Kelly the Culinarian

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What I Forgot About CrossFit

I'm a little more than a month into a new CrossFit regime. It's at a new gym and with new trainers, so I started at square one with their onboarding program to make sure I remembered the basics.
While the vernacular and movements are still familiar to me, there's so much that I forgot about CrossFit workouts and the culture in general.
  • You will feel like you can't keep up. Because you can't, initially. I came up half a round short on a workout that had a 40-minute cap. I'd rather do as much as I can with all the time allotted than scale the workout and be done in half the time allowed.
  • You will be hungry. A lot more than anticipated. And for protein. Muscles need fuel.
  • Your hands hurt. I didn't realize how soft I'd gotten until I tried to row and do kipping pull ups in the same workout. Not good at all. My delicate little office worker hands are not used to this stuff.
  • Your results are promising. It's pretty interesting to me how quickly I'm starting to see a change. It could just be wishful thinking, but I hope to get into that whole shedding for the wedding thing, so no time like the present.
  • You wonder why it's so damn expensive. Seriously, the group personal training aspect is great, but I could probably get an actual personal trainer for about the same cost.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Training Tuesday

How I feel about training
Sometimes I get it together, sometimes I can just get by.  I've been doing CrossFit twice a week fairly consistently, and I'm already feeling better about my results there. I forgot how transformative it is, and I missed weight lifting more than I realized.

I haven't been able to take my bike outside since we biked the Ironman course, but I have completed several multi-hour trainer rides and even a few turbo trainer videos for variety.

I get nervous when I can't make all the workouts, but the fact of the matter is triathlons are a hobby for me, and one that comes after my family and my work. I do what I can with what time I have, which on some days isn't much.

The furthest I've run in a while has been seven miles on the treadmill. I need to do better, but the weather has been particularly soggy and I didn't want to brave the great outdoors. I've been favoring short, fast runs in an attempt to get my speed back after my bone marrow donation.

And swimming is just blah to me. I feel slow. I need more drills and more sprints. The whole gasping for breath, burning eyes and tired arms feeling has been elusive to me lately.

It's strange, I feel like I could do an Ironman today if I had to, but I feel so far away from the start line right now that it seems daunting.

On to more workouts, more training and more pain.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tales from Dark Lord Day 2016

I said I wouldn't go again after last year's mudfest. And yet, I was there Saturday in a full rain suit trying to make the best of it.

For the uninitiated, Dark Lord Day is the once a year festival hosted by Three Floyds at their brewery in Munster, Ind. It's an all-day affair in which you buy tickets months in advanced for the pleasure of being able to buy super high-end, exclusive beers that are only brewed once a year.

The brewery taps nice kegs throughout the day and sells these beers for $5 a pour. But it's also the largest legal bottle share I'm aware of. People are opening $200 bottles of beer while waiting in line, then further sharing and sipping all day long inside the fest.

In years past, you could buy a General Admission ticket to get into the festival, then pay cash only for bottles if you purchased an allotment, then stood in line at your designated time.

This year, they switched to a cashless system, which meant you paid for your admission tickets and bottles up front. You also got $40 in food and drink vouchers. For $200 a ticket.

We bought two tickets for group D online months ago, which would get us into the festival anytime, but let us buy bottle starting at 4:30 p.m. They weren't in my name, which meant when the brewpub posted a few weeks ago that they had group A tickets for sale, I went and bought one.
Which meant I was waiting in line to buy beer at 9 a.m. Saturday, and stayed until 5 p.m.

This was an overhyped, greedy shit show of epic proportions.

The whole "cashless" system was not an attendee benefit by any means. It was a money grab by 3F. The merchandise, coffee and food trucks were still cash only. It was actually impossible to use all $40 of vouchers. We gave away 11 of our 24 combined vouchers. Lunch was $10-20. My fatty gross plate of pulled pork was $15, and I waited in line an hour for it. I didn't even eat at the fest last year, but had to this year to try and use my vouchers.

For the record, eight $5 vouchers was plenty to get bombed on, if you could ever make it to the front of the line. Because we all had vouchers to use, people felt compelled to drink more to get their money's worth.

I can't tell you how many people I watched scream at each other or at people on the phone. There was so much puking in trash cans and stumbling and slurring. I don't even understand how these people got this wasted.

This event was irresponsibly crowded and poorly managed. If it was a nice day, I might feel more generous about the silly things that happened, but it's hard to find the fun in mud and rain and puke. Bottle theft was rampant. The Facebook group for this event is overrun with people asking if they've seen their backpack or cell phone or best friend.

To that end, we probably saved a life that afternoon. On our way back to the car, we watched a dude drunk roll down an embankment, then keep stumbling forward. By the time we made it to the truck, it was clear the guy was alone. We stopped him, got him eating and drinking and sitting down and tried to talk to him. He didn't know his name, or where he was headed. The badges for the event were in the name of the person who bought the tickets, and it wasn't this dude. I got him to unlock his phone, and I called the same name on the badge in his phone for his friends to come get him. It was only when I shared his location on his phone that I found out the kid's name.

So there you have it. I might give it one more year, because I want to see if this is a fun event when the weather isn't so crappy. I also got nice bottles of beer as a group A (marshmallow handjee FTW). But this whole voucher system made this event an elusively expensive extravagance.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Three Things Thursday

1. The main reason I blogged about my bone marrow donation was to share what people don't talk about: it's not scary, it's not debilitating and it's not painful. I'm ecstatic about how this has evolved. My worked hosted a bone marrow donor drive and gave me the opportunity to talk about my experience. So far, 21 people and signed up to donate through this effort. It makes my heart happy.

2. I had an awesome dinner last night at Carlucci's first Hashtag Party. They gave away a trip to Mexico to a random social user who used #Carlucci online. While I didn't win (sad face, someone has a honeymoon to plan!), I did fill up on some fantastic food. The roasted vegetables were awesome, but the rigatoni bolognese stole the show.

3. It's hard to believe with as cold and rainy as it is in Chicago right now, but spring is almost here. Most experts say that you should wait to plant your garden around Mother's Day, which is almost here. I've ordered plants and Cabot sent me a few more to consider for my square foot garden. I can't wait for all the summer salads!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Mom Said I Needed to Update My Blog ...

Because she needs something to read. So here's a little catch up of what I've been up to lately.
As you may have surmised from my Instagram feed, I was in the great state of Texas last weekend. My grandmother passed away and I traveled to be with my mom. I don't share much about my personal life so we'll leave it at that and instead look at how I spent my time with my mom. I feel like grief settles in your soul if you let it. We tried to get out of the house every day and get our steps in or garden or eat something special.

I took a special interest in cleaning the pool with my friend poomba, the pool roomba.

I had a wonderful wine tasting on a lovely hilltop of Texas Hill Country at Pilot Knob Vineyard. What It was a wonderful day and a great distraction. The weather was perfect and they sell kites for kids to fly in the empty field behind the tasting room. It was postcard perfect.

I finally got my nails done in a manner befitting my engagement ring. I got my toes done too, because I'm a runner and it's sandal season and I clearly need it.

We went on walks and to the gym and enjoyed lovely sunsets:

And learned about the geography of the United States:

So there you have it, where I've been for the past few days. I also trained daily, started wedding planning and worked on planning my next trip to Austin, so stay tuned.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Three Things Thursday

1. Now that I'm logging more laps to prepare for triathlon season, this makes me chuckle every time.

2. Napoleon got his summer trim and I must say the resemblance to Dobby is eerie. They must have been separated at birth.

3. I finally feel like I'm getting to my pre-bone marrow transplant running level. What is considered a comfortable speed for me is slowly increasing, and I'm feeling like it takes me less time to recover, too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Wild Weekend in Verona

Where's Waldo/Kelly
Sort of. I mean, I stayed up until 9:45, so that's something. In honor of Brent's birthday and because it was in the 70s, we decided a quick trip to Madison to bike the Ironman Wisconsin course was in order. We drove up Friday and stayed with friends, then drove to Verona Saturday morning and started the loop around 10 a.m. The weather was amazing - warm, nice breeze, full sun. I even have tan lines to prove it.

On this trip, I think we cracked the code to rocking this loop. We did one loop Saturday with a quick transition, then stayed at a brand-new Holiday Inn in Verona, just one mile off the loop. This place was perfect for all our needs. It's pet friendly, it has a pool and hot tub, the rate was competitive, the breakfast was free and extensive and we could bike to the loop and get started at any time.
Suzie Slice is Aging Nice(ly)

The ride Saturday was uneventful and basically 42 miles of bliss. The roads are in fairly good condition for it being this early in the season. Stagecoach is still a bumpy mess that rattles my teeth, and Witte Road remains my favorite stretch of the course. My leggies were fine for the duration. It's basically like the bone marrow transplant never happened.

First brick: 3:16:06
After a super lame and terrible three-mile run around Verona, we chilled in the hot tub before donning our best summer apparel and walking over to Mr. Brews. We were promised a pub crawl to all the Mr. Brews locations via bus for a rate of $15. We were further promised a 7-ounce pour at each of these places from different Madison-area breweries.

It didn't quite work out that way.

At the first location, we wanted to get an early dinner since we'd worked out for 3 hours and skipped lunch in the process. We watched a bus come and go, and were told they come every 40 minutes. So we paid our bill and waited ... for two and a half hours. The bar gave us complimentary seven-ounce pours and a free tour at Ale Asylum while we waited, but still. We were not pleased.

Somehow, this is the only photo from that night
But once we got on the bus, the party was on a roll (pun intended). The key to enjoying this, and also completing the crawl before the 9 p.m. cut off, was to dash into the location to snag the sample and take it to go, then savor it while the bus waited to leave (10 minutes) and the drive to the next bar (10-15 minutes). In the end, we completed the crawl and had a blast. It was a good value, even if it was poorly coordinated. You gathered a check at each location in your tasting passport, and one person who completed the gauntlet will win a Trek bike. I'm feeling lucky, so we'll see.

Basically, this weekend was my perfect combo of travel, fitness, fun and friends. Cheers to loving life!