Worked like a charm

I am so happy with my recent purchase, a purchase I had the opportunity to try out today during our run on the Kingsport Greenbelt.

Since the temperatures started changing, I have been struggling with keeping the two items I carry with me during our run secure. It was easy to carry my keys and my cell phone with me during the warmer months because my workout shorts have deep pockets. Unfortunately with the dip in temperatures, my workout pants don’t provide the same service. All of my pants have no pockets, which made it hard to store these two items.

The last time Lucy and I went for a run, my keys went flying out of my sweatshirt pocket, which was not good. I ended up having to hold my phone, so it wouldn’t fall, which I did not like either.

In an effort of not having to go out and purchase all new workout pants, I started researching running belts. I found an ideal running belt made by Nathan. There are two zipped pockets, one that fits my cell phone and the other my keys. It is lightweight and bounce free. Best part is the strap is adjustable.

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When Jason brought in the package yesterday that arrived in the mail from Sports Authority, I was beyond excited. I immediately took it out of the package and put it on, which of course turned into a small run around the house! Jason was gone by this point, he ran to the store, which left Lucy looking at me like I was nuts. What, I was excited? 🙂

I was so excited to give it a try this afternoon. After turning on the SHealth app on my Android phone, I zipped it up in the top pocket, and then put my keys in the lower pocket.

We were off.

I did not feel a thing. The belt stayed put . . . I didn’t even hear my keys jingle. Best part was nothing was in my hands besides Lucy’s leash.

The belt worked like a charm. It was such a great purchase! I will definitely purchase this line of product again.

Now, our run on the other hand, did not go according to plan. I was a little discouraged during and after our run. I walked on more than one occasion and we only ran 2 miles. I’m not quite sure what happened, why my legs were giving me problems, but I hope to be more successful tomorrow. Afterall, I am trying to prepare myself for my first 5K race on Thanksgiving.

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Although the run did not give me the usual satisfying feeling, the cool down walk afterwards cleared my negative thoughts while taking in more of the area’s beauty. Tomorrow’s another day, another day to reach my goal.

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Time out for play

An afternoon trip to the store ended with the purchase of a rake for our yard . . . which of course turned into time out for play with Lucy.

Lucy kept busy finding acorns while I raked leaves into a huge pile under an oak tree in the backyard. The tree is absolutely beautiful!

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This little pup had so much fun jumping into the middle of the pile of leaves before scooting out and running crazy eights around the yard. As soon as I slapped my  hand in the middle of the pile, Lucy came flying back into the leaves. This then turned into a game of digging in the leaves to find her prize . . . rather large acorns.

I have learned to always carry my camera when Lucy and I are outside now . . . which yesterday turned into a lot of really cute pictures.

Here is a glimpse of the life I have with this crazy, playful, funny, puppy that completely brightens up my day.

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Cold, but surprisingly good run

It has been way too many days since Lucy and I went for a run. Unfortunately those days added up because of either making up excuses of not wanting to go for one reason or another, or the weather was extremely cold and rainy.

Yesterday was definitely out of the question, which was unfortunate because the desire was finally back to hit the Greenbelt.

Saturday morning when Lucy and I went outside for the first time after waking up, I  noticed snow on Bays Mountain.

IMG_2610Although the first snow storm of the season graced NE Tennessee Nov. 1, we did not have any snow in our yard.

It was really cold with overcast skies and on and off rain. Jason and I had talked about going for a hike at Laurel Run Park, since it was his first day off in a long time, but with those weather conditions we stayed home.

Jason ended up spoiling me with homemade chili, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. Yep, after indulging in that goodness, I needed to run today.

So, after cleaning the house and doing a load of laundry, it was time to lace up those running shoes once again. I put on three layers of long sleeve shirts, since it was in the 40s, before we left. The crazy thing was, all three of those layers stayed on our entire run.

I learned a few things today during our run.

Forty degree weather is the coldest I have run in to-date and it was really hard. At times my lungs were burning asking me to stop, but somehow we kept on going. I’m hoping it will get easier.

Yes, I learned that I need to invest in some winter running attire to stay warm.

I want to continue running as much as I can throughout the winter months because my gym membership expired yesterday. I decided not to renew it because after running outdoors I don’t know if I can go back to exercising within four walls again.

The second thing I learned today is I really don’t like squirrels. Okay, squirrels are fine if I’m not running with a puppy! They tend to make enough of an appearance to grab Lucy’s attention and then drive her bonkers.

I always have Lucy on a short leash while we are running because of the other foot traffic along the path.

Today a squirrel ran right in front of us at the absolute perfect time. Yes I’m saying this jokingly. Lucy took off with extreme speed towards the squirrel whimpering before instantly realizing she could not go too far even as she picked up my speed.

Yes, this happened on more than one occasion.

The third thing I learned today was Lucy runs even faster in colder temperatures. We really never have an issue with her running too far ahead of me, even on a short leash. Lucy’s usually running at my side or just a step or two in front of me. Well, today it was a different story. She was running, at times pulling me, as she maneuvered along the path. Lucy is barely nine pounds and she was pulling me!

She was on a mission. I think she too needed to be outdoors.

I had to fully stop her on more than one occasion to get her to listen to me, so we could enjoy the last leg of our run. I’ve never had that many issues with her.

With all of that said, it was still a gorgeous run, a much needed run outdoors.

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A lot of the trees were bare along the path of the Greenbelt today, which made this tree jump out that much more. I absolutely love the vibrancy of the orange.  20141102_143723

This is why I didn’t renew my gym membership. 20141102_143733

We ended up running 2.34 miles today. Although that is satisfying, I want to start doing at least 3 miles every time we are out. I know we can do it because we have accomplished that goal twice now.

Here are a few more pictures from the Greenbelt . . .

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I’m in love

For a week now, I have been staring out my office window wishing I was hiking the trails at Bays Mountain instead of being stuck at my desk working. The  stunning fall colors were constantly catching my attention with the curtains drawn causing me to drift away from the work before me.

The outdoors were calling me . . . .

Instead of wishing I was there, today I decided to make it happen. It was a perfect day to step away from the four walls of my office and breathe in some of that fresh air.

I’m so glad I did.

With Jason working nonstop, Lucy and I went for a hike, just the two of us.

A morning that started off in the 30s warmed up to be an absolutely gorgeous day with the temperatures climbing into the 60s. There was not a cloud in the sky.

The layers I dressed in before leaving the house, slowly were removed as Lucy and I made our way around the Lakeside Trail. We ended up hiking 3.43 miles with an elevation change from 1,673 feet to 2,053 feet.

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I love this trail during the fall months. The trees are stunning, especially when the water is calm and you can see the reflection of the beautiful fall colors.

IMG_2489Today there was a slight breeze. Well to be honest, there was a good wind at times. As the wind picked up, it began raining leaves, which spooked Lucy just a little.

IMG_2560My thoughts constantly wandered as Lucy led the way around the lake. For starters, I was proud of myself for actually going out for a hike. Jason received a free pass to Bays Mountain a couple of weeks ago that he gave to me. I was holding onto the pass because I wanted to go for a hike with him. But, with him working two jobs he’s always tired. So, today was the day, he wanted to rest, and I wanted to play.

It was really an invigorating feeling to go, just Lucy and I.

As those thoughts came and went, I began to think about yesterday.

Friday I drove to Jonesborough to interview the executive director of the International Storytelling Center for an article I was writing for the Herald & Tribune. An interview that left me smiling. That interview inspired me even more to write a book, to become a true published author. The interview also may have possibly opened another door for me. Kiran asked me to send him my resume and some writing clips. I’m very excited to see where it all takes me.

That thought sent positive energy circulating through my body at a rapid speed as I looked at Lucy in front of me clearly enjoying our adventure outdoors.

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Life with a dog is incredible. Life with Lucy is completely fulfilling. This little 9 month old puppy is my little best friend, my exercising partner and often times the one who makes me smile.

As my mind cleared, the scenery became even more vibrant, more attracting, more enticing. I could not get enough of all the vibrant hues that surrounded the trail.

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IMG_2550Honestly, how could you not be on a natural high when taking in this kind of beauty?

The trail was stunning and more times than not covered in leaves creating a crunch as we made our way along.

IMG_2522Lucy was such a good sport today. When you get her going on the trails, she has one thing on her mind, “must keep going.” Lucy is really good about staying on the trail and walking at a good speed. But, with a camera in hand, she was asked to “stop” on more than one occasion.

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I took almost 100 pictures today.

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Instead of trying to take pictures with the leash still on . . . she had some freedom at one spot along the trail. So, what did she do, stop and pose 🙂

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My little beauty.

After we finished the trail, we headed over to the manmade waterfall.

IMG_2563And then continued to walk down the trail where we sat and listened to the water.

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IMG_2582It was an absolutely perfect couple of hours.

I’m in love with the fall colors. The colors are so much more vibrant this year than last year, my first year of experiencing the seasons as an adult.

I keep juggling which season I like more . . . the fall or the spring. Right now the fall is definitely my favorite season.

Fun in the leaves

A couple of months ago I saw a post on Facebook of a dog sitting in leaves that really caught my attention. Now that we have a backyard with tons of colorful fall leaves, I had to give it a try with Lucy.

So, our photo session began . . .

Although I have some good ones showcasing Lucy’s personality, I want to try it again when Jason is home to help. I also received a tip from a fellow photographer friend of how to enhance the color of the leaves,which I definitely want to do while Lucy is laying in the pile.

IMG_2471There was definitely a huge difference with her tip!

It was in no way shape or form an easy task, but Lucy and I had fun. I used sticks, acorns and even treats to try to get her to sit still, which of course only worked about a third of the time. It was fun nonetheless . . . as Lucy jumped to grab the leaves, acorns and sticks. It was really cute to see her reaction as I threw leaves on her back . . .

Here are just a few, yes a few, of the many pictures I took of this sweet puppy having fun in the leaves.

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20141020_125144-1The last picture is now my screen saver. This picture tells her story, she absolutely loves chewing on sticks.

 

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.

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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!!

 

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.