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  1. Where we left off: WhiteGhost crept up to the small cabin barely visible from the game trail leading past it. The cabin is shrouded in Bush Honeysuckle and looks as if it hasn’t been inhabited for years. He carefully pushes past the undergrowth and hesitates just for a moment before approaching the lone door to the cabin. After a quick glance over his shoulder, WhiteGhost gently pushes open the unlocked door and sees his old friend sitting in an antique rocking chair next to a long unused fireplace. “I was beginning to think you weren’t coming”. Blinky says dryly as he looks up over the top of his book. Blinky listens carefully as WhiteGhost recounts what he saw and heard in the alley back in Aldenton, and also the scene in Blinky’s apartment in Indian Flats. “Well, I am not familiar with Mr. Muscles, but the fat guy is a Senior Partner over at Pentadin Partners, a shady financial services company that brokers transactions structured to get around international sanctions. This is very interesting because I stumbled across a series of corporate acquisitions PP brokered this year just before I was so rudely chased from my home”. Blinky walks over to a table covered in books and papers near the window and grabs a small notebook out of the stack. “Let’s see here, we have a sclerochiton ilicifolius farm in Transvaal, South Africa, a chemical manufacturing plant in Guilin, China, a bacterial R&D center in Yasenevo, Russia, and an Ion Exchange Equipment manufacturer in Chennai, India. Seems our fat friend has been quite busy”. He walks over to his refrigerator and pulls out a soda and offers one to his guest who politely declines. Blinky never used to be a big soda drinker, but perhaps the stress has gotten to him. “I was trying to find out who the buyer was for these companies, but, as you can see, did not get to finish that task” Blinky says. “Seeing as I need to stay off the grid for a while, perhaps you can help me look into it”. “I’d love to help” WhiteGhost says, "but I wouldn’t even know where to start looking”. The corners of Blinky’s mouth turn up to form just the faintest of smiles. “Luckily, I have some information that may help” he says “Mr. Osladin, whom you met in the alley the other night, likes to funnel his transactions through the same few offshore holding companies. The hard drive you recovered has a few programs I developed that you can use to trace back to the beneficial owners. Unfortunately for you, though, I can’t do it with you as I need to lay low for a bit”. WhiteGhost looks at Blinky who just nods knowingly. “Well, it looks like I have some work to do” says WhiteGhost. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mission 1: Winter is Coming - The Muscle Up I have been working on this for the last few challenges and I think I am getting close. Also, Winter is coming which means both freezing temperatures (which are not conducive to outdoor exercise) and pollution (Winter here often has more days over 200 AQI than below, so working out in those conditions does more harm than good). Because my indoor pullup bar isn't stable enough for explosive movement, if I can't get the MU this challenge I will probably need to shelve it until spring. So all in on the muscle up this challenge Mission 2: Water Dancing - Focused Flexibility Moving this up to #2 for this challenge. There are a number of things I want to start working on but am limited by flexibility mobility issues. I need to spend the next few challenges leveling up in this area so next year I will be ready to start doing the really cool stuff like pistol squats and flips. Suck it up and work on the basics now, become a deadly water dancing assassin later Mission 3: The Mountain with Legs - Single Leg Workouts Although Muscle Ups will be my primary focus, I can't neglect everything else, nor can I be doing MU workouts every day. I will be doing other workouts (legs, core, maybe running) on my non MU days to keep things balanced out. Will I become like the Mountain? Yeah, I didn't think so either Mission 4: No Children in the Citadel - Reading with Ghostlet New fourth mission is about reading stories with Ghostlet. The driver for this mission is twofold: 1) He is spending too much time playing Minecraft and watching tutorials. I like that he is interested in something that boosts his creativity, but don't think it is good to spend so much time in the digital realm. Just saying "get off your phone" doesn't help unless there is something to fill in the void, so to replace some of his game time but still keep his mind open to creative pursuits, I want to read fantasy/sci-fi stories to him. 2) Eventually he will most likely end up in an English language curriculum. In order for him to get there, he needs to get his English reading skills up to speed or he will really struggle.
  2. Main Goal This is it. At the end of this challenge, I'll be traveling to Blue Mountain, Ontario, 12 October to 15 October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an Age Group competitor during the Spartan Sprint in Illinois in June, and will be competing in Saturday's 15k Standard Course race in the 50-and-over Age Group. I spent almost a full year building toward this race, but like in years past, I am coming into the fall season at less than my peak. Unlike previous years, however, my issues are not due to injury, but to my now-constant running companion, knee pain of varying intensity due to psoriatic arthritis. I'm coming to grips with this development, and learning when to be smart and back off, and when to push through. First, according to my doctor, the best thing I can be doing is moderate exercise. Now, he and I have a differing opinion on what constitutes "moderate," but that's a different argument. Second, I almost never experience pain while I'm exercising (especially if I'm smart and use KT tape on my knees). Pain comes later, so what I'm really dealing with is post-activity pain management. Knowing those things, and knowing that I now have five weeks until I step into the gate, here's my challenge: Goal: Run so that I don't finish last I've used my knee pain for a crutch for a good two months now, and either I need to come to grips with finishing dead last at Worlds and potentially being pulled from the course as a DNF, or I have to start running with intent. I have five weeks to build up some proficiency here, and I'm not starting from scratch. Goal: Run a minimum of four days per week. Must include a long run (7+ miles) on the weekend. Goal: Work Out so I don't lose my grip This is a World Championship course. They are bringing in signature obstacles from literally all over the world (Dragon's Back, Urban Sky, others I won't know about until they are confirmed) that will include at least one long, miserable uphill carry. Last year's race included a half-mile Wreck Bag carry up and down a Black Diamond run and the US OCR Championships at the beginning of this month had a Yoke Carry that people said was a quarter mile of misery. I need to keep up my strength. There will also be a good five or six rigs. I'm pretty proficient at rings and bars and whatnot but vertical grips get me. I've got five weeks to fix the fail here. I haven't abandoned my Grease the Groove pull-up work, but I need to modify it to include towel pull-ups: Goal: Strength Training Classes 2x per week. This includes both weight training and boot camp. Goal: 16 pull-ups per day, at least 8 with the towel Goal: Eat so that I look good in my jersey This may sound ridiculous and vain, but I'm really worried about this. I ordered one of the USA team jerseys from Legendborne, because while I plan on being able to compete in this sport for a long time, age and arthritis are catching up with me and who knows where the event will be held next year, whether I will qualify, or whether my body will be physically able to handle it. So I dove in and ordered one of these. All reports say that they fit tighter than my North Star Spartans jersey, and I have two of those and my GF doesn't prefer my tight-fit style. Legendborne doesn't have a loose-fit option, so I'm going to get something that fits tight like the above, only it won't come with the pre-sculpted six-pack as shown in the image above. My jersey will be here before the start of this challenge and I'm worried it's going to fit like a sausage casing. I'd be completely screwed, but I know what works for me as far as macros and weight loss, and I will be focusing on cutting weight over the next five weeks in order to meet my goal of not looking like I'm going to burst the seams on this thing: Goal: Be at or under my macro goals every day. Goal: Be accountable and Don't Give Up This challenge will be bracketed by Rugged Maniac on the Saturday of Week Zero and end with OCRWC on Saturday of Week Four. I have to stay accountable or I will not meet my goals for this year. This means no disappearing from the boards here. Y'all can't hold me accountable if I ghost out of here. Especially since my challenge recap should conclude with me holding one of these: It won't be gold as that's a podium place... but I want mine. Five Weeks of No Excuses.
  3. Even though I feel like I'm consistently bagging out on week 4 of the challenges, I've been challenging STRONG. the last couple of challenges I did so great! I hit goals, pretty much! I did the things, all of them! I kept doing the things! BUT.... after months or years or whatever I don't even know of just running and doing martial arts (OK IT'S A LOT OF RUNNING AND A LOT OF MARTIAL ARTS,) I need to mix things up. FALL is for FIGURING IT OUT. WHAT *IS* NEXT, DUDES? I don't know. that's kind of the point. But I can tell you that I did some bodyweight squats (somewhere between 30 and 100) in boxing on Sat. at the dojo and it wrecked my legs big time. I thought I wasn't getting DOMS because I was so super fit! NOPE, I am not getting DOMS because I AM NOT CHALLENGING MYSELF. so here's to challenging challenges. GOAL 1. Do Bodyweight Workouts. Go back to the academy, or pick a darebee exercise, and do it 2x a week. GOAL 2. Plan for next things. it's fall, it's dark in the morning, I don't want to get up and run in the dark. Get a schedule together and figure out if I'm going to start lifting weights or what. Can i fit in eskrima lessons on sundays? can I find 2 days to do heavy lifting (such as I am able to do) at the dojo while my husband is in school? NOTE ALSO that I am committed to running until 10/1, because there's a 10K I kinda want to do then. aaaaaand I still am going to be doing tkd as much as possible. GOAL 3. for real, work on the house. sweep the floor every week work with Fourteen to get his room straightened out . work with husband to get OUR room straightened out. work on the blue room which is currently a big disaster area and needs to be Eighteen's room when he comes home from college for break. work on the attic, which is rapidly returning to big disaster area from carefully cleaned and beautified new space and I just can't allow that to happen!. I don't have to do any of these things all the time (except maybe sweeping the floor) but I do have to plan these things in. here we go, fall! I got this!
  4. The Scarlet Pimpernel is dead! Long live Teancum! If you saw my last challenge, you saw that I have re-branded myself a bit, and as a reward for succeeding last challenge changed my character name from the Scarlet Pimpernel to Teancum, after an ancient assassin and warrior. This change was to provide a fresh start, with new commitment and inspiration. I started forming some good habits last challenge, and intend to continue, and also level up! And what better way than to emulate Teancum and join the army... (and here is a link to the song if you need some extra motivation) I'll basically be continuing my goals from last challenge, under a different name... If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Be a Man: Never miss 2 in a row Swift as a Coursing River: Skills training (balancing, climbing, jumping, hanging, crawling, etc.) 3x per week Force of a Great Typhoon: NFA Body weight workout 3x per week Strength of a Raging Fire: Modified NFA level 4 diet - Avoid sugar/fast food (and never 2 in a row), eat more vegetables, choose whole grains, move to level 5 (see below) Mysterious as the Dark Side of the Moon: Daily study of scripture Scoring - 90% is pass, zero week is bonus, missing 2 in a row is fail I am also hoping to level up in a few aspects this challenge: Exercise - I am currently doing NFA body weight level 3, but this challenge I am going to take on the boss and move to level 4 Diet - I am currently at about NFA level 4 for diet, but I think I can move up to level 5. This will require: Vegetable daily for at least 10 days out of two weeks One week without eating pasta Weight - I really want to get below my 250lb benchmark. That's 10lb and I think I can accomplish that this challenge if I stay on target Seems like a lot going on this challenge, but I think they're all doable, and in-line with each other. I'll also participate in the mini, and might even check out a PVP challenge this time, as I haven't tried that before. Having a defined reward seemed to work well last challenge, so I'll do so again. Successful completion of this challenge will qualify me for a lesson trial in martial arts, parkour, or some other new activity that I'm interested in trying out. What good is training to be an assassin if you don't put it to use?! Let's do this thing!!
  5. It has been a very long time since I've completed an NF challenge -- almost four years. But now I find myself back in the saddle in several ways. Without further ado, some specs: Male 199.8lb 6'0" 14.8% bodyfat And some goals! 1. Cut to 12.5% bodyfat. It's been a long trip down from my all-time high at 25% bodyfat this last March. And yes, I know that's not exactly a tough weight to be, in the scheme of things -- but I showed no signs of stopping the weight gain, so I had to get things back in line. And once you start doing bodyweight exercises again, every pound of fat is just a little extra weight you don't need. So my goal is to hit 12.5% and then start in on a controlled bulk. At my current rate of loss, I should hit my goal about 2-3 weeks in. 2. Achieve a hands-back 1-Leg L-Sit (7-second hold). I've been back at training for a couple months, but still haven't worked L-sit training back into my workout. This is a big weakness I need to shore up, as L-sits help a lot with shoulder strength and core strength. I could use more of both. So I'll be working these back into every workout, starting today. 3. 3x3 3x8 Pain-Free Pike Push-ups. My return to workouts was sadly marred by a flare-up of impingement in my left shoulder. I've been working myself out of it, doing lots of home PT, and adding push exercises back into my routine (slowly). Eventually I want my headstand push-ups back, but this will be a good, conservative step toward that. 4. Get a new apartment! I'm in the process of moving out of a shared apartment and into something new, and I've got until the beginning of November to lock a new place in. That makes this challenge perfect for tracking my progress toward that. I plan to start by contacting at least 3 properties a week.
  6. I'm back after 1-2 challenges not participating because of vacation and such. And since its also my "sort of" 1-year anniversary here on the challenge forums & the recent release of Destiny 2 i decided to do another Destiny theme. So lets do this!! Shaxx - Fitness Get stronger & faster - Continue Startbodyweight & running (both 3x a week) Now that my light is gone, my power is gone. Now i need to train and make sure i can survive. Hawthorne - Nutrition Improve my nutrition - Drink 2 liters of water everyday, eat 1 apple everyday, cook something new on Saturday. With the vacation my nutrition went a bit bad, so this challenge i'm going to get back to proper nutrition. And it start with water, fruit & new recipes. Cayde-6 - Life Goals Work on my "Level Up" goals/skills - Practice everyday for 5 minutes on a few goals I want to learn new skills and the skills i want to practice for coming month are: juggling, headstand, lockpicking & language training. I'm going to schedule an hour everyday and in that hour i'm going to do 5minutes of Juggling & Headstand training and 20 minutes of Lockpicking & Language training. Zavala - Update regularly on here & my Daily Log Update regularly on both this challenge & my daily log. I started a daily log as a bit more of a diary. So i'm going to focus mostly on my challenge right here and keep a diary in my daily log. Both with links to both pages. Oke lets do this:
  7. Hello all! In my journey toward 'having my house in order', I successfully built the foundation in the last challenge, so I'm moving on to laying the deck down (for all you non-builders, that's the flat subfloor that all the framing of the house sits on). I'm keeping the same goals, but adding to them. 1) Sleep: I'm still working on getting my hours to both the amount and the time period that I want. 2) Devotions: Now that I'm actually getting up in the morning, I really need to consistently have a morning time set apart to pray and read my Bible. I had that this winter and early spring (before I fell apart and had to respawn), and I KNOW I was a lot healthier spiritually then. 3) Productivity: I'm also adding in the need to do something, ANYTHING, useful during the day. It doesn't matter what it is or how big or small. Wash a single dish. Build a new animal shed. Whatever. Just do something productive. 4) Walk: I want to be more consistent in walking 3x a week. I've got two usual paths I take, each one takes me about 30 minutes round trip. 5) Bodyweight: I'm so incredibly happy with my progress last challenge! =D I'm going to keep on with the same progression. By the end of this challenge, I should get up to 3 sets of 10 reps each. As with last challenge, I'm not going to tally up success and failure overall, just work on adding these to my life until they 'stick'. Goals: Sleep - 9:30 PM to 6:00 AM Devotions - First thing in the morning after I shower Productivity - Do something useful Walk - Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays Bodyweight - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays Workout plan: Quads - squats - 05 - 05 - 05Glute - hip raises - 05 - 05 - 05Push - push ups - 05 - 05 - 05Pull - chinups & pullups - 05 - 05 - 05Core - planks (in seconds) - 09 - 09 - 09
  8. Hi, guys I’m here to try this thing again. Last challenge didn’t really go so well. I didn’t meet any of my goals. I’m hoping this one will go better, because time has magically built itself into my schedule to Do The Things. I’m not even joking - I had given up on ever having time for this stuff, but now suddenly I do have the time - it’s just how things have worked out. A lot of self-improvement is on the road ahead. Last weekend (Sept 8-10) I went to a retreat for the women at my church, and it was fantastic. I feel like this is the first breakthrough I’ve had in a while, for progressing in my faith and getting out of this pit of despair I’ve found myself in. And I also started rereading a book by Kay Arthur called As Silver Refined, which is really great and has already addressed some of my problems head-on. So it got me thinking about refining myself, not just spiritually, but in other ways, too. I want to make as much headway as I can before I move away to the mystical land of Graduate School next summer. Living alone + pit of despair + unhealthy habits = not good! Due to the fact that I don’t have my own car, and so must be dropped off on campus according to other peoples’ schedules, I now have a whole hour before work every day during which I can Do The Thing. I also have some time on a couple afternoons during which I can Also Do The Thing. So, here are my goals this time around to get started on the road to being a refined human being and a refined child of God. Spiritual Refinement: Use that hour in the mornings to do some kind of study. This could look like meditating on a piece of scripture, reading some more of As Silver Refined, or working through a discipleship workbook that an older woman at church has offered to study with me. (I’m being discipled, guys! Cool? Weird? This has never happened to me before.) This will be Monday-Thursday mornings, and Friday morning I meet with the lady from church to discuss what I learned throughout the week. Strength Refinement: Excercise 3x/week. Use that hour in the afternoons to get my booty back in the gym! I won’t have long, but it will certainly be long enough to do a thoroughly exhausting bodyweight circuit or some such. Plus, I’ll have to boogie back to the main section of campus to get picked up by my awesome mama - cardio! This will be Tuesday and Thursday afternoons; and I have Fridays off this semester so I can do a third workout on that day. The goal is 2 bodyweight workouts and one cardio-type thing. Sustenance Refinement: Track macros 2 days per week. Don’t buy stupid snacks from school. Still trying to get back on that paleo/primal bandwagon. It worked so well for me when I first started out! I don’t know why I lost steam. I just have to put my mind to it once more. My portion sizes could use some work. Also, bring more healthy snacks from home when I go to school. Tracking days: I dunno yet. Maybe Monday and Thursday?
  9. Hello Everybody, So I made a decision in the middle of the last challenge is that for this challenge, and the rest of the challenges in 2017, I would focus on my diet. Currently, my food plan is very, very primitive, and it needs a lot of help. There's very little clarity, and way too many carbs. In addition, there is a lot of emotional eating going on. So for this challenge: 1. I am keeping all of my physical/meditation goals exactly the same. 2. I am tracking my food daily, using a pre-made notebook that Ms. Moros uses from her own food plan. 3. Over the last year, I have bought 5 different books on Kindle about eating mindfully. My goal is to skim them all this challenge, and then adopt one of them for the next challenge. For me to get any better about eating, I need to become more aware. 4. As it says in my tag "Pizza is my Kryptonite" I don't plan to stop eating pizza permanently -- at least not at this time. However, I need to show myself I could live without it. So, for the next five weeks (the pre-week, plus the four weeks of the challenge, until October 15th), I will have no pizza in any form. This is pretty much me at the moment, and for the last umpteen years. I want this to change. Details Below the fold: I expect I will be pretty whiny, so I apologize to all in advance. Rangers eat smart. I will learn how to eat smarter also.
  10. Welcome, Guardians, to my 3rd (post-respawn) challenge! Over the course of the two prior challenges, I’ve made some observations as to what’s working for me, and, more importantly, what’s not working. Having taken this information into account, my challenges are getting an update. The gamification and such will still be there, it’s more about the content, tracking, and set up. If you would like to read the full, written out list of my observations, they can be found in the spoiler. You don’t have to read all that in order to follow this challenge, it’s just some insight and reasoning behind it. As some of you may have guessed, this is a Destiny themed challenge. I’ve been obsessed with this game since day 1, even more so than I ever was with Halo 2 (which is quite the feat, given that H2 was the game that turned me into a gamer). I’ve chosen this theme, not only for that reason, but because Destiny 2 came out on Sept 6 and I can’t get it off my mind, so I might as well incorporate it into other parts of my life. For those who are unfamiliar, here is a little background info from Destiny 1: “Destiny is set in the 28th century, in a post-apocalyptic setting. Humans had spread and colonized the Solar System with the help of a spherical entity known simply as "the Traveler". It reshaped planets and moons, and taught humanity new technologies and gave mystical powers that led to a time later called the Golden Age. An event known as "The Collapse", an attack from the Darkness, an unknown faction or entity, saw the dissolution of these colonies and left mankind on the brink of extinction. The only known survivors of the Collapse are those living on Earth, who were saved by the Traveler. Now the Traveler hovers above the last remaining human city as a large spherical body, and its presence gives the Guardians of the City—the last defenders of the human race—the ability to wield an unknown power. Upon mankind's first attempt to repopulate and reconstruct after the Collapse, it was discovered that hostile alien races have occupied mankind's former colonies and civilizations. The player takes on the role of a Guardian of the City, and is tasked with investigating and destroying these threats before the remnants of humanity are completely wiped out.” The situation as of Destiny 2: Humanity’s last safe city has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. He has stripped the city’s Guardians of their power, and forced the survivors to flee. You will venture to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, you must reunite humanity’s scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home. I am a Guardian - an Awoken, and a member of the Hunter class to be exact. I’ve reclaimed my Light, and have the ability to choose one of three subclasses: I typically go with the Gunslinger subclass, because it fits my play style best. I’m a short to mid range, sharp shooting run-and-gunner, who occasionally chooses to use a little stealth. It’s time for me to gather the Vanguard, fight the Red Legion, take down Gary-- I mean Ghaul -- and, most importantly, get back Cayde’s stuff! This challenge is 8 weeks long and has two parts, each spanning 4 weeks. Goals will be separated into 4 categories: Story Missions: These are the main goals - the meat and potatoes of my challenge, if you will. This is where most of the focus will be. Adventures: The side quests.These help me level up and gain more experience, but aren’t the main focus. Milestones: Tasks that must be completed within a set period of time. Some milestones have a certain date that they need to be done, while others need to be done within that part of the challenge (part 1 vs part 2). Lost Sectors: A type of ‘Patrol’ activity. I can do these at any time and at my own pace. They aren’t mandatory, but they are things that I would like to do by the end of the challenge. *Challenge drops 9/23/17*
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