Kelly the Culinarian: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Recipes for Recovery

Hey friends! I'm still reflecting and recovering from my marathon on Saturday. All things considered, I'm feeling pretty stellar. No chafing and just some soreness in my back on the right side, so I'm ready to get back at it. I credit a lot of this to my recovery plan.

The first order of business after the race was to refuel - I had a few bites of a bagel, a protein bar and some toast and peanut butter when I got back to Katie's place, mostly because I wanted her magical Winnie the Pooh toaster to make me some themed toast. I also had yogurt-covered pretzels before stuffing my face at dinner.

I had to take my medal out for a beer, burger and chips. Sadly, we ended up at Chili's after the line at Three Floyds was way too long for marathon appetites. I ate heartily and went to bed at a decent time that night.

The focus of the day after my marathon was recovery and protein. I started the day with protein pancakes.
Cabot Protein Pancake Recipe

Protein Pancake Recipe
1 scoop Cabot protein powder
1 large ripe banana
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Heat up an iron skillet to medium-high and coat with coconut oil. Using a medium (3 Tablespoon) scoop, spoon onto the skillet and cook until bubbles appear on the edges. Flip and repeat. I topped mine with more bananas, chia seeds, salt and peanut butter.
Next up, I had a little recovery workout at the gym. I jogged very slowly on the treadmill for two miles, then used the elliptical to get limber and flush out all the lactic acid. I actually felt really good! And I wore my marathon shirt, naturally.
Then it was time for a detox bath. It's just two cups of epsom salt and one cup of baking soda dissolved in hot water. Soak for 20 minutes, feel like a million bucks.
Detox Bath Recipe
Cabot Protein Mocha Latte Recovery Shake Recipe
Cabot Mocha Latte Recover ShakeLunch was a tuna fish sandwich, roasted cabbage and lots of water. I also had a protein shake with lunch.

Mocha Latte Recovery Shake Recipe
1 scoop Cabot protein powder
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 packet instant coffee
1/2 cup coffee ice (frozen leftover coffee)
1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Blend together in a blender, then serve.

In the afternoon, we took a family walk around Napoleon's favorite park, which is a one-mile loop. Luckily, the walk did not give me PTSD after the 26 one-mile loops I ran the day before.

Dinner was grilled chipotle pork steaks with grilled brussel sprouts, followed by foam rolling and stretching. I again tried to get to bed early and made it to the pool first thing this morning to keep the recovery going.

How do you recover after a race or tough workout?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 Circular Logic Marathon Race Report

Six word recap: A PR, but not my goal.
2014 Circular Logic Marathon Race Report

Editing pictures
Before I get into the nitty gritty of the Circular Logic Marathon, I want to make sure I thank my sister Katie. Girlfriend let me and three of my sweaty besties crash her apartment, then stood out in the cold for four hours watching us run around in circles. She also took more than 1,000 photos in the process and kept cheering for me even when I crashed and burned. I thanked her profusely and she said she wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I crumbled, because every now and then, I have all the feelings.
Before and after

Backing it up to Friday. I worked from home and had white bread toast with peanut butter and banana, cheese pizza for lunch and then a sweet potato, apple and a handful of pita chips. Mo picked me up and then we regrouped in La Grange to make the two-hour ride to West Lafayette, which was uneventful.

I slept pretty well, then was the first up and woke up the whole apartment burning toast. I had white bread, banana and almond butter (I picked up the wrong packet), then spent an hour fretting over the weather. There was snow on the ground. SNOW! It was really cold, but I decided to wear the La Isla bra, a tank top, booty shorts, running tights, a long-sleeved tech shirt and a windbreaker. I also wore a hat and gloves and wish I had a scarf.

We showed up and set up our own table for gels and such, and dropped our water bottles at the aid station. I was super jealous of some of the set ups other clubs had. A club had a tent and tarps, as well as propane-fueled heaters in dog cages so people didn't get too close. Geniuses.

So the basic set up of the race: Every lap was about 3/4 of wide blacktop path, and the remainder had a narrow sidewalk. You ran on the left and passed on the right. We picked our numbers and had custom bibs on the front and back, which was really convenient for cheering people on. The first lap was 1.2 miles, and every subsequent lap was one mile. There were port-o-potties, flush toilets and the aid tables right around the same spot every lap. You picked up your bottle from the table and there were laundry baskets to deposit them, where volunteers retrieved it, refilled it with water or Gatorade, then placed it back on the table in numerical order. I picked 312 for Chicago.

The race started on time and we got to work. My marathon plan was very defined. It was windy and cold, just like every other run we've done this winter. But something was very wrong. I knew as early as six something wasn't right.

I made two bathroom stops before 10, and I just couldn't get it back to it. I knew 3:50 was out of reach after the second bathroom stop. I don't actually know what was wrong. I was cramping, I puked and I had to resort to run/walk. I caught up to Brent, who said a sub four was still within reach if I didn't walk. But the cramps were too bad and it just slipped through my fingers. I ran with Mo when I could and just focused on finishing.

Seeing Katie for the last few laps really helped. She kept telling me every step I was closer to beer, which kept me focused. That kid is clearly going for sainthood.
I Ran One-Mile Loops In a Park And Finished The
2014 Circular Logic Marathon But Never Got Far From
My Car Since

I crossed the finish line at 4:16 and had a hard time breathing. I took a minute, collected my super awesome medal, cried, broke down the table and headed back to Katie's for a shower. Mo and I toasted the occasion with IP(Red)As before heading back to Chicago.

I need to reflect further on what the hell happened, but I'm trying to focus on the fact that I still PRed and did it without injury. I took off almost 15 minutes from my time at the Fox Valley Marathon in 2012.

I have nothing but great things to say about the race. There was a guy named Mike who was the best cheerleader on the planet. We joked that we wish we had his enthusiasm - he yelled and screamed for us every lap. Every one there was super nice and encouraging to one another, and the race was just very chill. This race was completely green - they even recycled the envelopes from the packets for next year. Plus, it was perhaps the best value of a race ever. For $42, we got gender-specific tech shirts with all the runner's names on it.

I paid $35 for my Racine 70.3 Ironman shirt with my name on it, so that's already a win. The medal is also super awesome. And if you come back to race again, you get a Pi charm on your medal. It was a good race, just not a good day for me.

Time: 4:16:43 (15 minutes off of my previous marathon PR)

Cost: $42-55, depending on when you signed up

Pros: Environmentally friendly race, great shirt, awesome medal, great support, easy to spectate, an easy drive from Chicago, CHEAP

Cons: It's a one mile loop. Twenty six times. This takes a special kind of crazy for this. The timing mats went out at one point, and it would have been great if the volunteers and race staff were designated in some way because we couldn't tell who we needed to talk to.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

How to Shop at ALDI

Kelly the Culinarian: How to Shop at ALDI and Favorite ALDI Products
So a bunch of the big bloggers out there were recently invited into some kind of ALDI outreach program.

This isn't one of those posts. I'm just an avid ALDI shopper living 20 minutes from the headquarters who's been going there since before it was cool. In fact, Katie asked me how one shop's at ALDI. I've been shopping there long enough that I never considered it's a different experience going into an ALDI as compared to a WalMart, Target or Jewel.

ALDI used to have a bit of a reputation, which I understand. Growing up, the only ALDI in our area was in a very not glamorous part of town. But we went anyways because the prices were impossible to beat and the quality was clearly established. It's mostly private-label items, but this place is owned by the same people as Trader Joe's, which is also mostly private-label merchandise. People, it's the same manufacturers with different labels. I challenge you to taste the difference between Cheerios, Healthy Os and Trader Joe's Os.
ALDI does require a bit of planning. You must bring a quarter, your own shopping bags and either a debit card or cash (credit cards and checks are not accepted). Why do you need a quarter, you ask? Because the carts are all chained together right outside the entrance. You use a quarter as a deposit to unchain them. This means rebel carts aren't out there damaging your car (if you have a car fancy enough to care. I don't.) and no one has to be paid to collect carts in the parking lot.

And why the bags? ALDI was also green before it was cool. ALDI has bags, but you have to pay for them. It ain't easy being green, people. If you forget your bags and absolutely can't stomach pay a nickle for a bag, there are cardboard boxes near the check out where you can stack up your purchases for the ride home. 
What I like about ALDI is that there are only two or three basic layouts for the store and they generally do not change. What this means is that I can go to any ALDI in the suburbs and know where to find the bananas, almond milk and frozen chicken.

Generally speaking, the chips and candy are first, followed by cereals and baking supplies. The refrigerated case is at the back of the store, with the freezers running along the further wall from the door. The bread is by the freezers, and fresh produce, paper products, canned goods and special buys are in the middle. The short freezer cases are special buys as well - holiday hams and Super Bowl wings and such. 

Some ALDI carry beer and wine, and some carry hard liquor. This includes off brands and brands you'd recognize like 312.  What I like about this established layout is that there is a flow to the store - often times, I don't even make a list because I can walk the whole store in 20 minutes and pass anything I might need to jog my memory.

Also, there are only a few choices for each product category. My biggest time suck in grocery shopping is standing in front of an entire aisle of salad dressing. Peppercorn Ranch? Bacon cheddar Ranch? Low-fat Ranch? Low-sodium Ranch? Just give me Ranch, thankyouverymuch. The typical grocery store carried 30,000 items, and ALDI carried just 1,400. That's typically enough for me to get 80 percent of what I need.

Most of ALDI's products are displayed in the boxes they're shipped in. This saves time in merchandising. The boxes are also colored to match the product so everything looks neat.

ALDI does have sales flyers, which I tend to receive in the mail during the week from my newspaper carrier. You can also access the weekly specials online. These are usually seasonal for the holidays, or around a specific ethnic cuisine theme. It can include food products as well as electronics, toys and household goods. Watch for hand-written signs, which generally mean an item is on clearance. 

Once you've selected all your goodies, you'll pay with your cash or debit card. You can get cash back on the card. Then, you bag your own groceries. Again, this saves money because they're not paying a teenager to do this for you. Your paid-for groceries are deposited back into your cart by the cashier and you can take them over to a low counter near the check out to do your own bagging. It's not inconvenient at all, promise.
 One final note about why you should definitely give ALDI a try. If you don't believe me that the food is no different than what you'd get at the supermarket, just try it. If you hate it, go back and you will get your money back and a new item, just in case there was something wrong with what you had. It's the ALDI double guarantee. I've only twice bought items at ALDI that were rancid and they were replaced and refunded without any question.

Now, on to my favorite ALDI foods!
Sweet potato chips, Irish cream liquor, oatmeal, knock off Nutella, pita chips and sugar-free jam
ALDI also occasionally has flavored Irish cream liquors, like caramel, white chocolate and strawberry.

Chocolate bars, knock off Kashi, all forms of spices, doggie treats, chocolate chips, almond and organic milk
The doggie treats are Napoleon approve - the sausage sticks fit perfectly into a Kong as well. And for reference, every ingredient needed for my famous chocolate chip cookie recipe originates from ALDI. My ALDI recently started carrying unsweetened almond milk, too, which is awesome. My only gripe about ALDI in general is that the packaging for the cumin and the cinnamon is quite similar, making for some surprising bowls of oatmeal in the past.

Tortillas, pasta sauce, chicken broth, artisan bread and water flavor
I tend to go with the chunky marinara pasta sauce that doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup. This is what I use for our Flatout Bread pizzas.

Frozen steamable vegetables, frozen raw and cooked chicken, frozen strawberries, tea and produce
This is the tea I use for my homemade kombucha. The frozen berries are for my green monster smoothies and the frozen veggies are a Weight Watchers-friendly staple.

Do you have any other questions about shopping at ALDI? E-mail me!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm realizing there is absolutely no such thing as packing light for a marathon. I've traveled for a week on less than what I'm taking for my 24-hour trip to Indiana. I have an outfit for if it's warm, I have an outfit for if it's cold, I have my comfies and a I have a post-race brewery outfit. Because that's a thing. And all my fuel, toiletries and snacks. I'm ridiculous, clearly.
2. Anne asked me via my Facebook page what to look for in bike shorts. I buy mine on The Clymb or Amazon and look for long-distance shorts, not tri shorts or briefs. Those just aren't sturdy enough for long distances. I prefer the longer shorts (seven inches) so they don't ride up and cause chafing, because that's not hot. I typically go with Canari or Pearl Izumi, mostly because of the price point. Make sure the pad (or chamois) is contoured, too, so you don't feel like you're wearing a diaper. Also, look for shorts that have gripper dots like these:

Rather than a strip of rubber like this.

The later will inevitably squeeze your legs into sausage-like tubes. Not cute, and not comfy.
Sausage effect = not cute.
3. I'm taking probiotics like it's my job in prep for the marathon Saturday. I've never had this brand before, but the fact that it gives me a grin brightens my mornings. It's the little things in life, right?
"Good morning, Kelly's tummy!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Win it Wednesday: A Guessing Game

Hey friends! I'm off to the gym today to run three miles. Three. Spare me. It's barely worth the shower.

Anyhow, I've got to get it done because I'm heading downtown for meetings and a fun luncheon before coming back to get crazy with my marathon prep. There's packing and carpool coordination to be done, and the bitchiness is at an all-time high in my household.
Really, I don't. I'm just tapering.
In the meantime, I thought I'd host another "guess my time" contest. I did this for my last 70.3 triathlon and found it fun and motivating, so why mess with success? How it works: You guess my marathon finish time. The closest to my actual time gets a box of mystery goodies shipped to them by yours truly. It's a mystery because these aren't products anyone supplied me to giveaway - they're from my own personal stash of stuff. Here are the relevant details:
  • My marathon PR is 4:30
    The bag o' goodies
  • I set that PR more than a year and a half ago
  • I've since added CrossFit
  • I last trained by myself using Hal Higdon's plan
  • I trained for this marathon using the FIRST method and did my long runs with a group. I followed this plan almost exactly.
  • I ran my 20 miler and 18 miler at nearly 90 seconds faster per mile this cycle
  • My current PRs are: 22:53 for a 5K (set two weeks ago), 49:06 for a 10K (ran in November)
  • I've trained for a sub-four marathon
  • My marathon plan is to start at a pace that would bring me in at 3:51
  • I had a cold and called in sick to work Tuesday. I think rest/vitamins/water/Sudafed cured it, but it's hard to tell.

So tell it to me straight: What do you think my finishing time will be?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Training Tuesday: Marathon Action Plan

Hey, sexy runner ... 
So here we are mere days away from my next marathon. It's been a long time coming - I signed up for the Circular Logic Marathon last fall in hopes of training through the winter to start Ironman training ahead of the game. I also wanted to crush my current marathon PR of 4:30.

So Saturday, it's time to put up or shut up.

I managed to con two runners from my club into joining me for running in a circle 26 times. Maureen is also running, joining us for the carpool out there Friday night. Between splitting gas four ways and staying with my sister, this might be my cheapest race ever (registration was $42).

I've trained all this time for a sub-four finish and now it's getting real. I feel great, relatively speaking, and am ready to test the waters. Here's my plan:

  • Wake up to eat two hours before the start of the race.
  • Eat two slices of toasted white bread with peanut butter and a banana.
  • Bring two different outfits to choose from depending on the weather.
  • Set up an aid table for the club along the course.
  • Bring two water bottles - one with just water, one with Perpetuem.
    Gimme that medal
  • Eat a honey packet right before the start.
  • Start the marathon at an 8:50 pace. This would put me at a 3:51 finish. I'll use virtual trainer on my Garmin to keep me on track.
  • After eight miles, fuel with a honey packet every other mile.
  • Sip water on the even miles, perpetuem on the odd.
  • Take the endurolyte pills at the halfway mark.
  • Have a Hammer shot at the 16-mile mark.
  • If I feel good at 20, I'll up the pace for the last 10K.
  • Take another caffeinated Hammer gel at 22 if needed.
  • Smile at the finish, cry, collapse, take a shower at my sister's apartment and have lunch at Three Floyds.
If you have any tips, advice, words of wisdom or cautionary tales, tell me now in the comments section. I need all the help I can get.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What I'm Reading

Tapering sucks.
As if you haven't heard me say it enough, the taper for Saturday's marathon is making me absolutely nutty. I have way too much time on my hands. I'm using it to put together some posts from my Ask Me Anything request. In the meantime, here are a few really great reads I'm digging lately.

Why Zac Morris is a Criminal and a Monster: In retrospect, this dreamboat is kind of a creeper.

50 Ways to Get Better at CrossFit: Whoa. This list is intense. But there are a lot of lessons in here that translate to all athletes (or aspiring athletes).

Running as Therapy: This one is deep, but resonates with every runner. There are times when pounding the pavement provides more clarity than an hour of Lifetime television and a pint of ice cream.

6 Lessons for Living Longer from a 90-year-old Track Star: I'm not sure how long I want to live, but if I'm living like this woman, I'd be pretty happy. She's active, has friends and enjoys hobbies. Her secrets are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, which is coincidentally one of her secrets.

You Know You're an Ironman When ....: I smiled and I cringed reading this. I have a long path ahead of me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My first Zombie Dust

I really meant to blog yesterday. It was on my to-do list and everything. Until this happened:
Eataly Chicago
The rare and illusive Three Floyds Zombie Dust
That's right - we secured a six-pack of the mysterious and highly sought after Zombie Dust by Indiana brewery Three Floyds. For the uninitiated, this magical brew consistently rates as one of the best beers in all the land by various Internet purveyors of such knowledge. And they can't put anything that isn't true on the Internet. It's the Internet.

Anyhow, backing up. We started the day with spin class, which felt especially hard. I also traveled 31 miles in 90ish minutes, so that might be why.

I then got my spine adjusted for my marathon (which is less than a week away. Shoot me now). I see a chiropractor based out of my CrossFit gym on occasion, and the Open was going on when I rolled in. Damn, these guys are good.
Then, we headed downtown on a mission. A mission of pizza.
People kept raving about Coalfire and I saw it on some battle of the best-style program on the travel channel or the food network or something. Tim suggested we try it and I readily agreed. We went with the 'Nduja pizza, which is what they're known for. It's a cheese and basil pizza with calabrese salami. The meat was excellent and we both wished there was more. Also, the crust was so. good. The smokiness from the coal and crunchiness this cooking method imparts was unparalleled.
 We were already downtown and looking for something to do. I suggested we finally go to Eataly, which is like an Italian IKEA for food.

We parked at the spot at Ontario and Ohio that we rent for Tim's classes, then walked the six blocks. Honestly, the place was so bananas on a Saturday afternoon that I can't say much about the store itself. I would have loved to check out the Nutella bar or the pastry counter, but the entire downstairs was a mob scene. We retreated upstairs and checked out the bread (these focaccias look amazing).

We were perusing the alcohol section and noticed a refrigerated beer cooler. I was checking to see if they had my favorite brew from Revolution (Willis) or maybe something from Rogue I hadn't tried when Tim bent over and checked out the very bottom shelf. Hidden back there was one, single six pack of Zombie Dust. We had just talked about me picking some up on our way back from the marathon next weekend if I had the chance, so he said, "If you want to try Zombie Dust, they have it right here!" Sold.
three floyds
We stopped by the coffee bar to toast our victory. I got an espresso machiato with the house blend 1882 coffee. Tim gave me his Biscoff cookie, so I got double the crunchy coffee goodness. We toasted to Zombie Dust and smiled as three different people approached us to ask where we got it.
espresso machiato
If you need me, I'll be basking in the glow of our new beer find, which I had to guard with my life to get out of Eataly.