Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: vacation (Page 1 of 9)

10 Camping Tips for People Who Are Not AT ALL Rugged

As I’ve said before, I grew up in a family who’s idea of roughing it was a hotel without an indoor pool.

Nature and I have only really recently became BFFs.  I always liked the IDEA of being outdoorsy, but not the reality.  While I’ll never lose my enjoyment of posh penthouse hotel rooms overlooking a sprawling downtown city center, I have also come to love being in the middle of nowhere as well.  Here are my tips for those of you who relate to the meme above but also secretly want to become a badass woodsy nature princess.

1. GET A GOOD TENT.  Even if you ignore everything else I say, DON’T CHEAP OUT.  Every time we are able to set up our 200$ REI tent in less than 5 minutes and watch other people struggle for over an hour, I thank my husband for not listening to me when I said “dude, why don’t you get that 40$ one that’s the same size?”.  If you don’t want to commit, you can rent a nice one from REI.  If you still don’t want to commit, borrow a crappy one from someone for your next trip and I guarantee you’ll be sold.

One of the telling things about how outdoorsy I am is that my best tent picture is actually from my backyard…

2. Double thick air mattresses.  People make fun of mine, and I’m certainly not at the rugged “backpack only hike in hike out” level, but it beats the hell out of sleeping on the ground.  PRO TIP: get something like this so that you’re not screwed if you end up somewhere without power.

3. Bring so many layers if it’s cold.  My first time in the winter, I just couldn’t get warm and I think I had on every article of clothing I brought simultaneously.  Conversely, in the summer, you’ll need WAYYY less than you think.  Bring a couple swim suits, a few super comfy things to wear, PJs, and you’re pretty much set for a week.

#hammocklife forever

4. Hammock.  I get tired of sitting in camping chairs after a while and it’s nice to have somewhere to recline.  I just bought a new one that has mosquito netting and while I can’t vouch for that specific one yet, that’s probably where you’ll find me on every camping trip for every moment until forever.

5. TP.  Even for improved camping with bathrooms.  Sometimes you don’t want to walk that far and the woods are closer.  Sometimes they’re out.  Sometimes you need something absorbent for a non-bodily waste related reason.  There’s no reason not to have a spare roll of TP in your car.

You see flowers, I see a nice field to pee in when that sun goes down… as long as I have my TP…

6. Improved camping.  Spend the extra money, it’s worth it.  Access to showers (even if they’re gross) and being able to plug stuff into charge if needed is great and not usually much more expensive – though they usually fill up quicker. PRO TIP: if you do find yourself on the primitive side of things and there are improved sites in the area, asking one of the campers there all nice like will usually net you use of their power to charge your phone, or the combination to the showers. 

7. Here’s the order to unload the car:  Tent, pump up and place mattress in tent, make the bed, THEN everything else.  It doesn’t work the other way if you have a tiny one. 🙂

8. The no-PTO-mini-vacay: go out Friday night (with enough time to set up before dark) and come back Sunday morning.  This is better than the “go to the woods for one night to get drunk and eat hot dogs” trip, you get a full day and night in nature.  You don’t get the three day effect, but this way you don’t have to take time off work and you also get almost a full Sunday at home to relax and unpack.

No matter how long you get to have this as your view, it’s soul-refreshing.  But I do recommend 3 days.

9.  The three day camping effect.  However, if you can swing it, something magical happens on that third day.  You feel lighter, unburdened, and probably more relaxed than you have in years.  You’ve forgotten your to do list, schedules, and the importance of the time of day, and day of the week.  You morph from worrywart and sufferer of decision fatigue to your cooler, more relaxed camper persona, who’s most pressing concern is whether to walk down to the water or continue to sway in the hammock.  It’s a chance to spend multiple days in mono-task mode which is a HUGE luxury for a lot of us and one of the most creatively refreshing things you can do.

10. Just do it.  You’re going to whine about all the gear.  It’s going to be too hot, too cold, too windy, or it might rain.  It’s going to seem like a lot of work and you may as well just stay home because you could get soooo much done.  But… go camping.  At least sometimes.  It’s good for your soul.  Your inner woodland nymph crying to get out will thank you.

Save

Six days of food in the woods….

With all other time constraints removed, we both love cooking.

Not as much as eating, but it’s up there.

So, while I’m sure some people would find vacation where you prepare every meal sort of tedious, we rather enjoyed it.  The only frustrations were the meals that didn’t come out quite right or quick enough, but Zliten loves to grill and I like making sides, so it was never like UGH I HAVE TO COOK AGAIN.  There were some challenges, but it was fun to try things that you normally wouldn’t think to eat in the woods.

Our setup was pretty great.  We had a sink with running water, and a cutting board that fit nicely over the sink (so you could use one or the other but not both at the same time).  We had a gas grill and a stove with two burners.  We had the potential to purchase wood to build a fire, but we never did.  We also had a microwave in the camper (from the previous owner), but we tried not to use that.

We brought about 7 bags of food total, which seemed like an INSANE amount while packing up.  We didn’t use all of it, but we did a pretty darn good job.  While I completely overpacked on the clothing aspect, I only slightly overpacked for food.  I might be a little less obnoxious about it here next time knowing there’s a convenience store a mile away, but for fresh produce it would have been a drive.  Anyhoo, the goal was to exist the whole time on the food we brought, and besides a beer run mid-week (camping = less booze, more beer), we did it.

Meals:

Meal #1 – Hot dogs.  Because it’s camping and you have to.  We cooked these on the gas grill the day we got there, and it was so late and we were so tired from work and packing and setting up that I think we just ate them with a side of beer (and were obviously too tired to get a good picture).  The specific dogs aren’t my favorite (the applegate NATURAL not organic like I usually get) but everything tastes better while camping.

Meal #2 – Bean and cheese breakfast tacos.  We took a can of beans and reheated it in a pot while toasting the tortillas on the stove.  We caved the next day and heated it in the microwave, rather than have to clean the pot again.  We ate these for breakfast on day 2 and 3, and then I think we ended up sleeping so late or had food left over that we didn’t dig into the second can of beans or eat protein bars until the last day.

Meal #3 – Fish tacos with coleslaw.  We made tilapia tacos twice, the first time with lemon pepper, and the second time with cajun seasoning (both with avocado oil and vinegar).  Fish was cooked PERFECTLY both times by our master griller on the gas grill and I prepared some fresh coleslaw and topped it with a sprinkle of cheese and hot sauce.

Meal #4 – Turkey sandwiches.  This isn’t super revolutionary, but instead of pre-made, I brought all the produce and cut it up from scratch.  It was kind of nice to have a non-grilling quick meal, but it was also sad not to have grill meat and it was a ticking time bomb because fresh deli meat goes bad quickly.

Meal #5 – Sausages and bbq beans.  This was kind of a mid-day snack meal after a big breakfast and a veggie snack, before a big dinner.  The beans were cooked on the stove and then we cooked the sausages on the gas grill (and the beans were cold by the time we ate).  We couldn’t figure out what to eat with these particular sausages, but our garlic mustard seemed to fit the bill.

Meal #6 – Dutch oven chicken and pasta with broccoli and cauliflower.  This was an impromptu thing when I realized that we had chicken, leftover pasta, fresh leftover veggies, cheese, avocado oil, fresh garlic, and seasonings.  We actually had the neighbors cook the chicken on their smoker grill egg thing (of love and wonder), and then boiled up some pasta, and tossed some oil, garlic, and fresh veggies in the dutch oven.  Combine with cheese, salt and pepper and it was worth the time even if I may have been extremely HANGRY waiting for it.

Meal #7 – Beef stew.  This was our experiment.  We did this from scratch as well, with 1 lb grass fed stew meat, fresh onions, potatoes, celery carrots and…well… a bag of frozen veggies.  At first we thought it was a fail because the beef was super chewy with the first bowl, but after giving it another hour, it was PERFECT.  So, two options next time: make with ground beef, or know it’s a 3-hour wait for this one.

Meal #8 – Burgers.  Because you’re camping.  We only brought two grass fed patties and ate them the second to last day with a side of veggie pasta salad.

One cannot live on main dishes alone, so here’s the support crew of snacks and sides…

Fruit.  I ate a bag of cherries in two days, and the rest of the days I noshed on plums and cuties.  The plums were a little too ripe and half of them went bad but I am just peeling the last clementine now.  Next time, I might pick some more HYRDRATING things like melon, but it was also nice to not have to refrigerate them.

Cut up veggies and hummus.  Since we had a ton of meals involving fresh veggies, the leftovers went to snacks.  Sadly, *some* of them went bad but I’m going to chalk that up to them being held hostage by the other (heavy) cooler on top.

Roasted corn.  Because, you kind of have to when camping, it’s the perfect grill veggie.

Veggie pasta salad.  This was the experiment.  I was going to prep it ahead of time but I got busy, so I legit just brought all the ingredients (5 different types of veggies, dry pasta, oil and vinegar, spices, two types of olives, feta, cilantro) and it took three days and three smaller Tupperware to make it, but on day four… it was worth it and was 3 servings of side-dish love.

Jerky, nuts, and protein bars.  Since I was missing my normal yogurt breakfasts, I felt low on protein all vacation.  This helped.

Julio’s tortilla chips.  Hint: avoid these.  They were so addictive that we went through 20 servings of chips in like 5 days (instead of those veggie snacks).  Then we looked at the ingredients and whaddya know, the third one was MSG.  My plan was to just bring a smaller bag of chips for both of us and next time I would try to keep it to that.

Smores. This was a challenge because we rolled sans fire.  We roasted one marshmallow on the propane burner and put one together and that was okay.  Then, I put together two smores and wrapped them in foil and put them on the grill.  Much better.

Avocado oil popcorn.  This may be one of the best things I have put in my mouth in a long time, and it was SUPER simple.  Avocado oil in dutch oven.  Two kernels.  Wait until they pop.  Put more in.  Wait until the popping slows.  Salt.  Serve.  Wonder where this has been all your life.

Fourth of july oreos.  Because it had pop rocks in the middle… duh!  I think we still have 2/3rds of them two weeks later.

For those of you who are interested in even MORE details, read below.  Here’s my entire packing list to keep two people fed well for a week.

Meats (all of these lived in the big cooler with all the ice and stayed at least fridge temp the whole time):

  • 2x package of 2 vacuum sealed chicken breasts (the ONLY thing left was two of these).
  • 2x package of 4 vacuum sealed hot dogs
  • 2 vacuum sealed burgers
  • 4x 1 vacuum sealed tilapia filets
  • 2x packages of 2 vacuum sealed sausages
  • 1 lb vacuum sealed stew beef
  • 1 lb of turkey (this stayed in the fridge)

Produce (and what I planned to use it for):

  • 1 big bag of potatoes (stew, potential snacks or sides we didn’t do, only used a few)
  • 1 big bag of onions (stew, sandwiches, burgers, potential campfire onion snacks we didn’t do, only used a few)
  • 1 head cabbage (coleslaw – I still have half of this but you can’t buy a tiny head of cabbage…)
  • 1 bunch of celery (stew, snacks, pasta salad)
  • 2 bags of carrots (stew, snacks – only needed one)
  • 4 heads of broccoli (pasta salad, pasta snacks, planned to grill some but didn’t – only needed two)
  • 1 head cauliflower (pasta salad, pasta)
  • 1 head of cilantro (pasta salad – needed just a little, the rest went slimy)
  • 2 tomatoes (burgers, sandwiches – needed just one, might have used both if the salad stayed good)
  • Bag of salad (sadly, this went slimy two days in or I would have eaten the crap out of this)
  • Cucumbers (never ate because no salad, but magically they stayed good and I’ve eaten them this week)
  • Bell Pepper (pasta salad, snacks)
  • Corn (side dish, only ate 2 of the 6 and the rest went bad)
  • Random leftovers from the fridge that had no place in the menu  – asparagus and green onions (used onions in the pasta salad but the rest of both went bad)

I am a condiment aficionado.  You might could get by with less, but I feel like the space was mostly worth it.

  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, montreal seasoning, garlic powder (and fresh), cajun, lemon pepper
  • Avocado Oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Dressings: coleslaw, lite ranch, italian (FYI, light ranch + red wine vinegar makes a better coleslaw dressing than coleslaw dressing).
  • Relish, mustard, ketchup, avocado oil mayo, hot sauce
  • Green olives
  • Pickles

The rest of it:

  • 2 cans refried beans (used one)
  • 2 cans bbq/onion beans (used one)
  • package of flour and corn tortillas (used half, used the rest at home)
  • leftover shredded cheese and a block of cheddar (used half, used the rest at home)
  • meant to bring feta for the pasta salad but got goat instead (used half, ate the rest at home)
  • pantry snacks: marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, oreos, chips, nuts, jerky, protein bars, jar of popcorn kernels (ate most of the chips and jerky, a little of the rest)
  • Nuun for electrolytes (which we didn’t really use)
  • Many types of teas (which we used three times)

And we tried to go minimal on dishes, here’s what we brought:

  • 2 bowls
  • 2 mugs
  • 8 plastic plates (but we only used two)
  • 2 forks, spoons, 1 butter knife, 1 steak knife
  • 1 big knife
  • 2 potholders
  • 2 spatulas
  • 1 small pot
  • Dutch oven
  • All the foil
  • Paper napkins and paper towels (probably could have just brought the latter).

All in all, I think we did REALLY well on our first trip out.  Here are the few observations and things I might change next time:

  • The meat situation worked out REALLY well.  I was worried, but the cooler kept things cold enough as long as we got ice every or every other day.
  • Next time we’ll rearrange things so the coolers don’t get stacked on top of each other so often.  I definitely reached for chips instead of veggies because they were more accessible.
  • I am impressed with the amount of produce we were able to get through, and how well it did for a week in a cool, protected, but not refrigerated or chilled place.  I honestly think I would have eaten most of it if it wasn’t for the hostage situation with the other, heavier cooler on top of it much of the time.  I will definitely make sure that each veggie is being used in at least two dishes plus snacks if it’s big (like the cabbage, broccoli, etc).
  • Buy all the produce the day before.  It will last longer (hi slimy salad).
  • We will definitely bring our charcoal grill too.  The gas grill was convenient, but it didn’t get very hot in the wind, and dutch ovens cook better with coals on top.
  • We need to not do meals where we cook on both the gas grill and the gas stove… unless we grill something like chicken and then toss it in something on the stove (in the dutch oven on top of pasta).  Even in the heat food cooled too quickly to do that.
  • My original thought on day 2 when I started cooking it was to prep the pasta salad beforehand, but it was kind of a fun challenge and it was one less thing to do before the trip.
  • Having minimal dishes made us have to do them right away which is a GOOD thing when you live in the same room as them.
  • Next time we’ll have to try at least one new thing!  I could easily replicate this whole menu now and have a great week of eating, but what fun is that?  I think next time I’d like to try and make a big pot of chili or maybe I’ll find another great dutch oven recipe out there.

Camping food is magic.  First of all, it tastes WAYYYY better than cooking at home.  Also, I ate and drank like a big piggie, and I didn’t gain any weight.  Magic!

Do you have a great dutch oven recipe or an idea of something great to eat while camping?  Hit me up!

 

 

Into The Woods

I never expected to enjoy an almost week camping trip so much.

But with this as the view from my back porch, how could I not?

Previously, camp/camping for me meant different things at different times in my life.  First, one night in a van with my uncle and cousin because my parents’ idea of roughing it was a hotel without an indoor pool.  I liked being outside, and fishing was fun, but I honestly liked being able to eat all the junk food I wanted more than anything.  Second, a giant group of girls in (air conditioned) bunks who spent all day doing gymnastics, with short breaks to go do flips into the water off ropes and diving boards instead of onto mats and foam pits.  Then, for the majority of my life, it’s been braving an uncomfortable night or two of minimal sleep as an excuse to get drunk in the woods.

Six days, huh?  This would be interesting.  Thank goodness for turtle home, which made it not just bearable, but AWESOME.

Krause Springs Family Property.

Terribly ugly property.  Don’t know how I stood it for six days…

This is not your typical pack-em-in-make-all-the-money campground at all.  The property is owned by family.  It seems like most or all of them live on the property.  They have their favorite campsites (which are reserved unless you have permission).  They seem to put a lot back of what they make into improving the property – for example, there’s the same guy who’s been working on all the beautiful stonework for the last 20 years.  He was out on non-holiday days just laying out a beautiful stone path.

Near the office, there’s a butterfly garden, which we walked through snapping a shit-ton of pictures.  This featured gorgeous spring-fed fountains, amazing manicured gardens with bright, beautiful flowers, the biggest windchimes I’ve ever seen, a koi pond, and a bunch of places to relax and take it all in.

Not too many butterflies, but beauuuutiful gardens.

There’s a natural spring-fed pool, which we frequented a lot.  We’d walk down every hour or two during the day and jump in.  They had a fun little rock wall to jump off, which was the preferred way for me introduce myself to a cold, spring fed body of water (instead of taking 20 minutes to acclimate).

Refreshing!!!

There also was a falls area, which was more like your typical Texas watering hole.  We floated there in the tubes a few days, but it was kind of treacherous to get down there, so we spent more time in the pool.  It also had a rope swing and a jumping cliff.  I decided the last full day was jump-off-all-the-things day, and I started with the cliff.  I must have mis-aimed my jump, because I landed knees down in (thankfully) soft mucky ground.  If I weighed much more, I may have really injured something, so that was enough to decide instead it was just jump-in-the-pool day.

One more thing about the property – it’s TINY!  Mountain biking or hiking around it was less than two miles.  I didn’t get my 10k steps any day while camping and I honestly can get close some days without leaving the house at home.  Super vegtastic vacation was super vegtastic.

On camping in a popup vs a tent…

Turtle home!

There are things that I absolutely LOVE about tent camping.  I love sleeping when you can see the stars and hear all the nature sounds.  I love that I get to spend so much time outside (tent is for napping, changing, or sleeping).  I love waking up early naturally.

I don’t love sleeping on a bumpy air mattress that hurts my back after 2 days.  I don’t love that the summer heat in a tent is unbearable unless you’re sleeping from about 3am to 9am max.  I don’t love being attacked by bugs at sunset.  I don’t love my lungs being wrecked from inhaling campfire constantly.

As I’ve said many times, I want to camp more.  There are so many gorgeous spots in Texas, heck, in Central Texas within an hour or two of our house, and we go so rarely.  It’s too hot, too cold, easier to get a night of sleep in bed vs a tent before a long ride/run, have to pack so much gear into the car, don’t have any shelter from the elements after if we’re chilled to the bone/on the verge of heatstroke.  There are so many races I’d like to do where camping would be so cheap and convenient but… eh… it’s a gamble with everything above.

Enter the popup.  It solved ALMOST every problem I have with camping when the goal of the day is more than beer drinking.

I expected the AC unit to keep it slightly cooler during the day than outside and at least passably bearable to sleep.  I had to sleep with a sweatshirt on with it set on low.  The constantly-on AC made falling asleep a breeze with the white noise (I think I slept better there than at home).  During the day, it kept it cooler than I keep my living room.  Best of all, it filtered the smoke of campfires and the noise of the 20 billion kids camping next door.  I slept ’til noon one day.  NOON.  I can’t even do that at home.

I’ll talk about it more later but we had a small fridge and a sink with running water and a cutting board that laid right over it.  While the AC was my favorite, my hot-sun-loving-but-dirt-hating husband couldn’t get over he had a sink with running water to wash his hands right *there* instead of being a dirty hippie.

The size is amazing.  Just like the tardis, it’s bigger on the inside.  We were happy to have two beds (queen and double) just in case one of us got bed-hoggy but we never used the second.  Also, let me give a shout out to the mattress – the dude that owned it before us did put in some upgrades and the beds were definintely one of them.  They were more comfortable than a lot of hotel beds, and the queen is even heated.  The living space was fully comfortable for two people and I could see a close-knit family of four being okay with it (however, we used the second living space for coolers so it’s four people with less affinity for produce than us).

I was so enamoured with the thing initially, I spent a lot of time in it.  I even gave myself one “rain day” (when it rained for 10 minute in the morning) where I didn’t even go down to the water and sat inside and painted for 5 hours.  However, mid-trip, I realized I’d be pissed if I spent all my time inside while CAMPING, so I found ways to deal with the heat and enjoy the view from the patio.

My ONLY complaint is the pee situation.  We brought a luggable loo, but neither of us could bear to break it out.  I’m not shy about peeing in the woods, but in this area, there were LOTS of people/kids around.  I also don’t mind the walk to the bathrooms when I’m awake.  Whatevs, I like steps.  However, I need to figure out how to pee when waking up in the middle of the night/early morning without the hike to the bathrooms, far into the woods, or risking indecent exposure.  Again, not a huuuuuge deal for two days, but by mid-trip, I was pretty over it.

Beyond dogs and smores…

Looks pretty, tasted even prettier.

Normally while camping I try to keep it simple and pretty much pre-made.  However, this time we had access to a gas stove, a gas grill, a small refrigerator, a sink, and a cutting board/counter (not to mention a microwave, which we tried not to use), so we tried to get a little more creative.

This is a whole post in and of itself (coming soon…), but I’m really impressed with what we were able to cook!  We split things very nicely between eating exactly how we would when we’re home, cooking things like fish tacos, beef stew, and other things made with fresh produce, and also some camping treats like smores, dutch oven popcorn, and a giant bag of crack chips.

Arts and crafts and activities.

BTW, mountain biking trails in sandals is a dumb idea.  Don’t do this at home kids (that’s why I did it while camping?).

I figured each morning would be some activity because, nature.  However, my sleep schedule with perfect temps and all the white noise of the AC quickly defaulted to it’s normal vampire 2-3am sleep and 10-noon wakeup.  So, considering at 9am it was feels like almost 100 already, besides one falls hike and one mtb ride, I stuck to jumps into the pool every hour or so and the walks there and back.

However, I arted things. It was so nice to sit and concentrate and plan and execute with stillness. I spent time learning how to finally draw a bike from reference, I planned out a circular scene to paint and painted a bit on my mug each day.  I am in LOVE with my new camping mug!  Since I probably shouldn’t amass any more mugs, I plan to buy small canvases and paint something every longer trip and build a camping wall.

Oops, I totally arted.

We also played a lot of games – catchphrase with some camping neighbors, and on our own, we played Farkle, Chupacapra, and the Pathfinder card game.  We painted a few miniatures as well.  However, we spent a lot of time hanging out with neighbors, reading books, or just kind of staring out into space absorbing the awesomeness of the wilderness.

I had visions of writing or doing business plan stuff, but it wasn’t the right vibe.  I felt so much mentally lighter leaving camp.  I feel like it’s about time to start dedicating a few hours a week to this stuff, and maybe sometime over the fall taking a camping trip SPECIFICALLY to write, but I really needed to unload a bit first.  And I totally did.

The RV Camping EcoSystem.

I have nothing relevant visually here, so enjoy a picture of the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen.

Previously, when we’ve camped in tent camping areas, we’ve either been camping with a group of people at Ren Faire, where there’s social-ness all around, or in other areas, where people just kind of keep to themselves.  Here, I expected to be on our own for six days, was kind of looking forward to it, but my social husband went around to make friends with everyone in the area, so we hung out with neighbors (some who had been coming here 6-26 years) about half the nights and ourselves the rest.

The mix of people there was… interesting.  I’d say, just like Austin, we were a little blue dot in a sea of red.  There was everything from confederate flag waving people to the guy who thought Ronald Reagan was God’s gift to the world, to the drama filled xenophobic party in the pavillion on the 4th… but oddly enough everyone else was peaceful.  The nice thing with an indoor space in the popup is that if you want to be antisocial – you just go inside.  It works out.

Also, the first few days we were there, it was us and GIANT RVs that cost as much as a house, so we were the crappiest house on the block (until the weekend came, and more popups showed up).  Most owners are super excited to show them off, so we got a few tours.  It’s just flippin’ amazing how like a little house some of these things are.  Some have two bathrooms.  Some have five beds in two bedrooms and full size kitchens.  Some have their own porches.  Some have “toy haulers” that fit golf carts, jet skiis, etc.  I don’t need any of those things but it was really fun to see how elaborate they can get.

If you want to see more of the gorgeous property, check out my album HERE.

Open mouths and open wallets.

Ah, THIS week.  This one happens every #offseason.

Energy+enthusiasm-a training plan to apply it to = open mouths (and open wallets).

The fatigue from the season is finally gone, and it’s like a curtain being lifted from my eyes and I see ALL THE THINGS I can go do and it’s overwhelming in a good way.   I’ve gone from thinking ALL I wanted to do was jump back into IM training because everything else in life seemed so crazy to hoping I have enough time before I start training seriously again so I can tick all the amazing things I have planned off my list.


This week, I would consider my first one back into being a recreational triathlete.  I did five days of training (4h30m), I followed a loose plan, and I even did a brick workout.  It feels like nothing and everything at the same time.  90 minute bike rides are plenty right now, though I will need to start ramping this up soon through the summer to do a 100.  20 minute swims and 3 mile runs are also plenty, and since I’m *NOT* planning on doing any long races, they can be enough for a while.

Tuesday, I rode bikes on an F1 racetrack with hundreds of my closest friends.  You would think of a racetrack as a flat surface, right?  Nah.  It has a killer hill right off the starting line, and a steeper, longer one just after that.  That day, it was right into the wind.  Lovely.  However, there was a flat back straightaway section that was SUPER fun to cruise at 28 mph. We did six loops (totaling about 22 miles), taking the cheater way to skip the hill every other time, and then headed home.

Saturday, we were going to ride and run at the lake, but poor sleep the night before (and frankly, a lot of the week) made us miss our alarm and snooze.  Instead, we rode the trainer and ran around the neighborhood.  I haven’t been on the trainer since… my birthday, I think, and I forgot how challenging it was.  I couldn’t really handle it for the 4-5 hour rides, but now that I’m doing shorter ones, I think I’ll make some improvements by being able to push myself.  Once I get some aerobic base back.  Let’s not talk about the 2 mile run after at 11:09 min/miles at a heart rate of about 170 bpm.  Sigh.

Last week:

  • Monday – ran 2.68 miles
  • Tuesday – 22 bike miles in about 90 mins
  • Wednesday – 17 bike miles in about 80 mins
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – off
  • Saturday – 30 mins on the trainer (about 7.5 miles) + 2 mile run
  • Sunday – 1000m swim in about 19 mins.

This week I race… so I’ll probably do approximately the same stuff as last week and then see what there is in this little tank of mine right now.

  • Monday – ran 3.1 miles (37 mins, further and faster than last week)
  • Tuesday – brickie workout ~1 hour (maybe bike 20 mins/run 1 mile/bike 20 min/run 1 mile
  • Wednesday – BSS ride
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – 20-30 min pool swim
  • Saturday – 15-20 min lake swim
  • Sunday – Pflugerville Tri! (500m swim, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run)

This will be over FIVE hours of training/racing y’all.  I’m not sure if I can handle it. 🙂


I always want to start this food/nutrition weekly update section with, well, last week was a shit show.  And then I add up the numbers and they are not so bad and I’m making progress and it’s just that unrealistically, I did not eat only chicken and celery all week and also unrealistically, I did not lose 10 lbs.

  • Weight: 187.8 (+0.4) lbs
  • Avg cal per day: 1753 (+21) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: -970 (+132) calories
  • Macros: 43 (-13)g fat, 181 (+17)g carbs, 102 (+9)g protein, 27 (+4)g fiber

The weight went up a little, but there are two important mitigating factors here.  1. I haven’t seen anything over 187. something for a week now, which means I’m stabilizing, which is a sign that if I don’t fuck it all up, I’ll drop a few lbs soon. 2. It’s that TOM, which also means if I don’t fuck it all up, I will drop a couple lbs once I lose the bloat.  So, if I can manage to eat all the veggies and not all the chips, I might make some progress.

Healthy food!  Yay.  Almost all pre-prepared?  Meh.  Close enough.

Other than that, the numbers look GREAT.  I maintained almost the perfect deficit that’s still within the healthy range.  I’m still in the lower tax bracket with activity, so my appetite is doing just fine.  My fat is down, my protein is back in the normal range, and so is my fiber.

Let’s attempt a diet quality score now, shall we?

Monday: 24.  Then it goes downhill.  Tuesday: 18.  Wednesday and Thursday: 16.  Friday: 13. Saturday: 10.  Sunday: 9.  Average comes out to approximately 15 (out of 32).

I won’t belabor the point (if you want the deets, check the link), but you give yourself points for veggies, fruit, whole grains/complex carbs, dairy, and nuts/seeds.  You subtract points for booze, sweets*, refined carbs, fried food, and fatty meats.

Looking back at previous years when I did this, I actually am doing better on the weekends than I was before (it would go in the negatives sometimes), but I had better quality food during the week when I tracked this previous.  So, why not both?  So, my goals this weeks:

Previous weeks goals: water, tracking, fruits, veggies, maintaining macro balance (protein, fat, fiber).

Incorporate more fruit and nuts into my day.  These are things that were low on my positive points list, but I need to add them slowly to figure out how to do it without increasing my calories much (since I’m not snacking a lot, I don’t have a *lot* of things to replace with them).

Carb conscious.  Be conscious of areas where I’m eating refined carbs and make a plan next week to switch them to whole grain/complex carbs.  I don’t want to go crazy and chuck out things in my pantry, but I will switch over when I need to replace them.

I’ll try the tally next Monday and see how I’ve fared.


Let me tell you a story about adventure.  On Friday, we realized that we had some unplanned time off because of moving offices and the Independence Day holiday, so for 2 days of PTO, we have a 6 day weekend.  While we have plenty of things at home to keep us occupied, of COURSE we’re going to go out of town.  Then I started looking at options.  We thought maybe we’d try going somewhere super north like Vermont or Boston, but those flights take up most of the travel days.  Then we looked up Boulder to go play bikes and it was just about as expensive (though less travel time).  But… I was really close to pulling the trigger anyway.

Then, I made the comment that camping sounded just as fun but gosh it’s hot in Texas.  Could we rent a camper?  Spoiler alert: it’s stupid expensive.  Like nice hotel expensive.  So no.  Then, I made an offhand comment about wondering how much they cost to purchase.  Fast forward through a weekend of researching everything about them, driving to a RV mall to check out a new one, driving to the middle of nowhere to check out a used one on a super cute farm with chickens and goats….

And as of about 1pm today, we’re the proud owners of a JayCo 2008 pop up trailer with AC.  For about the cost of two modest/average continental USA trips, we’ve now got a mobile hotel room!  And, because of a cancellation, we were able to secure a spot for six days at Krause Springs over that weekend.  I’m SO flippin’ excited, everything (so far) has fallen into place nicely, so I feel like this was meant to be.

So as for the previous goals…

  • Find a doctor and schedule a check up.  I had something written up here about excuses and whining and how I’d found someone but hadn’t called, but while I was writing this, I put on my big girl panties and while that SPECIFIC doctor was leaving, I have an appointment with at least someone that lists running when not injured as one of their hobbies. I felt a connection with that. 🙂
  • DDR Pad.  Nope.  Spent the weekend doing other things.  This didn’t even register on the radar.
  • Office.  Nope.  I technically had the time on Sunday, but we had been running around like crazy all weekend, so we watched a movie and painted minis and read books instead.  No regerts.

What we DID do besides make completely impulsive purchases that will result in awesome adventures:

  • Bought a shed.  CostCo had this roadshow thing with a great looking shed for a great price, and that even included delivery and installation.  At this point, besides being there when they arrive and leave, and painting it within a month or so after they install it, this one is almost off the list.  Yay!
  • Got a hitch installed on the Xterra.  This was on Zliten’s to do list for other reasons, but it’s a thing we have done now (and needed to bring the trailer home).  Check!
  • Started talking in real terms about the kitchen remodel.  We have gone over the list with Zliten’s parents, and we’re looking at scoping things out to do things over two weekends at the end of July or mid-August.
  • Non-fiction.  It’s hard to fall asleep reading non-fiction (or at least these particular ones), so I’m alternating.  I’ve read about 3 more chapters in the big yellow endurance book and I’m about 20% through How to Win Friends and Influence people.

This week will be sort of pop up centric, and we can’t do too much other stuff because of the race, but here’s my list.

Pop up stuff.  We need to get it under the insurance, registered, and get it to at least it’s temporary storage (right now it’s parked on the street which is NOT where it will stay).  Additionally, I’m sure there’s about 1000 other things we’ll discover we need so those To Dos will go under here.

Finish the shredding in the office.  It’s not as much as I intended to do last week (and didn’t), but it’s a step in the right direction.  And if I start, I might do more if I’m not exhausted after the race.

Pick one of these.  #1 – Get the DDR pad set up.  #2 – Do more kitchen remodel research.  Neither of these should involve standing on my feet much, so they can keep me busy on Saturday since I don’t have a packed day.

Between the shed, the pop up, and the kitchen remodel, we REALLY need to stop #projectoffseason because it’s so expensive.  Triathlon is pricey, until you compare super motivated triathletes during #projectoffseason who turn their attention to something else with the passion of 1000 fiery suns. At this point, once the general adulting and renovations are coming to a close, the year should turn more to side hustle and fun stuff, which are a little less WE SPENT HALF OUR MONTHLY SALARY THIS WEEK and a little more adventures and learning.

If not, we’ll just have to put a 70.3 on the plan at some point simply to keep us out of trouble. 😉

 

Save

Fishy Business – Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel

As time goes on, as a fishie in a human’s body, all vacations seem to descend into as much time in the ocean as possible.

My natural state of being when there’s ocean around.

With land-based vacations like Bonaire or Key Largo, that means just about every moment until Zliten cries uncle.  On a cruise, though, you’re limited to the days your have at port, and I think we pretty much made the most of them.

Day 4 of the cruise, we docked in Roatan, and took a cruise tour excursion to Tabatya Beach.  We heard good things about the snorkeling there, and it did not disappoint.  We’re actually considering returning there later this year, the reef was so gorgeous.

I actually didn’t look at any of my photos until after the cruise was over because I was bummed about them for no reason.  My back was hurting and I couldn’t stabilize as well as normal so I figured my pictures were going to be shit.  Not true in the slightest.  I’m sure I missed a few things because I wasn’t at 100% but I have some great stuff to show off, so here we go!

This may be one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken.  A giant school of Ocean Surgeonfish playing the the morning sun.

Giant mature Rainbow Parrotfish are usually super skittish and they’re super hard to photograph well, but this one and a few friends were just hanging out in like 18 inches of water feeding.  Watching them from above, their fins kept poking out of the water.  I stayed there for a while in awe even though I almost snagged my rashguard about 10 times on the coral.

Sergeant Majors are my favorite common fish and they were super brave and wanted to include me in their school and show me around everywhere.  This was taken without zoom.  They were THAT friendly.

Not a terribly rare fish, but I like my picture of this Banded Butterfly feeding.

Parrots are all over down there, but this Stoplight was showing me his good side.

Pufferfish says “peekaboo, I see you, now GO AWAY”.

It was a spectacular day.  We started out about 9am with beautiful conditions and light.  We took three trips in, about 60-90 minutes each time, and took a break the first time to reapply sunscreen and the second for a quick lunch.  I think we covered at least 2 miles in the approximately 4 hours we were out there, if not more.  Bonaire might be tops for diving, but I think the snorkeling in Roatan is definitely some of the best around and we’re definitely considering spending a week there soon.


Storytime!  On day five of the cruise, we docked in Costa Maya, a new port for us.  The diving was pretty expensive, the snorkeling situation was a little sketchy (either not great or you had to go out of town), so we decided to take a cab to a nearby beach and see what “not great” meant.

Well, not great means that you will have to swim about an Ironman distance swim to see anything and dodge boats and current to do it.  In the future our yellow snorkel vests and even a diver down flag would be prudent.  These pictures are not the greatest, the lighting and conditions were not super, but here’s a few things from the area around Yaya Beach.

First thing we saw was a giant Sea Cucumber.  In Bonaire they were called Donkey Turds and I think that name is pretty appropriate, no?

After a loooooong swim, I was excited to find a few squid.  Then I turned around and watched as a pod of like 40 of them swam away.  Sigh.

As we were coming back to the shore, we saw this pretty little starfish in just a few feet of water.

Then we found a beach (which may have been private) to cut across instead of the boat lane and walked across a road and more beaches and we were back at our Carribean Life beach area and our stuff was all there and we declined to go back out a second round because there was nothing near us, and we didn’t want to swim ANOTHER 2 miles.

I’m torn as to what I’d do if we go back here.  It was kinda fun to adventure snorkel but I really feel like there has to be a better place to go that doesn’t take a boat or a 45 minute cab ride each way.  And maybe it’s OK to take the cruise excursion where you only snorkel for 40 minutes if it’s more quality, and maybe it’s better to go to the zip line and waterpark instead or drink beers at the swim up bar in the port instead and call it a day.


Friday, Day 6 of the cruise in Cozumel, had an interesting start.  We made sure we were super early to the dive shop, which was in a resort… and they made us wait outside the complex.  And wait.  And wait.  Finally they told us to go down a path, and we found the wrong one which lead backstage to a show and were escorted out.  Then, we got escorted again to the right one (stupid Gringos), and hey, diveshop!

This may also be one of my other favorite pictures I’ve ever taken.  This Queen Triggerfish is gorgeous, super rare, and posing like a model for me.  Bonus boxy brown (spotted trunkfish) on the bottom as well!

This Spotted Barracuda totally wanted me to follow him.  Probably as food not friend but I don’t know for sure!

Tuuuuuuurtle!  I expended probably about a quarter of my tank kicking against the strong current to take another pass at this guy for a better picture, and I’m glad I did.  The lighting is great, if almost a little *too* bright.

I wish I could have had a banana for scale (or anything, really), but this Lobster was multiple feet long.  It’s tail could have fed a family.  I’ve never seen a lobster so big!

In this section, we went through some really gorgeous swim through areas which I attempted to not defile with my tank (and mostly succeeded).  This Blue Angelfish lead the way.

More swim through perspective.  This was a gorgeous section of the reef (and you can see our tour guide up ahead).

Again, showing off some goregous reef background with a French Angelfish friend.

All diving in Cozumel is drift diving.  We took some pretty significant rides.  The good thing is to progress forward with the current, you just have to relax.  The bad thing is when you want to see something specific not with the current, you have to kick like hell.  My back was not thrilled with that second situation but it was WORTH IT in some instances to get the shot.

My first drift dive in Coz a few years ago was not my favorite ever, but I feel like after this experience, it’s something I want to learn do right.  Like, with a multi-day trip.  Perhaps after a 70.3 next fall.  This plot may be hatching…

I will at this point direct you to my full album.  If you want to see more gorgeous reef, check it out.

Save

Page 1 of 9

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén