Hopefully routine will stick

Hopefully routine will stick

I felt alive this morning as Lucy and I headed out the door shortly after 6 a.m. to go for a morning run, something we have failed to do for way too many weeks. This morning I was reminded why I need to stick with this running routine of mine.

I was spoiled for two years. I had the opportunity to walk away from my work whenever my heart desired because I worked from the comfort of my own home as a freelance journalist. Since we were living in NE Tennessee at the time, it was not crucial to go running first thing in the morning to beat the heat. We usually went mid-morning to  mid-afternoon when the temperatures were comfortable to run in .

Now I am faced with a new challenge . . . beating the Florida heat, which means going super early in the morning before the sun becomes too intense.

As of June 8, my freedom became no longer as I started my full-time job as the editor of The Islander. I will be completely honest, it has been extremely difficult putting myself on a schedule that included both exercising and giving myself enough time to complete my work without being at the office for all hours of the day and night.

With Jason and I working completely different schedules, I stay up later than I should to spend some time with him, which makes it hard to get up super early the next morning.

So, setting all my excuses aside, Lucy and I went for a 3-mile run last night around 6 p.m. The sky was overcast and there was a breeze, so I thought why not, let’s go for a run. Lucy took off at full speed as soon as we rounded our corner, which became almost a crawl by the time we finished our 3-miles. The run was sticky and buggy, which was a new experience for me. When we got home I had bugs stuck to my arms, shirt and in other places that surprised me. It was gross running through windows of bugs, but I was determined, so we kept on going.

I felt energized in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. I know running is my outlet. I know running is what clears my head. So, this feeling of energy was welcomed with open arms even when the exhaustion hit.

With the motivation in full swing, I got out of bed before 6 a.m. this morning so I could put some more miles on these running shoes of mine that are still brand new. I figured I would head out by myself this morning to give Lucy some rest after last night’s run. When she saw me putting on my running shoes, she went running into the bedroom and laid in bed with Jason. So, I continued to get everything ready. I unlocked the door and this little puppy reappeared at my feet eager to go with me. After putting her harness on she was ready whining because I was not opening the door fast enough.

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Our run started in the dark and ended with a beautiful sunrise painting the Florida sky an array of oranges. It was by far the perfect way to start a Monday. I was thankful I dragged myself out of bed and started a routine that will hopefully stick.

I’m pretty proud of Lucy and I. In two days, we have ran 5.39 miles after taking 13 days off.

Maybe I needed to take some time off to fully appreciate running again. I know both Lucy and I need that 30-minutes or so workout.

Since we are now starting a new month, I am determined to go running at least four or five times a week like I used to in Tennessee. Time to get this body back into shape!

More than a mile increase

More than a mile increase

The dark gray clouds broke away and the blue sky made its presence today. It was truly a beautiful sight to see, a blue sky with an occasional white cloud in the sky. That has definitely been a rarity here lately.  20150116_140254

After interviewing the general manager of the Barbara B. Man Performing Arts Hall this morning, my motivation struck full force. I had no excuses today, the clouds were gone and the temperatures were in the high 30s.

Time to lace up those running shoes. . .

I invited Lucy, my puppy, to come along with me for my run, but she was hesitant, so I left her home yet again. She hasn’t been out on the Greenbelt with me for almost two weeks now.

I have to admit I’ve been enjoying my alone time out on the Greenbelt. My distances have been longer, which might be because I’m not worrying about pushing her too far. With that said, I miss having Lucy with me.

When I got home, we went outside and played in the backyard for a little while. Yeah for big backyards!! She took off running in her little circles, so she was happy. She got some exercise, but not the miles she has been used to when she joins me for my runs.

IMG_20150116_152414Back to my time on the Greenbelt. I started off with gloves on and a sweatshirt over a long-sleeve and short-sleeved shirt. It was a good 2.5 miles into the run I had to shed the sweatshirt and the gloves. Yep, the temperatures were climbing into the high 30s! I did slow down until a fast walk as I took the sweatshirt off, the whole 10 steps before I was off running again.

I was able to run further along the Greenbelt in one direction because the path was not iced over. That was the deciding factor. I was determined to run further than I did earlier this week. It was my sign . . . push those legs to a new distance.

It worked . . . I surpassed my longest running distance by 1.04 miles.

I ran 5.56 miles today. Only if someone was there to witness the smile that spread across my face when I looked at the app on my phone. My last distance was 4.52 miles.

I’m thinking that 10K might just be possible before the end of the year.

When I finished the run, I spotted an egret, which made me smile again because it reminded me of Fort Myers.

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A thought from today . . . I think it may be time to buy a Garmin to track the miles I run. I love the app on my phone . . . but I’m always questioning it.

Bitter cold and gloomy

Bitter cold and gloomy

This is my second year experiencing the winter months in Tennessee and I have to admit I still have not become used to the bitter cold and gloomy days.

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It’s a love, hate type of relationship. I love living in a state that has four seasons, but I hate how the sun disappears for months at a time during the winter.

I miss the sunshine. I miss not having to put layer upon layer on before heading outside. Most of all, I miss wearing flip-flops where ever I go. Yep, I blame that on Florida. It was rare you would find me in any other shoes but sandals.

It’s only the third week of January. Still quite a few days left until the spring arrives.

I tell Jason all the time, the cold temperatures would not be that bad if we had something to show for it, like snow. We have not had any snow on the ground so far this winter.

The good thing about this winter is the temperatures haven’t been all that bad. Well until January hit. Although I can handle cooler temperatures this year, my body still has not accepted temperatures 20 degrees and below quite yet.

I remember having major cabin fever last winter. I won’t say I was depressed by any means, but my mood was all over the place because of the dreary days. Jason and I went from constantly being outside – walking, hiking – to being stuck indoors.

This year, in an effort to nip those feelings in the butt, I have taken to exercising outside. It helps that I have a puppy now that needs to go outside every few hours.

I quit going to the gym in September because I fell in love with running outdoors. I no longer liked being stuck within the confinement of gym walls.

Weather permitting, I have gone for a run at least two or three times a week since the cold winter temperatures began. Some of those runs were in temperatures I never thought I would attempt.

With all of that said, I am having a hard time getting motivated to face the bitter cold dreary days to go for a run. It’s kind of discouraging because I achieved a new distance on Sunday.

Every morning I have woke with the excitement of going for a run, surpassing my latest distance, but then walking outside slowly diminishes that thought.

I hope the motivation returns tomorrow. I know that fresh air, even cold air, will do me some good after a hectic week of writing and meeting deadlines.

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow” . . . .

New best running distance!

New best running distance!

Since the temperatures started to climb into the high 40’s, I went to my favorite place with a goal in mind.

A running goal . . .

Yesterday was my off day from running, so my legs felt good as my feet initially met the pavement. I was ready to set some new personal records today.

Jason’s playlist started streaming into my ears, setting the mood. As soon as I hit play the rest of the world vanished. It was just me, my thoughts and the path ahead of me.

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It’s been awfully cold this past week with temperatures dipping into the teens and 20’s. With the wind, it felt even colder. One day the newscast said the wind chill had the possibility of reaching -15. Yep, running conditions I wasn’t too fond of, which meant quite a few days off. There is still a little Florida left in me.

I ran one day last week when the temperatures were in the 20’s, with wind. More than half of the time the wind was to my face. I was not a fan. It was challenging to keep going, but somehow my legs carried me on to put some more miles on my shoes. My body was warm that day due to the numerous layers. My hands were toasty, thanks to my gloves, and so was my head because of my beanie hat. My face, on the other hand, never warmed.

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The photo above is of Reedy Creek, which runs alongside the Kingsport Greenbelt. Just a glimpse of how cold it really was that day. I was pretty proud of myself for heading out for a run, even though it was cold.

Today, however, there were smaller clusters of ice attached to tree trunks alongside the creek, and inside the creek.

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I ran to my normal stopping point before heading back in the direction where I started today. The difference, however, was how far I ran in the other direction. My legs felt good and my body was warm, so I kept going.

After reaching another typical turning point, I kept going. I was thrilled.

I finally turned around and kept running towards my starting point. Once I hit that point, I gave myself another stopping point. This is where I finally called it quits for the day.

I knew I had run further, but didn’t know how far until I took my phone out of my running belt.

4.52 miles!

Wow!

My previous running distance was 4.03 miles.

I found my passion. That passion, lacing up my running shoes and seeing what my body is capable of achieving.

4.52 miles . . . that, I have to say was incredible therapy!

I’m happy to say I signed up for my next 5K race at the end of February in Downtown Kingsport. I am beyond excited for this race. Now that I know I can run more than 3.1 miles, it’s now all about how much I can beat my last running time.wpid-img_20150111_154632.jpg

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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!!