Enjoying the Last Few Weekends of Summer + Meal Plan for the Week

I can't believe there are just 3 weekends of summer left!  It's been a really great summer so far here in Madison.  This weekend was pretty representative of my summer -

Hanging out at the Wisconsin Union Terrace drinking a few beers

Seriously, this is one of my favorite places in Madison.  I absolutely love sitting outside, staring out at the water and all the boats and swimmers, and enjoying a beer or ice cream.  

Biking along one of Madison's many bike paths

Ok, this is something I didn't do enough of this summer with a few biking setbacks, but hopefully I'm headed in the right direction now.  There are so many paths to explore; yesterday I did mostly the Capital City Trail, some near the Monona Terrace and Olin and Law Parks.  It was really windy out; the weather forecast said like 18 mph, and I could feel it near the lake especially.  It was still a really great ride though. 

Farmers' Market

I did an abbreviated farmers' market trip on Saturday because of my bike ride, but I still picked up my usual flowers and a few things for the week.  I bought raspberries, cherry tomatoes, and okra.

Today we headed to New Glarus because Victor didn't get to go when I went with my parents a few weeks ago.   

Meal Plan for the Week - 

Sunday - Shrimp pasta with cherry tomatoes and a side salad

Monday - Grilled chicken and fried okra

Tuesday - Out to dinner

Wednesday - Grilled chicken salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella

Thursday - Leftover chicken salad

And of course, dessert!

We often go get ice cream on Sundays, but I decided to buy some at the store this morning. Love Babcock Hall's ice cream. 

Madison Open Water Swim (MOWS) {Race Recap}

On Saturday morning I participated in the Madison Open Water Swim (MOWS), which is a popular open water swim race in Lake Monona starting at Law Park.  The registration is capped at 500 swimmers and fills up quickly, but I was able to sign up a few weeks ago when they briefly opened registration after the final drop date for people who were no longer able to participate.  

The race had two distance options; a 2.4-mile swim, which was definitely the more popular of the two, likely because it's a great training swim for Ironman Wisconsin in the same waters just a few weeks from now (SO excited to go watch!), and a 1.2-mile swim.  The race was also divided into wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions.  I wore my wetsuit, and felt great in the water, but man was it hot while waiting for the start and right after the swim (lake temp - 76 degrees, air temp - 90 degrees for a high). 

Water support getting ready - tons of life guards, kayakers, paddle boarders. 

Water support getting ready - tons of life guards, kayakers, paddle boarders. 

My husband brought the dogs along to watch - he captured the 2.4-mile swimmers from the Lake Monona Terrace.  These swimmers had to complete 2 laps of the course.

The 1.2-mile swim was the last wave to start. The course looked pretty similar to the Shoreline Swim a few weeks ago, but there were definitely more buoys along the course for sighting, which I was happy to see.

Once the race began, I started off swimming pretty quickly before I settled down to a more manageable pace.  I was having some problems with my goggles fogging up, and it was pretty bright in the sun, so I was sighting more by looking for swimmers around me than looking for the buoys, which probably wasn't the best idea.  I felt better when making the long straight-away then I did in my last race, so that was definitely a positive; I didn't get the feeling of oh my gosh, where is this turn, I've been swimming forever, etc.  Once we made the left-hand turn of the rectangular course, I got off track and was definitely swimming a bit off course. I don't know if it was my sighting skills or just my inability to see in the sun/still fogged goggles (I did stop a few times to adjust them). It was only congested at the buoys that marked a change in direction, but it wasn't terrible.

Once we made the final turn for home, I tried to give it my all and set my sights on any pink-capped 1.2-milers that I could see. I didn't end up catching the woman in front of me, but I am really happy with my time for this race.  

My final time was 36:47, which is over 2 minutes faster than my time at the Shoreline Swim.  I knew I could swim faster than 39 minutes, so I was really excited to see the time.  There were 30 people participating in the 1.2-mile wetsuit division, and I came in 5th.  Number 2 out of 5 of the female 30-34 age group.

I would definitely do the Madison Open Water Swim again (hopefully next year!).  The course was very well marked, it was a great atmosphere, and we received water bottles, a patch (it's different every year), a finisher medal, and a medal for the top 3 in every age group in all divisions.

New Glarus Brewery, Devil's Lake State Park, and Driftless Glen Distillery {Parents' Visit}

Hello!  This past weekend and the first part of this week my parents visited all the way from Virginia.  I had been looking forward to and planning their visit for a while to make sure we had lots of fun things to do, and so they could get a good idea of this awesome city we're calling our home for the next few years.  We spent a lot of time wandering around Madison, but also took a few trips outside the city, which was really nice because we hadn't really gotten out much yet. 

On Sunday, we visited Driftless Glen Distillery, which is in Baraboo, WI, about an hour from Madison.  We went on an informative tour of the distillery, sampled their gins, vodkas, and moonshines (no whiskey or bourbon yet, much to my husband's disappointment; we'll have to go back when it's ready!), and had a nice lunch at the restaurant on-site.  

After lunch, we headed to Devil's Lake State Park, also in Baraboo, which is the largest state park in Wisconsin.  It's an extremely popular place, and I can see why.  There are countless things to do in the park; we chose to go hiking, but you could also go swimming, kayaking, biking, rock climbing, etc.  After taking an easy paved path from the south shore to the north shore (swimming beaches), we took a much more challenging hike back to our car. It was pretty tough (lots of ups and downs), but worth it.  The views of the bluff were outstanding.

I can't believe this picture is from a phone!

I can't believe this picture is from a phone!

We thought about canoeing afterwards, but were too tired to do more than put our feet in the lake! (we finally went canoeing in Lake Monona on Monday afternoon.)

On Monday, we went to New Glarus, which I had been wanting to do pretty much since we got here.  I love New Glarus' beer (Only in Wisconsin!).  The facility was both larger and prettier than I was anticipating. My dad and I both did the $8 tasting (3 sample beers and a souvenir glass). Of course we had to buy some beer to take home too. 

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Of course, they couldn't leave Wisconsin without trying fried cheese curds at the Old Fashioned. 

I had a really great time showing them around Madison and southern Wisconsin, and I think they had fun too!  Now they're on their way back East.  Safe travels!