We’ve been on the road since Wednesday — I’m pretty thrilled with our RV still, despite the many challenges it brings. (The furnace doesn’t seem to stay on reliably, for example, which isn’t great when you’re camping in Death Valley in December.) Cooking is a bit of a challenge, particularly when making a “holiday meal.” I opted for a ham and mac and cheese for Christmas Dinner — simple enough. It was the creation of some sort of sticky toffee pudding that was more difficult. Usually I use the Food and Wine recipe and make the puddings in little ramekins. But I wasn’t going to cart 8 ramekins into the desert. Sticky toffee pudding also relies on dates, softened in liquid, then puréed, to give it some of its stickiness. I also was not going to bring the food processor out here. I premade the dry ingredients; put 1/2 cup of oil in a small jar, brought 2 eggs and 8 dates from home; and my immersion blender, which I hoped would provide enough oomph to blend the dates. I used Julie Turshen’s recipe for gingery date cake, which I cooked in an 8” cake pan. (I did bring that pan and a piece of parchment paper pre-cut to fit it.) I wasn’t confident in the RV oven either for baking. And I’d say that I ended up over baking it a little in order to get it to set in the middle. For the toffee sauce, I mixed butter, golden syrup, cream, and oh shit I forgot to bring sugar. It turned out just fine. Indeed the whole thing was delicious, although less dark and sticky than usual. (As leftovers, reheated altogether in the microwave, it did get a little stickier.)

The other cooking triumph this week were corn cookies, using a recipe from King Arthur Baking (which I think attempts to recreate the Milk Bar corn cookie). I used a quarter of a cup of Shared Culture’s corn miso in lieu of 4 tbs of the butter in the recipe. And holy shit, they were good.

Half Marathon Training Update: This upcoming week is the official start of the half marathon training, and knock wood, I have any injuries and illnesses behind me now. I did move my long run to Tuesday before we left, and I’ve been running 3 easy miles every day while we’ve been on the road. Well, I say “easy” — for the past 3 days I’ve run up the side of a mountain here in Lone Pine and it’s been fucking hard. The first day I listened to an audiobook while doing so — I’m still listening to Rest is Resistance — but I switched to music to give me some more get-up-and-go. The run uphill is excruciating and very slow. The run back down is exhilarating and almost frighteningly fast.

The forecast has it raining for the rest of the week — for our trip back as well as when we return to Oakland and the first official long run of the LMJS HM training. (We’re running the Bay Bridge, I think.) I definitely feel a bit out-of-sorts while on the road — we walk less, my eating habits are weird and I’m definitely not consuming enough protein (but car snacks, let’s be honest, they rule). I’m eager to get back to it — back to walking Lake Merritt, back to lifting heavy at Bay Strength, and back to running a little bit farther every week. My first half marathon is just 3 months away. My first 10K race is in a month. Eek!

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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