Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to beat taper madness...Susan style

Many people talk about taper madness, a time during which runners anticipate their marathon with phantom injury pangs and thoughts of "What? I can't run 26.2 miles!" How do I get around taper madness? Distractions! Doing activities that I enjoy to take the place of running during taper time keeps my mind off of all the crazy thoughts I could be thinking of. Before I started nursing school, I took a cake decorating class at Joann Fabrics, and I learned a couple different basic techniques. I would bake cakes and then take them to work since I'm the only one at home who can eat the cake. When nursing school started, I was INSANELY busy and therefore cut back on my baking. In the past few weeks, people at work started talking about "the cakes Susan used to make," so I figured it was about time to make a new one. I like to go all out, so it was time to experiment! Here's the result:

Peanut Butter Banana Illini Fondant Cake

I started off by making one layer of peanut butter cake and one layer of banana cake. I'd never made a cake from scratch before, but it was really easy and they tasted great! If you've ever read about my pre-run breakfast, you would know that I love to eat peanut butter toast with banana...it's such a great combination, so I tried to do it in cake form! I was going to add chocolate icing, but I forgot cocoa powder at the store, so vanilla it was. This was also my first time decorating a cake with fondant, which is the really smooth icing that many people use on their wedding cakes. It often doesn't taste good, but I made a marshmallow fondant (basically marshmallows + powdered sugar) which didn't taste too bad. As I was making the icing, I asked my dad to pick the colors. Naturally, he said orange and blue, the colors of the University of Illinois, his alma mater. That took care of my decoration decisions! Picture time:

Peanut butter layer with some frosting to separate it from the banana layer!

Banana layer! It tastes just like banana...so good.

Annnnnd decorated! From the top!

Side view.

I took the cake to work with me, and everyone was so excited! No one wanted to cut into it, but eventually they did and now all I have left is two slices. Good thing, otherwise I would eat it all myself...not so good for the upcoming marathon.

My last run before the marathon was today. I'll do a two mile run on Friday, but that's not really anything substantial. If the forecast stays the same for Saturday, then the weather will be much like today. 50-ish, partly cloudy...hopefully with a little less wind today! I wore shorts and a tank top, and I was cool but comfortable. I've done most of my training for this marathon in cold temperatures, so the race day apparel is still a little up in the air. Probably shorts with a tank top and a long sleeve shirt to start.

Tuesday, April 28
4.14 miles in 31:21, avg pace of 7:35

Maybe a tad on the fast side, but I really had to go to the bathroom at the end! I think I'll survive. I kind of have a sore throat that started yesterday...nothing major, but I hope it doesn't turn into anything. I'm drinking tea with honey, gargling with warm salt water (yum!), and sucking on throat lozenges...hopefully knocking out this sore throat soon. No getting sick now! I'll rest up a little more while watching the Biggest Loser tonight!

Let me know if you need a cake...I'd love to make you one! :)


  1. Holy Crap! That's an amazing cake!! I'm impressed!

    I need a cake! haha! Not sure how well it would ship to Alaska though :-(

  2. ME! I wanna cake! Your cake came out gorgeous & sounds delish.

    I dunno what's up with this sore throat either. I'm hoping/praying it's just allergies. GAH!

  3. That cake is awesome!! I love to bake too and usually end up bringing all my baked goods to work too so I won't eat them:) I've never used fondant though, but it makes for such a pretty presentation!!

  4. That is AWESOME! I want to learn to bake/decorate so badly. Perhaps I'll take a class. I'm sure your getting the pre-race jitters/excitement right now so hang in there. Your ready to go!

  5. Totally impressed by the cake. I thought your first picture was the finished product and wasn't that impressed, but THEN I saw the end product and wow, you're good. Love the braiding at the bottom.

  6. I'm a hungry runner, how about sending some cake over here? :)

  7. That is so cute!! I'm impressed with the decorating skillz.

  8. That cake is freaking awesome! If I ever BQ, I want you to make me a BQ cake. Good, I'm glad that's settled.

  9. that cake looks amazing! very creative to do the banana + pb layers, too. and homemade fondant = an extra bonus. wow!

  10. Your cake is awesome! It sounds so good, I love peanut butter and bananas, oh it is making me hungry.

  11. That's a beautiful cake, and what a great combination of flavors!

  12. Wow! Your cake is amazing! That must have been one hell of a class! You should see my cakes. LOL! They are a joke (but they taste good).

    I hope your throat is feeling better today!

    I am not loving cutting back on my mileage this week! I feel lazy!

  13. Seriously, that cake does look amazing! I think you could have a strong career as a wedding cake maker, if the whole nursing thing doesn't pan out. :-)