Kelly the Culinarian

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. A great way to recover from a marathon is a full day of yardwork. Six hours, 50 bags of mulch, 40 bags of rocks and three trips later, we have a very nice-looking yard complete with vegetable garden and a fresh set of perennial bulbs. We're good grown ups.


2. For the past few years, we've celebrated prEaster. It's like Easter, but the weekend before. I make bunny-shaped cinnamon rolls and we hide eggs. This is the bounty for this year's prEaster. I don't know how to adult without the dollar store.


3. Just looking through my photos, I realized that since the beginning of February, I have been to Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, and many places more than once. I'm at the tail end of a heavy travel schedule and can't wait to slow down a bit.


Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 Circular Logic Marathon Race Recap

Six-word summary: Awesome weather for my favorite race.

In the past four years of my life, virtually everything has changed. House. Job. Relationships. Goals. I have had few constants. But this race has remained. It's where I attempted a PR and we got engaged and made so many memories along the way.

This is the fourth year I've done the Circular Logic Marathon, a race of 26 one-mile loops in West Lafayette. Each year has been met with small changes and improvements to the course and logisitics. I'm loving how passionate the organizers are at creating the best hometown race possible that boasts an affordable entry fee and full support from volunteers. This is, however, the first year we've had great weather. Shorts weather! Last year (when we got engaged) I thought we'd get blown away, the year before it was 18 degrees and the first year, it snowed. Lucky us.


We've also gotten this race down to a science. We stay at a hotel that's very close to the park and allows for check out as late as 4 p.m. It's not fancy and it sure is a little weird, but that post-race shower makes it all worth it. We got up around 6:30 and had breakfast at the hotel before heading over to the start line.

Something we'll do differently next year is opt for an early start. We were at the park at 8:05, so we could have easily started an hour earlier. We didn't realize anyone could opt for the early start. The problem with the 9 a.m. start is that everyone who is trying to BQ starts then. With one third of the race field trying to qualify, that meant when we finished at a very modest time, it was as ghost town.


We dropped our labeled bottles off at the aid station and set up a box of odds and ends we might want throughout the day: Advil, gels, headphones, phones, keys and tums. Then we headed to the start with Mo and got to moving. For the first six miles, Brent's bib had the wrong name, so we had fun with that to pass the miles. We ran almost the entire first half and were starting to feel pretty worn out.

I took a Gu around 11 and then we started a regimented walk-run schedule soon after that. Mo kept time for when we walked and ran and around the park we went without much incident. By the 15-mile mark, we were far less chatty as it started to get hard. My left knee was bothering me, along with my normal aches and pains. Around 17, Mo and I both took some advil. When it kicked in by 19, we annoyed the crap out of Brent because we started to feel better just as he was feeling worse. Right around that time, we were surprised to see the Philips cheering us on. They were on their way back from Spring Break and stopped to see the end of our race. Their kids played on the newly constructed playground while we finished up.



Mark ran with us for the last 5K as the course emptied out. I felt pretty good at the end of this race, albeit tired and sore, and was happy to be at the deserted finish line. This year, the race organizers opted to eliminate finish-line food in favor of bringing in a food truck. However, one race participant was celebrating his birthday and handed us cake at the finish line. I also saw there were cupcakes someone brought, so there was plenty to go around.

We skipped the food truck and collected our stuff before a quick shower at the hotel, then met the Philips for our traditional post-race Chilis meal. We were spent, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. Today, I don't have any chafing, but my left foot is killing me. It hurst on the sole towards the outside. Hopefully it's nothing serious, because Ironman training awaits!

Time: 4:40:20
Cost: $65 with a medal and shirt (It was under $30 without)
Pros: It's cheap, easy to get to and well-supported. The medal and shirt are great, and you're rewarded for each subsequent marathon with a charm on your medal.
Cons: The weather is really unpredictable. It's a boring course. A lot of fast people are trying to BQ, which makes me sad because I'm not fast anymore.
Will I do this again? Every year I can move forward.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. When I was at SXSW, I entered all sorts of contests, and I actually won one! Cuisinart partnered with Coolhaus to give away free ice cream sandwiches across from the convention center. I grammed a photo of my treat and viola, I won and ice cream maker and a signed copy of the food truck's cook book. I am in fat kid heaven!


2. We bought our house in late summer and aren't quite sure what to expect from the landscaping. Our HOA covered the lawn care, but we have no idea what might bloom this spring and summer. Our yard is currently a fun science experiment. I think these are daffodils and tulips, but we'll find out together in a few days.


3. On our epic road trip, one of the hotel lobbies had this sign. It warmed my heart.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. I totally recognize my content as of late has been light. I've also worked back to back conferences and am going on vacation, so it is what it is. This week's conference was in downtown Chicago and involved a lot of video and live broadcast. Both of these outfits were from Goodwill, and damn did I look sharp.


2. We've been trying to clean up our diets lately and I've realized it gets much easier with time. Even the kids are getting on board. I made this sheet pan chicken with chickpeas and tomato dish over the weekend. Initially, both kids refused to touch it. In the end, they loved the savory yogurt sauce that was served on top and ate the whole thing. I would consider this a big success.


3. I feel like I go through this with every holiday - I clearly need more decorations. But I also realize that more stuff = more to put out, clean up and put back. Ah, the choices.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Three Thing Thursday

1. My sisters and I went to Treat Yo'Self, which was put on by TimeOut Chicago. It was a blast. For $25, you got two drink tickets and unlimited tastes from a handful of dessert purveyors. There was also a DJ, fortune teller, hair stylist and massage therapist. I stuck with treats.


2. The small ones wanted to get a project at Joann's, so we tried sewing. We made pillows, a stuffed bunny and a sleeping bag for a toy. It was only slightly frustrating and they seemed to enjoy the challenge. Plus, I used my sewing machine for the first time in a year.


3. I went to SXSW last weekend (a whole post unto itself) and came home to this. I like the sad girl drawing at the bottom the best:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Donating Bone Marrow, One Year Later


Rocking Door County Half Iron
 that summer
Running a marathon 25 days post surgery
Thursday marks one year since I traveled to Baltimore to donate bone marrow. I don't write about it very often because truthfully, I don't think about it often. The short version is that I went under general anesthesia to have marrow extracted from my pelvis. The same day, it was transfused into the recipient as a potential cure for aggressive leukemia.
My life today is in many ways no different than it was a year ago. I ran 20 miles on the treadmill last weekend (almost a year to the day from last year), I'm training for a spring marathon and a fall Ironman and dealing with the same sort of exercised-induced minor injuries and soreness.

In essence, I am physically the same now as I was before the surgery. A few days of discomfort (never any pain) saved a life and I'm happy to report the recipient today is cancer-free and well on his way to living a normal life.

Swimming across a lake a few months later
It's an interesting paradox in that for a few weeks, the surgery was all I thought about. Avoiding sick people and doing everything in my power to stay healthy was my sole focus, and it was all-consuming for some time. Then the surgery day came and went, and after the first month, I rarely thought about it at all.

My scars are still fading. I was very swollen and sore for a few weeks and even when that subsided, the incisions where the punctures were made were visible for some time. Even now I can still see then, but I doubt anyone else would know what it is.

Bottom line, I would do it again. In a heartbeat. It has given my life purpose to give life to someone else. I feel like my life was moving towards this event in big and small ways for a long time - a flexible job to give me the time to do this, a partner who would take care of me throughout, retired parents to help in the process, an extended family for support, stepkids who gave me enough bugs and viruses that my immune system was in overdrive. Not to mention the results are nothing short of miraculous.
There are very few instances in which a person is given the opportunity to save a life. Be a hero and sign up for the bone marrow registry now.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. I've got that new glasses swagger! These came from GlassesShop and were both cheap and fast. I may never buy glasses from a store ever again. They're so overpriced compared to these, which do the same damn thing for all of $10. Now I'm frugal AND cute.



2. We went to a Mardi Gras party this week, so I got an opportunity to wear this gold dress again. Who would have ever thought I would get so many uses from a gold glitter shift dress?


3. We went on another date night last week to a damn fancy dinner. We had an eight-course tasting at Vie in Western Springs and it was worth every calorie. I have no delusions; I know I ate an ungodly amount of butter but I also don't care. The desserts were ah-mazingly heavenly. This is the surf and turf dish, which was everything I look for in steak. Be still, my heart.