On Whining, Wine and Winning in the Hamptons

Finding ways to entertain yourself in the winter on the East End is not always the easiest task.

Does anyone else think that spring Daylight Savings is the most underrated day of the year?

In a fit of cabin fever, I drove to Little Plains Beach in Southampton on Saturday evening and had an hour-long chat with my old college roommate while watching the snow pour down on the dunes. When I told her where I was, she was blown away at the thought of snow on the beach. As “over” snow as I am at this point, the phenomenon is one of the most peaceful things to experience.

Which made me think of the other things I love about an East End winter: The lack of traffic, the ability to drive to East Hampton or Sag Harbor on a whim, not being elbowed while walking through town, the genuine effort people put into drawing crowds to the area, leisurely chats with shop owners…

Sometimes, I’m torn between wanting the excitement of a city and being grateful for quiet. As a runner, I’m in love with the ability to start my run from the foot of my driveway. There is such an abundance of side streets with so little activity at my disposal.

As they say: “There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you won’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.”

But I’d imagine that’s not the case in places where construction or traffic lights or subway rides to different areas affect your route.

Nevertheless, I spent considerable time indoors this weekend. Over some Hampton Coffee and their specialty egg wrap—a delectable combination of avocado, feta, chorizo and, of course, eggs—I perused the Runner’s World website. The magazine is one of my favorites, because it caters to runners of all abilities and offers an abundance of practical advice and fun tidbits.

Like the first headline that caught my eye: “Wine Not Linked to Better Running.” I never thought that it was. But apparently certain grape compounds, including the ones found in wine, were initially thought to boost athletic performance by increasing endurance.

Turns out they’re not as “healthy” as was initially thought. Drat.

(Luckily the article didn’t say anything about any harms associated with having a glass after a workout.)

Then my attention turned to “Indoor Workouts to Break from Outdoor Weather.” There’s a continuous debate in the running community about the effectiveness of cross-training while preparing for a running race. While most agree that it’s important to give your legs rest, some don’t condone doing anything but running—particularly outdoor running—to train.

Last year, I trained for a half marathon almost exclusively on the elliptical. At minimum, I got in a long run each weekend. I tried to hit the roads as much as possible otherwise, but I didn’t stress out about squeezing in a run when it was dark, cold and icy outside.

I abide by the philosophy that your mentality during training is more important than where you train, whether that be indoors or outdoors.

Seems like Runner’s World agrees. They have tips for training on the elliptical, the rowing machine and the stationary bike, all of which involve increasing the intensity over a period of time. Works for me.

As I shut my laptop down, grateful for the ability to sit in Hampton Coffee Company without being hassled to vacate a table, I looked up for a second to see two dogs walk in with little snow booties on all four of their paws.

Chalk that up as another strange thing I love about an East End winter.

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