Embrace them

Embrace them

Today marks the third day since Jason left for Florida.

Emotions can be a tricky thing from time to time. Sometimes they are easy to keep in check, while other times they leave me feeling completely paralyzed.

Yesterday started off great . . . I talked to Jason on the phone shortly after we both woke, and I had plenty of work lined up to keep me busy.

Unfortunately as the afternoon progressed, my emotions rapidly raced out of control. Before I knew it, my chest began to hurt, the tears started streaming and I couldn’t budge. No matter what I tried, who I talked to, I was an emotional mess.

The work that I should have been doing quickly became an after thought as my mind became cloudier as the minutes passed.

Text messages from Jason slowly got me out of my mindset. A phone call before he went to bed helped even more.

So, last night after I finally forced some food into my stomach and watched one of my favorite shows, the tears stopped, the smile slowly surfaced.

Today I woke up exhausted from the emotions that took hold yesterday. The exhaustion was also because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since Jason left.

It’s so hard being away from your best friend, your one true love. The hardest part of it all is not knowing exactly when he will return.

We are creatures of habit. Creatures of routines.

I’ve come to love receiving a goodbye kiss while hearing have a good day from Jason before leaving for work. I got used to him popping in throughout the day when he had a minute, which was always a highlight of my day. I have fallen in love with having him home at night, while we enjoy dinner together, watching our favorite shows.

Our routine changed drastically over the last few days. Although we hear from each other often, phone calls and text messages, it’s not the same as having that person right there in front of you.

But, our new routine quickly shook off some of the groggyness when I was greeted with my good morning text today. After our phone call, I was determined to keep my emotions in check and have a good day.

Tomorrow it’s going to be another challenge to overcome. Jason starts working at one of the jobs he was offered. Yes, I’m ecstatic because that means we are one step closer for him coming to get me. Unfortunately, this means he’s going to be super busy and our communication won’t be as frequent.

The events of today . . .

I started my work day and got a lot accomplished before taking a break for a trip to the grocery store.

My stomach growled. My stomach was actually telling me to eat. This alone was huge. So I listened.

I made a grocery list of a few new recipes I found on Pinterest and headed out the door. I treated myself to a burrito, which I actually finished. I was stuffed for the first time since before Jason left.

The positive momentum carried on throughout the day.

My good friend of more than 15 years called me today to check up on me, which completely made my day. It was so good to hear a familiar voice. It was so good to hear from a friend that I have known for years.

Shortly after we finished our conversation I received a surprise message from another friend who I have known forever.

It’s those types of out of the blue calls and messages from friends that kept my spirits lifted today.

Sometime after 6 p.m. a ray of sunlight came bursting through my office window. For the majority of the day I could not see Bays Mountain in the distance because of the cloud coverage and the rain.

I didn’t think twice. I saved everything I was working on, and headed into the living room to put on my shoes. I changed Lucy’s collar and we were out the door.

I needed a breath of fresh air. I needed to keep my thoughts clear. I needed to keep my great day going.

We headed to our normal spot on the Greenbelt, only to find a sign stating it was closed. The beauty of the Greenbelt is there are lots of different entry points throughout Kingsport.

We headed to the Boatyard portion of the Greenbelt. I’m so glad I decided to go for a walk with Lucy tonight. The temperatures were in the 60s, and although it was still somewhat cloudy, it was exactly what I needed.

We walked a little more than 2 miles. Well, Lucy ran as I speed walked behind her trying to keep up.

The sunset was absolutely stunning. I took more than 40 pictures tonight . . .

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Today was a beautiful day.

I proved to myself that I am strong enough to make this time a part work. I showed myself that I can keep my emotions in check, while getting important things accomplished. While enjoying this “me” time.

Emotions are a tricky thing. Emotions are a good thing.  I’m slowly learning how to embrace them, while still keeping them in check.

I finished . . .

I finished . . .

Today was the big day, the day of my second 5K race.

I woke up feeling good, nerves free and excited to tackle my second race. I’m happy to say I was granted my wish . . .  completely blue skies with temperatures climbing into the 40s by the time the 12 p.m. race began. Although there was sunshine, snow still lined the streets that took us the 3.1 miles. It was pretty running with a blanket of white surrounding us.

Jason took off for work around 8 a.m. kissing me good bye, wishing me good luck and telling me to have fun. After watching him drive away and Lucy letting me know she was ready to go back inside, I felt completely relaxed. I had about 3 hours to kill before I had to get ready. I had some breakfast, and well, I put on my running gear because I was so excited.

The hours started to tick away, leaving only minutes until I had to get everything together. I am happy to say the nerves were still gone. I got Jason’s MP3 player ready with the playlist he made me for my first 5K and then finished putting the last layer of clothing on, before putting on my running belt, and was out the door with a smile on my face.

Today I had to drive myself to the race because Jason was working. It felt good to make that drive. It felt good to be independent. I arrived at the Renaissance Arts Center  and Theatre just a few minutes later and found a parking spot. As I climbed out of the car I saw some of the runners stretching, others doing short sprints getting their bodies ready for the race.

I checked my phone one last time before I zipped my running belt close to after the race. I had a good luck message from my mom. I was ready.

There were only 63 runners for the KingsportARTS Paint the Town 5k. The runners ranged in age from youngsters to older men and women. There was even a cute puppy that joined its owner in the race. (I wish I knew, I would have brought Lucy with me. She definitely would have helped with the outcome.)

The same feeling consumed me. The same feeling of “you did this by yourself, be proud.” I stood amongst friends chatting with each other and family members getting each other ready for the race.

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I stood behind a few rows of people from the starting line. After a brief message from the organizer of the race, the countdown began for the race to begin.

As the clock struck 12, the runners in front of me picked up their feet and before I knew it I was doing the same thing.

I don’t know if it was the excitement that I was finally running or the adrenaline you get when you’re around other runners, but my speed was pretty fast as we started running on Yadkin Street on the left side of the Renaissance Arts Center and Theatre. I started to slow down my speed once we turned onto Oak Street. As I rounded Forest Street I felt as if I had my stride in check. It must have been a pretty slow stride because a lot of other runners were passing me.

With that said, I felt good. I was outdoors, the sun was shining and I was listening to some great music.

As we made our way to Myrtle Street my body was telling me to slow down. I slowed down to my first walk of the race.

The 17 days of not running caught up with me. The 4 to 5 miles my body got used to running on a weekly basis was no longer the case. I had to listen to my body. I picked my speed back up and then got hit with a hill on Catawba Street and got slowed down to a walk once again.

By this point I was giving myself pep talks.

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I managed to pick up my speed once again and ran almost the entire distance of Center Street before my body couldn’t take the hill anymore.

The route took us along the same roads until we hit Oak Street to make our way back to the beginning point on Yadkin Street.

Unfortunately Oak Street was where I had a mishap. The cop who was standing at this point was talking to someone and didn’t see me go by to direct me down this street instead of continuing along the same route we took the lap before. Fortunately I had a feeling something was wrong and decided to turn around. I rounded the corner onto Oak Street and saw the finish line in the distance.

I crossed the finish line two minutes past my first race’s time. I was hoping I would beat my last time.

Today’s race had its ups and downs. I was frustrated and a little disappointed by the time the race was over. After I grabbed some water and a banana I looked at my phone and saw a message from Jason nine minutes before the race began “Good luck baby, I love you.” That made me smile before I shared “Well good news is I finished.” His response, “All that matters.”

After I left and returned home I became emotional. I became emotional because I know what I am capable of and I didn’t meet my own expectations . . . to finish the race without any walking.

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Nearly all runners know the voice in their heads that tells them to back off when the going gets tough. Part of training is to help you get better at ignoring this voice and continuing to push even though the voice gets louder and louder as you get more and more fatigued . . . Don’t hope that the race feels easy. Expect it to be hard and know that you’re going to have to repeatedly challenge yourself to ignore the voice in your head that wants you to slow down.

After talking with Jason later this afternoon it really hit home when he told me how proud he was of me.

Bottom line, I ran in a race today. Yes it wasn’t a pretty race. Yes I struggled more than I like to admit. But I finished the race 34th out of 63, 15th out of 36 overall female and 7th out of 12 in my age group for women.

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The lesson learned today . . . even if it’s a 5K you still need to train. The bigger lesson . . . I’m not ready to run races in the winter. A very unpredictable winter. A winter that started off manageable turned into a frigid cold February. The only thing that kept me from training for 17 days was the bitter cold, below freezing temperatures, and the snow and ice on the ground. When you no longer have a gym membership to run on the treadmill you rely on the forecast for outdoor running.

With that said, I ran today despite the long time of no training.

The good news . . . Jason lifted my spirits. His words made me cry, yes the good tears. Then later today text messages back and forth from my mom started the water works again. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own thoughts and listen to other people’s words. Words you were telling yourself, but having a hard time believing.

We definitely are our own worst critics. But once we get out of our thoughts, it’s amazing how much positive energy runs through your body again.

I’m happy to say I have already found my next race, a race in May. Yes, May when I know the temperatures should be bearable and the training should be limitless.

Today’s experience did not detour me, but gave me the determination to run another one.

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Our little puppy turned a year old today.

Lucy and I woke lazily this morning long after the sun rose. My thoughts instantly became clouded as I came to with a million little things running through my mind. Those thoughts were the same that consumed me the night before.

Lucy helped put a smile on my face erasing them all for a few minutes.

As I began to stretch my legs, Lucy woke and slowly walked alongside my body showing her nose at the top of our sheets. This little black nose poked out before she fell into my body, curled close, ready for some affection. Lucy dug her nose into my neck, as I scratched her belly for a few moments.

We eventually dragged ourselves out of bed, so we could both go to the bathroom.

The sun was shinning and the temperatures were cool, promising a beautiful day. After Lucy finished doing her business, we came inside, so she could go back to sleep, and I could begin my work day.

As the day progressed, I started to knock a few things off my list . . . feeling a little better, feeling a little less overwhelmed.

After bringing Jason some Gatorade, I knew it was time to completely clear my thoughts and grab a hold of the day. I instantly thought what better way to achieve that then to bring Lucy with me to keep me smiling the entire distance.

I got ready, put Lucy’s running collar on, and we headed to the car. As we neared the Greenbelt, Lucy’s whimpering filled the space. She started walking circles in my lap after siting too long waiting for the light to change. The whimpering increased as we turned onto Lucy’s favorite road, the one that takes us to the Greenbelt.

The whimpering changed into full-blown crying as soon as we parked. I could not get my stuff together fast enough for this little girl.

Lucy was an absolute delight today as we ran mile after mile. She did not pull once. Lucy ran either a little ahead of me, or right alongside me in the grass as my feet hit the pavement.

I pushed her to her newest distance. She is such a little rock star. My little nine+pound, 1-year old puppy, ran 5.24 miles with me today!! What a little trooper. Her previous longest distance was 4.03 miles.

I think she needed the fresh air as much as I did. I know the hour we spent outside completely cleared my thoughts.

As soon as we were done with our cool down walk, we walked to Petsmart, so I could treat her on her birthday. She made friends with everyone she encountered, as they sang how cute she was.

Lucy loved her birthday bone. I’ve never seen her eat a treat so fast. She even warned the cats to keep their distance as she chewed every piece.

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Once again, Lucy helped improve my mood. Helped put a smile on my face as I watched her little legs running in front of me.

She changed my life on April 7, 2014, when she appeared at our doorstep.

Happy 1st Birthday my sweet puppy.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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How could you not like traveling this path?

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

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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.

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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.

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

So much joy

It’s hard to believe a little puppy can bring so much joy to my life. She’s the best little companion.

This past month Lucy has completely changed my life. How a puppy only 15 to 16 weeks old can do that is beyond me.

Every once in a while I still think about her life before us.

Where did she come from? Who was her owner before? What kind of owner was he or she? The one that always repeats itself is how can someone dump this little precious puppy?

Lucy has the sweetest personality.  I couldn’t fathom just dropping her off some where letting her fend for herself.

Those thoughts always bring me back to, thank goodness Jason was outside when he was.

The first time I looked at Lucy it was over,  she captured my heart. 

The best thing about this little pup is the constant affection she shares. Sometimes just the adorable look she gives me puts a smile on my face, making me release some of the stress that seems to build.

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My routine has completely changed since we brought her home. Now Lucy and I are up between 6:45 to 7:30 every morning. The way she wakes me up always puts a smile on my face. This is huge because I’ve been known not to be a morning person.

Lucy is incredibly affectionate first thing in the cutest ways.

Today we woke up when Jason’s alarm went off and did our morning routine. We went outside so she could go to the bathroom. As soon as we walked in the house she ran straight to her food bowl, which is extremely cute. This morning after Jason left we went back to bed for a few hours.

Lucy woke up with a ton of energy, so I decided to take her to the Kingsport Greenbelt. As always, she did fantastic.

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There were a ton of walkers, bikers and dogs out on this gorgeous day. Lucy of course made friends with everyone. I was a little worried how she was going to react to other dogs, especially since she was by far the smallest dog. My little fearless Lucy greeted every dog nose to nose. It was cute and good to see.

As we walked along the trail, she made sure everyone who walked by saw her. This of course brought on the friendly conversation that came after “she’s so cute.” She got a lot of pats today! Lucy even made a baby smile for a picture.

This little friendly puppy makes everyone smile.

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We were out for about an hour this morning. Lucy slowed down every once in a while, but for the most part she kept me walking faster than I usually do. On our way back to the car she practically ran the whole way. She came home absolutely worn out, which aloud me to get some much needed wiring done.

I cannot say it enough, I love having a dog in my life again.

With the crazy hours that Jason works, especially the doubles the last couple of days, it’s nice to have this little companion always by my side.

Today was another great day with my Lucy.

A walk under the bluest of skies

After tornado watches and warnings were made for our area and surrounding areas early this morning, it turned out to be a beautiful day.

I hoped to take the entire day off today, but had a few interviews I had to complete. I also had to turn in a few articles. So, I took the second half of the day off to spend with Jason. The warmer half of the day.

We went for a walk down a portion of the Kingsport Greenbelt that we haven’t been to yet. It was pretty with a good amount of history. There was a lot of people out walking around, many with their four-legged pets.

Although the wind wasn’t all that nice, the temperatures were in the 50’s during our walk. The skies were blue with few clouds.

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It was nice being outside again today. There is no better release than smelling fresh air, listening to the birds chirping, ducks quacking and the wind swaying through the branches of trees. The best part is having Jason walk alongside me enjoying the outdoors. By the time we were done, we probably walked close to four miles again.

The best part of the walk was the wildlife we saw throughout.

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Jason spotted this little guy first. He was too cute, I had to take a picture.

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It was nice walking along the water, looking at the houses on the other side.

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It wouldn’t be a walk along the Greenbelt without seeing the ducks.

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IMG_1153It was another great day outdoors for a few hours.