Monday, April 18, 2011

Rumpass in Bumpass Race Report

Cold, Windy, and Wet, three very accurate descriptor words.

5th Place Age Group finish, 16th Overall Female, and 4th fastest women’s run time.

I’ve done a lot of “deep thinking” since the race and just trying to figure out why I am left with such feelings of being “empty” after a race. This certainly wasn’t an “A” race on the schedule, I’ve been sick and on “rest” for the better part of 2011, and I still did relatively well. So what the heck is the problem? The honest answer is “I don’t know”, and the reality is I would probably still be disappointed in myself even if I randomly showed up  to the Boston Marathon today in hopes to run and win and then didn’t!!!! (note to any newbie readers that I’ve never ran a marathon before, but I do enter every race/competition with the bizarre mentality that I’m going to win the whole thing, men and pros included!). So I think this is just a slow and humbling process. Granted I hope I never loose my crazy enthusiastic race spirit and urge to race hard in hopes to do my best, I just hope that someday I won’t take it so personal that I didn’t beat The Boss!  :)

Anyways, now would be a good time to note I don’t have any pictures. Sorry. The Boss has been working all weekend and I couldn’t snag the few pics that he took either. So, I’ll keep it short and sweet for you.

First of all, I NEED to say a giant thank you and hello to all of the folks this weekend who said hi in person or on the course. I cannot tell you how many people called out “Bertie” or “Go Bobs”. I also over heard a female runner telling her other female running friend that “that’s the girl who made that triathlon cake”!! So that was definitely a great feeling to have people say hi or cheer, so Thanks again!

The Swim: I have to ask this one question (because I honestly don’t know the answer) “How freaking hard is it to measure a swim course to accuracy?” Seriously, am I being a brat here? I live in a house with the Garmin “GPS” device master and I think I have learned a thing or two about GPS over the last few years…could we at least get the course somewhere within a 500yrd accuracy? Or for the love of Joe, if we are going to screw up the distance measured for the swim could we at least make it “SHORT”?? All I can say is that “race enthusiasm” I spoke of earlier pretty much dies upon arrival to my T1 rack and I hear a friend call out that it was 30 minutes in the water!! HOLY COW (well, okay, I said worse than that) what were you doing out there? Of course you never tell yourself “it’s okay, the course was long” instead I say “wow, you blew it”. With pre-race hopes of getting out of the water around 24 minutes, hearing my time was 30 was definitely a blow to the sails. Now off to the bike.

The Bike: With the winds predicted to be upwards of 20+MPH and cold temps I had pretty much everything in transition ready to make a game time decision. But when I pulled off the wetsuit it didn’t feel that cold. I did swim with my arm warmers and calf compression sleeves under my wetsuit. I figured I was going to get soaked anyways, at least swimming with them did two things for me 1) saved T1 time, 2) pre-heated them for the cold rain about to ensue. In the end I didn’t find the bike that cold. Windy- YES, cold-NO. What I didn’t have in the transition area that would have been a better option for me would have been my regular training wheels. Instead I biked with my Zipps; yup just a little extra sails on the bike for the wind to catch and throw little ol’ me across the road. So to sum up the bike, it was super wet making the road super slick, and it was super windy making it even more unpredictable. With gusts of wind coming from who knows what direction next, I was pretty conservative on the bike, there were many times during each loop that I would hit a less protected portion of the road and the wind would literally move me from the far right hand side of the lane to the yellow line within a pedal stroke. With most efforts focusing on staying vertical and in the correct lane, aero position was off the table and speed took a bit of a sacrifice. The bike took about 5 minutes longer than either of my bike times on this course from last years races, of course I was not pleased.

Helpful words from:

My Coach-  “don’t be too hard on yourself about the bike. Hindsight, you should have put rocks in your pockets”, also, “it’s better that you sacrificed 3-4 minutes of your bike being cautious than to have sacrificed 3-4 weeks of training for Bosie 70.3 because you were recovering from a crash”.

The Boss- “I’m kind of glad you took it easy on the bike. I don’t really want our wedding pictures to feature you with stiches and road rash on your face.”   Thanks Boss, your love is undeniable  :)


The Run: Other than the fact that I had to run my brand new pretty sneakers through the mud, I was very pleased with my run. I was very close to going sub 7min/mile with a 7:05 pace. Mentally and physically the run felt great. It was nice to finish on a high note.

That’s all I have for the Race Report. But I would recommend heading over to a good friend’s blog, I’m hoping she is going to post her race report since she had a very interesting swim and bike portion of the race!

More treats for later the week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Marshmallows… on a stick!


Just in time for Easter! These little sweet treats are a rendition of a chocolate and peanut butter cookie recipe that my mom used to make when we were kids. The other day when I called her to confirm the ingredient ratio for the recipe she had to go double check and said “Wow, I haven’t made those in years!”

Well I’m bringing marshmallows back :)

I think I expressed in my Valentines post that I wasn’t too happy with the “cake pop” creations that I attempted. But one thing that I did like about cake pops were that they are really fun gifts and treats to surprise people with. A lot of times people don’t want to accept a giant piece of cake, cupcakes, or a giant cookie because they are being conscientious of eating sweets. These little pops however are great bite size treats that don’t leave you feeling like you just destroyed your calorie intake for the day. **Note I said “leave you feeling like”** I will not vouch for how many calories are in fact packed into each bite size pop!

First go ahead and grab any silicone square trays that you might have in the house. The ones that I used were labeled “brownie bite” silicone tray. I lightly greased the inside of the trays and then got to work on the ingredients.




I took about a third of the chocolate mixture and mixed it in with the marshmallows so they could be thoroughly coated. Then I divided the marshmallows into the squares, allowing for about 5-6 mini marshmallows per square.


Now I took the rest of the chocolate mixture and poured it in 2 parts on top of the marshmallow squares.


Pour about half of the remaining mixture on top and then spread with the back side of a butter knife or any other utensil that has a straight and blunt edge.


Once you have scraped and smoothed the mixture to cover the entire tray, pick up the tray and lightly tap, tap, tap it on the counter top to allow the warm chocolate to settle down and around the marshmallows.


After tapping the trays you will notice there is extra space left to fill the trays, so go ahead and use the second half of the extra chocolate mixture and repeat the process! Mmmm more chocolate!

Now the fun part, add the lollipop sticks and freeze! (actually you just have to refrigerate, but the Boss and I wanted a sample ASAP so I made the executive decision to freeze!)



I would say we left them in there for about an hour.


Having never used these silicone pans before I was a little nervous with how easily the pops would “pop” out! Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. As you can see, I kind of pulled at the silicone so you could see it had released from the sides, then I kind of put my thumb on the bottom of each square and gave it a little push. I didn’t want to crush the graham wafer in the bottom so I was gentle there. Basically I had to wiggle it a little and then it eventually came out. The first one was the toughest and then that allowed for better access at the sides of the other pops. Just be careful not to really tug at the stick, work the pop out as a whole, and that way you won’t rip out the stick and have a chocolate square stick-less!

And then I tested…




I really like wrapping treats up for people and delivering unexpected goodies, so I always have a roll or 5 of ribbon hanging out for decoration. Basically all I did here to dress up the pops was tear off pieces of plastic wrap and then closed it off with a bow, then trimmed the ribbon and plastic wrap to keep it all really clean looking.



Seriously these little guys were heavenly!  So stop drooling and go make them! If you really care not for all of the little steps, you can certainly do what my mom used to do with 4 kids running around the house. Just line the bottom of a cake pan with graham wafer squares and pour the marshmallow mixture on top. Don’t worry about coating the marshmallows in 3 parts and tapping the chocolate around. Just melt ingredients, stir, cool slightly, add marshmallows and pour on top of wafers, refrigerate… EAT (and when no one is looking, lick fingers!)




Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Marshmallow Pops

2 cups *****  Chocolate chips (I mixed half and half with semisweet and milk chocolate)

1/2 Cup ***** Unsalted Butter

1 cup ***** Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter

3 cups (1 bag)***** colored, mini marshmallows

1 sleeve ***** Graham Wafers


1. Melt everything together in microwave, excluding marshmallows and wafers

2. Stir hot chocolate mixture so all ingredients are well incorporated

3. Let chocolate mixer cool a little so the marshmallows do not melt when added

4. Pour over wafers

5. Refrigerate

6. *** best when served cold! ***


Well I hope you enjoy. Go ahead and make these over the weekend, you’ll be glad you did!

And for me, I’m off to the races. Come back on Monday for the Rumpass in Bumpass race report!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in the pool, Transition Practice, and a Bunny!

A lot of people ask The Boss “how do you and your FiancĂ©e balance ‘life’ with all of your training?” (to which I think they should also include “blogging” as part of the question but that is just my opinion), anyways to answer that bluntly, we haven’t exactly mastered that yet! But we have done a better job of having more fun together when we are training, traveling to training, or cooling down. This weekend I think gives several examples of just how much fun we can have… okay it wasn’t that exciting, but we enjoyed ourselves.

First, I’m going to skip ahead to the transition practice, and I’ll get back to the pool stuff in a little bit. With our season opener coming up this weekend (Rumpass in Bumpass) I really wanted to spend a little time refreshing my transition skills! I usually have pretty good times in T1 and T2 but when you think about it, transition splits are the easiest way in a race for a new comer to improve their times. If you could shave 30’s off of each transition that gives you an extra minute off your time; if you shaved an extra minute off of your 10k PR I think you would be pretty stoked AND pretty tired. It takes a lot of hard work to shave seconds and minutes off of your race time, and yet just a little bit of organization and confidence to take minutes off of your transition times! So needless to say it was time to give my flying mount a little love!


So pump up your tires and go to a parking lot that doesn’t have too much traffic and set up a little T1 and T2 for yourself (unless your in my age group; if this is the case you’re best bet is to stay home and eat a lot of potato chips… I hear that’s the best for race week nutrition and carb-load!)

Then grab your handy-dandy Crayola Sidewalk Chalk and draw your mount line and dismount line; give it about 25m between the two.

crash line

Now just simply practice getting on and off the bike in one swift motion!

Getting on…


Getting off…


Why is this fun? Well, honestly if you actually do talk someone into doing this practice with you it really is a lot of fun. He and I make it even funner (yes, “funner”) by heckling each other with camera in hand and this way it dually acts as “concentration” practice as fans might be saying silly things on your way in or out of transition. If you’re not a NASCAR fan you will totally understand when I say that the real highlights to the races are the crashes! So, we keep our camera handy just incase one of these days one of us gets to create our own highlight reel!!

Moving on to the pool portion of the weekend. I’m sure you might remember from before my National Half Marathon that I was struggling with a flu bug of some sort (again), and because of this I hadn’t been in the pool much over the past 2 weeks. Well Finally I have returned to the pool! With high hopes of cutting off some serious time from my past Rumpass in Bumpass swim times this coming weekend, it was time to get serious!

Serious Swim

Okay maybe not. I am still hoping to do some serious swim PR damage, but I try not to take myself too seriously! And for that reason the Boss often gets away with taking ridiculous pictures like this…

Not Serious

Lastly. I’d like to state for the record that I want a BUNNY! Yup. I want a bunny rabbit for a pet! I figure they are small and cuddly, super cute, their poop comes in round easy to clean little packages, and we don’t have to walk it! This weekend I brought this idea to the Boss’s attention and he said “no”. That was it. No explanation, no negotiation, no nothing! Just NO! Hmmmm so what can I do about this? Basically for the last 72 hours I’ve been sending him picture texts of bunny rabbits in hopes to win his heart over!

photo 1

Do you know what he sent me back???

photo 2

He was at the Bass Pro Shop with my Dad! … I guess enough said. We ain’t getting a bunny.

Well that’s all folks. Hope you were as entertained as I was; that’s really as exciting as it gets around here!

Stay tuned, I have some really good Easter treats coming up!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Brush Embroidery- Cookie Decorating

During my first experience at the National Capital Area Cake Show, I did a lot more than just make a cake and bake up a storm for a cupcake contest. At the weekend’s events I also visited many booths and demonstrations to gather more ideas for the bakery. I had seen this “brush embroidery” on the Cake Boss earlier in the year and was interested in it for a while now, plus it’s a good way to improve my piping skillz! So I watched some demos and brought my new found knowledge home to practice!




So what is “Brush Embroidery”? Basically, all it is is Royal Icing (the icing that gets really hard on cakes; it usually makes the flowers) piped out into different shapes and then you take a damp food safe paint brush and press down into the icing and pull it out and across the surface to make that desired effect. Since I was only practicing this new technique I didn’t want to waste any good homemade cookies, so instead I used wax paper. I highly recommend doing this test round a few times before diving into a batch of cookies. This way I could mess around with lines, squiggles, filling in sections, whatever I wanted and not have to feel bad about messing up a cookie.

Later when I was happy with what I had figured out in terms of drying time, thickness of the Royal Icing and what brush I liked best I went ahead an baked a 1/4 batch of my moms shortbread cookies! Time to decorate.



Helpful things that you will need to start are: wax paper, paper towel, 1/8-1/4” wide paint brush (food safe), cup of water, and tooth picks.


To start make sure you have dipped your brush into some water and then dabbed dry. This helps smooth out the icing as you pull it out and across, but too much water will actually melt the icing so be sure to dab ALL remaining water out of bristles (again that is why you do a few on the wax paper- you’ll figure out how much water is enough or too much with just a few strokes).


Go ahead and pipe out small sections of the design that you are making. *If you pipe out too much it will sit out too long and harden before you and the paint brush ever get there. Royal icing is supposed to dry and harden quickly, so just remember less is more, and work in small sections.


The length of the brushed icing will depend on the angle of your brush and where you started the tip of the brush within the icing line. I tended to like the effect that it makes when I brushed over almost the entire line of icing. I saw it done 3 different ways at the cake show and this was one option. Other bakers brushed over the entire line of icing and then after finishing the entire design went back and re-piped a new/clean and very thin outline on top of the brushed effect. I also saw another lady who started her tip about half way across the icing line and this technique left a strong outline look to the design without having to go back over. Again, it’s going to be all about what you like and what you happen to be better at, they all look nice and add a lot of character to just an iced cookie.

The clean up is easy too! From all of the messes that I make in the kitchen, this is the smallest one yet!


Here are a few samples of what I came up with:




What makes these treats even greater is that all it takes is a little plastic wrap and a little bit of ribbon and these cookies wrap up to be sweet gifts for someone unexpected!


Go ahead, you can do it!!

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