Indy 500 or bust!

It is a Casperson tradition to go to Indianapolis for Memorial Day weekend and the Indianapolis 500 🙂  Brett had never been before so it was a brand new experience for him.  The race was quick paced and the weather held back its heat and rain to give us a race day with temperatures in the mid 60s to 70s…absolutely perfect!  I have memories as a child of sitting in the horrible heat and sun some years and in the wind and rain other years (they don’t race in the rain for those of you less acquainted with Indy Racing League rules…the spectators sit patiently under ponchos in the stands until the rain stops and then trucks with blow dryers come out and spend an hour drying the track before racing restarts…just a side note for you 🙂  )

This year was absolutely awesome though!  Here are some pictures from our day…









Chicago Marathon 2012…heading towards Chicago Marathon 2013!

Brett and I have officially registered for the Chicago Marathon this October, 2013.  Since I never shared the experience that we had last October running the marathon, I thought now was as good a time as any!

After many months of training with the pups, we were ready to pack up and drive to Chicago for the marathon!


In Champaign, we prepared our required race day essentials and put everything we’d need in/on our running belts



Some of our techniques worked better than others.  For instance, I now know that cutting up power bars into strips and putting them into empty water bottles makes for almost impossible to retrieve snacks during the race 🙂  We then drove to Chicago and picked up our race packets.  I’ll have to share pictures of this year’s expo with you in October because the event is HUGE.  Anyway, we picked up our packets and headed to Brett’s childhood home where we readied our clothes for the race.

IMG_0888Then it was time for bed.  At 4 am the alarm clock went off.  We took care of the pups, got dressed, and headed downtown.  It was still very dark outside.  When we got to the parking garage designated for the runners we realized that we were slightly ahead of schedule so we posed for a photo op.  We looked like this…


but we felt like this…  🙂


Then we headed to the American Brain Tumor Association’s team tent.


I took a photo with the team


and we all headed to the start line


It was awfully cold still!  Brett and I bought cheap sweats at Target to put on over our running clothes before the race.  An organization picks up the clothes deposited by runners before the race and donates them to homeless people.  🙂


We had to wait about 45 minutes for the race to start…along with 40,000 of our closest friends 🙂



During the race we took some funny videos 🙂  This one (IMG_0904) is us entertaining ourselves while waiting for the race to start and surrounded by thousands of runners.

You can see other ones IMG_0905, and IMG_0906, and IMG_0907

This is what the end of the race looks like



We had a great time running the race and are hopeful that we’ll stay even more on top of our training for the 2013 event!  🙂  If you would like to donate to either of our marathons, we are each running for charities that are near and dear to our hearts.  I am running for the American Brain Tumor Association in memory of my mother and for those patients, caregivers, and families living with this disease.  Brett is running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of his father and for what we went through.  Each of these charities do wonderful, wonderful things.  Please consider donating 🙂

This is the link to my fundraising page and this is the link to Brett’s fundraising page

Thank you!

Love, Mallory & Brett







aching hearts

My mother taught me that when catastrophic and scary things happen in our lives we have 2 options…we can either crawl under a table and hide or we can keep on going.  So, in the aftermath of the bombings at the Boston marathon yesterday and with aching hearts, Brett and I took the pups on a run.  The weather was nice and the wind wasn’t very strong.  We ran because that was taken away from some yesterday and because, for us, it is a way of dealing with grief and stress, with pain and loneliness.

Many runners have felt very connected to this event (obviously along side those of us with family, histories, friends, etc. in Boston).  This blog post by a fellow runner sums up everyone’s  thoughts and fears quite well I think.  The determination and courage of our fellow runners and humans is what I have been trying to focus on when the world feels so very dark and frightening.  This courage was shown directly by the actions of this man…a 78 year old runner who was very close to the bombs.  He fell to the ground after the explosion, got up again, and finished the race.

May we all be able to finish our races and May peace be with all of us.

the return of hobbies!

Brett and I LOVE hobbies! 🙂 We have quite a few of them… and often times don’t seem to be able to make time for anything of them. There are entire weeks in our academic lives where we get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, work some more, and then go to bed…with some doggie loving happening whenever possible while at home 🙂 BUT this post isn’t about research or work or grad school…its about the stuff that we LOVE to do when we’re not doing all of that other stuff! (though many already probably know that Brett’s hobbies and his research are often heavily mixed, haha).

One thing that I love to do is bake. 🙂 I wouldn’t say that I love to cook…because while I do cook dinners and make lunches…sweet things are my absolute favorite and I seem to only find the motivation to spend over an hour in the kitchen if what I’m making is SWEET 🙂 This past weekend I made some of those shortbread, caramel, chocolate layered desserts that I have talked about before . I made them again and they didn’t take nearly as long this time and turned out buttery and wonderful 🙂 Here is a picture before the chocolate was poured over the caramel…


Brett is pretty big into photography… I owned a DSLR before we met but he has gotten me WAY more into this fun hobby and talked us both into purchasing better lenses about a year ago. Here are a few shots that I took after getting the fun new lens




Just as a side note…all of the pictures that I have previously posted to this main ‘blog’ portion of the website (all the ones besides the three above) have all been taken with my iPhone…crazy right?! 🙂

Lately, Brett has been experimenting with time-lapse photography and has been seeing if he can’t rig something together with supplies that we already have at home. This is him toying with something in the kitchen


The return of warmer weather has meant some awesome running in the neighborhood with the pups. We have found exercising to be a really fun way of spending time together…especially when we go through periods of time when we need to get some serious miles on those sneakers while training for races! When the wind dies down a little though, we really LOVE biking 🙂 It takes us about 15 minutes of biking to be deep into the corn fields for some really nice road riding. This is us at our ‘half way point’ for water, food, and a picture break during a 21 mile ride this past weekend.


Everyone once in a while we splurge on a weekend brunch. 🙂 Here, we’re waiting for our names to be called


Lately, some of our hobbies have taken a complete back burner. Over the winter, Brett and I got really into stained glass…but since school and research got super busy and then the weather got warmer we haven’t gotten any closer to finishing some of those projects. I’ll be sure to post some pictures though when we get back to them! Another thing I’ve really been wanting to try is candle making. My dad got me this awesome kit 2 Christmases ago and I still haven’t made them. The kit came with wax, jars, wicks, colors, and even scents. Brett’s interests go in and out depending on what his research requires…for a while over the holidays, we had a downstairs FULL of poster board cut outs for potential holiday yard displays. 🙂 Most of all though, I think we spend most of our time being goofy with one another. 🙂 Here is one of Brett’s signature faces


What kind of hobbies do you and your spouse/significant other/roommates like to do? Do these change when the weather gets warmer? 🙂