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?

Chilly and soggy, but gorgeous run

Yesterday Lucy and I were stuck at the house, without our run because of nonstop rain once again. This morning when we both woke, although it was in the 50s, the sun was shinning and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

I definitely wanted to make use of this rare sunshine . . . .

Lucy and I got in the car and headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt for my morning therapy, our outdoor getaway in nature. When we arrived in the parking lot there was only two cars, far less than I have ever seen. That should have been a sign of what was ahead of us, but we were there and I needed to run.

We were left with the option of only going to the left because the path was pretty wet and under water to the right of our entrance way off of the PetSmart parking lot.

Instead of hearing the crunch of leaves as we ran, the only sound was the rushing of water, the slosh of the leaves as we made contact with them and birds chirping.

There were a few areas where Lucy and I ran across small puddles of water. There were other areas where we had to cross deeper puddles that were the length of the path. Lucy was very hesitant at first, due to her not being a fan of the water, but as we kept on going she became a pro, often times leading the way.

With the wind, it was a rather cool run, which kept our pace at a rather decent speed.

On our way back, near the bridge at the start of the path, there was a tree in the middle of the path that wasn’t there when we begun. It was a rather large tree trunk. I sure hope it fell when no one was around. It just goes to show just how much it has rained the past couple of weeks, everything is so saturated.

We ran a total of 2.28 miles today. I wanted to increase our distance every day this week, but as we  neared our usual area the path was really flooded and I didn’t want to run in squishy shoes all the way back to our starting point.

Tomorrow, the goal is to go at least 2.5 miles, that is if there is no rain and the path is a little dryer.

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I love the serenity of the Greenbelt. My mind and soul is always refreshed once we are done with our run.

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I decided to look up some information about the path that Lucy and I have grown to love over the last few months.

When the Riverfront Park and The Boatyard was developed, the linear path became a reality in the 1970s. In 1989, a master plan was created for the path, which includes a trail that extends along the Reedy Creek and the Holston River, connecting the east and west side of Kingsport.

Now the path begins at The Exchange Place on the east end of Kingsport and ends on the west side along the Battle of Kingsport on the banks of the Holston River.

The length of the trail is 8-miles long. Looks like Lucy and I have some exploring to do, some increased distances to achieve.

This tidbit of information I think is pretty neat: the Greenbelt was featured in Southern Living, received recognition from the White House, as well as statewide recreation awards. No wonder it is an active path with all generations of every exercise.

Check out http://www.kingsportgreenbelt.com for more information.

After we returned back home, I had an interview with LaVerne about a bike ride she is putting together from Tucson to Phoenix, more than 85 miles long. As our conversation went on, I connected with this woman who began bike riding when she was 40 years old . . . . 12 years ago.

She told me it’s the “Freedom of cycling . . . It’s something about the quiteness and the freedom . . . You feel alive.” LaVerne said the connection with nature also draws her in while riding her bike.

I can completely relate. I feel rejuvanated when Lucy and I are done running. I know that sounds strange, but it’s so true. That connection with nature is also another big draw for me. As I run, I breathe in that fresh air, while hearing the sounds of nature. I start to feel part of nature as we are passing through on that wonderful path.

I am thankful I found a passion, a healthy passion at that.

Until next time. . .

 

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.

Extremely inspirational

She did it again . . . she finished another race . . .  and she continues to be inspirational to all of us who watch from the sidelines.

Jen finished her first triathlon on Captiva Island in SW Florida this morning, beating the time she set for herself, beating it by 13 minutes. I could feel her excitement through the messages we sent back and forth. I could feel her sense of accomplishment – she swam in the Gulf of Mexico, pedaled away during the bike portion of the race and finished it all by running through that finish line.

She can now add another race to her scrapbook of achievements.

Her story is incredible, one I love sharing with others because she completely transformed her lifestyle and lost 137 pounds – all from exercising and changing her eating habits. I love watching that person’s expression as they hear her journey and share the same excitement for what she has accomplished.

Jen’s story goes to show that once you put your mind to something you can achieve that goal, you can achieve that goal beyond your wildest dreams.

What has unfolded since she lost all that weight is incredible . . .

When I worked at the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, I included Jen’s story in an article I wrote because I am extremely proud of her, proud to know such an amazing, determined woman.

An excerpt from the Dec. 3, 2010 article in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze:  “Full marathon to step off from Cape Harbour on Dec. 12”

The Mangrove Marathon holds a “special meaning” for one Fort Myers resident,  Jen, because almost two years ago she made a complete lifestyle change that led her to losing 137 pounds, or half of her body weight.

She explained that it is special because it is “a matter of days between the race and the date that I started with my dietician” two years ago.

With her new lifestyle, came a new-found passion of running that really took off last September.

“It is so therapeutic, physically and mentally,” Jen said. “It makes you feel so good and it burns a lot of calories.”

She decided to register for her first organized run last November for the Veterans Day 5k after training for about a month. She explained that after she finished the 5k she “definitely got the bug” for running and decided to register for a half marathon in Naples last January after the women at the gym told her she could do it.

Jen did not do any specific training for the half marathon, but wanted to try it and see what type of results she would achieve. Although it was a “really tough” 13.1 miles, she decided to begin training for another half marathon in March.

“I shaved 14 minutes off my time for that one,” she said, adding that she was much better prepared.

The idea of trying her first marathon began to seep into her thoughts after completing two half marathons, but she did not want to travel to Orlando or Fort Lauderdale to participate. Over the summer, she began hearing rumors that a marathon was going to be held in the area. Once Jen found out for certain that a marathon was being held in Cape Coral, she registered and began her four months of training.

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I went to Jen’s first marathon, stood at the finish line with Ed, Jason’s dad, waiting for her to come around the bend.

I remember the anticipation . . .

I remember us watching the path waiting for Jen . . .

I remember a smile instantly crossing my face as she came into view . . .

It was exciting for me to see her cross the finish line, to witness the completion of her first marathon. The best part was watching Ed run the last little bit with Jen as she finished that race. I took quite a few pictures of this amazing accomplishment, which was later turned into a Christmas present.

There is no stopping Jen, she’s constantly signing up for new races and taking on new adventures.

Jen you are extremely inspirational. Every time I lace up my running shoes I think of you and everything you have accomplishment . . . every finish line you have crossed. I hope one day I will sign up for my first 5k and see where my adventures take me.

I am proud of you, proud to know such a determined woman, one that continues to kick butt in everything you do.

I look forward to hearing about your next race . . .