Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for October, 2012

Destination Marathon – Why Not The Hamptons?

A marathon is all the better with travel to a country, region, or town I haven’t yet explored.  Experiencing a city, poking around a neighborhood, and enjoying the local scene can add to the wonderfulness of a marathon weekend.

So it was for the Hamptons Marathon in East Hampton NY.

The race is scheduled in off-season September when the ocean and beach grass wave farewell to late summer.

We arrived at packet pickup on an overcast afternoon and find some great schwag: beach bag, beach towel, flip-flops, lip moisturizer, and the obligatory t-shirt.

Race morning, I look around and observe that I am one of the few senior runners in the pack.  This is a younger crowd than some marathons with a large field of half-marathoners. The first few miles are nearly claustrophobic with runners packed around on all sides.  Soon, the half-marathoners split off and there is space to breathe and enjoy the scenery.  We run through neighborhoods with graceful gardens and shingled homes, through wooded areas, then along a rutted dirt road.  Aside from watching for auto traffic, the road is mine.  While there is always another runner or two in view, we are spread out, occasionally passing one another.  The course and climate are to my liking with a gentle mist to keep me cool and gently rolling hills to offer some variety in terrain.

Mile 24 opens a stunning ocean view and soon the course looks familiar as I approach the finish.  Chip time 4:22:00.

Not my best, but I’ll take it with gratitude.  I’m treated to coconut water, then with banana and bagel in hand we’re off to our guestroom for a refreshing shower.

Next, a post-marathon party in the picture-perfect hamlet of Amagansett at the funky landmark Stephen Talkhouse. Runners enjoyed a hearty appetizer and pasta buffet.

I’ve learned to stay light on food for several hours post-marathon, so I occupied myself with a cool beverage and runner conversation.

Sauntering back to the street, we scoped the Indian Wells Tavern for dinner.  It has a clubby feel, wood and brick, and a menu with choices described as classic east end.  We were seated at a window with a sidewalk view to soak in more of the local off-season life.

My husband chose a deliciously rich clam chowder and a wedge salad.  I was ready for something slightly more hardy but also mild, starting with zucchini chips,  then an orecchiette with sweet Italian sausage and enough fresh vegetables blended in to please my palette and begin restocking my nutrient deficit. Following dinner, we explored downtown Amagansett, peaking in local shops and art gallery windows.

The following morning on my early coffee run to Gaviola’s I found a course monitor outside our door.  Was this a flashback to yesterday?  No, it seems we were directly on the bike route for the Mighty Man Montauk triathlon.  Today, it’s my turn to be the cheering spectator.

Off to breakfast at MTK Cafe in Montauk.  On this rainy morning, even with all tables indoors and on the covered porch spoken for, we were seated quickly, service was fast and friendly and the pancakes were delicious, comforting, and just what I needed for recovery.

One last stop as we drove through the string of villages: the Wolffer Estate.

After admiring the straight lines of lush green vines, we joined in a brief mid-day wine tasting then said good-bye to the Hamptons and the Hamptons Marathon.

Time to go home.

Thank you Race Directors Diane and Amanda for a well done marathon event at a great marathon location.

Feed my Run – Let’s Talk Nutrition for the Senior Runner

I occasionally take to Google and search out articles on nutrition for the older runner, particularly older women runners.  An incredible array of information is available on nutrition for runners in general, but how does it apply to a senior runner?

That question went unanswered until I dug into my unread summer magazine stack. There I found some much needed guidance in a Club Running article titled “Nutrition for the Older Athlete.” Registered dietician and Road Runners Club of America RRCA certified coach Lisa Paige succinctly packs a wallop of information into a one-page article that speaks to nutritional needs for 50+ athletes.  lt seems I have some old habits that could use a fresh assessment.  Although I’ve been pretty consistent in incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in my diet through my running years, I am not a nutrition fanatic.  Indeed, I have hurriedly started many a day with a scrumptious oatmeal cookie (with raisins, do they count as a fruit?) and a piping hot cup of coffee (with cream for calcium count).  

It’s time for a menu course change

As hard as I push myself some days, I am just lazy when it comes to considering the food my body needs to fuel that push.  Following a long training run, I’ll glug down a bottle of chocolate milk, chomp on a bagel or an apple, then pretty much overlook further nutritional needs. I’m betting that I am underfueling rather than exceeding any of the estimates Lisa uses to determine needed protein, carbs and fats. Her article gives me the information and the incentive to actually approximate (no need to get too nerdy) my intake using her equations for protein needs, selecting dietary fats and wisely making my choice for carbs.

This will take some discipline.  I’m accustomed to diligently (some say obsessively) logging miles and cross-training activity, but I do that once (or twice) and I’m done for the day. Diligently logging the detail of what fuels those endeavors, especially for someone who grazes during the day, is a different kettle of fish (usually salmon).

With an early fall marathon under my belt and another scheduled for November, why not apply what I have learned and finish this marathon season eating healthier than I started?  In addition to the nutrition information, Lisa feeds my belief that I can still become a stronger runner:

At this point in our lives, although we have been relatively successful in keeping active most days, we are still sedentary compared to what our bodies are capable of doing.

Fresh produce from the farmers’ market on my list 

This in an opportunity to expand my practice of logging miles according to my race plan to include logging food intake to feed my miles. Then, I can continue to respond in the affirmative to that question “Are you still running?”

How do you (or do you?) track your nutritional intake?

Is there an app for that?

I’m ready to listen and learn.