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

 

Blanket of white

Blanket of white

20150218_164759 editI’ve been pretty fortunate this winter . . .

Well, that all changed when the temperatures plummeted and a blanket of ice and snow-covered the area.

There are certain temperatures that I just won’t brave the elements and go for a run. When you add a layer of ice and snow to the mix, I hang my running shoes up.

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I’m okay if a couple of days go by without going for a run, as long as I go at least three times a week.

Unfortunately our wintry mix has left me indoors. My last run was Feb. 10 . . .

The need to hit the Greenbelt took hold with a fierce grip yesterday. My body desperately needs its outlet to wash away the stress of everyday life. My body needs the blast of fresh air while my feet hit the pavement carrying me through much-needed miles.

I miss my “me” time. I miss letting it all go while running and taking in the scenery.

Yesterday in an effort to kick my winter blues, I asked Jason to stop by the Kingsport Greenbelt, so I could take a look.

The walk, which was not a long one because of the cold, was just a tease. I felt like I was home when Jason parked the car and I saw the sign for the Kingsport Greenbelt.

It was breathtaking to see snow covering the path and the outskirts of the creek. It was, however, quite cold as the gust of wind rushed across our face.

20150218_164820 editAs we walked a little down the path our feet stepped on a layer of ice that was beneath a layer of snow. Definitely not ideal running conditions. Definitely not safe running conditions.

In an effort to release some of what has been bottled up inside for more than a week, I breathed in the crisp air and looked, really looked at my surroundings.

Here are a few more pictures of what I was able to capture with my cell phone before the temperatures got to be too cold to bear.

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Hopefully the single digits will disappear soon taking the severe wind chills with it, so I can go back to my weekly routine. I have learned through this dry spell of running, that exercise is extremely important!

With all that said . . . .

My next 5K race is Saturday, Feb. 28, a little more than a week away. I sure hope the temperatures improve, or that is going to be one brutally cold race.

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.

The life of two

The life of two

Ten-months ago my life forever changed when a little lost and scarred puppy captured my heart. I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

Lucy has been such a blessing, an incredible addition to our little family.

January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015

It’s true, the love and compassion from a dog is like no other. I have received so much comfort and pure happiness from this little nine-pound dog over the past several months.

Every day, Lucy does something that has both Jason and I laughing uncontrollably. The way she plays, sits and stares at you with those beautiful calming eyes, or her cute little quirks, always puts a smile on my face.

The time we spend together away from the house, or even in the backyard, are by far my favorite. Lucy has such an incredible amount of energy that unfolds as soon as you take her off her leash in the backyard. The explosion of speed is hilarious to watch.

January 10, 2015

January 10, 2015

This little puppy has helped in giving me the confidence to go running the Greenbelt path, both with her and now on my own. There’s a certain kind of comfort you feel knowing a dog is with you, no matter how small. She helped in carrying us to new distances while both of us enjoyed the fresh outdoor air. Now, when I know I want to run longer distances, I put on my running gear and head to the Greenbelt.

Lucy has also helped me appreciate the outdoors on yet another level. That appreciation becomes wrapped up in her excitement as soon as we reach a familiar place, the parking lot and then the path. Her curiosity always makes me smile.

When she was three-months old, Lucy also got the taste of going hiking for the first time. She was eager to lead us along the path and find new smells at the bottom of a waterfall that kept her entertained for quite some time.

This little puppy of mine . . .

We are inseparable during the day, yes the beauty of working from home. Lucy always has me within view. In other words, she is either cuddled behind my desk chair, or on my lap snuggled in a ball.

My recent trip to Fort Myers was the first time we were a part since we officially adopted her. The welcome home I received left me speechless with a big ol goofy smile on my face.

There was one point when I sat on the couch and she was instantly on my chest looking me straight in the eye. We both fell asleep on the couch after our reunion. Lucy laid across my neck daring me to leave as we both fell deep asleep.

I love the time we share together. I love how affectionate she is and how eager she is to be in my presence. My favorite part of the day is when we both relax at the end of the night with her cuddled on my lap.

Jason told me the other night that Lucy will never forget that I saved her, which is why she always has to be close by. That comment almost sparked a stream of tears. I think we saved each other. She filled a gap I didn’t know existed.

Although I do not know her history, according to the vet, she will turn a year old on Jan. 21.

I will leave you with this . . . an excerpt from the book I began writing late last year . . .


Jocelyn woke to Oliver’s worried voice asking for her help one brisk Monday morning.

After slowly yawning off the grogginess, she reluctantly climbed out of bed and put on a sweatshirt before heading downstairs to meet Oliver  on the  front porch.

She had no idea the life of two was going to change that day.


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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Keeps going

This morning Lucy woke up with a ton of energy. She was already sprinting through the house before 9 a.m.

Her routine has definitely changed over the past week or so. Typically, we go outside first thing in the morning, so she can go to the bathroom, before she comes darting through the front door straight to her food bowl. After demolishing her food, Lucy would find her bed and take a two to three-hour nap.

Well that window has now changed, that quite time for me to dive into my writing for the day, no longer exists. Now, she’s quite active in the morning. Yep, no nap.

This morning as Jason was getting ready for work, she was having her crazy time, running as fast as she could with her butt nearing the ground from room to room. So, I decided to put on my exercise clothes, running shoes and hit the Kingsport Greenbelt.

We went for a walk on the Greenbelt on Monday. Although we ran a little, it was mostly walking at a brisk pace. Today I decided to see how much this puppy could do, of course watching to make sure she was okay the entire time.

When we parked at the Greenbelt, Lucy started to become excited and the crying began. Yep, she knew exactly where she was. I couldn’t get my stuff together fast enough for her, she was ready to hit the ground running.

As soon as we made it to the path, I put her down and she lead the way. We ran for .87 miles before she slowed down and started to walk. I know she needs a break when she runs and starts walking up my leg at the same time, or starts looking up at me. So I slowed down and before I knew it we were on our way once again. At about 1.07 miles we stopped, so she could rest. That’s a lot of running for a puppy and I didn’t want to over push her. So we sat on a bench while we both listened to the creek and birds chirping.
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After a little while, we were up and moving once again. On our way back to the car, we barely stopped. We were done before I knew it.

Today my app told me we ran 98 percent of the 2.93 miles, which was 5,200 steps and 256 calories.

I’ve been saying for the past year that I need to go down to the Greenbelt and start running outdoors. Well, it wasn’t until this little puppy came into our lives that it became a reality. I absolutely love running outdoors in the fresh air. My legs take me a longer distance then when I’m at the gym.

Running provides such great therapy! Oh my gosh, I’m still on a running high and I’ve been home for more than an hour.

My mission has been accomplished. Lucy is sound asleep. Now I can get some writing done!

I can’t wait to head back to the Greenbelt early tomorrow for another run with this amazing little puppy of mine.

 

 

Our New Year’s Eve walk

This afternoon Jason and I went for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt into the downtown area. It was a cold, but a really nice way to spend a few hours together outdoors.

IMG_0869It definitely looked different this time of the year. With that said, there is still a sense of beauty in the trees that no longer bares any leaves.

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As we were walking the squirrels were going nuts, chasing each other from branch to branch, up and down the trees and across the sidewalk. It was impossible to get a picture of them. They sensed when I was ready to push the button.

IMG_0865We made a stop along the trail and I took some pictures of this tree. The red really caught my attention.

IMG_0867And the blue sky . . . it has been so dreary the last couple of days. Wow, look at that cloudless sky.

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After walking the Greenbelt for a while we detoured and followed a few sidewalks into downtown Kingsport. Jason and I have talked about taking this walk since we arrived, so what did we do, wait until it was in the 30’s to take the walk. At times it felt like our jeans were frozen to our legs, our noses were going to fall off and are hands were becoming numb.

I love spending this quality time with Jason. It was nice being outdoors, just the two of us exploring our home.

After looking through many business windows, walking into the library, our stomachs began to cry in hunger, so we made our way back to the car.

A trip on the Greenbelt wouldn’t be complete without running into these guys . . . today they didn’t hiss at us, which was a nice change.

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IMG_0875This afternoon was absolutely perfect. A perfect way to end an incredible year together.