[Life] Adventures Afar

Life has been a whirlwind of chaos the last few weeks. My workout routine was, for a while, less routine and more fit-it-in-whenever (if-whenever-even-happens) kind of schedule. Finally this last week I was able to get back into more of a routine and get back to what I love—running and working out (hopefully soon adding in cycling again). I’ve gone from the mundane of everyday to a new and exciting opportunity. I’ve had highs and I’ve had lows. But right now, I’m focused on everything positive and embracing all of these new, incredible opportunities and doors that have opened before me.

On that note, as I grow and change, so too does this blog grow and change. With the big new adventure my husband and I have embarked on—we headed south to St. Croix, trading the snow and cold for sunshine and warmth—I’ve decided to post a bit more of what I call ‘Life’ posts to this blog (or at least that’s the plan!). My family and friends already know this blog so rather than starting another one, I’m going to distinguish these posts by always starting them with [Life]. They are meant to inform and amuse family and friends of adventures and new life experiences. They will be a bit more like diary entries (fitting I think given my blog title!) and probably will be random musings and lists like Saturday confessions and A bit of this and a little of that.

So here you go:

  1. I have a fabulous new job!
    I LOVE this new job that I have, but I have to look at amazing food photos all day (bummer, right?!), which means I’m hungry all day long and wanting to go straight to my kitchen and whip up a batch of cookies, fresh bread, or whatever other wonderful concoction I happen to be looking at in that moment. I have to say that right now I’m extremely blessed. This is absolutely my dream job to have. If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that food is one of my obsessions. Being able to pursue a passion of mine combined with my skills is beyond exciting. (The photo below has nothing to do with my new job. This was just a super delicious brunch meal I had on Easter Sunday—Crab Benedict!)Crab Benedict
  2. Proud wife moment alert!
    My husband hates to run. He would rather clean than run (we clearly are completely different people). I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t like to workout. He very much enjoys lifting weights and biking—things he can see change with. But with our new adventure he’s taken up running with me. Just about every morning he has run with me at the beach or up and down the hill just outside our doorstep. In one weak moment he even ran next to me on a treadmill!Joe and Libby on treadmill
  3. I’ve been applying sunscreen and bug spray like some people shun carbohydrates.
    What can I say? Worrying is in my DNA; add in the fact that I’m blonde and you’ll understand why I feel the need to generously apply sunscreen all day long. I think the bug spray speaks for itself.
  4. We joined the cheapest gym and supported a good cause!
    For $20 a year, $40 per couple, Joe and I can workout and support a non-profit in our community helping others to get motivated and fit. The gym is only open from 3pm-7pm, but for us that works perfectly. We run in the morning and save the afternoon/evening for lifting weights (Joe) and a BBG workout (me).we rise by lifting others
  5. I’ve been using this running technique almost daily.
    When I use to run on a treadmill everyday (I just could never get myself to run in the Wisconsin winter cold), I would always have an action plan—speed, time, and incline. Now that I’m running outside daily I have to keep my mind occupied to push through. That’s where using the Attention Narrowing Running Technique really comes into play. If you haven’t tried this technique, I strongly recommend that you do. You may be surprised how much easier you can climb that hill when you focus ahead.running technique_ironwomandiaries

I feel like so much has happened these last few weeks that I can’t even remember it all in detail enough to share anymore. I tell bits and pieces to my mom and dad and the rest gets lost and mixed up amongst everything else that’s happening. But, anyway, I wish you all a wonderful week!

Stay tuned for your usual every other Monday, Monday Motivation post next week! 💜


Focusing Ahead: Running Technique

“A new study has determined that narrowing your focus in on one object in the distance while running can actually make you run faster, with less strain.” (askmen.com) The study also found that focusing ahead makes the distance appear shorter.

This technique is called “attention narrowing“. It’s a technique that I’ve used in the past without knowing it was actually “a thing” and have since focused on incorporating it more. I’ve used variations, like biking up a steep hill and focusing on the back wheel of my biking partner (aka my dad in Italy!). This helped me focus on one single thing and not think about how steep the hill was or how much further there was to go. All of my attention was on that back wheel and keeping up with the pace. Also, after reading about the particulars of this technique, while on a plane to Ecuador, I decided to put it consciously to the test while my husband, Joe, and I hiked up a mountain. Elevation can affect one’s ability to progress forward and make the simplest activity like walking feel like an almost impossible challenge. I narrowed my attention to the furthest point, usually a tree or light pole at the next bend in the road, and before I knew it we had reached the top.

So how can you incorporate this technique into your running? Focus on a specific object in the distance, like a building or a parked car, rather than looking at all of your surroundings. When you’ve reached that object or when it becomes awkward to focus on that object, find a new target in the distance to focus on. Keep refocusing on new objects in the distance as you reach your previous ones to keep you motivated and focused with your “eyes [always] on the prize”.

It’s really quite a simple technique that has impressive results. I guarantee if you try it the next time you’re out for a run you’ll notice a difference. Run a mile looking around or letting your mind wonder. Then, run a mile using the attention narrowing technique. What differences do you notice? Did you notice that the distance seemed shorter when you were focusing on an object in the distance? Did you run a slightly faster mile using the technique versus not? You might just be surprised. If you use this technique or after you try it, tell me about it in the comments! Happy running!

Top of Las Antennas, Ecuador

Joe and I after reaching the top of the mountain in Ecuador. This is the mountain I put the attention narrowing technique to the test, and it worked!

Another article that explains this technique: ‘Hate Running? Try This Science-Backed Trick To Make It Feel Easier’