31 July 2015

sigh of relief

The past few weeks have been a serious whirlwind. My book was published and I started a new job and last weekend I went out of town for the Shawshank Hustle and this weekend I'm going out of town as I'll be spending all of next week in Florida (try not to be jelly). And, of course, there's that whole promoting a book thing, like I did this past Monday with a book talk and signing.

Thanks to my former classmate P. for attending and snapping this pic!

Life is so freaking weird these days.

I had several past English teachers attend, which was fabulous, but all but one made me personalize their books to their first names which was the strangest thing ever. When I asked one in particular how I should sign it, she said, "C'mon, you are a grown-up now." LOL

But, this Orlando trip (which will include HARRY POTTER WORLD OMG) is really the last big hurrah of the past six months. I wish I was kidding, but we have been planning this with BC's family since Christmas and with everything going on this really feels like the finish line of a marathon.

My new job has me trying to adapt to a new schedule so that means needing to find a new time to weigh in at Weight Watchers. The past couple weeks I'd been going after work on Thursdays but I think I used that as excuse to get lazy and slopping Thursday evenings as I'd just tell myself I could start tracking Friday morning so I wasn't seeing results I'd like, because I'd usually overeat after the meeting.

Luckily, the place I go is pretty close to work and they have open hours on Thursdays so yesterday I used my lunch hour to run on over there and weigh in and was delighted to find out I was down 2 lbs! Weighing in between breakfast and lunch really made me want to stay on track for the rest of the day and I'm particularly aware of it since I want to save as many of my Weekly Points for Florida. Even though I know we'll be doing a bunch of walking at the theme parks, I don't want to rely on those APs if I don't have to.

I am so looking forward to this trip and see it as a chance to relax and unwind before settling into the second half of 2015 which should, hopefully, be far more calm than the first half.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 July 2015

race recap: shawshank hustle

Oh man oh man you guys, I have spent months waiting for this race. You see, the Shawshank Redemption is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time and it's one of my dad's favorite movies, too. Not only that, it was filmed here in Ohio at the Ohio State Reformatory down in Mansfield. I also used to work as a prison librarian, so naturally this movie holds a special place in my heart for lots of reasons. This means that as soon as I heard there was going to be a race themed around the film, I knew we had to sign up. Not only was this the first time my dad and I ran a race together, it was his first race ever!


Papa G. and I got into Mansfield Friday night. It was after packet pick up had closed for the evening, but we wanted to get a sense of where everything was so we drove over to the prison just to look around and then went to the hotel to check in. Because of the limited parking at the prison, we decided to wake up at 4:30 so we could get to the prison by 5 am for packet pick-up. Then we'd take our packets back to the hotel and try and get another hour or so of sleep before heading back in time for the 8:30 start time.

Picking up packets was fine, no problems, and after a brief cat nap we were up and ready and left our hotel a little after 7 am. I realized that we didn't have safety pins and since Papa G. would have to park in the overflow lot and bus over and all of the race information said they would only have pick up open until 8 am, I suggested he just drop me off at the prison so I could be sure to get our safety pins and he could just come over a bit later on the bus.


So this is where things got a little....complicated. This was the first year for the race and so, of course, there were going to be logistical issues. In this case, they had way underestimated the amount of buses needed to get people from the overflow lot to the prison. The race was supposed to start at 8:30 but because they had so many people still waiting at the overflow lot they had to push the time back until 9 am (I'm pretty sure they kept packet pick up open so everyone who still needed to could get their stuff). Papa G. just made it in time -- considering he dropped me off at 7:30 am, that says something about the amount of people. But it was okay because we knew we'd be in the back so it wasn't a big deal that we weren't in line when the race finally started.


For the first quarter mile all 3,000 participants were stuck to one lane so we had to walk for most of that distance because it was so crowded. But once we got off the main road and were able to spread out, the crowd thinned and we could pick up our pace a bit. I did my Galloway intervals while my dad jogged (his word; I of course would say he ran) the whole time.

I was wearing my podcast shirt and had multiple people come up from behind and tell me how much they liked it, so it was well worth the purchase. When I first posted the shirt, my friend Andrew asked why I had the logo on the back, who would read it? I said it would be read by the other people in the back of the pack and I was right.

The funny thing is, big themed races like this often bring out a lot of walkers. It actually reminded me of the Bernie Shuffle in that respect. This meant that our 1:22:45 finish time put us more in the middle of the pack than the back!

It is important to note that it was super hot during the race and starting half an hour later didn't help. This is also one of those races where it's very important to read the course map because it turns out Mansfield has way more hills than I had anticipated. Oof. But despite the heat and despite the hills, it was actually a pretty pleasant 4.6 mile run all things considered. The course took us from the prison into downtown Mansfield where certain movie scenes were filmed and then back to the prison.


After crossing the finish line we got our fancy medals (they glow in the dark!) and, of course, had to take a finisher's photo in front of the prison. Being such big fans of the movie, it really was so very cool getting to participate in the inaugural Shawshank Hustle!


Our registration allowed us free entry into the prison on a tour but the line was so long and the bus line back to the overflow lot was not. Since we can use the free pass at a later date we decided to go back to the car and make the trek back home. I'm so glad we decided to do this race and so so proud of Papa G. for finishing his first race. On the way home he was talking about looking for other races to do so I think he's caught the bug!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 July 2015

Yay! Race Weekend!

Today after work I'm headed to my parents' house because tonight, Papa G. and I are headed to Mansfield, Ohio because tomorrow is the Shawshank Hustle! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this race. We signed up way back in January, as soon as registration was open, and when I committed to running one race a month for 2015 I knew this would be my July race.

I'm also excited for tomorrow because it means I'll get to wear my new shirt! 


I ordered this from CustomInk and the words are on the back -- sort of as a shout out to the other slower runners in the back of the pack plus also a bit of a wave to the police car behind us. (Obviously, of course, it's also advertising for the podcast, but that's a bit of a given.) I'm hoping to eventually have similar shirts available for sale, but I'm still working on that. 

Speaking of running with police escort, there's a new episode of my podcast available! If you want access to all episodes as soon as they are available, be sure to subscribe to the show. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 July 2015

#wycwyc-ing it at work

So, I mentioned on Monday that I was starting a new job this week and OMG YOU GUYS. LIKE I SERIOUSLY CANNOT EVEN.

The company is way into healthy living while at work and offer so many awesome perks, I hardly know where to begin.

Let's just start with the fact that every day at lunch they offer fitness classes on site. Every. Single. Day. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are Cross Fit. Mondays also have Zumba. Thursdays are Yoga. Tuesdays is basketball. With a locker room and showers on site, once I get settled in I am totally taking advantage. Especially since learning that several of the women on my team also participate in some of the classes. There's also a walking trail around the building which will be nice if I just need to take five minutes to get outside (and get my steps in!) and a three hole golf course if I ever feel so inclined (lololol).

I also saw one stability ball chair and one standing desk. I'm sure there are more, those were just the two I spotted (to be fair, a standing desk would be pretty obvious as our cubicle walls are pretty low). More than that, on second notice yesterday I'm pretty that standing desk is a treadmill desk. I have a stability ball just hanging out in my home office -- I'm tempted, not gonna lie.

They have incentives to participate in the various healthy activities by getting Wellness Points. You can collect points throughout the year by attending classes, going to the your physical exam at the doctor, even my off-site Weight Watchers meetings count! At the end of the year, if you have certain amount of points you can get prizes like t-shirts and various gift cards.

One really cool thing they also offer is a local organic farmers market type situation that will deliver directly to the office. We can order online, picking out exactly what we want, and once a week our produce, pasta, breads, will show up. How utterly amazing is that? (Especially considering I looked at the prices and they aren't that bad!)

I know I still haven't even finished my first full week yet so much of this is still the rose colored classes going on, but seriously. I'm already in love with this company and so glad I made the leap.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 July 2015

mental health monday: impostor syndrome

Have you ever been in a place where it felt like every decision, every choice, every experience -- good and bad -- were rushing together and leading you to this exact moment that you are in right now?

That's me, today. 

Today. Oh, today. 

Today is a day I have spent, well, pretty much every day of my entire life for the past....23 years waiting for. Today, you see, is the day my book is published. I have my BFA in Creative Writing, but I started writing when I was in fifth grade. I was 10 when I first put that pen to paper, so today feels like two decades worth of waiting come to fruition.


My author copies arrived last week and it's possible that I pointed to the book and told BC "That's my name on the cover!" then promptly burst into tears. (I was also more than a little drunk since the books arrived the same day as my last day of work at my old job and BC and I had gone out for a celebration dinner, so that second beer might have been a contributing factor, too, LOL.)

Which brings me to my topic for today's Mental Health Monday: Impostor Syndrome.


Impostor Syndrome is a "psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Notably, impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women." It's not really considered a mental disorder per se, but I think it's still necessary to talk about and acknowledge.

Case in point: I tell people this book fell into my lap. Which, I mean, it sort of did. I queried the publisher about other topics and in my letter mentioned my hometown of Hudson and they jumped on that. But it's not like they came to me -- I did the work of approaching them. Or, I'll say that I got lucky having a contact at the Hudson Library & Historical Society who basically opened the door to the archives and said "Take what you need." But, I still had to collect the photos, organize the book, and reach out to residents in the community to get more photos to fill the book. 

Then, of course, there's the fact that this isn't a traditional book that I wrote. It's heavily pictorial, so I wrote the captions. There's not a lot of....words, I guess. So it feels weird and odd that this is my first book, a book that didn't require much writing and causes me to diminish it in a lot of ways as well. But there was so much research involved and while there's not a lot of copy, I still had to write what copy is there.

Impostor Syndrome shows up mostly in professional work environments, but when BC and I first started dating I know I felt it then, too. Here was this man who is so lovely and wonderful and our relationship felt like a long time coming so of course I spent the first, I dunno, six months convinced that there was no way this was going to last, I was undeserving of this level of personal happiness, he'd figure out I was a complete and total weirdo and decide this was a huge mistake, etc.

Speaking of professional impostor syndrome, today is also the first day of my new job. I'm taking a big leap into a new career path that takes me out of the library and uses my librarian skills in a different way.


I started working in libraries at 17 and starting in grad school up until, well, last Tuesday, I've spent my professional career working as a solo librarian in small libraries. I'm so so so excited about this new job and know that once I get in and get to work I'll, hopefully, excel at it but man am I having a bit of an identity crises and am convinced the company made a huge mistake in hiring me or that I'm going to get in there and have no clue what I'm doing (which, of course, I'm not. That's the point of a training period, but ugh, still).

Next Monday I have to give a presentation on my book and I swear to goddess, despite the fact that I spent a good six months researching my hometown, I seriously had a moment of, "OMG What am I supposed to talk about? I don't know anything at all about this topic!"

Impostor Syndrome. The struggle is real, yo.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 July 2015

weighing your priorities

Lately I've been thinking a lot about priorities.

Right now....right now I have lots of competing priorities: Tuesday is my last day at my current job. I've been with the company 4 1/2 years, I've been at this particular location for 2. They won't have a replacement before I leave, so it's essential I use my last couple days to make it an easy transition, both for when I'm gone and for when the new librarian comes on board. Then, of course, there is my new job and wanting to start that on the right foot. My book comes out on July 20th and on the 27th I have a signing and book talk, which means carving out time to work on and practice the presentation. There's a week long trip to Florida in early August I need to plan and pack for and I've been so busy I've been a horrible friend I feel like so I need to set aside more time for the wonderful people in my life. Cultivating my relationship with BC is always a priority and in between all of that I'm needing to schedule interviews and edit episodes for my podcast.

Needless to say, there's a reason I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately.

That being said, notice what isn't currently listed as a priority?

My weight.


Right, so, I'll just go ahead and say what I'm sure many are wondering: No, I did not attend FitBloggin '15 weighing what I weighed at FitBloggin '14. I'm currently up about 15 pounds from this time last year. In a spontaneous Friday evening chat session with other FitBloggin attendees, I had a complete cry fest over the fact that I am, once again, the Fat One in my family.

See, for awhile, back when I was at my lowest I was close to being the thinnest of my immediate family. But over the past few years as my weight has slowly started to climb, they have all lost weight and I am so, so proud of each and every one of them. But I was always the Fat One growing up and in high-school and in college and then somewhere along the line I just let it go and now I'm back to being the Fat One. And I recognize it's all my own choices versus all of their own choices but it's still a very bitter pill to swallow.

So, the other night, I was lying in bed trying to sleep and I was trying to figure out what was different now. Why was I having a much harder time focusing and losing the weight. What set me up for success 3, 4, years ago when I was really, really doing well and had lost 100 and then 135 lbs?

And then I realized: it was a matter of priorities.

It's not that I'm lazy: I mean, I still go to spinning at least once a week and, sure, maybe I'm not running as much but I still run and I have a race in two weeks. It's not that I'm binge eating. I mean, okay, admittedly I don't always make the best choices 100% of the time (who does?) but I always own and track my choices, whatever they are. My family, see, they made weight loss a priority in a way I haven't as of late.

The difference between Successful Me and Not Successful Me is that back in 2011 when I started, I literally had nothing else in my life competing for my attention. I was single and basically a hermit and had a job and very few, if any, extra curriculars. I was also super unhappy so, if nothing else, losing weight was a distraction and a welcome one at that, which is probably why I just focused in like a motherfucker. Losing weight turned into blogging about losing weight and being a "weight loss blogger" suddenly was a new priority, a new identity to adopt and man oh man did I thrive and love the external validation that came from all of that.

But, of course, I'm still successful, just in a very different way. I have a book coming out, people. I started writing when I was 10 so I don't know if I can completely emphasize the importance of this but in just a couple weeks I'll be able to go into bookstores all over Northeast Ohio and see a book with my name on the cover sitting on the shelf.

Of course, priorities change as life does and once life calms down a bit: once I leave my current job and settle into my new one, once I adapt to my new schedule, once I stop having so many things competing for my attention, I'll be able to stop and reevaluate and rewrite my priority list.

When that happens, there are two priorities I want to focus on for the rest of 2015. Even though I've had them in my head for awhile now, I had the hardest time putting them into words and then Dacia over at My Roots to Grow phrased it perfectly:
Eat well for my body and to support my active lifestyle
Find joy in movement

Once again, the number on the scale is still not a priority.

I don't want to eat certain foods or eat a certain way because of the overall effect it will have on the scale. I don't want to exercise because it will burn the calories I just consumed. Instead, I want to exercise because of how it makes me feel. I want to eat foods because they are good for me and support that exercise. If I lose weight as a byproduct of those choices, great! But, if not, that's okay, too, because my focus is on whole health and not just weight loss.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 July 2015

just run

I admittedly haven't been running that much -- or, well, really, at all -- since the Nature's Bin 5K last month. Much of this, I recognize now, can be attributed to the icky slump I've been in as of late. Interestingly, once I had the courage to name and acknowledge the slump, I started to feel the fog lifting just a bit so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up early yesterday morning ready to pound the pavement.


I decided to not pay attention to distance or pace for this run. I just ran. This was partially inspired by the conversation I had with my upcoming podcast guest Cassandra (episode will be released this Friday, so be sure to subscribe!) but I also knew it was going to be hot and humid out there and that always slows me down. Considering it was my first run in forever, I didn't want to put myself in a position of feeling bad about the run because I was unsatisfied with the pace.

In the end it felt really, really good to get out there and just run. Or, y'know, do my Galloway run-walk-run. It was funny because I'm out there doing my slow runner thing and there was another runner out there, too, somehow clearly faster than me. We were running opposite directions so we passed each other twice and both times did that wave, hi and hello thing. It's one reason I love the running community so much -- we're always so supportive of each other, no matter how fast or slow the other person is going.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 July 2015

mental health monday: fear of a name

One of the sessions at FitBloggin was led by my dear friends Liz and Stephanie, and it was called Mind Games: Depression, Anxiety, and Healthy Living. I wasn't able to attend, which is unfortunate because from both women's recaps it sounded like something I would have greatly benefited from. Luckily, they've taken the session outside of Denver and onto this here interwebs with a bi-monthly link up. As someone who has had her fair share of depressive episodes and sought professional help, I've always been open about that part of my life and am appreciating an opportunity from some of my blogger friends to talk about it more.


I'm currently in a.....transitional season of my life. One week from today I'll be leaving the company I've been with for the past 4 1/2 years. Two weeks from today I start a new job that I'm very, very excited about but is still a big change. That same day, my book is released and three weeks from today I'll be giving a talk about said book that will also include a book signing.

This is all very, very good. Life in general is good. I've never been happier.

And yet.

And yet there are moments, more moments than not as of late, that I feel like I'm living in a fog. I spend entire days curled up in bed binge watching Netflix and the days I don't do this are spent wishing that I was. I've grown listless and restless. I'm overeating and have gained weight. I've found myself feeling anti-social and withdrawn from social interactions. Physically there is this constant stress in my shoulders, a weight pressing down over my entire body, like wearing a heavy cloak I'm unable to shrug off.

I keep telling myself to snap out of it. That I have so many good things happening in my life, I have no need to feel this way, even though I have no idea what "this way" actually is.

Albus Dumbledore once said, Fear of a name increases fear of a thing itself. For weeks I've been too afraid to speak the name of what this is. For weeks I've resisted identifying it because once it's identified, once it's been named, I have to acknowledge it.

Depression.

This actually isn't depression, what I'm feeling right now. It's more like a first cousin once removed. I know full-fledged depression and this isn't it, but it's close. Close enough to give me pause, now that I've identified it. And it's complicated -- complicated by the fact that it's not actually depression. Complicated by the fact that I'm feeling quasi-depressed about good things in my life. Of course, if I take a step back and analyze the situation I know it's not the good things themselves that are causing me to feel this way. No, it's everything else that surrounds them: the speaking gigs, the new co-workers, the new schedule, etc., etc.,

It's not the good things. It's the everything happening, all at once.

By telling myself to "snap out of it," I'm doing more harm than good because I'm acting as if this is something I can just snap out of. But that's not how this works and for that reason alone I am grateful for Liz and Stephanie starting this link up as a means of putting more personal faces to the different facets of mental health.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

03 July 2015

#wycwyc-ing my way through Denver

For those that don't know #wycwyc (pronounced wick-wick), is a movement that stands for what you can, when you can. There's even a book, written by Roni Noone and Carla Birnberg, and every FitBloggin attendee got one in their swag bag!

So, after the conference was over, BC and I decided to stay in Denver for a few extra days (okay, well, obviously we didn't, y'know, decide that morning, we planned for it). Considering I was doing confrency things for the first few days of our trip, this meant I didn't really see him for much of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (although he was allowed to come to Ignite Fitness and see my presentation). Staying a bit longer gave us an opportunity to have a bit of a vacation together once my blogger stuff was done.

Sunday morning we woke up and decided that this was a good day to check out VooDoo Doughnut. I kept seeing FitBloggin friends posting pictures of the delicious looking doughnuts all weekend so was more than happy to try it out.

I bought an Old Dirty Bastard. Mostly based on the name. Turned out to be
some crazy chocolate, oreo, peanut butter concoction and OMG

We had switched hotels at this point so were slightly further away from the conference folks who went and while I was fine for the first couple days, Sunday morning all of a sudden my body found itself reacting to the higher altitude. That was a rough 2 mile walk, but so worth it, lemme tell you, and a perfect example of the #wycwyc mentality.

Sunday night, BC and I and some friends headed to Red Rocks to see a Widespread Panic show. Now, I knew going in that the actual amphitheatre itself had stairs, so at first I was like this:


But then we got there and I realized there were about 200 steps between me and said amphitheatre so then was like this:


Quickly followed by this:


Holy mother of god. Seriously, that was no joke. Especially when you consider that Red Rocks is 6,400 feet above sea level, too. I mean, for realz, yo.

BUT once I got up there and we were seated and my heart rate started to climb back down, I was totally fine (and, if nothing else, at least I knew it would be all down hill after that!)


The view was phenomenal. Really, there are no words but phenomenal is about as close as I can get right now and I'm so glad I was given an opportunity to visit Red Rocks and especially to see a show. It started raining while we were there and from our seats we were able to watch the storm roll across Denver. I'm talking seeing lightning several miles out and a rainbow over the skyline. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Monday morning we walked to Lucile's Creole Cafe for breakfast and were chatting with our server about the show and he said once went to a show at Red Rocks where he was closer to the stage and couldn't see the skyline and view and was actually upset and wished he was higher up!

I think one of my favorite parts of Denver was how walkable it was. The conference hotel was right near the 16th Street Mall, which reminded me of Cleveland's East 4th Street but much, much longer. It was weird, too, because every time I used the Google Maps on my phone it kept automatically showing walking routes, not driving routes.

Not gonna lie: it's entirely possible that there will be a time in my future when I will no longer be a Clevelander but a Coloradan instead.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 July 2015

Ignite Fitness: It's Not Last Place, It's Running With Police Escort

As some of you know, at this year's FitBloggin I was given an opportunity to present to the entire conference about being a slow runner. Friday night is always FitBloggin's Keynote Event and for the past few years, founder Roni has had actual FitBloggers be the Keynote speakers. Ignite talks are 5 minute presentations which are accompanied by slides that auto advance every 15 seconds.

Courtesy of Carrie D. Photography

Several months before the conference, those of us interested in participating submit a Spark which is voted on by the whole community. Of the dozen or so people who give an Ignite talk, half are the Sparks with the most votes and the other were picked by the people behind FitBloggin. This year, my Spark was one of the ones included!

Courtesy of Carrie D. Photography

Now, I've given plenty of presentations before. I do it, in fact, as part of my job. I've also given presentations where I talk about being a slow runner. But the balance of timing your talk with your slides was way trickier than I anticipated and I spent most of Friday morning completely psyching myself out. Hell, I hadn't even practiced most of the week leading up to the conference because it made me so nervous. Luckily we had a podium, so I just went up there with my notes and did my thing.

Often, the anticipation of doing something is far more overwhelming than actually doing something and that was the case here. I knew what I was talking about and representing the back of the pack is clearly something I take pride in, so once I got in the groove, I was off and running (so to speak).

The response to my Ignite Fitness talk was overwhelming:





This was the second time I've had an opportunity to get up in front of an audience and talk about being a slow runner and it's something I wish I could do all the time. Quick, somebody hire me as a motivational speaker!

Obviously this was also a time to talk about my podcast and several of my backers and guests were in attendance. Speaking of, there are now two episodes available! Subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher, or your podcast app and be sure to Like the podcast on Facebook, too.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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