Extreme comfort

Due to my increased running miles, I finally treated myself to a new pair of shoes on Friday.

My Brooks have been amazing and have lasted a really long time, but were kind of overdue to be retired from the running paths. They carried me through some record-breaking distances and times . . . well to be honest they helped in forming this new passion of mine. Definitely a good pair of running shoes.

Yes, even though these were incredible shoes, I wanted to try a different brand, just to see if there was something better out there that would fit to my needs.

I tend to run a little flat-footed and wanted something that would give me the comfort I so desperately needed. I decided to try on a different brand, one that many of my friends and family already wear, Asics.

I went to three different stores to find that perfect match.

The first stop was unsuccessful and a little discouraging. I set myself a price range to stay under and I was determined not to go over that amount.

I kept positive and traveled to another store . . . which was worse than the first with the selection and the price tags.

The third store, well I had high hopes. If I didn’t find anything there I was going to head home and research different stores I could shop.

As I walked down the many aisles of shoes, I instantly found two that were within my price point and decent looking. I felt like a little girl on Christmas when I found my size in both shoes.

I tried on the Asics Gel-Excite 2 and my feet thanked me. The extreme comfort instantly sent a message from my feet to my brain . . . these were keepers.

20141109_130858I could not believe the amount of cushion these shoes offered. The best part about it all was they were on sale!

I was beaming after I left the store with a bag in my hand. I was super excited to try them out on the Greenbelt, especially since an email reminded me that I had 20 days left until my first 5K race.

Unfortunately Saturday was not the day to take these shoes for a test run. The sun never showed its presence and it was really cold.

Today, oh today, was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it wasn’t bitter cold.

Just as Jason came home for his break, Lucy and I were heading out the door for our afternoon run. Those few moments of seeing Jason gave me the extra jolt of adrenaline I needed . . . I absolutely love seeing Jason in the middle of the day. You ask why? Well because when he gives me a kiss goodbye and wishes me a good day I am still asleep in bed, since he leaves a few minutes before 5 a.m.

Lucy must have received her inspiration after seeing Jason . . . For the first time since we adopted this little pup, she followed me out the front door shake free and followed me to the car. On a typical day she hesitantly follows me out the door and remains by the door. Almost as if her feet were glued and she couldn’t move another inch. After I opened the car door, Lucy instantly jumped in and was ready to go! I can’t even explain how excited I was watching this all unfold in front of my very eyes. Lucy has been a nervous car rider since the day we adopted her. Maybe, oh maybe . . .

So, as Lucy became situated on my lap, we were off and I felt amazing. I had my new belt secured around my waist and my new shoes were laced up and ready to  hit the path.

There was such a world of difference running this afternoon. The impact of my foot hitting the pavement was not as intense. The cushioning was wonderful.

My legs on the other hand, even with two days off from running, had a mind of their own. Although we did not achieve the distance I wanted to achieve, Lucy and I made it to the Greenbelt and clocked the first 2.29 miles in my new shoes.

I have to admit the best part of the run was stretching once we returned home. My legs are extremely tight, so another round of stretching will happen once again before going to bed tonight.

Tomorrow, my goal is to run 2.5 miles.

Here are a few pictures from our cool down walk.

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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.

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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.

 

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. . .

 

More fall colors

After going out into nature yesterday, I got the bug, I wanted to go out again today and take more pictures of all the beautiful colors. (That’s the beautiful thing about freelance work, I can make my own schedule. The only downfall is when I get back from hikes like this, I don’t want to go back to work.)  Jason and I went back to the first place we visited when arriving in Kingsport in May, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport. I really enjoyed seeing all of the changes, our hike was gorgeous today.

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We decided to take the trail that circled the lake, about a 2.3 mile hike on the Lakeside Trail. I wanted to take some pictures of the trees with the reflection off of the lake. unfortunately I had no such luck, there was too much wind, making the water rather choppy.

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I’m happy with what I was able to capture, especially with the cloud coverage . . . and then the bright sun.  IMG_0749

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There were lots of places along the trail that had flashes of color in a sea of green.

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Always catches my attention!

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Last night it rained pretty hard, so there were even more leaves on the path. I could really smell fall this morning, the smell of leaves. There is nothing like that smell, it again brought me back to my childhood.

IMG_0702I picked up some more leaves today for my friend Dorene. I was so excited to see so many beautiful leaves at the rest area in Virginia last weekend, I didn’t think it all the way through. By the time we made it to Maryland the leaves were already drying and the corners were shriveled. So as soon as we hit the path today, my hands became full again. I gathered more than a dozen leaves and brought them straight into the house, so I can flatten them and send them off. It was exciting choosing the right ones, sharing a piece of our new home with a friend.

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The picture above is one of my favorites, the vibrancy of the colors were amazing on the trail today. Yesterday it was the red leaves that caught my attention, today it was the bright yellow and orange.

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IMG_0740How can you not like the fall, when you see colors like this? Breathtaking!

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I like when I saw the red and yellow leaves together, incredible.

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Before leaving the trail we saw a beehive and what looks like some holly.  IMG_0730

This is the road leading into the park. Jason and I kept saying we couldn’t wait to see some of the roads we traveled when visiting the waterfalls when the leaves began to change. The sight was more incredible than I could have imagined.  IMG_0765

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IMG_0769Like I said yesterday, fall is my favorite season so far. Well now that I am completely relaxed, I better get back to writing.

The leaves are changing colors

Jason took me to the Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield, Virginia this morning, a much needed break from all of my freelance writing and editing.

It was time to get out of the house and see the outdoors after two straight days of being stuck in my office, especially since we started noticing that the leaves were finally changing in our area.

It’s breathtaking to see how the leaves go from a lush, beautiful green, to so many different hues.

IMG_0616Although some of the trees were beautiful, others were already bare.

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IMG_0643I love the hues of reds stuck in the middle of all the other colors, it definitely pops.

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I’m in awe, such a beautiful time of the year.

IMG_0628As we were walking the different trails, I had to stop every couple of minutes, so I could capture more of the colors.

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IMG_0630So far, I think the fall is definitely my favorite season. Every time we go outside the scenery becomes more beautiful.

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The tunnel was also pretty neat to see, especially with the train tracks running through.

IMG_0676According to information on a sign at the Natural Tunnel, “The South Atlantic and Ohio Railroad began laying tracks through Natural Tunnel in 1882, connecting Bristol, Tennessee, with the coalfields of southwestern Virginia.” It eventually became known as the Natural Tunnel Route when it was taken over in 1899 by the Virginia and southwestern railroad. Today, the tracks carry about 10 trains a day to ship coal from mines in southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

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IMG_0680The tunnel is 850 feet long and 100 feet high inside.

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IMG_0682Too bad we didn’t see a train go through when we were there.

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The reds are beautiful.  IMG_0639

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I loved the path and the stairs . . .  all full of leaves.

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Such a beautiful path.  IMG_0668

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The two pictures below are my favorite from today. IMG_0654Now I want to go for some hikes on the trails we found when we moved to the area.

I could only imagine how beautiful they are now.

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This last picture is for one of my fellow bloggers (Running To Her Dreams) . . . I finally found a heart!  IMG_0689

Now I can begin working again and knock out some more articles and editing. I feel refreshed from walking around in our 60 degree weather smelling the fall leaves.

Hopefully tomorrow we can go capture some more beauty at a different park before the trees all become bare.

Fall colors

When Jason and I first started talking about moving to Tennessee, I remember thinking, oh I can’t wait for the fall! I have so many great memories from living on the farm in Illinois playing in the leaves.

This past weekend we drove to Maryland to see my younger brother and his family who just moved to the area. The drive was gorgous, the trees had so many beautiful hues. I said “wow” on more than one occasion as I was looking out the window taking in the beautiful scenery. I just couldn’t get enough of all the leaves.

The farther north we drove the prettier the trees became. We eventually stopped at a rest area in Virginia, a stop with so many beautiful trees. As Jason was looking at the map to figure out the rest of the trip, I took my camera, put on a jacket and walked around the grounds snapping away.

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My favorite tree . . . the colors were magnificiant.

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The more I walked around the more I got to thinking, oh this would be the perfect place to pick up some leaves for my good friend Dorene and her kids.

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So now I’m walking around with a ton of leaves in my hand, which are now frozen, and my camera trying to take a few more pictures before Jason came looking for me.

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Of course on the way back from Maryland we stopped at another rest area in Virginia and I was able to capture even more colors.

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I am in love with the fall colors. I find myself looking at the scenery around me more and more everytime I leave the house.