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…


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.

The Road to Bluegrass 7/17

One minute you’re walking with a cane, the next minute you’re weilding Mjolnir.

It’s been about a month since the last Road to Bluegrass. That doesn’t seem right to me but the blog isn’t going to lie unless the author writes it. So what the heck is going on?

Let me be real with y’all for a minute. I’ve not been so good. Yes, me. I smile and sing and dance and bounce around and bake and give pep talks and push people to be their very best. ME. Hell, even I don’t want to accept it but the truth is, mentally and emotionally I was exhausted and not in a fabulous place. I haven’t been since my Paps died. Without going into every pitiful little detail, just know that I’ve been freaking out on the inside about everything.


Last week we took a long weekend trip to Cincinnati and Lexington to go to an Aquabats concert, visit the American Sign Museum and hit the east side of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I’ll be posting photos here once I get them off my camera and processed, but just know that from Thursday through Sunday I didn’t run a single mile, I didn’t lift a single weight, I didn’t punch a single bag and I didn’t prep any of my meals.

Instead, I took a lot of photos, danced at a ska show, learned how neon lights are made, nearly drowned in the pouring rain, watched the Jerry Springer Show, toured four distilleries and one brewery, sampled 11 bourbons, four beers, two liqueurs and one rum, ate a breakfast burger, ate a Kentucky Hot Brown, had some homemade apple cobbler with ice cream, had an enormous glass of wine paired with a fig jam and prosciutto pizza, ate a bowl of spaghetti covered in chili and piled sky-high with cheese and…

…I slept.

I just rested and it was glorious. For four days I didn’t worry about anything. Not about my full-time job, not my personal training side job, not my upcoming trips, not my impending MMA training, not my upcoming half marathon, not the various dinner parties I’ve been pressuring myself to have, not the countless DIY projects I need to tackle at home, not building this new website and social presence, not coming up with original content to blog about, not making meal plans.


For the first time in over a month, I was free from all stress. I was rested and I had a positive outlook again.

Like I said, it’s been about a month since my last What I’m Doing update and that update said I was about to start week 3 of my program. I’m now starting week 7 and it looks like this:

  • Monday: 5:45am Boxing at TITLE
  • Tuesday: 3 Mile run
  • Wednesday: 4 Mile run; 7:00pm Boxing at TITLE
  • Thursday: 3 Mile run; 7:00 Kickboxing at TITLE
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 6 Mile run
  • Sunday: Cross-training (details below); 1:00 Boxing at TITLE

Cross Training – Phase 5, Week 5: Chest, Bis, Shoulders, Quads

  • Top of the Mountain Warmup Spin bike, 8 minutes: 1 minute each on levels 1-8, then stretch
  • Pull-Ups Set 1: 8 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: 5 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 3 – Repeat Circuit 1; 3m rest
  • Circuit 4 – Barbells, 90% weight, 5 reps, 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 4: 4 Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 5 – Repeat Circuit 4; 60s rest
  • Pull-Ups Set 5: Max Pull-Ups
  • Circuit 6 – Repeat Circuit 4; 3m rest
  • Kettlebell Burnout – 100 Snatches
  • Bottom of the Mountain Cooldown Spin bike, 8 minutes: 1 minute each on levels 8-1, then stretch

Today was my first day back in action and I hit the ground running. For the last few weeks I’ve not even put my boxing gloves on during class, preferring to demo the moves sans-gloves and then spend the rest of the rounds donning the focus mitts so I can do one-on-one technique sessions with people. Today, I gloved up and jumped into my own class with everyone else. I did all the warm up, all the rounds, all the burnouts and all of the core session. It felt amazing. It’s good to be back.

I told my Man of Steel friend last night that I had fallen into the If I’m not being productive, I’m wasting my time trap and it eventually just caught up to me. “Thunder God, though I may be, at the end of the day I’m still Dr. Donald Blake and I need a cane to help me walk around.”

It’s a geeky analogy, but you get the point.