Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pears and a PR

First the important thing--Upside Down Pear Cake! I made these two beauties after I came home from the race this afternoon (Saturday). One is for my parents and the other is for Rod and me. I haven't officially tasted it yet,* but based on some traces left in the baking pans, I can pretty much say YUM! (The cake batter wasn't bad either. I'm just saying.)

The recipe's so simple I think I can remember it here (the recipe's at home). I didn't make any efforts to healthify it. :)

Core and slice three large pears. Toss with a little lemon juice (to prevent discoloration) and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. While oven is heating, melt 1/4 cup butter in a glass baking dish in oven (either 11x7 or 8-inch works). After the butter melts, sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar in pan. You can add more brown sugar if it looks sparse, I did.

For the cake batter, cream 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 cup white sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon grated orange rind, and one teaspoon vanilla in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, stir together 1 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Mix flour and 1/2 cup milk into butter/sugar mixture, alternating wet and dry ingredients.

Arrange pear slices in baking dish, and pour cake batter over evenly. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean.

Cool for a few minutes then invert onto serving plate (you might want to loosen edges with a knife first). I'm sure you could serve warm or cold, plain or with ice cream or whipped cream...whatever turns you on.

Okay, that's done. What else? Oh yeah, the race!

This morning (again, I mean Saturday morning) there was a 5-mile fun run/race (depending on your inclinations) at the Marysville Y.

The morning started with heavy rain, which was a bit of a downer. But it lightened up by the time I got to the Y, and stopped entirely for the duration of the race (at least my part of it).

There weren't very many runners, I'm not even sure of the number right now, but it was definitely a smaller crowd than when I ran two years ago. I don't know if the rain kept people away (wimps) or if it just wasn't well publicized.

Because of the small crowd, I started right up front, just behind three very fast guys and one other who wasn't as fast as them.

While we were waiting I made a joke about how we could all win our age group (because there were so few people), but when I realized everyone around was in my age group, I amended it to we could all win a place in our age group. I think they thought I was saying I was going to win my age group, though. Oops.

When we took off one of the other 40-something women was right next to me, and we ran "together" for a while. I figured eventually she would leave me behind, but instead I ended up leaving her behind!

My secret goal was to finish under 40 minutes (not so secret anymore when I told my mom at the start, "see you in 40 minutes"), but I knew that would be really hard, and unlikely. My first mile was around 8:15, which meant it was still possible...and not ruled out after a second mile of 8:04. But it didn't seem too likely considering that I could not really imagine picking up my pace substantially enough to make up the difference.

As the next couple of miles clicked in around 8:15 again, I knew there was no way I was going to break 40 minutes. So I concentrated on the possible--keeping my lead amongst the female runners (and anyone else who was still behind me). I was the first, and for awhile I was aware of others behind me (the other 40-something women), but after about halfway I had lost them. I was pretty sure I'd be okay if I didn't slow down.

Ahead of me in the race were three very fast males who had disappeared into the distance long ago and were never seen again. But just ahead of me was one guy, not as fast, who was about a block ahead of me. It was rather nice having someone to follow, to make sure I didn't lose the route!

For the rest of the race I chased this guy, never letting him get away but still unable to catch him. I did see him look back a few times, and there was small satisfaction knowing he was aware that I was there behind him (if not quite on his heels).

The race ended back at the Y. As we turned into the final stretch I could see the clock, and it already said 40 on it. Obviously it would--not one of my miles had been under 8 minutes. But I still put on the speed to the finish--I certainly didn't want to go over 41. I crossed the finish at 40:35.

According to Garmin, the distance was actually 4.96, a little under 5, so my actual pace was 8:11. Still, it was definitely a PR for this distance. I don't remember my exact prior PR, but it's always been 42-something in the handful of 5 mile/8K races I've done.

I checked the results board and I was fifth overall, and the first female. For my prize they gave me a YMCA sweatshirt, which ironically said "Monroe YMCA" (this was Marysville). Even though I was obviously first in my age group, they gave the age group ribbons to the three women who finished behind me. I didn't mind.

So that was pretty cool, even though it was a small race and obviously not too competitive.

Next Sunday is my last September race, the Bellingham Half Marathon. So running this week will be geared toward prepping for that. (How, I don't know--it just sounds like a good idea!)

*No longer the case as of Sunday morning. We had some for dessert after going to a movie--The Informant!, it was fantastic, I highly recommend it!--and I had a piece for breakfast after running Sunday morning. And it tastes just as good as it looks. On Sunday I warmed my piece in the microwave (because I like warm sweets) and had a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on the side (because I like ice cream with just about everything). It was extremely yummo both times!

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lifestudent said...

Hm. I've only heard of upside down pineapple cake. Can you do it with other stuff too? yum. Maybe I'll try upside down chocolate cake ;)

Kristin said...

Yes, you can do other kinds of upside down cakes... actually chocolate sounds like a great idea! Think of it, some kind of chocolate goo on the bottom, then cake, and when you invert it, the gooey part runs down the sides. But lest you think you or I are too clever, apparently others have already thought of it... when you google "chocolate upside down cake," you get tons of hits! But they sound good! :)

aron said...

AND congrats on ANOTHER PR!!!