Last weekend my dear friend, The Russian Princess, came to visit. She and her boyfriend had tickets to a show here in Vegas, and we all decided to make a weekend out of it, so they would be staying at my place from Friday night to Monday afternoon.
I knew going in that those three days would not be bright, shining examples of clean & healthy living — but I also knew it would be a hell of a lot of fun. I had made a commitment to myself that no matter now much fun we had, how late the nights were, or how busy our days were, that I would get my sweat in each day.
It was my first real test during this Year of Sweat. And I think I passed with flying colors. That said, I have yet to step on the scale. I’m forcing myself to wait until the weekend [in the hopes that I can reverse any damage done Fri-Sun]. 🙂
I had completed a nice intense workout during the day Friday so I was confident, based on my calorie burn, that unless I ate half a cow for dinner that night, that I’d still be in a calorie deficit situation for the day.
After picking them up, we went to a great restaurant near my home, Vintner Grill, where they happened to be participating in Restaurant Week [Prix Fixe menu]. We splurged on a shared charcuterie plate with 3 amazing cured meats and 2 decadent cheeses – but the tiny portions meant just a bite or two for each of us.
For dinner, I decided on an appetizer of lentil soup, main course of halibut & quinoa and dessert of vanilla panna cotta. I ended up leaving half of my side and half of the dessert untouched. All in all, a decently healthy meal (oh…plus 2 glasses of Cab Sauv…).
Verdict: Pretty healthy choices and no over-indulgence in booze. Good job.
Saturday morning we had an early start as we needed to jam in quite a bit before returning home around 4pm to allow them time to get ready pre-concert. After a yummy breakfast at home (whole wheat bagels, light cream cheese, smoked salmon, onions, capers, tomatoes), we headed out for the hour(ish) drive to The Valley of Fire State Park.
I love bringing visitors here, because it seems to be one of the best kept secrets in town. Geographically stunning, it’s seriously like a live action version of The Flintstones. Amazing rock formations and color variations abound. We brought hiking gear, although I knew going in that the hikes would not be very challenging (in terms of length or difficulty), judging by the terrain and lack of elevation.
We chose to hike the White Domes trail because it was one of the longest (listed at 1-2 hours and 2.25 mi) and was a loop. I much prefer loops over “out and back” trails because I bore easily and hate having to back track on a path I’ve already hiked.
We read that in 1966, Hollywood filmed a classic Western in this park, called The Professionals, starring Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster. Okay that was kind of cool, but didn’t really make up for the fact that it was a really easy hike (and not worthy of a “daily sweat” characterization.
But then we stopped dead in our tracks when we came upon the coolest slot canyon (at points only 18 inches wide and 80 feet deep), a natural arch, multicolored sandstone, and interesting patterns of erosion that created amazing sculptured forms all around the trail. So that was super cool.
We wrapped the hike in less than an hour [because we are just that good :-)], and then did the touristy thing, stopping at various scenic vistas to do the obligatory photo ops.
Elephant Rock, in particular, is one of my favorite places in the park. Here it is:
One site you’ll never see listed on any tourist information guides, but one that I clocked the first time I ever set foot in the park is something I’ve dubbed, “Vagina Rock“. I still can’t believe the State Park doesn’t consider this their crown jewel in the listed rock formations. I mean…look at this. Really? REALLY??? Tell me you don’t see it. 🙂
Wrapping up at the park, we decided to grab some light lunch before heading home to give them time to shower and change for their dinner and show. Wahoo’s for fish tacos seemed a good (halfway decent in terms of “light”) option. And it would have been, had we not opted for the Coronaritas. 🙂
So that may have thrown the calorie count off a bit. 🙂 But man, was it ever good after a long, hot walk in the desert.
Verdict: Empty calories, but SO worth it. 🙂
After we got home and the happy couple proceeded to take power naps before their big night out, I changed into workout gear and hit the gym here at the condo. I did the mountain workout (12 interval increases every 3 minutes), followed by a 4 minute all-out run (took me to 40 mins), followed by 10 minutes of 1 min run, 1 min walk, followed by a 5 min cool down. I felt pretty good about having worked off my Coronarita. Little did I know that Moscow Mules were to follow at midnight.
Verdict: More empty calories, but hey, I just found my new favorite cocktail. #Winning!
Sunday morning I set the alarm early, knowing if I didn’t workout first thing in the morning, it wasn’t going to happen. And that, my friends, wasn’t going to happen. So, after just 5(ish) hours of sleep, my alarm went off, I drank a lot of water, and cursed under my breath as I threw my workout gear on and headed to the gym.
It’s Sunday, I thought, so I’m just going to do a quick cardio blast and head home. 40 minutes later I was drenched in sweat, but done for the day. On any other week this would have been a perfect Sat or Sun workout; just a short blast of sweat, nothing too intense, to give my body some partial rest that one day a week. Had I known the volume of drinking I’d be doing that night (St. Patrick’s Day…), I would have spent at least an hour in that gym… Live and learn.
The plan for Sunday was a visit to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, followed by an early dinner of steamed crabs, shrimp, muscles, clams and lobster, then back home to freshen up before heading out to the St. Paddy’s Day festivities on Fremont Street. I’ve never been so grateful for lots of stair climbing (at the new bridge over Hoover Dam + the parking garage) which gave me some bonus burn. Sadly, not nearly enough for the amount of booze consumed shortly thereafter.
Fremont was, as predicted, a mad house. Tons of drunken crazies, dressed in green, drinking green drinks, and dancing like no one was watching. I haven’t laughed that loud or that much in a long time. And laughing is great for the abs. 🙂
Temptation abound. Deep fried Twinkies start to sound VERY good after several drinks… (Thankfully we abstained.)
Lots of walking, lots of singing and dancing, and lots and lots of laughter.
And then we came upon the leprechauns. And my night was officially made.
We ended up at a piano bar moments after this picture was taken. And we drank. A lot. Several shots were involved. And I remember dancing. And singing. And yelling at a trumpet player to STOP. Was he really as bad as I remember? I think so.
Verdict: Shots bad, Singing and dancing good. One cancels the other, so we’re net neutral. 🙂
And then the munchies set in. So we headed to a Vegas legend, The Peppermill. Open all night, and famous for their monster portions, this seemed the perfect decadent way to end a night of decadence.
Verdict: Consuming greasy breakfast fare at 2:30 am was definitely not the healthiest choice, but …so perfect for the moment. (And yummy!)
Summing it all up:
The weekend visit was over, and before we knew it we found ourselves at the airport at 3pm on Monday, sending our friends off.
Was it the greatest 3 days in terms of healthy lifestyle? No. Was it the greatest 3 days in terms of having fun and feeling great? Absolutely.
Overall verdict: I’d do it again in a heart-beat. Zero guilt. No beating myself up for bad choices. No regret. Just great memories.
Now that, my friends, is progress.
Now, back to work! …Get moving!!