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Found 15 results

  1. Last challenge–while the Empress and I were strategizing our path to world domination over tea and crumpets– we decided that I needed to focus on some very specific things to be my truest self in 2019. Definition: (1) (adjective) ruthless in competition; ( 2) (adjective) violently agitated and turbulent; (3) (adjective) marked by extreme and violent energy; (4) (adjective) marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions; inclined to react violently; fervid; "FIERCE" is the acronym designed to support this quest, which I am intensely committed to achieving, in ruthless competition with myself, through the following means: FOCUS - Attend to one thing at a time, the most important thing. IMPACT - Choose the most important thing on the basis of its impact, and where its effects will accumulate and compound over time. ENERGY - Trust the Universe and my intuition. Follow the path of positive energy. Invite feedback. RESILIENCE - Proactively seek to become stronger and more resilient by regularly going outside my comfort zone. Balance stretching my limits with adequate rest, recovery and social support. CREATIVITY - Fuel the fire. Nurture my creative spirit. Make cool stuff that energizes me and helps others. EXECUTION - The time for planning and strategizing is done. Execute the plan! 12/31/2018 - My accountability partner and I are meeting later today, New Year's Eve, to wrap up our respective end of year retreats and have a focused work session on our plans for the coming year. I'll report back here with the results and my challenge goals, on New Year's day. The results of the New Year's Eve Accountability Buddy session: We didn't get as far on concrete goal setting as we had planned. We realized in our initial checkin that we were both still a bit scattered and conflicted on some of our goals. We shifted gears after discussing possible solutions, and ended up doing a "Draw Your Future" exercise. and worked with our respective Tarot cards for the day. Mine, of course, was the Empress. I used this particular version, chosen intuitively from a page image search results: Once we had more clarity on our "whys", we adjourned to do some individual work on goal setting and prioritizing during the week, with the agreement to have a followup accountability session next Saturday after our hike. We had planned a hike as part of our session, but it was cold (46 degrees Fahrenheit! ) and rainy yesterday in Phoenix and we were wimps. (Had not prepared adequately.) We made a pact that there would be no more bailing for weather in the future–beyond adapting time or location based on actual hazards like lightning or flash flooding–as we are going to be FIERCE in our training. To be continued. I am getting ready to go back to work tomorrow, so I'm interspersing writing this update with household chores.
  2. Shadowlion haS TEA and CruMpetS with the Empress Yes, it is another Shadowlion ACRONYM Challenge… Tarot challenge... and a Fire Fit challenge... with Truck Porn, Tai Chi, Tuxedo Cats, a little alliteration, and all lot of other stuff I threw into my tags As per usual, I am a little bit late getting my challenge together. It was a bit of a hectic zero week that included much craziness at work, stitches to my left index finger, and a cold. Typing is still a bit slow, so in lieu of a lot of words, so I will leave you with several pictures that I will weave together into a challenge over the next few days. https://www.wired.com/story/sanfrancisco-smaller-firetrucks/
  3. It's been sort of a whirlwind lately... And I've felt the need to tame the clutter and focus more narrowly. So, I will be concentrating on the Magician's Path this challenge, Instead of running in circles trying to do ALL THE THINGS! (ALL THE PATHS!) The Four Paths The Four Paths - as used in the epic fantasy novel that I have been writing, lo, these many years - is a system of training used by the members of a mysterious order. The paths are: Warrior Scholar Magician Healer Hmmm, sounds kind of like an RPG... I am continuing to use cards from the Tarot for focus and as visual aids and inspiration for my challenges. (Toga Party!) As established last challenge, I am working with the transforming the Fool's energy into that of the Magician. That overlaps nicely with the system of the Four Paths and thus, my challenge title. I like using the Tarot for my challenge themes so far. It helps me focus and to approach things in a more fun and intuitive way. That works well for me, especially since I simply haven't had the time to do the more imaginative gamified things I've wanted to do. I have come up with a multi-challenge sequence that should address all of the major areas I want to improve over the course of the year. It also provides a good framework for gamification and a storyline if I can make the time for that. We shall see. I am also continuing my years theme of "planting my stake in the ground" - commitment and persistence being qualities that I see as needed in my life right now. My Main Goal is to put more MAGIC and FUN into my life 1. MAINTAIN average sleep amount of 7 hours per night. IMPROVE the quality of my sleep through a wiser bedtime routine 2. AUTOMATE more of my systems: a revised set of daily routines, a system of modular "kits" for my more mobile lifestyle to help me organize the stuff I need to cart around for work, lessons, working out, and traveling. 3. GROW my creativity, making more time for fun in my life, things like juggling, drawing, Digital Storytellers group, fiddle. 45 minutes minimum per day. 4. INCREASE my physical fitness - Continue walking, stretching, working on posture. Move more at work - utilize standing desk, do quick bursts of exercise in small breaks to counteract the effects of so much sitting. Add in more bodyweight strength training and increase walking pace. 5. CONTINUE my cyber security training - 2+ half-day visits to the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range) for training; At least six hours of security study and training exercises the other two weeks. The above are a little vague on specific amounts. I plan is to make a spreadsheet with my current baselines and then just aim for hitting the goal numbers for #1 & #3; establish at the beginning of each week what kit I am going to make for #2, go for ~3% increases in mileage, reps, pace as appropriate for #4. #5 is already fairly specific. A few other goals that I am tracking: I will lose at least three pounds this challenge. I will continue my cleaning habits to keep clutter and home chaos at bay. And of course, cats...
  4. ShadowLion keeps her stake planted in the ground... Shadow Lion Walks the Circle (Whaddya expect when you've tied your foot to a rope attached to a stake in the ground?) Transforming from the Fool... To the Magician... (This card I chose, rather than drew, to use as a meditation device in the coming weeks.) Last challenge - when I drew The Fool for my theme - was definitely an adventure, full of fresh starts, false starts, exploration, new ideas, taking chances and chasing dreams. A leap of faith. Now, it's time to focus that energy and balance it. To utilize will and discipline to become the Magician, specifically a Technomancer. This continues my year theme of "planting my stake in the ground" - focus, commitment, determination - in a general way. It is also directly linked to what I perceive as a great need to balance out the various "elemental energies" in my life, the very things that the Magician has mastered. I have have been out of balance with too much work and stress lately and need to correct that. From there, I am using the element of chance and drawing cards to guide my "walk around the circle" and determine my challenge goals. I thought it was pretty cool how there are circles in every card I drew, especially Wheel of Fortune, given the challenge title I chose a week ago! I used my Druidcraft Tarot deck to draw from, but used the internet for digital versions. Time is at a premium, these days. VII The Chariot Queen of Cups Oddly enough, I drew all female cards, though the deck is evenly balanced. And I am struggling as to how to fit a couple of these with my challenge goals. Challenge Focus & Schedule This is a transitional challenge, where the Fool begins to transform into the Magician. I want to keep and continue to enhance the positive qualities of the Fool - the creativity, joy, fresh outlook, and positivity - but mitigate some of the more chaotic ones with the discipline and focus of the Magician. I learned a lot from last challenge, where the Fool showed me that I have been over-emphasizing work at the expense of fun and just about everything else in life. I found out just how much I need more balance. It has taken me the first week of the challenge to get my act together enough to get my goals lined out, even with having the zero week this time. I expect to use the remaining 3 weeks, plus the next zero week, as transition time and pick up with a full-fledged Magician challenge in May. My focus will be in balancing out the various activities in my life as I clear some long-standing projects and create a (somewhat) less hectic schedule for myself. I have been over-working, under-playing, and neglecting relationships and personal growth in favor of getting my business off the ground. That only works for a short time and I have pushed it pretty far. This is the month where I get balance back, as symbolized by the circle motif in my challenge title, avatar, and mirrored in the cards. I am applying the cards to the weeks of the challenge: Week 1 is Two of Pentacles - I have been shifting my focus to the things I can control and where I can make a difference, rather than dwelling on those things that stress me out. Making plans as to how to better address the stressors and take concrete action over the next few weeks to make those more manageable. And, I have actually taken up juggling... It's a good break at work, works my hands and eyes and gets me away from the computer with something completely different. Staying foolish. Week 2 is The Chariot - Here is where I get down to earnest on the plans made in Week 1. Schedule changes. Drawing clearer boundaries on time and energy use. Adding new exercises. Dynamic balance. Week 3 is The Wheel of Fortune - Even more balancing and adjustment. More about internal balance, reflection on cycles of life, getting my inner house in order. Week 4 is the Queen of Cups - This is another card of internal adjustment, and of tapping into emotions and the unconscious. I expect that it will start to set the tone of the next challenge. A card with strong associations with nurturing home life, relationships and creativity. Goals 1. Ward Off the EVIL EYE My posture and my eyes are suffering from constantly being under the gaze of the EVIL EYE (being in front of a computer for so many hours of the day). Stretching, using my adjustable/standing desk, breaks, eye yoga are my defenses. The sedentary nature of my work is another concern. Daily stretch/squat/stand sessions and eye yoga. No more than 45 minutes without getting up and walking around or switching to at least 15 minutes of standing work. Eyes - 20 sec breaks every 20 minutes, a longer eye yoga session (5 mins) for every four hours on the computer. Specific checks of my posture, and especially head and neck positions on the same schedule as eyes and do a few quick stretches as needed at the same time. Hand/wrist stretches included, too. Daily (or more frequent) walks of at least 1K, to break up the sitting. 2. Create Sacred Space My minimalism progress from the fall has not held up to the chaos of the last few months. The Fool does not seem to do well with the structure required with home maintenance! Clear the clutter. The 15 minutes a day clutter patrol returns. I also have several short projects of: Rearranging furniture Office spring cleaning Work on a better setup for my drawing area, so I can sit down and do short sessions easily, without taking a bunch of time to set up each time 3. Make Time for Foolishness Last challenge's fun/relaxation/creativity goal helped me see how little time I was myself for play and recreation. It was a struggle most days to carve out 30 minutes for that. I am continuing that goal, but with upgrades this time. More art and writing, less reading and internet in that time. And more time overall. 45 minutes. 4. Sleep I need more sleep and a better sleep schedule. (And a lot of other things that aren't going to make it into this challenge.) I will start with sleep. 6 hours bare minimum, 7 hours goal. Log it, and see how I can make this work better. Once I have that in better shape, I plan to re-introduce lucid dreaming experiments again. 5. Whole Brain Balance I am experimenting with physical activities that will help me increase physical and mental balance in my life. Juggling on breaks at work, non-dominant hand mirror writing, using my non-dominant hand for everyday tasks, bi-lateral strength and agility training to increase muscle symmetry and help with Goal 1. I am using the parts of "Whole Brain Power" by Michael Lavery that make sense to me and ignoring what doesn't. I have a lot of other goals that I wanted to add, but I am restricting myself to the above to establish a stronger base to my balancing. I am leaving room for adjustments and possible additions upon each week's finish, as needed. Let the intuition and the cats (and the circles!) begin...
  5. The journey continues as ShadowLion decides to keep her theme the same and her stake planted in the ground. Shadow Lion Keeps on Shufflin' She decides to draw again... (And gets a very interesting result.) The Fool In the Single-Card Draw position A card in this position illuminates the present moment or the question at hand. Meaning: This first Major Arcana card is an excellent illustration of someone who is following their bliss. This card often materializes in a reading when the querent is trying something new and completely different. They may be just beginning their spiritual journey or are exploring a new magickal tradition or path. Perhaps they are taking on a brand-new job or are considering an innovative business opportunity. The Fool encourages us to dare, be more open minded, and enjoy the ride. Do not let yourself be dragged down by worries. The Fool laughingly persuades you to trust and take a chance, and not fret too much about the future—instead, just enjoy the trip and take things one day at a time. This card is all about the proverbial leap of faith. Sure, it is possible that you might make a mistake or fall down, but hey! You can always get right back up, brush yourself off, and try again. Sometimes that is the best way to learn—by daring to do. At the end of the day, the Fool encourages you to be open to new prospects and ideas. Live on the edge; think outside of the box. Be confident and bold! There is a big, wide, magickal world out there...go explore it! Keywords: Follow your bliss. Adventure, fresh starts, exploration, a journey. New ideas; take a chance and chase your dreams. The beginning of a spiritual quest; exploring a new magickal path or tradition. A leap of faith. (Who knew there was an X-Men Tarot?) Cue Twilight Zone Theme Song... I have had some big challenges the last week and a half and spent considerable time considering how to best move forward. I have asked myself some tough questions and looked at what needs to change. I've been taking all of that into meditation on a regular basis and the image I kept getting was of "The Fool" card in the Tarot. I kept dismissing it as not relevant, too simplistic, etc. I really wanted to keep doing the "Queen of Swords/Strength/Justice" thing, as that is familiar and I can do that pretty well. (Maybe too well?) I decided Monday that, yes, I was going to do a challenge this time, and yes, I was going to continue my theme from last challenge, but I wasn't sure whether I was going to focus on one card for the challenge, one per week, or one per day. Tonight, when I finally made the time to write up my post, I decided to just draw one card for this challenge's theme. (I hadn't drawn any cards since the start of last challenge when I constructed the last one's theme.) I focused my mind on "What do I most need to focus on this challenge?" And quite against the odds, I drew the same card that had been popping into my meditation for days, the one I had been avoiding for days: This may be a rather interesting challenge... I haven't fully processed the implications of what just happened - and how I should respond to it - beyond acknowledging that there are some very powerful forces at work in my life and I need to pay attention. For now, I am reposting the same goals that I had last challenge. I expect to make changes, but am not sure yet exactly what. I have no idea how all this will fit in with the standard challenge format. I just know that I am here and I am still shufflin'! 1. Move Forward Increase my total walking distance by 3 to 5 % each week over the course of the challenge. Starting distance is 12.5 miles per week. 2. Find Equilibrium Squat for of 5 mins per day, every day of the challenge. Stand for a minimum 10 minutes of every hour I work at GP. 3. Rebuild My Strength There are many types of strength I could choose to work on - physical, mental, emotional, social, soul (intuition, imagination), and spiritual. I am choosing soul and spirit as being the most in need of restoration I will take a minimum of 30 minutes every single day of the challenge to tend to my spiritual and soul needs through meditation, relaxation, play, creativity and/or spending time out-of-doors. 4. CodeWarrior Learn - Complete the Git and DevOps courses I am taking. Practice - Participate in at least one exercise through the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range). Let the intuition (and the cats!) begin...
  6. Shadow Lion Shuffles the Cards... and Decides to Stack the Deck (for success) I have been on a strange and unexpected journey this past weekend as I pondered what to do for my challenge. I found myself wandering down paths I have not traveled in some time, and I realized that my life feels wildly out of balance. I am in need of the Queen of Swords decisiveness and discipline, while also bringing my inner and outer worlds into better alignment through intuition and quiet contemplation. This challenge is a continuation of the last one in many ways - of my year theme of planting my stake in the ground - but it also promises to add some new twists to that. I feel that in many ways I have come full circle (or perhaps it is a spiral?), back to face the very things that once led me away from software development. Now, however, I have the opportunity to deal with those in a different, healthier way, and I can enlist a wealth of life experience from the intervening years to become the ruler of my own well-being. In keeping with the lessons of challenges past - surprise, surprise - I need to further simplify and focus. My year theme of planting my stake in the ground continues. Commitment, discipline, perseverance. This past weekend I took stock of where I was and it wasn't pretty. Depression was creeping in around the edges; I felt exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually. I just wanted to sit down and cry. I'd been working so hard and such long hours that I was totally drained, battling a cold, and wondering how I was going to dredge up the energy to put a challenge together - something that I normally find very enjoyable. I tried to think up some grand idea (always a good plan, right?) and came up with nothing. Then I remembered the conversation on last challenge's thread with Xena about tarot cards. I had planned to save that for later in the year, but I needed an idea... Hmmm. Maybe the answers to my other dilemmas were similarly staring me in the face? It has been many years since I really surveyed what was out there in terms of decks. Between Google, Pinterest, and other sites, I was amazed at all the new decks there are. Traditional tarot, non-tarot "oracle" decks ranging from fairies to vikings to manga to angels, pop culture influenced decks...you name it. I spent several hours marveling at the artwork and imagination behind it all and getting inspired to do a very unusual challenge. Harry Potter... LOTR... (LOL! It's Rurik Harrgarth!) So, I decided to take the hint from the Universe and draw a card using the cosmic code of random electrons and got... And laughed. The lady and the lion, 8, and a sideways 8 - infinity... That is my card. Has been for years. My totem, my number. I drew several more cards, too, which will be revealed over the course of this challenge. Suffice to say, they painted a very interesting picture of what I need to do to resolve my dilemmas and reach my goals. They may look similar on the surface, but make no mistake, things are very, very different now. 1. Move Forward Increase my total walking distance by 3 to 5 % each week over the course of the challenge. Starting distance is 12.35 miles per week. 2. Find Equilibrium Squat for of 5 mins per day, every day of the challenge. Stand for a minimum 10 minutes of every hour I work at GP. 3. Rebuild My Strength There are many types of strength I could choose to work on - physical, mental, emotional, social, soul (intuition, imagination), and spiritual. I am choosing soul and spirit as being the most in need of restoration I will take a minimum of 30 minutes every single day of the challenge to tend to my spiritual and soul needs through meditation, relaxation, play, creativity and/or spending time out-of-doors. 4. CodeWarrior Learn - Complete the Git and DevOps courses I am taking. Practice - Participate in at least one exercise through the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range). Learn, Practice, Share - Participate in a "Mob Programming" workshop Let the intuition (and the cats!) begin...
  7. Theme for 2016 During a Solstice ritual with a couple of friends, I had a very clear image of a driving a stake into the ground. Attached was a leather thong that bound my ankle to the stake. I knew the image referred to a story I read many years ago of a Native American warrior, but I could not remember the details, only that it was an act of total commitment. Once again, the internet delivers: Attached to each dog rope was a picket-pin [used to tether horses]. The pin was driven into the ground as a mark of resolve in combat. When a Dog Soldier was staked to the ground in order to cover the retreat of his companions, he was required to remain there even if death was the consequence. The Dog Man could pull the pin from the ground only if his companions reached safety or another Dog Soldier released him from his duty. From "Cheyenne Dog Soldiers," by Richard Grimes I'm kind of glad I didn't remember the details of the story! The more I read about the Dog Soldiers the more respect I have and the more intimidated I become. Nevertheless, I am holding to my intuitive vision and planting my stake into the ground.Focus and Motivation No doubt this will be a challenging year. To in some small way embody the ideals and values of warriors of that caliber will be a tremendous stretch, one in which I hope I can use them as inspiration and example without faltering or giving any disrespect. I see my primary focus this year as being COMMITMENT. My primary motivation to get healthier (on all levels) and stay that way, is to be present for my family, friends, and associates. With the above in mind, and knowing that there are many changes coming to Nerd Fitness, I am keeping my goals simple and succint. I suspect that many of what would normally have been side quests will fit better into the coming "Epic Quest" system, and I am sure that DarK_Raider and Rurik are hatching mini-challenge plans and any number of other surprises for the future... Challenge Goals1. Go the Distance Average of 15 miles per week, for a total of at least 60 miles for the challenge. Going for easy level of difficulty still, just focused on increasing mileage for now. Carefully, steadily. 2. Wait and Watch for the Enemy; Stand Your Ground Squat 10 mins per day, 6 days per week, 6 hours for the challenge. This is to stretch and release tight muscles from sitting at a computer for so much of the day. Stand for increasing times each day I work at GP, starting with 10 minutes of every hour. This one is a tracking goal, not a total time goal for this challenge, at least until I know how much my bum leg will take per day. I purchased a new stand for my computer that lets me easily turn my regular desk into a standing desk. I plan to install that as soon as I return to work and add standing to my daily routine for the last 5 weeks of the challenge. 3. Eat to Win Lose 4 pounds during the January Challenge Do this by eating healthy foods - lots of fruits and veggies, moderate amounts of whole grains, small amounts of meat, and very little processed food, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep, fresh air, and relaxation. 4. CyberWarrior Learn - Complete the cyber security course I am taking. Practice - Participate in at least one exercise through the AZCWR (Arizona Cyber Warfare Range). Share - Organize and promote the upcoming Code Sisters Cyber-Security Workshop. Not sure if I am going to build a story around this or not. I think I will wait until after the 4th to decide that, once I see the new features on Nerd Fitness. Hoka hey! (Yes, I know that's Lakota/Dakota, not Cheyenne, and it doesn't mean what Hollywood thinks it does... But it makes a pretty good war cry.) Let's go kill this challenge!
  8. Game On, ShadowLion! What to Expect Techno Ranger Sorcery - technology, coding, biohacking, mobility work, walking --> hiking/rucking, macro tracking, productivity and learning hacks, metaphysical speculation, octalysis Renaissance Rebelry - writing, a little artwork here and there, some music, knitting, spinning, sewing ShadowLiony Silliness - cats, otters, gifs and vids, puns, alliteration and other wordplay CONSTRUCTION ZONE Story Challenge Process Reference
  9. I celebrate my 57th birthday during this challenge and I have been doing a lot of thinking about my goals and plans in light of that. That has included not only a review of the past year, but a longer look back over the course of my life thus far. About a year ago, I attended a startup weekend that sent my career in new directions and I have started my own company since. In the meantime, I spent a couple of challenges working to get "fire fit" again, but struggled with injuries and did not achieve my goal of attending Wildfire Academy this past spring. That kind of took the wind out of my sails and I took a time out on that goal to reevaluate, redirecting my energies towards becoming more resistant to injury and establishing small, solid habits in the interim. Lately, I have been back fighting the black dog (depression) once again. I have reached the conclusion that one of the main drivers of that is that I have not put the desire to get back into firefighting to rest. No matter how much I tell myself to let it go, leave it to the youngun's, that I'm too old to be out there again, I can't shake it. It's crazy, I know. I've tried to think up lots of alternative ways to work in related fields. The software development I'm doing is an obvious fit for training simulations, for instance. It's not enough. Looking back, the best things I've done have come from following those crazy intuitions, hunches, gut feelings, and inner nudges that won't go away. They may or may not lead me where I think I am going, but they have always led to somewhere interesting and worthwhile. So, I have resolved to go on faith that there is something to all this. I have come up with a new old plan. I will train towards qualifying again and save towards attending the 2016 Wildfire Academy, with no idea if I can do it. I will just move in that direction on faith and see where I end up. I am stalking my future self, with a few faint tracks on the ground ahead of me. My prey is elusive, unpredictable, difficult to catch. It may or may not be where and when I think it is. But what better huntress is there than a ShadowLion? With that as my challenge theme, here are my challenge goals: 1. Build the strength, endurance and flexibility to catch my prey (DEX -1, STA-2, STR-2) I am re-implementing my previous "40 Weeks to Fire Fit" program, slightly altered to incorporate my hard-learned lesson of needing to listen more closely to my body before increasing training volume or intensity and to give myself MORE recovery than I THINK I need. Fire Fit Returns Durability (DEX-1) ___/24 Comprehensive set of warmups, mobility/stability, and “prehab†exercises for an older female athlete. Bone-builders (including jumping exercises); spine/shoulder/hip/knee exercises to maintain joint health; dynamic stretching to increase ROM and overall flexibility; specific exercises for identified weak areas including head/neck/spine alignment and bi-lateral muscle balance, ankles, wrists/hand/grip, pelvic floor, and elbows. I MUST warm up before every exercise session. Kelly Starrett will be my guide to Becoming a Supple Leopard. ShadowLion will become a Supple Leopard Endurance (STA-2) ___/18 Phase 0 - 4(+) week pre-conditioning program utilizing exercise biking, walking, and other low-impact cardio to build my aerobic base. Then, start: Phase 1 - ~ 8 week program of walking transitioning to walk/jog intervals. Success will be being able to walk/jog in intervals for a distance of 5K, with an average heart rate of 145 or below, and a peak HR under 155. Goal time: < 45 minutes. ENDURANCE GOAL It helps to have a concrete goal. That will be to make the whole distance at a speed/intensity appropriate to my current endurance level. I can make sure that those who have made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered. I've never done a Fun Run/Walk/Race before and this one seems like the one to start with: 9/11 Heroes Run Strength (STR-2) ___/18 Phase 0 - 4(+) weeks of a pre-conditioning program utilizing exercises from “Durability†section below. Focus on getting elbows to withstand pushups and pull-ups by dropping back and then gradually progressing from wall pushups and lightly weighted rows; establishing base of low set and rep numbers on the other exercises. This is early stage stuff while I establish my top priority right now, the base aerobic levels of my endurance program. Then, start: Phase 1 - ~12 week assisted exercise program of knee-pushups; assisted pull-ups, grip hangs and rows; modified dips; lunges and variations. Additionally - squats, planks, sit-ups, burpees and variations. This will kick things up a notch and prepare me for an increased focus on strength training in Phase 2. I plan to build some serious muscle in the coming months... 2. Fuel my body for the hunt. (CON-2) ___/28, ___/8 I will fuel my body with high-quality, nutrient dense foods with an eye to supporting efforts to increase endurance and muscle mass, while trimming off excess weight. The dietary regimen I will follow will be a plant-based whole foods diet. I am still deciding how far to go with this goal. At a minimum, I will continue to log my food and target a moderate calorie intake. I may go further. I am considering the Engine 2 Diet. Alternately, I will go with one meat free day per week and one new recipe per week. Edited 07/24/2015 Week 1 will be preparation to undertake 28 days of veganism, based on the Engine 2 diet. Weeks 2-5 will be following E2 at the "Firefighter" level. Week 6 will be evaluation and the setting of new goals. I do have two meals per week where it is very difficult to make my own food choices, so I reserve 4 lunches and four dinners as exempt over the 4 week period. I expect that the remaining 76 meals should give me a pretty good idea if I want to continue the diet further, as will my "gut reactions" to the exempt meals. ShadowLion Emphasizes the Savory Over the Sweet... 3. Be a healthy, happy and balanced ShadowLion. (CON-1, CHA-2, WIS-2) Continue to ensure that I get plenty of sleep, maintain an healthy den, enjoy the company of friends, and keep creativity and fun alive in my life. Sleep CON-1 ___/6 49 hours of sleep per week. ShadowLions need plenty of sleep Maintain my den CHA-1 ___/36, ___/6 To have a healthy environment to relax in, I will do a daily clutter patrol of at least 10 minutes and a weekly home improvement task of at least 30 minutes. ShadowLions need a place to relax Spend time with my tribe CHA-1 ___/6 One social activity with friends per week. ShadowLions are not solitary creatures Stay Curious WIS-1 ___/36, ___/6 Make time for play. Every day. Create things. Just for the fun of it. At least once per week. ShadowLions are curious Sisu WIS-1 ___/36 Continue meditation and daily journaling habit. Maintain daily and weekly planning and goal setting, task management. ShadowLions are focused and determined 4. Establish and guard my territory. WIS-2, CHA-1 ___/3 I am continuing to establish my business, define my brand and build my portfolio. Define my range WIS-1 ___/1 I am starting to have work come to me and not all of it is work that I should probably take on. I need to better define the scope of my business and the kinds of projects I want to specialize in. This challenge I will contemplate my mission, skills, talents, and dreams to produce a statement of business scope that better reflects the direction in which I want to go. Mark my boundaries WIS-1 ___/1 I will be taking an online class concerning trademarks, copyrights and other legal aspects of owning and operating a business that deals heavily in intellectual property. This will be completed by the end of this challenge. I will also establish a schedule of what I need to do to implement what I learn and begin doing those things. Secure my territory CHA-1 ___/1 The server administration that I did this past challenge opened my eyes to the fact that I need more knowledge of computer security. I will complete an online course on that this challenge and apply what I learn to my clients' and my own websites. Territory is not to be taken for granted And, in a nod to challenges past (and the inspiration of "Nerdhammer")
  10. Reflections at the Two Year Mark Last challenge held a lot of NF milestones for me: One year soda free, 100 days of SISU, and my second Nerdthday. I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what I've accomplished so far and where I want to go next on my Epic Quest. From that, I have identified a number of things that I want to address and distilled a few lessons from the last two years that I want to emphasize in this challenge. The "wisdom of experience" is gained from being too stupid/stubborn/impatient/arrogant to listen to good advice! What I know now - from such experience - is that I need to focus on small, simple, steady and slow. My biggest mistakes in getting fitter have centered on trying to do too much, too soon. Inevitably, I would end up injured. My will was strong, but my body was weak. The SISU experiment of the last three challenges has taught me to go slower to move ahead faster, to listen more closely to my wise body and pay less attention to my impatient mind. This challenge will be quite challenging in that I will need to apply my experience and not fall back into old habits now that I am returning to a more usual structure of goals and activities. What Works for Me In reviewing my fourteen (!) challenges thus far, what has worked best for me has been: Gamification (Oh, NerdHammer, how I miss thee...and Hello, HabitRPG!) for motivation and building habitsAcronyms as easy reminders, keeping me focused and aware of opportunities to improveAn overarching vision that each challenge fit into, providing more motivation and contextBeing social, something that has suffered some the last few challengesHard limits on things like bedtime; consistent logging of things like food and exercise. So, this challenge, ShadowLIon SWEATS the "small stuff." Study Writing Eating Art of Relaxization Training Startup Grind The following areas continue to address my SISU goals, but change up the time expectations and the absolute "daily" requirement as needed for the next phase of my plan. They also include some remedial work needed on eating habits and sleep. The "Daily" Show - ShadowLion's Six Days a Week, No Double Misses, Moderation in All Things Plan I've sorted my goal activities into daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and midpoint/end of challenge categories to better allocate my time and energy. Dailies - 6x per week, with no double misses at the rollover. Weeklies - one or more times per week with a minimum time quota. Other Checkpoints - I have a number of project milestones set at the 2, 3, 4, and 6 week marks. I am limiting myself to those goals, even though there are a lot of other things I want to accomplish. If I get things done early, then I can dip into my Grab Bag of extra things to do, but not before. This may seem really restrictive (it is!) but it is a necessary curb on my Ranger Do All the Things! mentality. THE PROGRAM Study (CHA - 2) Weekly - 3x per week, 10 hours weekly total, minimum. If I am smart, I will make those sessions shorter and more frequent than that. This is to move forward on my programming knowledge and skills for my startup. Other checkpoints - Course deadlines and portfolio project completions will be added to the "Project Portfolio" post below as they occur. Writing (CHA - 2) Daily - 15+ minutes of morning pages or blogging. Weekly - Novel quota - Minimum 2,500 words. Mid-challenge checkpoint - At least 10,000 words. End of challenge checkpoint - At least 20,000 words. Eating (CON - 2) Daily - Food log. Maximum 1800 calories on non-cheat days. Weekly - Three cheat meals allowed. Batch cook, 1x per week. Art of Relaxization (CON - 2, WIS - 2) Daily - 7+ hours of sleep, with a strict 1:00 AM curfew. (Bonus - HabitRPG points/reward for getting to bed by midnight.) At least 20 minutes of leisure time for hobbies, fun, general relaxation. Meditate a minimum of 9 minutes per day for greater self-awareness and realization of what makes me tick. End of challenge checkpoint - Get out of Dodge! At least 1 day trip and one longer trip out of town. Preferably to the mountains where it is cooler... Phoenix, AZ. Summer. Insert gratuitous cute kitten here: Training (STR - 1, STA - 1, DEX - 1) Fire Fit has not been forgotten. It was strategically delayed while I dealt with my disappointment of not meeting my goal last fall and decided how to move forward. As above, I determined that I needed to move slower. Smaller, sImpler, steadier, slower. I don't know if I will make it to AZ Wildfire Academy next spring (fall app deadline) or not, but I am going to move in that direction and see where my habits take me. Daily - 15 minutes of stretching, prehab, rehab, and stabilization a la Kelly Starett. Body tuneup and maintenance. Weekly - Gradual ramp up to regular strength workouts and cardio within the bounds of what joints and connective tissue will handle. This is a moving target with a lot of unknowns right now. My main criteria is that I do something in each category 2-3 times per week at my current level, whatever that is. Logging is a must. My current expectation is that I will be doing modified pushups, ring rows, grip hangs, isometric strength work, some kettlebell and dumbbell work, along with brisk walking and exercise biking for now. I will keep my expectations and efforts in check and be cautious. In this area at this point, less in more. Startup Grind (WIS - 2) Move Existing Sites to Cloud Hosting Weekly checkpoints End of Week 1 - Complete research on cloud hosting solutions for SAS and have plan in place to move the site. End of Week 2 - Testing of development site. Complete final transfer to production by middle of the following week. End of Week 3 - Have checklist and plan of how transfer remaining sites. End of Week 6 - Have all site transfers done. Creating CS & AS/C3SG sites Weekly checkpoints End of week 1 - Define requirements, user stories, site structure. Detailed project schedule in place. End of week 2 - Card sort of information architecture, outlining of text, color palette generation and mood board, thumbnails and roughs of graphic elements. End of week 3 - First major round of user testing of several rough prototypes using basic graphical elements and text. End of Week 4 - Production of final versions of artwork and text. Refine prototype. End of week 5 - Ready for beta testing - User results incorporated into a fully functional prototype. End of Week 6 - Final testing and debugging. Deployment. Grading of my goals will be judged by my percentages of days, words, and times completed as outlined above, using the standard letter grade system. Additional ungraded goals: Spend an average of at least 20 minutes per day on Nerd Fitness following fellow rangers and potential rangers threads and commenting, more than that when I can. In addition to the 20 minutes of MANDATORY recreation per day, I want to make having fun and enjoying life a priority this time. There were too many days last challenge where I worked very long days and about the only thing that got done outside of work was my SISU "MEWS", basic cat care, and to take a shower! Oh, and get a little bit of sleep. I basically broke all of my good sleep habits from previous challenges... The pace of my life last challenge was pretty brutal and it is ultimately unsustainable and counterproductive to keep that going for very long. I figure I've earned a little break, though am not sure how to achieve it except in small chunks spaced throughout the six weeks. For now, my solution will be to take more breaks throughout the day, especially ones that involve the "exercise cubicle" we have in the back room, plus to be more aware of when I enter into "diminishing returns" and to do something about that. Experiment to find the optimal time spent or number of "Toads" to tackle per day or week. See the "Grab Bag" post below. "Tackling Toads" is aimed at creating less stress and more freedom in my life by taking decisive action on things I don't like to do, as opposed to procrastinating, wasting time, and prolonging the misery. If I finish early on a project, or otherwise carve out some extra time, I can visit the Grab Bag and do something from that list just for fun. I may also experiment with rewarding toad tackling with an equal measure of fun. TL:DR; All of the above is just a plan to get stronger, be BOLDER, and accomplish my life goal of being a Belly-dancing Amazon Pirate (who codes and fights fires!)
  11. April 6 I saw the forums were up as I was writing my wrapup of last challenge. I was dithering over whether I was going to keep SISUing, but when I saw that the first day of the new challenge was the last day of my one full year of NO SODA, I took it as a sign. Heck, yeah! I want to see if I can hit 99 days straight and make it all the way to my second NF birthday. Time to woman up, Shadow LIon. Let's see what you're made of! April 9 I'm using the "between challenges" week to test a slight increase in my SISU quotas, and so far it is working, despite a crazy, crazy schedule. Two websites need to get out the door and a game prototype is due by late afternoon Monday. Yikes! So, I'm not going to over think things here. This one's going to be a near repeat of last time, with a modest bump up on my minimums, The focus, as before, is on consistency and quality, as opposed to quantity. My "MEWS" minimums are as follows: Meditation - 3 minutes minimum Exercise - 15 minutes minimum Writing - 15 minutes/500 words per day minimum Study (Code) - 15 minutes minimum My maxes are set to minimum x 4. I will be using HabitRPG as my tracking and reward system. The challenge will be all or nothing in terms of points and leveling up. The goal is 99 days straight SISU - straight through to my second Nerd Fitness Birthday on May 30, 2015. To go with the "MEWS" theme...and to remind me to take baby steps:
  12. This: I've been contemplating this challenge, this year, this life, for quite some time now and this is the direction I want to go. In this case, music trumps language. There is a lot I can't put into words, but... The interweaving of the instruments and the various themes is how I want the various facets of my life to play together and support and harmonize with one another. The overall calmness, as the melody moves through various states of resolution and moods, is how I want to approach the uncertainties in my life right now. I hear definite echoes of what I am writing about in morning pages and in novels, in blog posts and in code. For me, the Adagio creates an open and reflective mood that counters so much of the hurry and busyness that I struggle with, and the scenes of nature in this video centers me and soothes my soul. I had already determined that this challenge would be a continuation of last one's "Sisu" theme," and that I would be revisiting "STEAMS," and "Stupid Simple," (among others) again. Then, I realized I could alliterate. Win! Sisu, the Second - ShadowLion's Systematic, Sustainable, STEAMS Six S's... STOP!!! Start simplifying, ShadowLion! That makes sense. So, I settled for a subtler signifier. Alliteration I resolved to routinely eschew. Rhyming, instead, I would try to pursue. Surely not as sophisticated as true Haiku... Hey! I'm a Shadow Lion, What'd you expect me to do? Sisu...2 (Ssssongwriting?) This is certainly a silly start for a such a salubrious subject. Seems to be a side-effect of significant stress and simply too much sitting in front of a screen - slumped, staring, and slack-jawed - still seeking some elusive synthesis of sinew, synapse, and soul. Expect this cycle to showcase similar semantic excursions (sins, perchance?) as those seen thus far. (ShadowLion fancies herself a scrivener, she does.) She has set up a schedule centered upon the spewing and scribbling of significant sums of words, side by side with a series of simple, structured scenarios designed to foster sustainable success! Okay. Time to get serious... Sisu, by way of another definition: Sisu runs even deeper than grit. It is a type of mental toughness that allows you to bear the burden of your responsibilities, whatever they happen to be, with a will and perseverance that is unbreakable. It is the ability to sustain your action and fight against extreme odds. Sisu extends beyond perseverance. It is what you rely on when you feel like you have nothing left. ~James ClearInterestingly enough, Emilia Lahti, a noted researcher specializing in "sisu" and grit, has reworked her blog since the beginning of the last challenge and has dubbed 2015 "The Year of Sisu." I discovered this when I was thinking about how to frame my challenges for the rest of the year. Sisynchronicity. Click on the picture to go to her site... In the spirit of challenges past, I have created an acronym to help me focus on specific aspects of this year's theme: Small (yet significant) Increments, Sustainable (in spite of) Uncertainty Last challenge was fairly successful and it jolted me out of a rut. I decided that I wanted to continue exploring "sisu, " while I look for a “bigger box†in which to put my challenges. I often have trouble determining the optimum scope of my challenges (work and life goals, too, for that matter), stuffing too many things into too small of a box and then getting frustrated, losing focus, or getting injured from trying to do too much. This time I am going for a more spacious container with fewer things in it. I am also breaking out of the usual order, categories and “weighting†of goals, even playing a bit fast and loose with the grading system. I've fallen into a bit of a negative, "I need to fix it NOW†mentality, which I suspect has had something to do with the amount of injuries I have sustained. I'm going to experiment with a more inspirational approach. More carrot, less stick. Let’s see how it works! Disclaimer: This is my 13th challenge and I have followed the challenge rules pretty closely to date. I don't recommend what I am trying unless you have successfully done a number of challenges and have a specific reason to alter your approach. (I am quite open to the possibility I may fail or need to go back to the tried and true method before this is all over...) To help me maintain my focus, I am dividing my challenge into four parts, each with it’s own goal and particular approach or mindset. This is based on the particular spiritual path I follow, where a person is seen as having the following four aspects: Body - The body and it’s various energies and systems and qualities, intimately connected to the earth/environment; one’s vehicle of action, expression; the extension/carrier/reflection of consciousness Mind - The intellect and the emotions; memory; learning; basic waking consciousness Soul - The seat of intuition, imagination and creativity; the synthesizer of experience; the point where individual consciousness and the collective unconscious meet Spirit - The still point within; transcendent wisdom; unitive consciousness Along with these (somewhat artificial and arbitrary) divisions, there are also four major ways of encountering the world. I'm going to gamify those and call them "Warrior," "Scholar," "Magician," and "Healer." For ease of focus and experiment's sake, I am going to put one aspect and one approach in each "box," then turn the usual westernized hierarchical approach to being upside down and inside out. Let's see the boxes as overlapping circles, or - better yet - connected spheres, each relating to the others in various ways, without one or another taking precedence. Each interacts and effects all the others. Still with me? Good. This is Nerdville with a capital N, and a big dose of string theory and mysticism thrown in! Now that the theoretical matrix is decided, and SISU kept in mind, on to the Goals... emphasis on the inside, the attitude, the approach. 1) Spirit/Warrior - Single-mindedness. 2 minutes per day, every single day, structured meditation. 42 days straight. Simple. Hard. 2) Soul/Magician - Average 500 words per day of the challenge. (This would result in ~21,000 words written.) These can be morning pages, blog posts, whatever. Additional words or novel writing = bonus. Every day. 3) Mind/Scholar - 10 minutes per day practicing a skill requiring intellectual or emotional exertion. 42 days straight. Additional time or skill = bonus. 4) Body/Healer - 5 minutes per day/5 days per week of outdoor exercise. Yoga, tai chi, bellydance, and/or rehab/prehab work count. Extras/bonuses can be more time on any of the things listed, and/or strength or endurance exercises related to fire fitness. I have not given up on my fire fitness goals. I am just taking a different approach this time. Likewise, I am still committed to the same goal weight and body fat percentage as previous challenges. The results of this challenge should let me get back to those in a new, more effective way next challenge. (I hope.) I can do more, but I must do the minimum as set forth. To count, the above must be entered in my journal/spread sheet daily and updates posted here at least twice per week. For purposes of this experiment, I will take my weight and measurements as per usual to track if I continue on the desired trajectory, and at what pace, while I change up my methods.This will allow me to alter the above structure mid-course, if needed. I am not going to grade by the usual measuring stick. I am setting a single (!) baseline habit per category. It is all or nothing. Each tiny habit, each day, just as I would brush my teeth, take a shower, eat. This is about absolute consistency. While I am not leaving wiggle room on the consistency, I am being realistic about time and building in variety. I hope that I have that balance right! This baseline is intentionally set quite low in order to incentivize further action and encourage exploration without setting me off on a course where I push too hard and injure myself again. The indicator that I may be on to something is that I had an awful time setting my requirements. Everything felt far too low and I had a great deal of resistance to it, especially picking only one thing per category. Oh, and since St. Paddy's Day will fall within this challenge and we must have cats on this thread....
  13. Original posting, includes links re: "sisu." I still have a very, very full work schedule and I am coming off a bit of a slump last challenge, but I'm diving right into the first challenge of 2015. I need to. This community has helped me keep my dream and goal of returning to fighting fires again alive, despite setbacks and injuries and doubts. My Main Quest for much of last year was to attend the Arizona Wildfire Academy and recertify as a wildland firefighter this coming spring. The fact is, I'm not physically or financially ready for that yet. Part of my slump was due to my disappointment over that. But I am not giving up, merely readjusting my time frames and expectations. I am pulling things from the past 4 or 5 challenges that have worked the best for me and mixing in a few new twists for this go around. And, I am committing to a year's focus on consistency, and a challenge specific focus of "sisu." Expect to hear quite a bit more about sisu in the coming weeks. (There are a number of links in the spoiler.) I believe it is my not-so-secret weapon on the way to success in my quest. All the ideas, plans, programs, workouts, and diets in the world mean nothing if I do not have the grit and the guts to persevere through the inevitable setbacks and difficulties along the way. Consistency is important; sisu is absolutely essential. More to come on Monday evening, MST
  14. ShadowLion STEAMS GRAPES Forty Weeks to Fire Fit (40W2FF) Continues With The "Firefighters Love Acronyms" Challenge SOPs, ICS, PASS, PPE, SA, LCES, SCBA, ABCs, and so many more... Oh, yes, firefighters love acronyms. Acronyms, mnemonics, and a host of other memory aids help critical information stick when things get chaotic. Important, even life-saving, information can be missed or forgotten in the heat of the battle if there isn't some system to track everything. Chaotic is a pretty good description of my life right now. I'm a bit overwhelmed and I have a lot of things I'm juggling. I don't want to miss anything crucial and I need to make improvements in a number of key areas. Thus, Acronyms. They will help keep me focused on my mission critical tasks and let me keep my priorities clear and well-defined. Acronyms are also how I will be writing my personal "SOPs" or "Standard Operating Procedures" for this challenge and beyond. For what are SOPs but a set of well-thought-out and firmly established habits? Precisely what we are all trying to do to succeed in leveling up our lives. I have lots of motivation! I have some big goals and looming deadlines. I am well aware of how soon mid-March will be here, when my 40 Weeks to Fire Fit will be over and I will either have succeeded in my Quest or not. I still have much to accomplish. [insert calendar here, a la forkboy's excellent example.] A major overhaul of my systems is in order. ShadowLion As in previous challenges, I am using the protagonist of my fantasy novel as my personal rangerly role-play inspiration. STEAMS I need better SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to balance and manage the following: Time - Eliminate inefficiencies and poor distribution of effort; Implement a realistic schedule, review and adjust current deadlines accordingly. This will be accomplished by finishing my time audit, implementing a schedule based on the audit and sticking to it. I will learn to say, "NO," and to use my time and technology more effectively. No more free-flowing musician's hours and artsy fartsy dreaminess. This is "Git R' Done" time. Energy - Diet, Exercise, Rest These are at the core of my Quest. Awareness/Attention - Meditation, journaling, and/or breathing exercises - 15 minutes per day, at least 6 days per week. Money - Long-term I know I need more savings, and to invest in my startup business and myself. Short-term, to be finished by the end of this challenge, I will do the Fix My Finances 31 day program to figure out how to achieve the longer term goals. Space - Clear the clutter. 30 minutes per day, 6 days per week, or equivalent/average. This is Stage One of a longer term strategy of moving towards minimalism, that will be better defined as I work on my SOPs and Epic Quest. GRAPES The methods I will use Goal Tracking - I find spreadsheets (and other tracking aids and methods) very helpful. Spreadsheets were particularly helpful and successful last challenge. It will continue. New tools will be added, MyFitnessPal, in particular is showing good results during my trial run for Zero Week. Real Life Role-Playing - Make my goals stick by gamifying. Accountabilibuddies - Accountability with friendships. It works. PVPs - 20 pound challenge, Heroes v. Villains, No Soda, and YAYOG - These are the central components to my diet and exercise goals for "Energy" above. Epic Quest - Time to review and rework this in light of all that has happened in the last few months. Systems Thinking - Apply my existing knowledge of various systems approaches to management, like ICS (Incident Command System) and Agile sortware development. Learn more about Agile and related methods for additional ideas. The major obstacles to achieving my goals this challenge are also GRAPES Good is the Enemy of the Best - Not going for the top 20%. Trying to do all of the things that are enticing, and not selecting just the best. Realism - Or lack thereof. Too many commitments, too little time really translates to I have just as many hours in a day as anyone else - how do I choose to use them? Attitudes - Resistance, Stubborness, Excuses, Impulsiveness Procrastination - Wasting time because I'm tired or resisting the discomfort of the doing of the thing. Not recognizing that and just dealing with it. Do it, delegate it, or ditch it. Adult up. Expectations - Trying to be perfect, trying to do everything. Sleep Issues and Opposite Schedules - This is a difficult obstacle in my household. My partner and I are on very different work/sleep schedules. This is an external logistical problem as opposed to the others, which are primarily internally generated. It is up to me what kind of grapes I have by the end of this challenge - wonderful wine that will age well, or a batch of sour ones moldering away. One more thing before getting to the kitties and the nitty-gritty of the goals and scoring... I have been missing structural firefighting a lot lately. I'm not quite sure what to do about that, other than to recognize it and roll it into the realm of future possibilities. I have experience and training. I was focusing on wildland training because I felt that was more realistic goal given my age and would be my first choice if I had to pick only one. But if I end up in a small department, as I was before, I will need both (plus EMS) again. I was getting caught up in mental debate over it while looking for pictures for this thread when I found this: She's 68. I've got time. So, in addition to the usual wildland truck porn and forest fire scenarios, you're going to get some structure fire science and apparatus, too. The Lineup: Motivational Mondays Truck Porn Tuesday Women in the Fire Service Wednesday Tactical Thursday Fire Science Friday Safety Saturday and Fire Funnies on Sunday... And, as always, random sightings of wildlife, kitties and other cute critters Oh yeah, the goals. Work Out Like a Firefighter STA-1, STR-1, DEX -1 This challenge overlaps Weeks 16 - 21 of my "Forty Weeks to Fire Fit" program, subsequently referred to as "40W2FF." Most of my activities this time will be part of the PVPs I am participating in, plus any Rangers or accountabilibuddy mini-challenges. My real challenge is to stay within my limits and not let my enthusiasm get me injured. The Durability training, warmups and other preventive measures are designed to avoid injury or overuse, which has been an issue for me the last couple of challenges. Endurance (STA-1) __/18 This six week challenge will be a combination of exercise biking, brisk walking/hiking, swimming, and jump-roping to build my stamina. I can start hiking soon - the weather is starting to cool! The days are still 100 degrees plus, but the nights are getting down into the 80s regularly. Strength (STR-1) __/24 I will be using the bodyweight conditioning program in YAYOG program and PVP this challenge. My ultimate goal by the en of 40W2FF: Durability (DEX-1) __/18 Comprehensive set of warmups, mobility/stability, and “prehab†exercises for an older female athlete. Bone-builders (including jumping exercises); spine/shoulder/hip/knee exercises to maintain joint health; dynamic stretching to increase ROM and overall flexibility; specific exercises for identified weak areas including head/neck/spine alignment and bi-lateral muscle balance, ankles, wrists/hand/grip, pelvic floor, and elbows. I MUST warm up before every exercise session.. Eat Like a Firefighter CON-3(+) I will fuel my body with high-quality, nutrient dense foods with an eye to maintaining endurance and muscle, while trimming off excess weight. I will use the food tracking on MyFitnessPal from the YAYOG PVP to good effect here. Also, the No Soda and the 20 Pound PVP will be part of this goal. Body Composition Mission (1 pt awarded for each % bodyfat dropped, if I can drop 4% then I will take a point from somewhere else. This is a problem I would love to have...) This is my most Mission Critical Goal this challenge. I NEED to drop weight to achieve the progress on fitness goals that I need in the next two challenges. Trying to move the excess bodyweight is the primary reason for the elbow injury that has plagued me over the past three challenges. I could have probably had my first pullup by now but for that, and been ready to go on the HotShot Strength Program in Week 29. That will be a close thing now, if I can achieve it at all in the 40 week time frame. My 40 week end goal is a bodyweight of ~150#, +/-5# as long as my body fat % is at 20% or less using the U.S. Navy Body Fat Calculator. This tends to be a little under actual, so a DEXA scan would be even better, acceptable BF% < 24%. Goal for this challenge is to drop my BF% by at least 3 percentage points, to 31% or less. This will be from a combination of fat loss (primarily) and lean mass gain. (The following was calculated using US Navy Body Fat Calculator, it is an estimate. I think the calculator is somewhat overestimating my recent fat loss/lean muscle gain, but that it will all even out by the time I reach my goal weight.) Current Body Composition - 09/14/2014 Total Mass: 185 lbs. Lean Mass: 121 lbs. Fat Mass: 64 lbs. BF% = 34% Waist = 35" Hips = 42" Neck = 16" Height: 5'6 3/4" Short-Term Goal Body Composition - 10/26/2014 Total Mass: 174 lbs. Lean Mass: 122 lbs. Fat Mass: 52 lbs. BF% = 30% Waist = 32" Hips = 40" Neck = 15" Height: 5'6 3/4" When Joined Nerd Fitness - 05/31/2013 Total Mass: 206 lbs. Lean Mass: 107 lbs. Fat Mass: 99 lbs. BF% = 48% Waist = 42" Hips = 46" Neck = 16" Height: 5'5 3/4" LONG TERM GOAL (Estimated) - 03/08/2015 Total Mass: 150 lbs. Lean Mass: 120 lbs. Fat Mass: 30 lbs. BF% = 20% Waist = 27" Hips = 37" Neck = 14" Height: 5'6 3/4" Ungraded extra - Achieve another 42 days of my 365 total on the No Soda PVP. Starting at 154 days, going for 365. Should hit the halfway point during Week Five of this challenge. Rock the Acronyms Like a Firefighter STR-2, STA-1, CON-1, CHA-3, WIS-2 As I said before this is a MAJOR OVERHAUL. I will salvage what I can of existing systems, but there is a lot that will simply be discarded during mop up operations. STEAMS (STR-2, STA-2, CON-1, WIS-1) S is for SOPs (STR-1) By the end of this challenge, create a working draft of a set of personal SOPs, including a set of new morning and evening routines that support the new life I am building. T is for Time (STR-1) By the end of Week One, have a new working daily and weekly schedule in place. At a minimum it will include set business hours and deadlines for various projects, including the Fight the Fire app and my iOS course homework. Also by the end of week One, I will have completed the first ebook that I have checked out on Amazon's unlimited service and implemented the time saving ideas that I choose from it. I will do the same with the remaining five books over the remaining five weeks. This sounds like a lot, but they are shortish productivity books, primarily on ways to use to-do lists. If I can find a good technological tool for time tracking, that will be a plus, as will getting my kanban board back on track, and/or applying other agile or lean tools and methods. E is for Energy (CON-1) This is mostly covered in my Fitness and Body Composition Quests above. The one thing that needs addressed in this section is Rest/Sleep. I must get at least 45.5 hours of sleep per week; this will be graded. Given the ongoing work schedule realities at home, I am not going to grade my curfew, bedtiime and lights out, but I will track them for further data and to see how I can make improvements. A is for Awareness/Attention (WIS-1) At least 15 minutes per day of meditation and/or journaling/sketchnoting/mandala or other drawing/visual journaling method M is for Money (WIS-1) Complete the Thirty-One Days to Fix Your Finances 31 day program to figure out how to achieve the longer term goals. S is for Space (STA-1) At least one half-hour per day (on average) of decluttering and improving my personal space (includes car, computer, drives, devices), and/or scanning papers/books and towards my ultimately paperless office and digitized media library. This beyond my daily 15 minute clutter patrol and regular household tasks. I am losing precious time dealing with clutter and maintaining things I don't need or no longer use. It wastes huge amounts of my time and energy, so it gets its own category. I know better than to carry unneeded gear in my pack or on my truck. I need to treat my living space the same way. Have less, to do less, to be more. Of the above, I anticipate Sleep ("E is for Energy") to be one of the most crucial, as well as one of the most difficult to achieve during this challenge. I want to be: But, if not that, at least: Play Like a Firefighter CHA-3 Firefighters work hard and play hard. Lately, I have been telling a lot of other people that they need to have more fun in their life. I need to take my own good advice... Make working out more fun... Make eating more fun... Make rest and recovering more fun and my daily life more fun... Create more, relax more Thus the very social aspects of GRAPES (PVPs, Accountability Groups, and Role Playing), and the inclusion of my creative and recreational goals under my Epic Quest. GRAPES (DEX-1, CHA-2) These methods are largely ungraded, as most are already integrated into the objectives in STEAMS. However, E is an exception. My Epic Quest is the logical place to append my creative and recreational goals for this challenge. G is for Goals Tracking R is for Real Life RPG A is for Accountabilibuddies P is for PVPs E is for Epic Quest S is for Systems Thinking Continue Creating the "Fight the Fire App" (CHA-1) Ultimate Nerd Cred. Take the iOS programming course...once per week. Create Something (CHA-1) Writing and Arting. At least once per week per each. With Crossguild Artists Creativity AllLevel Art Collection. I've been itching to do some artwork for the games, try my hand at some graphic novel style artwork to go with my writing...I'll be happy to just get some sketching in to clarify my story ideas for myself and my writing group. And that is the other piece of this - Digital Storytellers meetup counts (every other week), plus a little more writing on top of that. With everything I've got going I don't expect to do a lot, just some. I'm thinking somewhere between Wonder Woman comic book art and a grittier more photo-realistic look for my bad ass ranger/warrior woman heroine Which brings us to those other fun physical skills that didn't fit into my Fire Fit Goal... Tai Chi and Other Fun Physical Activities (DEX-1) At least once per week. Tai Chi Saber, belly dance, whatever, as long as it is fun! GRADING: The specific, measurable steps that correspond to the above goals and objectives will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages. How do I manage to turn these topic posts into such ginormous brain dumps? I don't know. It is getting a little out of control. Just a couple of thoughts before I close, though. I started this thread on Sept. 11th, anticipating that I would get it done that day. Didn't happen. You always think there is tomorrow... Those dreams that you carry around in your head, they need to happen sooner, rather than later. Make time for what is most important to you. Tell the people you care about how you feel. Every day. Love you guys. I appreciate all your support. You inspire me to keep at it when things get tough. Now let's get out there and destroy those obstacles and be awesome!
  15. Fire Fit in 40 Weeks continues, with essentially the same structure as last challenge. But, I am making it more streamlined and simpler to track by using a spread sheet. What!? I know that doesn't sound so monumental, but I have been "going to do that" for two challenges now. This time it happens. It has to, because I have so much to do that it is the only way I can see to track everything. Boring, stupid, old spreadsheet. However, what would my thread be without the ShadowLion Fire Science Show and Extravaganza? Truck Porn Tuesday will continue, along with some new features to keep me reviewing my fire science and producing more fire-related entertainment for your enjoyment and edification! And, expect to see more on "Fight the Fire," the wildfire strategy and simulation app that came out of the recent Startup Weekend I participated in, and will be continuing to develop with my team. Your feedback last challenge has already had an impact on something that I hope will save lives through educating tens of thousands of people about wildland fires and fire safety in a fun and entertaining way. Not only will I have to keep whipping this 55 year-old body back into shape in order to accomplish my MAIN QUEST of returning to Wildfire Academy in March of 2015 and emerging recertified as a wildland firefighter, I must also become a master of space, time, energy, attention, and money management. This challenge I will focus on Space. I will get my living environment optimized for greater efficiency and effectiveness, to support my main quest. Why? Right now, this is the scene about five miles away from my mom's place and the piece of property I own... This is what I want to be doing next summer... There are just some things you can't explain. Things that go deeper than words, That may appear unrealistic, foolish, even dangerous to others. But if it is your quest, your destiny, you must pursue it. Or forever wonder what might have been... Motivation My motivation is simple: I want to fight fires again. To that end, my current Main Quest encompasses a 40 week program to get me "fire fit" - physically, mentally and spiritually - and ends in my attending the Arizona Wildfire Academy in mid-March of 2015 ready to pass my Work Capacity Test, so that I can re-qualify as a wildland firefighter. I plan to be ready to go for wildfire season 2015 in the southwest U.S on either a Type 2 hand crew or, most likely, a wildland engine crew. Additional details in my Battle Log. The below was finalized July 31, 2014 As Chris-TIen Jinn helpfully pointed out, there is great value in leveraging my vision of where I want to be to help me focus on what I need to be and do now. I can utilize the power in my past knowledge, experience, and associations to overcome my current doubts, fears, and deficits. Thus, I have reworked some of my goals to better reflect the fact that I already know where I want to be, literally and figuratively, in March of 2015 and what it takes to get there. The obstacles I need most to overcome are within my own mind. As in martial arts, where the mind goes, the body follows... Work Out Like a Firefighter STA-3, STR-2 This challenge overlaps Weeks 9 - 14 of my "Forty Weeks to Fire Fit" program, subsequently referred to as "40W2FF." I have backed off of my gradual program of building heat tolerance for exercising outdoors in the high temperatures of a Phoenix, AZ summer, realizing that a higher priority task right now, and crucial to my safety, is to lose more weight. Last challenge, I was in danger of falling off my program simply because the heat and humidity that comes with the summer monsoon was stressing my body and my mind. I was finding it extremely difficult to keep a consistent exercise program going without being wiped out for the rest of the day or grumpy and snappish because I was dreading going out in the heat. I reevaluated my main quest. Was this an indication that my overall goal was wrong (I will have plenty of heat to deal with out on a fireline!) or that there was something with my plan that needed fixing? I knew that I could handle the heat before, what was different now? I was carrying an extra 40 pounds, and was out of shape. So, I switched up my endurance program to less outdoor walking and jogging, and more exercise bicycling. The bonus of that approach has been that I have started losing weight again. Odd, but I can have the same metabolic cost walking or biking, but I seem to lose weight more easily with the biking. Go figure - I will go with what works. I will work in activities from the Rangers mini-challenges here and can count them towards my totals, so as to avoid injury or overuse, which has been an issue for me the last couple of challenges. Endurance (STA-3) __/18 For wildland fire suppression, endurance is the primary focus, as opposed to the sheer strength demanded by structural firefighting. Weeks 1 - 6 of Endurance, Phase 2 of 40W2FF coincide with this challenge. 2-4 workouts per week, of varying intensities as per my periodization schedule. Phase 2 Begins - Weeks 1 - 6 of a 16 week program of successively faster and longer intervals. Success at the end of 16 weeks will be having increased to continuous jogging for a distance of 5K, with an average heart rate of 145 or below, and a peak HR under 155. Goal time: < 40 minutes This six week challenge will be a combination of exercise biking, brisk walking/hiking when I am in the high country, swimming, and jump-roping to build my stamina for returning to outdoor workouts of walk/jog intervals during the next challenge. So I can start hiking once the weather cools down a bit... Strength (STR-2) __/18, __/1,000 I completed the Phase 0, a pre-conditioning program and entered the first phase of a two phase body weight strength program last challenge. These are timed to reach my goal of starting the Hotshot Strength program (Phase 3) at Week 29 of my 40 week program. Weeks 5 - 10 of Phase 1 coincides with this challenge. 3x per week. Phase 1 Strength (STR-1) - 12 week assisted exercise program of knee-pushups; assisted pull-ups, grip hangs and rows; modified dips; lunges and variations. Additionally - squats, planks, sit-ups, burpees and variations. This will kick things up a notch and prepare me for an increased focus on strength training in Phase 2. 1,000 Burpees (STR-1) - Just what it says. This should get me past the knee-pushup barrier, with the bonus of enhancing my endurance, as well. If I get bored, or feel I need to supplement/complement my other exercises, I can add in variations to the standard burpees. Eat Like a Firefighter CON-2 I will fuel my body with high-quality, nutrient dense foods with an eye to maintaining endurance and muscle, while trimming off excess weight. Body Composition Mission (CON-2) My 40 week end goal is a bodyweight of ~150#, +/-5# as long as my body fat % is at 20% or less using the U.S. Navy Body Fat Calculator. This tends to be a little under actual, so a DEXA scan would be even better, acceptable BF% < 24%. Goal for this challenge is to drop my BF% by at least 3 percentage points, to 33% or less. This will be from a combination of fat loss (primarily) and lean mass gain. (The following was calculated using US Navy Body Fat Calculator, it is an estimate. I think the calculator is somewhat overestimating my recent fat loss/lean muscle gain, but that it will all even out by the time I reach my goal weight.) Current Body Composition - 07/28/2014 Total Mass: 188 lbs. Lean Mass: 120 lbs. Fat Mass: 68 lbs. BF% = 36% Waist = 36" Hips = 43" Neck = 16" Height: 5'6 3/4" When Joined Nerd Fitness - 05/31/2013 Total Mass: 206 lbs. Lean Mass: 107 lbs. Fat Mass: 99 lbs. BF% = 48% Waist = 42" Hips = 46" Neck = 16" Height: 5'5 3/4" GOAL - 03/08/2015 Total Mass: 150 lbs. Lean Mass: 120 lbs. Fat Mass: 30 lbs. BF% = 20% Waist = 27" Hips = 37" Neck = 14" Height: 5'6 3/4" Non-graded extras Achieve another 42 days of my 365 total on the No Soda PVP. Research nutrition, macros in particular, so I can match my diet better to the phases of my training. I want to experiment with at least one day per week of vegetarian eating and play with various combinations of macros to see how my body responds at different points in my training. Ideally, I will figure out an eating plan that will be useful as the intensity of my endurance and strength training increases. I want to read the "Engine 2 Diet." Recover Like a Firefighter WIS- 2, CHA-1 Recovery or "Rehab" is planned into the management of every incident. You can't expect human beings to work hard under trying conditions without providing for adequate rest and recovery time. As it was last challenge, this may well be the hardest part of my challenge. I need to change my habit of staying up late to work or research or write or whatever until the wee hours of the morning and then turnaround and be up at 6:30 or 7 am. I regularly get by on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night during the week, then crash on the weekends. I did well the first four weeks of the last challenge on rest, but have struggled with it since, particularly with sleep. Yes, I need to change this. I also know the changes that are coming in mine and my partner's work schedules. I don't think I can enforce the kind of program I had last challenge, so I am going to try a softer approach. For this challenge I will track, observe, and experiment as part of an ungraded sleep goal. I will focus my recovery efforts on stress reduction, resiliency, and better time management, in preparation for sleep to be a bigger focus next time. Rest, Recovery and Resilience (WIS-2, CHA-1) Adequate rest and recovery are critical to my success, as are providing for good time management, stress control and resiliency. Rest/Recovery (WIS-1) Two cheat meals and one indulgent treat per week are not only allowed, they are encouraged. I am required to take at least one full day off of exercise per week, two if showing signs of undue fatigue or of developing any injury. (Situational Awareness applies to one's body, too!) Ungraded Extra as preparation/trial run for next challenge Curfew/Bedtime/Lights Out - These are not synonymous. Curfew means I must "be in the house." Screens connected to the outside world must be turned off. Bedtime means actually in bed, but I may read, journal, meditate, or pray until lights out. Lights out - Dark, quiet, eyes shut, and brain powered down. Curfew is one hour before Lights Out. Bedtime can be any time between Curfew and Lights Out. Curfew - Midnight Bedtime - 0030. Lights Out - 0100 Wake Up Time - 8 am Naps are fine, if needed Resilience (WIS-1, CHA-1) (Attitude and Stress Management/Personal Space Rehabilitation) To stay positive and not succumb to my depressive tendencies, or my doubts or fears about what I am attempting, I must cultivate inner strength and resilience. To stay peaceful and calm in the midst of great change and effort, I will manage my schedule and environment for enhanced productivity and streamlined maintenance. I will utilize the fantastic support network that is Nerd Fitness by actively participating in my guild, my accountabilibuddy groups and my PVPs. (Linked in my signature.) At least 15 minutes per day of meditation and/or journaling/sketchnoting/mandala or other drawing/visual journaling method (WIS-1) At least one half-hour per day (on average) of decluttering and improving my personal space. This beyond my daily 15 minute clutter patrol and regular household tasks. I am losing precious time dealing with clutter and maintaining things I don't need or no longer use. I know better than to carry unneeded gear in my pack or on my truck. It wastes time and energy. I need to treat my living space the same way. Have less, to do less, to be more. Space, the final frontier... (Thank you, AnnieP!) Play Like a Firefighter DEX- 1, CHA-3 Firefighters work hard and play hard. You learn to take the fragility of life seriously, yet in stride. You learn what is important, and that tomorrows are not a given. Those dreams that you carry around in your head, they need to happen sooner, rather than later. Lately, I have been telling a lot of other people that they need to have more fun in their life. I need to take my own good advice... Make working out more fun... Make eating more fun... Make rest and recovering more fun and my daily life more fun... Create more, relax more, Tai Chi and Other Fun Physical Activities (DEX-1) At least once per week. Tai Chi Saber, belly dance, whatever, as long as it is fun! Create Something (CHA-1) At least once per week. With the Renaissance Rebels! Continue Creating the "Fight the Fire App" (CHA-2) Ultimate Nerd Cred. Take the iOS programming course...once per week. Document Like a Firefighter - Stupid Simple Spreadsheet WIS- 1 DONE 7/31/2014 If it isn't documented, it didn't happen! That is a common saying in fire and EMS. I need streamline my documentation and I have been procrastinating. No more! The Stupid Simple Spreadsheet MUST be done by Midnight, July 31, 2014 = 1 Point WIS. Spreadsheet Done, Posted, Shared @ 2358 MST, July 31, 2014 Yay! I got my Stat Point! (Just barely!) All of my activities for this challenge are quite simple to determine on a day-to-day basis: "Was X scheduled for today? Did I do X today?" Yes or no. I will log my progress in my challenge spreadsheet. Each goal will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages, and points awarded accordingly.
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