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!!

 

Perfect couple of weeks

My to-do-list is finally reaching an end, relieving some of the stress that has been building these last few weeks.

A week ago today Jason and I moved into a quite little house that, so far, is a perfect fit for us and all of our animals. The picture below is one of my favorites. Lucy is so little that she could not see out of our front window in the living room, so I put something under it that she could climb on and view the world outside. Now every time I come home, I see her little face peering out the window.

Oct. 2, 2014

Oct. 2, 2014

The last few weeks have been nonstop . . . with that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. My parents flew into town on Sept. 23 and spent a few days with us before Jason and I drove them to Maryland, so they could end their vacation with my brother and his family.

I had begun a countdown as soon as my Mom told me she booked the flight to the Tri-Cities airport. I felt like a little girl as the excitement at times was uncontrollable.

I remember waking up that morning, Sept. 23, with a huge smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach. Although I was busy working all morning, the time still couldn’t go by fast enough. I was eager to leave the house and be on my way to the airport.

Jason called me as soon as I got off the interstate that afternoon and he too shared my excitement for the simple reason that I was going to see my parents in a matter of minutes. He told me he was excited for me to give them both hugs, which only made me smile more. When that time finally came I parked in the lot at the airport . . . I just couldn’t control it anymore. I was so giddy!!

The giddiness was because it had been quite some time since seeing my parents.  I won’t lie, from time to time it has been a struggle for me being so far away from my parents, especially when I was only a 10-minute drive from them for a long time in Fort Myers. The last time I saw my Dad was the day before we left for Tennessee last April. I was able to spend time with my Mom in Chicago last year when Jason and I drove to Illinois for my cousin’s wedding.

It was long past due to spend some time with my parents. I was beyond thrilled that after a year that time spent with them was at my new home. I had so much fun showing them around and taking them to some of the destinations that Jason and I have come to love since last May.IMG_2399

On Sept. 24, Jason, Lucy and I took Mom and Dad to Laurel Falls for a hike on the Appalachian Trail, something Mom had mentioned she wanted to do. The weather that morning was cool, making for a perfect day to be outdoors.

I loved every minute of that hike. Mom and Dad had the opportunity to experience what Jason and love to do on our days off, finding beautiful waterfalls. Although Mom has been following my blog and seeing where we have been through pictures, you fully do not experience the sight unless you are there taking in the sounds and scenery.

It was fun to experience the hike through their eyes. Everyone seems to take in the hike in a much different way. My parents were constantly trying to figure out the vegetation that surrounded the trail and the waterfall. Although I notice the trees, I spent more time looking at it all while hiking with them.

It appeared that they enjoyed themselves on the hike. They even had the opportunity to take in the fall scenery, which of course was a treat coming from Florida.

IMG_2416The following day while Jason had to work, I took Mom and Dad to Bays Mountain for a late morning hike. We followed the trail around the lake, which was a perfect path to show off some more of the beautiful fall colors. Mom even enjoyed picking up acorns for her grandkids . . . of course those included the biggest ones we could find.

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Bays Mountain was the first place Jason and I visited when we arrived in Kingsport last year, so you could only imagine how excited I was to show where our first adventure began. It seemed like Mom and Dad enjoyed another morning outdoors.

After we finished the hike, we went back to my place for a while before heading back out later that evening for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt. This was the only place on my list that I really wanted to show Mom because every time Lucy and I run the path she is constantly in my thoughts because of all the ducks we see. Since our walk took place around dusk, we saw a ton of deer that night, which is always cool to see.

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Friday morning, we hit the road early because we had a long drive ahead of us to Maryland. After being in the car for about 9 hours I think we were all ready to stand on our own two feet and stretch. I loved seeing Mom and Dad see their grandkids for the first time in almost a year. I have sweet pictures of my parents smiling, and my nephew Caleb while in the middle of a conversation. It’s those tender moments that I love to capture.

It was a lot of fun to spend Friday and Saturday with my parents and Tom and his family. I love seeing my nephews and spending time with them. The last time we saw them was in May and it’s amazing how much they grew up . . .

We ended up leaving earlier than expected on Saturday because of Lucy, our puppy. She’s usually a perfect little angel, but that day she was showing us a completely different side. A side that I was not too fond of. A side that had me stressed and rattled to the bone. She began barking at everyone that passed her or came in close proximity to her. This was rather strange because she seldom ever barks. So to keep her quite and calm I tried to take her away from everything, which did not give me the time I wanted to spend with my family.

It was bittersweet when I hugged everyone goodbye. I’m surprised I didn’t shed a few tears as our goodbyes were shared.

On our way back home we stopped at a friends house, a friend I have known for more than 20 years. A friend that Jason has known for almost just as long. The last time Anna and I saw each other was in 2003 or 2004 when I came home from college. It was so good to spend time with her and her family. So many good memories were brought up, even some yearbooks were opened, which provided a vision from our past as stories were shared.  I sure hope so much time does not pass before we see each other again.

When we arrived back home on Sunday, reality sunk in .  .  . moving day was right around the corner and we still had so much to do.

Tuesday was the big day . . . a day that started way too early and ended way too late. This of course is a trait that I love about Jason. When he has a vision we accomplish it, or surpass the goal. We ended up renting a UHaul, which helped tremendously. In two trips we were able to load all of our furniture and washer and dryer, as well as some boxes. We finished moving about 90 percent of our apartment in one day.

To say we were both tired and sore is an understatement.

The benefit of getting all that accomplished  . . . sleeping at the house a week ago for the first time.

I absolutely love living in this cute little two bedroom house with a beautiful backyard.

20141001_171845Except for a house we rented for no more than six months when we first started dating, Jason and I have gone from one apartment to another over the past five years. It feels great to have privacy once again. I cannot describe how good it is not to hear our neighbors through the thin walls, or to keep our voices down because we don’t want to disturb them. I can now play music in the living room while listening to it in my office without worrying about being too loud for our neighbors.

The list goes on and on of why I enjoy living at this house.

Sunday morning Jason and I headed back to the townhouse we were renting to clean and make sure we had all of our belongings. When we sat in the car a sense of relief washed over the both of us. We were beyond ready to say goodbye to that little place that we seemed to outgrow in a year.

Another chapter begins . . .  one that seems to be off on the right foot.

12.09!!

20140920_102518 I am happy to report that Lucy and I finished the week off with 12.09 miles, surpassing our last record of a total of 10.1 miles for a week.

We ran five days this week:

Sunday for 2.22 miles with an average speed of 4.0 mph

Monday for 2.30 miles with an average speed of 3.1 mph

Thursday for 2.14 miles with an average speed of 3.6 mph

Friday for 2.54 miles with an average speed of 3.2 mph

Saturday (today) for 2.89 miles with an average speed of 3.6 mph

I’m not quite sure what happened to us on Thursday, especially after taking two days off in a row, but that was our shortest distance of the week.

I love keeping record of what we accomplished. It gives me an idea of our progress.

Yesterday and today we ran a new route and it seems to be helping our distance. Maybe we were getting tired of the same scenery. Maybe we just need a path less traveled. When we head in the other direction there seems to be a ton of dogs, some of which shouldn’t be out on the path at all if you ask me. Yesterday and today we only ran past three dogs.

20140920_102628Today we ran further, quite a bit further, than yesterday. Every time I looked down Lucy was focused ahead, so we kept going until she slowed way down. Unfortunately when we hit this stretch of the path, it opens up quite a bit with no coverage from the trees. So, I listened to Lucy and we took a short break on a bench where we spotted beautiful flowers.

I’m excited to see what we will accomplish next week with our running distance.

I will sign off for now with a few of my favorite pictures from our cool down walk, which ended with us stopping so Lucy could watch the ducks playing in the water.

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Chilly morning run

After taking two days off from running, Lucy and I headed back to our favorite place, the Kingsport Greenbelt for a late morning run.

It was rather chilly this morning with no sun shining through the clouds. Yesterday we didn’t run because it looked like it was going to start to rain at any moment. Today, I was going to take the chance. If it rained, so be it. It would just make us run faster. HA!

I put on one of Jason’s long sleeve shirts before we left and a pair of shorts. The good thing about the cooler temperature this morning was Lucy and  I ran a little further.

Today we didn’t stop and sit, but rather walked for a few minutes while Lucy sniffed in the grass. After a few minutes the magic word “ready” picked up our speed to running once again.

It was not crowded this morning. Maybe we went at the perfect time, or maybe people were questioning the weather too. It was nice having the path almost to ourself.

Nonetheless we ran 2.22 miles at an average speed of 4 miles an hour. The speed is what got me excited. We increased our speed.

My favorite part was during our cool down walk after we finished our run. Lucy led us to the ducks.

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I absolutely love this photo of her peaking around the tree spying on the ducks.

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We also spotted the geese, this time in the water. Last week we saw them walking towards the path.

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Before making it to the path.

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But today, they let both Lucy and I squat near them, as we watched them sit in the water.

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Another fantastic run with my little running partner. I’m still determined to run at least 12 miles this week. I hope the weather allows us.

A walk under the bluest of skies

After tornado watches and warnings were made for our area and surrounding areas early this morning, it turned out to be a beautiful day.

I hoped to take the entire day off today, but had a few interviews I had to complete. I also had to turn in a few articles. So, I took the second half of the day off to spend with Jason. The warmer half of the day.

We went for a walk down a portion of the Kingsport Greenbelt that we haven’t been to yet. It was pretty with a good amount of history. There was a lot of people out walking around, many with their four-legged pets.

Although the wind wasn’t all that nice, the temperatures were in the 50’s during our walk. The skies were blue with few clouds.

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It was nice being outside again today. There is no better release than smelling fresh air, listening to the birds chirping, ducks quacking and the wind swaying through the branches of trees. The best part is having Jason walk alongside me enjoying the outdoors. By the time we were done, we probably walked close to four miles again.

The best part of the walk was the wildlife we saw throughout.

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Jason spotted this little guy first. He was too cute, I had to take a picture.

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It was nice walking along the water, looking at the houses on the other side.

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It wouldn’t be a walk along the Greenbelt without seeing the ducks.

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IMG_1153It was another great day outdoors for a few hours.

A day with Jason

Yesterday I gave myself a day off, left my phone at home and paid no attention to the emails that kept filling my inbox. I even left my camera at home, which I wished I hadn’t by the time our walk ended.

Since I work from home, the work that piles up on my desk is only a couple steps away at all times. I have a hard time staying away from my office if I know work is waiting for me. I have a constant list of articles I have to turn in on my white board, or little pieces of paper scattered around my desk. I also have many documents set up with my budget for the publication and when they are due. Chaos and stress builds if I am not organized.

I worked straight through my weekend, so I would have all my work completed before Tuesday. It felt fantastic to have everything done, or at least caught up, so my tasks today would be simple before I had to submit my edited work.

Jason had yesterday off and I was determined to spend some time with him.

Our schedules are so different. He mostly works nights, which means his shift starts anywhere from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Jason sometimes doesn’t walk through the door until after midnight depending again on his shift and day of the week. Since he gets home late, it takes him a while to unwind. By that point, I have already unwind from my days work fighting to keep my eyes open.

A lot of times he comes home from work and I am already asleep on the couch. But with the Olympics on, I’ve been up when he walks through the door watching the coverage. An hour later, my head begins to roll as my  eyes start to fight against me.

It’s rare we go to bed at the same hour and wake up at the same time for that matter.

I try to get up at a decent hour, so I can start making phone calls early or meeting people in person for interviews, so I have a good portion of my day left to write.

 

Yesterday was much needed . . .

We were both determined to spend time outdoors yesterday, something we haven’t had much of a chance to do because of the cold, snowy conditions. With blue skies and temperatures in the high 50’s, we put on our shoes and headed to Steele Creek Park in Bristol, Tenn. We really wanted to go to one of our favorite waterfalls, but after taking a walk at the park we were happy we didn’t. The temperatures were still a little to brisk for us.

As we walked along the path that went around the lake, we soon found out that our bodies are still set to Florida temperatures. When the wind started to blow, we grew cold and our hoodies went up and hands went into our sweater pockets. When the wind subsided, we were fine and the hoodies came down.

It seemed we were not the only ones experiencing cabin fever. The path filled with runners and their dogs, mothers and their children and others who were strolling with their friends or family.

The majority of our 4+ miles of walking were done in silence as we strolled the path next to each other. An occasional conversation was had if something sparked our attention or a memory was had. That is one of the things I love about our relationship, those moments and minutes of silence that we share are never awkward. It’s nice having Jason as company, while also giving myself the time I need to clear my thoughts and take in the scenery.

It felt so good to be outdoors away from the four walls of my office with a small view of the world outdoors.

At times we slid across the icy path, or walked close to the edge as our feet crunched in snow that still had not melted away from last week’s storm. We saw ducks, geese and many turtles, even some trees that beavers had got a hold of.

The best part was hearing the water run along the rocks in the creek. I forgot how much that sound calmed me down.  We also saw a manmade waterfall. As Jason climbed up the small hill, I stood on the boardwalk and let the wind hit my face that generated from the water falling. I became mesmerized, again lost in my own thoughts, until a splash caught my attention. That splash was Jason telling me to climb up the hill and look at the view of the lake. It was very pretty.

It felt great to not work at all yesterday. Jason has Friday off too, a rarity! Maybe if I put in a full day tomorrow, I can take that day off too.

Frozen

This morning Jason woke me up as the sun was rising, so we could see more of Kingsport covered in snow. He’s so good to me, on his day off he woke up much earlier than on the days he works, just so I could see the sunrise.

It was beautiful, oranges filled the sky as the sun slowly made its way up. I don’t know if it was the sunrise that made me smile, or that the sun was actually making an appearance today.

IMG_1025After driving downtown, Jason took me to one of my favorite spots, the Kingsport Greenbelt.

One of the ducks was laying in the snow, which instantly made me cold. IMG_1033

Every time I see and hear the ducks it takes me back to when I lived on the farm in Illinois. Mom had a duck, pure white, named Matilda. It used to lay on the pool cover in the winter and talk to Mom all the time. So Mom, you consumed my thoughts this  morning, you were with me as I watched the ducks do their thing.

Shortly after I spotted the first duck on the bank, I heard quite a few more chatting as the swam. A cluster slowly made its way down to where I was standing, sinking in the snow.

IMG_1034Part of Reedy Creek was frozen on the Greenbelt this morning, which only reminded me just how cold it was outside. It was really pretty to see snow around the creek and on the trees. Another beautiful moment created by this Winter Storm Leon.

IMG_1026  IMG_1027  IMG_1030  IMG_1031 IMG_1028Since we don’t have boots and I was only wearing my running shoes, my toes started to get really cold. I took a few more pictures before heading back to Jason’s warm car.

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I’m glad Jason woke us up early so we could see more of the snow that swept through the area yesterday. That same quietness that I heard last night, surrounded me again as I stood by the creek this morning. As the sun made its way through the trees, the white glistened, promising a beautiful day. A spray of snow started to sweep off the trees as the sun began to melt what accumulated on the branch, creating another beautiful sight to see.

I’m glad Jason and I moved to the mountains and got to experience the seasons this year. The fall was absolutely breathtaking with the change of colors and the winter, well I still don’t know how to put into words the beauty that it holds, that white coverage.

When we arrived back home, Jason’s car said -2 . . . yep this Florida girl had enough of the cold for a couple of hours. I think I might just admire the view from the windows of our warm home for a little bit.