Yep It Feels Like 107 Degrees

Monday morning I got up early and Michael took me to Barton Springs to go swimming. This was by FAR my favorite thing about Texas and I was SO glad I did it. Thanks to my friend Neal, I knew about it! Otherwise I wouldn’t have known how cool it was. Barton Springs is near Zilker Park and not far from downtown. It’s an oasis in the middle of a very hot, very dry city. It’s a river fed by springs and it’s about 67 degrees year round (I am told).

They’ve made a part of it into a sort of pool for people to enjoy when the heat becomes too much to take. There is a diving board for kids and you can swim, play, or float. It only costs $3. Totally worth it. But, if you arrive from 5 a.m. -8 a.m. it’s free (or from 9-10pm). I got there at 7:30 and got in free. I was ready to swim!

That early in the morning on a Monday, the place was not crowded. At least, no kids were there. It was just packed with the serious swimmers. It was so cool. I waded in and it was shockingly cold. At first I thought it might be too cold, but I was invested in doing it so I sucked it up. It was very cold at first but then it was nice. The temperature outside was 85 degrees, so the cool waters felt nice.

The length of the pool was 1/8 of a mile. I started swimming. Where I started I could stand up easily and it was rock under foot. It was fine, something I was ok with. Then I started swimming and it got deeper and deeper and I realized it was NOT a pool—there was STUFF in it! There was lots of grass and underwater plant life that was rather scary for someone used to swimming in a pool. AND there were FISH! One was as long as my arm. It was huge and shocking. The water got deeper and was eventually 14 feet deep and there were parts where I could not see the bottom.

I’ll admit, I freaked out a little bit. I swam to the end of the “pool”, my heart had been pounding in my chest and my heart rate was in the 160’s. Entirely from panic. Well, I had my first adult experience with open-water swimming! Eventually I got over my panic and swam my laps. There were no lanes, people just kind of swam. There wasn’t an issue with confusion, but my form wasn’t great because I kept having to look up to make sure I wasn’t running into other swimmers.

I spent an hour in the water and swam 1.5 miles. It felt AWESOME! I LOVED IT! I never got completely comfortable in the springs but it was fun and I got better at it. I LOVED swimming outside. It’s so much better than a gym experience.

Michael picked me up and we went back to the hotel to shower and dress, then headed to an early lunch. The goal WAS J. Meuller’s BBQ cart. It was supposedly the #2 BBQ place (Franklin’s being #1). It was closed. We were SO bummed out. Truly.

Our second choice was a restaurant downtown called Lambert’s. Yelp reviews made it sounds really good, so we gave it a try. Lambert’s was a very cool, trendy restaurant. The service was impeccable. The food was pretty good. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being Franklin’s BBQ, Lambert’s was probably a 6. It was better than anything we’ve had in Portland, but not Franklin’s.

I got the jalapenos hot link and the brisket that was cooked in coffee (didn’t taste like it). It came with baked mac n’ cheese and beans. The brisket was good. I had two pieces that were “black and fatty” –meaning it melted in my mouth, and a few pieces that were drier.

The mac n’ cheese was odd. The first few bites I was unsure of it, but I warmed up to it. It was creamy and had a velveeta kind of texture and flavor. Lunch was good and I was stuffed. I only ate half of my sausage because I just couldn’t finish it.

I left off with our BBQ lunch. After lunch we headed to The Capitol building to do a self-guided tour.

The architecture was amazing and the history was cool. Had we had more time, I would have preferred the guided tour to really hear the history of the building.

Then we went to the Zilker Botanical Garden. It was hot as hell. I was very, very uncomfortable and felt lethargic. The heat was just beating down on us.

We walked around the gardens, which were pretty, but it was too hot out. I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed the parks because of that.

My favorite parts of the garden were the lotus flowers and then “dinosaur” garden. There was also a pretty waterfall. It only cost $2 to go to the gardens and I’d say it’s worth a visit–just go early in the morning before it’s too hot.

We headed back to the hotel for a short nap. It was so needed. After that, we went back out. The goal was Mount Bonnell. Supposedly it was a nice hike and a spectacular viewpoint.

We drove out of town and then up a hill passed nice house. We parked at the bottom and then walked up the stairs. It was just too hot to really hike. The views at Mount Bonnell were worth the sweaty walk.

I could see the sparkling Colorado River, the mansions along the riverside, and views of downtown Austin. It was fun.

Finally, we headed back to Congress to just walk around and kill time. Window shopping, then stopping for a slice of pizza at Home Slice. Michael got a slice of pepperoni. I had a few bites but mainly just enjoyed a cool lemonade. Next up: a small cup of ice cream.

Yes, I was totally indulging in Austin. But to be fair, I wasn’t eating much (mainly 2 meals a day) because the heat killed my appetite. But a cold ice cream was what I needed in the heat. It was 99 degrees “but felt like 107”. Ugh.

The ice cream hit the spot. I got the Mexican vanilla. It was rich and creamy, tasted like it was made from real cream and vanilla beans. Amazing. So glad I got it. We shared the ice cream and then sought refuge from the heat in the Driskill once again.

QUESTION: How do you handle the heat? Does your workout routine change?

Detox After Deep Fry

I came home feeling like I’d gained about 5 pounds over the weekend. It was hard NOT to feel that way after eating fried foods at the Fair. It’s funny because it’s actually hard to find fried food here in Portland (or maybe I just don’t know where to look) so it’s not something I have much experience with. I don’t crave fried foods, I don’t seek them out. The Texas State Fair was a once in a lifetime experience. I’m glad I did it, I’m glad I tried the foods I tried but I can’t say it’s something I want to experience again!

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We got home from the airport after running some errands and getting groceries and I headed to the gym. I desperately needed to move my body after being in a cramped airplane for most of the morning. It felt so good to run. I ran on treadmill since it was raining outside. I missed running outside like I did on vacation.

After my run I worked on weight lifting–back and abs this time. I used a 10 pound medicine ball for my ab workout and finished up with stretching.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:20
Calories Burned: 510

Dinner was easy and quick–and healthy, which was sorely needed after the fried foods I’d eaten. I made quick polenta with sauteed shallots and Michael blackened salmon.

I added a scoop of cottage cheese to my plate and I cut my salmon in half to take to work for lunch the next day. I also had some tomatoes. The last of the tomatoes from our garden.

I am so glad that I found an easy polenta to make. It’s so delicious!


Wednesday after work I went to the gym. It was my fourth day in a row of exercising and mentally I was starting to wear down. I didn’t give it my all but something was better than nothing. I know myself–and four days or more of exercise in a row is mentally trying. That’s one of the reasons I try to schedule my rest days split up.

I hit the stairmaster for 30 minutes and started to ache a big in my left knee. I switched to the elliptical for the rest of my cardio workout. I finished up with weight lifting- chest, arms and shoulders this time. I was a bit sore from Tuesday’s lifting even though I was using different muscles.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:13
Calories Burned: 520

Dinner was something simple: Costco ravioli. I know, I know, nothing spectacular. But after a long day at work and after being out of town two weekends in a row we barely have any food in the house. This time I made the butternut squash ravioli from Costco, which I like a lot. It’s sweet. My only complaint is the serving sizes on the package are confusing as hell.

I roasted the last of our cherry tomatoes from the garden and topped the ravioli with a little olive oil, sprinkled some shredded white cheddar cheese on it, salt and pepper and then topped it with the roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes balanced out the sweetness of the squash. It was nice.

I’d eaten my spinach salad while I was waiting for the ravioli and tomatoes to cook. I was famished after my workout. I added chopped carrots, red onion, croutons and broccoli to the salad and used Light Ranch dressing for a change.

Final Thoughts

I’m avoiding the scale for a few weeks. I think for my mental health it’s the wise decision. I’m back at my normal eating, my normal calories, I’m working out regularly. I think in a few weeks I will be able to get back on track. In a few weeks it will be time to own up to any weight gain that’s hanging on and right the ship. I hope the damage isn’t too bad (I did work out while on vacation, that has to count for something right?)

QUESTION: How do you detox? Do you avoid the scale for awhile in order to even things out?