Vision Yoga
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: rest
Saturday: Hermes 10 Miler
Sunday: rest

Last week was a little different in, well, in a lot of ways. As you'll notice, I did not start my week with my usual spinning class and, instead, took a yoga class at Vision Yoga on W. 25th in Ohio City. The 6:30 am Open Flow class with Geoff is one of my favorite yoga classes, I just hadn't been in a long, long time. But last week's 8 mile long run left my body super sore and I knew that spinning was the last thing it needed.

But yoga....oh, yoga.

The class also left me sore but in a completely different way and it was a good reminder that I really need to get back to a regular practice. Once training is over I may need to sit down and evaluate my budget to figure out balancing yoga and spinning. (BC and I have also discussed joining a local Y which offers both so that's also very tempting).

So then, I was supposed to have two 5 mile short runs during the week. The thing is, see, after spending the first six weeks doing all of my weekday training runs indoors on the elliptical, it's getting to that point in the year where I can finally run outside before work.

Only, I don't live in the nicest area of town and because I'm a slow runner I have to wake up pretty early to get those miles in. When I was training indoors it wasn't a big deal, but now I have to wait until daylight breaks so I feel safe running outdoors. That means roughly 6:30 am, but that doesn't give me enough time to get 5 miles in and still be able to be on time for work. It does, however, give me enough time to get about 3 miles in so I decided to just break those short runs up so at least I got the overall mileage in (give or take a mile).

I'm doing the same thing this week only -- bonus! -- the day is breaking earlier which means I get longer pre-work runs in!

There's one week left to become a backer for my Running With Police Escort podcast! At Saturday's race, the only finisher's photo I'll get is the one my parents took because the photographer had left long before I got to the end. This is one reason I want to start the podcast, because I don't think faster runners realize that sort of thing happens to those of us in the back and it's easy to take their own photos for granted. So please consider becoming a Kickstarter backer and giving me an opportunity to talk to other slow runners about our shared experiences in the back of the pack. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 April 2015

race recap: hermes cleveland 10 miler

Saturday morning I was up bright and early so I could get myself ready for the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler. Not only did the distance fit in perfectly with my half-marathon training plan, but since the race is in April it also worked out perfectly for my commitment to completing one race per month in 2015. In fact, I decided to wear my Commitment Day 5K to the race for that very reason!


This was the first race that really put my use of the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method to the test. I've been using intervals for awhile now -- 30 sec run, 45 sec walk -- but the GPS on my phone has been acting wonky so I'm never super confident in my time or pace because I'm not sure how accurate the distance is. With this, I knew I'd be running 10 miles and could count on the chip to do the work for me.

The race was at Edgewater Park and started at the Upper Level and ended at the Lower Level. This meant I didn't have to deal with climbing the hill between the two!


From the beginning I felt strong and knew I was going to totally rock this. For the first couple of miles I was running with police escort but obviously I'm totally cool with that. The day started out super chilly and I was wearing my running jacket but then around mile 2 started to get hot so during my walking intervals I slowly started the rather awkward process of unpinning my bib from the outside of the jacket and pinning it onto my shirt. Once that was done I wrapped my jacket around my waist. It was around that point that I heard someone call my name and it was my friend Mina, who had already hit the turnaround point and was heading back. She ended up coming in 2nd in her age group!

Thanks to the intervals I slowly started to pull ahead and after mile 4 was no longer in last place. This was also where the turnaround was and making that turn I was suddenly running into the wind and got super cold so I put my jacket back on and headed back. At mile 6, the security asked us to move to the sidewalk so they could open the main road up again and I was fine with that. We were back running residential areas soon after and I moved back to the road when felt it was safe to do so.

This is where things got interesting because I found Miles 7 - 9 to be somewhat confusing. If I was running with the pack it would have been fine, but there was a significant distance between the people ahead of me and the person behind me so I was just kind of out there on my lonesome and very little support in terms of people. There were signs indicating the race course but it was one of those situations where I'd be running and running and kept thinking There is no way in hell this is right and then I'd see a sign that said to turn or go straight or whatever.

Part of it was Mile 7 turned back towards the park but I know that park and I knew there was no way to get 3 more miles out of it, so then the course took us through part of the park then through a tunnel then along a major road and it was so not what I was expecting (clearly I didn't study the course map close enough!). But I knew the neighborhood and had a good idea of where I was supposed to be going and so when I saw the cop standing at the Mile 9 turn I felt that rush of knowing I was so close.

Actually, funny story: across the street from the cop was this elderly black woman in a wheelchair sitting outside the grocery store and she just kept yelling and cheering for me and waving. It was awesome and I couldn't stop grinning and then I saw the cop near the sign raise up a single index finger to indicate one mile left and I matched him with my own index finger.

Then I made the final turn and headed through Battery Park and towards the tunnel that would take me back to Edgewater.

By now I was getting hot again so when I saw my parents waiting maybe a quarter mile from the finish line, I threw the jacket in their direction and asked them to bring it to the finish line for me. Later my mom told me my dad mentioned it was wet from all the sweat lol

Finish line action shot courtesy of Papa G:


Despite the look on my face, I swear to goddess I'm actually enjoying this.

For real, though: right there at the very end I fucking sprinted for that finish line. Another "Thank you" to the Galloway method because I haven't been able to do that in a long time, usually because I'm far too tired. But the R-W-R intervals allows me to prolong my endurance in a way I haven't been able to do, well, ever.

One of the Hermes employees or volunteers was clapping and cheering as I was getting near and then gave me a high five at the very end. Not only that, while I was getting my finisher's medal he brought over some post-race snacks.


I finished with a chip time of 2:41:19 which translates to an overall average of 16:07 minute miles. For me, for a race of this distance that's unheard of. My first half marathon, when I weighed 25-30 lbs lighter, I finished with a 16:37 average. 16:07 is also faster than my averages from the SnoBall 5K and St. Malachi. Granted, weather conditions were a little more favorable but you also have to take the distance into account, too. I mean, super snowy 3.1 miles versus pretty mild 10 miles. Probably comes out fairly even.

This means two things: 1) I so totally have a chance to PR in a few weeks and 2) anyone who wants to tell me that weight or size has anything whatsoever to do with health or athleticism can kiss my ass.

After that, my parents and I went out for lunch and then I headed home.


Needless to say, having that number on my FitBit by lunchtime earned me a well-deserved day in bed.

My next race is, of course, the Cleveland Half Marathon and then I need to figure out what my June race is going to be!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 April 2015

training and body image


I spotted this in the most recent Weight Watchers magazine and found it super interesting: According to researchers, the smaller the difference between the way you think you look and the way you think you should look, the higher your level of body satisfaction. For me, on a good day, I think I look like C in the image above. On a bad day I think I look like D. Either way, I think I should look like C so apparently I have this body satisfaction thing working for me. (Although, I probably actually look like D in real life, but whatevs.)

That being said, something about half-marathon training has triggered a switch in my brain that is bringing back a lot of my negative body image issues and I spent most of this past weekend feeling like E.

Ugh.

Seriously, I have no idea what it is. I suspect it has something to do with an increased appetite thanks to training and while I'm trying to make good choices (food is fuel!), I admittedly make splurges. Who doesn't? But I think just the act of eating more, even when I need it, is hard for my body to accept as being okay. So, instead, I eat this extra food and feel like a big fat cow. Or pig. Or both.

I'm also up in terms of my weight, which I know is not at all unusual when training but still. Right now, the scale is so not my friend and I'm ignoring her for the time being until I feel comfortable getting on and knowing the number won't have a negative effect on my sense of self.

So I'm trying really hard to focus on the positive. Like, the fact I crushed my eight mile training run last week and I'm going to crush the Cleveland 10 Miler this Saturday. I also switched out my wardrobe over the weekend which doesn't sound like a big deal, but for someone who has spent her adult life needing to buy new clothes every season because the stuff from the year before was either too big or too small, being able to try on maxi dresses and denim capris from last summer and have them fit was an amazing feeling.

The one year anniversary of my maintaining this weight is right around the half-marathon and I'm feeling....ambivalent, I guess. I think because I'm not sure if I'm actually going to be at that weight still or if I'll still be up like I am now. But, like, I'll have just finished my third half-marathon so would it really matter that much if I'm up? Especially because it's possible that some of that gain is due to muscle mass?

Ugh. Again.

If nothing else, at least the past two days I've been feeling far more comfortable in my skin and more like my fabulous foxy self. I'm not fully there yet but I'm getting closer.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 April 2015

(half) marathon monday: week eight

YOU GUYS! Four weeks from today I'll be writing my race recap for the Cleveland Half Marathon!


Monday: Spinning
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: Arms
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 1 mile + strength

One of my favorite things about living in Cleveland is the beautiful park system we have and I'm fortunate enough to have lots of them close by to my apartment, which makes outdoor running just a delight. So that's where I headed on Saturday for my 8 mile long run.


Several years ago, when I was training for my first half-marathon, my sister let me borrow this belt that has pockets and a water bottle holder. I knew I needed to bring my own water and this belt did the trick. Of course, it's also kind of heavy and I suspect may have slowed me down a bit since I ended with a 17 minute average (the heat probably didn't help either). Luckily, during the actual half-marathon there will be water stations so I can get away with my much lighter SPIbelt to just hold my iPhone and food/fuel.

Despite running slower than I would have liked, I totally crushed those 8 miles and felt really good at the end. Even better, I feel prepared for this Saturday's Hermes 10 Miler. I'm really looking forward to this race, even if it does have me running 10 miles a couple weeks earlier than my training plan.

On Sunday I needed to get some strength training in so I went to Edgewater Park, which has a one mile loop that includes a fitness course.


Despite all my years of running at Edgewater, I'd never taken advantage of the circuit but now I might have to more often. Each section of the circuit usually had a move for both arms and legs, though I ignored the leg ones yesterday. If you do it in order, it also includes stretches at the very beginning and the very end.

Whatever I did it must have worked because when I woke up this morning my shoulders were sore!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 April 2015

spring clean your wardrobe courtesy of modcloth

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

Spring has sprung and I for one am so very very happy to pack away my heavy sweaters and boots for lighter fun frocks. Luckily, one of my favorite online shopping destinations, ModCloth, has me covered in that area. Especially when it comes to dress.


So! This morning, while I'm out running 8 miles for this week's half-marathon training long run, I figured I'd turn this into a Fashion Friday post with some of my latest dress finds from ModCloth.

Good Enough To Eat dress, $69.99

My favorite part about this is...well, nope, okay, I have two favorite parts. First, the pop art style is to die for. Second, it goes up to a 4X. Seriously, ModCloth is so plus-size friendly, it's utterly amazing.

Myrtlewood and Many More Dress, $94.99

Polka dots! And the back of that dress is absolutely adorable, too. Looking at it from the front I never would expect twisted back straps like that, it's a nice little surprise.

Only thing I love more than polka dots? Cherries.

Pull Up a Cherry Dress in White, $64.99

True story.

Also, I seriously want the job of naming all of their dresses.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 April 2015

sweet & savory trail mix with bold honey dijon almonds

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

As a member of the Blue Diamond Almonds Tastemakers, I was recently sent a can of their Bold Honey Dijon variety and pretty much given free reign to do what I wanted with it.


Being that I'm currently in training mode, I'm constantly trying to balance my amped up activity level with my equally amped up hunger level. Food is fuel and it's important to feed your body with the right kind of fuel so, of course, my mind was instantly thinking about snacks to keep me feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. And when life hands you a can of nuts, what better use is there than trail mix?

Of course, I couldn't decide if I wanted a sweet or a savory trail mix. When you think about it, Honey Dijon is both sweet (honey) and savory (mustard) so I decided to go ahead and make a combined trail mix.



Walking through the store for other ingredients, I honestly just kind of winged it: raisins, mini chocolate chips, and dried apricots which I quartered. The apricots were a gamble since I wasn't sure how the flavors would pair with the honey dijon but something told me to trust my instincts and I'm glad I did. The chocolate I threw in 'cause, well, who doesn't love chocolate? I'm also glad I went for the mini chocolate chips, I think the regular sized ones would have been way too big.

I was a little worried about how everything would combine since this really is such a bold flavor but each bite is like a little party in my mouth!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 April 2015

(half) marathon monday: week seven

I still can't believe the Cleveland Half Marathon is only five weeks away at this point. Part of it, I imagine, is just that my training this time around is so much different than when I was training for my last half (which ended up being cancelled). I'm also absolutely loving the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run method and while I'm somewhat upset it took me this long to start using it, better late than never, yes?


Monday: Spinning
Tuesday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: Arms
Thursday: 3.5 miles
Friday: 7 miles
Saturday: Arms
Sunday: Rest

I've been trying to add more strength training into my routine on my non-spinning cross training days. I have some hand weights I bought years ago but haven't used in quite awhile, so I've been trying to add them back in. Usually I just stick to the 3 lb weights but I've noticed that on any of the arm exercises that target my biceps, the 3 lb weights seem kind of.....easy. So for those I've bumped up to the 5 lb weight.


The excess loose skin around my arms from all the weight loss makes it difficult to actually see any definition but the fact that I had to go up a weight speaks for itself.

Friday was my long run day and I was a little bummed when I woke up and it was overcast and cloudy, but knowing those seven miles weren't going to run themselves, I headed out to Edgewater Park. It rained for maybe the first couple of miles but cleared up after that and I had a rather lovely run and, to be perfectly honest, I didn't even really mind the rain all that much, it was just the wind causing the rain to kind of sting that I could have done without.

My 16:40 average pace lately has been just slightly slower than my 16:37 average from my first half marathon and I'd really love to PR so that's my focus. That being said, my splits were very interesting and informative:


The first couple and the last couple miles I was actually running at a much faster pace than my average, so then, of course, I was trying to figure out what I was doing around mile 5 to slow down so much and I realized it was the hill at Edgewater between the lower and upper levels. I had walked up it somewhere earlier in my run, maybe in the very beginning, then came back down, did a couple laps on the lower level then headed back up around mile 4 or 5. By then my legs were already tired and I really do hate that stupid hill so as I headed up the second time I remember asking myself why I thought this was a good idea.

But I do know that hill work is important plus my April race is at Edgewater so I'm going to have to tackle it coming up here in a few weeks so figured might as well get some pre-race work in. If anything, it's also good to know that I can't let hills slow me down quite so much, not if I want to PR at the half in May!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 April 2015

an open letter to the people who write open letters to fat girls

I get it. I do. You think you're being super encouraging with your "Open letter to the Fat Girl at the gym" and your "Open letter to the Fat Girl at the race" and your "Open letter to the Fat Girl at spin class." After all, we're fat girls doing a thing or being at a place you never would have expected a fat girl to be able to do or be seen.

On the surface it really does sound great and I acknowledge that you probably write these Open Letters with the best of intentions. That being said, as a fat girl, I have a request:

Please stop writing them. 



Here's the thing: Those letters of yours? They aren't really about us. They are about you. They are a way for you to let everyone else in the whole wide world know just how awesome and accepting and encouraging you are to the poor fat girl at your gym or in your spin class. I mean, if you sincerely wanted to let "the fat girl" know your thoughts, why wouldn't you, I don't know, go talk to her? Introduce yourself after class. Say hello. Learn her hobbies and interests. Get to know her as a person. Have a shared conversation about your mutual love for spinning or yoga or running or whatever.

But you don't do that. You write open letters and put them on social media in the hopes they'll be shared and liked. Readers will spread your word and congratulate you on being so benevolent and magnanimous. If you actually went and talked to the Fat Girl the only people who would know about it are you and her and then where would you be? It's not like you can RT a private conversation.

Plus, you can't really sincerely go into this actually thinking and believing I'm going to see that letter, right? Of all the social media sites in all the world....I mean, c'mon. So, really, the only person who truly benefits from said letter is, well, you.

I get it. You're a cheerleader. You want me to know to be proud of myself and excited for these positive changes I'm making and blah blah blah blah blah.

But, seriously. What makes you think I need to be told to be proud of myself? What makes you think I'm not already proud of myself? You look at me and all you see is 235 pounds. You don't see the 75 I've lost and have kept off for nearly a year. You see me slowly making my way to the finish line and all you see is my pace. You don't see the many many races I've already completed, including two half-marathons.

Why do you assume that just because we fat people are, y'know, fat, that means that we've a) never done this activity before and/or b) won't continue doing it? When you started running or spinning or practicing yoga or whatever it is that we're doing when you spotted me from afar, did you need the encouragement of some random stranger on the internet writing an open letter? No? Then why do you think we do? What makes us so different other than our individual relative relationships with gravity?

Let me ask you an honest question: why do you feel the need to write these open letters to fat girls and not thin girls? Why does the fat girl in your spinning class deserve your encouragement more than the thin girl? Hell, why does the fat girl in your yoga class deserve your support more than the fat guy? Is it possible you don't talk to the anonymous Fat Girl in person because you know it's, I dunno, a little weird? Like, you're recognizing us for doing something that millions of thin girls do on a daily basis but you take no notice of that because the thin girls don't challenge your socially ingrained ideals of athleticism. More to the point, we're doing something that millions of other fat girls do on a daily basis. Really, this isn't some crazy novelty here. Fat girls practice yoga. Fat girls run. Fat girls spin. Fat girls do CrossFit. Fat girls do the same things that you do and -- spoiler alert -- sometimes we even do them better than you.

Seriously. This isn't a big fucking deal so stop making it one.

I understand you don't mean it to, but these open letters often come across as less supportive and more patronizing. Less accepting and more self-congratulatory. A chance for you to give yourself a pat on the back for being so super open-minded. So next time you are considering writing such a letter on your blog or on FB or wherever, take a step back and consider your motives. Ask yourself why you feel it necessary to put this out there in such a big way rather than just walk up to the Fat Girl and say hi. Then, next time you see her, actually walk up to her and say hi.

At the very least, learn her fucking name so you can stop referring to her as "the fat girl."

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 April 2015

help kickstart the running with police escort podcast!


That's right you guys, I'm starting a podcast.

Not just any podcast, mind you. This is a podcast dedicated to my fellow runners in the back of the pack. Naturally I'm calling it the Running With Police Escort podcast.


There are some small start-up costs associated with this, like microphone and a website and hosting which is why I turned to Kickstarter and, believe it or not, I hit my goal within 24 hours of launching.

Hitting my goal means that 1) I will officially be able to launch the podcast in a couple months and 2) sustain the podcast for a year, aka financially sustain the website and a place of actually hosting each episode. Those two things combined take up the biggest chunk of my financial resources so I’m now doing more in depth research on technical equipment, such as microphones and headphones. Considering the bulk of your support is going towards the more behind the scenes aspects of the podcast, I’m looking at budget friendly options.

Even though I hit my goal, you can still jump on the backer bandwagon for as little as $1 and if you pledge at least $10 you'll actually be given advanced access to the first episode! Not only will going above my goal mean the podcast will be sustained for a longer period of time -- which means more episodes for you to listen to -- but I’ll be able to have more flexibility in buying higher quality equipment, hopefully making those podcasts more enjoyable for you to listen to as well.

So if you're in a position to become a backer, I hope you'll seriously consider it and also pass the message along to friends and family who may also be interested in becoming a backer!

Are you a slow runner or walker? Do you always find yourself in the back of the pack at a race? Then I want to talk to you! I'm building my list of potential guests and if you're interested or know someone else who might be interested in being interviewed, please email me and let me know!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 April 2015

(half) marathon monday: week six

I use a twelve week training program, which means I am officially halfway through my half-marathon training! I can't believe the Cleveland Half-Marathon is only a month and a half away!


Monday: Spinning
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: Arms (free weights)
Thursday: Legs
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: Arms (free weights)
Sunday: Rest

Confession Time: Up until this week, 90% of my training miles have been done on....the elliptical. 

Oof. I know.

It's just...I cannot do the dreadmill. I can't. I mean, okay, of course I can do the dreadmill but I choose not to because I hate it and it makes me feel slow and fat and unathletic and essentially the very opposite of how I would like to feel as a runner. Most times I end my treadmill runs super early out of pure frustration.

So, given the choice between doing 4 miles on the elliptical and doing .25 miles before quitting on the dreadmill, I choose the elliptical.

Of course, the elliptical is hardly the same experience and I never fully trust the numbers either the machine or my FitBit gives me in terms of distance so sometimes I go over what I'm supposed to do and sometimes I am under and hope it all balances it out.

So, I woke up Thursday morning and my schedule was to run 4 miles but knowing it was going to be actually nice outside this weekend and being so very tired of having to be indoors all the time (mostly owing to my neighborhood and work schedule), I decided to put it off for a day and do some leg work instead.

Plus, we have a new machine in the mini gym at my building and I'd been looking forward to try it out so this seemed like a good opportunity.


Friday rolled around and I headed to a very foggy Edgewater Park for my run.


Because I had been 1) indoors and 2) on the elliptical all this time (not to mention literally taking a whole week off not that long ago), I was super nervous about the run. After hearing and reading about it so much lately, I also decided to give the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run method a try, going with 30 sec running/45 sec walking intervals.

Like all running, the first mile was rough but after that I started to get into my groove and as I turned to lap to finish up mile 4 I realized I didn't want to stop. My training schedule had 4 miles and then 3.1 another day (technically it said an actual 5K race but whatever) so I thought, Well, I could always just maybe add to this 4 mile and shorten that other run....

So that's what I did. 4 miles became 5. But then as I was coming up on the end of 5 I realized I still didn't want to stop. So I kept going and 4 miles suddenly turned into 6. Not only did I run an extra two miles, but I felt amazing and was reminded of why I love running. When you're stuck indoors on machines it can be easy to forget.

To be perfectly honest, I would have gone for 7 miles but because I was only prepared for 4 I didn't bring any fuel/food with me nor any water (I usually don't for anything short) and Edgewater still has the water fountains off from the winter season so I couldn't even stop and grab a drink.

The funny thing is, this is roughly where I was in my training for the (eventually cancelled) RnR Cleveland Half Marathon last fall when I decided to drop from the half to the 10K because running had stopped being fun. This time, I ran more than I needed to because I didn't want to stop. Like, dafuq? Talk about completely different experiences. But I do think it's the Galloway intervals -- they gave me the endurance to keep going. Plus, the average pace was very very close to what I had at my first half-marathon which means if I can keep this up I might be able to PR! Talk about a goal to keep a gal on track.

Also confirms that I'm probably okay if I stick with doing short week day runs on the elliptical and head outside and actually run-run for the long runs.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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