As a junior, Lake Forest Academy runner Alexandria Moton learned a valuable lesson.
It’s important to watch what you eat.
“Food has a big impact on athletics. I wasn’t too focused,” said Moton, now a senior on the girls track team.
Moton recalled a 2012 meet during which she hoped to set a personal record in the 400-meter run. But she ate three burgers earlier in the day, and failed to hit her mark.
“I told my coaches what I ate and they said, ‘Oh, that’s probably why,’ ” said Moton, a native of Clinton, Wisconsin.
Coming into this track season, Moton made changes in her approach to nutrition. Running the 400, 800 and the 1,600 relay, Moton knew she’d be active. She would need to be in top shape to compete in all three events.
Living in Ferry Hall on Lake Forest Academy’s campus, the temptations would not go away. But instead of late-night runs to the vending machine, Moton has opted for healthier alternatives.
“We lift after practice. I try and get more protein in (after) like Muscle Milk,” Moton said. “At breakfast, I eat a lot of protein. For lunch, I carbo-load to get ready for the day, make sure I have all the nutrients to power through my workouts.
“It’s more than track. It’s a lifestyle.”
“I work in the dorm, and she thinks about nutrition and about her performance year-round,” Assistant coach Maggie Tennyson said. ”She’ll say ‘I’m not going to have any soda, I’m not going to (eat) this.’ She tries to practice what we preach.”
Moton’s born-again approach to nutrition is slowly yielding results on the track. At Thursday’s Lake County Invitational at Grayslake North, Moton made the finals in the 400. Her time of one minute, 04.57 seconds was good enough for 10th place. Running the 1,600 relay with fellow senior captains Meg Kennedy and Mercedes Nagel and junior CeCe Boles, Moton and the Caxys finished 16th.
Although Moton said her dietary changes are permanent, she does stray once in a while.
“My cheat day is Friday night and Saturday (morning),” Moton said. “There’s a cake in my fridge (now) waiting.”