Breathtaking fall afternooon run

Lucy and I have taken way too much time off from running these last few weeks, due to my parents coming into town (we went hiking instead) and Jason and I moving into our new home. Plus, it has been nonstop raining for the last I don’t know how many days making it difficult to go anywhere.

Today is the first day I can look out my office window and see Bays Mountain. I hope the sun stays for a little while!

With the blessing of the blue sky, I laced up my running shoes, hoping the path would not be flooded, and we headed to our favorite place, the Kingsport Greenbelt.

I felt myself calm down as we pulled into the parking lot. The stress of work got the best of me the last couple of days. I could feel myself needing to be outdoors and releasing some of that negative energy. Yes, running + being outdoors is the best therapy.

My sweet little Lucy was beyond excited when we arrived in her favorite parking lot. Of course, I could not get my stuff together fast enough for this little squirt. Eager was definitely an understatment. With all the rain, it’s been very hard getting her outside for any kind of exercise.

Our drive to this area of the Greenbelt is much further than where we used to live, but I love this stretch of the path.

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I will definitely have to do some research and see if there is a closer portion of the Greenbelt to where we live now. But until then, I have no problem making the drive.

20141013_123449Although the path was wet in some areas, it was not flooded at all. Last summer around the 4th of July Jason and I walked the path, which was completely under water in some sections.

As we ran our 2.32 miles, we moved to the music of leaves crunching. Lucy was not a fan of the extra noise, but I loved the crunching, as the wind brushed over our faces keeping us cool.

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We stopped mid-way, so I could give Lucy a little rest. Her pace was slowing tremendously and I didn’t want to over heat her since the temperatures were in the high 70s.

I of course didn’t mind the stop . . . it gave me a chance to take pictures of the scenery I was admiring as we ran the path.

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The current of the water was moving at a steady pace today and much higher than usual.

20141013_125508Last year, I spent this time of the year running on a treadmill at the gym. Wow, never again will I run indoors during the fall. The weather is perfect and the colors that surrounded us played a part with calming me down and encouraging me to enjoy every step we took.

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I think Lucy enjoyed the stop too. Every time the wind picked up, leaves of every shape, size and color started spinning to the ground at different speeds, which kept Lucy’s attention for quite some time.

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I hope the weather will allow us to run for the rest of the week. I know better, running has to be a part of my life. Without it I feel lost, without it, working from home becomes too much. I need that outlet to escape from my office for an hour or so.

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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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.

 

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.

Morning run

This morning when I woke, I had that itch, that itch to head to the Greenbelt for a run.

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Lucy and I haven’t been to the Greenbelt in a few days, due to her being sick on Friday, and well yesterday turned into a lazy day.

Last time we were at the pet store, Jason and I found some protein bars for dogs. Since they were only 99 cents, I decided to buy a few because according to the package it was perfect for dogs before they exercise. The bar is Purina Pro Plan.

Lucy’s eating habits have changed now that she’s getting older and sometimes she doesn’t eat breakfast until lunch time. With us running more than 2 miles at a time I want to make sure she is getting the right nutrition before we hit the path. So this morning I gave her less than a third of the bar about 30 minutes before we ran. She absolutely loved the taste of the bar and seemed to perform pretty well once we started running.

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We ran about 1.15 miles before we stopped. Lucy sniffed around a little before she wanted to sit on the bench. It wasn’t before too long that she was crying to get going again.

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The path is starting to become covered in an array of leaves, all a variety of different colors.

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It’s cute to watch Lucy trying to maneuver around the leaves that cover the path.

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We ran 2.34 miles this morning. It was a hot and sticky run, but it felt great as always.

The path was quite busy with bikers, walkers, runners and of course dogs.

Now for a short rant: I wish those who bring their dogs to the path had the well-being of other dogs in mind. It baffles me how some pet owners bring their dogs, who obviously don’t do well with others, to a highly populated area.

The other day as Lucy and I were running, a woman walking a boxer had to stop and step off to the grass while standing in front of her dog. A pair of poodles the day before also were not friendly. Lucy let out a high pitch bark as we ran past them. They were not on a short leash at all. Lucy, of course is on a short leash, so if I have to take control I can.

All I have to say is know your pet and what they are capable of or not doing to other animals. Don’t subject them to the possibility . . .

Lucy, once we start running could care less about other dogs, or people. She usually runs right next to my legs. Sometimes she’ll venture a little further from my side while still running to get closer to those passing, but still at a good distance from them. Squirrels, on the other hand, get her attention more than anything. We sprinted a short distance as she darted towards a squirrel running along the edge of the path towards another tree today.

There is nothing better than getting outdoors and exercising with my best little buddy.

A little sunshine

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Today started on a rough note . . .

A very frustrating Monday morning . . .

It didn’t improve until Jason called after I sent him numerous texts about what happened.

Im so glad he called on his break instead of sending me a text in return. The sound of his voice did it, that calming tone slowly calmed me down.

After he listened to what happened, he reassured me that everything was going to be okay. He told me to not worry. No matter how upset I may be, his voice and tone always brings me back down to where the stress and frustrations disappear,  well subside.

Once I finished writing an article about a meeting I attended this morning, Lucy and I walked outside. Often times being outdoors gives me the right dose of fresh air that I need to turn my attitude around.

What we saw brightened my day. One of the five sunflowers my neighbor planted was in bloom. Best part was a bee decided to make an appearance in my picture.

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The face of this sunflower instantly made me smile. It’s such a happy looking flower.

Today, after we experienced some tornado warnings in NE Tennessee in the Kingsport area yesterday, the sunflower was soaking up all the sun it could.

When phone calls were finished and interviews were set in stone for the rest of the week, I dressed in my running gear, and headed to the gym.

What happened next still has me smiling. On Friday, Jason and I went hiking and I unfortunately had a good fall, which has left me extremely sore. The bruise seems to grow in size every day, which only leaves the area very tender. With a sore leg, I decided to take a few days off from exercising.

I climbed onto the treadmill, put my earphones on and got in the zone. That zone that clarifies everything.

I ran my fastest 2-mile run, yes I knocked off another 3 seconds. The first mile was hard, but the second mile my leg loosened and it became a little easier.

For such a rough start, my day continued to improve.

My childhood friend called me out of the blue tonight. When her face covered my screen my heart filled with joy. It’s been a really long time since we connected, a really long time since we talked. It was great to hear her voice.

It just goes to show once your attitude and mood changes, the “sun” will shine once again.

Mood changer

Last night was a perfect ending to a frustrating day . . .

The perfect ending was because of this man who has my best interest at heart all the time. It’s truly a beautiful feeling, an overwhelming feeling, to know and feel how much someone cares and loves you.

Every day Jason shows me that he is the right man for me. He’s my present and future, he’s my everything. I look into our future and I see us growing old together in a beautiful life that we create for one another.

Yesterday when Jason got home from work he sensed there was something wrong, which started a conversation that allowed me to let out my frustrations. As the conversation continued I started to feel a little better.

This man is my rock, my sounding board, my clear skies when I see gray, my strength when I struggle with my own . . .  well he’s just the very best part of me.

When he told me to go for a run and let go of those frustrations, it once again showed how well he knows me.

I was determined to change my attitude. So, as I walked into the gym — by this hour it was too hot outside and I didn’t want to overheat both Lucy, my puppy, and I — my determination set in. I got onto the treadmill and turned on Pandora . . . I was ready.

It’s this time, this me time, that I was able to clarify my thoughts and put them back in order once again. I get discouraged when my thoughts get out of whack, when the frustration builds, because it puts me in funk. As I refocused, I started feeling better.

It’s true running is the best therapy for me. There’s something about exercising and pushing myself that lifts my mood and makes the worries go away. The best part about this run yesterday was I beat my run from the day before by 14 seconds. That felt incredible.

It seems when my frustration is at its peak, my performance is as well.

When I left the gym I felt like a new person. I walked through the door with a smile on my face because all my worries were left at the treadmill. This of course put Jason in a good mood because we feed off of each other’s energy. When he knows I’m feeling good, his smile is beautiful.

The laughter and good times filled our house once again and continued throughout the night. Even Lucy joined in on our fun as she played with Jason and went crazy running around the living room.

Our crazy little home is all I need . . . especially with Jason by my side.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let things go and let them be. I struggle with this from time to time.

It’s truly a blessing that I have the opportunity to work out of my home and make my own hours while contributing my work to numerous newspaper and magazine publications. With that said, it’s a struggle to find the equal balance of time in and out of my office. I often find out that I need a break from writing after I reached my breaking point.

This morning started off a little rough, but with the right attitude . . .

I put on my running gear, ready to take Lucy and I to the Greenbelt for a morning run, but those plans drastically changed. I hope by the end of the day I can go for my run, hopefully that run will be with Lucy.

Good ending

Yesterday was nuts.

Well, let’s rewind, it all started the night before around 11 p.m.

Jason and I were snuggled close on the couch when Leo appeared and laid with us. This is the first time he has laid with me since we brought our puppy home.

Well things changed drastically after this.

Out cat Leo, who we have had since 2010, started to get sick. This of course happens from time to time with hairballs, but never to this extent. He kept throwing up, to the point where it was just stomach vile.

With deep concern, we all finally went to sleep hoping for the best after the vomiting subsided. As we all got situated in bed, yes Jason and I are accompanied by our puppy Lucy and other cat Kimber, every night, I spotted Leo laying on the ground between the wall and our bed. I’ve never seen him lay here before.

I scratched a few of his favorite spots and then put a blanket next to him on the floor.

I soon fell asleep to the quite breathing of Jason next to me.

Lucy woke me up early yesterday morning, 5:45. This is unusual for her. So, we went outside, so she could go, came back in and she had breakfast.

After Jason left for work, Leo jumped in my lap and cuddled close. Ever since we got Lucy in April he hasn’t snuggled with me. I enjoyed every minute, well until Lucy wanted to take his spot.

As soon as he jumped down, Leo started getting sick again. This kept on going on and off until around 11:30 yesterday morning.

My concern deepened with my heart heavy. Leo was exhausted by this point. He finally settled down and fell asleep.

After talking to Jason, I made an appointment at Banfield,  the same place we take Lucy. Unfortunately we couldn’t get him in until 3:15 that afternoon. I was so worried, I could barely concentrate on my work.

Jason came home on his break and helped me take Leo to the vet. I love this man so much for coming all the way home. My emotions were frazzled by this point and I didn’t want to take Leo by myself, especially without a cat carrier.

So after waiting a while after we got there, the vet finally saw him. She said he looked really good and without some extensive testing she wouldn’t know for sure, but it might have just been a rather large hairball that he was struggling to get rid of.

With both of us fearing the worst,  this was good news. Jason drove Leo home as I paid the bill and made another appointment for him.

Words cannot describe how much that meant to me. Jason works a good 40-45 minutes away from home. When I told him thank you, his simple response was “that’s what I do.” I love this man so much.

After he left to go back to work, Leo started acting a little more like himself. He even ate some food. Since I knew there wasn’t anything major wrong with him, I finally left the house with Lucy in tow.

I had to get rid of the stress of the day and give some one-on-one time to Lucy. So we went to our favorite place the Kingsport Greenbelt. It felt so good to be outdoors for an evening run.

Shortly after we starting running, we came to a stop when I saw four deer crossing the path a little ways before us. How cool is that? I love spotting animals in nature. I of course tried to take a picture, but with a puppy that doesn’t sit still it came out rather blurry.

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We kept going, until Lucy spotted our favorite place. This is where we stopped and took a break.

After some exploring, we were on the path once again heading back to our starting point.

We ran 2.48 miles going from 1147 in elevation to 1236.

This run was exactly what I needed, what we needed. So, feeling satisfied, we drove back home to wait for Jason to come home from work.

Yesterday shined some light on our relationship once again. There’s not anything this man won’t do for me and all of our pets. How did I get so lucky?  I’m so glad our paths crossed again.

I’m happy to say Leo never got sick again after returning home from the vet. He’s been talking up a storm today.

Oh, our life is back to normal.

Now to get some writing done, so I can hopefully go to the gym this afternoon.

Lucy helped us achieve a new distance

I’m still in shock of how far Lucy and I ran this morning on the Kingsport Greenbelt.

This little puppy of mine had a mission as soon as we stepped onto the path. Well,  that mission went full speed after we passed the first few people.

The first woman we passed, Lucy was eager to get her attention, so I was forced to stop.

This woman said “you’re too young to be running, do you want to come home with me?” I of course smiled, said “have a good day” and told Lucy “come on.”

Only if she knew. Oh my gosh, only if that woman knew.

Yep, Lucy picked up the speed and we were off again.

It sometimes makes me wonder what these people are thinking when they see Lucy and I running. Yes, she is still a puppy, but she seems to be enjoying herself. Heck, she runs around our place, so why not give her a “endless” path, if you will, to let go of some of that energy.

I’ve always said I would not have a dog unless I had a backyard to give it. Well this wonderful puppy adopted us when she showed up on our doorstep, yes, without that backyard I have dreamt about for my dog.

It’s only fair I take her someplace to get exercise, some good long exercise. Although we are outside quite often when we are home, I still feel it’s important to allow her to walk and run.

I love that Lucy enjoys our runs as much as I do. Everytime I look down to make sure we are traveling at a speed she can handle, she is looking straight ahead trotting along. When her attention changes and she looks up at me, I know she’s getting tired.

Since she’s only 5 months old we stop midway through our run. Today as we neared our usual stopping point right next to a little waterfall in a dense area of trees her pace slowed. When I began walking she walked over to the bench and jumped up. As soon as I sat she crawled on my lap.

She was tired. She should be. We were traveling at a good speed.

On our way back she really kept me moving today. I slowed down to a walk half way to our “finishing line,” which Lucy only allowed for three or four steps before she started running to get me moving again. I smiled, this puppy was on a mission, a mission to get us to our “finish line.” I love that Lucy helps in motivating me. She helps me keep going when I don’t feel like my legs can take much more.

Lucy helped us achieve 3.61 miles.

We ran 3.61 miles.

Are you kidding me? This is only the second week of us running together and we are already achieving this! 

This wonderful puppy helped me run my furthest outdoor distance to date!

Tomorrow I’m going to give this little puppy a break and hopefully head to the gym. I’m really excited to see how far she takes me next time.

Lucy is the perfect,  absolute perfect match for me. I’m so glad she showed up at our door step in April.