PEAK WEEK! I broke my weekly mileage record by one mile, and ran 200 miles in a month for the first time. I took two rest days, but I think it really helped me get through 57 miles (which is a lot for me) without too many issues. On Saturday I felt a little achy in my right knee, but by Sunday morning I was good to go for my first 20 miler of this training cycle.
It seems a little early to have my peak week since there are still 5 weeks until the race, but next week will be around 49, and the week after, 52. Then, taper madness!
Megan recently posted about running more miles, and it made me think about the mileage I’ve been running lately. For my first few marathons, I think I peaked at MAYBE 40 miles a week, with one 20 miler. I did okay, and I eventually ended up breaking 4 hours on my third try. But Advanced Marathoning changed everything! When I had a plan all laid out for me, I didn’t really doubt that I could run so many more miles than I was used to. I was really intimidated by that 55 mile week, but the plan built up to it gradually, and I survived. Someday in the future, I’d love to try and peak at 70 miles a week…but we’ll see.
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 7 miles @ 8:17/mile
Wednesday – AM: Super early 7 mile run with Aron; PM: 5.75 miles
Thursday – rest
Friday – AM: 8 w/ 5 @ 7:18/mile; PM: 4.2 miles
Saturday – 5.25 miles easy
Sunday – 20 miles @ 8:54/mile
Total: 57.2 miles! (October total: 204 miles)
My long run felt sort of like cheating. I woke up really early, ran to the gym and did 6 miles on the treadmill, ran home to drop off my phone and headlamp, ran a 7 mile loop, then ran the last 5 with Mike and Ellie. Breaking it up like that made it SO much easier to face, and the last 5 miles ended up being the fastest.
I recovered the best way I know how: with pizza.
I based it on this recipe, but with homemade white crust, canned artichoke hearts rather than fresh, and pizza sauce instead of oil. I don’t use pecorino often enough!
In spite of the fact that the compost cookies completely flopped, I am completely in love with the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. When Mike decided he wanted his birthday cake to be THE birthday cake from the book, I was super stoked….until I realized that I didn’t have any acetate sheets or clear vanilla extract. But I can assure you that even with regular old vanilla extract, this beats any other homemade funfetti cake by a mile (and I’ve tried a few). Plus, you can buy acetate sheets (overhead transparencies) from the print-shop section of an office supply store for about a dollar a sheet (I used 2 sheets for the cake) and just tape them together.
Thanks to my less than stellar reading comprehension skills (an affliction that worsens when I’m overly excited about trying a new recipe), I started baking only about 8 hours before we wanted to eat. The recipe tells you to put the cake in the freezer for at least 12, and then thaw in the fridge for 3, but 3 hours in the freezer was plenty.
This cookbook is what initially sold me on baking by weight (The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recommends it as well, but I couldn’t be bothered until sweets were involved), so I HIGHLY recommend using a kitchen scale for this. I am listing the weights because I didn’t measure by volume, except for liquids and little stuff like baking powder. The directions say to bake it in a quarter sheet pan and then use cake rings to make 6″ round layers. I just divided the batter in thirds and baked it in 6″ round pans and it worked perfectly.
My parents, Mike and I all agreed that this cake was HEAVENLY. It’s very sweet, but the frosting is like no other homemade frosting I’ve ever had; a perfect hybrid of buttercream and cream cheese frosting. The crumbs between each layer are a must because of the unexpected contrast they provide. I know the recipe looks like a major production, but it’s a lot of fun to put together!
- 100 g sugar
- 25 g light brown sugar
- 90 g cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 20 g rainbow sprinkles
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 55 g butter, at room temperature (1/2 stick)
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 245 g cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 50 g rainbow sprinkles
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 4 tsp corn syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 200 g powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- pinch baking powder
- pinch citric acid
- First, make the crumbs: Preheat the oven to 300F. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix will. Stir in the oil and vanilla and mix until clusters form. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cool completely before using in the cake.
- To make the cake, turn the oven up to 350 F. Line 3 6" cake pans with parchment rounds and grease the sides.
- Combine the butter, shortening, and both sugars in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or two after each addition.
- Add the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla and beat on medium-high for 5 minutes, until the batter is well-mixed.
- Divide evenly among the pans
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles, and mix on low just until combined.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edge of the cake bounces back when poked and the middle is set.
- Cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the layers from their pans and cool completely.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter, shortening, and cream cheese together in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 3 minutes.
- Add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat on high for another 3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid and mix on low so you don't send powdered sugar flying all over your kitchen. Once it's incorporated, turn the mixer up to high and beat until smooth and creamy.
- To assemble the cake, put a piece of parchment or wax paper on a plate and set one of the layers on it.
- Wrap a 3" tall, 20" long strip of acetate around the base of the cake and tape it in place.
- Mix the milk and vanilla (for the soak) together in a small bowl, and brush a third of it over the first layer.
- Spread one fifth of the frosting evenly over the cake. Sprinkle with some of the crumbs, press them into the frosting, and top with a thin layer of frosting.
- Place the second layer on top of the frosting and tuck another strip of acetate (the same size as the first one) in so you have a 5" tall ring.
- Set a second cake round on top of the frosting and repeat with the soak, crumbs, and frosting.
- Add the third layer, brush the remaining soak over it, and spread the remaining frosting on top. Sprinkle with a few of the remaining crumbs.
- Place the plate in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
- Carefully peel the acetate off the sides of the cake and defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours before serving.
(from Momofuku Milk Bar)
Halfway there! I’ve had some serious ups and downs in motivation, but I’ve been getting my runs done (except for one 12-miler that turned into 7). I shifted things around a little bit because I raced that half marathon two weeks ago, but now I’m right back on schedule and have my first 20 mile run this weekend.
Now that it’s getting dark so much earlier, and daycare closes at 5:30, I’m going to have to split more medium-long runs into double days. I’m not totally thrilled about it, but hopefully just getting those miles in will still be beneficial.
M – 2200 meter swim
T- 50 minute spin
W- 12 miles (8:05 min/mile) – Probably the last medium-long run I’ll be able to do while it’s still light
F- 8 with 4 @ Lactate Threshold (7:10 min/mile)
Sa- 5 easy
Su – 15 total (1 mile warm-up, half marathon in 1:38, 1 mile cool-down)
M – 2300 m swim
Tu – 6 miles
W- AM: 5 miles with 5 x 1000 @ 5K pace (avg. about 4:10); PM: 5 miles
Th- 7 miles in 1:02. This was supposed to be 12, but I was EXHAUSTED
Sa- 6 miles easy
Su- 16 miles (hard to get myself out the door, and hard to keep myself going, but I got it done)
Mike just turned 31, and the celebration lasted days. Pizza one day, cake another, and on day 3, the Vitamix arrived.
Ellie was almost as excited about it as he was.
If I’d had this when I made this soup, I definitely would have pureed it, but since I was feeling exceptionally lazy (and was still without this amazing blender), I just left it chunky. I think it would be great either way. It’s incredibly simple with just a few ingredients, and with a thick piece of crusty bread and a simple salad, dinner is done!
Red Lentil and Carrot Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp harissa
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 1/2 cups red lentils
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- salt to taste
- yogurt and cilantro for garnish
- Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the harissa and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the lentils and broth and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes (lentils will pretty much disintegrate).
- Salt to taste, then puree if desired.
- Serve with yogurt and cilantro.
(adapted from BBC Good Food)
I really, really appreciate weekends, and this last one was the best one we’ve had in a while. Dinner with good friends on Friday, a beautiful run in Alameda on Saturday…
followed by beer on a patio in Hayes Valley with my favorite college roommate.
A new half marathon PR on Sunday was followed by coffee with my 2 favorites.
We’ve now reached that point in the year when some people are doing entirely too many things with pumpkin. I’m one of those people, and I don’t really plan on changing that any time soon. I feel like just about everything that one can do with pumpkin has been done before, and I know making coffee cake with it isn’t exactly earth-shattering and new. But my whole family loved this coffee cake (and of course I drank a pumpkin spice latte on the side), so if you’re still craving more pumpkin, here you go!
I cut the topping recipe in half because although I usually can’t get enough, here it was just too much, especially when combined with the filling in the middle.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 large eggs
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour a 13x9" baking pan.
- Whisk the dry ingredients for the topping together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub between your fingers (or use a pastry cutter) until it resembles wet sand. Set aside.
- To make the filling, whisk together all filling ingredients.
- To make the cake, cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugars. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pumpkin, and milk (don't worry if it's lumpy).
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low. Scrape down the bowl and add half the pumpkin mixture. Continue alternating until all ingredients are just combined.
- Spread half the batter into the pan, top with the filling, then add the remaining batter and carefully spread it over the filling.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest 15-20 minutes before serving.
This was a really hard race for me, from start to finish. But I’m absolutely THRILLED with my shiny new half marathon PR, so I’ll try and tone down the complaints.
The weather could not have been better: It was 58 and foggy for the entire race! After going out to fast and completely falling apart at the SFM half, I was determined to not make that mistake again. 7:35-7:40 pace has felt pretty comfortable lately, so I decided to try and start in that range and see how I felt.
How I felt was honestly pretty crappy. The course makes about 2345 turns through the endless suburbs, which made for kind of boring scenery. There were a few rolling hills in the first few miles, but other than that it was pretty much flat. My legs felt fine, but I was breathing pretty hard and felt like my heart rate was too high.
At mile 2 I tried to get water, but the volunteer turned away to grab another cup at the last second so I ended up having to wait until mile 6 to drink. I kept going back and forth between feeling pretty dead and defeated and getting little bursts of energy that never seemed to last more than about half a mile. Around mile 9, I felt like I needed Gu, so I had half of one, but my stomach wasn’t feeling too awesome so I threw the other half away. Miles 9-11 were on a long, straight stretch of bike path and I tried to pick it up a little bit but it felt like I was running into a headwind (I wasn’t). Around mile 11, the half marathon joined up with the 5K, which normally spells total disaster, but they had specific lanes for each race and people pretty much stayed where they were supposed to.
I finally saw the 13 mile marker with the finish line in the distance. A few people flew past me but I didn’t have much of a kick at all. I crossed the line in 1:38:36, a PR by over a minute.
Even though this race was pretty unpleasant (OK, more than that. It was downright painful most of the time) from start to finish, I’m proud of myself for not giving up, mentally checking out, and slowing down. I was glancing at my watch and trying to do the math to see if I’d PR for most of the second half, and I knew it would be close, which is a lot less fun than those rare but awesome runs where you realize you can slow down to 10 minute miles and still PR.
I was 17th female, which earned me a Top 50 shirt, and the McMillan Pace Calculator says that I can run a 3:27:30 marathon. So, all things considered, this race was actually pretty awesome, in spite of (or maybe, weirdly, because of) how hard it felt.
This week was pretty much perfect as far as training goes.
I made these muffins on Saturday and ate 2 as fuel before my long run Sunday morning, and it was the best long run I’ve gone on in WEEKS! The recipe came from Dorie Greenspan, the baker genius.
Mon – 6 miles
Tues – 1800 meter swim. I was hoping for at least 2000 but got a HORRIBLE headache at about 1500 and just didn’t last much longer. Main set was 8 x 100 and man was it sloooow. Also did tons of drills.
Weds – 11.2 miles. Planned on 10, but my Garmin was dead so I headed out and mapped it when I got home
Thurs -AM: 6 miles (treadmill); PM: 4 miles (with the stroller)
Fri – Rest, glorious rest
Sat – 5 miles VERY easy (9:18 min/mile)
Sun – 17 miles (8:30 min/mile; last 2 miles were 7:36 and 7:42). Started out with 5 miles with my dad, then ran by home to drop him off and pick up Mike, who ran the last 12 with me. I felt great the entire run, which seems like it never happens!
TOTAL: 49 miles
It’s FALL! Last week started with 100+ degree temperatures and ended in the 70s. Running has been significantly more enjoyable, and the sky has been pretty, too.
Ellie has a new obsession: refrigerator letters. I don’t even know how many hours she’s spent moving them from the freezer door to the fridge door and back.
Dinner around here lately has been a rotation of chili, giant quinoa salads, and anything else I can think of to use up pantry odds and ends. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt even remotely creative in the kitchen, but the other day Mike suggested vegetable sandwiches for dinner and this is what I came up with. Sauteed swiss chard and onion, roasted portobellos, and swiss cheese on a baguette (stone-ground mustard optional), toasted in the oven.
Of course there were some nutritional yeast kale chips on the side!
Chard, Portobello, and Swiss Cheese Sandwiches
- olive oil
- 2 portabello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced horizontally
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cups chopped swiss chard
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 1 baguette
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Drizzle the portobellos with a little olive oil (1-2 tbsp) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and sautee onion until soft (about 6 minutes). Add the chard and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the baguette lengthwise in quarters, and split in half lengthwise. Top the bottom halves of bread with swiss cheese, chard, and portobello. Place the top half on top, set on a baking sheet, and bake until warmed through, 5-7 minutes.
I knew this week wouldn’t go as written, and I’m okay with that. And since the majority of my runs were spent staring at the news at the gym, I’ll just include another picture from the camping trip.
So ridiculously beautiful. I want to go back now.
Tuesday: 8 (treadmill. blah.)
Wednesday: 5 miles (treadmill) in the morning, 4 miles (with the stroller) in the evening
Thursday: planned on cross training but was absolutely exhausted and it just didn’t happen, so more REST
Friday: 8.5 (treadmill) in the morning, and 4.5 (with the stroller) in the evening.
Saturday and Sunday: no running. A little bit of hiking, but that doesn’t count.
Measly mileage: 30
Time to get back to quality workouts!
This weekend was intense. And in tents. (Sorry, I had to)
Three teachers and a bunch of parents took about 35 sixth graders camping at Mt. Lassen and it was exhausting but so much fun. I hadn’t camped since 2008 so it was really nice to sleep outside again under beautiful jeffrey pines.
We were only gone 36 hours but we packed a lot into that time, and the highlight was a hike to Bumpass Hell, where there are pots of boiling mud. The entire place reeks of sulfur and it was hot and shade-less, but so cool to see.
I made these cookies to take along on the trip and was grateful to have them in the car, on the trail, and around the campfire (yeah, I kinda ate too many cookies this weekend). It’s a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but uses coconut butter (NOT coconut oil!), sweetened shredded coconut, and milk chocolate chips.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 stick butter (4 ounces), softened
- 1/2 cup coconut butter
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup (7 ounces) brown sugar
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2¼ cups (11.25 ounces) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups (12 ounces) milkchocolate chips
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butters and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated, then mix in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut.
- Drop the dough in 2-Tbsp balls onto the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are slightly browned around the edges and do not look wet on top, 8-12 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
(adapted from The Way The Cookie Crumbles)