[Life] Paddle boards, birthdays, and triathlons

Life has been exhausting in the absolute best ways imaginable. Every morning just before the sun rises I’m up eating breakfast and heading out the door to run, walk, paddle board, or bike with Joe (and often Coco). In addition, three days a week I’m at the gym (the $20 a year membership gym!) circuit training with light weights and my own body weight. If you think I’m starting to look like a bodybuilder you’ll be disappointed to know that the only thing about me that resembles a bodybuilder is my tan (and even that’s not exactly accurate because of my fair skin, blonde girl problems). Anyway, it has been the most enjoyably exhausting two months and here’s just some of the latest and greatest happenings from the caribbean:

  1. Paddle boarding has become my newest addiction. It scares the H-E double hockey sticks out of me while simultaneously thrilling me to pieces. And to be fair, I’m only scared when it’s cloudy outside and I can’t see the bottom or if I’ve travelled too far into the deep that I can’t see the bottom. Perhaps you could say I’m not a fan of the deep, dark blue waters and what swims below. Flashbacks occur now and again to that time I drifted miles from shore into the deep abyss waters of Lake Superior in a tiny raft, having to be saved by my father who clearly thought I had better arm-strength, boat handling and navigational skills. However seeing sea turtles, beautiful sting rays, and countless starfish make it all worth it. Plus having Coco dangling over the front of my board or hiding in-between my legs or watching Joe move with ease on his board makes my heart full. Joe-Paddle boarding
  2. I celebrated my golden birthday! And it was extra-amazing thanks to Joe, my handsome husband! He spoiled me to an evening out at my new favorite restaurant, Zion Modern Kitchen, where I gorged myself on seared ahi tuna and banana bread pudding. There may have even been some late night snacking on french fries and a frosty and even pizza, three things I rarely eat but apparently you only have one golden birthday so… go big or be old!Ahi tuna-Zion Modern Kitchen
  3. I drove for the second time since we moved! It turns out that the need for coffee can be an extremely powerful motivator. Let me expand on this a bit further: Driving occurs on the left side of the road and although most drivers are polite, they drive a bit crazy and I’ve never had to deal with rush hour traffic until moving to an island. Figure that one out. And since we’re on the subject of driving, if you want a thrill drive 60mph once or twice a month after only driving 35mph at the absolute most any other day. I’m not even kidding, 60mph on the only highway on the island feels like 120mph and you better believe I’m holding on for dear life.Iced Mocha-Bistro Cafe
  4. I roped Joe and I into volunteering for St. Croix’s Ironman 70.3 and it was awesome (and exhausting)! Athletes endured jellyfish stings, poor road conditions, and pouring rain to make it to the finish line. Being up close and watching those athletes motivates me to want to do and be more in my own fitness and triathlon journey. It was amazing to see the diversity among the athletes—age, weight, fitness levels—and know that all it takes is the time, dedication, and mentality and anyone can push through to the finish.Swim Finish-St. Croix Ironman
  5. The dark side of the island… St. Croix is unfortunately a place where dogs are seen in a different light. They are seen as fighting dogs that will earn you money and not a member of the family like most of us view them. Pit bulls are top dog on the island (along with short-legged mixes of who knows what) and they are everywhere. Fortunately there is a rescue service on island and many dogs are given a chance at a better life. If you ever visit St. Croix I encourage you to look into taking a rescue dog back to the states with you for someone to adopt. Paws From Paradise takes care of all the details, all you have to do is fly.Sunrise-St. Croix

Until next time… Cheers! 💜

Every now and then bite off more than you can chew… then chew like crazy. -Lorna Jane Clarkson

Monday Motivation: Sweat, Achieve, Succeed!

You are so worth it. Stay strong!

Guess what? You have a brand new week ahead of you to slay dragons, achieve goals, sweat more, gripe less and ditch the fear! 

Think you can handle it? I know you can! 💜

Overcoming your fear and going outside of your comfort zone are two big steps that will catapult you toward achieving your goals. But just reaching goals won’t make you happy. You have to stay positive, gripe less, and be thankful more. Whatever dragons you face, face them head on!

My focus this week isn’t just sweating more, but clearing my mind and finding inner peace. I really want to get into meditating and hope anyone that has suggestions on books to read on this topic will put the title in the comments below. Here’s to a happy and healthy, dragon slaying, fearless and sweaty week! 💪

Run happy knees: Do this simple trick

runner on trackKnee pain. It can make for agonizing runs and even stop a runner in their tracks. I’ve talked about my own knee pain before and how wearing a compression sleeve or foam rolling may help. However, according to a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, there may be a simple trick you can do while running to help avoid this pain altogether. (Insert happy dance here! 💃)

So what is this simple trick? Lean forward.
Leaning forward can alleviate pain by reducing the load on your joints. In other words, your knees won’t absorb as much shock from you pounding the pavement (or treadmill).

Perfect the technique: A subtle tweak
To perfect this technique, bend at your hip so that your torso is 7 to 10 degrees farther forward. “When you shift the center mass of your body forward,” comments lead author of the study Dr. Christopher Powers of the University of Southern California, “it reduces the torque at your knee and instead puts the weight into your hips.” He also cautions runners to not overdo it by leaning too far forward. Enlist the help of a friend to watch or video-record you running, to see that you are bending at the hip and not leaning too far forward.

Here’s to run happy knees! 💜

Monday Motivation: Make mistakes

yoga next to mountain lakeI hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
—Neil Gaiman

Make mistakes.
Push yourself.
Go outside your comfort zone.
Have failures.

The only sure way to grow is to be daring, make mistakes, and learn from them to move forward. We are so afraid of failure when really we should be afraid of not trying at all. Failures don’t define us. Mistakes don’t define us. It’s what we do to learn and grow from those failures and mistakes—how we get up, dust off, and try again—that does. 💜

Reflections & intentions

ditch the resolutions_ironwomandiariesHappy New Year! 🍾🎊🎉 I can’t believe it’s 2016!

It’s time to reflect and learn from all that we did—and did not—accomplish this past year. I love what the quote in the image above teaches us: “You are NOT a problem. Create an intention, a positive call to shift, a spark of magic + manifestation rooted in SELF-LOVE and backed with ACTION.”

Reflect

2015 was the year of exploration and biking. Any chance we could hop a plane to someplace new, we did it. And any chance I could get on my bike and ride, I did it.

In January we saw spectacularly gorgeous beaches on St. Thomas, USVI. St. John, USVIIn February we explored Ecuador from sea to mountain villages to big cities. Markets that smelled of fish and raw meat with blood stains on the floor from the various animals having being butchered on spot. We saw markets that were spotless and smelled fresh. Every market having veggies and fruits of all variety piled higher than our heads. Raw meat stacked sky high as well. We saw guinea pig on a stick and cool whip “ice cream” cones. Lush green hills with dense fog and hot baths with healing powers. We climbed a small mountain and rappelled down waterfalls. So much was explored and experienced and countless memories were made.meat market

Veggies and fruits_market in Ecuador

Over July 4th weekend we ventured to Aruba for a quick trip over the holiday. We drank delicious green juice every morning from a tiny shack on the boardwalk and ate a romantic dinner on the beach as the sun set before us. Eduardo's Beach Shack

For Thanksgiving we stole ourselves away to St. Croix, USVI. We paddle boarded, snorkeled, and won a hermit crab race. We saw bright colored flowers and butterflies that engulfed not only our car but the ditches and road before us like a heavy snowstorm.Legs on the beach in St. CroixMiles and miles were put on my Giant bicycle as I biked to and from my part-time job and on 50-mile joy rides after my “real” job. I raced in my first time-trial, only to not finish. I started a training journal in June that I have continued to write in regularly. This keeps me motivated, let’s out some creative juices, and shows me my progress along the way. training journal

We juiced like crazy. Ate too much peanut butter ice cream. Laughed and cried. Spent time with family and friends. Went for walks. Started running almost daily. Initiated Sunday night pizza night. And fell in love with Joe all over again.  Joe & Coco 2015I drank way too many chai lattes, caramel macchiatos, and flat whites. I didn’t say ‘I love you’ enough. I didn’t see family enough. Work came first too often. I judged myself. I called myself names. I didn’t feel worthy to chase my dreams. I prayed too little. And I too often compared myself to others. But I showed up every day.

Intentions

All to often my New Year resolutions and goals focus largely on fitness and health. I rarely think bigger, into other aspects of my life. Perhaps you are guilty of this too. This year I am not setting resolutions, I am setting intentions of positivity and growth. I want to:

  • Be more “in the moment.”
  • Volunteer. (This is a big one for me. I really want to help, on a regular basis, those that are in need.)
  • Meditate.
  • Enjoy the outdoors more.
  • Remember how important small romantic gestures are.
  • Continue to run 5-6 times a week.
  • Tell those I love ‘I love you’ more.
  • Do small acts of kindness that brighten someone’s day.
  • Be more giving.
  • Realize the power within me and be more forgiving of myself.
  • Wake up each day with a grateful heart.

May the gift of love, happiness, peace, and warmth be yours as you make a new start. And keep in mind the past so as to gain from it pearls of wisdom as you make a fresh new beginning this New Year.

Happy New Year!

sunset in Wisconsin