February 10, 2010

Humpastry Day with a side of tempo!

Valentine's Day Cookies 
In honor of Valentine's Day, I decided to make some cookies with my boys.  They absolutely love making cookies and we actually have a lot of fun together!  Now that they're 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 they can actually do most of the steps.  They love using cookie cutters and decorating them with frosting and sprinkles.  Although, I think 70% of the frosting and sprinkles ends up in their bellies instead of on the cookies!  Ha ha!  I tried to make these "healthy," but let's be honest here, cookies with frosting are no where near healthy.  But it's o.k.  Sometimes you just have to make cookies because it's fun and just plain yummy!   Oh, and you don't have to worry about refrigerating the dough before using the cookie cutters.  This is great when you have two parents toddlers waiting for cookies! :)

Makes between 1-2 dozen cookies depending on what size cookie cutters you use.

For the cookies:
 *  2C flour
Note:  I used a mix of 1C whole wheat pastry flour and 1C whole wheat flour.  You can use any combination of flour you feel like.  If you want a more "traditional" cookie cutter cookie, you might want to use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat.
*  3/4C turbinado sugar
*  1tsp. baking powder
*  1/4C applesauce
*  1/2C canola oil
*  1Tbl. vanilla extract
*  1/2tsp. cinnamon

For the icing:
(Makes enough icing for 2 dozen cookies)
*  2C confectioners sugar
*  8-10tsp. soymilk (you can add more or less depending on how thick/runny you want the frosting to be)
*  6tsp. agave syrup
*  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (you can also use almond extract for a different, but good flavor)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a mixing bowl, mix the applesauce, oil, and sugar together.
3.  In a separate bowl mix the flour(s), baking powder, and cinnamon.  Slowly add to the wet mixture until combined.
4.  Sprinkle a little flour on a clean surface.  Roll out the dough to a 1/4" thickness.
Note:  The dough may be a little crumbly, but will roll out fine for the cookie cutters.
5.  Cut out some cookies and place them on a cookie sheet.
6.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7.  Transfer to a cooling rack.


And, the side of tempo:
*Note to self, do not attempt a tempo run after eating 2 Valentine's day cookies! :)

 I am pretty new to tempo runs, so I found a general definition from running.about.com:

Definition: Tempo runs are runs that are done at a steady effort level, usually just a little slower than your 10K race pace. Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic or lactate threshold, which is critical for running faster.

To do a tempo run, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running to warm up, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running about 10 seconds slower than your 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

And here's some more info. on tempo runs that I got from runnersworld.com.
Why the Tempo Works...

Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. "Most runners have trained their cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the muscles," says exercise scientist Bill Pierce, chair of the health and exercise science department at Furman University in South Carolina, "but they haven't trained their bodies to use that oxygen once it arrives. Tempo runs do just that by teaching the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently."

How? By increasing your lactate threshold (LT), or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions--by-products of metabolism--are released into the muscles. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your "threshold," meaning your muscles become better at using these byproducts. The result is less-acidic muscles (that is, muscles that haven't reached their new "threshold"), so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster. 

Tonight I was scheduled to do a 30min. tempo run and debated about doing it tomorrow instead because of the cookies, but figured I'd be alright.  For the most part I was fine, but burping up the taste of frosting is not the most pleasant thing to experience during a run.  Although, I guess it could have been much worse!
All in all, I think my tempo run went pretty good.  I did a 10min. warm-up, followed by 15min at around 7:28 pace, then a 5min. cool down.  It was pretty tough, and I had sweat pouring off of me, but it felt great and I felt FAST!   I can definitely see how doing tempo runs is going to help me meet my goal.  

Do any of you do tempo runs?  If so, do you think they have helped you become a faster runner?  


misszippy said...

Tempo runs are my absolute favorite! I really think they work, even more so than other types of speedwork. The mental confidence they give you is one big reason, imho.

Anne Marie said...

aw, love the cookies. so cute. it's on my list of things to do w/my lil' ones, but at this point in the week, i'm just impressed that i got their preschool valentines done.
ay, ay, ay!
and agreed w/above misszippy, tempo runs r cool;-)

Julie said...

Hi Aimee,
Your little guys are so cute!! I love that they like to make cookies with you:) My four year old likes to make cookies with me too! The cookie recipe looks really healthy...and I will write down and try:) Tempo runs were kind of hard for me at first but I am getting used to them. And, yes I do think that they have helped me some with my speed:) Thanks Aimee!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Impressive food as always!!

I hate tempo runs, i will do fartleks anyday, but I moan and groan when I see a tempo run on my schedule.

Anonymous said...

The cookies are beautiful and your boys enjoying them are so adorable. What great memories you are making!! Nice work with the tempo run (and not losing your cookies during!!) :)

Anonymous said...

i luv tempo runs...and I love cookies. And I'm sure the two together are FABO! I do do my tempo sessions...and have come to "appreciate" them a bit more. I find them pretty taxing and have learned that the benefits are well worth the trip to the Pain Cave....good luv with that. And those are some great looking cookies, too!

KK said...

I do not love tempo runs, but value what they add to my fitness so I slog through them.

Your boys are adorable! And thanks for stopping by my blog a while back :).

Velma said...

The cookies look great! I have had a lot of luck with the tempo runs - they give me a lot of confidence for race day. I also think they help with shorter tris.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I LOVE feeling fast and cookies.. But not trying to run after eating cookies. Good luck this weekend on your 5K

X-Country2 said...

Awww, I can't wait to make cookies with my kids some day. Very fun!