First 5K in the books!

This morning started off kind of rocky as my nerves completely took hold of me and would not let go.

Although my alarm was set for 6:15, I woke up for the first time at 4:30 and every 30 minutes or so thereafter.

Anxious was an understatement. I was afraid my alarm was not going to wake me up. I was nervous about my first race.

You would think my nerves would settle a little when I took Lucy outside this morning and saw there was no snow on the ground. Yesterday the meteorologists were predicting a 70 percent chance of snow this morning.

It was, on the other hand, quite wet from the rain. Nonetheless, with overcast skies it was in the 30s and bitter cold.

I’m so thankful Jason and I went to the store yesterday and picked up an Under Armour sweatshirt and beanie hat for me to wear today. It’s amazing how warm those two items kept me.

Before walking out the door to go to the race, I put on two more layers of clothes. Good thinking on Jason’s part. Considering how cold it was this morning, with all the layers and having my entire head covered including my ears, I was as comfortable as I was going to get.

We arrived at Meadowview Convention Center 10 minutes before the race started to a slew of people in the parking lot. Before Jason dropped me off, he turned on his MP3 player and made sure the sound was just right before I stepped out of the car, yes still a bag of nerves.

Last night after I went to bed, he set up his MP3 player with music he knew would keep me moving – a mixture of some Sevendust, Nonpoint, Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat. He could not have put together a better playlist if he tried.

So, as I walked into the middle of the crowd that gathered my nerves slowly diminished as the cold began kissing my face making my knees shake. This was from the pure cold, no longer the nerves.

I cannot fully put into words what kind of feeling consumed me at that moment. I was standing in the mix of runners; I was minutes away from starting my first race. I was so proud of myself for taking on this challenge by myself. Although I was running it by myself, it was comforting to know that Jason was in the crowd cheering me on, waiting for me to cross the finish line.

The 5th annual Chase the Turkey was definitely a family affair. Everywhere I looked a couple was standing shoulder to shoulder, parents and their youngsters standing in a circle, or a group of friends laughing amongst their small crowd.

I smiled at that moment; I was making my own memory by myself, which was so incredibly empowering. So incredibly gratifying. So incredibly independent. That alone was a huge undertaking for me. Years ago I would never have thought I could do something like that on my own.

Before the race began the organizer spoke and said they had 700 people registered for the race. I now cannot remember from how many different states, but it was impressive. It was good to hear that Chase the Turkey has grown every year. He was saying that last year the course had a lot of ice. This year there were a good amount of puddles, which I could handle.

Before the race began a prayer was shared by one of the local pastors and the song “Amazing Grace” came streaming through the speakers. By this point the nerves had completely disappeared and the excitement washed over my entire body. I was ready; oh I was so ready to start running.

All at once I was in the middle of a human stampede. As the lines of people picked up their feet and began running, it was like a domino effect as everyone behind them did the same thing. Eventually the fast runners made their way to the front of the line and everyone went into their own stride from the parking lot of Meadowview Convention Center to Meadowview Parkway.

Although there were people all around me, I was in my own little world. I was running to the beat of the music. I followed the hundreds of people before me as we made our way down the parkway to the stop light at Wilcox Drive. The cold completely diminished as the excitement heightened again as I rounded the median of Meadowview Parkway in the direction we just came.

I felt as if I had a good speed, I was not becoming tired.

After leaving the parkway I took a few strides on the grass before my feet hit the pavement of the golf course. The pathway went under the parkway up a little hill and then around a bend before hitting a straightaway back towards Wilcox Drive.

As some of the other runners came to a stop to walk, I maneuvered around them and kept my stride as the music filled my ears. I made it past the 2 mile marker and kept running smiling on the inside. You got this. The path along this stretch had puddles that everyone ran around. Unfortunately this was not the case the entire way to the finish line.

I made it a good 2.5 miles before the hills got the best of my legs. I stopped and walked as fast as I could until I reached the point where I told myself to pick my legs up and keep running. So, I was off again . . . this is when some of the puddles reaching the length of the path came into view detouring everyone into the grass.

Of course my foot hit a puddle and one foot instantly became cold as the water soaked through my shoe and sock.

At this point it started to drizzle a little, but I was still warm with my new running gear!

I got this . . . until another hill kicked my butt and my pace came to a fast walk again. The spot in the near distance that I chose to start running was a lot shorter this time before my speed picked up again. It helped that one of my favorite songs blared into my ears. (I’m thinking now when I run with my puppy Lucy music is going to be added to the exercise again. I love how it motivates you.)

I’m happy to say after this I ran all the way to the finish line. Yes, even with a pretty steep incline before making my way to the Meadowview parking lot again.

Shortly after climbing that hill, Jason came into view. I was so excited to see him . . . I knew the finish line was close by.

This part of the race was such an incredible feeling. I started to hear music other than my own and people cheering as the finish line arch way came into view. It was an invigorating feeling when I rounded that last curve, I was about to finish my first 5K.

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When I crossed the finish line . . . wow! Words cannot describe that feeling at all.

When I saw Jason walking closer I couldn’t contain my excitement. I could feel my face light up as a smile spread, Jason capturing the moment as he walked closer.

I did it. My first 5K is in the books.

I cannot wait to sign up for another 5K. That was such an incredible experience. Incredible experience. Now I know what I need to work on. Now I have a time to shoot for and pass.

According to the State of Franklin Track Club I was 17 out of 26 in my age category with a time of 34:42. Overall I came in 366th place out of 594 finishers.

I am proud of that time!

Wow, talk about a runners high!!

It was the perfect way to kick off Thanksgiving! A perfect way to jump start a day with the love of my life.

That high continued throughout the day, as Jason and I prepared our Thanksgiving feast together at home.

I truly have so much to be thankful for . . .

Picture perfect running day

This morning I could not get myself out of bed, especially with the cooler temperatures keeping me under the blankets. I had a certain time frame to get myself going before I had to get ready for an American flag donation ceremony in Jonesborough. Sadly, I could not get motivated fast enough, so my run was skipped.

After returning from Jonesborough and sending two finished articles to my editor, the motivation was back. It was easy to get in the right mind frame when there was a beautiful blue sky, without a cloud in sight, hanging over us.

I’ve had the opportunity to go for a run every other day this week because of the rain that keeps impacting NE Tennessee. Yesterday a glimpse of the sun teased us for a little while before it hid again casting rather cool temperatures.

I was in desperate need of that run today, especially with the small breakdown I had yesterday because of my work load. Well, just the overall stress of working in the journalism world.

20141017_150557So this afternoon with temperatures in the 70s, a slight wind and blue skies, my puppy and I went to our go to place, the Kingsport Greenbelt. Today we were able to head in the opposite direction because the path was dry. This route always graces us with a successful distance, a further running distance.

Once again, it was Lucy and my farthest distance so far this week. We ran 2.68 miles.

I started my app at 2:47 p.m. this afternoon. Although I’m more of a morning exerciser, this afternoon was picture perfect running weather. Both Lucy and I were comfortable temperature wise the entire run.

Yes, I keep an eye on her while we run to make sure she’s okay, although she always gets my attention when she is in need of a break or to slow down.

The gentle breeze kissed our skin at all the right times today. I didn’t have to roll up my sleeves until after we stopped for a short break in the middle of our run. I still give Lucy a break, after all she is still a puppy. Maybe after Jan. 21 when she turns 1, things will change.

It’s hard to believe we have been running partners since May. We’ve been pretty consistent with our distance. We usually go anywhere between 2.20 to 3 miles a day. Not too bad, I think.

20141017_151039Although Lucy began panting towards the end of our run, her pace was the fastest so far this week. She wasn’t just jogging, she was running her cute little trot.

Thanks to the squirrels, we sprinted quite a bit as well. They were teasing her, standing near the edge of the path not moving until we were almost side by side. With a little bit of encouragement . .  . “Come On” we kept our pace going.

20141017_150707I found it interesting that this section of the path wasn’t as vibrant as the other in terms of the fall foliage. Today from the PetSmart parking lot we headed right, instead of left. There were sections along the path that had hints of red, orange and yellow leaves scattered.

20141017_152115I absolutely love taking in my surroundings, which again today calmed me down and made me forget the headaches I dealt with yesterday.

Once again running worked its magic . . . .

I’m hoping tomorrow we will see another sunny day, so Lucy and I can get our fourth day of running in this week.

Lucy helped us achieve a new distance

I’m still in shock of how far Lucy and I ran this morning on the Kingsport Greenbelt.

This little puppy of mine had a mission as soon as we stepped onto the path. Well,  that mission went full speed after we passed the first few people.

The first woman we passed, Lucy was eager to get her attention, so I was forced to stop.

This woman said “you’re too young to be running, do you want to come home with me?” I of course smiled, said “have a good day” and told Lucy “come on.”

Only if she knew. Oh my gosh, only if that woman knew.

Yep, Lucy picked up the speed and we were off again.

It sometimes makes me wonder what these people are thinking when they see Lucy and I running. Yes, she is still a puppy, but she seems to be enjoying herself. Heck, she runs around our place, so why not give her a “endless” path, if you will, to let go of some of that energy.

I’ve always said I would not have a dog unless I had a backyard to give it. Well this wonderful puppy adopted us when she showed up on our doorstep, yes, without that backyard I have dreamt about for my dog.

It’s only fair I take her someplace to get exercise, some good long exercise. Although we are outside quite often when we are home, I still feel it’s important to allow her to walk and run.

I love that Lucy enjoys our runs as much as I do. Everytime I look down to make sure we are traveling at a speed she can handle, she is looking straight ahead trotting along. When her attention changes and she looks up at me, I know she’s getting tired.

Since she’s only 5 months old we stop midway through our run. Today as we neared our usual stopping point right next to a little waterfall in a dense area of trees her pace slowed. When I began walking she walked over to the bench and jumped up. As soon as I sat she crawled on my lap.

She was tired. She should be. We were traveling at a good speed.

On our way back she really kept me moving today. I slowed down to a walk half way to our “finishing line,” which Lucy only allowed for three or four steps before she started running to get me moving again. I smiled, this puppy was on a mission, a mission to get us to our “finish line.” I love that Lucy helps in motivating me. She helps me keep going when I don’t feel like my legs can take much more.

Lucy helped us achieve 3.61 miles.

We ran 3.61 miles.

Are you kidding me? This is only the second week of us running together and we are already achieving this! 

This wonderful puppy helped me run my furthest outdoor distance to date!

Tomorrow I’m going to give this little puppy a break and hopefully head to the gym. I’m really excited to see how far she takes me next time.

Lucy is the perfect,  absolute perfect match for me. I’m so glad she showed up at our door step in April.

Home away from home

On average I travel to my home away from home four or five times a week. I have to admit I feel a little lost when I do not get in ny car and drive towards Snap Fitness in Kingsport.

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Snap Fitness Kingsport

My day does not feel complete without the gym. It’s true, working out becomes a way of life, becomes an obsession, becomes second nature. I know I’ve said this a million times before, but it’s my stress reliever, it’s my me time, my breath of fresh air when the stress becomes too much.

Today for the majority of my workout I had the entire gym to myself, which I won’t lie, I absolutely loved. I definitely got lost in my music a little more than usual as the tunes streamed through Pandora and into my ears. Shuffle mode kept all the right music flowing today. Although I was looking at the flat screen in front of me,  I couldn’t tell you what I was watching. Today’s workout completely cleansed my soul …

More times than not people start going to the gym because they want to improve their body. Yes, that was true for me at the beginning, but now it’s more to keep me going. Yes, I would love to continue to make some improvements. But, I try not to get upset when I don’t see the instant or gradual improvements. It’s just motivation to do a little more the next time I walk through the doors.

Today, instead of running I did 5 miles on the elliptical and about 7 miles on the bike, with some weight exercises in-between. Oh, the stretching felt wonderful after today’s line-up.

So, after I left I treated myself to a delicious smoothie when I got home. It was a tasty, filling post workout snack.

The best part about the gym, is every day is a new day, which only allows you to push yourself a little more, as well as set new goals.