Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for food

Plein Air Summer in the Laurentians

A respite in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains easily wrapped the beautiful outdoors around this willing traveler.  Running was easily meshed with good food to satisfy a runner’s body and palate, outdoor activities for continued good health, and outdoor cultural events that inspire. Here is the sampling of what I found – or rather what found me, during a brief stay.

Sunday Morning Yoga on the Mountain


Photo credit: Julian A. Giacomelli

 In a Lolë shop browsing through their active women’s sports- wear, I spotted a flyer announcing a free Sunday morning yoga class on the mountain.  I joined 100+ participants stretched out on mats in an open-air class instructed by Dawn Mauricio and accompanied by two wonderful musicians.

Lunch-Time Runs sponsored by Rona complete with trainers in the lead were offered in the weeks leading up to the Mont-Tremblant demi-marathon.  I took advantage of a couple of runs, picked up some training and nutrition tips and enjoyed running with local runners.

Mont-Tremblant Jazzfest overlapped with the demi-marathon weekend.  On a beautiful Saturday afternoon after picking up my race packet at the expo, IMG_1211we returned through the jazz lounge tent set up on a side street in Saint-Jovite.  The Jean-François Groulx Trio was playing. With all the seats filled, my race packet became my seat cushion as we found a spot on the curb and settled in to stay for the set. 

10K Race I jogged a couple miles to the bus pickup where runners were transported IMG_1212to the race start at Chateau Beauvallon. It was great to see some familiar faces from our lunch hour runs.  After the point-to-point 10K on a slightly downhill road, a bit of trail, and a couple of moderate hills, we reach the finish to find a IMG_1221large, cheering crowd.  As it turns out, the Mont-Tremblant demi-marathon has become a sizable event.

After cooling down, I found my way to the runner’s lunch line. Here, I spotted a gentleman in a white chef jacket directing the food staff, the first clue that this would not be the typical bagel and banana post-race food.

Runners were served a beautifully arranged plate of two salads, IMG_1223a coucous with the aroma of freshly-cut parsley rising from the plate and a pasta salad with chopped fresh vegetables, and mini-pitas sitting atop a delicious hummus.  I’m thinking this is a beautiful vegetarian runner lunch, but then we are directed into another line. Here we were served an incredibly large (think Fred Flinstone) barbequed turkey leg. IMG_1227 I doubted I could eat it all, but of course I didn’t waste a single succulent bite.

A beautifully prepared runner lunch, a variety of expo tents, live entertainment and now it’s time to go home.



Food Fest Across Iowa

Two of the wonderful things about travel are the opportunities to run on new roads and trails and to try new foods and restaurants. On a trip across Iowa, running took short shrift as we adjusted for the schedules of a half dozen travelers and dealt with wind and rainstorms. What was lost in new running experience, we made up for in food exploration.

On our first trip across Iowa, I spotted an article in a local newspaper about a restaurant designated by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine to have the best burger in America.  On our return trip, we were dropping one of our travelers at the Sioux City airport near the restaurant. So, early in our return journey we scheduled lunch at Kahill’s Steak, Fish and Chophouse to try the Farm-to-Table Wagyu Burger, created by Chef Ryan.


View of the Missouri River taken near our table at Kahill’s Restaurant, home of the best burger in America

I did not order the burger, but snuck my fork into the plates of those who did.  It is succulent, served over matchbook fries and topped with a duck egg with several other ingredients and flavors between.  I opted for a special of the day, a delightfully light green salad with free-range chicken. Others ordered a fish special and the wonderful cranberry pecan spinach salad. Kahill’s is located in the Marina Center and convenient to the airport. (Note: Trust my experience and set your GPS to South Sioux City, Nebraska – not Iowa. Your fellow passengers will thank you.)

The following morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the Ronnenburg Restaurant in Amana, Iowa. We enjoyed a farm style breakfast with ample portions of fresh fruit, a runner’s delight.  We were also served pancakes more in the consistency of crepes and light as feathers.  If you’re planning a trip through the Amana Colonies, this restaurant serves authentic German food, similar to the communal kitchen that existed.

Storm clouds moving over Amana IA

Storm clouds moving over Amana IA

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Tales of Bostons Past – No Soup for You

A Victorian B&B with street parking and a convenient metro stop was base for my 2010 Boston Marathon.  imagesMy host greeted with a question spoken in an gentle old word accent. “Are you a marathon official?” No, I clarified, I am in Boston to run. “You, you are running the marathon?” Having assured him that, yes I qualified and had run the marathon previous years, Rudy shook his head and made a thoughtful offer to have a pot of chicken soup waiting after the race.
I settled into my third floor bedroom to prepare for an early a.m. departure. Race morning, I caught the metro to the Boston Commons, found a window seat at Dunkin Doughnuts, sipped coffee and, until I joined them, watched runners congregate at the shuttle pickup.

The Bus to Hopkinton

Time flew at the Athlete’s Village and I was soon throwing my warmup bag into a bus window.  In my corral were several women in the 60-64 age group. We compared qualifying times then suddenly we’re off, punctuated with the beep-beep-beep of chips on the trip that would end at Copley Square.


Boston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Within three miles of the start, I ran across my goddaughter, running for Dana-Farber. We fell in, chatting long enough to arrange to meet at the finish, then went on our separate journeys.

My goal for this Boston was to actually qualify for Boston at Boston, a time that had so far eluded me. I had trained well and felt strong through the hills. Crossing the finish line, my Garmin indicated I was 30 seconds off my qualifying time. (Later, seeing my time listed as a BQ on, I realized while I didn’t technically meet my goal, I did qualify within the 30-second grace time Boston then allowed.)

Finding my goddaughter (would love to have a photo but lost it when my cell phone crashed) and her family at the finish, I declined an invite to join them at a Vietnamese restaurant, thinking ahead to the soup

7852353-an-image-representing-chicken-soup my host had waiting for me.

Arriving at the B&B, Rudy greeted me from the second floor landing, waving my freshly printed results, excited and incredulous. “How did you do that?”
After receiving his congratulations, my evening went downhill. He had forgotten a commitment to a bridge tournament during the day which did not leave time for cooking. “So, you see, I am sorry but I have no soup for you.”
Having waved off friends who were now on the other side of town dining on comforting Vietnamese cuisine, I accepted the annoucement with all the grace I could muster. After making my way back to the third floor and luxuriating in a warm shower, I reassessed my food stock: two energy bars, a sandwich bag filled with a mix of pecans and walnuts, a banana, 2 small cartons of chocolate milk, and a can of Pringles. Opting out of a restaurant search, I dined on an odd mix of these items and was soon asleep.

Although there was no soup for me, morning came and Rudy served a wonderful Dutch omelette accompanied by fresh fruit, hearty bread and interesting conversation. It made the last trip from the third floor on my post-marathon legs worthwhile.
Soon enough I’m leaving the Mass Pike,

Massachusetts Turnpike

Massachusetts Turnpike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

listening to a couple of DJ’s continue the neverending debate over the best pizza in New Haven.
So long, New England and Boston – I love you, I’ll miss you and I’ll be back.