Yep, it all became real

Today was the day . . . the day I went to Fleet Feet Sports to pick up my race pack.

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The excitement and nerves kicked in all at once as soon as I put the car in drive this morning. I was definitely proud to say the least, especially since I have been contemplating registering for a 5K since my birthday last December.

I cannot believe I am running in my first race tomorrow morning. Me, the girl who hated P.E. The girl who walked the straights and ran the curves of the high school track during P.E. class.

Wow, I have truly come full circle with my love of running. That is where the excitement comes into play.

The nerves, on the other hand, well, they are telling me “What the heck did you get yourself into?”

You see, when I registered a little more than a month ago for my first 5K race, Chase the Turkey, here in Kingsport, the weather was still nice, sunny, warm for the most part. Well things have drastically changed. The local news is forecasting snow in the morning. SNOW! What? This Florida girl is still getting used to walking around in the snow, much less running in it.

Leave it to me to register for my first 5K in the winter, ha!

Set all that aside, it was truly incredible to pick up my bib and long sleeve shirt. I am going to be running alongside other like minded people tomorrow, instead of me and my little puppy.

Yep, it all became real, as she handed me my goodies before leaving.

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IMG_2664My emotions, good of course, are every where today, as I set my mind to what tomorrow has in store for me. I hope to calm the nerves in time for the 8 a.m. race Thanksgiving morning and enjoy every mile to the finish line.

I have in essence been practicing for tomorrow since June when Lucy and I took up running on the Greenbelt. Before then it was running on the dreaded treadmill at the gym.

Tomorrow is going to be such a different atmosphere on a path I have not yet run. I definitely think the adrenaline will take care of my legs, instructing them to carry me through the 3.1 miles.

I’m truly excited!

I’m truly nervous!

It’s going to be an amazing way to jump start our first Thanksgiving, just the two of us. Monday night Jason and I made up the menu, yesterday and today I bought all the ingredients. Last year, we had Jason’s mom spend Thankgsiving with us. So, our first Thanksgiving in Tennessee is going to kick off with a bang!!

I’m so glad Jason will be there to cheer me on, that will calm some of the nerves, I hope!

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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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

This is why I didn’t renew my gym membership. 20141102_143733

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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Surpassed running goal

Saturday turned into another crummy day with barely any sun, which caused really cool temperatures, so our run was canceled yet again.

I have to admit it kind of put me in a funk. I wanted to be outdoors soaking up the sun, but we were stuck inside.

As the day went on, I still couldn’t kick the mood, so I began writing. Yes, writing, not writing articles or a blog, but beginning that story that I have been wanting to write for a few years now. The ideas just flowed out of me yesterday . . . probably because I am writing about my experience. It was fun picking the lead characters name. I’m excited to see where this story takes me.

Oct. 18, 2014

Oct. 18, 2014

Lucy of course was right by my side giving me the inspiration I needed. Hint . . . the story includes this puppy of mine.

As Lucy and I woke today, the sky was definitely overcast and it was rather cool, so we came back inside.

Lucy took a nap and I began reading before a conversation sparked between my mother and I. What started out as exchanges through text messages turned into a phone conversation of well over an hour.  A conversation with my mom always cheers me up. Best part was by the time we hung up, the sky turned crystal blue. No more clouds in the sky.

As I laced up my running shoes a new kind of excitement took hold. Lucy and I were going to a new portion of the Greenbelt today, one that is closer to where we live now. Although I absolutely love where we have been going, it was nice to change-up the scenery.

IMG_20141019_151037We headed to the area around the Boatyard Riverfront Park. A sign that read Kingsport Greenbelt directed me to a parking area off of Neatherland Inn Road.

Although this is not the first time I have been to this portion of the Greenbelt, it’s the first time I have run this path. It’s also the first time Lucy has gone that way. Jason and I went for a walk along this section of the path sometime last year.

We ran until we reached the end of the path. This was our resting spot for the day, around 1.43 miles.

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It was beautiful looking into the distance and seeing Bays Mountain in a slew of different fall colors.

IMG_20141019_144154Our run would not be complete on the Greenbelt if we did not spot at least one duck in the water or along the path.

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20141019_132858After we took a good break, we were off again heading in the direction we came. I’m so proud of Lucy, she’s such an awesome running partner. The few people and dogs we passed did not faze her at all. Her attention was straight ahead.

Instead of hearing the water and birds, today our music was a train running along the track adjacent to the path we were running on the other side of the street.

I’m not sure if it was the cooler temperatures, my car said it was in the mid 50s before we got out, or running a new path . . . but we ran our longest distance yet. The longest since I began tracking our exercise on a running app on my phone. Previously our longest run was 2.89 miles.

Last night before going to bed I gave myself a goal for our run today if the weather behaved. That goal was  to run at least 3 miles. I am happy to say we surpassed that goal. There is not a greater feeling than going beyond a goal. No better feeling.

We ran 3.13 miles!!!

Now that’s an awesome way to kick off another week. Best therapy in the world, putting on those shoes and heading out for a run.

Last week because of all the rain, we only ran three days for a total of 7.28 miles.

I’m hoping for a sunny week that will allow Lucy and I to run more!!

 

Picture perfect running day

This morning I could not get myself out of bed, especially with the cooler temperatures keeping me under the blankets. I had a certain time frame to get myself going before I had to get ready for an American flag donation ceremony in Jonesborough. Sadly, I could not get motivated fast enough, so my run was skipped.

After returning from Jonesborough and sending two finished articles to my editor, the motivation was back. It was easy to get in the right mind frame when there was a beautiful blue sky, without a cloud in sight, hanging over us.

I’ve had the opportunity to go for a run every other day this week because of the rain that keeps impacting NE Tennessee. Yesterday a glimpse of the sun teased us for a little while before it hid again casting rather cool temperatures.

I was in desperate need of that run today, especially with the small breakdown I had yesterday because of my work load. Well, just the overall stress of working in the journalism world.

20141017_150557So this afternoon with temperatures in the 70s, a slight wind and blue skies, my puppy and I went to our go to place, the Kingsport Greenbelt. Today we were able to head in the opposite direction because the path was dry. This route always graces us with a successful distance, a further running distance.

Once again, it was Lucy and my farthest distance so far this week. We ran 2.68 miles.

I started my app at 2:47 p.m. this afternoon. Although I’m more of a morning exerciser, this afternoon was picture perfect running weather. Both Lucy and I were comfortable temperature wise the entire run.

Yes, I keep an eye on her while we run to make sure she’s okay, although she always gets my attention when she is in need of a break or to slow down.

The gentle breeze kissed our skin at all the right times today. I didn’t have to roll up my sleeves until after we stopped for a short break in the middle of our run. I still give Lucy a break, after all she is still a puppy. Maybe after Jan. 21 when she turns 1, things will change.

It’s hard to believe we have been running partners since May. We’ve been pretty consistent with our distance. We usually go anywhere between 2.20 to 3 miles a day. Not too bad, I think.

20141017_151039Although Lucy began panting towards the end of our run, her pace was the fastest so far this week. She wasn’t just jogging, she was running her cute little trot.

Thanks to the squirrels, we sprinted quite a bit as well. They were teasing her, standing near the edge of the path not moving until we were almost side by side. With a little bit of encouragement . .  . “Come On” we kept our pace going.

20141017_150707I found it interesting that this section of the path wasn’t as vibrant as the other in terms of the fall foliage. Today from the PetSmart parking lot we headed right, instead of left. There were sections along the path that had hints of red, orange and yellow leaves scattered.

20141017_152115I absolutely love taking in my surroundings, which again today calmed me down and made me forget the headaches I dealt with yesterday.

Once again running worked its magic . . . .

I’m hoping tomorrow we will see another sunny day, so Lucy and I can get our fourth day of running in this week.

New route = success

Today has been an incredible day so far.

I woke up and lazily began my day. While sitting at my desk writing an article, I received a surprise phone call from Jason. He was calling to ask me out to lunch, well an early lunch, during his break. Unfortunately the time he was going on break was the same time I had an interview set up for the Herald & Tribune. What are the chances? I hated to decline his sweet offer, especially since I have not seen much of him since he started working two jobs Tuesday.

After we said goodbye, I sent him a text telling him I wish I didn’t have an interview, would have loved to see him, and thanks for the call. I love his reply, “It will be alright. I just need to center myself and hanging with you does that.”

That simple reply still has me smiling. It definitely brightened my day.

A couple minutes later I interviewed country singer Suzy Bogguss for the International Storytelling Festival, which is held in Jonesborough, Tennessee. It’s always interesting to interview artistic people and see just how their career had begun.

After we got off the phone, I was now on a new natural high from a great interview. So, I got dressed in my running clothes and Lucy and I headed to the Greenbelt.

Today we changed up our routine. Instead of going our usual route, I decided we would head right instead of left from the Petsmart parking area. What a great idea. We ran 2.54 miles today, our longest run so far this week.

At about half way through I decided to give Lucy a small break, so she could enjoy the outdoors too, puppy style. We headed down towards the water, where she sniffed and explored the new territory.

20140919_114810I love watching her check out a new area.

20140919_114305She never stands still for long, as a new scent takes her on a different little trail.

Today, the weather was absoltely perfect. It was in the mid 70s, instead of 56 degrees like yesterday, and the sun was out. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. That I have missed. It has been so overcast lately that I was starting to miss the sun.

20140919_114151The best part about our route today is it is far less traveled. We passed maybe a half of a dozen people, some on bikes, others walking. When we head in the other direction there are always a ton of people. Although everyone is friendly for the most part, it’s nice to enjoy the path, just Lucy and I.

20140919_114655So this is where Lucy and I stopped and enjoyed a little bit of nature in the middle of our run. Why rush a good thing, when you can stop and enjoy the view? I know Lucy is capable of running 2 miles, probably more, without stopping, but I still don’t want to push her too hard. She still is, after all, a puppy.

So far this week we have ran four days, 9.2 miles. Our mile marker to beat for the week is 10.1. Looks like we will be heading back to the Greenbelt for another run tomorrow.

 

Off on the right foot

20140918_075643This morning finally started off on the right foot, yes, by that I mean a beautiful morning run.

Lucy and I began our day around 7 a.m. because of the phone interviews I had lined up for work this morning. When we arrived at the Kingsport Greenbelt the sun was slowly making its presence. It was stunning with the fog in the distance shielding some of the mountains from view. Poor Lucy, so eager to run towards the path was running back and forth as I tried to snap a few pictures of the breathtaking sky. I’m happy to say it didn’t turn out as blurry as I thought.

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This morning when I parked the car, it said it was 56 degrees outside. Yep, the coldest temperature Lucy and I have run in since we started a few months ago. Lucy definitely loves the cooler temperatures, she was going at a pretty steady, fast pace the entire time. We finished our 2.12 miles in almost a record time, with a little break for Lucy.

It felt great running with the cool air brushing against my face and my bare lower legs. The crisp morning air was a breath of fresh air, one that was truly needed after yesterday. I have discovered over the last few days that I have a pretty bad case of allergies. Scratchy throat, watery eyes, extreme headaches . . . completely not a fan of feeling this way, especially while trying to finish articles before deadline.

So, this morning as we were running my head was completely clear and my throat was scratch-less. Unfortunately after returning home it all started again. I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to run without any of those symptoms.

 

10.1

A week ago, I decided to freeze my membership at Snap Fitness until the end of October, and I have to say it was a great idea. I got into a funk and wasn’t going as much as I liked, so needless to say it was time to change my exercise routine up. 

Why not enjoy exercising outdoors while the weather is still nice?

I wake up every morning eager to tie my running shoes and hit the path. My favorite part is hearing how excited Lucy gets when we park in the parking lot of the Greenbelt. I can never gather everything fast enough. It warms my heart that Lucy becomes that excited.

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Lucy, my puppy and I, went running on the Kingsport Greenbelt 5 days this week for a total of 10.1 miles. (We also walked and hiked 5+ miles with Jason this week. Lucy and I only took one day off!! I have to admit I feel amazing!!)

Although we take the same route everyday, I absolutly love running outdoors instead of on a treadmill.

Whenever I ran at the gym I would have my earphones in listening to music. When Lucy and I go for a run, the music is never turned on. My music is the outdoors and the exchange of good morning to those who pass us. I really enjoy listening to the sounds of nature.

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I am beyond proud of Lucy and I! I absolutely love having this little 8 – month old puppy as an exercise budy!

Her stamina amazes me and her pace keeps me going while my legs start to get tired. The best part is she makes everyone smile as we pass them by.

10.1 miles, yippy!

My goal is to add another 2 miles next week to our total. I love setting exercise goals and surpassing them. Incredible feeling.

My best little buddy

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Yesterday was a rough day, which I know Lucy picked up on because she made me smile every chance she had. If she wasn’t doing something silly, she was curling up on my lap or giving me kisses.

The companionship that this seven-month old puppy has shown me in the last four months blows my mind. Lucy is always close by, or always within distance where she can see me, which gives me an incredible amount of comfort.

Even while we are sleeping, Lucy is curled against me completely under the covers. When I roll and move, she rolls and moves with me until she is touching me in some shape or form. I thought her sleeping with us would get old, but feeling her there yet again brings another level of comfort.

My favorite time spent with her is during our morning runs. I love running while also giving her the opportunity to exercise.

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This morning we only ran 2.22 miles, which is shorter than we normally do. Ever since we began running together we typically stop between 1.10 to 1.50 miles, all depending on her. Today when we found our bench of choice, she jumped up waiting for me to sit before crawling on my lap.

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After a few minutes she starting whimpering.  I think our midway breaks might soon be over. Lucy’s strength and endurance has certainly grown.

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I am so happy I have included running outdoors into my exercise routine. I often times get bored at a gym, doing the same routine . . . adding an outdoor run a few times a week keeps it entertaining, especially with an exercise buddy.

Although Lucy goes through her awful puppy days, she is a blessing. She has shown me so much joy, a joy I didn’t realize was missing.

I couldn’t have asked for a better puppy to have adopted us.