31 May 2017

Giveaway: Win an Entry to the Run for Recovery 5K

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in being a blogger for the 5th annual Run for Recovery 5K, which is hosted by Recovery Resources. Founded in 1955, Recovery Resources helps people triumph over mental illness, alcoholism, drug and other addictions through outpatient programming.


Obviously, as someone who is struggling to address her own mental health issues, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. But, as many of you readers know, I used to work in a prison. I specifically worked in a prison that had a strong substance abuse program and for those inmates sentenced or drug or alcohol related charges, judges would send them to our facility because of the additional aid we could provide.

Here in Northeast Ohio we have seen an uptick in drug related deaths and according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office the number of confirmed overdoses in 2016 has increased from 517 to at least 660 as of today.

Now in its fifth year, the 2017 Run for Recovery is being held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on August 19th  and not only will I be there on race day, but I have a second entry that I can give away to one of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 May 2017

Running Angst

Sigh.


This is a fucking hard one, y'all. Mostly because I don't know what the fuck is going on.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have a sense of what's going on, what I don't know is what it stems from. What I do know is that running isn't fun for me anymore. Or, well, it is but very sporadically. Sunday's 10K? Those 6.2 miles were the only miles I ran for the entire month of May and I didn't even run them, I walked them.

I know that running isn't fun for me right now and hasn't been for awhile. I know that running feels like a punishment. I know I dread runs. I know that dread has paralyzed me and seeped into other forms of exercise so even a simple walk at lunchtime feels like a monumental accomplishment.

I know that right now, at this moment in time, I would be perfectly content never going on another run ever again.

And yet .....


And yet I hang out with my fellow Ambassadors and I remember at one point loving running. I remember the excitement and anticipation of race day. I remember feeling fast and furious, even when running at my slow back of the pack speed.

And yet I hang out at the Expo and see races I'd love to run (I'm looking at you Rock City 5K and Christmas Story Run). I remember the feeling that came from training and completing three half-marathons.

(Honestly, I'm in such a negative place right now about this that I forget I'm a three time half-marathoner. It seems like such a foreign concept to me at this point in time).

I will be the first to admit that some of this is because I've gained weight from last year and that's slowed me down which, naturally, frustrates this already slow runner. I also think #anklegate set me back way more than I realized. Not just physically but mentally as well. Because this is 100% a mental block. Physically, yes, had I stuck to my training and not slacked for the past four weeks I could have done my run/walk thing and been fine. Fuck, I ran 4 miles at the end of April and felt fantastic.

I also know I don't entirely trust my ankle and have a fear of reinjuring myself. So that, of course, makes me less likely to want to go out for a mile run, let alone anything longer.

I don't know but I wonder how much of this is also depression related. Actually, losing interest in things is a pretty classic sign of depression but I'm one of those people with high-functioning depression so it's always hard to classify myself as such because I'm not sad and can still function and fake it til I make it (or fall apart, as the case may be).

I lost my running groove a year ago and I am still struggling to get it back. And, in the meantime, I find myself .... not hating, but severely disliking, this activity that just a year ago I had loved. I had loved it so much that I signed up for a 4th half. I had hoped to run Akron in 2017 to make up for having to miss it last year but right now I am not in a healthy place mentally to tackle training or a half-marathon.

And yet ..... one of my fellow Ambassadors mentioned running the Cleveland Half in 2018 and I'm like "Yeah, I could totally do that, too!"


LIKE I SAID. IT'S COMPLICATED.

Even just in the days since I started writing this post my feelings have gone back and forth. One day I'm perfectly happy never running again and another the idea of never crossing a finish line again breaks my heart.

I am legitimately sitting here thinking "Ugh, running. Why would I do that to myself? But, yeah, running a half marathon a year from now? Totally doable."

I think my attitude towards running is symptomatic of other things in my life so, more than anything, I need to take some time to figure out what that shit is all about and not worry so much about the running portion. Actually, I think lots of things going on in my life are symptomatic of other things and I  need to really dig deep and start to identify and address some of them. I know that in many areas of my life I'm not where I want to be and I've let certain areas run away from me and I need to refocus and reign them in.

(#Vagueblogging)

A few weeks ago I was trying to explain this all to my therapist, who is not a runner, and kept asking "Do you actually like running?" And I do, some of the time. But I was explaining that the first mile always sucks no matter who you are. THE FIRST MILE IS THE WORST. So when you are just getting back into it and can't run very far, then all you're doing is one mile runs which means every run is awful. It's a whole mental thing I realize but it's that negative reinforcement that I need to work through.

Right. So, well, that's where I am with this right now. Basically going in circles and having a very, very complicated relationship with running right now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 May 2017

Race Recap: 2017 Cleveland Marathon 10K

After expo-ing all weekend, I went to bed early Saturday night as I had an early alarm clock for race day! I was waffling all morning about what to wear and at the last second switched to a tank top and I'm so glad I did because I think it would have ended up being too hot and humid in a short sleeve shirt.

As I mentioned in my last post, my relationship with running is a bit complicated these days and I plan on talking more about that on Wednesday. But because of that, I decided to walk this race instead of run it. I tried running at the very start but I knew right away that I am mentally not in the place for that. And whatever this is that I'm dealing with, it really is all mental but that somehow makes it even harder overcome. I knew that if I felt like I had to run the whole thing I would have a horrible day mentally so I decided to just walk all 6.2 miles, so that's what I did.

Anyway.

There was a new course this year and I was super excited because it took me through some of my old running haunts which I haven't seen in the year+ since I moved. For out of towners it also was a mini sight seeing tour of the city that I love.


We started downtown near the stadiums as usual but instead of going over the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge as in the past, we headed down through the heart of the city. Shortly after starting I heard someone calling my name. When I looked up I saw my dear friend Jamie, which just made my whole morning.


The course continued, taking us past the Rock Hall and then down into the East Bank of the Flats then turned and went through my old neighborhood.


At this point I knew there was a big hill coming and I loved that the Cleveland Marathon placed encouraging signs along that hill, as if they knew we'd need a little extra encouragement at that point.


We passed the 4 mile marker along the hill and at the top, the 10K split from the half an full runners. I really liked this part of the race because when I had run it in the past, the split happened much sooner. As it was, we 10K were separated from the longer distances for only about 1.5 miles before we hooked back up with them towards the end of the race.

At the split I started walking with a woman I had met on Friday at the expo so we finished the final stretch of the race together.

There was no Shoreway this year (hal-fucking-lujiah) and, instead, we came in via the Detroit-Superior Bridge. As we started to close in on that finish line, I once again heard someone call my name and this time it was my cousin Michele -- the same cousin who met me at the finish line of the 2014 Cleveland Half.

As we crossed the finish line we learned that they had run out of 10K medals.


I have heard horror stories about that happening to back of the packers but had never experienced that myself, so I get to check off the box of Slow Runner Bingo. They said they were going to mail them out so okay, I guess. Thankfully, one of the benefits to being an Ambassador is having those good connections so I have a call/meeting with them today to talk about it.

So here's something you need to know about my cousin Michele: once she learned I didn't get my medal, she took hers off and insisted I take it. She legitimately would not take no for an answer and this was pretty much my reaction:


Up until she put that medal around my neck, I don't think I truly realized how upset I was to not get one. But endorphins combined with monthly hormones resulted in me bursting into tears.

So there it is! I finished the 10K and no matter what, I am happy about that because, as my friend Stephanie reminded me a couple of weeks ago, a year ago this time I couldn't walk so being able to walk 6.2 miles is pretty damn amazing.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 May 2017

Race Day Eve

TOMORROW IS RACE DAY EVERYONE!


Man oh mangoberry. I can't believe it's finally here. Back in February I jumped on the training bandwagon and I was off to a good start but I am slowly learning that my relationship with running these days is fucking complicated as hell. But that's a topic for another post (possibly Monday if I get my shit together tomorrow).

Right, anyway. I am registered for the 10K and I am going to finish that 10K even if I have to drag myself across the finish line. Thankfully I don't think it will come to that but I don't think I'll be running as much as I thought I would be back in February.

Like I said: complicated.

So let's talk about uncomplicated things. Like being at the Expo!

I got a booth with one of my fellow Ambassadors so all day Friday and Saturday I was hanging out at the Convention Center selling and signing copies of my book.


Fridays are tricky. Unless you live or work downtown and/or have to pick up your packet on Friday because you're running on Saturday, you have zero need or motivation to fight Cleveland traffic just to pop into the Expo. Still, I sold a few books and special Bondi Bands. Even better, I got to see some of my Ambassadors and meet some social media friends for the first time in person!

Speaking of the Ambassadors, Friday night was the annual VIP dinner at the Arcade which meant time for our annual Ambassador photo.


Goddamnit I love these people. My relationship with them is not complicated and spending time with them always makes me remember why I love running (when I do love running, which isn't so much these days, but like I said: IT'S FUCKING COMPLICATED).

Not gonna lie, for this introvert it was a very long day. I didn't stay too long at the party and as soon as I got home I basically told BC "I love you but I need to not be around people anymore."

LULZ

Went right to bed and was up again early on Saturday to head back to the convention center for another day at the expo. As I walked from my parking lot to the convention center I saw the police escorts for both the 5K and 8K races that happened.

That's what I'm talking about.

Saturday was much better and much busier. Got to meet so many followers in person which was probably the best part of the event, regardless of whether or not I sold books (which I also did).

All in all, a damn good weekend. And now I'm heading to bed because I got myself a very early alarm clock happening so I can get downtown for that 7 am start.

SEE Y'ALL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT FINISH LINE.


Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 May 2017

#Anklegate: One Year Later

May 10, 2016: It's the Tuesday before Cleveland Marathon weekend. I'm cooking dinner, BC comes home. He goes upstairs and I follow him up to just remind him of everything we have going on this weekend: Friday was the Expo to get my stuff and then that night is the VIP reception for the Ambassadors. I was registered for the 5K/10K Challenge so Saturday I was racing then Saturday afternoon my dad was dropping my sister off at our place and Sunday morning she and I were then running the 10K. After that was a family bridal shower she and I were attending.

Busy weekend ahead and after weeks of training I was ready to get out there and crush those runs.

And then I went back downstairs.

It's really the dumbest things, isn't it? In my case, tripping down the bottom two steps on our staircase and landing at an awkward angle. It's not even like I had a running injury but I was still decommissioned for about six months. At first I thought it was sprained and spent a week walking on it only to later learn that, no, I'd broken a bone.


LET'S RECAP!

May 10, 2016: Trip down the stairs.
May 16, 2016: Go ER for x-rays, find out it's broken.
May 17, 2016: Go to ortho, who puts me in a full plaster cast.
May 18 - June 22, 2016: Literally wheel around my office on a knee scooter. At the house, crawl up and down the stairs and/or wheel around in an office chair.
June 23, 2016: Get a walking cast.
July 11, 2016: Doc gives me a boot.

Here is where things get interesting. FitBloggin '16 was held in Indianapolis, a mere 5 hours away from Cleveland. That means I can drive there!


So, fun fact. Sitting in a car in the same position for five hours with your leg immobilized shortly after an injury? Not a smart thing to do. In fact, I'd classify it as MY WORST IDEA EVER.

Also not a smart thing to do? Go on a green smoothie kick in the weeks leading up to said road trip and consume a ridiculous amount of spinach. Vitamin K, you see, is a natural coagulant. That is, it magically helps your blood clot which is not good if you possibly already have a blood clot brewing.

July 22-24, 2016: FitBloggin
July 27, 2016: Get admitted to the hospital with a blood clot / DVT. Have emergency surgery.
July 28, 2016: Back into surgery I go to check on status of clot. Hang out in ICU. For the next several days, my blood will be checked literally every four or five hours. Yes, even at 3 am in the morning. Then again at 8 am in the morning.
July 29, 2016: More surgical check up. More time in ICU.
July 30, 2016: Out of ICU, get checked into a "normal" hospital room.
August 2, 2016: Get released from the hospital. Prescribed Coumadin and Lovenox shots.
August 3, 2016: Go to Coumadin Clinic for first time.
August 10, 2016: Switch from the boot to an air cast.
August 3-22, 2016: Go to Coumadin Clinic every few days to check my INR levels. Also giving myself Lovenox shots twice a day. The medication situation is giving me so much anxiety I have what I'm pretty sure is my first ever panic attack.
August 23, 2016: My vascular surgeon switches me to Eliquis.
September 22, 2016: Bone doc gives my bone the all clear.
October 2016: Depression and anxiety are at peak levels.
November 1, 2016: Allowed to run again (yay!)
November 17, 2016: Get copper IUD because I can't take hormonal birth control any more.
November 18 - December 28, 2016: Lots of doctor appointments. My vascular surgeon. My pulmonary embolism doc. Lots of blood tests. I see a hematologist, too.
December 29, 2016: Vascular surgeon says he wants to keep me on blood thinners for at least a year.
February **, 2017: See a behavioral health specialist at Cleveland Clinic.
March 6, 2017: See psychiatrist who prescribes me Prozac.
March 7, 2017: Find out I can't take Prozac -- or any antidepressents -- because of my blood thinners.
March 23, 2017: Doctor Stanley, my vascular surgeon, says my leg is looking really good and I don't have to return for another six months. (I had been going every three months.)
April 2017: See my therapist every week or so, also training for the Cleveland 10K
May 10, 2017: Still on blood thinners and after months of resistance have mentally and emotionally accepted the reality that I will probably be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. My DVT was bad, y'all, and still is in my leg. Entire length of my leg bad. No pulse except for bottom of my foot bad.

Life-threateningly bad.

Staying on blood thinners is more of a preventative thing than anything else and once I wrapped my head around that I was okay with the possibility that I probably won't be going off of them anytime soon, if ever.

So here I am, one year later. My anxiety and depression are up but I can't take any medication for them because of the aforementioned blood thinners. But I'm still seeing my therapist and working on other coping mechanisms. They help with my anxiety but the depression is another story. I wear compression socks on a daily basis. I'm running, slowly but surely. The Cleveland 10K is a week and a half away and I won't finish fast or pull out a PR but I will finish.

My weight is also up: I've gained 30 pounds in the past year which after all the other weight gain of the past four years puts me close to my original highest weight.

That sentence is one of the hardest things I've ever typed. Up until this exact moment in time, only two friends knew that truth. Posting that group picture last week was equally one of the hardest things I've ever done because there's no hiding in that photo. I'm good at hiding my weight gain. I know what my good angles are. I know how to tilt my head to hide the double chin and I never take pictures in profile.

But I am alive.


I don't think I can emphasis that quite enough because I think it's taken me this long to really understand what happened to me last July and just how bad that DVT really was. For fuck's sake, I was in the hospital for close to a week. And all because just a few months before I tripped on the bottom two stairs of our staircase.

BUT there were good things that happened over the course of this year, too! My book came out and I got engaged. I also got to do some really awesome things through my job including being on NPR's On Point and interviewing some really awesome authors like Jodi Picoult and omg Alan Cumming.

And I did all of that despite being fat so whatever, yo. Plus, y'know, that whole still being alive thing so yeah.

Turns out, having an experience that culminates in an event that could have ended in death puts a whole different perspective on the scale.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 May 2017

Monday Miles

Last Thursday was the annual Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Meet-Up which, as ya'll know, is one of my most favorite events ever. This year it was held at the Quaker Steak 'n' Lube in Valley View which is super close to my work so that was handy.


I love these people, you guys. Like I can't even. Sadly, not everyone was able to join us but hopefully I'll get to catch up with everyone else at the Expo (WHERE I WILL HAVE A TABLE SELLING/SIGNING COPIES OF MY BOOK) and the VIP reception dinner Friday night of race weekend.

Along with good food and good friends, we got to see the swag and medals for this year (the medals are huge zomg).


Race weekend is only a couple of weeks away, as is the one year anniversary of anklegate. I was talking with Stephanie and she was asking about my running and training and I said it was slow going -- both in terms of pace and just actually getting out and doing it. As her fella Dan said: running is hard. Like, holy shit. Coming back from this injury is proving to be far more challenging than I had anticipated, mentally and physically. But then Stephanie pointed out that less than a year ago I couldn't walk. 



Like. Dude.

When we were going to bed Friday night, I told BC "I'm planning on getting up early and running in the morning." Then, of course, Saturday morning rolled around and I was all out of marbles and spent the day in bed.

But then on Sunday I woke up and felt great and got up and went out for a four mile run. FOUR MILES. At this point it's been a year since I ran four miles and I was so grateful for the comment Stephanie made a few days before because it kept me going during that run and was a great reminder of just how far I have come in the past year since my injury and in the past six months since I got the go ahead to run again.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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