Monday, 4 June 2012

Gazelle Eats Mouse

Every Tuesday morning I go for a run around the Tan with the gazelle.

To be more specific, it is the gazelle who does the running. She is built for it, with long slim legs that she stretches out across the track, and she is ever so light and easy on her feet, and she makes it look so completely natural and effortless, like she's just sort of floating along on the air thinking happy thoughts and singing la la la to herself while bluebirds flutter and chirp in the air around her.

I hate her.

I do not do the running. I do the staggering. I pound along next to her, like an overweight elephant on a treadmill that's going too fast, with my heart in my throat and a band around my chest and my lungs feeling like they're on the cusp of exploding into a million bloody bits of tissue that will fly out of my mouth in a revolting vomit of bile and bronchioles that covers everyone in front of me (the Tan gets crowded in the morning).

People would run away screaming. There would be news reports. In death, I would be famous as the woman who burst while taking her morning exercise.

Too graphic? That's how running makes me feel.

I can knock out 7.5 kilometres like this, and at the end I am broken. Stinking, dripping in sweat and purple in the face. The gazelle trips off lightly to her car while fairies brush her hair.

Aside: apparently there are two kinds of runners in the world:

  • Attachers, who focus on their breathing and their tempo and their rhythm, and who kind of just zero in on the whole thing obsessively, disappearing into themselves in a kind of meditation. The gazelle is an attacher. (I hate these people. )
  • Detachers, who desperately try to think of anything else they can, in order to distract themselves from the whole running experience. Shopping lists, work projects, relationship issues - anything that is external to the body but allows them to keep running as if they are not experiencing it. I have work colleagues who are detachers. (I hate these people too.)
Me, I am the third kind of runner. I am the runner who, two minutes into an hour-long run, is already desperately hoping the whole thing is nearly up, while my brain screams It Hurts! Omigod, what are you DOING? Stop! Now! This is madness! You are CRAZY! I am going to make you REGRET THIS!!

Seriously, that's the internal monologue I get when I'm running. Sounds fun, doesn't it?  

So when the gazelle had a birthday recently, I seriously considered making her the snail cake, because that's what I feel like when I am running next to (or more usually: quite a long way behind) her. I also considered one of the two elephants in The Book as well, for obvious reasons. 

I'd have made a gazelle if there was one, but The Book is pretty scarce on gazelles. Because their legs are too thin, I think. Not enough cake there to make them worth biting into. Although sometimes the gazelle is so fast that I feel like biting her just out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

But I decided that the cake was not about me, it was about her. And so all those options were wrong.

In the end I settled on Mildred The Mouse, because Mildred is so sweet and lovely that you can't help but want to be her friend. Mildred is cute, and nice, and just downright adorable.

Which is really what I actually feel about the gazelle .... except when we are running. 


  1. I just love the way you write! You make me LOL literally!

    I don't actually run but I have downloaded runkeeper or jog tracker or some such app that I am still yet to use but I feel like I am poised to go for a run at any moment. But I did to a mothers day classic around the tan with some friends many years ago and that's just how I felt! Hated them all by the end. They all finish with a healthy glow and I look and sound like I need an ambulance!

    1. TryToFocus, I love that you love my writing! That is quite possibly the best compliment I could ask for. This blog is as much about a place for my writing as it is a flimsy excuse to bake lots of cake. You've made my day. And I applaud your mental effort in being poised to go for a run at any moment - love it!

  2. In an effort to look (or at least feel) more like the gazelle (I know her and this description is totally accurate), I took myself today to the factory outlet where they sell gym and yoga gear for Gwyneth Paltrow. I don't know why they sell their gear in Australia, because Gwyneth doesn't live here, and it certainly doesn't fit anyone else. Anyway, after trying on some stuff in full view of anyone who cared to see (my 2-year-old kept kicking the changeroom door open, and I can't get too cross about this behaviour because shopping for 2-year-olds is like me having to watch 'Mythbusters' - excruciating), I gave up and left. The kicker to this pointless shopping outing was that half way home I noticed a parking ticket flapping on the windscreen!! $122 for the pleasure of exposing myself in the backstreets of Collingwood. Should have taken your advice, Flicketty, and gone elsewhere. Mildred the Mouse is so cute by the way, I'm sure it was quite hard to eat him!

    1. Ahhhh! You went there and got cross and left without gear and then got a parking ticket??? That is TERRIBLE and I feel so awful for you. Your experience is the epitome of why we should shun that shop. Shun it, I say. Shun it.

  3. I would be in the third category too, except that I don't run. Well, unless I'm chasing a ball in some variety of team sport or trying to get to a checkpoint as quickly as possible, in which case I'm distracted enough not to notice that I'm running. So maybe there's a fourth category - my friend calls them greyhounds, but given I am not even close to being a greyhound I'm not going to. "Incidental runners" perhaps - we only run because we're determined to actually score a goal/get the ball/find where the hell this damn clue is. We're certainly not doing it for fun or (given the state of my thighs) profit.

    Mildred is very cute but is one of those cakes that always made me wonder if any child actually ever wanted it for their birthday.

  4. Brilliant post! I love the bit about the fairies brushing your friend's hair!

    I was in the third category, but my husband (in the first category. Oh, goodness, is he ever in the first category) has been training me, and I've actually gotten up to being into the second category! You wouldn't believe how many world trips I've planned while panting my way around the suburbs. Unfortunately, I keep pulling my calf muscle, which means I have to stop running and I actually miss it! Who'd have thought THAT was possible.

    Quick question- where did you find a 1 litre pudding basin? I can only find gigantic 2 litre ones.

    (I remember playing mixed netball, and a player on the next court along collapsing and eventually being diagnosed as allergic to exercise. Now that was something I'd never heard of before! Our WD was a doctor and sprinted over to assist, and was unanimously awarded player of the match by all the umpires, despite having spent only one quarter on the court!)

  5. So it is 11:00 pm and I am just about to start carving into the cake that will become Mildred for my 5 year old's party tomorrow. I looked up this page in the hope of gaining some inspiration. I found out a lot about running, but not so much about the mouse cake. Essentially I am just procrastinating because I can tell by the outside of the cake it's not a good one (as always, wrong sized tin and hence a lot of guesswork on quantities and cooking times) and I don't really want to see what horrors await me inside it. But I will press on: my long years of experience as an inexpert cake maker have taught me that the icing hides a lot of sins and the kids don't really care anyway.


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