The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!
I competed in my first (and last) cross-country race of the season yesterday. I don’t recommend running 5 miles over a hilly, muddy, course in the biggest race of the season as your first race of the season but months of low level infection have hampered training and made racing impossible leaving me unfit and race rusty. I had to run this one or I would have missed the entire cross country season, something that hasn’t happened since 2007 (but I was either pregnant or in China that year so I had a good excuse).
However, I got out there, that’s the main thing. I kind of enjoyed it although I’m still slightly disappointed with my 235th place finish (the previous worst being 155th in 2009 when we just popped back from China for the winter break and I raced on very little training) but, it has to be taken in context, that context being that I haven’t actually done any proper (and certainly consistent) training since the summer.
This was also a momentous race because it will be my last race running for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers as first claim as I’m going to switch to my local club Wirral AC. I looked out to see if I could see my new club members before the race but I didn’t see a Wirral tent or flag. However, about half way round the second lap, Anne came past me! It was nice to see her but I would have been happier if she hadn’t actually been overtaking me when I saw her!
It was also nice to see Caroline, who took the photo. Hopefully we’ll have many happy days running together. It occurs to me that I’m going to go from looking like I’m a pacer for the London Marathon to looking like I’m a pacer mint.
One good thing about the race yesterday was that we actually had a team. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run in these big races and we haven’t had a team and, in spite of my rather lowly position nearly doubling our team score (that’s a bad thing), we still came 20th.
When I looked at my Twitter feed yesterday morning before the race, somebody had made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I have tried several times to make cinnamon rolls. The best batch that I ever made was in China. They may not have actually been the best rolls ever but, compared with most of the food that we were eating there at that time, they were like something sent from heaven. The recipe, as I remember, included vanilla ice cream, presumably for the frosting. The recipe was packed full of rather unhealthy ingredients but they were amazing. However, I got the recipe off the internet and foolishly didn’t write it down and never found it again when I searched for it. All other attempts at making cinnamon rolls since then have been rather inferior, particularly the bread part being rather dry and tasteless.
So, seeing these cinnamon rolls yesterday, I felt inspired to have another go. I had a search of the internet for a recipe but in the end, I used a combination of several to give, what turned out to be some pretty good rolls.
For the dough
For the inside bit
For the icing
I put everything in the bread maker on the dough setting but I guess you could just knead it as for normal bread and leave it to rise to about double the size in a warm place.
Knock back the dough and make it into a big rectangle then spread the melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the whole thing with ground cinnamon then sprinkle over with the brown sugar until it is all covered. I just did it until it looked right and was all covered. I would, at this point, recommend adding some raisins or dried fruit but my children would only complain if I did that (they are so fussy) so I left out that bit.
Roll it up so that you end up with the longest length roll so that you can make more rolls (rather than just being short and fat – which is how you might end up if you eat too many of these rolls, although, to be honest, I’m not sure that they have an adverse effect on your height but they might on your girth).
Cut the roll so that you end up with 16 slices then place them on the baking tray (I lined the tray with greaseproof paper which I greased). Cover with a tea towel (clingfilm or something suitable) for about 30 min and put in a warm place (actually in the sunshine today!)
Put the oven on 180°C and when the rolls have risen a bit (about 30 min) pop them in the oven. Cook for about 20-25 min. I think 20 is probably enough but, due to demanding children, it ended up being a little longer.
While the rolls are cooking you can a) ask advice from your sister-in-law about how to make nice icing for the rolls (thanks Lowri) and/or b) start making the icing.
Add about 1/3 of the icing sugar to the softened butter and mix, add the vanilla extract, mix. Add another 1/3 of the icing sugar and then add some water and mix (this will give you an idea of how much water you will need before you have committed to using up all the icing sugar). Add the rest of the icing sugar and add enough water to give a consistency of icing that you can drizzle over the rolls.
When the rolls are ready, take them out of the oven (or just leave them in there to burn if you are in that type of mood) and then drizzle over the icing. Leave to cool (I just left them in the tray). Try to hold the children back from eating them while they are still too hot to handle. When cool, test one roll on an unsuspecting child to make sure that they taste OK then, providing the response is positive, hide them from the rest of the family so that you can eat them all yourself. If they taste rubbish, leave them out in sight of the whole family so that they will tuck in and you can go and eat some chocolate or something else instead.
I should add, that I did run 5 miles this morning. I hadn’t planned to run 5 miles but I entered this challenge on Runningheroes.com where you had to run 3 x 5 miles this week. I thought that the 5 mile race yesterday would count. My watch said that I had run 5 miles but, when it was converted onto Strava, it only came up as 4.9 miles (and running heroes takes the info from Strava rather than directly from the watch). I’m not sure how I only ran 4.9 miles in the Nationals when everybody else on Strava ran 5 miles. Perhaps I just took the best line all the way round the course. Strange as it sounds, that might be possible as I am particularly careful about taking the best line. I should be a racing driver not a runner!
Anyway, that meant that officially I had only run 2 x 5 miles this week so I had to get out there this morning and put in another 5 miles. Luckily, it was a glorious morning and I just jogged down the prom from Seacombe Ferry terminal to New Brighton and looped back along the road. Better than running on the treadmill.