Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for Wisconsin

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

Read the rest of this entry »


Resolution: Strength Training to Conquer the Overhead Bin Lift

December’s last run on O’ahu and first run in Wisconsin resulted in the expected temperature jolt. With running gear adaptable to both climates, I was prepared for the transition from balmy upper 70’s in Makakilo to breezy lower 20’s along the Rock River.

Post-run on O'ahu

Post-run on O’ahu

trail along Rock River

Rock River Parkway Trail near family holiday stop in Wisconsin

Because this trip was planned for two distinctly different climates, I was doubly pleased to include everything needed for a multi-stop sojourn in a single carry-on bag and a roomy handbag. Sportswear designers deserve some of the credit for my efficient packing. Much of my running gear can now be combined with street clothing. Running skirts and dresses, leggings, and a running shirt (preferably one without a list of sponsors across the back) along with a wrap will take you to dinner and out for a run in the morning.

As a frequent traveler, I’ve worked to rethink what must absolutely be included in a packing list.  Self-sufficiency in handling baggage is important as circumstances will sometimes dictate when you – and only you – will be elected to get your worldly traveling goods from Point A to Point B. The always increasing checked baggage fees are an added impetus for this frugal traveler to lighten up.

My packing plan seemed flawless until I boarded the first flight. Lifting my carry-on to waist and chest height: no problem. Lifting it over my head: not happening.

English: Luggage compartments of an Airbus 340...

English: Luggage compartments of an Airbus 340-600 aircraft (economy class). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately, a fellow traveler with upper body strength to spare and about a 10 inch advantage in stature made short work of settling my bag into its space. Ever grateful for the help of strangers when I travel, this experience told me that with my bag packed about as heavy as the airline allows, my upper body strength was not equal to the task.

I was not put to the test again as a full flight out of Honolulu led to a request that some carry-on’s be tagged at the gate. I quickly complied, slipping my laptop out before my carry-on was handed-off. On the last leg of the journey, my husband joined me on the flight and made short work of stowing our carry-ons.

Still, this is a message that I need to heed. Do we loose muscle mass as we age?  Yes.  Can we take action to diminish that loss?  I think so. I admit upper body work and strength training in general takes a back seat to my mileage needs as a distance runner. A trade-off to spend time doing strength training when I could be experiencing the pure joy of running in the outdoors is a tough one, but one that it’s time to address.

Strength Training

Strength Training (Photo credit: Rtist MrB)

My strength training goal for 2013:  Build upper body strength to a point where I can single handedly lift a carry-on into overhead storage.

I’m all ears on advice from anyone who has a workout or a plan for a senior runner who would rather log miles than lift weights.

With gratitude that I’m still running, I’m wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Active New Year.