Monday Miles: August 11-24

Hello friends! Things have been quite busy around here with work and prepping for a trip to Disneyland this weekend keeping me on my toes!

The last time I checked in with all of you, I had just finished half marathon #12! In the week following Water to Wine, I focused on getting in some good recovery. With legs that felt mostly, or at least partially recovered, I spent the last week ramping up for Ragnar training. Because, you know, the thought of covering 18.7 miles in less than 30 hours is not at all nerve-wracking!

August 11 – Recovery day filled with LOTS of foam rolling and stretching.

August 12 – My coach asked for a bike commute, but I opted for 30 min on the bike trainer instead since my knee was still hurting and walking down stairs was rough. I wasn’t really up for carrying my bike down the stairs in Bart and having my knee give out on me.

August 13 - Knee felt much better so I did 6.9 miles of bike commuting.

August 14 - Went for a shake out run before work and had to cut it just a little short to get back to work for a meeting. I also somehow hit the pause button on my Wahoo app while I was running and didn’t get the full workout recorded. So I ran farther and longer (the plan was 40 min) but only recorded 3.39 miles in 32:00. I was happy with how my knee felt after beating up on it with the foam roller all week, and relieved that whatever craziness was going on had settled down. I rounded out the day with 5.9 miles of bike commuting.

August 15 - Full on rest day! Since I was struggling with getting in recovery time, I have decided not to bike commute on rest days, and I think it’s really helping.

August 16 - Back to the brick workouts! After cheering on The Town Half Marathon runners as they raced by our apartment, we headed out for our first brick workout in what feels like forever. We covered 13.84 miles on the bike in 1:06:24. From there we headed over to Athleta for the run portion, where we ended up just doing 20:00 to cover 2.08 miles…which was quite rough after the ride!

August 17 - Sunday Funday! I’m always happy when that’s on my schedule :).

August 18 - Rest day. I needed it before the beating my coach had in store for me!

August 19 - Bike commute for 5.9 miles. Matt picked me up at Bart so we could get the track workout in before it got too dark. Even still, we cut the warm up and cool down to 1/2 mile each. We did 3 x (800 at threshold, 400 easy, 400 hard) with a 400 m jog out in between. That was no joke a rough workout!! The first 800 was a little slow but my legs warmed up after that. Overall, we did 4.35 miles in 40:46.

August 20 - Mid-week brick…yikes! To get this one in, I timed my bike commute home (25 min) and then jumped on the trainer for another 35 min to get in 60:00 of biking. That was followed by 30:00 of running to get in 3.01 miles. My legs were pretty dead after all of that…and very happy to make it home.

August 21 - After working out the night before, I figured that a morning run would be great Ragnar training. So after biking to work, I switched shoes and headed out for a tempo run. I did 10 min warm up, 20 min at tempo, and then cut the 10 min cool down short because I needed to get to work. Overall I did 3.64 miles in 32:47. My legs were SHAKING when I finished! I wrapped up the day with an additional 5.9 miles of bike commuting.

August 22 - Rest day!!! Glorious, glorious rest day.

August 23 - Serious weekend workouts kicked in with a reverse brick Saturday morning. I headed out for a 7 mile run around Lake Merritt, which left me in struggle city. The plan was 4 miles easy with 3 miles building to 10K pace. By the time I hit 4 miles, I didn’t think I had it in me to pick up the pace, but somehow each mile continued to get faster (seriously, I must have been dying to finish) and I executed a solid progression run. I finished the run in 1:05:27. And then it was time to head out on my bike. I did the usual bike route out on the Bay Bridge (with shaking quads on some of the hills) for an additional 13.57 miles in 1:07:20. I have NO CLUE how I managed to get through all of the miles, but it felt pretty awesome to finish.

August 24 - The last thing I felt up to on Sunday morning was another long run…but that’s exactly what Coach had in store for me. Woof! I told Matt we were taking it slow – obviously! – and we headed out for 1:15:00 around Lake Merritt. The sun wasn’t out in full force yet, which made the run much more enjoyable compared to Saturday, and we were out a little earlier so we didn’t have as many people to dodge. When I started the run, my legs felt like they were at mile 20 of a marathon, and by the time I finished, they felt like mile 15. I’m going to call that a successful run! We ended up covering 7.28 miles at a much slower pace than Saturday :). And I’m sure none of you are surprised to know we passed out HARD both nights this weekend. Didn’t even feel the earthquake.

And now I’m off to finish up laundry and the rest of the typical weekend chores we couldn’t muster up the energy to complete yesterday!

Your Turn: Could you feel the earthquake? Have you ever done double weekend workouts? 

Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Without a doubt, I’d have to say that my Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe is everyone’s favorite recipe from the delicious treats I’ve baked using Shokomonk chocolate. When one of their SF-based employees hosted a pop-up restaurant a few months ago, he asked me to provide a dessert for the menu. For a traditional German menu, I decided to go with the blueberry white chocolate cheesecake…it’s made in a springform pan and the word springform is an old German word. Plus, I was already racing a duathlon that morning and working at a race expo that afternoon; I decided to go with a recipe I knew I could rely on 100%.

The base of my cheesecake recipe I actually received from my mother in law, and it’s been a personal favorite since my first bite. However, to make this a white chocolate based cheesecake, I’ve reworked the recipe for the topping. Try this recipe and let me know how it turns out. If you don’t have a springform pan, go buy one so you can (you can find them for about $25). I dare you to make this recipe and tell me this isn’t the best cheesecake you’ve ever had…I haven’t served it to a single person that hasn’t given me that response!

Shokomonk Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 whole crackers crushed)
1 cup + ½ cup sugar, divided
1 stick butter
3 8-oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz sour cream
4 oz cream
2 blaubeere (blueberry) white chocolate Shokomonk  bars (3.5 oz)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 °F.
  2. Crush graham crackers in a food processor using the metal blade. Add ½ cup sugar and 1 stick of butter cut into pieces. Mix until crumbly, then press into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9 inch Springform pan. Keep the crust in the freezer while making the filling.
  3. Rinse out the food processor then cream the cheese until it’s smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Be careful not to whip too much air into the filling or the cake will rise during baking and collapse in the middle upon cooling. Add 1 cup sugar and vanilla, mix well, then pour the filling into the pie crust.
  4. Bake for 65 minutes. Check until the cake no longer wiggles and appears liquid in the center, adding 5 minutes to baking time until it achieves that consistency.
  5. With about 10 minutes to go on baking, use a double broiler or water bath to melt the chocolate. Once creamy and smooth, mix in the cream and sour cream until well combined.
  6. Once the filling has finished baking, poor the white chocolate topping over the hot cake and bake for ~7 minutes until the topping is set (add on 3 minutes at a time until consistency is achieved).
  7. Cool the cake on a rack before refrigerating for 6 hours or overnight.

cheesecake

Shokomonk blueberry white chocolate

shokomonk blueberry white chocolate

white chocolate blueberry topping

blueberry white chocolate cheesecake

blueberry white chocolate cheesecake

blueberry white chocolate cheesecake

Your Turn: Are you a cheesecake fan? What’s the best cheesecake you’ve ever had?

Monday Miles: August 4-10

It’s crazy to think that we’re approaching the halfway point through August, and that my race calendar is down to 5 races for the rest of the year. Yesterday I raced my 4th half marathon of the season, and even though it wasn’t the PR race I had hoped it would be, it was a major mental victory. And sometimes that’s even better. Especially since I’ve been battling some crazy shin pain for the last couple of weeks that really manifested into some serious pain following last Sunday’s long run. (Fortunately it wasn’t even an issue during the race and hasn’t bothered me at all since finishing.)

Monday - Crazy 12 hour drive from Salt Lake to Oakland, during which I saw TWO semi trucks that had caught on fire and the cabs looked like they had basically melted!

Tuesday - I had a 5 mile run on the schedule, but since my shin was hurting so much, I cut it down to 3 miles instead. I got in a solid run, finishing in 27:37, without destroying my legs and felt pretty good. Until I finished and my shin hurt again for several days.

Wednesday – I was supposed to bike commute but since carrying my bike down the stairs was killing my leg, I decided not to, and instead let Matt beat up on my leg all night.

Thursday – I had a track workout planned that would have consisted of 1 mile warm up, 2 miles building to goal race pace, 3 min rest, 4 x 200 with 200 easy jog, and 1 mile cool down. But I played it safe and did more stretching and rolling, and getting destroyed by Matt :).

Friday - We had friends over for dinner so instead of the 30 min spin I had on the schedule, I did a bike commute for 6.9 miles to get in a little cardio.

Saturday - Rest day, which included finally finishing kitchen organization and hanging things on the walls!

Sunday – Water to Wine Half Marathon! Finished in 1:58:08.

water to wine half marathon

(Just now realizing how blurry that photo turned out!)

Your Turn: What fun plans did you have for the weekend? How many races do you have left on your calendar for the year?

Lemon Cupcakes & White Chocolate Poppyseed Frosting

As a little girl, I always thought it was a special treat when my parents would buy the mini lemon poppyseed muffins at the grocery store. We would always take them on road trips, and I loved waking up to a breakfast of a few muffins. Fast forward to today, and I still love the lemon and poppyseed combination. So when Shokomonk sent me some of their white chocolate poppyseed bars, I instantly knew what I wanted to make!

These lemon cupcakes with white chocolate poppyseed frosting are the perfect summer dessert: a little fruity, a little chocolatey, and oh so delicious!

lemon cupcake and shokomonk white chocolate poppyseed frosting

Lemon Cupcakes

Ingredients 

3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup oil (I prefer safflower oil)
2 cups sugar
4 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest from 4 lemons
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and mix with the baking powder and salt. (I’d recommend using a colander instead of a flour sifter with that much flour.)
  3. In a larger bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the butter and oil on medium speed. Gradually beat in the sugar, and slowly beat in the egg whites.
  4. To add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, alternate mixing in some of the dry ingredients with some of the milk. Add some of the dry mixture and beat on low speed until combined, then add milk and do the same. Repeat until you’ve completely incorporated the dry mixture and milk but be careful not to over mix.
  5. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  6. Grease or line wells of a cupcake tin and pour the batter in. Bake for 16-22 minutes, using the toothpick test (you want just a few crumbs to stick to the toothpick when you pull it out). Cool completely before frosting.

 

White Chocolate Poppyseed Frosting

Ingredients 

2 sticks softened butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
4 oz Shokomonk white chocolate & poppyseed, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Use a hand mixer to beat the softened buffer and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.
  3. Use a double broiler or a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water to melt the chocolate, while stirring constantly. Beat the white chocolate and vanilla into the frosting until fluffy.
  4. Use a pastry bag to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

lemon cupcakes

shokomonk white chocolate poppyseed bars

white chocolate poppyseed bars

white chocolate poppyseed bars chopped

white chocolate poppyseed frosting

lemon and poppyseed cupcakes

lemon and poppyseed cupcakes

Your Turn: What was your favorite kind of muffin growing up? Are you a poppyseed and lemon fan? Have you tried Shokomonk white chocolate poppyseed bars?

Monday Miles: July 28 – August 3

Hello, friends!

Wow…so much has happened in the last week I have totally lost track of everything. I mentioned that we bought a car last week, and this weekend we went to pick it up. We took a red eye out to Kansas City Thursday night/Friday morning, spent Friday and Saturday in Topeka, drove 16 hours to Salt Lake on Sunday, and drove 12 hours back to Oakland on Monday. Preparing for all of that kept me quite busy!! (And yes, Pepper came along for ALL of our adventure and was so amazing the entire time!)

Monday - Bike commute for 6.9 miles to start and then a 15:00 run (supposed to be 35 min but we needed to get to the pet store before it closed) to shake out the legs. Ended up covering 1.46 miles, which were pretty rough with how tired my legs were feeling.

Tuesday - Bike commute for 6.75 miles followed by 45 min of stretching and foam rolling. My body NEEDED it!

Wednesday – Bike commute for 6.7 miles (thankfully since traffic was terrible after the Giants game), which was followed by a beating at the track! The schedule said to do 1 mile warm up followed by 800, 1200, and 1600 m at threshold. Then a 1200 and 2 x 800 pushing each interval harder, followed by 1 mile of cool down. Both of us were really feeling exhaustion in our legs and struggled to hit paces. After we finished the 1600, it was starting to get dark and we wanted to get home to get our clothes out of the drier (I can’t wait for the day I have a washer/dryer in my apartment again), so we did an 800 and then the cool down. It was a tough workout as it was, and we finished 4.15 miles in 38:00.

Thursday - Total rest day.

Friday - I kid you not, after our red eye, Coach T had a minimum of a 20-30 min nap on the schedule. That ended up being a few hours…and was 100% awesome. Why do red eyes always sound like a better idea than they are???

Saturday - This workout was a surprising one, actually. We got a later start than I would have liked (though I appreciated the sleep), and we ended up being in for a pretty grueling hot and humid run in Topeka. We had 7 miles on the schedule, so we headed out to the Shunga Trail to get our run in. The first couple of miles were quite miserable. I was sweating like crazy, super thirsty (we left our water bottles in the car), and convinced there was no way I’d actually be able to stick out the whole distance in the blazing heat. Seriously, it took me no time whatsoever to adjust to running in the Bay Area – I am a total wimp when it comes to humidity now. Somehow, though, I managed to get myself to the point where I just mentally accepted the fact that the run was going to totally be miserable…and then I rocked the rest of it! I held a strong pace (I purposely aimed to keep it slow to my legs weren’t shot for this weekend’s race and because the heat/humidity combo is a prescription for a slower run), took a few water stops, but overall felt immensely better than I did on my 11 miler. This run put me in a MUCH better place mentally going into the half. Overall, I covered 7 miles in 1:10:55.

Sunday - After 16 hours of driving, we were supposed to do 45 min of strength training before bed…but I was way too tired and just passed out. I do not regret that decision since we had woken up at 5 am to get on the road as early as possible. I did, however, enjoy watching Pepper play with my favorite little Schnauzer, Nick, who is responsible for my terrier love affair :).

And there you have it. Last week started out a total suck-fest running-wise. I was fighting for every step and feeling horribly. But Saturday’s long run started to turn things around for me. Maybe I needed to remind myself how to mentally accept the suck of a run and still just push through it. Who knows…but for now I’m more excited about running Water to Wine than I have been in a long time!

AAAAND for a little cuteness:

Pepper on the planePepper was an amazing little airplane traveler on our way to Kansas City Friday morning.

Pepper in the Subaru

This Subaru is dog-approved.

Kansas beer

We couldn’t make the trek back from Kansas without stocking up on beer we can’t get out here. Some old favorites and new recommendations from our beer gurus (aka Matt’s dad and his friend Andrew).

Pepper at the wheel

Pepper felt pretty badly about making us drive so much, so she decided to help Matt by passing out on his lap for a decent chunk of the drive.

Your Turn: Do you have any fun August plans to wind up the summer?