Yep, it all became real

Today was the day . . . the day I went to Fleet Feet Sports to pick up my race pack.

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The excitement and nerves kicked in all at once as soon as I put the car in drive this morning. I was definitely proud to say the least, especially since I have been contemplating registering for a 5K since my birthday last December.

I cannot believe I am running in my first race tomorrow morning. Me, the girl who hated P.E. The girl who walked the straights and ran the curves of the high school track during P.E. class.

Wow, I have truly come full circle with my love of running. That is where the excitement comes into play.

The nerves, on the other hand, well, they are telling me “What the heck did you get yourself into?”

You see, when I registered a little more than a month ago for my first 5K race, Chase the Turkey, here in Kingsport, the weather was still nice, sunny, warm for the most part. Well things have drastically changed. The local news is forecasting snow in the morning. SNOW! What? This Florida girl is still getting used to walking around in the snow, much less running in it.

Leave it to me to register for my first 5K in the winter, ha!

Set all that aside, it was truly incredible to pick up my bib and long sleeve shirt. I am going to be running alongside other like minded people tomorrow, instead of me and my little puppy.

Yep, it all became real, as she handed me my goodies before leaving.

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IMG_2664My emotions, good of course, are every where today, as I set my mind to what tomorrow has in store for me. I hope to calm the nerves in time for the 8 a.m. race Thanksgiving morning and enjoy every mile to the finish line.

I have in essence been practicing for tomorrow since June when Lucy and I took up running on the Greenbelt. Before then it was running on the dreaded treadmill at the gym.

Tomorrow is going to be such a different atmosphere on a path I have not yet run. I definitely think the adrenaline will take care of my legs, instructing them to carry me through the 3.1 miles.

I’m truly excited!

I’m truly nervous!

It’s going to be an amazing way to jump start our first Thanksgiving, just the two of us. Monday night Jason and I made up the menu, yesterday and today I bought all the ingredients. Last year, we had Jason’s mom spend Thankgsiving with us. So, our first Thanksgiving in Tennessee is going to kick off with a bang!!

I’m so glad Jason will be there to cheer me on, that will calm some of the nerves, I hope!

Surpassed running goal

Saturday turned into another crummy day with barely any sun, which caused really cool temperatures, so our run was canceled yet again.

I have to admit it kind of put me in a funk. I wanted to be outdoors soaking up the sun, but we were stuck inside.

As the day went on, I still couldn’t kick the mood, so I began writing. Yes, writing, not writing articles or a blog, but beginning that story that I have been wanting to write for a few years now. The ideas just flowed out of me yesterday . . . probably because I am writing about my experience. It was fun picking the lead characters name. I’m excited to see where this story takes me.

Oct. 18, 2014

Oct. 18, 2014

Lucy of course was right by my side giving me the inspiration I needed. Hint . . . the story includes this puppy of mine.

As Lucy and I woke today, the sky was definitely overcast and it was rather cool, so we came back inside.

Lucy took a nap and I began reading before a conversation sparked between my mother and I. What started out as exchanges through text messages turned into a phone conversation of well over an hour.  A conversation with my mom always cheers me up. Best part was by the time we hung up, the sky turned crystal blue. No more clouds in the sky.

As I laced up my running shoes a new kind of excitement took hold. Lucy and I were going to a new portion of the Greenbelt today, one that is closer to where we live now. Although I absolutely love where we have been going, it was nice to change-up the scenery.

IMG_20141019_151037We headed to the area around the Boatyard Riverfront Park. A sign that read Kingsport Greenbelt directed me to a parking area off of Neatherland Inn Road.

Although this is not the first time I have been to this portion of the Greenbelt, it’s the first time I have run this path. It’s also the first time Lucy has gone that way. Jason and I went for a walk along this section of the path sometime last year.

We ran until we reached the end of the path. This was our resting spot for the day, around 1.43 miles.

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It was beautiful looking into the distance and seeing Bays Mountain in a slew of different fall colors.

IMG_20141019_144154Our run would not be complete on the Greenbelt if we did not spot at least one duck in the water or along the path.

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20141019_132858After we took a good break, we were off again heading in the direction we came. I’m so proud of Lucy, she’s such an awesome running partner. The few people and dogs we passed did not faze her at all. Her attention was straight ahead.

Instead of hearing the water and birds, today our music was a train running along the track adjacent to the path we were running on the other side of the street.

I’m not sure if it was the cooler temperatures, my car said it was in the mid 50s before we got out, or running a new path . . . but we ran our longest distance yet. The longest since I began tracking our exercise on a running app on my phone. Previously our longest run was 2.89 miles.

Last night before going to bed I gave myself a goal for our run today if the weather behaved. That goal was  to run at least 3 miles. I am happy to say we surpassed that goal. There is not a greater feeling than going beyond a goal. No better feeling.

We ran 3.13 miles!!!

Now that’s an awesome way to kick off another week. Best therapy in the world, putting on those shoes and heading out for a run.

Last week because of all the rain, we only ran three days for a total of 7.28 miles.

I’m hoping for a sunny week that will allow Lucy and I to run more!!

 

Off on the right foot

20140918_075643This morning finally started off on the right foot, yes, by that I mean a beautiful morning run.

Lucy and I began our day around 7 a.m. because of the phone interviews I had lined up for work this morning. When we arrived at the Kingsport Greenbelt the sun was slowly making its presence. It was stunning with the fog in the distance shielding some of the mountains from view. Poor Lucy, so eager to run towards the path was running back and forth as I tried to snap a few pictures of the breathtaking sky. I’m happy to say it didn’t turn out as blurry as I thought.

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This morning when I parked the car, it said it was 56 degrees outside. Yep, the coldest temperature Lucy and I have run in since we started a few months ago. Lucy definitely loves the cooler temperatures, she was going at a pretty steady, fast pace the entire time. We finished our 2.12 miles in almost a record time, with a little break for Lucy.

It felt great running with the cool air brushing against my face and my bare lower legs. The crisp morning air was a breath of fresh air, one that was truly needed after yesterday. I have discovered over the last few days that I have a pretty bad case of allergies. Scratchy throat, watery eyes, extreme headaches . . . completely not a fan of feeling this way, especially while trying to finish articles before deadline.

So, this morning as we were running my head was completely clear and my throat was scratch-less. Unfortunately after returning home it all started again. I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to run without any of those symptoms.

 

Chilly morning run

After taking two days off from running, Lucy and I headed back to our favorite place, the Kingsport Greenbelt for a late morning run.

It was rather chilly this morning with no sun shining through the clouds. Yesterday we didn’t run because it looked like it was going to start to rain at any moment. Today, I was going to take the chance. If it rained, so be it. It would just make us run faster. HA!

I put on one of Jason’s long sleeve shirts before we left and a pair of shorts. The good thing about the cooler temperature this morning was Lucy and  I ran a little further.

Today we didn’t stop and sit, but rather walked for a few minutes while Lucy sniffed in the grass. After a few minutes the magic word “ready” picked up our speed to running once again.

It was not crowded this morning. Maybe we went at the perfect time, or maybe people were questioning the weather too. It was nice having the path almost to ourself.

Nonetheless we ran 2.22 miles at an average speed of 4 miles an hour. The speed is what got me excited. We increased our speed.

My favorite part was during our cool down walk after we finished our run. Lucy led us to the ducks.

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I absolutely love this photo of her peaking around the tree spying on the ducks.

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We also spotted the geese, this time in the water. Last week we saw them walking towards the path.

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Before making it to the path.

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But today, they let both Lucy and I squat near them, as we watched them sit in the water.

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Another fantastic run with my little running partner. I’m still determined to run at least 12 miles this week. I hope the weather allows us.

Morning run

This morning when I woke, I had that itch, that itch to head to the Greenbelt for a run.

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Lucy and I haven’t been to the Greenbelt in a few days, due to her being sick on Friday, and well yesterday turned into a lazy day.

Last time we were at the pet store, Jason and I found some protein bars for dogs. Since they were only 99 cents, I decided to buy a few because according to the package it was perfect for dogs before they exercise. The bar is Purina Pro Plan.

Lucy’s eating habits have changed now that she’s getting older and sometimes she doesn’t eat breakfast until lunch time. With us running more than 2 miles at a time I want to make sure she is getting the right nutrition before we hit the path. So this morning I gave her less than a third of the bar about 30 minutes before we ran. She absolutely loved the taste of the bar and seemed to perform pretty well once we started running.

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We ran about 1.15 miles before we stopped. Lucy sniffed around a little before she wanted to sit on the bench. It wasn’t before too long that she was crying to get going again.

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The path is starting to become covered in an array of leaves, all a variety of different colors.

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It’s cute to watch Lucy trying to maneuver around the leaves that cover the path.

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We ran 2.34 miles this morning. It was a hot and sticky run, but it felt great as always.

The path was quite busy with bikers, walkers, runners and of course dogs.

Now for a short rant: I wish those who bring their dogs to the path had the well-being of other dogs in mind. It baffles me how some pet owners bring their dogs, who obviously don’t do well with others, to a highly populated area.

The other day as Lucy and I were running, a woman walking a boxer had to stop and step off to the grass while standing in front of her dog. A pair of poodles the day before also were not friendly. Lucy let out a high pitch bark as we ran past them. They were not on a short leash at all. Lucy, of course is on a short leash, so if I have to take control I can.

All I have to say is know your pet and what they are capable of or not doing to other animals. Don’t subject them to the possibility . . .

Lucy, once we start running could care less about other dogs, or people. She usually runs right next to my legs. Sometimes she’ll venture a little further from my side while still running to get closer to those passing, but still at a good distance from them. Squirrels, on the other hand, get her attention more than anything. We sprinted a short distance as she darted towards a squirrel running along the edge of the path towards another tree today.

There is nothing better than getting outdoors and exercising with my best little buddy.

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A week ago, I decided to freeze my membership at Snap Fitness until the end of October, and I have to say it was a great idea. I got into a funk and wasn’t going as much as I liked, so needless to say it was time to change my exercise routine up. 

Why not enjoy exercising outdoors while the weather is still nice?

I wake up every morning eager to tie my running shoes and hit the path. My favorite part is hearing how excited Lucy gets when we park in the parking lot of the Greenbelt. I can never gather everything fast enough. It warms my heart that Lucy becomes that excited.

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Lucy, my puppy and I, went running on the Kingsport Greenbelt 5 days this week for a total of 10.1 miles. (We also walked and hiked 5+ miles with Jason this week. Lucy and I only took one day off!! I have to admit I feel amazing!!)

Although we take the same route everyday, I absolutly love running outdoors instead of on a treadmill.

Whenever I ran at the gym I would have my earphones in listening to music. When Lucy and I go for a run, the music is never turned on. My music is the outdoors and the exchange of good morning to those who pass us. I really enjoy listening to the sounds of nature.

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I am beyond proud of Lucy and I! I absolutely love having this little 8 – month old puppy as an exercise budy!

Her stamina amazes me and her pace keeps me going while my legs start to get tired. The best part is she makes everyone smile as we pass them by.

10.1 miles, yippy!

My goal is to add another 2 miles next week to our total. I love setting exercise goals and surpassing them. Incredible feeling.

Fall is upon us

IMG_2317Wednesday was a perfect day. Jason had the day off and I was pretty much caught up with all of my writing, so we headed to Steele Creek Park for an afternoon outdoors.

Steele Creek Park is located at 4 Little Lane in Bristol, Tennessee. According to its website the park has more than 2,200 acres, with more than 24 miles of trails, and opened to the public in 1964. The park has a 52 acre lake, which on Wednesday was filld with a ton of ducks, geese, turtles and fish.

More information can be found at: http://www.bristoltn.org/166/Steele-Creek-Park

Although Lucy and I have been heading to the Kingsport Greenbelt daily for our morning runs, Jason and I haven’t had our time outdoors together in a while. So when he suggested we head to the park, I was game.

The only downfall, was my allergies were a little extreme that day . . . It wasn’t too hot until we were more than half way through the hike.

Jason and I have walked a good portion of the path around the lake at Steele Creek Park, but never the entire trail. Since we weren’t pressed for time, we decided to do some exploring and take the long way around the lake.

We were both surprised with what we found. The smooth, paved trail had changed.

IMG_2321As soon as we started walking the path, Jason spotted a sea of red across the lake. I instantly smiled, fall is upon us.

I remember last year Jason and I were so busy that we really did not have a chance to get out and experience the beginning of the changing of seasons. I was shocked to see, Aug. 27, the leaves were changing. It just seems a little early to me, especially compared to last year.

IMG_2326It was really pretty to see patches of the trees scattered with red leaves against a contrast of green. Some of the leaves still had shades of light green mixed in with red.

IMG_2327I love watching nature at work. It has been so much fun experiencing the change in seasons again.

IMG_2331As I was snapping picture after picture, Jason and Lucy kept walking the path until they found a bench to sit and wait until I was finished. I know I can get out of hand with stopping every few minutes because I want to capture that piece of beauty that caught my eye. Although the image was engraved in my memory, I want to have that image captured with my camera as well.

What better way to re-live a certain moment than by having a picture jog that memory?

IMG_2336So what did I do . . .  I stopped and took quite a few of pictures of Lucy and Jason sitting on the bench after I was done taking pictures of leaves.

IMG_2338This manmade waterfall is usually where we stop and start heading back to the car. But, if you keep following the trail and head towards the bridge it will take you to another trail that becomes a little more adventurous. Hence, why Jason, Lucy and I were the only ones on this trail.

IMG_2344Our walk turned into a hike. A hike that had changes in elevation along a narrow path. (According to an app on my phone, the elevation went from 1,492 feet to 2,065 feet, before it stopped recording our walk/hike.) For a good portion of the hike, Lucy led the way until Jason made his way to the front. At one point I took Lucy off the leash and let her trail Jason’s heals as he hiked.

IMG_2347Along this path we spotted more leaves changing, but this time shades of oranges made its presence instead of reds.

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IMG_2343We even spotted a few deer, which I wasn’t able to capture with my camera. It took me a while to find their white tails and by the time I gave Jason the camera they were already heading towards the ridge line.

We eventually made our way to the golf course and a bridge that took us to the opposite side of the lake.

IMG_2352We walked a good 5+ miles that day. It was definitely a walk that worked up a sweat.

IMG_2359Jason and I have been talking a lot about our move to Kingsport last May lately. I’m so glad we decided to make that move. Yes, things haven’t always been easy, but we found a love that is undeniable. That love . . . nature.