Chasing 50 – POI-sed for success

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Before I start putting all of my attention towards next week’s Boston Marathon, I need to focus on a little 5K that is being run Saturday night. Every year I take a van load of college students to Minocqua, Wisconsin to participate in the “Only Fools Run at Midnight” race. The race is in celebration of April Fool’s Day and begins at the stroke of twelve. While my heart will be focused on sleeping in a nice warm bed, my college students will be entering the prime of their day. The race is always a nice reminder that the reason I do these things is to have fun. If one can’t generate some positive energy by running in the darkness with hundreds of folks dressed up like fools, I don’t know what to say.

When this article comes out I’ll be about a week away from the start of the Boston Marathon. In my article, last week, I spent a lot of time talking about the importance of organization. As a result, I’ve already started organizing the food I’m going to eat next weekend.

trail mix

Other things that need to be taken care of are related to travel. Hotel rooms in Boston, during marathon weekend, are pretty tough to find. If one does find a vacancy he or she can expect to pay 4 or 5 hundred per night, easily. Luckily we’ve been locked in for quite a while, so we should be set. During the past week I’ve been perplexed by the number of e-mails and letters I’ve received from the Boston Athletic Association. While many of the races I run are pretty laid back, the amount of reading I’ve had to do for this one rivals my undergraduate work!

On a final note, since the last newsletter came out, I’ve had a number of questions related to poi. Actually, I don’t think there’s too much to it. Poi is simply cooked taro root that is mashed up into a gelatinous paste. Hawaii was the first place I’ve ever seen it, but it grows in the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Polynesian Islands. A variety of it grown in the United States is called dasheen, but I’ve never run across it.

While I was in Hawaii I noticed a sign for poi alongside the road. I pulled over and approached three guys who were laughing and telling stories to one another, under a tent. I asked them if I could video tape them talking about poi; they thought it would be fun. During our short interview I asked Morgan Toledo, head poi seller and taro farmer, how much it was. He said, “For you, it’s free. That’s real aloha, man.” I felt like someone had given me a new car.

Later, Morgan invited me out to his Taro farm. It’s located about an hour north of Hilo, on the Big Island. It resides in an area with steep cliffs, called the Valley of the Kings. I can’t remember ever visiting any place more beautiful. Attached is a video of Morgan talking about his operation. I hope you enjoy it!

Mark Clifton is a mental health therapist who runs on poi when he’s in Hawaii, but sweet potatoes fuel him when he’s in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD

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