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  1. Hey, folks. I'm back after being absent from the last challenge. It's been a sad and painful time of the year for me. I just got through my first post-divorce wedding anniversary. This time six years ago, I was in Europe. This time, six years ago, I was only a bit skinnier than I am right now. I'm proud that I lost the unhealthy weight I gained from living with Beast and Witch. I'm proud that I've unlearned so many of the bad food habits from those two years. I'm proud that my fancy dress shirts, which I bought for a promotion three years ago, fit again. I'm amazed at the girl who lived through those circumstances. I'm amazed at the resilience I didn't know I possessed until I needed to put it into practice. I'm amazed at the life I've rebuilt for myself, and I want to continue improving. This challenge, I've elected a set of tasks, rather than specific activities or goals, because I've learned over the year+ of challenges that I succeed best when I give myself options. And because it's my first fandom, and I haven't done so yet, it's time for a Sailor Moon theme. Each Scout brings something important to the team, so that's where my tasks will originate. Mercury: There's always something to be studied, and right now, that's language. Learning Spanish will cut down on a lot of frustration at my job. 10+ minutes a day. Venus: As the most athletic of the Inner scouts, she prizes being active every day. Kickboxing, walkies, circus tricks will all count for this. Moon: Usagi's favorite thing is spending time with Mamoru. Ifrit and I were enjoying a more regular date night. 1x a week. Mars: A strength that comes from inner calm cannot be swayed. Daily meditation. Jupiter: Mako-chan loves being in the kitchen. She shows her love for others by feeding them often. Cooking 1+ meal every day. Saturn: Her poor health means she spends a lot of time alone; my mental health requires alone time as well. Self-care day 1x a week. Uranus: Haruka loves racing motorcycles; I named my Vespa after her. I need to go riding more often than just to and from work. Out 3x a week. Neptune: While my violin was not named after her, I do miss playing. It's been a long time since I've had a space where I could do so. Practice 3x a week. Pluto: A lover of fashion and sewing, a woman after my own heart! Cosplay work, 3x week. If I feel like there are other areas to improve, I'll branch out the challenge to the Starlights.
  2. The assassin looked out over her audience. The slave revolt against the corpulent Prince and his scheming consort hinged on one thing... an absolutely stellar command performance would provide the distraction her compatriot needed to execute the assassination. And if the plan didn't work? Well, there was always the knife hidden backstage... but that was a far riskier route than the poisoned wine. She could see that her troupe had already lulled the Prince, but could she turn the heads of the guards long enough for the serving girl? So many hours of training... it was time to take the stage. This change in challenge format was easy for me, I had already formulated an epic quest for myself earlier this year: to develop a aerial performance piece and execute it in a way that makes me really proud of myself. Say what? OK, let me backtrack a bit. I'm an amateur aerialist mostly silks & hammock, I've been addicted to circus fitness for nearly 4 years now, and I've done a few amateur showcase performances. However, over the last year or so, my direction has been wavering a bit, I've been exploring other apparatuses and disciplines... my doubles partner and I decided to stop working together. Earlier this year I was working through some questions with a circus-y friend and decided that I really want to go all out... pull out all the stops, and put together something extraordinary. I've seen my friends do this, guys & girls with a moderate amount of amateur performance experience suddenly have the performance of their lives. I want to make that happen. But going the direction I want to go means some serious training. The vision I have involves combining straps skills (very gymnastic, mostly done by men) with either fabric or hammock. I've seen acts that use some combo of the two, and I love them. Plus it fits my potential abilities... I'm more strength oriented than a lot of the other women. And I'm lucky that my school already has several dedicated women in their straps program, so it's not out of reach. OTOH, this is also going to involve really refining my performance. Fitting in adult beginner ballet whenever I can (I think once a week when my son starts kindergarden), working on expression, training my legs to stay straight, my feet pretty and my shoulders down. So there's a LOT of meaty stuff to do here, and this is probably a quest that will extend over several NF challenges (and possibly several years of my life.) That's the big picture. It sounds overwhelming, but I'm already solidly on the path, so it's easy for me to see what the next few steps are, even if I'm not sure how to make it all the way to the top of the mountain. Goal 1: Aerial training. Straps on Mondays, hammock performance on Wednesdays & adv. conditioning on Saturdays. Optional: adv. beg. ballet & open workouts when I have time. Originally this was going to be a hybrid aerial + GMB R1 training goal, but a friend of mine opened up a 7 week hammock performance workshop (started last week), and I knew it would be a good opportunity. So I'm pushing off R1 for the following challenge. Goal 2: Prehab & cross training for forearms wrists and hands. 1-2 times a day. I'll do a separate post listing out the various options here. Basically, I don't want to commit to one boring cross training modality, I want to stay agile and have fun with it, all while giving my hands & forearms a bit of love. Goal 3: Weigh <118 at the end of the challenge. The range of 115-120 is where I feel like my sweet spot is. I was there earlier this year, but the combination of a car accident and a wonderful vacation had me back up several pounds. I'm at 122 right now, I'll give myself an A for <118, and a B for <120. Losing at least 2 pounds in 6 weeks is pretty reasonable. The plan here is just to keep on keeping on with my low carb primal eating (semi-keto), and my training. I'd like to put some effort into getting a consistent 10,000+ steps on my fitbit. Nothing crazy... just a nice slide back into a good weight. (This also saves my wrists & forearms a few pounds of strain.) Goal 3: Eat in a healthy maintenance range for the completion of my challenge. Focus on nutrient rich, whole foods and relax about specific macronutrients. Life Quest: OK... my life is going through a TON of changes right now. That's why I love having an epic quest to focus on because that is not messy. The rest of my life is messy. We just moved to a new house, I'm scaling back to contracting 10-20 hours a month for my job, my son is starting kindergarden and we're rehabbing our old house to rent out. CHAOS!!!! CHAOS & STRESS! So my life quest goal is do two very simple practices that have helped me a lot in the past: meditation and my "credit log". Meditate for 5 minutes upon awakening (or if I missed it in the morning 5 minutes before bed). And use my teeny log book to write down 1-3 things a day that I accomplished or can otherwise give myself credit for doing a good job. I may also post a little bit about my ongoing quest from last challenge to learn to ride a bike better. Right now, I need to step up to a geared bike because our new house is on a hill, so that's kind of on hold until I can afford to buy a new bike. -jj Bonus training photo from yesterday... the bottom depth of my skin-the-cat.
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