A Weekend Away

Just got in from a busy, but super fun, little weekend getaway.

Before we embarked on our road trip to fun, we had appointments for an annual health event.

Health Event

The night before, we fasted for 12 hours for an accurate fasting blood draw. They checked blood glucose, LDL & HDL cholesterol & triglycerides. Blood pressure, weight, height, BMI & waist measurements are also checked at this event.

The latter info I can easily get on my own, but it is nice to have the cholesterol and blood glucose checked, as my regular doctor will not request those tests for me. I asked him before, but because I am under 40 (or was it 45?) and am healthy, show no signs of any illness, there is no need to test in his opinion. This may be true, but I still want to stay on top of my numbers to make sure they are good and keep them that way. It is silly to wait for there to be a problem and then get tested! Since this is a free event and only takes 30 minutes of my time, it is worth it to be proactive and take my health into my own hands. I’m not sure if they have these free health events in other cities, but it is definitely worth checking.

Numbers Event

My weight and BMI stayed the same, my blood pressure was slightly higher than last time but still well within the optimal range (less than 120/80 is optimal). I’ve always had low blood pressure, so I expected it to still be good.

The waist measurement came up at 2″ more than last time! It was still in the good range (over 35″ for women is a problem, 40″ for men) but was odd that there was that big of a difference, especially since I weigh the same. It could have been possible measurement error (not measuring in the exact same spot as last year) or I have been feeling a little bloated this week. She told me not to worry, that women’s bodies fluctuate and change with hormones and other things and that it was in a good range. Still, two inches?!

She also told me that they measure the waist by the traditional way, keeping your belly relaxed and not holding it in. She said that Dr. Oz has this new way of testing where you suck your belly in!

From Dr. Oz:

“Measure at your natural waistline, which is above your hipbone and below the ribcage โ€“ not where your belt lies or around your hips. Be mindful of your posture and suck in your stomach since the fat youโ€™re measuring is deep inside the belly.”

I had never heard of this before, but I opted to do the non-sucked in version. She said a lot of other people coming through the event were sucking in, but whatever.

Waiting on the blood test results to find out the other numbers so I can fill in my card!

After our health clinic, we broke the fast with a quick breakfast at Panera. I mentioned this Egg White Sandwich in a post a few weeks back and remembered to take a picture this time.

Panera Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

It was still as good as I remembered, fresh baby spinach, and they gave a good amount of roasted tomatoes this time, maybe they listened to my last post. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My gritty, ground-filled coffee was another story.

Then Mr. Nine and I hit the road for Mad City. We had a great lunch, a little shopping and then went to the Chazen Museum of Art. Wow, what a fantastic place! We put 2 hours on the meter and spent the entire duration there. 4 floors divided between two sides, and an impressive collection of art, all to view for free! There were so many highlights it would be enough to fill an entire blog post.

Faculty Exhibit

After the museum, we walked along Lake Mendota, made some other stops, checked into our hotel and then went to dinner. It was packed and service was uncomfortably slow, even for being busy. A guy sat down next to us and said service for “the rest of us” was bad because Barry was there. Barry? He looked stunned that we didn’t know who Barry was. “He was standing right next to you!” he exclaimed, “Barry Alvarez, local sports celebrity, blah, blah, blah!” (replace “blah” with sports stats I don’t know anything about).

I don’t watch football. I just wanted my steak and wine in a timely manner, but apparently the presence of the famed Barry took all the attention of the servers as they were making sure he was treated to perfection. Luckily dinner was FANTASTIC, or else I would have been more annoyed. I would have taken a photo of my meal, but it was insanely dark in the restaurant that the photo would have turned out grainy from the lowlight (and would require a very steady hand for the slow exposure, one I would not have had after wine) or have been a hideous photo taken with flash which would not have done the food justice. Besides, people would wonder why I was taking photos of food and not the famous Barry.

We had another glass of wine someplace else (someplace without any sports celebrities and within walking distance of our hotel, just to be safe and not drive) and then called it a night.

Sunday we slept in (hooray!) and started the day sharing an almond croissant and sipping on coffee.

Sunday at Barriques

Wow, that croissant went fast!

Next up was a little shopping, then brunch at Sardine. I’ve been wanting to go to Sardine for awhile, and it was worth the wait! I love the ambiance, white painted brick walls, high ceilings, beams, a view of the lake. Overall very charming, yet sophisticated.

Sardine Brunch

I had the crab, bacon and rock shrimp cakesย with chipolte beurre blanc, poached eggs, and mixed greens salad with corn, green beans, and tomatoes.

Crab, Bacon & Shrimp Cakes

It was good, but I am not huge on crab cakes that have been breaded on the outside, I prefer the breading to be more intermixed, so you can see the crab and have it flake/fall apart. A crispy crust of fried panko keeps the fillings intact, but is not nearly as good. Mr. Nine had the steamed mussels.

Steamed Mussels

I really liked his muscles, I mean mussels. ๐Ÿ™‚ The bread was perfect to soak up the broth. Indulgent. Sardine, we must meet again.

Brunch was followed by bike shop perusing, lakeside walking and architecture exploring. The lake was frozen and there were ice fishers, dog walkers & cyclists making their way across the frozen blindingly white surface.


Cyclists On Ice


Although the lake was frozen, it was actually very warm outside. We didn’t even need our coats!

Of course no visit to Madison is complete without picking up some bagels. They had the perfect base for our bagel pizzas tonight.

Pizza Bagels

It was a quick, easy and tasty dinner while we unpacked and unwound. Still unwinding as I type, reflecting on everything, way more than I could wrap up into a single blog post. Although the past few days were not a true vacation, this little getaway filled with food, art, nature and fun was the perfect way to spend a weekend.

Do you go on short day trips or staycations? What is your favorite local place to visit? Have you had your cholesterol and blood glucose tested before?

Categories: Food, Health, Travels | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “A Weekend Away

  1. I have been getting my cholesterol checked every year since I was 24. I started doing it because they offered it for free at a previous employer and then I just kept it up through my doctor. I am surprised at how many of my friends have never had their cholesterol checked. I consider myself a pretty healthy person (run a lot, eat pretty healthy) and I have high cholesterol off-and-on, which has really fueled my interest in healthy habits over the past 6 years.

    • That is great that your previous employer tested for it, as I don’t think that many do. I got tested for the first time when I was 26 because it was required for life insurance, but that was a one time deal. My general doctor will not order any tests for it, so I was happy to find a free, easy annual event where I can get it done to satisfy my need to know. I think everyone should get it checked if not yearly, every 3 years just to stay on top of it and be mindful of keeping or increasing healthy habits. It is a simple blood test, so why not? Good for you for getting yours checked, maybe you can be an inspiration to your friends!

  2. Sounds like a perfect getaway – good food, good company, and plenty of new things to see and do. And I can’t believe the lake is still so frozen, when it’s been so warm! Fantastic pictures, as always.

    I love the idea of quick little getaways, but it’s harder alone. I may try to squeeze in a couple of long weekends away this summer, after graduation.

    It’s interesting your doctor won’t order blood tests. Mine does them every 3 years, just to have a benchmark and keep an eye on things. When I last went in, I had lost a bunch of weight, so she ordered tests just to fulfill her (and my) curiosity – numbers have never been bad, but they were much better.

    • I actually asked two different doctors about getting checked and they both brushed it aside as being unnecessary. That is awesome that your numbers improved with weight loss! It proves that simple changes can work and improve your health. So many people think that if you workout or eat healthy it is because you are vain, but it is so much more than physical appearances, it is all the good health benefits that you gain.

  3. Pingback: Love Your Heart « Running on Cloud Nine

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