Hopefully routine will stick

Hopefully routine will stick

I felt alive this morning as Lucy and I headed out the door shortly after 6 a.m. to go for a morning run, something we have failed to do for way too many weeks. This morning I was reminded why I need to stick with this running routine of mine.

I was spoiled for two years. I had the opportunity to walk away from my work whenever my heart desired because I worked from the comfort of my own home as a freelance journalist. Since we were living in NE Tennessee at the time, it was not crucial to go running first thing in the morning to beat the heat. We usually went mid-morning to  mid-afternoon when the temperatures were comfortable to run in .

Now I am faced with a new challenge . . . beating the Florida heat, which means going super early in the morning before the sun becomes too intense.

As of June 8, my freedom became no longer as I started my full-time job as the editor of The Islander. I will be completely honest, it has been extremely difficult putting myself on a schedule that included both exercising and giving myself enough time to complete my work without being at the office for all hours of the day and night.

With Jason and I working completely different schedules, I stay up later than I should to spend some time with him, which makes it hard to get up super early the next morning.

So, setting all my excuses aside, Lucy and I went for a 3-mile run last night around 6 p.m. The sky was overcast and there was a breeze, so I thought why not, let’s go for a run. Lucy took off at full speed as soon as we rounded our corner, which became almost a crawl by the time we finished our 3-miles. The run was sticky and buggy, which was a new experience for me. When we got home I had bugs stuck to my arms, shirt and in other places that surprised me. It was gross running through windows of bugs, but I was determined, so we kept on going.

I felt energized in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. I know running is my outlet. I know running is what clears my head. So, this feeling of energy was welcomed with open arms even when the exhaustion hit.

With the motivation in full swing, I got out of bed before 6 a.m. this morning so I could put some more miles on these running shoes of mine that are still brand new. I figured I would head out by myself this morning to give Lucy some rest after last night’s run. When she saw me putting on my running shoes, she went running into the bedroom and laid in bed with Jason. So, I continued to get everything ready. I unlocked the door and this little puppy reappeared at my feet eager to go with me. After putting her harness on she was ready whining because I was not opening the door fast enough.

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Our run started in the dark and ended with a beautiful sunrise painting the Florida sky an array of oranges. It was by far the perfect way to start a Monday. I was thankful I dragged myself out of bed and started a routine that will hopefully stick.

I’m pretty proud of Lucy and I. In two days, we have ran 5.39 miles after taking 13 days off.

Maybe I needed to take some time off to fully appreciate running again. I know both Lucy and I need that 30-minutes or so workout.

Since we are now starting a new month, I am determined to go running at least four or five times a week like I used to in Tennessee. Time to get this body back into shape!

Independence

Independence

You learn a great deal about yourself while living alone. You find an inner strength you may not have known was there. You find reasons to smile when your better half is hundreds of miles away. You find ways to share your strength and love through the distance that is  temporarily separating you.

Twenty-five days ago a new chapter began for Jason and I. A chapter that brought him to Southwest Florida, while I remained here in NE Tennessee.

I have gone through a slew of emotions in that time period. Emotions that have ranged from happy to sad and everything in between. Those consuming emotions even led to a few break downs that I had to push myself through … which sometimes took too long to conquer.

The best part of those emotions is the love I have for this man has never wavered or been questioned. Jason’s love is what helps me through each and every day a part.

We have grown “heaps” in this time span. We have shown each other that the foundation we created cannot be rocked even in the trying times we are experiencing right now. Our communication has only strengthened. Yes, even through the countless hours we are both working to make ends meet to close this chapter.

The first night he was away I started something that I now look forward to doing every day. This new routine shows Jason that my spirits are soaring even through a couple hiccups. This new kind of sharing, I know helps him through his 15 hour days of work.

One of my favorite times of the day is at the end of Jason’s work day when my phone begins ringing. It’s his comforting tone, his reassurance that carries me through another day. It’s those simple, but yet powerful words “I love you” “I miss you” and “see you soon” that continue to give us both the strength we need.

The beauty of all of this is I have become extremely independent. A kind of independent I have never experienced before. An independence that is invigorating, empowering and incredibly satisfying.

I am proud to say that I have not been confined to my home while Jason is away. Independence.

I am proud to say my appetite that was pretty nonexistent at the beginning has resurfaced. I have dived into a new-found passion of finding new black bean recipes and making myself an incredibly delicious meal. Independence.

I have found the strength to carry on. To continue one of my found loves – running! Yes, although I bring Lucy with me, Independence.

Lucy and I have been venturing down to the Greenbelt quite often, which continues to help me sort through my thoughts, while keeping the positive energy flowing through every cell of my body.

Today we ran 3.78 miles. I’m proud of us for going this distance, especially since it was one of the hotter days since the awful cold winter months.

LUcy 2Whenever we are done with our run, I let Lucy explore and sniff an area on the Greenbelt. Often times it’s the same area.

Lucy 3She loves watching the ducks, which were quite active today. They were quacking, splashing and making all kinds of noises drawing Lucy in and keeping her attention.

Lucy 4 I have to admit the picture below is my favorite of today.

LucyThat oh so long tongue . . .

Signs of spring continue to surface all over Kingsport. It’s such a beautiful time of the year.

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flower editI know we are nearing the end of our time a part and a new countdown will begin soon. A countdown of when I can see Jason in person. A countdown when I can go running into his arms. A countdown of when we will be in the same space again.

I truly believe there is nothing we cannot accomplish as a couple, and as two separate individuals.

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

The last two days I have been stuck in doors because of the rain. So, this morning after a good night’s sleep, Lucy and I headed to the Greenbelt.

The weather was gorgeous with temperatures climbing into the 50’s. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect morning to go for a 3.21-mile run.

As Lucy and I ran our old route, emotions were definitely tugging at me as I took in the scenery for all it was worth. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the pure beauty of Northeast Tennessee.

This place will forever stay in my heart.

This area has given me a sense of peace that I cannot fully explain.

It’s definitely bittersweet.

So, half way through our run, we stopped, so Lucy could go to the bathroom, and I could enjoy one of my favorite places on the Greenbelt . . . a waterfall that was flowing pretty good today.

20150315_113227 editThis is one of my favorite sounds. The rushing of the water, the cascading of water down the rocks. The sound, and sight, pulls you in, clearing your thoughts, giving you a sense of clarity, all while mesmerizing you making it hard to look away.

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Although I know I will find a new favorite spot to run in Fort Myers with Lucy, I’m truly going to miss my home-away-from-home.

It’s my go to place, my therapy, my path that cures all stress.

I’m so happy Jason and I decided to move to Kingsport almost two years ago. It was a move that brought us closer as a couple. A move that gave us a deeper appreciation for the outdoors.

Our run this morning was so good for my soul. It gave me the clarity I needed once again to get through this time Jason and I are spending a part. Time that neither of us want to spend a part . . .

As always, here’s a glimpse of the Greenbelt through Lucy’s eyes.

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Lucy

 

Rollercoaster . . .

Rollercoaster . . .

I have definitely been on a rollercoaster of emotions this week, which I have to admit is very exhausting.

Yesterday, although my day did not start with a phone call from Jason, nor ended with a phone call from him . . . well, it went okay . . . until sleep completely escaped me.

The highlights of my day yesterday, day four of Jason being gone . . .

A phone call from my mom and my older brother Bill, as well as an overdue much-needed run with my best little buddy, my puppy Lucy.

I had a ton of copy editing I had to accomplish for one of the newspapers I work for in Arizona, which kept me extremely busy.

A phone call from my mom prompted an escape from my computer. She knows me well and knows what will help.

Exercise.

Almost every single day since Monday, my mom has made it a point to call and check up on me. I look forward to that friendly phone call, even if there is not anything new to share. There’s a huge comfort that comes with just hearing her voice.

So, after she told me to go for a run, I listened. I threw on my running clothes and put Lucy’s collar on and we headed to our old stomping grounds. Thankfully that portion of the Greenbelt that we enjoy using was open.

It was however a muddy mess with portions of the path still underwater. Yesterday I just didn’t care . . . I needed that run more than anything.

Although the music was streaming through my headphones, I couldn’t tell you what I was listening to during that 3 mile run. My thoughts were jetting in every possible direction. That was exactly the therapy I needed. Sometimes you don’t fully know everything you’re holding in until you are faced with open space and a route you want to complete.

As Lucy and I embraced the 70 degree temperatures and occasional rays of sunshine, our speed was not fast, but consistent until my body told me no more.

I felt good when we called it quits. I was proud of myself for making it to the Greenbelt to go for a run.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday . . .

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20150312_170143 editI was on a runner’s high after we returned home. It stayed with me for quite a few hours. I was excited that my meal, a recipe I found on Pinterest, tasted great. A mixture of hard-boiled eggs, avocado, onion, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pepper on multi-grain bread topped with a tomato. It was delicious.

With a full belly, it was back to my desk to finish the copy editing I put on hold. This is when I received a surprise phone call from my older brother. I absolutely love hearing from him. No matter how many miles separate us, he’s always there for me, always looking out for me, always making sure I am okay. There’s truly nothing greater than a love from an older brother. His understanding voice, his open ears, lifted my spirits enabling me to finish my work for the night.

I watched a few television shows before heading to bed. I have to admit I was really looking forward to my phone ringing once more. The phone call never came.

I ended up falling asleep, waking to a text from Jason. A text message I never answered.

Last night I only managed to get a few hours of sleep. I thought for sure with exercising and, well, being exhausted from the week’s events would bring on the sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Unfortunately I was terribly let down . . .

I wish Jason was here besides me, or I was already there besides him. I sleep so much better when I know he is laying besides me or in the same house.

My strength is there, although not as strong as I need it to be at times. My smile comes and goes as the tears take its place, still at the most random times.

This experience, although is still in the beginning stages has proven to be difficult, but not unmanageable.

I am beyond grateful I have Lucy, my sweet, affectionate, cuddly, beautiful puppy. There is truly no better companion than that of a dog.

Lucy makes me laugh, keeping my spirits high.

She gives me the comfort I need throughout the day and even while we are sleeping.

Ever since Monday, Lucy snuggles even closer to me in bed. Her body is curled up against mine at all times, never straying away. This comforts me in a way I cannot explain.

Today she has not left my side. She’s been asleep in my lap while I work at my desk, occasionally looking at me with those puppy eyes. I can feel her telling me it’s okay.

Every day is a new challenge. Every day I am faced with new and old emotions. Every day I pray that our time a part is almost over.

I love being independent, but I love having Jason here with me. I love sharing my life with him in the same space without hundreds of miles separating us.

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I only hope that the strength I know I have stays consistant from here on out. I need more of my good days that are filled with high spirits. Those feelings, those emotions, will make the time a part easier to handle . . .

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Our little puppy turned a year old today.

Lucy and I woke lazily this morning long after the sun rose. My thoughts instantly became clouded as I came to with a million little things running through my mind. Those thoughts were the same that consumed me the night before.

Lucy helped put a smile on my face erasing them all for a few minutes.

As I began to stretch my legs, Lucy woke and slowly walked alongside my body showing her nose at the top of our sheets. This little black nose poked out before she fell into my body, curled close, ready for some affection. Lucy dug her nose into my neck, as I scratched her belly for a few moments.

We eventually dragged ourselves out of bed, so we could both go to the bathroom.

The sun was shinning and the temperatures were cool, promising a beautiful day. After Lucy finished doing her business, we came inside, so she could go back to sleep, and I could begin my work day.

As the day progressed, I started to knock a few things off my list . . . feeling a little better, feeling a little less overwhelmed.

After bringing Jason some Gatorade, I knew it was time to completely clear my thoughts and grab a hold of the day. I instantly thought what better way to achieve that then to bring Lucy with me to keep me smiling the entire distance.

I got ready, put Lucy’s running collar on, and we headed to the car. As we neared the Greenbelt, Lucy’s whimpering filled the space. She started walking circles in my lap after siting too long waiting for the light to change. The whimpering increased as we turned onto Lucy’s favorite road, the one that takes us to the Greenbelt.

The whimpering changed into full-blown crying as soon as we parked. I could not get my stuff together fast enough for this little girl.

Lucy was an absolute delight today as we ran mile after mile. She did not pull once. Lucy ran either a little ahead of me, or right alongside me in the grass as my feet hit the pavement.

I pushed her to her newest distance. She is such a little rock star. My little nine+pound, 1-year old puppy, ran 5.24 miles with me today!! What a little trooper. Her previous longest distance was 4.03 miles.

I think she needed the fresh air as much as I did. I know the hour we spent outside completely cleared my thoughts.

As soon as we were done with our cool down walk, we walked to Petsmart, so I could treat her on her birthday. She made friends with everyone she encountered, as they sang how cute she was.

Lucy loved her birthday bone. I’ve never seen her eat a treat so fast. She even warned the cats to keep their distance as she chewed every piece.

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Once again, Lucy helped improve my mood. Helped put a smile on my face as I watched her little legs running in front of me.

She changed my life on April 7, 2014, when she appeared at our doorstep.

Happy 1st Birthday my sweet puppy.

 

More than a mile increase

More than a mile increase

The dark gray clouds broke away and the blue sky made its presence today. It was truly a beautiful sight to see, a blue sky with an occasional white cloud in the sky. That has definitely been a rarity here lately.  20150116_140254

After interviewing the general manager of the Barbara B. Man Performing Arts Hall this morning, my motivation struck full force. I had no excuses today, the clouds were gone and the temperatures were in the high 30s.

Time to lace up those running shoes. . .

I invited Lucy, my puppy, to come along with me for my run, but she was hesitant, so I left her home yet again. She hasn’t been out on the Greenbelt with me for almost two weeks now.

I have to admit I’ve been enjoying my alone time out on the Greenbelt. My distances have been longer, which might be because I’m not worrying about pushing her too far. With that said, I miss having Lucy with me.

When I got home, we went outside and played in the backyard for a little while. Yeah for big backyards!! She took off running in her little circles, so she was happy. She got some exercise, but not the miles she has been used to when she joins me for my runs.

IMG_20150116_152414Back to my time on the Greenbelt. I started off with gloves on and a sweatshirt over a long-sleeve and short-sleeved shirt. It was a good 2.5 miles into the run I had to shed the sweatshirt and the gloves. Yep, the temperatures were climbing into the high 30s! I did slow down until a fast walk as I took the sweatshirt off, the whole 10 steps before I was off running again.

I was able to run further along the Greenbelt in one direction because the path was not iced over. That was the deciding factor. I was determined to run further than I did earlier this week. It was my sign . . . push those legs to a new distance.

It worked . . . I surpassed my longest running distance by 1.04 miles.

I ran 5.56 miles today. Only if someone was there to witness the smile that spread across my face when I looked at the app on my phone. My last distance was 4.52 miles.

I’m thinking that 10K might just be possible before the end of the year.

When I finished the run, I spotted an egret, which made me smile again because it reminded me of Fort Myers.

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A thought from today . . . I think it may be time to buy a Garmin to track the miles I run. I love the app on my phone . . . but I’m always questioning it.

New best running distance!

New best running distance!

Since the temperatures started to climb into the high 40’s, I went to my favorite place with a goal in mind.

A running goal . . .

Yesterday was my off day from running, so my legs felt good as my feet initially met the pavement. I was ready to set some new personal records today.

Jason’s playlist started streaming into my ears, setting the mood. As soon as I hit play the rest of the world vanished. It was just me, my thoughts and the path ahead of me.

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It’s been awfully cold this past week with temperatures dipping into the teens and 20’s. With the wind, it felt even colder. One day the newscast said the wind chill had the possibility of reaching -15. Yep, running conditions I wasn’t too fond of, which meant quite a few days off. There is still a little Florida left in me.

I ran one day last week when the temperatures were in the 20’s, with wind. More than half of the time the wind was to my face. I was not a fan. It was challenging to keep going, but somehow my legs carried me on to put some more miles on my shoes. My body was warm that day due to the numerous layers. My hands were toasty, thanks to my gloves, and so was my head because of my beanie hat. My face, on the other hand, never warmed.

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The photo above is of Reedy Creek, which runs alongside the Kingsport Greenbelt. Just a glimpse of how cold it really was that day. I was pretty proud of myself for heading out for a run, even though it was cold.

Today, however, there were smaller clusters of ice attached to tree trunks alongside the creek, and inside the creek.

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I ran to my normal stopping point before heading back in the direction where I started today. The difference, however, was how far I ran in the other direction. My legs felt good and my body was warm, so I kept going.

After reaching another typical turning point, I kept going. I was thrilled.

I finally turned around and kept running towards my starting point. Once I hit that point, I gave myself another stopping point. This is where I finally called it quits for the day.

I knew I had run further, but didn’t know how far until I took my phone out of my running belt.

4.52 miles!

Wow!

My previous running distance was 4.03 miles.

I found my passion. That passion, lacing up my running shoes and seeing what my body is capable of achieving.

4.52 miles . . . that, I have to say was incredible therapy!

I’m happy to say I signed up for my next 5K race at the end of February in Downtown Kingsport. I am beyond excited for this race. Now that I know I can run more than 3.1 miles, it’s now all about how much I can beat my last running time.wpid-img_20150111_154632.jpg

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