End of the First Quarter (J.O.G.T. 3)

“There was a dream. One day I could see it. Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it” — The (effing) Avett Brothers

Shit! March flew by; ending the first quarter of 2013. It was probably the most hectic month so far, but a good one just the same. We were short-handed at work all month. I was finishing my half marathon training. And I was just generally busy trying to keep up with my own routines. But there were a lot of additions to the Jar Of Good Things this month. Here is a sample of them, but not necessarily the best things. I have to have some secrets right?

(some names may have been changed/deleted to protect the innocent)

Mar 07. I might have found a good in-race fuel. After staying up too late last night, I tried Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans before going to the gym and had a very good workout w/ lots of energy. Can’t wait to try them during a run.

This might not seem like the most exciting event in the world, and it’s not. But on March 07, I was ten days away from running my first half marathon and realizing that I definitely needed to be taking in calories during my long runs, and the even more troublesome fact that I was running out of time to figure out that issue before the Shamrock.

My previous weeks’ long runs had left me feeling completely drained, some of which even worrisomely so. I started hydrating better during my runs after that, but finding a food source had still alluded me.

I’d read a lot about in-race fueling, but had gotten busy and not applied any of that reading to my runs very well. During my last pre-shamrock race (20K), I experimented with Honey Stinger Energy Chews and felt like they helped a little bit. But I wasn’t convinced yet, so when I saw Extreme Jelly Beans at the grocery story I figured why not. Even though I cannot stand the artificial cherry flavor that candy companies use and that was the only option they carried, I chomped down the 100 calorie bag before going to the gym one afternoon and ended up having a really great workout with a noticeable spike in energy.

I’m a little uncomfortable with the caffeine in them only because I’d rather be able to get the energy I need from the food I eat and by getting better rest. A year ago, I was drinking an energy drink almost every day. Now I can’t even remember the last time I had one, but I know I’ve had the same little red bottle sitting in my refrigerator door for at least five months. I like not “needing” those things. And that feeds into my apprehension about caffeinated jelly beans. But they worked great during my half marathon. So while I continue to tweak my regular diet and try new in-race foods, I’m glad that I found them when I did.

Mar 11. Picked up some prints that Dee made for me and absolutely love them. I can’t wait to frame and hang them. Having talented friends is always a good thing.

100_6507I’ve been living alone again for just over a year and my apartment looks like a single man lives here. There is very little rhyme or reason to my furniture and almost nothing hanging on my walls.

My grandfather used to tell people that my family’s beach cottage in the outer banks was decorated in the style of “early donation,” meaning that they’d pretty much accepted any hand-me-down furniture that would serve the purpose needed and its appearance was of very little importance. I’ve always been a function over fashion sort of person and my apartment is decorated as such. What I’m saying is it can use a little personality.

I’ve mentioned before how lucky I am to know so many talented people, so when I decided to try to find some artwork for my apartment there was no doubt that I would start there.

My friend Dee is a very talented artist is this area, and even though we didn’t know each other at the time we went to the same high school in North Carolina a long time ago too. It was actually through mutual friends from NC that we met.

I don’t think she would disagree that her style is not at all mainstream. And it is not what I think most people would immediately associate with whatever my tastes generally are either…whatever that means. I like what I like and rarely feel the need to explain why.

While kicking around her Dee-Composed artists facebook site, I saw a few prints that spoke to me. And even though they were not intended to be a series, Dee agreed to print them on similar background paper stock (old maps) for me so I could more easily tie them together.

She was incredibly easy to work with and more than fair. I could not have been more pleased. You should check out her stuff here.

Now, all I have to do is get off my ass and find some frames.

Mar 16. Watched my mom run her very first 8K race. I think it was her longest race to date, and she did great. She stuck to her plan and beat her expected time. I’m super proud of her.

My mom ran her first 8K on the same weekend as my half marathon. And she killed it. She had run other races before (a few 5Ks I think), but that was before I was running and I really had no idea.

She and I had discussed running and training so many times leading up to our race weekend and I had to be there to see her execute her plan.

My mom is one of those people that is so organized and “together” that she makes almost everyone else on the planet look a little haphazard by comparison, so it was no surprise to me that she had a pre-planned run-walk workout programmed in her phone for the race. She had been putting in the miles for several weeks and doing a good amount of cross-training too, and…well, she was just making me proud.

On race day morning, I met her down at the beach where I was lucky to find her among the over 9000 runners that morning. But I chatted with her before the race, wished her luck, and at the sound of the horn I watched her take off into the hoards of other runners.

After running back to my car to drop off the Tervis cup I dropped and broke (dammmit!), I strolled back over to the Virginia Beach boardwalk in time to see her passing the three-ish mile mark at a pretty good pace. Then I was able to get to the finish line in time to watch her cross at an even better time than she had anticipated. It was awesome. My mom rules.

Mar 20. Went to the gym at 5 a.m. so that I could play disc golf after work without having to skip a workout. The gym is pretty nice that early.

100_6503I’m still battling with my schedule. In the last several months, I’ve been trying to fit my new running and workout routines into my previous schedule while omitting as few things as possible. The key word in that sentence is “trying.”

With daylight savings time back in the equation, I would normally be excited to be able to play disc golf on weekdays again and restart a summer routine of meeting some friends to play on Wednesday afternoons before we go grab some tacos. But as I’ve adopted a daily after work gym habit, there is an immediate conflict.

On the 20th, I simply got up early and did my workout before work. No problem, right? Well the problem is I’m not sure it was worth that effort. I didn’t particularly enjoy my afternoon round with my friends. And honestly, I’d have probably had a better time at the gym alone. My friends are great, and I love tacos. But all of the running around to make it happen isn’t as relaxing as just going to the gym and getting in some sweat-meditation.

I love my friends, and I know my schedule already makes me less available sometimes. But I’m slowly realizing that I am going to have to reprioritize a lot more of my life than I have so far. I’m going to have to admit that I spend a lot of time doing things out of habit more than pleasure. That doesn’t mean that I’m ever doing something that I don’t enjoy. I wouldn’t do that. But I’m finding myself sitting quietly with friends at the bar from time to time, or wandering around a park on a weekday afternoon, when I’d much rather be running or sitting at home reading, writing, or any number of other things.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say. But there are a lot of things I want to do that don’t get done because I don’t say “no” enough. I want to hang out. I want to get a drink with friends. And I love playing disc golf. But I want to do so many other things and I’m going to have to start picking my moments more selectively and less routinely or I’ll keep putting off things that are important to me for no other reason than it’s the custom.

I’m a slow work in progress. I’ll figure it out. But at least now I know that the gym is damn near empty at 5 a.m.

Mar 30. I heard a radio segment about something called ASMR, and realized they were talking about something that I have experienced for most of my life and just didn’t know what it was called or that it didn’t happen to everyone.


Wikipedia calls Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response a “claimed” biological phenomenon because it is difficult to research and apparently only recently been given that name.

Leaving the grocery store on Saturday put me in the car during NPRs This American Life and right in the middle of a segment seemingly about these youtube videos that have been gaining popularity for their targetting of people that experience an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

Because I missed the beginning, it took me a few minutes of them describing these videos of mostly young women whispering while performing simple tasks like turning pages of a book or crinkling paper or…whatever, before I figured out that they were really talking about the biological response and not these odd sounding videos.

When I was in third or forth grade I remember a teacher doing something at my desk and while watching whatever she was writing on my paper having a strong tingling sensation in my head. It was similar to the pins and needles feeling when people say that a body part has “fallen asleep” but maybe a little more numbing than tingling. And it definitely had a tinge of euphoria that doesn’t come with a numb arm in the morning.

I know it sounds stupid, and I’ve never discussed it because I just assumed that it happens to everyone. And maybe it does. But there is apparently a whole subculture of people that watch these youtube videos trying to trigger the numbing response in their head, and I guess having some level of success. It sounds like different people have different triggers ranging from paper sounds, to clanging silverware to simple whispering tones. I’m not sure exactly what triggered mine, if it was the sound of pencil on paper, or maybe the vocal tones of whomever, but I remember liking the feeling.

Even as a kid I always thought it felt really relaxing, and when it would happen I would try to just sit really still and stay soft-focused on whatever I was looking at so as to not make it go away. It has happened many times both as a child and adult, but not as frequently anymore. I’ve never even thought about trying to trigger it. But hearing that radio story about it was kind of crazy.

What can I say? It was a relaxing day and I can be easily impressed sometimes.

Well I guess that about covers March. It was probably my favorite month of 2013 so far, but I hope it’s just the beginning of the adventure. There is way too much of the year still left to live for it to peak this early. And I have a feeling there is more excitement to come. Or I hope so anyway.

“There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light”

Honorable mentions:

Mar 01. I had a good time jamming with Mike, Charlie, and Jeremy last night. I am every bit as rusty as I imagined, but it was still really nice to rock out on the old tele, before staying up too late listening to Punch Brothers songs. Good times.

Mar 02. Recording session with Ray and Trey. Got Ray’s new song down in one take, and snagged a pretty nice version of Trey’s “Traveler” too. Good night.

Mar 17. Ran my very first half marathon (Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon) and did it in less than 2 hours. I was stoked.

Mar 18. After packing up the stuff she still had in my apartment and getting it into her car, [my ex] and I executed what I believe to be the very first mutually recognized “last date” and had a really great time together.

Mar 21. Climbing around in two different submarines today illustrated how much smaller and healthier I’ve become since the last time I had to do it. Weird but good thing.

Mar 26. Had a really nice time chatting with Justin, Kim, Sean, and Stacey during “tacos with tilly” tonight.

Mar 29. Woke up with a weekend schedule so full that I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to get everything done. By 4:00, most of my weekend had cleared, allowing me the time I needed to prep for Sunday dinner. GOOD THING.

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