Plan D

Today is my friend Super Luce’s birthday. How would she choose to celebrate?

  • Plan A was to race the Trail Events Co. 12K on Dartmoor yesterday. Then it snowed…a lot.
  • Event postponed by one day. Plan B was to race today instead. Then it snowed some more.
  • Event cancelled. Plan C was to do our own thing and run along the coast path near Budleigh Salterton.
  • The ‘footpath’ leading to the coast path was, in fact, a private farm track. Plan D was a slightly amended loop!

While the change of day was a slight inconvenience in that we’d be running with mild hangovers after Saturday night’s birthday dinner, I’m pretty happy that things worked out the way they did. What a glorious day!

East Devon. Not too shabby.

It also fitted in nicely with my training this week. When the race was cancelled, I jumped at the chance to squeeze in a cheeky parkrun. Even though it would push me 5K over my sensible distance tally for the week (I love parkrun too much to pass up this opportunity). But plan D was precisely 5K shorter than plan A, so I’m right on track! It was meant to be 🙂

The icing on the cake* was being reunited with our friend Grimey (find her blog here) who recently returned from a year cycling the Americas. Her running legs seem to be in far better shape than mine were when I started running again! She says it’s the red blood cells from cycling at altitude, so hopefully that’ll wear off soon 😉

Wanda the dog could work on her photo presence

Oh yes, that cake. After the vocal disappointment from many readers at the lack of a cake recipe on my last post, I thought I’d better rectify the situation. I recreated the aforementioned coffee and walnut cake for Luce:

Claudia Winkelman’s favourite, apparently.

If you would like to do the same, here’s how.

For the cake (slightly adapted from this recipe) you will need:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g walnuts, finely ground
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 270ml plant milk (I used soya)
  • 60ml mild oil (I used light olive)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp hot water

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Mix it all together. Put in lined tins and bake at 150 degrees (fan oven, otherwise 170 degrees) until it’s done. I used two smallish tins and it cooked in 25 mins. The recipe suggests one 16.5cm tin and cooking for 1 hour.

For the icing (from my Mum’s ancient cookbook; I didn’t really like the icing from the cake recipe):

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 40g margarine
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water

Heat all ingredients (except the icing sugar) gently in a pan until the caster sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then take off the heat. Mix syrup into icing sugar. Chill until completely cool. Fill and ice cake 🙂 Decorate with walnuts, if you like.

Attempt #2 was just as good as attempt #1. This one could become a regular!

By the way, you can follow me on instagram, if that floats your boat. @101adventureswithcake. And twitter, @girlcalledcake (I am yet to tweet, bear with me). Gone are the days when you could have the same username across all platforms, one of the alleged ‘golden rules’ of social media.  I’m clearly late to the party….

Gratuitous pic of the view from Budleigh Salterton, taken by the Husb.

Hello, world!

Oh hi there. I’m not sure if we’ve met. TBH, I’m something of a blogaholic, so maybe we have. After several years of writing on various topics including triathlon, food, and adventuring, it feels like high time I consolidated. Well, mostly. Two of the above three may yet live to fight another day 🙂

A girl on a bike
All the gear and very little idea at Bristol tri in 2015

The Husb and I recently returned from a grown up gap year (aka mid-life crisis) which involved cycling 14000km around various parts of our wonderful world. Read all about it via above link. While that was all well and good (ok ok, flipping amazing) I am a runner at heart. So the current adventure is getting from zero to Grizzly (20 miles of muddy hills, read all about it here) in the princely sum of 4 months.

Man and woman on bikes, surrounded by tropical foliage
Feeling the heat along Malaysia’s back roads

You see, dear reader, I know myself all too well. If I chose a goal involving nice flat tarmac, I would be liable to battering myself towards speediness, no doubt resulting in injury. After 18 months of almost zero running, aiming for a flat 10K would actually be far worse for me than a hilly 20-miler! The Grizzly is probably the most talked about race in our area; the iconic event that everyone’s done or wants to do. I have done it before, but it was a bit of a disaster, so there’s certainly unfinished business to be settled!

Working back from the goal distance, and allowing myself a mileage increase of just 10% per week (based on something some sensible coach once said), I reckoned I could just about do it. Provided I was really sensible, and only aimed to ‘get round’, i.e. with lots of walking. Provided I listened to my body and did all the sensible things like fuelling properly and foam-rolling religiously. Provided I did not try to do a million other things in parallel. Honestly, who is this sensible person? I hardly recognise her.

I’ve run 3(ish) times a week for the last 10 weeks. This week I’ve run over 20 miles, which feels like a satisfying (if arbitrary) milestone. I also did my first long run on proper ‘Grizzly’ terrain, which meant lots of hills and mud along the South-West coast path. And I almost enjoyed it.

While I haven’t found any cake on my runs (disappointing to say the least), I did make this rather fine coffee and walnut extravaganza for my friend’s birthday.

A coffee and walnut cake
Tasted as good as it looked

More soon. Not always about running either 🙂

Note for blog nerds: for the entirety of my blogging ‘career’, I have been cursing the wordpress editor for, quite frankly, making my life unreasonably difficult. This is my first ever post using the ‘iA Writer’ app to draft the post in markdown, and then share to a wordpress draft. Let’s just say that my blood pressure has remained normal, for the first time ever ;). Please do say if you’d like more info, as it’s literally taken me five years to find a decent solution.