I Colored Myself Rad!
I’m pleased to report that I completed my first 5K! And, in doing so, met two of the three goals I set for myself. Goal the first was: Run the entire race. Check. Goal the second: Run the entire race in under 35 minutes. Check. Goal the third: Run the entire race in under 30 minutes. Denied. But that’s okay, because in the weeks leading up to the 5K the heat has been quite unbearable and I didn’t have the mental fortitude to push myself on the speed issue. It’s hard to convince yourself to run faster when sweat literally starts falling into your eyes and your glasses (because I cannnot put in contacts at 5:30am) are sliding off your face every two seconds. Run faster or be able to see? Hmm…
My official time was…well, they didn’t actually keep time and threatened to yell at us if we asked anyone what our time was, but by the time I had crossed the finish line, picked up my congratulatory pack of color, and made my way to the water station, my running app said 29:53. It also said that the course was only 2.9 miles, so I’m calling it at 29 even, which is a very plausible time for me, but doesn’t count as meeting goal #3 because it was short .2 miles. I’ll have to run a semi-serious race one of these days to figure out how well I can actually do.
On that note, I probably won’t ever do Color Me Rad again. Sure, it’s fun getting all dirty, but they were so enthusiastic with the colored powder at some of those stations that I literally couldn’t see where I was running. Imagine the haze in that photo being ten times thicker and you’ll have an idea. A scan of my lungs would probably reveal copious amounts of neon pink. Add that to the fact that pre-race organization was seriously lacking (Our packet pickup was in Lisle, IL, a 2-hour public transport ride away. Who picks a suburb as the pickup location for a race in Chicago? Their explanation was that there are many runners from the suburbs, but I call shenanigans on that because they signed up for a race in the city knowing they could get there, whereas I, and my fellow city-dwelling/non-car-owning brethren, did not sign up for a race in the suburbs and then complain that we didn’t have access to it.) and there was no gear check, so we couldn’t bring a towel to clean up with or clothes to change into if we wanted. It’s not like this was the first race they’d organized, so that really “colored” my opinion of them.
Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with having run the race and having met my first two goals. I now have something to strive for in my next race. That’s right, the girl who “doesn’t run” is already planning on another race. Stay tuned for details on when, what it’ll be, and if I can nab that sub-30.
You Know You’re a Runner When…#1
You have to force yourself not to run during a heat advisory. I was bummed because I skipped what would be my last training run before the 5K. I had planned on going, but when my alarm went off and I checked my phone and saw that at 5am it was already 1,000° and 120% humidity, I told myself it wasn’t a smart idea. Later, when I saw people running along the lake path I thought, outraged, But they’re running! And then answered myself, There’s an actual heat advisory in effect – just because they’re being stupid doesn’t mean you have to, too. So I sucked it up and didn’t run. But running was all I could think about all day long. People are not lying when they say running’s addictive.
Lighten Up! Mini Blueberry No-Bake Cheesecake Things
That afternoon, following the 5K, Mindy and I held another Bakers Anonymous meetup. The theme for this one was Lighten Up! with the idea being to make a lighter version of your favorite treats. It seemed appropriate – run a race in the morning and gorge yourself with low-cal, low-fat desserts in the afternoon. What could be more perfect?
I opted to try a version of cheesecake that I found in Fitness that was also conveniently no-bake. (I only have an air conditioning unit in my bedroom, so turning on the oven right now is unnecessary torture.) I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to cheesecake – I only really like it when it’s flavored simply with lemon and maybe a berry sauce, and I only like it when it’s thick and dense and super cold. A cheesecake should leave a dent if thrown at a wall. Given that, I have no idea what made me think that a lightened up, no bake version of this, the king of desserts, would be good.
Now, it actually wasn’t horrible, but the gelatin didn’t set very well and it was more like a thick cheese pudding than a cake. Put in little ramekins with the graham crackers crumbled over the top, it might actually be decent and for that I’ll share the recipe. But cheesecake it is not, so don’t be fooled.
The original recipe incorporated chocolate, but as I said earlier, I only like lemon and berries in my cheesecake, so I adapted it as I saw fit.
1 large handful of blueberries
squeeze of lemon juice
dollop of honey
½ cup crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fat free milk
12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 ounces fat-free sour cream
1/6 cup sugar (I estimated)
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of half a lemon
Heat the blueberries in a small pan until they soften. Smoosh with the back of a spoon so they become juicy. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of honey. Taste and add more lemon or honey as needed. Process in a food processor if a smoother consistency is desired. Let cool.
In a bowl, stir together the graham crackers and butter. Spoon the mixture into a mini cupcake pan with liners. Press onto the bottom to form the crust. Chill while preparing the filling.
In a saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let stand 5 minutes. Stir over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes.
In a food processor, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest; gradually add in the gelatin mixture. Divide cream cheese mixture among the cupcake tins. Add a small spoonful of the blueberry mixture on top and swirl with a toothpick. Chill for 6 hours or until set.
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.
It seemed like nothing was going right for this meetup. My apartment is literally too hot to make ice cream or sorbet – how ironic is that? Luckily, I discovered this last week when I tried to make chocolate sorbet and all the mix did was spin round and round and fail to ever get icy as chamber apparently melted upon immediate contact with the air. This time I turned on my AC unit as soon as I got home from work, waited until my bedroom got nice and cool, and then moved my ice cream maker in there, hoping this would solve the dilemma. It did, but it wasn’t perfect, as the top part of the mixture had frozen solid before I got a chance to add in a smidgen of vodka (to keep it from freezing into a block of ice, which did) while the bottom part of the chamber was still mostly liquid. To make matters worse, I had oversteeped the rosemary, so the resulting product was disappointingly bitter. Sigh.
I still believe the recipe is a good one, however, so here it is. I’ve just cut down on the maximum steep time of 40 minutes to 30 minutes. Trust me, bitter rosemary is not delicious.
4 ½ cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped fresh rosemary
Combine the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Add the rosemary and remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep 20-30 minutes. Strain the mixture and remove the rosemary and chill completely (overnight is best). Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.