Gunner Shaw and Pumpkin Cupcakes


This fall season has found me uncharacteristically motivated to do some training. ¬†Not a LOT of training… but some. ¬†No swimming of course. I save my big comeback for swimming for December. ¬†Actually, I am a liar. ¬†I do 3x3km/week even right now because I can’t stand needing a full month of training just to start training to improve. ¬†9km of swimming is 1/3 or less than what I actually need to do personally to improve my swimming so don’t use that as a guide to what you might need but think about it: ¬†how much would allow you to “maintain” some fitness. ¬†I don’t think anyone should do nothing for any period of time. ¬†It is too hard to come back to where you were let alone move forward. ¬†I have taken a step back with regard to improving my swimming or my cycling but I am still in touch with both. ¬†I am improving my running, my strength and my squash game right now. ¬†As long as you have a chance to take a break from the rigors of disciplined training there is no reason why “exercising” can’t be fun in the offseason.

I have planned to include the XTERRA Trail Run 21km World Championships this December and prior knowledge of that course leaves me frightened enough to continue moving around in order to not suffer completely in the last miles of that race. ¬†Of course, no matter what those last 3 miles are brutal but a bit of extra training does soften the blow. ¬†I think this little run focus helped me last year to run a bit faster during the season (well, would have helped if I didn’t overdo it in March). ¬†So I will follow a similar plan this winter leading into next year. ¬†This year I have increased my mileage significantly on last year and I think I am a bit pooched from that. ¬†I feel good some days and pretty tired others. ¬†All in all though, feeling pretty good.

I do have some fun news to report in a month or so. Long story short.. I am not quitting racing any time soon.

So my annual participation in Gunner Shaw was a triumphant success although I did have a super battle with Kate and Claire especially in the early stages of the race. ¬†I ran in my AVIA Bolts as those are what I am planning for the XTERRA Run worlds but on icy, frozen ground they totally do not work. ¬†I was really struggling in the technical and downhill sections with no footing at all. ¬†I am running in the trail AVIA Stoltz for Stewart Mountain 10 miler for sure. ¬†The Prairie Inn Harriers won the club challenge thanks in part to my overall win and that of Shane Rujancic who took the overall men’s. ¬†It was a fun day for everyone and if you aren’t doing the Victoria trail race series you need to get into it. ¬†It is a blast to run those trails this time of year.

I am enjoying working with Jon Brown again for a month or two this winter… he makes me laugh and his coaching is helping me to learn a lot about running which is not only to my benefit but also to my athletes’ benefit. ¬†More info on him and his philosophy is at ¬†I am also having a ton of fun coaching spin sessions at Procity on Thursday nights. ¬†I think there are one or two spots if you are looking for some winter motivation still.

On another note I made quite delicious pumpkin cupcakes for Maia’s birthday. ¬†They are the best birthday flavor for fall ever and I totally suggest giving them a go. ¬†They are not totally unhealthy especially if you leave off the icing so you don’t have to feel totally guilty and pumpkin has loads of vitamins and goodness and cinnamon is good for your heart. ¬†Enjoy!

Mel’s Punkin Cupcakes


Makes 10 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread/pipe the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon natural Maple Flavor

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

(inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)

You don’t want cupcakes too big!

Yummy without icing

Cuter with the icing and some gold flakes….





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