Chasing 50 (Wicked Fast Runah)

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Mark Running 2

My 49th marathon will be in Boston, on April 20th. Normally I try to finish my running articles in airports or hotels, the evening before a race. Between work and finding the best deals on travel, making everything come together can be a challenge. For some races, I’ve been so short on time that I would fly in on Saturday, run right through the finish line to the rental car, and fly out early Sunday afternoon.

Often I’m wearing my race number and finisher’s medal when I hit TSA. Most of the time I don’t get in to trouble; folks usually have a great laugh and want to talk about the race. Out of everything I’ve learned on my journey, the importance of organization is the main thing. Plant-based food is hard enough to find in urban areas, much less on the backroads of Maine, or Missoula.

But at this point, I think I’ve got it down. I always travel with spices, oatmeal, greens, dates, and nuts. If I can cut up a watermelon beforehand, I want that in there too. I used to bring peppermint oil with, but now I’ve shifted to peppermint leaves. It’s nice to munch on them during a race, though I do get some looks, trying to get them past TSA. For the plane ride, I love Dr. McDougall’s Black Bean soup. Usually the flight attendants are very accommodating and give me all the hot water I need. Because I travel with 3 or 4 containers, I like to share. I can’t believe how many friends I’ve made with that trick. A little hot soup can turn economy into first class.

One food that I won’t have access to is poi. A few weeks ago I ran a marathon in Hilo, Hawaii. While I was driving around the island I stopped by the roadside to talk with some guys who were selling poi. They claimed it was a Hawaiian superfood, made from taro root. Intrigued, I bought some and ate a half pound of the stuff before the marathon. I can’t remember ever feeling better during a race. Since then, I’ve tried to buy it on the mainland, but all I can find is poi powder. I’ve notice that it’s possible to buy fresh taro root, so I may try to make my own. Anyone have a recipe for poi?

Of course food isn’t the only thing I have to organize. Other necessities include a runner’s belt (for dates and peppermint leaves :)), small bandages (if you’re a guy, you know why), wooden silverware (to eat my food), Body Glide, running flats, and clothes. But back to my opening thought. I’ve decided that I’m going to write about my experience with the Boston Marathon in three parts. It took a long time to get here, so I’m going to have a lot to say.

Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD

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