This week I'd like to introduce Kelly.
I asked Kelly several questions, to help tell part of her story and introduce you all to her.
Kelly Blogs at Kelly The Culinarian
I came back from a work trip to Australia and decided I’d had enough with being a bit chubby. I started tracking calories online using SparkPeople.com and lost four pounds the first week. My early success is what kept me going. When I hit a plateau a few months later, I signed up for a 5K to give me something else to work towards. I can’t say I loved it the first race, but I did start to enjoy running a lot more because it helped me make friends and achieve something tangible.
Do you have advice for someone less active, who would like to be on what they can do to find the motivation to get started?
Don’t do it all at once. Start small. My first goal wasn’t to run a marathon. My first goal was to drink enough water. Truly, it was all I could manage. Then, I tried to improve my breakfasts and make them healthier. A few weeks later, I tackled making healthier dinners with enough leftover to take to work. Small changes over time that you can stick with will serve you better than quitting smoking, giving up chocolate, only eating vegetables and exercising eight hours a week all in one go.
You run several distances and as well as for training. Do you have a favorite race distance to run?
I really like the half marathon distance because you can challenge yourself without beating yourself up.
Do you have a favorite race you have done? Why is it your favorite?
I have several soft spots in my heart for specific races, the first being the Big Hit Half Marathon. It was the first half I ever did and it was so empowering to push to my goal. I also loved the Run River City Marathon relay that I did with some college friends. We had a wonderful weekend running down memory lane and trying an inaugural race in a town that, despite living in for several years, none of us had run in.
When I first started losing weight, I didn’t even know what an Ironman is. It’s a triathlon with a 2.4-mile open water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon, all to be completed in 17 hours or less. I saw a video of an Ironman on YouTube and started to sweat as I was watching it. The concept scared me, but it also excited me. I didn’t just want to get skinny, I wanted to get fit. And I wanted to do something epic in the process.
I’ve run in Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, California, China, South Korea, Washington, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and the middle of the ocean on a cruise.
If you could run any race in the entire world, which one would you pick and why?
I want to run the Boston Marathon. It may take me years to qualify, but I will do it one day.
You won your first age group race recently, tell us about it.
It was so thrilling! I won my age group in a small race, but that doesn’t matter. I felt like such a badass barreling towards the finish. It was also validating to know all the time I’m putting in is doing something.
I saw you have Ragnar Chicago on your race schedule. Team relays can be a lot of fun, is this your first or do you love doing team relays?
Ragnar will be my second relay race. I did a marathon relay with friends in Peoria a few weeks ago, but in that scenario, we only ran once. I’m looking forward to testing my ability to run multiple legs in one day.
Do you hope to be a lifelong runner?
I am very careful with my training so that I can preserve my strength and muscles so I can keep getting out there to do what I love.
The finish of a race. It’s sheer elation. I also love the running community and all the friends I’ve made through this sport.
Do you have any other hobbies you’d like to share?
Training doesn’t leave much time for other hobbies, although I do enjoy reading.
What are your favorite pre and post race foods?
I eat the same breakfast before almost every race: A toasted carb (usually ½ a FlatOut wrap or a whole grain English muffin) topped with 2 Tablespoons Krema peanut butter, sea salt, chia seeds and a sliced banana. After a race, I’m happy to eat what I can stomach. After my first marathon, I only had a protein shake because my stomach was upset. A few hours later, we got pizza and frozen yogurt from the Costco food court. It was the only thing I had a taste for. I think about food throughout most of my running.
If I had to eat just one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be tacos. I love all Mexican food and have an affinity for steak tacos, along with veggie fajitas and mole sauce. My favorite recipes involve oatmeal, chocolate or peanut butter. Or all of them. The recipe I’m known for the most is my famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Tell us, when you go “new” blog searching. What types of things grab your interest, what types of blogs do you love to follow?
I love recipe blogs with fantastic photography. I also like following runners’ journeys because then I feel like I’m part of the ride.
Tell us about your blog, what do you blog about? What can readers expect if they follow your blog?
My blog is all about finding balance in life. I’m training for big-time races, but it’s not all I do. I work full time, I’m married and I have an adorable yorkie. My blog is about where all these things combine because a life of balance is a life worth living.
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Thank you for being willing to be spotlighted Kelly! I wish you the best as you train for the Ironman, I look forward to reading about your journey towards it!!! Have fun cooking and making fabulous dishes, and hope you get lots and lots of tacos")