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Run Wild

by Carilyn on July 13, 2018

Wow! Training in this heat has been a bear. Now that I’m (slightly) older, I’m a little more concerned about my skin. Since I sweat like a maniac, I hate wearing a lot of sunscreen. This leaves me with two options: lots of clothing, or the treadmill. Neither are the best option, but you do what you have to do, right?

I have to say (right up to the moment where I find out I have skin cancer), I am glad I was a child of the 70s-80s when it comes to the sun. As a swimmer, and a wild child, I was outside from sunup to sundown. I do not recall ever wearing sunscreen. This is not a knock on my mother – I never saw any child getting slathered from head to toe by a worried mommy. Our only concession to the sun was wearing our older brothers’ oversized cotton t-shirts if: a) we were practicing our way to Olympic glory by hurling ourselves off the high dive repeatedly in an attempt to perfect our one-and-a-halfs (google tells me it is “halfs” rather than “halves” when it is referring to the name of the dive), or b) we had a bad sunburn from having spent 8 hours at the pool the day before (a sunburn was NEVER an excuse to make your siblings miss going to the pool just because you forgot to put on a t-shirt at hour four).

Now, I must admit, many of my peers from my generation have made dermatologists/plastic surgeons/aestheticians rich with all the peels, resurfacing, mole removal we’ve required as a direct result of not being familiar with the meaning of SPF 35. My less outdoorsy friends definitely look a few years younger than I do. When I say I’m 50, no one says, “No! You look so young!” I definitely have the skin of the “benign neglect” parenting style that was so prevalent.

And I’m okay with that.

Because when I see that they’ve replaced the high dive with a fully enclosed, tubular waterslide (lest the munchkins go slooping over the side), and kids swimming in, what amounts to, full safari gear – long sleeve shirt, long “swim pants” (really?), sunglasses, and a floppy hat – while also slathered in sunscreen, I feel sad. Childhood for these kids is no longer about freedom, exploring one’s limits, or falling flat on your back from an unrealized back flip off a high dive. No one is learning from mistakes because no one is allowed to make mistakes anymore. How can you realize you need to get out of the sun if you’ve never felt what it’s like to have a sunburn? How can you decide you are not destined for Olympic glory if you don’t get a chance to discover you really don’t enjoy heights, much less hurling yourself from them while trying to look as graceful as a ballerina from the Bolshoi?

So, I will take the extra wrinkles and sunspots. Because that means I know when I need to run on the treadmill, or when I can just run wild.

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So I signed up for another race. Well, not so much of a race, as a God-I-hope-I-can-do-this-and-not-die sort of situation. I am taking up the T184 Challenge – a 184 mile run across England, self-supported (something I’ve never done before – remember, I like one mile loops), along the Thames. I’m talking myself to sleep every night with, “I will not get mugged. I will not get lost. I will not run out of water and be found, dehydrated and delirious, wandering the English countryside three weeks after the race ends.”

Aside from the primary goal of surviving, my second goal is to see southern England the slow way. I’ve run various sections of the UK, but only on my morning runs while visiting my kids. I’ve run through London (in all directions), Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh. I’ve run by every body of water I could find – The Thames, The Cam, The Firth, and The North Sea – and various roads, trails, paths, and city blocks. I loved every minute of it! So, of course, I wanted to go back.

The T184 runs along the Thames, starting east of London and ending at The Source, 184 miles later. Some of the run will be on sidewalks, some on roads, some on fields and other “unmarked” topography. All of it seems interesting, and scary, especially the self-supported and navigation aspects of this race. And I have five more weeks to wrap my head around it all. Or to chicken out. We’ll see.

Sadly, the real downside, as I see it, is that we are not allowed to buy or accept anything while we traverse the course. Thus, if a chef is standing on the side of the trail, trying to force my favorite Sticky Toffee Pudding or a Sunday Roast Dinner upon me, I cannot accept without getting disqualified. Sigh. Rules.

Maybe because of my fear of deprivation that is potentially about to descend upon me, I’ve felt moved to double up on my cooking and baking. Tonight we are having a red wine beef stew and a chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Yesterday, it was Mousse au Chocolat and a big bowl of chili (notice the order, which was exactly how the dishes were eaten). I feel like a bear about to face a very long winter rather than a woman about to run for a few days.

I hope to be disciplined enough to write up the recipes as I go, but…well, I may be too busy stuffing my pie hole. For now, here is the most important – dessert.

keto cheesecake

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

(keto, LCHF, sugar and gluten free)

Crust

12 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1 pieces

8 ounces semisweet chocolate (I like Lily’s) roughly chopped

1 Tbsp water

3 large eggs, separated, plus one additional egg white

pinch salt

2 tsp Swerve

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9 inch pyrex or springform pan.

Put butter, chocolate, and water in a small bowl over simmering water (double boiler). Heat until melted, stirring often. Set aside to cool.

In a LARGE bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks and the salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, you are using a hand mixer), combine the 4 egg whites and the Swerve. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Add the eggs yolks, one at a time to the cooled chocolate mixture, until fully blended and smooth. Return the mixture to the LARGE bowl.

Slowly fold the stiffened egg whites into the chocolate. Do not overmix.

Spread the batter into your pan and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, just until slightly firm, but not hard. The crust will bake more when you bake the cheesecake. You want it to be firm enough to hold the cheesecake filling, but not tough.

 

Filling

16 ounces of full fat cream cheese (2 bricks) softened

3/4 cup powdered Swerve

2 large eggs

1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare the filling while the crust is baking.

In a stand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese and the Swerve on medium low until smooth and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next (about 1 minute).

Add in lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour over chocolate crust and smooth.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until center barely jiggles. Remove and cool at room temperature. Once it is room temperature, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

 

Raspberry Coulis

24 ounces (4 small containers) of fresh raspberries

juice from half of a lemon

2 Tbsp Swerve (more if you want it sweeter)

1 Tbsp water

In a small saucepan, heat all ingredients over medium heat. Cook until it reduces to desired consistency. Stir frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.

*This sauce is not very syrupy. If you want it to be sweeter, and more sauce like, reduce the water and add more sweetener.

 

 

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