Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: travel Page 3 of 5

Key Largo: 8 days, no plans, all the fish

After my family vacation turned mope-fest in May and our epic 4 towns in 8 days Colorado adventures in August, I knew we needed something a little more low key than the week-long diving trip we wanted to take in Roatan.  Bonaire was an experience like no other, and I’m looking forward to diving all day every day again soon, but after this crazy year, I needed something without morning alarms and commitments and all that.  Also, a little less expensive was ideal.


Enter: Key Largo.  All the ocean fun with a much cheaper plane fare and snorkeling access whenever we wanted on the private beach and lagoon.  We even went down without a diving trip booked.  8 days, no plans.  It was exactly what I needed.

Thursday was an annoyingly long travel day.  I feel like we lost it almost altogether.  We were out the door at 9 to drop off the pets for a 11:40 flight.  We lost an hour care of the change from central to eastern time zones, we waited an hour for our luggage, we waited another hour for the car, and a 2 hour drive ended up being 4 with traffic. To top it off, our confirmation was lost, and we got denied entrance to our condo at 9pm, wondering if we’d have a place to stay for the night.


However, it’s hard to complain about being in traffic in a Mercedez Benz, and once we got there and got our first margarita on the water (as we contacted the owners and they got it fixed lickety split), everything faded away and vacation really started!

Friday was a pretty iffy weather day.  We got a little snorkeling in, but the seas were rough and the day was more about EATING fish than seeing fish.


We lunched at Hobo’s Cafe on mahi quesadillas and a lobster po boy, and fortified for the week and got groceries.  The crappy snorkeling convinced us that YES we wanted to dive and YES ASAP so we booked a trip for the next morning.


We wanted to bike there, but the rain kept spitting at us, so we took the Benz (yep, going to keep saying it…) and visited the fish market to get shrimp and more mahi for tacos for dinner.  Most delicious grilled corn completed the meal.


Saturday morning we headed out to Molasses Reef on a boat.  It was amazing.  I’m going to do an additional Creatures Seen in the Water post next, so I’ll save all those tales since this recap is long enough.  However, I will say that we both agreed we could dive Molasses Reef for a week straight and not get bored.

We had burgers for lunch at the little bar by the pier, and then I figured I’d spend a moment watching Kona since it was on NBC before going back out to the water.  Instead, I fell asleep on the couch.  I guess I needed the nap more than anything.


The rain continued steadily so we put a dent into some of our liquor stash and read books on the patio all afternoon.  While more water time would have been ideal, it was glorious in it’s own right.

Sunday, the weather was finally Florida-tastic!  We had a lazy morning and then got on with the #ridingbikes to #goplayoutside!


First was lunch at JJ’s diner, and after fish for days, a chicken gyro was a nice diversion.  Then, we headed to the dive shop to book another dive trip for the next afternoon because we didn’t get enough bubble time.  Then, we hit up the big dive store for some upgrades – I got myself a neoprene strap and holder for my snorkel (I was so sick of getting my hair caught in it… worth every penny of the ten bucks combined).  We also got new dive shoes to replace our boots.  All of it got stashed in my awesome blue backpack and we biked home.


It was pretty close to low tide when we got to the water, and I groused about it at first.  “This is worthless,” I said, but I got in the water anyway.  Then it was amazing.  From then on, I got in the water whenever we got a chance.


For dinner, we grilled our leftovers from the fish market with some butter garlic rice, grilled broccolini, and caesar salad.  I’m still dreaming about this meal.


Monday, we got up in time to get some morning snorkeling in, and then ate another Publix sub and got out for our afternoon diving trip.

Diving days really are the best days even when they’re not.  The first dive was fucking phenomenal, but the jellyish were out.  I got hit by sea lice on the first dive (jellyfish particulate) and then again on the second.  But, I got to see all sorts of nifty creatures… which I’ll talk about in the next post.  Spoiler: I think dive #1 is in my top 5 of all time.  So, it was totally worth it.


Then, we consoled ourselves with our stingy skin with fried food and blendy drinks and watching sunset from the tiki bar at Skipper’s Dockside.  It worked out just fine.

Tuesday, the seas were calmer and I was bound and determined to spend every moment I could in the water.  We snorkeled our normal spot in the morning and then we decided to walk to the jetty and Zliten jumped in there.  He spent some time looking around and then shouted, “THROW ME MY CAMERA!”.  What did we see?  Stay tuned for the next post….


Walking back, I started poking Zliten’s shoulder and hyperventilating.  Apparnetly, in my language, that means MANATEES!!!  There, right in the harbor, were two of them (center bottom pane above) hanging out.  We watched them for a while and they were awesome.   It was the best morning.

Then, in the evening, we snorkeled until after sunset and we got to see the full moon over the beach.


After getting showered and changed, we went to Tower of Pizza to refuel.  Their salad and bread was amazing, and the simple garlic butter linguini was sublime.  The pizza was pretty stellar as well (and we had leftovers for lunch).


Wednesday was our last full day, so we started it off with a quick little run to the jetty (considering it had been over a week, I wanted to make sure I remembered how), and then it was pretty much eat, drink, snorkel, repeat.  For breakfast, I had the last of my yogurt and cereal, coffee with spiked eggnog, and then a morning snorkel.


Then for lunch, we had the leftover pizza and I had some fruit to use up, so I made a smoothie.  I also had some tequila left, so I made my smoothie alcoholic. 🙂


In the late afternoon, I dragged Zliten out for one more snorkel.  He was a little salty about it (he was enjoying the patio and reading and beers), but after we saw SO MANY COOL THINGS, he agreed it was worth getting back out there.

I was already making the sad face when we got out of the water (no more snorrrrrrkles, wahhhhh) but we still had our seafood feast at The Fish House planned.  We saved it for the last day and after four hours in the water, we totally earned it.


Then, we had one more evening on the patio, using up the rest of the rum, and staying up way too late.  We didn’t want to let vacation go just yet.

Thursday morning came a little too soon, but I knew I’d feel better sacrificing a little sleep for another quickie run to the jetty and a dip in the lagoon.  I got a fond farewell from queen tarpin, the parrotfish, and the trunkfish.


Then, we started the long trek home.  A few hours drive to the airport (with our last publix sub on the way), and an uneventful sunset flight home.


I was pretty salty about coming home at first, but it’s been nice.  I feel refreshed and happy.  It helps I still have another two weeks of vacation, but it was a great kick off to my winter break.




Tales from last week

Rather than a normal summary, I have a lot of stories.  Let’s just go day by day, shall we?


Before my almost untimely death.


  • 30 min office bands/bodyweight workout + stretch
  • 26 mile Taco Deli Ride with the faster people + commute to and from (1h45).

Today’s story is about asshole drivers.  I was having a fairly nice ride, and about 2 miles from the end, I came to a t-shaped intersection.  Stop signs on all sides, but there was nowhere for a car to turn the way I was going.  I’ve seen these at lights as well where signage tells cyclists to roll on through because nothing intersects your bike lane. My group rolled through, and so did I.

However, up ahead was a convenience store, and this jerk of a truck was really in a hurry to get there.  He pulled out in front of me into the bike lane, and stopped right in front of me, and I had to swerve around him.  I said something like “FUCKING HELL, MAN” and he happened to have his windows open and retorted “THERE’S FUCKING STOP SIGN” to which I retorted “NOT FOR BIKES” and we traded more insults like “FAT BITCH” and “ATTEMPTED CYCLIST MURDERER” and then we both rode on.

Things like this make me laugh when Austin is lauded as a great cycling city.  Sure, there’s a lot of us.  Sure, the infrastructure is getting better.  But until it’s not an accepted thing to almost cause accidents because something a cyclist did randomly pissed you off?  Fucking Texas, man.

It took me a bit to shake it off, but I eventually accepted that I earned a cycling achievement of “Get into an altercation with a bitchy driver” and ate pizza and rode bikes home.


I’ll just refer you to the recap.  I don’t have much else to say besides we came home, drank some whiskey, and stayed up too late.  Oopsies.  At least it happened early in the week and not right before the race.


I was too tired from being dumb the night before to ride bikes, but I did get in a strength set.


Costco ravoili lasagna, you deserve a special sort of fatty pants.

This day was also the day my appetite officially caught up with me.  I’ve been getting away with the -1000 calories-ish per day, and I wondered when that was going to end.  The answer?  September 21.  I have been eating closer to -500 to flush every day since and I’m ok with this.  My weight is still holding steady, and I’m simply thankful my body has tolerated a deficit for as long as it has.  Time to feed the beast.


  • Hour easy run (5.11 miles)
  • Commute + some – 12 miles (1:07)

After our morning run, we hopped on our cruiser bikes and commuted to work (4 miles).  So thankful for showers at work, I think they’ll be getting more use with our upcoming workout schedules.  At quitting time, we took the long way home (8 miles) and made it home juuuuust as it was getting dark.


You don’t smile like this on a car commute.  Just sayin’.

I think I’ve figured out a creative way to get 3 bike rides (on two different bikes) and two runs in in 3 days and cut out all car commuting on those days, but my office is definitely going to look like I live in it to accomplish that.  I’m sure they’ll deal with it.


  • Off.

I ended up going to work and getting out earlier than Zliten.  I came home, and the house was at 87 degrees, but the AC was blowing (or so I thought).  I figured that the thermostat just glitched and it was cooling it down.  I packed up some of my stuff, and then went for a walk.  When I got home, it was still 87 degrees.  No bueno.  We blew out the hose with an air compressor, and thought it was fixed.


A perfect place to procrastinate.  And catch pokemans.

To let the house cool down, we went to dinner and randomly decided on Red Lobster.  I ate WAYYYY too much, though it was the night before the night before a long-ish race, so it was the proper day to feast.  I got a shit ton of shrimp, rice, salad, and ate almost THREE cheddar bay biscuits.  That’s more than a whole day’s worth of calories when I was dieting.

And then we came home… and it was still 87 degrees.  FUCK.  After considering just setting up the tent in the yard, we called an AC repair shop and ate the after hours 120$ fee.  Thankfully, it was fixed in no time, and not something we could have done on our own, but it definitely led to a much more stressful evening than you want on the night before the night before a race.


  • Shorty swim in the lake: 750m in ~15 mins

Lots of stories today!  Because of said AC issue, I decided I wasn’t setting an alarm and whatever time we woke up was fine.  We slept until about 9:30, and then finished getting our stuff together and headed out.  First stop was Quarry Lake to do a little shake out swim in our wetsuits.  It was still iffy whether it would be wetsuit legal.  It wasn’t, but I didn’t want to have my first wetsuit swim in months be the race.

After the swim, we hit up a sandwich shop.  So good.  A little small though, and we figured we’d just need some snacks soon.

We made the two hour drive to Kerrville, indeed stopping for snacks – watermelon, potato chips, and pretzels – at about 1.5 hours in.  We picked up our packets, dropped off the bikes for a night under the stars, dropped off our run bags, and headed to dinner (yes, more food).  I thought I wouldn’t be super hungry, but I tucked into a big plate of chips and salsa, rolls, salad, rice, and a giant chicken breast smothered in bacon and cheddar.  I ate every bite and I just felt satiated.  I was a little horrified to where I was putting all of this, but I trusted my appetite.


Finish line, pool, foods, more foods, goggles and earplugs, and getting bags packed.  My Kerrville Saturday.

We headed back to the hotel to get the rest of our bags together.  Part of the way through the process I realized I was missing things… all the things I used for my swim that morning back in Austin.  After tearing apart the car and the room, I called the gym and sure enough, my little red bag was there.  I could stop looking, but I was without goggles and earplugs and the expo was closed.  These things are kind of necessary for me to triathlon, so the hunt began.

Our first stop was a sporting goods shop.  They ONLY had one pair of goggles, and they were the kind that people that short distance pool swimmers wear.  I bought them just in case I couldn’t find anything else.  We then tried another “sporting goods” shop, but this place was something out of a horror movie.  The lights in there flickered ominously and barely worked.  They had everything from food to toys to (A SHIT TON) of hunting gear to greeting cards in no real discernible order.  We looked through the whole store and sadly, all the summer stuff had been put away.  No goggles.

At this point, I had half the equation, kind of.  We tried CVS, and while they had no goggles, they did have a decent ear plug section.  I grabbed two different waterproof kinds just in case (one regular, one kids size).  We tried one more store but it was the same deal – all the summer stuff had been taken off the shelves already.  Zliten asked if I wanted to drive the hour to San Antonio to get something better.  For this short of a swim, I said I’d make do, so we returned to the hotel.

The goggles came in parts – two eye cups, a band, a piece of string, and a plastic tube.  Zliten and I watched a you tube video on how to build the goggles because at this point, we had no backup, and wanted to get it right.  Once they were good to go, we went down to the pool to test them out.  The earplugs held up like champs, in fact, I like them better than the ones I’m using now.  The goggles… I was SURE on the first lap they were just going to flood, but after a few passes back and forth, and shaking my head vigorously under water, I was sold.  I mean, they were weird and very tight and if I had to do an IM swim with them I might have two black eyes by the end.  But they’d work for 20 minutes.

As we were soaking in the hot tub, we chatted up some ladies that were also doing the race.  After talking over the course, one of them mentioned that she wrecked on the big hill last year after colliding with someone.  I mean, a lot of people do stupid shit on that hill, but I may have run into the gal that took me down last year.  Zliten and I just glanced at each other and just continued the conversation.


I went into much detail above.  The rest of the day involved driving home in a torrential downpour where you could barely see the lights in front of you, getting takeout burgers, watching funny horror-ish movies, eating chicken pasta with extra veggies out of a bag, and vodka.  The end.


As for this week, it’s a pretty simple one.

  • Complete all training:
    • 2 strength sessions
    • 2 swims (1 done, 1 to go)
    • 2 rides: ~20 miles intervals on the TT bike, 79 mile hilly ride (Rip Roarin’ Ride)
    • 2 runs:  4 mile run (DONE!), 12 mile long run
  • Sleeeeeeeep.  There will be times to stay up late like a dumbass.  The next two weeks are NOT those times.  8. hours. or. more.
  • Eat.  If I’m hungry, put something in my face.  At least 5 fruits/veggies per day, more as I can tolerate the fiber.  100g protein.  25g fiber. Less than 60g fat.  Lots of carbs.  Track calories for data, but don’t obsess over the numbers.
  • Continue to weigh as data points.  If it starts trending up, then I’ll probably compromise a little on the point above but for now? It’s just information.
  • Say “fuck it” to all the little things that don’t actually matter and can wait until November.  Or at least later.  Peak week is procrastination week by design.

And with that, I’m off to procrastinate all the things!  Wheee!


Liberty of the Seas

Vacation recaps are a bit of a connundrum.  On one hand, I love having a day-to-day record of what I did, when I re-read this stuff I can remember it more vividly.  On the other hand, it is probably boring as hell for anyone else to read.  So, I think I’ll split the difference this time and give you the highlights (typically, what I have pictures of), but by day.

Sunday: Embarkation Day


Galveston isn’t exactly the prettiest port, but it was nice to finally be by the sea after a 4 hour drive.


Royal Caribbean has partnered with Dreamworks and there were characters all over the ship.  This was the sail away party, Fiona and Shrek graced us with their presence.


I ate so much seafood this trip.  This was dinner the first night, and it was the first time I haven’t been squeamish about oysters.  They were not bad, and the rest of the dish was amazing.

Monday: At Sea


Slept in, read in the morning, and then hit the gym.  They left the spin bikes out from a class they did earlier, so I did my own for 20 minutes and then lifted weights and stretched for almost an hour.  And, of course on vacation, you break out the unicorn fighting a giant t-rex robot capris.  It’s mandatory.


Buffet lunches were pretty good (and pretty easy not to eat like an asshole).  This is a pretty good representation of what I ate most days – grilled chicken, some fish with lentils, dragon noodles, lots of mixed veggies, and some roasted potatoes.  Only one plate most days, if I was still hungry, I grabbed soup, but it was amazing how my appetite stayed sane.


We spent most of the day reading and taking dips in the pool.  This is a necessary part of vacation for me.


Since it was fancy night, we got all cleaned up and I wore my “diamonds”.  Zliten calls it my VEEP look.  We clean up alright.


We went dancing and made friends and had a few cocktails, and there may have been a bit of dramatic posing in the photo gallery around 3am.

Tuesday: At Sea


Another glorious vacation day – slept in, buffet lunch, hanging out at the pool, and playing games with the ‘rents.


Dinner was great – the crab cakes were OK, but the slaw underneath was to die for.  Zliten and I split the cilantro fish and the chicken cordon bleu and they were both amazing.


Our table was great, it overlooked the whole dining room and had a good view of the fancy stairs (this was the view from it).  Every other night or so, the waiters would put on a show for us.  Some of them were actually pretty great dancers!

Wednesday: Roatan, Honduras


Roatan day!  Diving day!  Hooray!  Since we had to be off the ship at 9:30, and diving takes a lot out of you, I had breakfast instead of lunch today.


Even Roatan gets political.  It was crazy to see these signs all over.


Diving with a group has it’s drawbacks, but the valet service hauling gear is super nice.


We had some great dives.  We saw two turtles, and one was feeding so we got to get really close to him!  I also saw a bunch of french angel fish, and if diving in Bonaire hadn’t spoiled me, I would have said it was my favorite dive ever, perhaps.


The rest of the day, we just chilled on the ship, drinking a few beers, eating dinner, playing games.  Next time, I’m totally doing the zipline at the port (behind me).

Thursday: Belize City, Belize


We docked in Belize around 9:30am, but we didn’t really have a full day of stuff planned, so we hit the gym in the morning.  It was empty, so I got to play on free weights and got a prime elliptical spot to do intervals.  It was nice, and a way to avoid breakfast.


After a little snack, we headed to shore on a tender.  Some people gripe about them, but I like boats and enjoyed an extra boat ride in my week.


When in Belize, we always visit the Wet Lizard bar and get Lighthouse Lagers and Belizean meat pies.  This trip was no exception.  We found our names on the ceiling from two years ago, but unfortunately they’re not letting people mark up the bar anymore, so we’ll probably be but a memory soon.  At least we’re temporarily immortalized.


After a while, we realized there was free wifi, and logged on to check facebook and post a braggy picture in Belize, and this is how we learned about layoffs and I sent some messages and made some calls.  I intended to have one drink, I may have had a few more. Simultaneously.

We made it back on the last tender, making us late for dinner.  Once I told my parents, they understood, and had ordered food for us.  We got two orders of lobster and shrimp (I enjoyed it and didn’t eat my side dishes).  After dinner, we headed out to hit the casino, and then to dance again, and we may have stayed up WAYYYY too late for the early wakeup we had.

Friday: Cozumel, Mexico

Oh my.  7am came really early, and we hadn’t gotten our shit packed or electronics charging, so we spent the morning scrambling.  However, we made it to the bus on time, and if I had to spend anywhere in the world hungover and mad at something thousands of miles away, snorkeling in Cozumel isn’t a bad place to be.


We took a break mid-snorkel to try out the waterslides.  They were super fun!  Also, we made iguana friends.  Or enemies.  They ran away, but maybe with love?


We snorkeled for 3 hours.  We saw many cool things, but this spotted ray was the highlight of the day.  We also randomly met triathletes who live in Austin and spent hours sipping beers, eating lunch, and relaxing in the pool chatting with them.

After getting back to the ship, we relaxed in the pool with more drinks and soaked up the last of the sun, and then met my parents for dinner.  After our bellies were full, we both realized how freakin’ tired we were on 4 hours sleep and being in the sun all day and went to bed around 7pm.

Saturday: At Sea


We read and slept away the morning, but we couldn’t hibernate the whole last day of vacation!  We decided to go play in the water.  We hit both waterslides, and the green one had DISCO LIGHTS.  Hawaiian Falls needs to take notes and incorporate this into their 2017 plan.

I also decided to try the Wave Rider (on the last day just in case), and pretty quickly wiped out.  But hey, I got to try it!  I’d do it again, it was probably one of the most fun ways to fall on my ass yet…

This was the first and only day I ate like an asshole.  I had breakfast, lunch, and two dinners.  We also had to drink the rest of the wine we brought on board with us, but I didn’t order any more once that was gone.


We played games with the ‘rents (since we had kind of ditched them for the last two days), and then went with them to go watch a comedy show -we saw a comedy magician (sorry, don’t recall the name and google is not my friend today), which sounds a little hokey, but it totally works for him.  And since you can’t take photos of the stage, instead, you get a selfie.

Sunday: Disembarkation 🙁


Other than Buc’ee getting fresh with me at the potty stop, it was uneventful.

If you’ve read this far and want more, you can see my full vacation album HERE (no snorkeling or diving photos yet but COMING SOOOON).


Chasing Fishies is Calorie Free

I’m going on vacation soon.  I’m super excited about it – a week of no work, all play. There will be scuba diving, snorkeling, being by the ocean.  There will be games with family, shows, entertainment, dancing, lounging by the pool and reading.  I cannot wait so hard, I actually lost sleep over it one day last week.  Christmas morning syndrome… I guess you still get it at 37 years old…


I love to be on a boat!

However, the fact remains that I’ve worked hard this spring and lost some weight and want to continue to make progress.  Slightly related, a huge part of cruising is the sheer amount of AMAZING food and drink available.  Not just available… but kinda sorta of pushed on you.  I’ve gotten better about this in my daily life.  If it were up to me, I’d be ready to make the cruise more about fun and less about food.

However, I’m traveling with family, and they are REALLY into the food part of cruising.  Their favorite part is the fancy sit-down dinner every night, and they tend to do breakfast, lunch, snacks, ice cream, and extra post-dinner buffet sometimes as well.  If I follow suit, I’ll gain all the weight back, and I’ll probably end up throwing myself off the side of the ship.

To keep me from being fish food, I’ve come up with some strategy on how to do the all inclusive thing without gaining a bunch of weight.



More books, less pancakes…

I plan to skip breakfast every day that I can.  I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day blah blah blah, but the problem is the cross section of a) healthy breakfast food I like and b) food they serve on a cruise includes fruit, and perhaps some turkey sausage and that’s about it.

I’m HOPING to do that by avoiding it altogether on sea days.  I don’t plan to get up before 10am on vacation unless I have a good reason to do so. I’d like to start my mornings when we aren’t in port with a little gym session, and if I have more time to kill, relax and read by (or go swim in) the pool.  I’m going to tell my family about my plans.  However, if I *have* to join someone at breakfast, I’ll just grab a coffee and maybe some fruit and bide my time until lunch.

The exceptions are: shore days and the last day.  On shore days, I’ll be up and out playing before the noon lunch bell, so I’ll probably split my calories and have a small breakfast and lunch.  The last day, I’ll splurge and eat whatever I want for breakfast, because pancakes are fucking yummy and I’ll be home for a healthy lunch/dinner.



Salads will be key here… maybe *slightly* smaller though…

The great thing about cruise food is that they have tons of vegetable-filled options available at the lunch buffets.  There’s a lot of unhealthy stuff as well, but it’s generally easy for me to fill my plate with mostly good stuff. Lunch should be the easiest meal for me to navigate as long as I make good choices and eat reasonable portions.

My strategy: start with one plate, half full of vegetables or salad, a quarter full of good protein, and then the last quarter can be whatever I want.  If I’m still wanting food, I’ll get one more soup-sized item (soup, or something that fits in that bowl).

If I’m still hungry after that, I need to calm the fuck down, take ~30 minutes to digest and drink a bunch of water/tea/coffee/whatevs, because no matter what the content of those plates were, that’s plenty of food.  I’m now eating things only because they’re around, and none of us want that (because you’ll have to listen to me bitch about my weight that much longer).

If I’m still hungry after that – see the snack section.



You don’t pass this up, but maybe you accommodate by eating lighter the rest of the meal.

Dinner is a little trickier, because with the family, it’s formal dining at a set time (5:30pm), served in courses, all at the breakneck speed of whomever eats the slowest at the large table.  It’s going to be a challenge, so I have to be smart and have a plan here, or I can easily consume a full day’s calories in one meal.

Rolls and butter are served before dinner, and great bread is my fucking kryponite.  If they’re amazing, I’ll indulge.  If they aren’t, I will attempt to skip it.

Then, comes appetizers and entrees.  If I’m debating between main courses, I’ll always pick the one that sounds like it has the least calories, but I won’t forego something I really want for something I don’t.  For appetizers, since lunches are going to be very salad heavy, I’m skipping those in the dining room.  I’ll choose either one or two appetizers/soups, depending on how light it sounds, and what else I’ve consumed that day.

As for dessert – I’m going to listen to my stomach and my heart.  If I’m full – just coffee.  If I’m not stuffed, or there’s something I *HAVE* to have, I’ll order it and attempt to eat just enough to get a taste of it.  I’ll consider this an opportunity to get better resisting eating things just because it exists.



Trying to concentrate more on the scenery than the eateries…

Here be dragons.  Even if you manage to eat sensible meals, there’s always other ways to completely overeat.  Room service breakfast.  24-hour snack station with sandwiches, cookies, deserts, etc.  Burgers and dogs and fries at the pool.  Pizza parlor.  In between buffet lunch and dinner is a magical thing called the snack buffet and sometimes there’s the midnight chocolate buffet.  Dinner buffet after formal dinner.  Late night room service.  It doesn’t end.

While these indulgences are all tempting, the fact is, I’m losing weight by giving up snacks at home, so I plan to mostly stick with that on vacation.

I’m enforcing one and only one rule here.  First, I must check in with myself, and ask if I am really and truly hungry right then.  If “I could eat” or “that looks yummy” or “that smells good”, then I’ll get myself some coffee, tea, or water.  If I am actually going to eat a deck chair, I will get myself a fucking snack and probably eat a little less at the next meal to compensate.

It sounds counter intuitive on an all inclusive situation like the cruise to bring my own snack options, but I am.  I’ve got some mini bags of pretzels, pita chips, and jerky.  I may not touch them at all.  Hear me out.  I think it could save me a bunch of calories when I just want a SMALL snack and don’t need something like a plate at the buffet.



Cheers to Belize beer!

I would like to strike the balance of enjoying myself and not sabotaging the rest of my efforts.  Things I have to remember:

  1. Bar drinks are way more potent than you make at home.  Drink them slower and have a water between each.
  2. Stay away from the fruity drinks and heavy beer (as the rule, the rare exception is another story).  Stick to liquor either with soda or on the rocks, wine, or light beer.
  3. While there will be imbibing, it’s also something I can do just fine when I’m NOT on vacation.  So enjoy, but not to the point where I waste a day hungover.



You’re naturally pretty active on the cruise ship because you walk everywhere, but I’d like to make sure I keep the kind of activity up that I have now:

  • 10k steps per day.  Non negotiable.  Cruise ships and ports provide AWESOME walking opportunities and there is zero reason this should not be effortless.
  • 2-3 weights sessions (there are 3 sea days…)
  • Maybe some stationary bike or elliptical during sea days just for funsies unless that ends up being lame.
  • Go play outside on the ship – water slides, rock climbing, wave rider, etc.
  • Snorkeling, scuba, and adventuring in port, oh my!

The great thing about not recovering from a marathon on a cruise ship is that I’ll have tons of energy to go do all the things.  I’m really looking forward to it!

And when it comes down to it – I know what I’m going to look back on in years to come and it’s not really the food.  I remember dancing with my husband until 3am until the DJ kicked us out.  I remember winning just about every single card and domino game I played with the family one year (and one year I didn’t win once until the last day).  I remember the descent on my first dive ever in Bonaire.  I remember playing the Yes/No gameshow as a family and doing horribly.


Yes, I remember the food as a whole, and yes, even some specific dishes come to mind, but not even the amazing steak and lobster dish compares to chasing down a stingray in Cozumel.  So, this time, I’ll focus more on that, because chasing fishies is calorie free.

Camping the Granger, or my #goplayoutside weekend

Guys, I’m totally falling in love with camping.  And I’m really sad my next opportunity isn’t until June.

Let me clarify, there are certain parts I’m not totally in love with:


The sheer amount of SHIT you need to bring to live on your own for two days.  There’s the tent, the air matress, sheets and pillows, all the clothes, firewood, cooking stuff and utensils, all the water, beer, ice and food for two people for two days, chairs, entertainment, and gear for all the sports.  We just BARELY had room for us in the Xterra.  I’m sure we could somehow pare down but honestly, the only thing we didn’t use were the lake toys, and that’s only because it was cold.

The second night of the campfire when it’s kinda making you nauseous.

When the weather randomly decides that instead of the high 70s and sunny on the forecast, it’s going to be 60s with clouds and wind and rain, so you end up not being motivated to do as much cool stuff as you wanted.  Also, once you get cold, it’s really hard to get warm when you can’t just turn up the heat.

For all the little hassles, there is one GREAT that makes me counting the days until we can go again.  Camping clears my head and quiets my soul.  It’s amazing how once you turn off your phone and realize that there’s no need to stress or hurry, because all you have planned this evening is cooking dinner and sitting by the fire.  It’s like an all inclusive on an island somewhere, except much cheaper and easier to get to (albeit with less fruity drinks and ocean views, but still).


For all the things we bring, however, we have setup down to a 20 minute science.  Friday was no exception.  We got there around 5:15 and just after 5:30 we started exploring.  We toured the campsite, found a super cool haunted bridge that lead to an awesome hiking trail, saw so many wildflowers, and also found the scariest bathroom with SO MANY BUGS.  I’m so lucky I didn’t get any mosquito crotch nibbles.

The rest of Friday was for cooking hot dogs, drinking crappy beer and sipping Fireball, singing to Zliten’s drumming, and playing chupacabra dice.  Super fun times.  We went to bed a little after midnight.

Saturday just before dawn, a very loud owl came home from a night on the town and was all “hooooooo hoooooty hooooooo hoooo” on the tree right outside the tent.  Between that and all the trucks rumbling by getting ready for fishing or driving people to the bathroom right next to our campsite, I was up earlier than I would have liked.  I was FREEEEEEZING so I put on every warm article of clothing I owned and curled up and stayed in the tent while Zliten made us a badass breakfast in his new dutch oven – breakfast tacos with beans, garlic pepper bacon, and cheese.


Proof that we don’t actually melt…

We lounged and hammocked and read for a while while the weather osculated between OMG I’m going to storm and JUST KIDDING, I’m just a little cloudy and windy.  Around noon, we decided fuck it, we don’t actually melt, and got dressed and on our bikes.  The ride was pretty nice – only one asshole that cut the pass pretty close on the main country road to get to Granger Lake, and once we got to the dam, everyone drove nicely.  Which was great, because it started raining pretty hard.

The scenery was nice, it felt good to ride a bike that doesn’t take so much effort to pedal, and I actually did a very slow careful unclip of only one foot and rest on the other at the turnaround, like a big kid non-scaredy cyclist.  We stopped for a few minutes to take some pictures with our bikes in the flowers as dorky triathletes do… hey, no judgies, I need new blog header material!

It is definitely offseason, because 12 miles at around 15 mph average was totally enough.  I’m starting to look forward to building that up again, and I have big plans to do a 30-40 mile ride around that lake sometime during training, but for now, I’ll be happy to be out of shape and happy.


My husband – hunter of the stick fish!

After we put the bikes away, we wolfed down some sandwiches and met up with Zliten’s dad to fish away the rest of the afternoon.  I got one nibble about 6 minutes after casting my first line, but it got away.  After that, the only thing we caught were stick-fish (that is, getting the line caught on debris in the water), and we got rained on quite a bit, but it was a nice mellow afternoon.

Chicken, taters, and salad was the order of the evening.  I really do like how evenings are very SLOWWWW while camping.  Once the sun goes down, there’s really nothing to do but cook dinner, stoke the fire, and relax.  After singing the praises of our dutch oven once more, we tucked into our books and drank some punch (diet sprite, diet juice, and vodka watered down with lots of melty ice).  I took a break to play some dice with myself while Zliten was still engrossed with his book – oddly enough, right hand won 20 rounds, left hand only won 13.  Poor lefty.

Luckily the owl decided to stay somewhere else and it was nice and cloudy, so we slept like rocks until 9:30.  Crazy!  Zliten made us more badass breakfast tacos, we hung out a bit, and realized the weather wasn’t getting any better, and packed up and went home.


Unfortunately, Friday’s beautiful sunset did not foretell a sunny lake-filled weekend.  But beautiful it was…

Lessons learned from this round of #goplayoutside for the weekend:

When it’s not summer it’s generally cold at night.  Even if the weather seems nice, bring lots of comfy warm clothes (sweats, pajamas, leggings, etc) that you can layer up and potentially sleep in.  Also, shoes besides running shoes and one pair of sandals would be nice.

Related: don’t worry about overpacking clothing while camping.  Make your best guess, but realize you’ll PROBABLY get it wrong and end up wearing the same outfit for 2 days because it doesn’t matter.  Campfire is stronger than BO anyway.

Campsite near the bathroom?  Great.  Closest campsite to the bathroom with a giant floodlight on a one way road where everyone has to drive past to leave the area?  Not as great.  We’ll choose more wisely next time.

The dutch oven is awesome and can cook just about anything.  Next time, I’ll be a little more adventurous with our meal planning.


Do you enjoy camping, or, like my parents, do you call roughing it a hotel without an indoor pool?

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