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  1. Last challenge was all about the Epic. Epic Ranger meet-up, smaller races with badass rangers, driving up to the Peak District and hiking the 24km Fan Dance (without weights or a time limit!) with people I mostly hadn't met before. I achieved a lot, I found out a lot about myself. I have strength and endurance inside me, and I can tap into it when I need to. But, with all the races and travel and such, two things happened: 1. I didn't go to BMF nearly as regularly. Some of that was travel, or race recovery, but still, it happened. My daily workouts as per Prime Evo also fell to the wayside a bit. 2. I put on weight. Strange, one might think, given all the hiking and racing. But when you use them as an excuse to eat crap, and then fall to temptations in the office... it happens. So this challenge is all about reigning it back in, and establishing a healthy baseline, habits and routines that serve me rather than act as destructive forces in my life. My current stats (and I was 72kg just a couple months ago!) Weight: 74.5kg Waist: 36 inches. This is the bit that worries me, and the momentum behind my 'oh, I really need to fix this NOW'. Goals up to the 9th June: 1. Clean eating a minimum of 80/20. To me, this means I do not eat junk at work, I don't graze mindlessly through the day on chocolate (or dried fruit, which is still fueling my sweet tooth). I put in the effort to create healthy meals and increase healthy fats to help with fullness. I am also cutting out dairy for health reasons. But equally, if I do slip, then I will do my best not to beat myself up, and just make sure the next thing I put into my mouth is healthy. 2. BMF 3 x week I had a good habit building with this, and I want it back. Tuesday and Thursday nights then Saturday morning are my days. Unless something dire happens, then I go. No excuses. 3. Prime Evo 7 x week (it includes a rest day) The workouts are 20 minutes long, for crying out loud. 6 mins either side to warm up/cool down, though I often draw those out a bit. I have a bad habit of if I miss them in the morning, they don't get done. That is not okay, Rho! Go workout already! After the 9th, I'll be on holiday in the Lake District, where more challenges await. Yes, there will be fells and long walks and all those places that I love, but also restaurants. And it is far too easy to eat a lot and think 'oh but I did a long hike today'. So I need to be disciplined. Luckily, the place we're staying at has a kitchen. Here's the rules: 1. Stick to Prime Evo. There is space to work out. I can do this. 2. Desert with a meal only one day each week. This is to help stop myself with the overboard mentality. 3. 12th June is the only 'free reign' day, because I refuse to try and limit myself on my birthday. 4. Cook healthy meals (I may take a cool box of pre-cooked things if I can organize myself) most of the time. M's parents will be in a nearby cottage for a week, too. Instead of always eating out, I might suggest a meal indoors. Key word being might. 5. Lunches must be healthy. This means no lunchboxes with chocolate or pastries in. Flapjacks are okay if a) I make them myself and make a low-sugar version and b ) I don't eat them every day.
  2. I'm officially done with winter. Unfortunately, winter hasn't got the message and seems to be doubling down on the miserableness. I don't do well in the cold, so my main goal over the next four weeks is to fight the urge to hibernate. FEB & MARCH EVENTS Things start to kick up a gear this month. I have Maverick Race on the 24th, which is a 13km run along the South Downs (hills of the hilliest kind). Then at the beginning of March, I’ll be at Winter Nuts (cold of the coldiest kind) with The Hubs, @jonfirestar and @Jarric. I’m still not entirely sure why I signed up for this, given my dislike of all things cold. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, Jon posted a video on his challenge that sums up how horrid it is. RUN! No matter how shitty the weather is, not matter how cold. Just, run. 4 Runs a week 1 Technical-Trail Run - not incl Maverick Race CLIMB, JUMP......er...PUSH? BMF (British Military Fitness) once a week. No matter how shitty the weather is, not matter how cold....you get the idea Bouldering at least 3 times Push ups twice a week (on top of BMF push ups) GET UP! Get up with alarm. No snoozing! I want to start running in the morning again, but first I need to defeat the evil snooze button. So the first stage is to get up with the first alarm and not hit snooze. Once this habit is formed, I'll look at moving the alarm back 10 mins at a time until I'm at a point where I'm up early enough to do a decent length run. SIDE QUEST: UKULELE PRACTICE Practice ukulele twice a week Learn one song by the end of the challenge and post a video of me playing it I picked up my ukulele again after I gave up trying to learn a long time ago. I want to see it through this time and not just give up after learning a handful of chords. I'm setting the video challenge to make sure I keep up with practicing this time.
  3. Just two days after receiving the summons, Rhovaniel was back on familiar ground. For a moment, she stood and looked up at the Guildhall. Rebuilt just last year by their own hands after the attack, it nonetheless appeared timeless. They had made improvements here and there, but ultimately, they had been faithful to the original design, welcoming Rangers like her back home after long and often arduous journeys. A cold northerly wind whistled past her, reminding her that although it was slightly milder here than in the mountainous region where the Dúnedain made their home, it was still far from warm, and she hurried inside. Instant warmth greeted her. The fire was roaring in the grate, with several figures huddled round it, talking in low voices. A few rangers sat in shadowy corners, as was their custom. Usually, and in any other inn, Rhovaniel would be among them, but this was no ordinary visit to the Guildhall. “A large tea, if you would” she told the barkeep. “I’ve had plenty of ale lately.” “Often the case, this time of year. Even Rangers are not immune to the festivities, it seems.” “Oh, we know how to enjoy the merriment of the season, and still remain true to our aims, in the long term,” she smiled. The barkeep chuckled, and turned to refill the glass of another patron. Something cool in a long, slim glass for them. “Where might I find the Chaplain?” Rhovaniel asked when he’d finished. “In the back room. You heard about the Dandenite Ore?” “That’s why I’m here. I’m here to help get our hype back.” When she entered the back room, tea in hand, it was not just the Chaplain who looked up but many other familiar faces as well. Despite the grim circumstances, she found herself smiling as she greeted old and new friends. Her smile came from fond memories, and it was a few minutes before the Chaplain could call attention back to the task at hand. “Thank you to all who answered the summons. I’m sure others will join us, as and when they can. Long leagues separate us all, but we cannot afford to wait till we are all assembled. Each of you know the peril that we face. We have all weathered a challenge without hype, and most have seen far less success than usual. Not all of that is our own fault. The effect of Dandenite Ore is not to be taken lightly. Without the hype, it’s power will grow. Challenges conducted entirely without hype, battling the effects of Dandenite as well as all the enemy can throw at us…” “It would mean disaster,” Rhovaniel said quietly. “Even far up in the mountains, I have felt its effects. It’s not just this physical building. The Guildhall is part of us, wherever and however far we Rangers go. I think that somehow, whenever we choose the path of the Rangers, we also choose the Guildhall. It has an energy, somehow, and we are all connected to it.” “You’re right!” One of the other rangers chipped in from the corner. “I wasn’t even near the Guildhall last challenge, I was many, many leagues south of here, and still I felt it. My energy, my desire to do anything at all… it just wasn’t there. Only, back then I thought it just a consequence of the season.” Many of the others murmured their assent, but before it could turn into a discussion on everyone’s hypeless experiences, the Chaplain held up a hand and the room fell silent. “This must be the work of the enemy; whoever stole it – or ordered it to be stolen – must know how devastating it would be to the entire corps. We use the Grind when we can, but without the hype… how long can any of us last?” “Which enemy, I wonder?” Rhovaniel murmured softly, almost to herself. “So many have tried to thwart us before.” “We shall soon find out,” another Ranger answered grimly, throwing back her hood to reveal short blond hair and a determined look in her eye. Rhovaniel smiled, remembering an adventure together now some months past. “That we will.”
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