My family and I spent nine days exploring Seattle and the surrounding areas. We dined in local restaurants, drank the local brews, traveled to the top of the Space Needle and hiked the trails of the Olympic Mountains. My sister Karly and I also ran a half marathon along the Snohomish River. We had absolutely beautiful weather for the majority of the week. Seattleites would indicate good weather by saying, "The mountain is out," signifying that you can see Mt. Rainer in the distance (clear skies). With this trip being one for the books, I wanted to make sure I shared my eats and adventures with you all! Here I talk about the first leg of the trip, stay tuned for the second!
Our trip started very early Thursday morning, which meant we were going to eat breakfast and lunch in transit. Because I knew it was going to be a long day, I made sure to pack snacks, which helped to avoid the many unhealthy temptations that the airport eateries offer. My favorite on-the-go snacks include fruit (specifically oranges, apples, and bananas), nuts, popcorn and energy/protein bars. I always bring my water bottle on flights too.
As you can imagine, we were exhausted from our cross country travels. We decided to buy salmon and vegetables at Pike Place Market to take back to our apartment to cook for dinner at home, enabling us to relax and plan our adventures for the days to come. One of the reasons I love cooking at home is the experience I get to share with my sisters and mom. I also like having control of the ingredients and portions we are serving. There is the added benefit of cost savings with dining in versus out at a restaurant. Below you will see our home cooked dinner which featured pan-seared King Salmon with roasted purple asparagus, carrots, sugar snap peas and red onions. I also snapped some pictures at the Pike’s Place Fish Market. For those who do not know, Pike's Place Market Seattle's original farmer's market which has been operating for over a century! It has every thing from seafood to flowers to artisan soaps to Seattle souvenirs. This is also the market known for throwing fish, which we witnessed!
I want to mention that I did manage to fit in a workout on this busy travel day. I’ve found that long transportation days can make you feel groggy and not good overall so exercising can snap you out of that travel funk. Nothing beats the Insanity Max Cardio and Abs circuit!
Friday started out with a run along the Elliott Bay Trail, which is Seattle’s waterfront trail route along the Puget Sound. With the Olympic Mountains in perfect view, it made for quite a beautiful way to start off the day. We ate breakfast at the apartment, which consisted of Greek yogurt mixed with an orange and nuts. I should mention that all of our lodging accommodations were through Airbnb, so we had a full kitchen at each place, which is an added bonus.
A good part of Friday included exploring the Seattle Center, which is a park, arts and entertainment community in Seattle. We took the lift to the top of the Space Needle and explored the EMP Museum. Despite being a devoted Eagles fan, I did enjoy the We Are 12: The Seattle Seahawks and the Road to Victory exhibit. It was really interesting to read about the Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll’s philosophy. I think all athletes (active or retired) would appreciate the exhibit. In between seeing these landmarks, we ordered lunch from a small, local eatery called the Artisan Café and brought it back to eat on the Space Needle lawn. I ordered the fried tofu Vietnamese baguette, which was topped with the house-made aioli (mayo, garlic & blend of spices), pickled carrots & daikon, cucumber, fresh cilantro and jalapeno slices.
Friday night, we dined at a Thai restaurant called The Wild Ginger with my two uncles, aunt and cousin for dinner. The round table fit nine people comfortably and had a large lazy Susan in the center. Family style eating was a given. We started off with drinks and appetizers, which accommodated to the vegan, vegetarians and meat-eaters at the table. The appetizers included tuna bruschetta, roasted asparagus, lemongrass tofu satay and the kom pot short ribs satay. Our server was fabulous and he made recommendations for the main course, which would be family style as well. The table ordered baby bok choy, Szechuan green beans, Thai noodles with mixed vegetables, Hanoi tuna, sea bass with a green mango sauce, black pepper scallops, seven flavor tofu, Nam’s lamb chops and the Wild Ginger fragrant duck. Words cannot describe how delicious all of the food was! It was an experience to remember.
We continued exploring downtown Seattle on Saturday. We started by going to the Chihuly’s Garden and Glasshouse, which was about a fifteen minute walk from our apartment. The weather was unbelievably beautiful, so we enjoyed walking to our destinations. After spending time in the gardens, we walked along the Puget Sound in the direction of Pike Place Market. We had planned to grab lunch in the market, but being as it was Saturday, it was PACKED! We made the executive decision that by walking just three or four blocks away from the market, we could get a good meal without waiting. And we did just that! We found an American bar called the Yard House. We had worked up quite an appetite from walking around town so we started off with guacamole and chips, edamame and sweet potato fries as appetizers. These apps were listed under the “snack” section so the portions were the perfect size for a table of five! My two sisters and I shared the BBQ (soy) chicken pizza and each ordered a side salad. It paired well with a local Indian Pale Ale. We also went to the original Starbucks afterward!
Sunday was race day! We woke up bright and early and ventured to Everett, Washington, which is a rural, farm town about 25 miles north of Seattle. It was a chilly morning; thank goodness I wore a pullover because I ended up wearing it the entire race. Race conditions were less than ideal with steady showers for a majority of the race. But all in all, the rain did not interfere with our performance. I ran my third half, and Karly ran her first half marathon in 2:01:03!
My pre-race meal was two slices of wheat bread with peanut butter and a banana. Then with about 30 minutes to the start, I ate ½ of a Lemon Larabar. RD tip: your pre-game meal or snack should be a mix of primarily carbohydrates with some protein and fat, and it should be food that your stomach can tolerate (think to limit fiber). I would recommend using your training runs and workouts to experiment with different foods.
During the race, I refueled with ½ of a packet (3 cubes) of Clif Bloks Energy Chews, then I had the second half of the pack (3 cubes) after the race. Your refuel should consist of simple sugars or carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are going to fuel your muscles with energy quickly. Once again, your refuel should be tested prior to race day. There are countless types of refuel products including gels pouches, jelly beans, wafers and gel blocks. There are also a ton of flavors to choose from. About 30 minutes after the race, I ate a banana and a ½ of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein bar, which provided more carbohydrates and protein. It is VERY important to eat the post-race recovery snack within 30-60 minutes of finishing. This time frame is called the window of opportunity in the sport nutrition world because during this time, the body requires and utilizes carbohydrates and protein at a more efficient rate. This time is also key for the rebuilding of muscles and cells.
After the race, we headed to brunch (not pictured) at a local restaurant. I ordered the vegetable omelet with rye bread. Aim to eat a nutrient dense meal, including carbohydrates, fat and protein, within two hours of finishing a race or activity. I should mention that this nutrition information is to be used when exercising for more than 60 minutes. I am happy with the way that I fueled because as you will read next week, I was able to complete a 6.8 mile hike two days later without any soreness or fatigue! It is all about fueling and refueling properly! Stay tuned for next week’s post which will document the rest of my Seattle eats and adventures!
I am a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist, foodie, fitness enthusiast, traveler and runner, living in the city of brotherly love. I have a passion for cooking and sharing delicious, healthful food. I enjoy working with clients to help them achieve their health and nutrition goals.