Tuesday, July 31, 2012

we survived our first ever full marathon!

we finished! my medal and bib number

i cannot tell you how happy i felt when i crossed that finish line on sunday after having ran 26.2 miles. it felt soooooo good. just knowing that i put myself through 5+ hours of constant running and actually finishing it, it felt amazing. i felt so accomplished, so proud of myself. who knew that i would be running a full marathon, ever?! 

mark ran the full marathon as well. and like me, it was also his first. his pace was so much faster than mine so he started 2 waves ahead of me. i won't bored you all with all the details. but all i can say is, everything you've ever read about running a marathon, the stories from people who've ran it… yup, i agreed with all of them. it's all true. at some point during the run, you think to yourself, "why did i sign up for this? am i crazy? i'm never doing this again. ever!" that's exactly how i felt. your body starts to hurt in so many places, you're not sure you can keep going. it's a lot of mental as it is physical. mark can say the same too. but funny how the human brain works. we sure have a short-term memory or something. later that day after the race, mark went out for his usual evening walk. when he got back, he told me, "i'm going to run every san francisco marathon until i get my time under 4 hours; even if it takes me several years to get there. no other routes but this one because i want to compare my times." i'm thinking… "are you crazy?" i'm not so sure about running every sf marathon, but i know i will run that race again. i just don't know about next year. it's too soon to make a decision right now after having just ran it. 

i must say, we felt fantastic (okay, maybe a little tired, burnt out, whatever you may call it) after the run; but overall, it was a great feeling. again, like i said above, the thought of knowing that we've ran our first marathon was so great. it's one of those things some people talk about, say maybe.. maybe not, and just leave it at that. we're the ones that said, "okay, let's do it" and actually did it. one item checked off our bucket list. now mark cannot wait to run his next one. you can say he's got the bug. i think i kind of have it too. i just don't want to make any quick decisions right now. i want to make sure that when i do sign up for a full marathon again that i put in the time and commitment to train for it properly. i really want to improve on my race time. 

so how did we do and what were our times? i finished in 5 hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds. mark finished in 4 hours, 30 minutes and 10 seconds. not too bad for our first marathon run -- especially without proper training! and for me personally, anything to make me feel good about myself (hehe), it's not too bad considering i did it 9 months post baby #2. that's quite a fete! now, i just wonder if we did train properly, would our finish time had been better? i don't know. we'll have to see how we do on our next one. right now, the only race i would do without thinking twice is a half marathon. yes, having ran a full, i feel like i could run the half in my sleep! with my eyes closed.. whatever! it's nothing like the full. and plus, you can go so much faster… no need to reserve any energy because it won't be as long. of course, i must train for it properly too. but i also know that if i don't really have the time to train, i can still wing it and do okay. of course, i want to improve my half marathon time so i may have to put in some effort and train for it. do it right or something to see if i can improve my time. the last time i ran one (the nike women's marathon in 2010 -- half marathon distance), my time was 2:04. i think i can do better.

oh, how am i feeling 2 days after the race? i will have to say my body is pretty awesome. it remembers very well or was much more forgiving this time around compared to 2 weekends ago when mark and i did our practice marathon run (i ran 24 miles, he actually ran 26!). i still feel a little sore, a little stiff, but i also feel like i can definitely run today if i have to. of course, i didn't and won't for the next several days. the earliest day i'll run again is next tuesday -- at least a good week after the race. it's pretty cool how i didn't get anything major or minor like i did that last time. yes, after that 24 miles, my body was in so much shock, my left foot hurt so much, i could barely walk. but this time around... easy peasy, i'm up and about doing a-ok. just still a little sore, but no biggie. :) mark on the other hand? ahhh... he's still in pain. but he said that's probably because he didn't give himself enough recovery time that last time (he ran 2 days after that practice run while still feeling achy and some pain). i'm such a chicken these days, any hints/signs of pain and i stop. i don't want to injure myself and have to stop running for weeks, months, years, what have you! i should know better as i've experienced it first hand 3 years ago.

alright, that's it for now. so yes, again... we survived! and we're so excited for our next marathon race, whenever that will be -- for me anyway (mark's next june 2013). :D

got my running stuff for the sf marathon @ the sfm expo
me at the expo on saturday, getting my running bag for sunday's race

at the start line, waiting to start
a quick smile at the start line, waiting to run

the starting line
making our way up to the starting line @ 6:10am

all finished! me with my finisher medal
all smiles at the finish line holding my finisher’s medal. pretty awesome. :D

in-n-out as a post-race meal -- delish!
somewhere along mile 20-21, i heard two people behind me talking about a nice juicy burger. i told myself after the race that's exactly what i was going to have. either super duper or in-n-out. this WAS the perfect post-race meal.

Friday, July 27, 2012

running 26.2 miles this sunday

alright, so mark and i are running our first ever full marathon this sunday -- SF marathon. we've ran in this event before but only the 5k. yeah, that was back in 2009, i believe. at about almost a year since i (we) picked up running (me, running again after years of hiatus). of course, when we first started running we never thought we'd even run a full marathon. now, it is really almost here. i'm just hoping we'll both be able to finish it a-ok.

a couple of weeks ago we did our (one) long training run for this race. oh my, trust me... if i could do it over again, i'd so do it differently. what's different? ummm, actually train for it properly! you see, being our typical self, we knew the whole 26.2 miles would be hard. we just didn't realize how hard it was and what a different beast this was until 2/3 of the way into our ridiculously long run. how long was long? let's just say mark's training run was your full 26.2 miles and i could only manage to complete 24 miles. still, it was 24 miles! who runs 24 miles before a marathon? yeah, most people would tell you to stop at 20 or something. and of course, you add on mileage slowly over time. definitely do not do what i did. what's that? ahhh.. yeah, running about 2-4 miles 4 times a week, and then suddenly jumping to running 24 miles. that's a giant no-no. crazy stuff you put your body through, not cool! well, yup.. that's exactly what i did. if you could look at my nike+ running logs, i went from running 1.8 miles 2 days before running 24 miles. that's pretty crazy. i hope to not do this again -- the (not) training part.

we are so excited for this sunday. we're picking up our running packets tomorrow at the expo and hoping to get to bed early for an early morning come sunday morning. i'm hoping and keeping my fingers cross that sunday morning will be awful. i know the weather reports say it'll be nice and sunny, but i'm really hoping the running gods are on our side and give us some of your typical SF gloomy foggy misty weather early sunday morning until around 10:30am?! yeah, that's about the time i'll almost be done with my race. of course, this may be too much to ask for. really, i just hope i finish within the course limit of 6 hours. anything faster than that is a bonus.

alright, stay tuned! will be back after sunday to tell all about it. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

caramel macarons

caramel macarons from design. bake. run.

caramal french macarons

okay, so i managed to bake some macarons last night, trying out one of pierre herme's recipes. let's just say we're not quite there yet. i haven't figured out what temperature and for how long to bake these. very frustrating trying to get them right. by the looks of it they look like macarons, but some shells are hollow, some shells aren't fully cooked... ahhh! i guess i'll have to try again some other time.

***update: 4/3/13***

if you'd like to try and make some macarons yourself, you can certainly check out these recipes:


Monday, July 23, 2012

i love french macarons

assorted french macarons

like i said in the previous post, i've been so busy i haven't had any time to bake! i can't get into details what's been taking up my time at the moment. anyway, i recently had a birthday and asked for pierre herme's macaron book as well as laduree's sucre book. i cannot wait to try out those recipes. macarons and i aren't quite there yet. we still have some things we need to work out. i know, you think by now i should have it down right? as you see, i have been making these cute little sandwich cookies for a little over a year now. they really are a challenge. sometimes you just don't know if the batch you just whipped up is going to come out right.

well, for now, enjoy these photos of some good-looking yummy macarons i made a couple months ago as a wedding gift for one of my coworkers. i think they really did turn out perfect, and so cute! but of course, i may be just a tad biased here. now, i just need to find some time to make these again.

i love macarons

french macaron gift box

delicious homemade french macarons

macarons! gift box

Sunday, July 22, 2012

cream puffs with vanilla pastry cream

cream puffs with chocolate ganache

all week last week i've been so busy or tired that i have not had any time to bake. usually these days, i feel like my nights are so precious, i can't afford to do too many things. either that or i'm usually exhausted and drained come 9pm to do anything.

anyway, i really have been itching to bake lately and finally earlier today i managed to have enough free time (no kids fussing, etc) and decided to make these delicious cream puff. that's because they're so easy to make, you don't need a whole lot of time to do this (okay, that's true for the prepping or making part -- but you do need some time for them to bake). now, usually the cream puffs i make have whipping cream in them. that's because about the only time i make cream puffs is when there's heavy whipping cream lying around the house. well, there were some this time, but i decided to skip the ones with whipped cream and go for the pastry cream filling instead. see, i stumbled upon the recipe for pierre herme's vanilla pastry cream sometime last week and since i do have some spare egg yolks around, i figured i'd try out his recipe. it didn't turn out quite the way i had hope. it could be because i made a little more than half the recipe and winged the rest of the other ingredients. but for the  most part, it came out okay and they still tasted delicious. the recipe below is an adaptation of pierre herme's recipe. for the most part, all the measurements are pretty accurate so, if you decide to make it, they should come out right.

oh, another thing about baking these goodies was that i could test out my photography skills (i don't have any, actually). well, i definitely don't have what you'd consider a cool camera. no fancy dslr or anything like that. just a typical point and shoot (canon powershot, model something?!). anyway, i've been playing around with the manual settings stuff with focus, aperature and shutter settings. i'm hoping i'll get the hang of those things and eventually make my way up to a dslr, whatever model i can afford.

so for now, do enjoy the two photos i shot and edited of these delicious cream puffs.

vanilla pastry cream
adapted from pierre herme's vanilla pastry cream recipe
1 cup milk (i used 1%)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/6 cup cornstarch, sifted
1-1/4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

in a small saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla extract to a boil over medium heat (or do this in the microwave oven). cover the pan, remove from heat, and allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes, time enough for the liquids to be infused with the warm flavor of vanilla.

whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan (or a bowl). while still whisking, gradually whisk hot milk into egg yolk mixture. return mixture to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. remove from heat and whisk cream until smooth (i guess this is when you can add the butter in if you like. or follow pierre herme's tip below). transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. chill until cold, generally a few hours.

pierre herme said he likes to cool the pastry cream before adding the butter. that's to ensure the cream doesn't separate so that the butter doesn't lose its smooth texture. plus, it gives you a pastry cream with a better, more buttery taste. i say you can certainly follow this advice and try it yourself. i for one can't stand for anything to cool down unless i really have to, so i usually just put my butter in right away after the stove. maybe next time i will try this little tip.

note: pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to 3 days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

a few photos from yesterday's fourth of july

mark and i took c to his first ever 4th of july fireworks show last night. he loved it and had so much fun. seeing the excitement and joy on his face was worth the hassle of getting to and from the event.

starbucks coffee
yes, i couldn't help it. starbucks was giving away a free tall coffee in celebration of the fourth of july. a little silly waiting 20 minutes in line for my free coffee, but yes, i was one of them.

hot dogs, fries, coleslaw & potato salad meal
nothing says american better than hot dogs, fries, coleslaw and potato salad! yum. :)

mini cupcake!
of course, another shot of those vanilla cupcakes. this one's a mini actually.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy birthday, america!

vanilla cupcakes, 3 ways

last night i baked a small batch of vanilla cupcakes and finished it three ways: vanilla cake with strawberry jam filling + vanilla buttercream, vanilla cake with lemon curd filling + lemon buttercream, and vanilla cake with nutella filling + chocolate ganache. as you all know, today is the fourth of july. you've gotta have some kind of cake, so why not cupcakes?! anyway, this vanilla cupcake recipe is delicious. it's one of my favorite go-to cupcake recipes. you can make it as is or dress it up a bit like i did by adding in filling, changing up the frosting, etc. try it out yourself and let me know what you think! pretty good eh?

vanilla cupcakes
makes 12, from amy sedaris

3/4 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups milk
your choice of buttercream frosting

turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. if you don't have a stand mixer or a hand mixer, mixing it by hand will do too. just make sure you warm up your butter if it's not at room temperature already a bit in the microwave so it's easy to mix with the sugar. if your butter is already at room temperature, then that should be fine. you can skip the microwave part. pour in sugar and beat well. add in the egg. i usually just crack my eggs right in. i know some don't do this because you can have a bad egg and have to start all over again, or drop egg shells in there and have to go fishing for it, etc but hey, i guess i'm a daredevil like amy sedaris too! we take chances here. mix well. add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. should produce 12 cupcakes.

frost with your choice of frosting. and that's it, you're done! now... go enjoy them. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

say hello!

hi there! as you can see, this is the official first entry of this newly created blog. design. bake. run. those three things are what i love to do most, apart from spending time with family and friends, of course. but as you'll notice as i get going on this blog, and hopefully i won't veer off course a whole lot here, but the majority of this blog will consist of anything design related, baking (cooking sometimes?!) and/or running (okay, exercise) happenings in and around my life. at least those are my intentions at the moment. so far now, sit back and enjoy some goodies i've collected for this first entry.


us in maui -- may 2012
yes, that above is yours truly and my always so wonderful and supportive hubby!

me in paris @ pierre herme - march 2012
while in paris this spring 2012, i got to try pierre herme. this is by far my favorite macaron place!

i run most mornings
i love early morning runs. not the best terrain, but for now, this will do.

san francisco, ca
this is where we call home. i love this city!


macarons! -- photo by sabrina ko
coffee nutella and salted caramel macarons for sabrina & andrew; photo courtesy of sabrina ko

love day cupcakes
i love baking mini cupcakes

hump days are better with cupcakes!
regular size cupcakes are delish as well!

i love macarons!
but lately, macarons have taken over. i'm still trying to perfect these babies.

[note: all baked goods apart from pierre herme, of course, were baked by me! :)]
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