Achieved a new distance

Achieved a new distance

I no longer look outside and hope for clear skies and warm weather . . . now I just put layer upon layer on and go for a run.

Today we were blessed with clear skies and temperatures climbing to 46 degrees. Half way through our run I had to take my sweatshirt off and tie it around my waist. It’s crazy how my body is finally getting accustomed to the cooler temperatures. I was worried that the colder winter weather would keep me indoors this year. But, so far I have been pretty fortunate.

I’m so glad because last year I really experienced cabin fever. I’m determined not to feel that way again this year. Our runs have definitely helped so far.

It’s been kind of neat. I’ve experienced the summer, fall and winter months on the Greenbelt so far. There are far less people on the Greenbelt during the winter months, which I won’t lie is kind of nice.

Saturday morning I ran for the first time in 20 degree weather and surprisingly it wasn’t too bad. I left Lucy home for this run.

I’m so thankful we invested in some new running gear. It has truly been a lifesaver since my race Thanksgiving morning. Yesterday I bought some gloves, the only thing I found to be missing during that crisp run. My body warmed after 2 miles, but my fingers were still a little cold.

After a productive morning of writing, interviewing people and turning two articles in, Lucy and I took advantage of the beautiful day. We of course headed to our favorite place, the Kingsport Greenbelt.

Although Jason’s wonderful mix of music kept us moving today, my thoughts drifted to eight years ago when I walked across the stage at Arizona State University. I cannot believe it’s already been eight years since I graduated, since I finished that chapter in my life.

The career I choose, journalism, has been the perfect fit for me. I’ve worked with some great editors over the years, some of which have taught me a ton about my profession.

It’s exciting to think where my career can still take me.

That chapter, although was a rollercoaster more times than not, was an experience that helped me grow as a person and as a writer. I am beyond grateful that my mom was always a phone call away. Even with more than 2,200 miles separating us, I honestly could not have done it without her amazing support. She was definitely my rock during school and after when the true job searching began.

As those thoughts consumed me, we achieved our longest distance to-date. We ran 4.03 miles with an average speed of 4.5 mph and a maximum speed of 9.2 mph.

WOW.

WOW.

My legs carried me to a new personal best.

I used to think two miles was a great achievement.

Now I’m shooting for 4.5 miles . . . .

We passed our starting point, continued past our typical stopping point at the foot of a bridge and kept going. We kept going until the path curved on the Greenbelt and we slowed our pace to a walk.

This was Lucy’s opportunity to explore. She’s becoming a little more adventurous, making her way closer and closer to the water. I of course took advantage and took some photographs.

Greenbelt 121514 2

Greenbelt 121514 4

Greenbelt 121514 3

Greenbelt 121514

As soon as we finished our run and I saw our distance, I instantly became excited about the next time we make it to the Greenbelt. It’s true, whatever you put your mind to you can achieve.

 

 

Finally a day of running

The weather has been the absolute pits all week-long with rain every day since Tuesday. I could not tell you the last time we actually had some sun.

Even though the sky was gray and showed no sign of the sun making its way through the darkness, there was no rain. I was in desperate need of a run, especially since the last day we made our way to the path was Monday.

I could tell Lucy needed some exercise too. She’s been stuck in the house a lot lately because the yard is really wet, with some standing puddles. She’s not a huge fan of getting her paws wet. Although, she is getting better about going outside in a drizzle to go to the bathroom.

So I bundled up and hoped for the best. No rain!

I was discouraged by the distance Lucy and I accomplished Monday and was determined to have a better run today.

I am very proud of us . . . we made it 2.78 miles with no stopping. Well, we had to stop at one point because the path was flooded, as well as the grass next to the path on both sides. We both tip toed through the mess and then picked up the speed again.

Jason helped me plot out where my turn around point was on the Greenbelt to accomplish 3 miles. Next time we go for a run, that point will be matched!

I gave Lucy the full  length of the leash today, so she could run at her speed and I could go at mine. We started off on a shorter leash, but she was pulling way too much. She was really excited to be outside.

It was adorable watching Lucy scoot around the puddles. Little short stuff was a mess when we were done running. Her belly was full of dirt that splattered during the run.

I’m glad it was just the two of us using the Greenbelt for 90 percent of our run today.

I’m already looking for the next 5K to run, which is one of the reasons why I want to further my distance. I was really proud of finishing my first race on Thanksgiving . . . but I want to run another without any stopping!

I told myself I would wait to register for another race in the spring when the temperatures warm up. But, the day after my first race I began looking for another one. I think I found the next one!

So, after our long run this afternoon, Lucy and I went for a longer cool down walk than normal. I of course took some pictures while she was exploring without her leash attached.

Cloudy, overcast days are the best days to go for a run because it’s rare we come across anyone else.

20141205_135200

20141205_133923

20141205_133954

20141205_133959

20141205_134546

20141205_134548

20141205_134617

20141205_134626

20141205_134631I love spending time with this puppy of mine, especially when we are out in nature!

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.

20141102_143705

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 . . .

20141102_144306

20141102_144433

 

Morning run

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

wpid-20140907_101101.jpg

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.

wpid-20140907_101524.jpg

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.

wpid-img_20140907_111257.jpg

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

wpid-20140907_101459.jpg

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

wpid-20140907_102947.jpg

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.

Good ending

Yesterday was nuts.

Well, let’s rewind, it all started the night before around 11 p.m.

Jason and I were snuggled close on the couch when Leo appeared and laid with us. This is the first time he has laid with me since we brought our puppy home.

Well things changed drastically after this.

Out cat Leo, who we have had since 2010, started to get sick. This of course happens from time to time with hairballs, but never to this extent. He kept throwing up, to the point where it was just stomach vile.

With deep concern, we all finally went to sleep hoping for the best after the vomiting subsided. As we all got situated in bed, yes Jason and I are accompanied by our puppy Lucy and other cat Kimber, every night, I spotted Leo laying on the ground between the wall and our bed. I’ve never seen him lay here before.

I scratched a few of his favorite spots and then put a blanket next to him on the floor.

I soon fell asleep to the quite breathing of Jason next to me.

Lucy woke me up early yesterday morning, 5:45. This is unusual for her. So, we went outside, so she could go, came back in and she had breakfast.

After Jason left for work, Leo jumped in my lap and cuddled close. Ever since we got Lucy in April he hasn’t snuggled with me. I enjoyed every minute, well until Lucy wanted to take his spot.

As soon as he jumped down, Leo started getting sick again. This kept on going on and off until around 11:30 yesterday morning.

My concern deepened with my heart heavy. Leo was exhausted by this point. He finally settled down and fell asleep.

After talking to Jason, I made an appointment at Banfield,  the same place we take Lucy. Unfortunately we couldn’t get him in until 3:15 that afternoon. I was so worried, I could barely concentrate on my work.

Jason came home on his break and helped me take Leo to the vet. I love this man so much for coming all the way home. My emotions were frazzled by this point and I didn’t want to take Leo by myself, especially without a cat carrier.

So after waiting a while after we got there, the vet finally saw him. She said he looked really good and without some extensive testing she wouldn’t know for sure, but it might have just been a rather large hairball that he was struggling to get rid of.

With both of us fearing the worst,  this was good news. Jason drove Leo home as I paid the bill and made another appointment for him.

Words cannot describe how much that meant to me. Jason works a good 40-45 minutes away from home. When I told him thank you, his simple response was “that’s what I do.” I love this man so much.

After he left to go back to work, Leo started acting a little more like himself. He even ate some food. Since I knew there wasn’t anything major wrong with him, I finally left the house with Lucy in tow.

I had to get rid of the stress of the day and give some one-on-one time to Lucy. So we went to our favorite place the Kingsport Greenbelt. It felt so good to be outdoors for an evening run.

Shortly after we starting running, we came to a stop when I saw four deer crossing the path a little ways before us. How cool is that? I love spotting animals in nature. I of course tried to take a picture, but with a puppy that doesn’t sit still it came out rather blurry.

wpid-20140607_192209.jpg

We kept going, until Lucy spotted our favorite place. This is where we stopped and took a break.

After some exploring, we were on the path once again heading back to our starting point.

We ran 2.48 miles going from 1147 in elevation to 1236.

This run was exactly what I needed, what we needed. So, feeling satisfied, we drove back home to wait for Jason to come home from work.

Yesterday shined some light on our relationship once again. There’s not anything this man won’t do for me and all of our pets. How did I get so lucky?  I’m so glad our paths crossed again.

I’m happy to say Leo never got sick again after returning home from the vet. He’s been talking up a storm today.

Oh, our life is back to normal.

Now to get some writing done, so I can hopefully go to the gym this afternoon.

Exercise buddy

Instead of heading to the gym and putting Lucy in her crate, I decided to take her and I out for some exercise.

Although I absolutely love going to the gym, exercising while breathing in that fresh air beats the stale smell of a gym any day.

We headed down to the Kingsport Greenbelt. The path was popular today. There were many walkers, runners and bicyclist also taking advantage of the beautiful sunny, 80 degree weather.

As soon as we parked, Lucy started to cry with excitment. Of course that made me smile, she was just as happy as me to be outdoors.

As we got moving, I decided to turn on an app on my phone, my new GalaxyS5. It’s called S Health. It provides the options of tracking your walking, running, cycling and hiking.

I wanted to see just how far our trip was today. (5,748 steps, 2.93 miles and 194 calories) I was pretty excited to see our numbers when we were finished.

Instead of heading left down the path, I decided to take this pup in the other direction.

image

I love the Greenbelt. Although usually busy by other active individuals, it’s a quite path.

Occassional chains clicking on a bicylce while an individual yells “to your left,” feet hitting the pavement as they walk and run by, birds chirping up above in the lush green trees, leaves swaying as they catch in the wind and ducks quaking in the water that calmly rushes over rocks, are the typcial sounds that fill the space.

image

How could you not like traveling this path?

Today on the other hand we were greeted by this . . . not a huge fan.

image

I spotted the snake before Lucy and squealed, which then got her attention. It caught me off guard. I’m so glad no one was around at that moment.

image

Lucy, almost 5 months old, is an amazing exercise buddy, especially on the way back to the car. She had me moving at a brisk pace while I was walking and even faster when we ran.

image

Yep, I’ll say it again. I’m so glad we adopted Lucy. She is such a great companion.

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.
image
I’m glad we went. I’m glad we got to see one of our favorite waterfalls once again. Laurel Falls.
image
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.