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.

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.

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.

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.

Me time

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I’m finally returning to my routine, which means my days are filled with a little me time.

This past month, well more than a month, has been a little tricky for me to get away and go to the gym.

Once you get yourself into a routine, one that you truly enjoy, it’s a hard habit to break. Because of my healthy “habit,” if you will, I had to put more focus on it again.

So far it’s been a success . . . . 

For the past three days I made myself a priority and headed to my favorite place and got some running, weight training and either the elliptical or bike riding into my slotted “me time.”

My me time has been put on the back burner because of Lucy.

This is where my guilt comes into play. I know she’s a dog, but it breaks my heart knowing she has such a hard time of being alone.

She’s starting to pick up on my routine. She knows when I put my running shoes on and grab my purse it means she’s staying home.

When I take her out one last time before I leave she doesn’t go, but follows me and constantly tries to get my attention. Today she began shaking outside, one of her favorite places to be.

Yesterday and today she started to run out of our bedroom when I sit on the bed close to her crate. She knows.

I’ve done everything possible to help her conquer this fear, but so far nothing is working.

When I finally get her to come to me at the foot of the bed,  she’s shaking like a leaf. It breaks my heart that this poor puppy has such anxiety when she knows I’m leaving.

I try and console her before putting her in her crate, but it doesnt help, the crying begins as soon as I walk out of the room.

I put a few treats in her Kong, hoping that would keep her busy, but of course she’s not interested because she’s watching me leave. (When I returned I found all three treats in her crate out of her Kong not. She loves these treats. I was shocked.)

With that said, leaving and getting in my workout has done wonders for my mood today and yesterday. Today I ran my fastest mile in a long time. It felt good to pick up my speed. I also rode a longer distance in the same 30-minute bike ride I typically do.

I left the gym with a huge smile on my face. I walked out a new person ready for my day. I absolutely love the therapy a good workout provides for me.

I love having a gym membership. I love walking through the doors, putting my ear phones in and going about my workout with no interruptions.

Yes, going to the gym on a regular basis was something missing out of my equation. A very important missing factor.

Now the challenge is getting Lucy to enjoy that small fraction of time away from me, while I indulge in a little me time.

Clarity

Life sometimes can throw you curve balls and send you on a winding road that is hard to navigate.

The outcome of your destination is completely up to you.

Things for me have been a little stressful lately and it’s been somewhat of a struggle to juggle everything.

It hit me hard yesterday. It became crystal clear that something needs to change when I went to the gym to relieve some stress and I walked out the door not feeling any better. This was an eye opener. The gym is my get away,  my piece of mind, my clarity.

My thoughts were muddy, a little scattered.

I came home and started working and was pleasantly interrupted by a phone call. My mom was calling.

As soon as we started talking, I let it all out. It’s amazing how much I really needed to get stuff off my chest. That’s the beauty of talking to mom. Everything is revealed, everything is laid out on the table. My shoulders became a little less tense and a smile and laughter filled the room.

Two-hours later we finally said our goodbyes.

This conversation of course made me miss family. We are going on 13 months since leaving Florida.

When I moved to Arizona, I was able to visit home at least every six months. At the end of every semester at Arizona State University, I was packing my bags and heading to the airport.

Things are different now.

The difference is, I haven’t had that overwhelming urge to leave, to get away from the life I am now leading.

That just goes to show I’m in a much better scenerio, a much better relationship now. I havent wanted to flee . . .

For the first time in my life, my home is where the love of my life is. My home is where Jason and I are.

I still want to head back to Fort Myers, not to go “home,” but to visit friends and family. I hope we can make a trip back south soon.

After mom and I hung up, I started to work again. Although I felt better, my thoughts were still a little scattered.

So, I put Lucy’s collar on and we headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt. We both obviously needed to be outdoors.

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As Lucy led the way, it became easier to get a hold of my thoughts. I began to smile as her trot became a full run.

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My life changed pretty drastically after we adopted this little pup in April. She has had such an impact on my life.

It’s true there really is a special connection with a dog.

I absolutely love having her with me all day, but my life has changed.

My routine . . . .

My gym time has been cut back immensely because of her fear and anxiety of being alone. We still haven’t conquered her “okay” of being in a crate while I’m gone. So, I have a hard time leaving her home alone.

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While we were out on our walk, well run a good portion of the time, Lucy made me smile. I became carefree, living in the moment. Her excitment for the  outdoors, well it was a breath of fresh air. The breath I needed.

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After more than two-miles we decided to head back home.

Those thoughts that I thought were sorted out became jumbled again. As Jason and I talked later that night, well rather early this morning, it all came out again. He has a way of making me look at things in a new light. He makes me dig deep and calls me out when I give him an answer he knows not to be the full truth. We got down to the nitty gritty, the solution of what has been hanging over my head. That solution of course didn’t come without a bag full of emotions.

We finally made our way upstairs.

This man means the absolute world to me. The love, unconditional love he has shown me, takes my breath away. He loves me regardless of my faults. He loves me for me. It’s apparent he will do anything and everything in his power to make sure I’m okay. To make me smile, laugh and get the most out of this life we are sharing.

I woke up smiling this morning. I have refocused my energy and thoughts,  thanks to my mom, my forever companion Lucy and Jason.

My mom starts to break down my walls as best as she can over the phone, while Jason jumps in her spot and  completely destroys them.

I am grateful that I have two such wonderful, caring, loving people in my life. Jason and mom work as a team without even knowing it to get me to better grounds.

So as the new day unfolds,  Lucy and I are going to part ways for a few hours while I take another shot at the gym today. Yesterday I bought her a kong to help keep her busy while I’m away. I hope it works.

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Laughter

Today was really needed, past due if you will.

Jason has been working nonstop and I seem to always have something to write or edit. Our schedules have been busy with only a little bit of time to spend together. That time is usually at the end of the day when we are both exhausted.

So, today was Jason’s first day off since we drove to Maryland for my nephews birthday party. After doing an interview early this afternoon for work, Jason asked if I wanted to go out to lunch. It’s been a long time since we treated ourselves. A long time since it was just the two of us out and about enjoying each others company.

As soon as we sat down at our old favorite place, one we frequented often in Fort Myers for a drink, wings or a burger, the laughter instantly began. Our waitress was laughing with us. That’s the thing about Jason you never know what he’s going to say.  I won’t lie, sometimes my jaw drops before the laughter begins.

I love how Jason makes me laugh. How he keeps a smile on my face. The mood is always light, always stress free, which is something I need from time to time.

This is the first time we have visited this restaurant of ours in Kingsport. After our experience, I’m sure we will return.

Today reminded me why I have grown to love having nothing planned ahead of time. Yes, I have grown to love this quality about him. I’m a planner, so it was hard to get used to.

Yesterday while I was at the gym he called and asked if I wanted to go hiking. This of course was not in the plans, and, my first reaction was no thank you. He chose to make plans to go hiking the day I worked out my legs and did the elliptical, ran and rode the bike.

My decision of course changed.

The hike was quite honestly difficult once we started because of the intensity of my workout. Because of this it was the first hike I got cranky. My frustration got the best of me because the soreness was already starting. But it got us out of the house and out in the woods. Out in the cool, often times really cold temperatures with Lucy by our side.
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I’m glad we went. I’m glad we got to see one of our favorite waterfalls once again. Laurel Falls.
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Throughout our lunch today we were both laughing. Old memories were brought up and new memories were made. It’s moments like these I treasure the most. It’s the simplest of gestures.  The smile,  the touch, the kindness that speaks volumes to me. It’s Jason knowing when we need to go out to lunch and have some time together.

The best part is the laughter continued when we got home. I love having Jason home for this reason. Our home comes alive, it comes alive with laughter and good times.

I cherish what we have together. I don’t know what I would do without him. He truly is my life, such an important part of my life. The best thing that ever happened to me.

I’m so glad we got to spend quality time together. Days like today rejuvenate me for what the week has in store for me.

I truly found the best man for me. He’s a keeper for sure.