Extreme comfort

Due to my increased running miles, I finally treated myself to a new pair of shoes on Friday.

My Brooks have been amazing and have lasted a really long time, but were kind of overdue to be retired from the running paths. They carried me through some record-breaking distances and times . . . well to be honest they helped in forming this new passion of mine. Definitely a good pair of running shoes.

Yes, even though these were incredible shoes, I wanted to try a different brand, just to see if there was something better out there that would fit to my needs.

I tend to run a little flat-footed and wanted something that would give me the comfort I so desperately needed. I decided to try on a different brand, one that many of my friends and family already wear, Asics.

I went to three different stores to find that perfect match.

The first stop was unsuccessful and a little discouraging. I set myself a price range to stay under and I was determined not to go over that amount.

I kept positive and traveled to another store . . . which was worse than the first with the selection and the price tags.

The third store, well I had high hopes. If I didn’t find anything there I was going to head home and research different stores I could shop.

As I walked down the many aisles of shoes, I instantly found two that were within my price point and decent looking. I felt like a little girl on Christmas when I found my size in both shoes.

I tried on the Asics Gel-Excite 2 and my feet thanked me. The extreme comfort instantly sent a message from my feet to my brain . . . these were keepers.

20141109_130858I could not believe the amount of cushion these shoes offered. The best part about it all was they were on sale!

I was beaming after I left the store with a bag in my hand. I was super excited to try them out on the Greenbelt, especially since an email reminded me that I had 20 days left until my first 5K race.

Unfortunately Saturday was not the day to take these shoes for a test run. The sun never showed its presence and it was really cold.

Today, oh today, was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it wasn’t bitter cold.

Just as Jason came home for his break, Lucy and I were heading out the door for our afternoon run. Those few moments of seeing Jason gave me the extra jolt of adrenaline I needed . . . I absolutely love seeing Jason in the middle of the day. You ask why? Well because when he gives me a kiss goodbye and wishes me a good day I am still asleep in bed, since he leaves a few minutes before 5 a.m.

Lucy must have received her inspiration after seeing Jason . . . For the first time since we adopted this little pup, she followed me out the front door shake free and followed me to the car. On a typical day she hesitantly follows me out the door and remains by the door. Almost as if her feet were glued and she couldn’t move another inch. After I opened the car door, Lucy instantly jumped in and was ready to go! I can’t even explain how excited I was watching this all unfold in front of my very eyes. Lucy has been a nervous car rider since the day we adopted her. Maybe, oh maybe . . .

So, as Lucy became situated on my lap, we were off and I felt amazing. I had my new belt secured around my waist and my new shoes were laced up and ready to  hit the path.

There was such a world of difference running this afternoon. The impact of my foot hitting the pavement was not as intense. The cushioning was wonderful.

My legs on the other hand, even with two days off from running, had a mind of their own. Although we did not achieve the distance I wanted to achieve, Lucy and I made it to the Greenbelt and clocked the first 2.29 miles in my new shoes.

I have to admit the best part of the run was stretching once we returned home. My legs are extremely tight, so another round of stretching will happen once again before going to bed tonight.

Tomorrow, my goal is to run 2.5 miles.

Here are a few pictures from our cool down walk.

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Worked like a charm

I am so happy with my recent purchase, a purchase I had the opportunity to try out today during our run on the Kingsport Greenbelt.

Since the temperatures started changing, I have been struggling with keeping the two items I carry with me during our run secure. It was easy to carry my keys and my cell phone with me during the warmer months because my workout shorts have deep pockets. Unfortunately with the dip in temperatures, my workout pants don’t provide the same service. All of my pants have no pockets, which made it hard to store these two items.

The last time Lucy and I went for a run, my keys went flying out of my sweatshirt pocket, which was not good. I ended up having to hold my phone, so it wouldn’t fall, which I did not like either.

In an effort of not having to go out and purchase all new workout pants, I started researching running belts. I found an ideal running belt made by Nathan. There are two zipped pockets, one that fits my cell phone and the other my keys. It is lightweight and bounce free. Best part is the strap is adjustable.

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When Jason brought in the package yesterday that arrived in the mail from Sports Authority, I was beyond excited. I immediately took it out of the package and put it on, which of course turned into a small run around the house! Jason was gone by this point, he ran to the store, which left Lucy looking at me like I was nuts. What, I was excited? 🙂

I was so excited to give it a try this afternoon. After turning on the SHealth app on my Android phone, I zipped it up in the top pocket, and then put my keys in the lower pocket.

We were off.

I did not feel a thing. The belt stayed put . . . I didn’t even hear my keys jingle. Best part was nothing was in my hands besides Lucy’s leash.

The belt worked like a charm. It was such a great purchase! I will definitely purchase this line of product again.

Now, our run on the other hand, did not go according to plan. I was a little discouraged during and after our run. I walked on more than one occasion and we only ran 2 miles. I’m not quite sure what happened, why my legs were giving me problems, but I hope to be more successful tomorrow. Afterall, I am trying to prepare myself for my first 5K race on Thanksgiving.

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Although the run did not give me the usual satisfying feeling, the cool down walk afterwards cleared my negative thoughts while taking in more of the area’s beauty. Tomorrow’s another day, another day to reach my goal.

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Time out for play

An afternoon trip to the store ended with the purchase of a rake for our yard . . . which of course turned into time out for play with Lucy.

Lucy kept busy finding acorns while I raked leaves into a huge pile under an oak tree in the backyard. The tree is absolutely beautiful!

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This little pup had so much fun jumping into the middle of the pile of leaves before scooting out and running crazy eights around the yard. As soon as I slapped my  hand in the middle of the pile, Lucy came flying back into the leaves. This then turned into a game of digging in the leaves to find her prize . . . rather large acorns.

I have learned to always carry my camera when Lucy and I are outside now . . . which yesterday turned into a lot of really cute pictures.

Here is a glimpse of the life I have with this crazy, playful, funny, puppy that completely brightens up my day.

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Registered for my first 5K!

I finally did it. I registered for my first 5K race.

At the beginning of the year I set the goal to run a 5K by the end of the year. For one reason or another I kept talking myself out of it.

About two weeks ago, I began looking for local races in Kingsport on www.Active.com and found a ton. I figured, by searching races it would help make that goal become a reality if I found one that jumped out at me. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many, so many close to home.

As I scrolled through the month of November I found one that made me smile. One that got me excited.

The 5th annual Chase the Turkey 5K Race and Family Walk at the Meadowview Convention Center, Thanksgiving morning.

My boyfriend works at MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in the kitchen. I don’t know why, but I saw it as a sign.

It sounded like a nice, scenic, peaceful run.

“This friendly 5k begins at Meadowview Resort Center and runs along the Meadowview Parkway and then continues along the cart paths of the beautiful and serene Cattails Golf Course,” stated the website.

I didn’t sign up for the event that night, but rather saved it in my favorites on my computer. I have to be honest, I opened the link almost every other day mulling it over. The more I thought about it the more excited I became. That was another sign. What was I waiting for?

So, yesterday as I sat at my desk writing, my thoughts wandered. I opened the link once again, but this time I hit the register button. I filled out all my information, my name, address, birthdate, t-shirt size and hit the submit button. As soon as I hit that button, the nerves began. Butterflies were having a party in my stomach.

I instantly sent mom a text telling her I finally registered. Mom was really the person who got me into exercising. She’s been exercising for years and remains dedicated, which is inspirational to see, especially with some of the super long hours she works. She always told me it’s a mood enhancer. Whenever I share how stressed I am, her response is always go for a run.

“Cool. No problem. It’s only 3 miles, which you’ve been doing,” Mom replied in a text.

It’s true, when Lucy and I run, it’s between two and three miles. But, the catch is, we stop halfway through the run, so I can give her a break. So between now and Nov. 27, the breaks will be eliminated, so I can prove to myself I can go the distance.

I also posted my exciting news on Facebook. Yes, I really couldn’t contain it anymore, I had to share.

Jen, Jason’s step-mom and avid runner, was the first to comment.

“Way to go Meghan.”

Later in the feed, “Can’t wait to hear about it, so proud of you!!”

This woman is such an inspiration. She lost 140 pounds more than four years ago and took exercising on like a vengeance, as well as changing her eating habits. She’s always participating in races of every distance.

I was at the finish line when she completed her first marathon. It was incredible.

So the countdown begins . . . 23 more days until race day.

After I registered for the 5K, I made myself go back to work for about an hour and . . . . well the excitement never left, so Lucy and I went for a run.

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I kept to my plan. We ran 2.33 miles with only one brief stop. I had to take off one of the three layers I put on and Lucy had to take a quick bathroom break. One brief stop and we ran more than half the distance I need to complete the 5K! I was so proud of Lucy, well me for that matter too. We usually stop halfway through our run for 5 plus minutes sometimes.

Our longest running distance together is 3.13 miles.

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So after we were done with our run we kept walking, so Lucy could do her usual sniffing while enjoying the outdoors. It was only fair, she earned that time.

Lucy was an angel yesterday, which was a good change after the run we had the day before. She didn’t pull at all and ran alongside me like the amazing little running partner I needed.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day yesterday with temperatures nearing the low 60s by the time we were done with a beautiful blue sky.

I am so excited! My first 5K! Who would have thought?

Cold, but surprisingly good run

It has been way too many days since Lucy and I went for a run. Unfortunately those days added up because of either making up excuses of not wanting to go for one reason or another, or the weather was extremely cold and rainy.

Yesterday was definitely out of the question, which was unfortunate because the desire was finally back to hit the Greenbelt.

Saturday morning when Lucy and I went outside for the first time after waking up, I  noticed snow on Bays Mountain.

IMG_2610Although the first snow storm of the season graced NE Tennessee Nov. 1, we did not have any snow in our yard.

It was really cold with overcast skies and on and off rain. Jason and I had talked about going for a hike at Laurel Run Park, since it was his first day off in a long time, but with those weather conditions we stayed home.

Jason ended up spoiling me with homemade chili, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. Yep, after indulging in that goodness, I needed to run today.

So, after cleaning the house and doing a load of laundry, it was time to lace up those running shoes once again. I put on three layers of long sleeve shirts, since it was in the 40s, before we left. The crazy thing was, all three of those layers stayed on our entire run.

I learned a few things today during our run.

Forty degree weather is the coldest I have run in to-date and it was really hard. At times my lungs were burning asking me to stop, but somehow we kept on going. I’m hoping it will get easier.

Yes, I learned that I need to invest in some winter running attire to stay warm.

I want to continue running as much as I can throughout the winter months because my gym membership expired yesterday. I decided not to renew it because after running outdoors I don’t know if I can go back to exercising within four walls again.

The second thing I learned today is I really don’t like squirrels. Okay, squirrels are fine if I’m not running with a puppy! They tend to make enough of an appearance to grab Lucy’s attention and then drive her bonkers.

I always have Lucy on a short leash while we are running because of the other foot traffic along the path.

Today a squirrel ran right in front of us at the absolute perfect time. Yes I’m saying this jokingly. Lucy took off with extreme speed towards the squirrel whimpering before instantly realizing she could not go too far even as she picked up my speed.

Yes, this happened on more than one occasion.

The third thing I learned today was Lucy runs even faster in colder temperatures. We really never have an issue with her running too far ahead of me, even on a short leash. Lucy’s usually running at my side or just a step or two in front of me. Well, today it was a different story. She was running, at times pulling me, as she maneuvered along the path. Lucy is barely nine pounds and she was pulling me!

She was on a mission. I think she too needed to be outdoors.

I had to fully stop her on more than one occasion to get her to listen to me, so we could enjoy the last leg of our run. I’ve never had that many issues with her.

With all of that said, it was still a gorgeous run, a much needed run outdoors.

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A lot of the trees were bare along the path of the Greenbelt today, which made this tree jump out that much more. I absolutely love the vibrancy of the orange.  20141102_143723

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We ended up running 2.34 miles today. Although that is satisfying, I want to start doing at least 3 miles every time we are out. I know we can do it because we have accomplished that goal twice now.

Here are a few more pictures from the Greenbelt . . .

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I’m in love

For a week now, I have been staring out my office window wishing I was hiking the trails at Bays Mountain instead of being stuck at my desk working. The  stunning fall colors were constantly catching my attention with the curtains drawn causing me to drift away from the work before me.

The outdoors were calling me . . . .

Instead of wishing I was there, today I decided to make it happen. It was a perfect day to step away from the four walls of my office and breathe in some of that fresh air.

I’m so glad I did.

With Jason working nonstop, Lucy and I went for a hike, just the two of us.

A morning that started off in the 30s warmed up to be an absolutely gorgeous day with the temperatures climbing into the 60s. There was not a cloud in the sky.

The layers I dressed in before leaving the house, slowly were removed as Lucy and I made our way around the Lakeside Trail. We ended up hiking 3.43 miles with an elevation change from 1,673 feet to 2,053 feet.

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I love this trail during the fall months. The trees are stunning, especially when the water is calm and you can see the reflection of the beautiful fall colors.

IMG_2489Today there was a slight breeze. Well to be honest, there was a good wind at times. As the wind picked up, it began raining leaves, which spooked Lucy just a little.

IMG_2560My thoughts constantly wandered as Lucy led the way around the lake. For starters, I was proud of myself for actually going out for a hike. Jason received a free pass to Bays Mountain a couple of weeks ago that he gave to me. I was holding onto the pass because I wanted to go for a hike with him. But, with him working two jobs he’s always tired. So, today was the day, he wanted to rest, and I wanted to play.

It was really an invigorating feeling to go, just Lucy and I.

As those thoughts came and went, I began to think about yesterday.

Friday I drove to Jonesborough to interview the executive director of the International Storytelling Center for an article I was writing for the Herald & Tribune. An interview that left me smiling. That interview inspired me even more to write a book, to become a true published author. The interview also may have possibly opened another door for me. Kiran asked me to send him my resume and some writing clips. I’m very excited to see where it all takes me.

That thought sent positive energy circulating through my body at a rapid speed as I looked at Lucy in front of me clearly enjoying our adventure outdoors.

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Life with a dog is incredible. Life with Lucy is completely fulfilling. This little 9 month old puppy is my little best friend, my exercising partner and often times the one who makes me smile.

As my mind cleared, the scenery became even more vibrant, more attracting, more enticing. I could not get enough of all the vibrant hues that surrounded the trail.

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IMG_2550Honestly, how could you not be on a natural high when taking in this kind of beauty?

The trail was stunning and more times than not covered in leaves creating a crunch as we made our way along.

IMG_2522Lucy was such a good sport today. When you get her going on the trails, she has one thing on her mind, “must keep going.” Lucy is really good about staying on the trail and walking at a good speed. But, with a camera in hand, she was asked to “stop” on more than one occasion.

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I took almost 100 pictures today.

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Instead of trying to take pictures with the leash still on . . . she had some freedom at one spot along the trail. So, what did she do, stop and pose 🙂

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My little beauty.

After we finished the trail, we headed over to the manmade waterfall.

IMG_2563And then continued to walk down the trail where we sat and listened to the water.

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IMG_2582It was an absolutely perfect couple of hours.

I’m in love with the fall colors. The colors are so much more vibrant this year than last year, my first year of experiencing the seasons as an adult.

I keep juggling which season I like more . . . the fall or the spring. Right now the fall is definitely my favorite season.

Fun in the leaves

A couple of months ago I saw a post on Facebook of a dog sitting in leaves that really caught my attention. Now that we have a backyard with tons of colorful fall leaves, I had to give it a try with Lucy.

So, our photo session began . . .

Although I have some good ones showcasing Lucy’s personality, I want to try it again when Jason is home to help. I also received a tip from a fellow photographer friend of how to enhance the color of the leaves,which I definitely want to do while Lucy is laying in the pile.

IMG_2471There was definitely a huge difference with her tip!

It was in no way shape or form an easy task, but Lucy and I had fun. I used sticks, acorns and even treats to try to get her to sit still, which of course only worked about a third of the time. It was fun nonetheless . . . as Lucy jumped to grab the leaves, acorns and sticks. It was really cute to see her reaction as I threw leaves on her back . . .

Here are just a few, yes a few, of the many pictures I took of this sweet puppy having fun in the leaves.

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20141020_125144-1The last picture is now my screen saver. This picture tells her story, she absolutely loves chewing on sticks.