Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12athon - RWB

You guys, thirteen is a lot of cupcakes.

I know – they look pretty innocent as cupcakes go, don’t they? No gigantic swirling mounds of frosting, no sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or little candies on top. Well, I did the math on the ingredients in the cupcakes, and that picture up there contains roughly 3300 calories. Even if the twelve miles burned approximately 1200 calories, that still just about covers my caloric needs for the entire day. At least I know I won’t get hungry during the concert I’m playing tonight, right?

Anyway, my initial plan was, like last month, to do the Rosie Ruiz because I haven’t quite gotten up to 12 miles for my long runs. Then I looked at my calendar and realized that February 12 is only a week before my first Half and that I have four ballet performances that weekend, so Rosie is really the only way to make that month’s 12athon run feasible. I decided that the combination of Baked Goods and Single Fister would be perfectly doable because two weeks ago I took along half a dozen rum balls to snack on for my eight-mile run. Never mind the fact that rum balls are only as big around as a quarter or the fact that they really don’t have all that much alcohol in them even if they’re made with 151-proof rum. They tasted good and the run was pleasant all around. I wound up eating a baked good right before last week’s nine miles, too. A friend who was about to leave town for a couple of weeks offered me a slab of homemade gingerbread he had leftover from a party, and one important rule of being a professional musician is that if someone offers you free food, you take it and you eat it. I ended up eating an inadvisably large piece of it because all I’d had for dinner was a slice of Domino’s pizza (also free) at the school where I’d just spent the afternoon listening to honor band auditions. I was already a day late for my weekly long run, so I went out anyway. I felt a little sick for the first four miles or so, but in the end I kept my lunch down and the rest of the run went well.

I ended up settling on cupcakes rather than cookies for the Baked Goods challenge mostly because I’d have to decide on a cookie size. Cupcakes are easy – just fill the little paper cup most of the way and you’re good to go. It had also been a really long time since I’d made cupcakes and this seemed like a good way to remedy the situation. I decided that it would be a good idea to make several different kinds of cupcakes – eating thirteen of the same kind while running seemed like a pretty good way to guarantee that I would hate that particular kind of cupcake for the rest of my life. I pulled Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World out of the cupboard even though I’m not vegan anymore because everything I’ve made out of there has been really good. The recipes almost always have enough batter for copious amounts of bowl-licking an extra cupcake, so I figured I could pick out flavors that would combine well and then dump the remnants from each recipe into the thirteenth liner for something of a marble cake effect.

Lucky Number Thirteen, a.k.a. the Bastard Cupcake. I don’t know
why it’s so shiny on top – none of the four recipes individually came out
that way. It’s also a bit hard to tell from the picture, but the Bastard is
really lumpy because one of the batters ended up rising almost twice as much
as one of the others did.

I thought about making chocolate-based cupcakes because the Swiss buttercream frosting that goes with the Cook’s Illustrated Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes is truly a thing of beauty, but then I remembered that I’m out of baking chocolate and chocolate chips and I’d also need to get food coloring for properly-hued red velvet cupcakes. The picture of the Gingerbread Cupcake with Lemony Buttercream Frosting on the page facing the red velvet recipe looked promising, and I did have a picked-fresh-from-the-tree meyer lemon that someone gave me a week or two ago. I settled on Lemony Vanilla, Gingerbread, Earl Grey, and Green Tea cupcakes and a lemon buttercream of my own devising which I based loosely on the Cook’s Illustrated recipe even though lemon juice and bittersweet baking chocolate really have nothing in common and are in no way even remotely interchangeable.

I did the math for a quarter recipe of each and went to work.

Yeah, it took about two hours to get from the first of those pictures to the second. It’s kind of a pain in the butt when all of your measurements are things like “1/4c + 1T + 1t flour” and “3/16t baking powder” and you have to measure every ingredient four times into different bowls and then do things like try to cream two tablespoons each of butter and sugar with an electric beater. I think the variety during the run was worth it, though.

For the Single Fister, I put the requisite 5oz of Two-Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon in my water bottle and then added enough water to fill it up. I thought this would be the most convenient way to stay hydrated and also drink an adult beverage since I’d already be carrying a cupcake. This was a terrible, terrible idea. Two-Buck Chuck isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s generally drinkable. It tastes like dirt if you water it down to about a third of its original strength and then use it to chase cupcakes.

Ready for action.

I took a couple of cupcakes with me to rehearsal this morning since I thought I might have a good opportunity for the Stung by Bees challenge – I had to play the first and third pieces and figured there was a good chance I could sneak in one of the two miles I planned to walk today during the second piece. I checked the bulletin board before rehearsal and it said the second piece was six minutes long. This morning was the dress rehearsal and that’s by far the easiest piece on the program, but surely it would need at least a few minutes of work, right? There was also a setup change for the third piece, so that should buy me a couple of extra minutes. I decided to go for it.

Okay, just looking at a picture of myself eating a cupcake is making
me feel a little queasy.

For the first cupcake, I went with the Green Tea. It seemed like a good choice for 10:22 in the morning. I’ve made this recipe before, so I knew they were good. I did decide to experiment and make everything with spelt flour this time, though – I did not do what the internet told me to do and add a bit of extra baking powder, so none of the cupcakes rose as much as they should have in the oven. They still tasted good, even if they were a bit on the dense side. They’re not too sweet, so I tentatively planned to save the other two for the end of the run, when I’d probably be really sick of sugar.

I walked quickly, nervously watching my phone the whole time in case the Personnel Manager called to tell me that I was supposed to be on stage playing the third piece. The cupcakes might not all have been pleasant, but the most stressful part of the day was definitely taking a stroll around the block instead of twiddling my thumbs backstage for fifteen minutes.

Mission: Sneak Out for a Walk was a success!

I took an Earl Grey for the second cupcake since that also seemed relatively brunch-y. It occurred to me right after I bit into the cupcake that I could probably also have eaten it when I started up with the actual running after rehearsal, but in hindsight I’m glad that I spaced them out a little bit. Besides, the third piece on the program is hard and I figured an extra dose of sugary goodness right before rehearsing it might help out. (Typing the phrase ‘sugary goodness’ just now also made me feel a bit queasy.)

A couple of people called right before I went out to run so it was nearly 2pm and I hadn’t actually eaten anything resembling lunch yet. I did the first mile in 9:27 – I really wanted that freaking cupcake. The wind had picked up quite a bit since I’d walked the mile earlier, and my not-gloved hands were so cold I could barely unwrap the cupcake. I was too busy being cold and hungry to really notice much of anything flavorwise about the first Gingerbread cupcake. Three bites and that sucker was gone.

I know, I really missed my calling as a professional photographer.

The next mile took 9:41 – I really wanted my freaking gloves. The Lemon-Vanilla was delightfully citrus-y, but it was not doing anything to keep me warm. I ran inside and got my cycling gloves.

I look sort of like my eyes are closed in cupcake-y bliss, but really
I just blinked. Yeah, I can’t even manage to not blink in a picture
when *I’m* the one taking it.

I took a swig from the water bottle right before picking up the cupcake to carry for the next mile. As previously mentioned, it didn’t taste fantastic. It did at least wash down the cupcake crumbs, I guess. 10:05 for the third mile – I did want to eat the Bastard Cupcake, but not as badly as I wanted the first cupcake or my gloves.

The cupcake totally fell apart when I took it out of the wrapper.
I just dumped it in my hand and leaned over to stuff it in my
mouth in about two bites. As the Avenging Angle predicted,
it was actually really pretty awesome. Gingerbread spice
with a lot of lemon and orange flavor – it was kind of like
orange spice tea but in a cupcake.

10:28 for the next mile – while the Earl Grey cupcakes were good, I’d already had one. I wasn’t super motivated to get to it quickly.

Base Camp, a.k.a. my car. Complete with cupcake #7, ready
for me to pick up and carry as soon as I finish photographing
myself. And yes, I did spend half the time running down the street
with a cupcake in my hand because I mostly did a two-mile loop.

10:41 for the fifth mile – I took a Green Tea cupcake in the hopes that the wine-water wouldn’t taste as bad after that as it did after the sweeter cupcakes. It didn’t help. At all. Seriously – do not try the wine-water thing at home, kids. I mean it.

I think this is the last cupcake I actually enjoyed
eating. But hey, halfway there!

10:17 for mile six – it’s not like I was tired with all that sugar, so I tried to be a little less pokey.

Lemon-Vanilla. Yeah, I look like I’m not very excited
about that cupcake.

I grabbed two cupcakes and set out to do a 3-mile loop, just to mix it up a bit. Although since it’s just the two-mile route with an extra half-mile before the turnaround, there was a limited amount of mixing. Mile seven is where my stomach started to catch on that I was not playing nice today. 10:44, but I didn’t lose any cupcakes.

The Gingerbread cupcakes are actually really good when I’m not
busy worrying about my hands freezing off. It was definitely
getting more difficult to actually choke them down at this point,
but I enjoyed the taste of it, at least.

Mile eight was the hard mile of the 3-mile route – the first half is all uphill going around a park. 11:34.

Earl Grey. I really was pretty sick of cupcakes at this point.

Mile nine – back home again. I finished the grossness that was the wine-water. Finally. 10:44.

Hey, the sun came out! Only for about 30 seconds, but they
were a nice 30 seconds. It took me about 3/4ths of the next
mile to finish eating this cupcake. I couldn’t even taste it
anymore because I’d eaten so many freaking cupcakes. I
thought longingly of how I managed to scarf down the first
few in three bites or so.

I was going to do the two-mile loop again – run out, walk back – but one of my friend J.’s students called in a panic because she has her All-State Band audition on Saturday morning and a spring broke on her instrument and she wanted to know if she could bring it by in about half an hour. I said yes and ran half a mile and then back so that I could shower and brush my teeth before she showed up. I needed to gr to the library later to get the cupcake pictures I’d emailed myself, anyway – it’s about a mile so I could walk there after doing the repair and then eat my final cupcake. 10:02 for the final mile of running – I really needed to make sure I had time to shower.

I almost couldn’t eat this one. I just kept telling myself how
close I was and that there was no freaking way I’d already
eaten eleven cupcakes for nothing – ignore the cupcake,
focus on the delicious bonus points.

I had a glass of just plain old water with no wine in it when I got back. It was about the best thing I’ve ever tasted. The sun set before I got to walk the last mile, but the wind had died down a bit so it didn’t really feel any colder.

That is the blurry face of someone who is very happy about
not having to eat any more cupcakes. The Gingerbreads really
are awesome though – even after all of that, this one still tasted
good. Again, I didn’t want to actually have to swallow the thing,
but whatever.

Okay! Numbers.
Total distance: 12 miles
Total running distance: 10 miles
Total running time: 1:43:43
Average run pace: 10:22
Cupcakes eaten: 13
Butter eaten: 10 tablespoons (plus four tablespoons and one teaspoon of almond oil)
Sugar eaten: 20 tablespoons
Calories eaten: 3300 (1160 from the frosting and 2140 from the cupcakes themselves)


  1. This recap made me laugh out loud. You are a far stronger person than I to attempt this challenge. :)

    1. Thanks! Although I'm pretty sure stupidity had much more to do with it than strength. ;)

  2. Oof! You know how I didn't do the math for the Mayan Ultra before I announced to the world I was going to try it, and how after 7 days I realized there was no way in hell I was going to finish 78 miles in 12 days? That's like how I put challenges on the list like eating 13 cupcakes and drinking liquor without first thinking, "Hm, I wonder if that's probably way more calories and stuff than anyone should eat in a couple hours, even a distance runner."

    Well played, well run, well consumed! Pointsification is on the Facebook page. Hope you're feeling okay today!

    1. Ha, yeah, I didn't really think about it until I'd already baked the cupcakes and thought that maybe calories and such would be a fun tidbit for my 'numbers' at the end... I ate a light dinner the night before and I basically skipped lunch AND dinner yesterday since I was so full of cupcakes! I actually feel totally fine today, although I have absolutely no desire for dessert. ;)

  3. Whoa! That's a lot of cupcake action. Nice job! I hope your digestive system recovers from all of that sugar and butter very soon. The wine probably helped it settle, right? ;-)

    1. Today has basically been eat-nothing-but-vegetables (although I admit I did butter them; there's a reason for my username!) day so I feel pretty well recovered. I was definitely telling myself that about the wine yesterday, whether it was true or not! :)

  4. I told you the Bastard Cupcake would be awesome! :-D

  5. Wow! Great job!
    That is a lot of cupcakes and I do feel for you. I did the baker's half dozen challenge with an enormous muffin and giant cheese filled donuts (thanks to the cruelty of my hubby. Revenge will be mine!)
    I've since sworn off sweets, I consumed nothing but oatmeal and soup the next day lol. How bad is it that now I'm dying to try one of your lemon vanilla and the tea cupcakes? Glutton for punishment I guess.
    I loved reading your re-cap! Awesome blog.

    1. Okay, those huge cheese donuts look like they would have been way more difficult to get through than the cupcakes - congrats on making it through! I don't think I've ever enjoyed eating greens quite as much as I did the day after the challenge. I'm totally with you on swearing off sweets, but I asked the internet and here's the recipes I used for the cupcakes:
      Earl Grey:
      Lemon Vanilla: with either a teaspoon and a half of lemon extract added or some zest and juice if you're like me and too lazy to go buy lemon extract (I think if I'd done the full recipe I would've used about a teaspoon of zest and 2-3 tablespoons of juice)
      Green Tea: