Independence

Independence

You learn a great deal about yourself while living alone. You find an inner strength you may not have known was there. You find reasons to smile when your better half is hundreds of miles away. You find ways to share your strength and love through the distance that is  temporarily separating you.

Twenty-five days ago a new chapter began for Jason and I. A chapter that brought him to Southwest Florida, while I remained here in NE Tennessee.

I have gone through a slew of emotions in that time period. Emotions that have ranged from happy to sad and everything in between. Those consuming emotions even led to a few break downs that I had to push myself through … which sometimes took too long to conquer.

The best part of those emotions is the love I have for this man has never wavered or been questioned. Jason’s love is what helps me through each and every day a part.

We have grown “heaps” in this time span. We have shown each other that the foundation we created cannot be rocked even in the trying times we are experiencing right now. Our communication has only strengthened. Yes, even through the countless hours we are both working to make ends meet to close this chapter.

The first night he was away I started something that I now look forward to doing every day. This new routine shows Jason that my spirits are soaring even through a couple hiccups. This new kind of sharing, I know helps him through his 15 hour days of work.

One of my favorite times of the day is at the end of Jason’s work day when my phone begins ringing. It’s his comforting tone, his reassurance that carries me through another day. It’s those simple, but yet powerful words “I love you” “I miss you” and “see you soon” that continue to give us both the strength we need.

The beauty of all of this is I have become extremely independent. A kind of independent I have never experienced before. An independence that is invigorating, empowering and incredibly satisfying.

I am proud to say that I have not been confined to my home while Jason is away. Independence.

I am proud to say my appetite that was pretty nonexistent at the beginning has resurfaced. I have dived into a new-found passion of finding new black bean recipes and making myself an incredibly delicious meal. Independence.

I have found the strength to carry on. To continue one of my found loves – running! Yes, although I bring Lucy with me, Independence.

Lucy and I have been venturing down to the Greenbelt quite often, which continues to help me sort through my thoughts, while keeping the positive energy flowing through every cell of my body.

Today we ran 3.78 miles. I’m proud of us for going this distance, especially since it was one of the hotter days since the awful cold winter months.

LUcy 2Whenever we are done with our run, I let Lucy explore and sniff an area on the Greenbelt. Often times it’s the same area.

Lucy 3She loves watching the ducks, which were quite active today. They were quacking, splashing and making all kinds of noises drawing Lucy in and keeping her attention.

Lucy 4 I have to admit the picture below is my favorite of today.

LucyThat oh so long tongue . . .

Signs of spring continue to surface all over Kingsport. It’s such a beautiful time of the year.

new life edit

flower editI know we are nearing the end of our time a part and a new countdown will begin soon. A countdown of when I can see Jason in person. A countdown when I can go running into his arms. A countdown of when we will be in the same space again.

I truly believe there is nothing we cannot accomplish as a couple, and as two separate individuals.

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.

20150315_113341 edit

20150315_113513 edit

20150315_113706 edit

20150315_113632 edit

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.

20150315_113444 edit

20150315_113454 edit

20150315_113522 edit

20150315_113546 edit

20150315_113730 edit

Lucy

 

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.

Passion intensified

My passion for running has hit a whole new level, thanks to my almost 5 month old puppy, Lucy, who has joined me on my exercise adventures.

I used to run outdoors in Arizona and every once in a while with my mom when the early Florida morning temperatures allowed for it.

But, I have to admit, the majority of my running has always been on a treadmill inside of a gym. My boyfriend has been encouraging me to hit the trails outside for quite a while. Although I said I would, I always ended up at the gym instead.

My turning point was when we brought Lucy home. Although she is just a puppy, I feel more comfortable running outside with her. I’m not alone anymore, I have her with me.

It’s truly inspiring for me to see just what my body can do when we start running. I’m reaching new goals, goals I struggle with when I’m on a treadmill staring at a television while listening to music.

Today, Lucy and I headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt again. This has become our go to place when Lucy and I exercise together. It’s such a nice path that follows a creek and for the most part is very shaded. The people we pass are always friendly and it is very dog friendly. The best part, it’s only a few minutes from where we live.

image

Once we walk onto the path, all I have to say is “ready” and Lucy takes off and starts to trot, which then eventually turns into a run. Although Lucy stopped and sniffed noses with a few much bigger dogs today, she doesn’t stop and try to get affection from everyone we pass. If she starts to slow down, the simple command “come on” gets her moving right alongside me again.

When I took Lucy on her first run early last week, we ran for .81 miles before she told me she was ready to rest. Today we went 1.43 miles before we stopped and rested. I’m very encouraged by this and very excited to see what this puppy is capable of as she gets older.

After we reach her stopping point, we find a bench and sit. Lucy always climbs on my lap and listens to the birds or watches the people pass by. By this point she’s tired and has no interest in chasing the birds or the people for that matter.

I love this time with her. Just the two of us soaking in nature and enjoying our quite time outdoors.

After our break we run the entire distance back to our starting point. When I feel myself slowing down, Lucy picks up her speed. I’m not quite sure if she knows I need that extra push, but it works every time.

It’s so easy running with her. She always stays to my left side at the same pace as my feet are moving. Well this is until we head back to the car, she starts moving a little faster.

Although we haven’t conquered her fear of riding in the car, she is getting so much better on the path.

This morning when I was getting ready for our run, she became a little hesitant and was a little standoffish. When I put Lucy’s harness on she began shaking. I’m not quite sure how to make her more comfortable, or even excited for that matter.

I’m happy to say that once we get in the car the shaking stops. When we arrive at our destination she becomes very excited. Even on our way home she’s fine, but by this point she’s quite exhausted.

I’m beyond excited that my passion for running has intensified again. I was starting to hit that brick wall with my gym routine.

It’s rejuvenating to run outdoors. All that fresh air does wonders for me.