Bitter cold and gloomy

Bitter cold and gloomy

This is my second year experiencing the winter months in Tennessee and I have to admit I still have not become used to the bitter cold and gloomy days.

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It’s a love, hate type of relationship. I love living in a state that has four seasons, but I hate how the sun disappears for months at a time during the winter.

I miss the sunshine. I miss not having to put layer upon layer on before heading outside. Most of all, I miss wearing flip-flops where ever I go. Yep, I blame that on Florida. It was rare you would find me in any other shoes but sandals.

It’s only the third week of January. Still quite a few days left until the spring arrives.

I tell Jason all the time, the cold temperatures would not be that bad if we had something to show for it, like snow. We have not had any snow on the ground so far this winter.

The good thing about this winter is the temperatures haven’t been all that bad. Well until January hit. Although I can handle cooler temperatures this year, my body still has not accepted temperatures 20 degrees and below quite yet.

I remember having major cabin fever last winter. I won’t say I was depressed by any means, but my mood was all over the place because of the dreary days. Jason and I went from constantly being outside – walking, hiking – to being stuck indoors.

This year, in an effort to nip those feelings in the butt, I have taken to exercising outside. It helps that I have a puppy now that needs to go outside every few hours.

I quit going to the gym in September because I fell in love with running outdoors. I no longer liked being stuck within the confinement of gym walls.

Weather permitting, I have gone for a run at least two or three times a week since the cold winter temperatures began. Some of those runs were in temperatures I never thought I would attempt.

With all of that said, I am having a hard time getting motivated to face the bitter cold dreary days to go for a run. It’s kind of discouraging because I achieved a new distance on Sunday.

Every morning I have woke with the excitement of going for a run, surpassing my latest distance, but then walking outside slowly diminishes that thought.

I hope the motivation returns tomorrow. I know that fresh air, even cold air, will do me some good after a hectic week of writing and meeting deadlines.

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow” . . . .

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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Meant to be

From 1999 to 2009 we went our separate ways, which at one point included a distance that stretched from Australia to Arizona  . . . Relationships with others came to a hault, which brought us both back to Fort Myers.

With only minutes separating us, a lunch finally reunited us. A lunch with my best friend, a man who I missed tremendously, but didn’t know the full extent until I saw his smiling face. His smile filled his truck and years of memories flooded my thoughts.

Sometimes our journeys don’t go as planned. But for me, my journey led me back to the one that has shown me more than I could have ever imagined.

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Sometimes these thoughts come at the most random moments.

This September we will celebrate five years of sharing our lives. There have been so many wonderful moments created in this time span. Some trying moments, that now looking back have only made us stronger as a couple.

Life has been a beautiful adventure since Jason entered my life again.

Passion intensified

My passion for running has hit a whole new level, thanks to my almost 5 month old puppy, Lucy, who has joined me on my exercise adventures.

I used to run outdoors in Arizona and every once in a while with my mom when the early Florida morning temperatures allowed for it.

But, I have to admit, the majority of my running has always been on a treadmill inside of a gym. My boyfriend has been encouraging me to hit the trails outside for quite a while. Although I said I would, I always ended up at the gym instead.

My turning point was when we brought Lucy home. Although she is just a puppy, I feel more comfortable running outside with her. I’m not alone anymore, I have her with me.

It’s truly inspiring for me to see just what my body can do when we start running. I’m reaching new goals, goals I struggle with when I’m on a treadmill staring at a television while listening to music.

Today, Lucy and I headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt again. This has become our go to place when Lucy and I exercise together. It’s such a nice path that follows a creek and for the most part is very shaded. The people we pass are always friendly and it is very dog friendly. The best part, it’s only a few minutes from where we live.

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Once we walk onto the path, all I have to say is “ready” and Lucy takes off and starts to trot, which then eventually turns into a run. Although Lucy stopped and sniffed noses with a few much bigger dogs today, she doesn’t stop and try to get affection from everyone we pass. If she starts to slow down, the simple command “come on” gets her moving right alongside me again.

When I took Lucy on her first run early last week, we ran for .81 miles before she told me she was ready to rest. Today we went 1.43 miles before we stopped and rested. I’m very encouraged by this and very excited to see what this puppy is capable of as she gets older.

After we reach her stopping point, we find a bench and sit. Lucy always climbs on my lap and listens to the birds or watches the people pass by. By this point she’s tired and has no interest in chasing the birds or the people for that matter.

I love this time with her. Just the two of us soaking in nature and enjoying our quite time outdoors.

After our break we run the entire distance back to our starting point. When I feel myself slowing down, Lucy picks up her speed. I’m not quite sure if she knows I need that extra push, but it works every time.

It’s so easy running with her. She always stays to my left side at the same pace as my feet are moving. Well this is until we head back to the car, she starts moving a little faster.

Although we haven’t conquered her fear of riding in the car, she is getting so much better on the path.

This morning when I was getting ready for our run, she became a little hesitant and was a little standoffish. When I put Lucy’s harness on she began shaking. I’m not quite sure how to make her more comfortable, or even excited for that matter.

I’m happy to say that once we get in the car the shaking stops. When we arrive at our destination she becomes very excited. Even on our way home she’s fine, but by this point she’s quite exhausted.

I’m beyond excited that my passion for running has intensified again. I was starting to hit that brick wall with my gym routine.

It’s rejuvenating to run outdoors. All that fresh air does wonders for me.

Back-to-back success

Positive thoughts were oozing out of me as I walked away from the clubhouse this morning.

I stepped onto that treadmill and was determined yet again. I decided to focus solely on my run, instead of mixing it up with other cardio.

It was another great decision.

I ran 2-miles, my old daily run. The last time I achieved this distance was Nov. 18, 2012. Yes, this was almost a year ago, but I took quite a bit of time off from running, something I wish I didn’t do.

Regardless, another goal was achievement today, another great workout. Since I started working out five days a week again back in August I have been determined. Once I beat my best mile runs continuously I knew it was time …

When I push my body I get results, sometimes results beyond what I hope for.

I know I’m capable of running the distance and I’m glad I toned my workout down, so I could reach that limit again.

So far slowing down my pace has increased my distance and decreased the overall impact on my shins. Towards the end of my run the pain started to return ever so slightly, so I listened to my body and stopped.

I have to admit the simple stretches I did once my cool down portion was completed, was the best part. My legs thanked me.

Hopefully tomorrow I can increase the distance again.

Little steps forward …

A mile and a half more

I’m feeling extra excited today, especially after my cardio workout this morning.

I finally decided to decrease my speed, since I have been beating my time, and increase my distance. This morning was a huge success! I ran a mile and a half, then decided to bike for five miles before running another mile. My usual mile, turned into 2.5 miles, yippy!

I cannot express how excited I was at the end of the workout.

My legs, for the first time in weeks, felt good. I’ve been battling shin splints lately, so I have only been running a mile at a time. Last week I only ran four days, instead of my typical five, which probably helped with my run this morning as well.

It always feels good to do more than what you set out to accomplish, way more than what I hoped for. I’m already setting goals in my head for tomorrow.

When we lived in Fort Myers, I always ran two miles a day. So, I of course, want to finally surpass that distance and put some good miles on these running shoes.

I’m glad I decided to start running all those years ago, although I haven’t been consistent throughout that time, I’m excited to be at it again now. There is just something about lacing up your running shoes, putting on some good music and letting everything else go. It’s almost as if I enter another world, one that is only focused on the now. My thoughts always become clearer while my heart beats a little faster. No matter what I am stressed out about that day, a run always cures those feelings, always pushes them aside and gives me a positive outlook on the situation at hand.

IMG_271809577749490The best part about all this is Jason has offered to run with me. After we move from our apartment next weekend, I won’t have access to the clubhouse’s gym. I’ve researched gyms around the area and am hesitant on joining any of them. Jason always encourages me to go for a run somewhere, which I should, but always find it easier to hit the gym and run on the treadmill. So in an effort to get me outdoors yet again, as well as save some money by not joining a gym, he offered to go running with me. This is huge! Although I always like running by myself, since it gives me that “me” time, I’m having second thoughts. It would just be another way for Jason and I to spend time together. I can only imagine what type of encouragement we would give each other . . . more new achievements would be made.

Today, I can feel it, is going to be another great day. How could it not be after a workout like that one?

Eight more

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After taking a few days off of running, I took another eight seconds off my run. My new best time!!

Wow it felt great running at my fastest pace this morning.

I used to run at least five or six times a week, but now I have cut it back to three or four. I am finding the time I am taking off inbetween runs is helping my legs, my shins especially.

The best thing about running is I can continue to make improvements all the while improving my time and distance.

I love taking the time for me, what a great way to start the day.