[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

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[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! 💜

Monday Motivation: Jump

jumping on beachWhat do I mean by ‘jump’? I mean taking a leap of faith and daring to do what you’ve always wanted to do. I mean taking a jump so that you fully realize your potential. To realize your purpose. You have to take risks. You have to put yourself out there. You have to jump. Believe that something greater is waiting for you and waiting for you to make that leap. If you never jump, you will never experience all that life has in store for you. With no risk, there is no reward.

Helen Keller said it best, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

What will you do today to jump? Or what will you do today that gets you closer to jumping?

 

Steve Harvey (yes, the host of Family Feud) is an excellent motivational speaker. He talks about taking a ‘jump’ in this video. I highly recommend you watch it. If you are on the brink of making a change, this may just help push you over the edge to realize it. 💜

But first, running: 6 Reasons to run in the morning

Woman running at sunrise

Running in the morning has become a satisfying addiction for me. The treadmill pulls at my body like a magnet; pulling me to it every morning. Of course the first week or two are always easy. You set high hopes and goals and refuse to let yourself down. Then, as if a force is working against you, you think of every possible reason why you shouldn’t get your morning run in—I have too much work, I’m too tired, it’s too cold, my knees hurt, etc. But you push through all of the noise and do it anyway. You stick to your goal and something amazing happens—you start to enjoy it. You start to see its benefits and that solidifies your desire to get up and get running every morning. Don’t believe me? Here are six reasons to run in the morning:

  1. A more focused mind and increased productivity.
    It’s amazing how much more productive and focused you become simply by running in the morning. In fact, working out can increase your mental clarity up to ten hours post exercise!
  2. Increased energy to get you through the day.
    Although it seems counter-intuitive to think you’ll have more energy throughout the day if you burn energy in the morning, you will. By starting your day with a workout, you will be more likely to beat that dreaded afternoon slump.
  3. Stress relief right from the start.
    Starting your day with a stress-relieving activity will set yourself up for less stress when you get to work, according to a recent study. Additionally, people who exercised regularly reported feeling more confident and felt good about their work-life balance.
  4. A better mood that sets the tone for the rest of your day.
    It’s no secret that working out will release endorphins, which means you’ll be in a better mood. Why wouldn’t you want to start your day on a high?
  5. Feel accomplished and ready to tackle anything.
    Kick off your day already feeling accomplished. This will set the tone for the rest of your day—ready to tackle anything that comes your way. And, if you don’t accomplish anything else… at least you got your run in! 😜
  6. Better sleep at night.
    Simply by running in the morning, you could find yourself sleeping better throughout the night. Studies have also shown that people who exercise in the morning have an easier time of falling asleep at night.

There are many other reasons why running (or doing some form of exercise) in the morning is beneficial, but hopefully the ones I did list above are enough to convince you to do so. I’ve personally realized all of those benefits now that I’ve incorporated a morning workout into my daily routine. I feel less stressed at work and more focused. I have more energy throughout the day and I start my day feeling accomplished. I hope you also realize these things by adding in a morning run!

Happy [morning] running! 💜

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