Blanket of white

Blanket of white

20150218_164759 editI’ve been pretty fortunate this winter . . .

Well, that all changed when the temperatures plummeted and a blanket of ice and snow-covered the area.

There are certain temperatures that I just won’t brave the elements and go for a run. When you add a layer of ice and snow to the mix, I hang my running shoes up.

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I’m okay if a couple of days go by without going for a run, as long as I go at least three times a week.

Unfortunately our wintry mix has left me indoors. My last run was Feb. 10 . . .

The need to hit the Greenbelt took hold with a fierce grip yesterday. My body desperately needs its outlet to wash away the stress of everyday life. My body needs the blast of fresh air while my feet hit the pavement carrying me through much-needed miles.

I miss my “me” time. I miss letting it all go while running and taking in the scenery.

Yesterday in an effort to kick my winter blues, I asked Jason to stop by the Kingsport Greenbelt, so I could take a look.

The walk, which was not a long one because of the cold, was just a tease. I felt like I was home when Jason parked the car and I saw the sign for the Kingsport Greenbelt.

It was breathtaking to see snow covering the path and the outskirts of the creek. It was, however, quite cold as the gust of wind rushed across our face.

20150218_164820 editAs we walked a little down the path our feet stepped on a layer of ice that was beneath a layer of snow. Definitely not ideal running conditions. Definitely not safe running conditions.

In an effort to release some of what has been bottled up inside for more than a week, I breathed in the crisp air and looked, really looked at my surroundings.

Here are a few more pictures of what I was able to capture with my cell phone before the temperatures got to be too cold to bear.

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Hopefully the single digits will disappear soon taking the severe wind chills with it, so I can go back to my weekly routine. I have learned through this dry spell of running, that exercise is extremely important!

With all that said . . . .

My next 5K race is Saturday, Feb. 28, a little more than a week away. I sure hope the temperatures improve, or that is going to be one brutally cold race.

Our New Year’s Eve walk

This afternoon Jason and I went for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt into the downtown area. It was a cold, but a really nice way to spend a few hours together outdoors.

IMG_0869It definitely looked different this time of the year. With that said, there is still a sense of beauty in the trees that no longer bares any leaves.

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As we were walking the squirrels were going nuts, chasing each other from branch to branch, up and down the trees and across the sidewalk. It was impossible to get a picture of them. They sensed when I was ready to push the button.

IMG_0865We made a stop along the trail and I took some pictures of this tree. The red really caught my attention.

IMG_0867And the blue sky . . . it has been so dreary the last couple of days. Wow, look at that cloudless sky.

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After walking the Greenbelt for a while we detoured and followed a few sidewalks into downtown Kingsport. Jason and I have talked about taking this walk since we arrived, so what did we do, wait until it was in the 30’s to take the walk. At times it felt like our jeans were frozen to our legs, our noses were going to fall off and are hands were becoming numb.

I love spending this quality time with Jason. It was nice being outdoors, just the two of us exploring our home.

After looking through many business windows, walking into the library, our stomachs began to cry in hunger, so we made our way back to the car.

A trip on the Greenbelt wouldn’t be complete without running into these guys . . . today they didn’t hiss at us, which was a nice change.

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IMG_0875This afternoon was absolutely perfect. A perfect way to end an incredible year together.

My own little adventure

Today while Jason was at work I decided to head out and find my own adventure, which occurred along the Kingsport Greenbelt.

IMAG1864Right from the beginning I was taken back by the beauty along this trail, which runs eight miles along the Holston River and Reedy Creek in Kingsport, TN.

I have to admit I stopped quite a few times, so I could really take in the beauty, sounds and smells of the area. Of course this was accompanied by many, many photographs.

To think this is just minutes from our apartment . . .

IMAG1866There is something about nature that cures all while centering you again. Three hours along this trail and more than six miles of walking, I came out as relaxed as one I could possibly be . . . which made it all worth while.

IMAG1880Today marks 26 days since we arrived in TN . . . and I have to admit yesterday it hit me hard . . . I miss my family. When we lived in Fort Myers, I spent most of my days off with Mom while Jason was at work.  Today in an effort to get myself out of a funk I explored some more of our new home, I took a step into nature.   As I made my way along the trail and found beautiful spots, I sent some of the photographs to Mom, which made it feel like she was with me. I thought of her often as I walked the trail, only because I could envison us running together or going for an early morning walk.

A great thing about this trail was I spotted many benches that were in good locations to sit and take in the surroundings while resting.

IMAG1873Another great thing about the trail was it was covered well with vegetation, which kept me cool as I walked and walked and walked.

Although there were many other people of all ages walking, biking, running and walking their dogs, it was an incredibly  peaceful journey down the path and across ocassional bridges. The birds chirping, the sound of water making its way down the river and creek made me forget about everything as my steps continued.

A smile was constantly on my face, it just would not go away . . .

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IMAG1875I mean really, how could you be in a bad mood or let the stress overcome you while you are walking along a trail witnessing this kind of beauty?

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My favorite part of the walk was when I began to hear the water . . . I knew it was cascading down rocks.

IMAG1886I followed a little trail up the hill, which only led me to more water and beauty.

IMAG1887And more . . .

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IMAG1900I finally turned around and  was led back to the bottom where the sound of the water continued to have its soothing rhythm . . .

I decided this was a great place to stop and sit on the bench as my thoughts cleared a little more and the smile became wider.

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IMAG1905I followed the trail all the way to the end and then turned around and started my journey back towards where I started.

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This Kingsport Greenbelt is a perfect place for me to run. I am very excited that I finally stumbled upon this trail, I will definitely use it a few times a week.

Although I made it back to my starting point, my feet kept going . . .

IMAG1934As I began to hear the wonderful sound of quacking and splashing . . .

IMAG1918There were ducks everywhere . . .

IMAG1921Even a mamma and her little ones . . .

IMAG1936And many, many more . . .

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IMAG1942Today was amazing. The weather was perfect, the people I passed along the trail were friendly and I got an incredible workout. That is one of the best things about exercising outside, you do not realize how many miles or how much time has passed because it is not located directly in front of you.

On the other hand, the trail provided great signs that let you know how many miles you traveled.

My legs are definitely feeling the miles I put on them today.

What a breath of fresh air to get lost along a trail for so many hours. I cannot wait until I find another location to explore on my own.

Second from goal

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I took three more seconds off my run … which leaves me with only one more second to wipe out to achieve my goal.

My run was exhilarating this morning as I ran at a faster speed. As we legs became tired I pressed on as I knew I was nearing the finish. The best part was walking during my cool down as I brought my breathing back to normal, as well as stretching when I was done.

What a great way to kick off a day off from work.