Will Run For Food

Revel – heavenly pork dumplings and friends
Revel – heavenly pork dumplings and friends

Marathon training.  It’s not glamorous.  It’s full of phrases like shin splints, blisters, anti-chafe cream, ice baths.  So it’s no surprise people aren’t leaping out of bed every morning to register for a race.  In fact, only about 0.1% of Americans have ever run a marathon.

So, why am I deep into training for my eighth marathon?  Simple, I’ve discovered a highly guarded secret that brings such joy to my life that it completely neutralizes the thoughts of pulled muscles, excess applications of Icy Hot and mass consumption of electrolyte formulas.  There’s a sparkly side of training that often gets overlooked.  It happens somewhere after your first 5-mile run and before the big race day. I like to call it the recovery meal.  Or meals, in my case.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the feeling of accomplishment on race day is overwhelming and the finisher hardware is nice. But I’ve found that food tastes better after you’ve sweated through a 20-mile run.  And I take full advantage of this as often as possible.

I’m sure just as any other Seattleite does, I have an ongoing list of restaurants that I cannot wait to try.  I’m constantly updating it with newly opened gastropubs and longstanding James Beard award winners.  It seems incredible food spots pop up in Seattle like weeds.  Our climate must make for fertile foodie grounds here in the city.

It’s no secret I’ve always appreciated a good meal.  Whether its served on a linen table cloth or handed through a food truck window.  But during training season flavors seem to sing even louder – radishes are crunchier, oysters are brinier and gelato is creamier.  And it’s the thought of my next culinary treat that gets me through the last couple miles of an arduous run.  It’s amazing how my pace picks up as visions of Korean dumplings and pork belly dance in my head. While there may not be a volunteer handing over an embossed race medal as my run comes to an end, promises of handmade pastas and hand-forged doughnuts fill that void with ease.

As I journey out to my recovery meal those painful miles seem far, far away.  And, the biggest success is not having to surrender the last tasty third of my dungeness crab BLT to my husband because I’m stuffed, but rather stealing bites of his albacore poke when he isn’t looking.

I don’t know if I’d get the same pleasure from training anywhere else.  We’re spoiled with one-of-a-kind gastronomic experiences here from ridiculously fresh and local seafood at the Walrus and the Carpenter to baskets of the comfiest comfort food at Skillet.

My advice to any of you considering training for a marathon; do it.  Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for it.

About the Author

Ali Daniels

Ali Daniels is the Vice President of Marketing for Visit Seattle. You'll find her wearing out her running shoes in the parks around Seattle or bellied up to the kitchen counters of the city's yummiest establishments. She loves buttercream frosting, kittens, snapping pics and life in lower Queen Anne with her rad husband.

Ali Daniels

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