The Bachelor Chronicles Pt. 1

Followers of my blog have gone through a lot with me over the last few years. We’ve written 365 haikus together, traded many recipes, shared intimate conversations I’ve had with strangers, detailed my process step by agonizing step as I learned how to run and completed my first 5k, 10k, mud run, half marathon and several races in between. Today we start a new journey.

Today we begin storytelling and essay writing on topics that come up during this, my first time living on my own. At the age of 33. And it’s weird as hell. I have a small townhouse in Lenoir City, TN, and am in the weird state of having absolutely nothing and beginning the process of digging myself back out.

It’s a weird existence. It’s a weird world. So I figured I’d write about it and call it the Bachelor Chronicles.

When I was deciding on a place of my own, there were several factors that came into play. I’d want a decent amount of room to entertain because I love having friends over – I’d want a space that could act as both studio and office – I’d need quite a bit of closet space and I’d need a spacious and dope kitchen. Anyone who knows me knows of my passion for cooking and sharing the food I make with my friends and family. To say my main focus would be the kitchen would be an understatement and a no-brainer for anyone that has ever talked to me.

My townhouse doesn’t have the nicest kitchen on the planet but it’s not bad. It has a nice refrigerator (with an ice maker that doesn’t work currently), a range and oven (that doesn’t have a light), a sizable sink and dishwasher. It’s missing a microwave but such an appliance isn’t high on my needs list currently. I should be cooking for real anyway, no?

My parents helped get a lot for my kitchen. Mats, plates, silverware, etc. If one looked in my cabinets, they’d think I entertained every other day. I’m already planning my first dinner party and plotting out my Valentine’s Day goodies for this year since I haven’t baked anything in months. I’ve even been asked by several people what I’m going to be cooking now that I have a kitchen — what is the first thing I’ll cook, even.


I woke up yesterday morning at 6:00 AM with a sore throat. It’s not uncommon this time of year. The weather in East Tennessee is nothing if not unpredictable and if I’m asleep on my back, I’m apparently quite the snorer (or so I’ve been told). I chalked up my dry, sore throat to a night of snoring and the ever-changing weather, gargled some warm salt water and hit the door for the gym by 7:00.

En route to the gym, I grabbed a Monster Energy Drink from a gas station and immediately filled up my blender bottle with pre-workout when I got there. Our Saturday morning winter weightlifting session went smoothly, I was feeling fine and lifted heavy. I was scheduled to teach the 9:30am kickboxing class so I filled my blender bottle back up with water and a dose of BCAAs hoping the concoction would prevent my throat from drying out. And it did.

For a while.

By the halfway point in class, my voice was cracking. It wasn’t long before it was completely shot. I had to turn the music down so my members could hear me over the microphone as we wrapped up the rounds and finished core. I tend to be pretty intense when I’m on the mic and as my voice faded, I attempted to compensate by straining my voice further. By the time class was over, my voice was not only gone, but my throat was physically in pain and I had started making myself sick from straining.

When I wrapped up at the gym, I stopped by the store to get a frozen pizza, some toiletries, some tea and some honey. Still feeling sickly, I came home, showered, put some pajamas on and set out to make myself some tea.

If I were still at home, I’d just fill a coffee mug up with water, pop it in the microwave and nuke it for 2 minutes or so until the water was boiling. Except, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t have a microwave yet. Serious tea drinkers may have a tea kettle to set on the stove, but alas, I don’t have one of those either because a serious tea drinker I am not.

So I busted out my stock pot and boiled a huge batch of water. So now if people ask what the first thing I made in my new kitchen was, I can’t tell them it was a fancy steak dinner or fajitas or even a goddamn frozen pizza. The first thing I made in my kitchen was stock pot of boiling water.

I dipped my cup in to fill it, added some honey, a tea bag and a couple cranks of coarse sea salt. A similar recipe to what some heavy metal singers use to protect their voices and if we’re being honest, what I do for a part-time living is basically the same thing as being a heavy metal vocalist. It was delicious, it was soothing, it was the first thing I made in my new kitchen.

And I made it again three times last night. I’ve made it three more times today. You could say I’m a culinary tour-de-force.

Aside from earning the title of Master Innovator in the kitchen, everything else is okay. Slow-going but pleasent nonetheless. I still put the seat down every time because old habits die hard. I have a bed and internet so the place is habitable. I also have a stock pot that I’m just leaving on the stove in case anyone else wants some tea when they visit.

So maybe come visit?

Road to Bluegrass 8/7 + JTFStrong

Happy Monday, freaks! Monday is definitely Road to Bluegrass day but today it’s happening a little differently. Let me explain.

If you’ve followed by blog for any amount of time, you know my story. I was sick, I worked my ass off, I became well and now I help other people do the same thing. I love sharing stories about the workout plan I’m on, the races I’m training for, the classes I lead and the meals I prep. But you also know I do a lot of other stuff, too. Primarily taking photos of the cool places I go and sometimes live streaming myself drinking wine and deep frying shit.

While I’m kind of into the idea of keeping it all together in one place, I thought it was about time that I separated all things fitness from all other things I do. Enter JTFStrong.

I’ll be in the process of moving over all things fitness/health/diet to that site and its social media compliments as well as creating new original content for the site including workout plans, meal-prep recipes, videos, commentary and maybe even an eBook.

If you’re a follower of this site because of the fitness stuff, please take a second and follow the new one. If you’re on Insta or Facebook, it’d be way rad if you followed me there, too.

If you’re really interested in how training went last week, I’ve already posted about it on the new site so now’s a great time to get used to checking there and (hopefully) bookmarking it.

This site isn’t going away. In fact, I hope to include more different things here in the coming weeks. Maybe more creative stuff, I don’t know. Definitely more personalized writings and likely some videos of my dogs.

Anyway, this is exciting for me and I hope you guys can benefit from the stuff I write on the new page.

Get Stronger, Get Prettier…

JTF

The Road to Bluegrass 7/24

They say if you want to learn how to write better dialogue you should listen to more people having conversations. Hearing the way people talk is helpful for anyone wanting to write the way people actually speak but it’s also a great way to learn how to communicate with people. And if you’re going to communicate with people or write characters based on them, you’d may as well take in their appearance. Round out their personality with their body language and other physical characteristics. You know…Watch the people. I love watching people walk around at hockey games as they juggle full cups of shitty beer and hot dogs. I love watching people walking into and out of Wal-Mart with the smell of Subway and inbred musk in the air. I love sitting on a bench on the strip in Gatlinburg and just watching people walk by as they look in the shops.

I just love watching people.

We live on the top of a very small hill under some very not-small trees. You can imagine that this can be both entertaining and terrifying during extreme weather. If the wind blows even a little bit our trees clap their hands together in an applause that sounds more like the Ragnarok than a warm summer breeze. It’s even more ominous if it’s dark out or if a thunderstorm is blowing in. If it rains really hard, sometimes a small stream will form in our neighbor’s back yard that runs down beside our house, across our front yard and rests as an improvised pond in our other neighbor’s yard. When it snows, the incline on our street is just enough so that most people can’t make it by our driveway. They’ll spin their tires, sometimes twisting their cars sideways until they make it. Other times they just roll backward, park in the street and start walking home. It’s entertaining to watch these things from my window. It’s entertaining to see trees blowing, the streams forming and the cars sliding.

I just love looking out my windows.

To the point where Erin calls me Neighborhood Watch and I ain’t even mad about it.

Considering my passion for people watching and my fascination with what goes on outside my house, it should surprise no one that I was particularly interested when I woke up one day last week — 6:30am — to hear my neighbors across the road yelling at each other. I’ve heard them fight before but there was a certain tone in this argument I’d never heard in the past so I rolled out of bed to get a view of what was going down.

I watched the argument unfold, most of which consisted of incoherent yelling. Over the next ten minutes I watched a man fill up the trunk of a car, load two women into the passenger and back seats, then drive off. An angry woman was now the sole resident of the home and she stormed back in the house, slamming the door behind her.

During the argument, I noticed her car was parked in the yard. Something they’d never really done before. Since then, the car comes and goes but when it parks at the house, it’s always in the yard, right by the front door. She literally pulls her car up to the front door of her home every single day.


The running plan continued last week as I totaled 13 miles for the week and averaged a 12:26/mile pace. My total mileage for the program is currently 58 miles with an average pace of 12:23/mile. I’m honestly not thrilled with my pace. Especially after I did some figuring to determine what pace I’ll need to be running to hit my goal finish time when the end of September rolls around.

I’m basically a full minute off. That’s a lot. Jesus, I miss training for my first half when the only goal I had was survive.

Anyway, this is week 8 and it looks like this:

  • Monday: 5:45am Boxing at TITLE
  • Tuesday: 3 Mile run; 7:00 Boxing at TITLE
  • Wednesday: 4 Mile TEMPO run
  • Thursday: 3 Mile run
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Cross-training (details below); 9:30am Kickboxing at TITLE
  • Sunday: 7 Mile run

Cross-Training — Phase 5, Week 6: Back, Tris, Calves, Hams

  • Top of the Mountain Warmup: Spin bike, 8 minutes; stretch
  • Pull-Ups Set 1: 5 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 1: Dumbbells, 35% weight, 10 reps, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 2: 6 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 2: Repeat circuit 1, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 3: 8 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 3: Repeat circuit 1, 3m rest
  • Circuit 4: Barbells, 90% weight, 5 reps, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 4: 9 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 5: Repeat circuit 4
  • Pull-Ups Set 5: 10 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 6: Repeat circuit 4
  • Kettlebell Burnout: 100 Snatches
  • Bottom of the Mountain Cooldown: Spin bike, 8 minutes; stretch

There’s a part of me that thinks parking your car inches from your front door is trashy.

Another part of me is jealous because I can’t park that close to my front porch, let alone my door.

But a third part of me cheers her on every time I see that vehicle parked in the grass, 10 yards away from their huge driveway. She’s doing it because it’s what she wants to do and likely has been wanting to do for some time.

What I’m trying to say here is now is the time to take what’s yours. If you want to lose 10 pounds, start exercising regularly, train for your first 5k or get a promotion at your job, that shit is YOURS. Kick whatever negativity you’re living with to the curb and you start parking your shit by the front door. There’s nothing stopping you.