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  1. “Courage” “Where will you go now?” Theyda asked, drawing her shawl tighter across her shoulders. The question had been rolling around in Rhovaniel’s mind for weeks now, and yet she was no nearer an answer. “I don’t know” She admitted. Spoken aloud, it was terrifying, but she forced a smile. They were standing on the doorstep to the older woman’s lodging house; the streets were empty in this strange hour before the dawn, but a bitter wind was picking up in the street, and the women shivered. “You should get back inside, the weather’s turning.” “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to stay a little longer dear? I don’t mind the company, truth be told. You’re more than welcome. Night on the house.” “Theyda, you are far too kind. You know I’d love to stay longer, but adventure is calling me at last. It’s out there, beyond these streets and your lodging house, however comfortable it is.” The ranger sighed. “I – I need to do this, Theyda.” “Well, then you take care, you hear? If you’re ever in Curfield again, you know you’re more than welcome. Very reasonable rates for a room. Not to mention excellent suppers, even if I do say so myself,” Theyda winked, and this time, Rhovaniel’s smile was genuine. “I know, Theyda, and I thank you for that. Maybe our paths will cross again one day. Farewell!” With a final wave, the door closed and Rhovaniel began walking. She waited until the large stone house was lost from view, and the town was at her back before letting out the deep sigh that had been building in her chest. Adjusting the straps of her pack, all her worldly belongings, she blinked rapidly a few times to clear the hazy moisture that insisted on welling up and took one final look back. Day was breaking, and even from a distance, Rhovaniel could see shutters opening, lights snuffed out as the sun crept over the horizon. She turned around and kept walking. Despite Theyda’s kind words, there was no going back to Curfield for her. She had grown stale and stagnant there, and it was time to once more follow her river.
  2. “Nutrition is the foundation of fitness. But it all rests on a foundation of a proper mindset and good mental health.” - Several trainers/medical experts/life coaches, probably If you’ve been keeping up with me, it’s been a long time struggling with depression. Not a clinical case, not even diagnosed, but let us not deny the obvious here. It sucks to feel that way, it sucks not knowing what’s to blame and how to fix it, it sucks lacking any willpower to power through and it certainly undermines my overall fitness. So I’m taking this challenge round with a heavy inspiration from the likes of @Teros and @Heidi to be brutally honest and introspective in an attempt to fix this. I know some people from my non-forum life might be reading, as I suspect they’ve done in the past, but I don’t mind because none of it is the kind I wouldn’t be willing to say to their face. I expect this and future posts to turn into walls of text, so get comfortable, maybe grab a drink or snack and let me tell you a story about perception and expectations. I’ll provide the music "You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success -- or are they holding you back?" - W. Clement Stone I’ve been thinking lately that much of my stress is generated by external rather than internal factors, which is where the environment thing comes into play. My grandparents’ generation were born early last century after a prolonged period of wars (two Balkan wars, one World War and one failed campaign into Turkey that saw political turbulence and a wave of refugees flood in) and went straight into WW2 and its subsequent civil war, so they had a tough time but they were simple folk nonetheless who didn’t have much to lose and at least got to enjoy some of the growth that came with the rebuilding effort and George Marshall’s plan for aid. My parents’ generation came in riding that wave into the Cold War era and the ‘67-’74 military dictatorship during their teens, but otherwise enjoyed an unseen-before period of bliss afterwards. There was peace and stability after a very long time in history, the economy was booming not only due to rebuilding efforts but also attempts to catch up with and enter the European Union. Merely making it into University guaranteed you’d eventually get a degree, which in turn guaranteed a well paid job you could be safe in and not work under too much stress or overtime until it was time to retire with a hearty pension. Things were looking good when I came into the world, even if I could see this was a bubble about to burst since the nation wasn’t exactly producing any goods or wealth to support all the apparent, seemingly evergreen, growth. Despite that, I was raised with my predecessors’ values, beliefs and expectations. I was a straight A student, made it into law school, got a degree, two masters’ degrees after that and a bunch of other papers to prove various training courses. Meanwhile, the world came crashing down with the world economic crisis of 2008 causing a chain reaction in the country, exposing all its problems. Austerity has been the name of the game since and even the rise of a left-wing government in 2015 saw those in power lean right, compromise and impose the same austerity measures as those that came before them, only to lose the 2019 election and bring a Thatcher-like neo-liberal party into power. Meanwhile, neo-nazis rose to power, entered the parliament in the same 2015 election as the third party in power and it took the murder of a (non-immigrant) man in cold blood to set the wheels in motion for their trial, 2019 conviction and imprisonment, despite several “suited up” fascists sneaking their way into the current government. Throw in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has only made the aforementioned Thatcher-like government bolder: they’re voting irrelevant, non-urgent laws (like employers no longer having to justify laying off people, or the upcoming official death of the 8 hour workday), upping police brutality to unreal levels, not spending a single dime on healthcare, buying off media to ensure praise and prevent criticism, giving public funding projects to their friends and jumping the vaccination queue at the expense of the elderly or healthcare workers. I’m saying all of the above for two reasons. One, I’m realizing part of my stress and depression has to do with external factors outside my control, like being on lockdown for two months last year, then opening everything without precautions in hopes of tourism revenue, only to re-lockdown on November at about 1.000 new cases and 20 deaths per day and now in May, at four times greater numbers, open once again because tourism. There is absolutely no reason to believe this is over and things are safe; it’s more dangerous than ever and I need to be on constant alert just to ensure I don’t catch the virus, because if I’m unlucky enough to require hospitalization, there’s a pretty good chance this could actually spell my actual death. That’s enough of a stress and depression factor alright. However, my girlfriend (who I refer to as my Special Ranger Lady Friend, or SRLF for short, because we both love the Big Lebowski) has been saying I’ve been like this for at least since late 2019, pre-covid. Couple of weeks back, she told her therapist about me and was told I have solid signs of depression. When she mentioned I underwent some therapy and made some progress, her therapist suggested that the condition itself might be hampering progress through simple therapy alone and that medication might be necessary in order to suppress it enough for any therapist to be able to make any progress. All this had me thinking about any pre-covid depression factors and I came down to my work and my relationship with my family, both of which tie into my financial situation and independence. Yes, some of it has to do with who we are as people and the relationships between us but there’s also an external factor and so far I’ve pinpointed it to reason number two, reality crushing expectation, thus leading to disappointment. More music provided. Also helps break up the text into somewhat more manageable chunks. Remember all that stuff about my parents’ generation and their beliefs being instilled into mine? There is a term called “effort shock” that describes the sense of overwhelming frustration and futility upon realizing the actual work required and subsequent disappointment. Kinda like when you decide to start working out and think it’ll be like a training montage, only to find out the discipline and consistency required to make any progress, which by the way can be easily undone in the blink of an eye. I think I’m experiencing a similar sense of disappointment that’s stemming from the transition of the world I thought I’d be living in into the world I’m actually living in. From being a straight A student and law school graduate into being effectively unemployed and struggling to survive. The stress of being in the latter situation is compounded by the disappointment of realizing your efforts, studies and degrees do not matter, or at least do not guarantee anything or pay off in any way that contributes to your welfare. The realization that a wealthy background and high connections are not simply boosts to your hard work and knowledge, they are the only way to have some sort of a legal career around here. That you’ll be overworked and underpaid just to pay off bills and taxes, never to afford luxuries your parents did like a house, car or long holiday. That life and progress is not just a messy curve instead of a straight line, but that the very causal connection between effort and payoff is no longer there, thus nothing you try to do even matters. If all of the above sounds like I’m going into pessimistic and whiny territory, well, negative self-talk and a gloomy outlook come with the depressive territory. Just like one can’t be happy or “get over it” on demand, so too will a positive reframing not be enough. I need to go deeper and discover what’s causing or triggering this prolonged depressive state and the answer I stumbled upon a few days ago was grief. No death involved, I’ll remind you one can grieve for other things too, such as a lost relationship, an item of sentimental value or a connection to their place of origin. So with that established, I moved on to checking whether the typical stages of grief apply to my case. Denial, check, I tend to avoid and non-engage in general (could elaborate on the hows and whys of that in an equally long post, maybe another time) so whatever it is I’m grieving, I’m probably past that. Anger, check, though pondering over what I’ve been angry I’d say my family as well as my studies/expectation/effort/reward work situation, let’s call it “the labor market” as a description. Getting somewhere. Bargaining, check, I’ve tried to negotiate both my relationship with my parents as well as convince myself about “labor market” things being somewhat fair, reasonable and hopeful as long as I made the right moves or seized some opportunity. Depression, check, that’s where I’m at and next comes acceptance, which I’m trying to get to. “Most things in life can be explained through a wrestling analogy.” - Me Another thing you might know about me if this isn’t your first time around is that I have a thing for professional wrestling. Not just watching or talking about it, not just playing wrestling games and writing fanfiction based on my playthrough of wrestling management games, I honestly believe the principles and lessons of wrestling (as in, the product, including the storytelling, not just the gimmicks and in-ring fighting) can be applied to pretty much everything. Which brings me to a story Paul Heyman once shared about being frustrated and freshly fired from World Championship Wrestling in the early ‘90s. He says he was voicing his complaints to someone on the phone and the response he got was along the lines of “great, another locker room lawyer, we could really use more of those” the point being that everyone can complain about their job and talking about it alone is not enough. Heyman claims this lit the flame in him to take over Eastern Championship Wrestling in Philadelphia and transform it into Extreme Championship Wrestling, saying he wanted to be the wrestling equivalent of Nirvana as compared to the established wrestling promotions being the equivalent of hair metal bands at the time. So in my case, the only goal this challenge is to self-reflect but in a useful manner that helps me move forward so that I can be arsed to deal with the rest of this whole fitness thing. Also, since I brought up wrestling, I’ll be doing another narrative to go with my ramblings. Once again I’ll be using Total Extreme Wrestling 2020 and its custom world of characters to do a TV show heavily inspired by Lucha Underground. If you haven’t watched that, it’s basically a gritty, over the top show that aired on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network and played all of lucha libre’s supernatural stuff with a straight face while also putting on spectacular matches. I do believe it can be found on Netflix, but here’s a little sampler to help you visualise the action I’ll be trying to narrate.
  3. I suggest you put this on your speakers while you're here Welcome to Glorantha, a heroic, mythic place of heroes and gods, where people hold allegiance to tribe, city, and cult, not to abstract alignments or ideologies. Although humanity is the dominant species, their dominance is due only to the quarrelling of the Elder Races, who still rule large parts of the world. In Glorantha, the gods and goddesses are real, and through their cults they play an important role in most major events. Would-be heroes of the age are known as adventurers, and each is tied to several of the Runes, cosmic powers that define Glorantha and are likewise manifested by the gods. Powerful deities are associated with the Sun, Earth, Air, Water, Darkness, and the Moon, as well as with Death, Life, Change, Stasis, Illusion, Truth, Disorder, and Harmony, and each has its Rune. Adventurers join the cults of their gods, from which they get magic and aid. Adventurers are participating and active members of society, whether clan, tribe, city, or other community. They have duties, loyalties, and conflicts beyond being mere freebooters, with ties to the world of Glorantha and the Runes as deep as they are profound. As adventurers advance within their cults, they strengthen their connection to the Runes, gaining power and questing towards becoming true Heroes. One of the most important places in all of Glorantha is Dragon Pass, located in the heart of the great continent of Genertela. It is a land beset by conflict and blessed with opportunity, an extremely magical place, center of many of the world’s great myths, and Dragon Pass is prophesied to be the site of the great, apocalyptic series of events called the Hero Wars. A recent revolution against the occupying Lunar Empire has left many of the cities of Dragon Pass in ruins. Nobles, cults, and clans vie for power and authority in their wake, and its liberators struggle to rebuild and reclaim that which was lost. Hello everyone and welcome to my new challenge. Featuring old goals, because I aced the previous one and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but also because I joined the 10lbs in 10 Weeks PvP at the start of January and calculated its end roughly coincides with the end of this challenge. What’s changing however is the theme and presentation, as last time I also did the challenge of reading a new RPG rulebook every day of January to finally get through my backlog of to-read books. No such thing will be done this round, however I will be using one of the characters I created for the narrative and setup of this challenge. More on this below, under my third challenge goal. Workouts: Last challenge I did Darebee's 30 days of HIIT Advanced program, which seemed to provide a structured sequence and pretty short (but intense) workouts I can do home with no equipment. I did it aiming for Level 2 (5 sets) in each workout, which provided some wiggle room to drop down to Level 1 if I was in pain or a hurry, or take it up to Level 3 if I wanted to push more. I completed the program and I’m quite satisfied, so after a Week Zero of physical recovery, for this challenge I will be re-doing it but aiming for Level 3 every time. There’s also a chance I might be able to join my Muay Thai school for some outdoor trainings, but with lockdown management being a raging dumpster fire, I have no security to work these into a proper and predictable challenge goal. Nutrition: I returned to the Zone Diet guidelines last challenge, and together with workouts it helped me drop from 96.9kg at the start to 93kg by the end. For those not familiar with the terms and science behind this, I'm basically 1) cutting out sugar and alcohol, 2) limiting grains and starchy vegetables, 3) putting together plates of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat, 4) having 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, with a minimum 4 hour gap between meals (or 2 if last meal was a snack). I will be logging, tracking and reporting my meals on a daily basis, plus Monday’s weigh-ins, which will also be reported to the PvP. RPG stuff: RuneQuest was one of the games that really struck me during the January character challenge and I really want to try it out. I’ll put the game and character summary/review from back then in a quote below for ease of reference. The company has made a quickstart guide for the latest edition of the game available online for free, complete with pre-generated characters for an introductory adventure. I will be more or less playing that one out using some of those characters and the one I created, as a test run to familiarize myself with the rules and hopefully run it for friends in the near future. I also plan to include non-narrative breaks, from dice rolls to context for the game’s world, to make it easier for anyone interested in following that part.
  4. Storm Bella raged through the night. In the morning, Mr and the Enting did a boundary walk to look for fallen trees and other damage. While I cleaned up our breakfast and got a fire going in the wood stove, I considered what a strange and eventful few weeks we’ve had since we been called to Owlshire. Boiler and fuel supply problems, an historical flood, unexpected severe allergies to sections of the house, leaks in buildings, now a major wind storm... all within the already surreal year that is 2020. But the year was turning, and we’d made it through midwinter in the Forest, and there is much Keeping to do. Having received the prestigious new title Keeper of the Flame from the Home Office, I had a lot to prove—to them, to myself, and to the World Soul that reached her glowing fingers into this sacred place. — In summary: a 41 year old American emigrated to England. Mum of Enting, a 2.5 year old agent of chaos. Kitchen witch, gamer (mostly LARP, TT RPGs and board games), knitter/spinner, writer, returning smallholder. In late November 2020, my family completed a Master Quest to move from central London to our woodland dream property. Now we’re settling into our new home—dubbed Owlshire—in a beautiful part of the Forest of Dean. For this challenge, I’m focusing on a few areas I want to make progress in. Progress is measured on XP per task, but I’m also including maximums to keep balance among them so I don’t, say, just write stories the whole time instead of working on the garden or getting fit! WARNING: There will be picspam of Owlshire, surrounding areas, and Enting. Stoke the Hearth Fire 1XP per day engaged in a creative activity (probably woolly related, but may not be). This may also include events (spontaneous or planned) that similarly bring joy. Maximum per week - 5XP 2XP per day that I complete my household chore rota. No maximum. Keep 1XP per day per task related to future self-sufficiency - IE, continuing the set up the future gardens/orchard/etc., collecting or processing firewood, etc. Max per week - 10XP. Research can count, but only for 3XP per week maximum. Stay Strong 1XP each day I have PAI average above 50. No maximum. 1XP each day I walk 4+ miles according to my Fitbit. No maximum. Map the Leylines 1XP for local walks off my property, 3XP if I’m doing a new-to-me route. Max 5XP per week. If I participate in the Slow Ways launch week—no maximum for that week. Research can count (such as learning new flora and fauna in the area or looking into human history), but only up to 1XP per week. Restore 1XP per task related to restoring or preserving the outbuildings, fences, trails, and other infrastructure. Max 10XP per week. Tales of Owlshire 5XP per narrative story installment told on my thread. Max 10XP per week. Quests Bonus points received for completion of quests on my “Level Up Your Life” list. Goal: Reach 200XP to Keeper of the Flame Level 2.
  5. PREVIOUSLY... Down-on-their-luck Yeti ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, forcing them to flee their home and everything they'd known. After passing out in a drifting row boat, they wake to find that they seem to be very, very far from home. Desperate, they trekked into a nearby boulder field. In that place they came across what appeared to be a shrine to one of the old gods, and in that shrine found food and equipment to keep them alive as recovered and planned their next move. In the end, they decided to go to a place marked on the map that had the potential to be another shrine in the hopes that maybe a similar supply cache would be hidden there. However, getting there may prove to be a problem... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [SLOW AND STEADY] An explosive exhale left Yeti as they slipped again, knee impacting on the wet rock, shoulder slamming into the side of the chokepoint. A white hot flare of pain lit their knee for a few long moments before settling into a dull, thudding pain that beat in time with the rhythm set by their shoulder, back, and ankles. At least this time they hadn't bitten their tongue. Yeti struggled upright and looked down, wincing when they realised how little progress they'd made. Grimacing when they realised just how far they had to go. The map had been useful for pinpointing water sources. It had been useful for locating the larger masses of rock. What it did not over, however, was the intricacies of the passages between the boulders, that they sometimes turned into deep gorges, and that some had massive rockfalls blocking them. Whether they had happened before or after the map had been made, they didn't know. Likely after, but they had to focus their anger on something other than themselves. Anger at the unknown mapmaker brought with it a certain level of bitter spite, and it was that which kept Yeti moving even when the going became perilous. This rockfall in particular had caused many problems. Somewhere above there had to be a water source, one not marked on the map. The pebbles at ground level remained fairly dry, but the higher they climbed, the slicker the rocks became. Moss morphed into sludge, forming innocuous looking clumps that, when trod upon, would offer no purchase and send a foot shooting out from underneath the unwary climber. Yeti had run afoul of the stuff twice before figuring out what had happened. Unfortunately it wasn't easy to avoid. They reached up, fingers traversing the unseen rock beyond the ledge immediately above them, searching for a good hold. It took some time and a good deal of test pulls before they were comfortable with one patch in particular. Then came the task of finding somewhere to place their foot without risking another fall. Yeti had found, with no small measure of amusement, that their holey shoes were ideally suited for such a task. It was easier to find good surface with an exposed toe, and better to brace and push with the sole of the shoe. Whether or not they would survive such punishment remained doubtful. Before long grunts, groans, and growls of effort accompanied every movement. Not long after that the stream of cursing began. As the daylight began to dim, Yeti, panting, gasping for breath, slick with sweat, blood, and slimy moss, reached the apex of the rockfall. For a moment a broad grin crossed their face as a giddy feeling of victory swept through them. When it became very real dizziness, they began moving again, slowly, carefully. Though they'd assumed the way down would be easier, that didn't turn out to be the case. Now, with the fading light, they found their heart racing as they tried to pick their way down the rockfall, toeing the line between fast enough to get down before nightfall and slow enough to avoid falling the rest of the way down. They'd spied what looked like an overhang not too far from the foot of the fall. It would be a sheltered, semi-safe place to spend the night if they could get to it. Otherwise it would be a night spent out in the open, pressed in against the rocks, shivering with cold, hoping nothing came looking for supper. The mountain fear spurred them onwards, sharpening their senses to fever pitch. Every skitter of the debris they dislodged against the rock made their gut lurch, every shadow they saw out of the corner of their eye seemed to move in unnatural ways. Their hands began to shake. They tried to keep control, but when they realised they were moving faster and faster, more recklessly than was safe, the panic only spurred them to move faster still. It was with unsteady legs and growing nausea in their gut that they leaped the last few feet down, landing in a sprawled heap, shaken but unhurt. The dash towards the overhang almost saw them fall again, but they were able to get there, to duck under the reassuringly solid rock and nestle up against the main boulder, out of sight, or so they hoped. Removing the sleeping bag proved tricky, but eventually they managed, wrapping themselves in it tightly before breathing a shaky sigh of relief. Mere moments later the calm that had begun to descend turned to ice in their chest. Skittering came from outside. Not random, but rhythmic. The sound of many feet dashing across the pebbled ground. Though it was distant enough not to be an immediate threat, still Yeti remained clutched in the grip of fear. Somewhere out there an insect hunted.
  6. Starting Monday, May 4th, the government round these parts will be gradually lifting the lockdown and quarantine measures, with a view to a full lift by late June or early July. While they haven't done much to contain the virus besides impose lockdown (as opposed to, say, strengthen public healthcare) social isolation has kept the numbers surprisingly low. Now, with the measures gradually rolling back and still no real plan apparent, the strategy truly seems like the image posted above and I can't help but worry that frustrated people will storm out and potentially re-circulate the virus. Either way, I'd love to do a "May the 4th be with you" challenge, but I'll leave Star Wars to the master @EricMN and go Hunger Games instead for this challenge, which basically covers most of the "return to normality" period. Workouts In case you didn't notice, I'm joining the Scouts for this challenge. I started going for night runs after Easter and it seems like it'll be the only viable option until any workout-specific locations begin to operate again, probably around September. For this, I'll be employing the "never twice in a row" rule: I can miss a day of running, but never two days in a row. Nutrition Speaking of running, you may recall Rule #4 of the Rebellion: You can't outrun your fork. It's not about (over)training to burn fat and excess calories, it's about getting your eating habits in check before you even consider working out. Obviously, lockdown was mostly about cooking, eating and not being very physically active. I've slipped back into eating large servings of food, more sugary items than I actually like and a bit of mindless snacking, all of which saw me put on weight. Now I've saved up some mental fuel, but quarantine isn't holidays;it takes a toll and I'll need most of that fuel for my return to the world, so making big changes here would be foolish and short lived. Instead, I'm going for sustainable baby steps as I'll be tracking my weight and eating every day on my phone app. Networking I'd like to up my NF game, both in terms of consistent posting here as well as keeping up with other people's threads (and, you know, actually read stuff instead of speed-reading it). Between this challenge and the return of my pro wrestling narrative thanks to the recent release of Total Extreme Wrestling 2020, I should have enough motivation to stick around so I'll be using a quid pro quo approach: no posting on my own thread until I'm done catching up with other threads. I also need to get a new job and sort out my financial situation, but that's not something I could make into a challenge goal, especially with The Uncertainty still raging.
  7. As planned and promised, here is my month-long challenge for the month of April. Featuring my favorite Star Wars alien species: If those creepy looking aliens with breathing devices look somehow familiar but you can't quite recall, go back to when Palpatine pulls the trigger on the execution of Order 66... That'd be Plo Koon, shot down by his own Clone Troopers flying behind him So why Kel Dor? Why Star Wars? Well, in case you've missed it, NerdFitness' resident Jedi Master @EricMN has booked his flight tickets and will be visiting Sparta this Fall for the races. It is only fitting I go with a Star Wars theme and try to make it as the Padawan to his Jedi Master and that's more than a figure of speech: the man has been knocking off OCRs left and right to the point where he qualified for the World OCR championship last year. I've done like 4 or 5 in my entire life these last few years that I got into it. And sure, maybe he hasn't kept it up since the WOCRC, but neither have I since running my back to back Super&Sprint Spartan in 2017. We're still Force-sensitive, all we gotta do is get back in line. Comfortable with (self produced) toxic gases, check Breathing issues (messy nose diaphragm), check Sight issues (5 degrees of myopia), check Goggles (so I don't loose my contacts in water obstacles), check Sharp sence of social justice and a drive to do something for that, check Sounds about right. The Challenge Prepare for the 2019 Spartan Race in Ancient Sparta How Part 1: Continue to track food & water intake on my phone app as well as my weight on a daily basis. Make a conscious effort to cut down on sugar and eat more meat&veggies. Part 2: Train. Attend 2 Muay Thai training sessions a week. While irrelevant on the surface, MT's done a good job of building up my upper body strength (major weak point) and conditioning, especially the "power under duress" part of it. Still, my running and quad/calf endurance could do with a bit more running and following @Endor's C2K PvP challenge, I wanna introduce some running into my weekly training, especially if I'm making up for missed MT sessions. Part 3: Accountability and Logistics. Keep my Jedi Master accountable, including Facebook harassment. Get more info on his schedule and race intentions so I can plan accordingly and get my tickets in time. Obviously, the NGW wrestling narrative will continue this month as well. On with the challenge!
  8. Stribs breathed a sigh of relief as she emerged from the mines; the hype had been rebuilt and all would be back to normal soon enough. She could already feel the hype intertwining itself with her aura once again, and the feeling settled her mind and her tired body. She took a shortcut through the woods, off the path, enjoying the quiet of the forest juxtaposed with the invigoration of the hype that now raced through her veins. She wandered down a ravine where some wild flowers were in bloom, taking in the first signs of spring after a long winter of the grind. She thought about wandering further, but changed her mind when she noticed how dark it was getting, and how loud the rustling of her steps had become walking through the tall weeds and flowers. She should probably get back home; it was best not to be caught out alone after dark, hype or not. As she climbed out of the steep ravine, a low ringing rumbled in her ears, and goosebumps raced across her skin. She calmored clumsily over the edge, looking for the direction of the path and quietly reminding herself to work on pull ups, but the ringing and the chill remained. She shook her head, rubbing her arms with her hands, but the goosebumps only spread, manifesting themselves as a pit in her stomach. She took off at a jog toward the path back to her house, finding it quickly, but not slowing as the hype was replaced with a feeling of dread. She finally slowed as her house came into view, but picked up the pace again when she noticed something different about her door. When she reached her home, she saw a torn piece of scroll had been stuck into her door with a knife. She ripped it off, recognizing the handwriting almost immediately, despite there being no signature. She let it fall to the ground, entering her house long enough to grab her pack and stuff it with her water skin, her sleeping mat and some food. Then strapping her bow to her back, and stuffing her daggers in her boots, she left without even locking the door. She thought for a moment about heading back to the guild hall, but she shook her head, starting off in the other direction, stopping only to pick up the note from the ground before bracing her body for a long jog that it wasn't even close to trained for...the words “they’re coming” pounding in her head with each step she took. Soooo, Stribs is in some deep shit. Four monsters from her past are after her and she has to fight them off in order to survive. The time for training is over and the real battle has begun. Each beast will have a certain number of hit points (they will increase week by week as we are looking for improvement, not perfection), and in order to vanquish each week’s beast, Stribs has to earn more points than the beast has. GOALS: (33 points possible per week) DRINK 162oz OF WATER OR UNSWEET TEA A DAY 1 point day (81 oz equals .5 because that is still improvement from the 40 or so I have been getting) 1600-1800 calories a day (aim for 1600 on non gym days and 1800 on gym days) 1 point a day Get 6-8 hours of sleep a night 1 point per night Do my school and home dailies 2 points per day (1 per location) The rules and other things that matter to my scoring, but maybe not to you. I actually started yesterday, because I am apparently a traditionalist and weeks have to start on Sundays. I got my 4 points yesterday, and am close to my 4 today, but we will see. The main struggle I see in this challenge is spring break that falls week 2. But we have 2 weeks to really make progress before then, so we will see. I didn't make any gym goals this go round (beyond to help with healing potions) because the gym is a habit. I no longer need reminders, and these things I have picked are seriously lacking or ignored in my life. I am REALLY REALLY stoked about this challenge as I already have each week planned out and mapped out. (that was the issue with my last narrative challenge...no planning...so i only wrote the one time...but I have a really really good feeling about this Happy challenge! Now to follow some threads!!!
  9. Welcome everyone to my first challenge for 2018! My (user)name is DarK_RaideR and last month I turned 31. I’m Greek, I recently switched from government work back to being a self-employed lawyer and I refer to my girlfriend as my Special Ranger Lady Friend, or SRLF for short. That’s pretty much all you need to know…. oh, I’ve also been on this forum for about three and a half years, which is also how long I’ve been a crossfit athlete. For those unfamiliar with Crossfit, the start of every year is the Open season, this year happening from Feb. 22 to Mar. 26. During that time, a workout is announced every Thursday, people go to crossfit boxes and do it under the watchful eye of a certified judge or upload a video of themselves doing it so they can be judged, then ranked on a global leaderboard, with the best of them moving on to Regional qualifiers and the Crossfit Games in the summer. For most of us who aren’t professional athletes, it’s a chance to participate, celebrate, compete with friends and compare results with where we used to be. This year will be my third Open and unless @Endor decides to chicken out (injuries don’t count, since I did the 2017 Open with a blown knee) this challenge is devoted to preparing me for the 2018 Open so I can have him shedding tears of loss onto his Crossfit Pireaus shirt. Of course, even though some folks here might disagree (Warriors especially), life is more than just eating and working out, so I’m including a few other life quests in line with my 2018 Roadmap. Speaking of which, I got my benchmark numbers on the morning of Jan. 1st (87kg, 100cm waist) and looking to take those down by the end of the year. Quest 1: Not a single day lost. 3 Crossfit workouts per week minimum and active recovery during days where I'm not going to the box. Quest 2: Get in the Zone. Measure my home cooked meals and use the 30/40/30 rule for the rest. Make sure everything is balanced and zone-compatible. Quest 3: No distractions before 15:00 on workdays. hat includes NerdFitness, Videogames, Steam, Gamersplane.com and the Grey Dog Software forums. Also, no social media, unless specifically asked to look up something. Quest 4: Housework. Keep up with the day to day stuff (laundry, ironing, dishes etc) and do something beyond the usual stuff at least once every week. Quest 5: Continue using a Bullet Journal. t keeps me organized and makes sure the little stuff gets done. As a final note, for those who haven’t followed any of my 2017 challenges, I will be using a wrestling manager videogame (way cooler than it sounds) called Total Extreme Wrestling to provide a narrative for your entertainment. This has nothing to do with the challenge itself, it’s just a way for me to make my favorite game a bit juicier and hopefully put a smile on you readers’ faces. I’m aiming for 3 weekly updates (Mon-Wed-Fri) in general, but that might change on occasion.
  10. Just two days after receiving the summons, Rhovaniel was back on familiar ground. For a moment, she stood and looked up at the Guildhall. Rebuilt just last year by their own hands after the attack, it nonetheless appeared timeless. They had made improvements here and there, but ultimately, they had been faithful to the original design, welcoming Rangers like her back home after long and often arduous journeys. A cold northerly wind whistled past her, reminding her that although it was slightly milder here than in the mountainous region where the Dúnedain made their home, it was still far from warm, and she hurried inside. Instant warmth greeted her. The fire was roaring in the grate, with several figures huddled round it, talking in low voices. A few rangers sat in shadowy corners, as was their custom. Usually, and in any other inn, Rhovaniel would be among them, but this was no ordinary visit to the Guildhall. “A large tea, if you would” she told the barkeep. “I’ve had plenty of ale lately.” “Often the case, this time of year. Even Rangers are not immune to the festivities, it seems.” “Oh, we know how to enjoy the merriment of the season, and still remain true to our aims, in the long term,” she smiled. The barkeep chuckled, and turned to refill the glass of another patron. Something cool in a long, slim glass for them. “Where might I find the Chaplain?” Rhovaniel asked when he’d finished. “In the back room. You heard about the Dandenite Ore?” “That’s why I’m here. I’m here to help get our hype back.” When she entered the back room, tea in hand, it was not just the Chaplain who looked up but many other familiar faces as well. Despite the grim circumstances, she found herself smiling as she greeted old and new friends. Her smile came from fond memories, and it was a few minutes before the Chaplain could call attention back to the task at hand. “Thank you to all who answered the summons. I’m sure others will join us, as and when they can. Long leagues separate us all, but we cannot afford to wait till we are all assembled. Each of you know the peril that we face. We have all weathered a challenge without hype, and most have seen far less success than usual. Not all of that is our own fault. The effect of Dandenite Ore is not to be taken lightly. Without the hype, it’s power will grow. Challenges conducted entirely without hype, battling the effects of Dandenite as well as all the enemy can throw at us…” “It would mean disaster,” Rhovaniel said quietly. “Even far up in the mountains, I have felt its effects. It’s not just this physical building. The Guildhall is part of us, wherever and however far we Rangers go. I think that somehow, whenever we choose the path of the Rangers, we also choose the Guildhall. It has an energy, somehow, and we are all connected to it.” “You’re right!” One of the other rangers chipped in from the corner. “I wasn’t even near the Guildhall last challenge, I was many, many leagues south of here, and still I felt it. My energy, my desire to do anything at all… it just wasn’t there. Only, back then I thought it just a consequence of the season.” Many of the others murmured their assent, but before it could turn into a discussion on everyone’s hypeless experiences, the Chaplain held up a hand and the room fell silent. “This must be the work of the enemy; whoever stole it – or ordered it to be stolen – must know how devastating it would be to the entire corps. We use the Grind when we can, but without the hype… how long can any of us last?” “Which enemy, I wonder?” Rhovaniel murmured softly, almost to herself. “So many have tried to thwart us before.” “We shall soon find out,” another Ranger answered grimly, throwing back her hood to reveal short blond hair and a determined look in her eye. Rhovaniel smiled, remembering an adventure together now some months past. “That we will.”
  11. A light breeze wove across the forest; the playful tug of the wind freed the red and golden leaves from their branches, cascading them down, a gold and rust colored blanket on the forest floor. A few ventured down into a a ravine, home to skittering mice and hollow rotted logs grown over with moss and vines. Among the mice and the weeds, if one looked hard enough, they could see an arm sticking out from a thick green cloak that imitated the moss, except that it drew shallow breaths. The mice gave the body a wide berth where it had landed, but one, maybe too young or unaware, dared to cross the hand toward the lush clover beyond the newfound barrier, but as the little feet skittered across it, the barrier moved. Stribs moved her hand instinctively toward her head. She rolled over to face the threat, wet leaves sticking to one side of her face, the world a bright blur of afternoon sun peeking through the holes in the autumn forest sky. She threw glances in both directions, trying to see through the blur and the spinning that she hadn't noticed til she moved. She heard the little mouse skittered into the brush, and she relaxed, reaching for her dagger, a familiar comfort in the haze that was slowly coming into focus The scabbard was empty, and a sudden urgency caused her to jerk up, pain searing through her head like lightning. She ran her hands through the shallow bed of leaves, her hand stopping on cold metal. She sheathed the dagger, tightening the belt across her waist. Standing, she surveyed the steep ridge that had led her into the shallow ravine, wondering how she had gotten there in the first place. She wiped the leaves off her face, blood mingling with the dew left over from the cool ground under her body where she had landed. Using the dagger, she ripped a few strips of her shirt and created a makeshift bandage that wrapped around her head. That would have to do for now. She climbed the ravine, dragging her heavy limbs up with her, the muscles screaming with fatigue. When she finally clambered over the ridge and got her first good look at the road, she saw a dancefloor full of foot steps, depicting a battle well fought on both sides. There was blood, but no bodies, and drag marks leading either way. The dead, trampled leaves in the road disrupted the footprints, making it impossible for her to distinguish friend from foe. How long had she been in the ravine? And where had everybody gone? Home, toward Karadara? or onward toward Veymore, their original destination? She needed to get high, to climb, to find her people, but her arms wouldn't hold her weight. She thought about her captain, Tyran: cool, calm, logical. He would go home, take back the injured, and come back with twice the men. No one could tell him otherwise, though it wasn't like him to leave anyone behind either, and when she found him, she would never let him live it down. That settled it then. She turned left, back the way she came, preparing for the few days walk toward home. As you guys probably noticed from last challenge, I fell off the wagon, hard. I was battling demons like medication side effects, stress, anxiety, and just general feelings of being overwhelmed. I decided to make this a narrative challenge because journaling wasn't working, but writing has always helped. I have very little time, so these occasional bursts should be perfect, and help me to reflect on my issues through fiction, so we will see how it goes. My goals are much the same. I survived last challenge (barely some days) but I want to do more than survive this round. The Holidays are the worst for me in terms of staying on goal, so I knew I needed to come back here for the accountability. I turn 29 in a little over a month, and I want to end my 20s more fit than I started them, so the end of this year starts that. No real theme this go, just keeping on... FOOD I will track I will cook I will eat small portions (5/7) EXERCISE I will go to the gym 3 times a week I will take 1 long bike ride per week LIFE RANGERING I will give my house at least 30 minutes of attention every day I will grade at least 1 assignment every day MENTAL HEALTH I will take my meds I will update Nerd Fitness I will read or meditate before bed I will turn off work email push notifications to my phone and not check my email until I get to school in the morning (this will be HARD) Well, here we go!
  12. I've broken this year down to 3 big chunks of long challenges leading up to major fitness events. Chapter 1 was about preparing for the Crossfit Open 2017, Chapter 2 was about preparing to run a Tough Mudder in Ireland next to @Jarric and now Chapter 3 is about getting ready to run the Spartan Super in Sparta on November 5th. I've also kept up a wrestling narrative, where I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. While so far I've used my Guild Leader powers to move the same thread across challenge forums until each chapter was complete, I've realized it makes it hard for people to keep up with the narrative if they've missed the start. Also, since I will be tweaking my goals for every challenge cycle anyway, I decided I might as well set up a new thread to continue where the old one left off and help people get back in track with where me and my storytelling is. Now I'm not sure how much of my personal stuff I've been sharing here lately, but on top of my recently discussed paycheck issues I've had a lot of things going wrong and it's got me in a real bad mood. The latest thing came a couple of days back, when I got the confirmation mail for my Spartan ticket. You see, my Crossfit box is sponsored by Reebok, who also happens to be into the whole Spartan thing, so they offered us 60 spots on the race and of course I applied for the Spartan Super. The confirmation mail said Spartan Sprint and it turns out the arrangement is to run the latter as a team. To quote the late Macho Man, that put me Misunderstandings and financial pressure be damned, I wanted to do the Super and that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Since there's no option to cancel the Sprint ticket now (plus the peer pressure of running the thing as a team) I went ahead and signed for the Super on top of it all. "Why not both" is the Ranger mantra after all. If @EricMN can travel around and do Spartan weekends, I can do more than just look up to him;I can be inspired enough to run a Super and then a Sprint on the same day. Considering I've already run a Super and needed to push myself further, this feels like the right thing to do. It also feels like madness, but let us not dwell on what happened to the last person who spoke of madness in Sparta. Instead, given the wrestling narrative of my challenge, I'm sticking with Macho Man Randy Savage. Think in cases like that it's mandatory to also tag Macho Man @Teros Savage as well. Wheels:How you get there matters As spectacular as it would be to get to the Spartan in a shiny silver robe next to the SRLF on a throne that's carried by man-slaves, I'm going for something a bit less grandiose. It's been too long since I got my motorcycle license, too long since I've meant to get one but for various reasons never did. This year I made it part of my roadmap for a reason and I'll be damned if I don't ride my own to Sparta (unless the SRLF tags along, in which case we'll probably go by car, but regardless). Despite my financial troubles, I'm expecting a good one-off pay by the end of September, which coupled with the late paycheck from work and the next one hopefully coming in faster, should create a hefty lump of cash I should quickly invest in a motorbike before reality settles in and I start spending it to plug holes in my budget. Life happens once (a.k.a. YOLO). Nutrition: Quantity control It worked, so I'm sticking with it. My diet's pretty solid all around in terms of quality, what I really need to keep in check is the quantity. Bullet Journal: Seeing is easier than remembering Bullet Journalling will continue. I've notived I tend to drop the habit after a couple of off days, so I need to keep it as a goal to make sure I update the agenda. Morning routine: Cup of coffee in the big time Domestic Rangering worked last round so to take this goal to 11, I'm going back to my army days, where every morning began with a standard routine of getting dressed, making the bed, eating breakfast, shaving and cleaning up the barracks. The civilian version I'm going for is a routine of breakfast, personal hygiene (teeth brushing, shower etc), feline care (food and water bowl check plus emptying the litter bin) and housework (laundry, trash, dishes, sweeping the floor etc). Obviously, the getting dressed part is optional and can go between any of the above. Life decisions: Way into the twilight zone So my new job is better than the previous one, but I'm still not thrilled and it's not just me being disappointed because of all the payment issues. The subject isn't what gets me going, the money is way too little for my qualifications (no arrogance here, I'm getting marginally more than the lady who cleans the worplace thrice a week) and from the looks of it, this initial setup phase of the institution I'm working for seems like it'll go on for much more than originally expected, meaning my work will be a lot more administrative than I'd like. On the other hand, this collaboration with my professor doesn't look like it can bear much fruit in terms of employment, at least in the short run and I'm not too fond of living on my parents' cash for a few years before work picks up. I'm keeping in touch because I love the subject and I could get involved in a few research projects (plus the prospect of a potential PhD down the line) but that's about it. I gotta find another way and I gotta do it fast before I'm stuck where I currently am. Goal here is to think some things through, shoot out some CVs and actively work towards a career shift. P.S. This challenge cycle is supposed to go until October 14, but I'm stretching it all the way to my Spartan weekend on November 5th because this is my challenge and I do what I want with it!
  13. “What in the world –” “You found her!” “Quick – fetch some light!” “Easy now, over here.” “Quiet now. Let me see her.” The clamour of voices died down almost instantly as a tall figure made his way through the crowd of onlookers that gathered around a ranger and the unconscious figure he carried. The elf reached the pair and looked gravely at the bloodied face as the ranger stepped into a circle of light cast by the lamps in the courtyard, and gently pushed aside the young woman’s hair, matted with blood and dirt, to look more closely at the wounds. A large bruise shone purple against too pale skin, and he probed her forehead gently with the back of his hand. “She has a fever,” he murmured, as if to himself. “Aye, and worse besides, I’d wager. She looked half-dead on the mountain side when I found her.” “Let’s get her inside.” The crowd parted to let them through, though many curious eyes followed them as they hurried through the stone corridors. In a spacious and well lit bedchamber on the ground floor, the ranger carefully set his burden down. Against the soft white linen, she looked worse than in the half-light of the courtyard. Her clothes were torn, the edges of each ragged tear black with dried blood. If he didn’t know otherwise, he wouldn’t have reckoned her among the living. “Where did you find her?” “Not fifteen miles east of here. She was on the right path, but I never imagined the enemy would pursue her so relentlessly.” “That is close,” the elf frowned. “I do not think she led the enemy near. I searched the ground around her, and it seems whatever she fought off she encountered much earlier. She must have wandered far carrying her injuries, until…” he shook his head. “It’s a wonder she survived.” “You rangers are strong in both mind and body, so my experience tells me.” The elf smiled, but the ranger did not return it. “I knew her to be in danger. Should she die, the guilt lies with me.” “It lies with Morgulon, and all who do his bidding,” the elf reminded him. As they talked, the elf had his hand to the woman’s forehead, and suddenly he fell silent, closing his eyes. The other ranger retreated to the other side of the room, just as the door opened and another elf came in, a basket on her arm filled with bandages and little glass bottles that clinked together as she moved towards the bed. Careful not to disturb her father, she set about filling white bowls with water out of tall jugs. One of these she gave to the ranger. “Heat some water, if you will. We may need plenty of it before the worst is over.” She said gently. With a brusque nod he was gone. The young elf approached the bed again, and waited in silence until, after long minutes had passed, her father opened his eyes and sighed. His hand, once pale and unblemished, now looked red and sore. Both ignored it, knowing that it would fade within an hour. “I have done all I can for now. The fever is not broken, but its power is less now.” “She has other injuries, they say?” “Aye. She’s been hurt bad, and the wounds don’t look clean.” The ranger was back, carrying the water in both hands. He drew in close to the bed and set the bowl down slowly, so as not to spill any. “I did the best I could, but in the wild…” “You may have bought us some time, nonetheless.” Se lent over the patient and carefully peeled back her tunic to reveal a badly stained shirt. It stuck to the skin underneath as she carefully prised it loose. The woman didn’t stir, not even when her wounds were washed out, first with water then with a dark green liquid that hissed slightly as it was poured into the wounds. “It will wash the poisons out,” the elf explained. “It is well she is not conscious. Lordsleaf is a potent cure, but it is not without it’s own sting.” “I know Lordsleaf well enough,” the ranger commented from the far side of the room where he had retreated. “But for healing, I thought only to use Kingsfoil, the brother plant.” “Kingsfoil will still help, but in concentrated form, Lordsleaf works fastest. I fear she may have been carrying the poison for many days before you found her.” “But you were able to flush it out?” “All that I could, I have. The rest is up to her now.” She glanced back down at her patient. “You never told me her name.” “Rhovaniel. Her name is Rhovaniel.”
  14. “Die, Ranger scum!” Rhovaniel barely had time to turn towards the voice when its owner was bearing down on her, jaws open to reveal two rows of carious, dirty fangs sharpened into points, heading directly for her throat. With half a second to react, Rhovaniel flung herself forward, out of its path. Falling to her knees, she turned it into a roll and regained her feet. Her hands went to her hip but before she could pull her sword free the beast had turned and lunged at her again. Strong, muscular legs propelled it forward, the tail ending in a vicious barbed arrow, which it whipped at her as she dodged another neck strike. Black all over, in the fading light of the evening, it would have been hard to see, save for the thick reddish stripes, one each flank, that seemed to glow, and the eyes. Likes like fire. “The Emperor send you to do his dirty work?” Rhovaniel asked it, a film of sweat sprouting at her forehead. Having worked her sword free at last, she stood facing the beast, waiting, sizing it up. Cat-like, but clearly a demon of some form, at least as tall as a donkey, with none of the gentleness. It bared its teeth at her, and she caught a nose full of charred flesh. “I take no orders, Ranger! I am Torrcat.” Her blank expression must have given her away, because the Torrcat gave an aggressive snarl and sprang at her again. Its front claws batted away her blade, the back paws crashing into her chest. Rhovaniel hit the dirt and stayed there for a long second, winded, until she felt the heat, and rolled. A thin line of flames erupted from its flared nostrils, engulfing the spot where she’d just been. Then it was on her again, pouncing. She sensed an energy to it, excitement. It’s a cat, and it thinks I’m a mouse, she realised. The thought hardened her resolve. “Torrcat will feed on Ranger flesh,” it hissed. The front paws were on her chest, crushing her. It weighed a good ten kilos more than she did, and it was hard to get her breath. Not that she wanted to inhale too deeply, with it’s corpse-breath so close it made her stomach clench. “No, Torrcat wont!” Rhovaniel grunted, swinging her right forearm up. Her elbow was still pinned to the ground, her sword knocked from her grasp, but the dagger that had gotten her out of hot water several times before was in her hand. It didn’t go deep, having only half her arm to use, but it was enough. Too hot blood spilled from the cut she’d made, burning her stomach, but Torrcat, unexpectedly in pain where it was on the verge of victory, gave such a roar it made Rhovaniel cringe to hear it. It leapt to the side, and Rhovaniel went with it, blocking out the pain and snatching up her sword. This time when the fangs came at her, she was ready. Feinting to the left, she swung on her heel, the hilt grasped firmly in both hands as she sliced down. The roar was more a scream this time. Blood, which she now saw was orange, the colour of flame, smoked as it hit the dirt, and Torrcat, it’s neck severed, followed, collapsing onto it’s front paws and staying there. Rhovaniel waited, but it didn’t move again. Only once she was sure it was dead did she let out the breath she’d held. Inside, she was trembling, but outwardly, her hands were steady as she peeled off her leather jerkin and lifted her shirt, worried that the orange blood splattered across it had already darkened to black, to check the damage. Her abdomen was blotchy red, but no blistering. Yet. She sighed. She needed medicine. And, low on supplies, that meant she needed to get to a town. The guildhall was too far in the opposite direction, or she’d have gladly rested there for a night or two. Her inspection over, she snatched up several handfuls of grass to clean her sword before looking down at the body of the Torrcat. What was a Torrcat, anyway? She made a mental not to look it up, but then dismissed it from her mind. She had more pressing things to worry about. In the month or more since leaving the guildhall, she had made very little progress towards finding the Dúnedain. Not wasted the month, she reflected, and her newfound strength was going to be needed. But still. She needed to get a move on. Leaving the body were it lay, Rhovaniel shouldered her pack, now considerably lighter than it had been, and continued up the road she had been walking along before the attack. To anyone she met, she appeared just another traveller. Armed, and obviously a Ranger of some kind, but a traveller on her way none the less. Inside, her mind was spinning, wondering what the heck a Torrcat was, and what other monsters, unconnected to the Emperor, she’d encounter on her journey. It seemed the further she went from civilisation, and the longer the miles from the Empire seemed to get, the more things seemed to want to kill her. All the more reason to find the Dúnedain, she told herself. Sooner rather than later.
  15. Continuing from Chapter 1 where I did the Crossfit Open and Chapter 2 where I did a Tough Mudder in Ireland, this third Chapter will be about doing the Spartan race in ancient Sparta on November 5th. In the words of a wise Jedi Master: Eyes on the prize The Tough Mudder experience was a useful test in that sense and taught me that I need to keep doing what I do, plus eat better to feel lighter and work on my conditioning. This means I need to Eat lighter, eat healthier Sugar and processed carbs contribute to weight gain and that bloated feeling. Avoid them, simple as that. Keep working out It's not like I'll suddenly stop Crossfitting, but I don't want to suddenly put up specialist goals like running and grip strength. Instead, I'm keeping this flexible with a program that'll change with every challenge cycle. For starters, I'm sticking with 3 CF workouts per week until the end of this cycle (August 5) and brainstorming what's next. Unrelated to the race but tracked nonetheless are life quests to keep Bullet Journalling and at long last get a plumber to fix the damn toilet. The wrestling narrative will continue as well. For those who haven't been following this, I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. This challenge will run from July 15th until the end of the Spartan weekend on November 5th.
  16. I'm so excited for a 6 week challenge! And I have so many ideas for my narrative that I'm pretty excited to write, so I'm actually coming into this challenge super energised and ready to get going. Technically, I'm starting my weeks on Sunday, so I have to back-log from Sunday 25th, but still! And since this time around Rhovaniel is going to be searching for her (and my) role models and inspiration, I have no remorse in posting this: Anyway, goals for the six weeks: Lifting: 3 workouts a week I will probably continue a little longer with my sort-of Stronglifts workouts, until I reach a point with OHP where I can do Juggernauts properly and not need to use dumbbells. Hopefully, the transition will occur at some point during the challenge. Running: 3 runs a week in the format of 2 sprints and one longer one. In addition, I want to try and push the longer one just that little further each week. Just slightly, so my ‘I don’t wanna brain’ doesn’t throw a tantrum. Maybe a half kilometre each week further. Starting at 5km. Macros: Track macros (TDEE -10%) 5 days a week I’m not good at pre-planning. The night before tends to be the norm right now, but so long as it gets done I’m not pushing this point too much. The goal is simply to eat to my macros – and post them on here daily for accountability – 5 days out of the 7. I say only 5 because this is still a pretty new habit for me and I want to go slow. I’ll do my best to make at least one of the non macro days still track-able, but eating to my TDEE, or maintenance macros, rather than -10%. I have no real idea if -10% will help me lose weight, but it’s what my body accepts (I get too hungry and eat ALL the things when I try to restrict calories too much) so I’m going with that. Mental Strength: Meditate or work on some form of mental resilience once per day. 7 days a week. This is the new habit I want to build, because I think taking the time out of my day to mentally decompress will help me maintain my mental strength when I need it to. I feel pretty good right now. But sooner or later, things are going to happen that’s going to test me. I want to be ready for that day, and be better able to weather it. Rewards are not going to be tied to narrative this time around. I liked the format, and for the most part it worked so I will probably go back to it at some point. But it also took a lot of time, thinking of different outcomes and how they might relate to each week, etc. And it doesn’t really work so well when I’m keeping the goals so simple. So, narrative will hopefully just be a minimum of once a week, and instead I’m implementing some loot goals (not arbitrary, I’ve been wanting some for a while): LOOT Perfect Week: New ¾ length (or ½ length) workout bottoms or top. I currently have two bottoms and maybe three tops that are in constant rotation through wearing them and laundry so it would be nice to have a few extras! Perfect Challenge: New trainers I really do need a new pair of trainers since I discovered that the ones I use for the gym are way more comfortable than the converses I used to live and die in. So, that’s the motivation for getting it all right this time around. But I also accept that I have not previously completed a perfect challenge, and, whether I like it or not, I do get de-motivated if I realise early on I can’t achieve anything and that becomes a slippery slop, so: Non-perfect week but with 3 or less missed goals: Half-point towards the loot. It means I can’t get the workout clothes of choice that week, but I’m halfway there, so if I have another non-perfect (but still 3 or less missed goals) then I do earn it, as if it were one perfect week. Non-perfect Challenge but with 15 or less missed goals: Not sure on this one, since I don’t intend on having loot goals next time around. I’ll think on it.
  17. Continuing from Chapter 1, my quests going forward are the following: Nutrition: Batch cook some time during the weekend. Use the Zone Diet guidelines for quantity and ingredients. Prepare my own breakfast and lunch for the five days of the working week. Dinner and weekend food is not tracked, so I get to enjoy something with the SRLF and maintain my social life. Coffee: It's summer so I can't go with hot tea only. Coffee is allowed, but breaking the habit of a morning coffee at work earns me money in savings, as described below. Workouts: Nothing new here, 3 Crossfit workouts during the week. Things will however get highly competitive due to my new reward system, outlined below. Life Goals Continue Bullet Journalling. It works Spend at least one hour every day working on my thesis and nothing else. I know there's no room for variance, life events etc because I'm leaving none. If I can't do it, I'll mark it a fail. Zero flexibility means I can't relax and take this easy. Purge. I need to clean up my living space. First step is CDs and clothes. Besides purging, I'm looking to sell these in hopes of aiding my financial situation. Thanks to @Teros for the inspiration here. Plumber. Find a damn one that will show up, manage to have enough money and get the damn toilet fixed Tires. Inspired by @Rurik Harrgath, change the ancient tires of my dreadful car before I die in a fiery car crash explosion. The wrestling narrative will continue as well. For those who haven't been following this, I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. This challenge will run from April 3rd until my return from Ireland on July 10th. My aim is to maintain good habits and train for the Ireland Tough Mudder on July 5th, which I'll be running with fellow nerds @Jarric and @Miw_Sher. Other than that, I'll be looking to compete in any events or crossfit competitions that come up, namely Compete Live Athens if it happens during that time. Just like the last few challenges, to add extra motivation and work towards a major life goal, I will be setting money aside according to my progress in order to buy a motorcycle. - Batch cooking for the coming week earns me 1 Euro - Not having a coffee at work earns me 1 Euro in savings instead of said coffee - Every day of Bullet Journalling earns me 1 Euro in savings - For every day where I spend at least an hour working on my thesis, I get to save 1 Euro - Managing to sell my CDs or clothes earns me the equivalent amount in savings - Workout earnings are calculated as the difference between male athletes below me from male athletes above me on the day's Whiteboard. For example, ranking 12th out of 30 earns me (30-12)-11=7 Euros. Even a single workout can mean massive savings, so I better not skip those. Also, I gotta be super competitive and not merely make it through the WOD. Time to kick performance up a notch. Tracking spreadsheet
  18. I am Rhovaniel. One day, I will earn my place amongst the Dúnedain. For now, I am a Ranger in training, and I have much to learn. I have something of an unsettled challenge ahead of me. I have my holiday in the Lakes, where I hope to do more challenging walks than I have done previously, my driving test, and I’m in the middle of de-cluttering my house. I am also determined to nail my nutrition. So much so, that I am going to try to avoid unhealthy desserts (fruit, yoghurt, home-made stuff made with healthy ingredients don’t count for this) completely, except for one, maximum two days, in the Lakes. One is my birthday, and who doesn’t treat themselves on their birthday, and the other will probably be in the second week of the holiday, maybe. Other than that, I’ll do my best to stay away. Either way, my schedule may change but my busy-ness is far less than it was in previous months, so I’m going to return to narrative for this one! Zero Week Goals: 1. Drink nothing but water, and lots of it. My aim here is for 2.5 – 3 litres a day, with no other drinks. No juices, definitely no fizzy drinks, etc. (The fizzy includes sparkling water, sadly. This one is more to try and control my IBS than anything else, but the health benefits are a definite bonus!) 2. Track everything, and keep it clean I need to get over my calorie counting aversion, but I also feel that if I rush headlong into it, It’ll fail just like all the other times. So, this week I simply need to log everything I eat, starting today. It also needs to be way healthier than I have been eating. I’m going to batch cook some eggs and roast some sweet potatoes in a bit. My aim is to make each dinner ½ vegetable, ¼ carbs, ¼ protein. Lunch is going to be trickier, but I just need to be sensible. Eat some salads, or smaller portions of leftovers. Breakfasts tend to be a shake (BlendActive is a godsend, so little clean-up makes it super easy), or porridge. Either one is fine. 3. Plan my activities in the Lake District I go away for the second half of the challenge, and rather than our usual, ‘let’s wake up and see where the day takes us’, I’d like to have at least 5 planned walks so that we don’t end up either having a lazy day or meandering around trying to decide where to go. Martin tends not to want to walk all the time, so one or two of those planned walks will be ones I feel I can manage solo, if he decides he doesn’t want to do much that day. Which also means they have to be places I can access without a car from where we’re staying. Luckily, Keswick is quite central. I got places to choose from 4. Do not, I repeat, do not miss a workout The last challenge, at least two weeks went by where I missed one or more of my workouts. BreakPoint is in 6 weeks, and more than that, the Lake District isn’t a beach holiday. I’m going to need a Ranger’s body as well as a Ranger’s mindset (I mean, come on, I’m gonna be walking up fells and mountains and round beautiful lakes and stuff. The place is practically a Ranger’s Paradise). Rewards and Penalties: I’m adding in some rewards this time around too, so it’ll hurt more if I don’t complete my goals (and give me extra incentive to complete them, of course ) Penalties: One Goal missed in a day: 10 burpees. More than one Goal missed in a day: 20 burpees. Total Failure of a day/missed goals more than 2 days in a row: 2 sets of 20 burpees and forfeit the second dessert variance. Rewards: Still working on these. But as I will be away, and thus without access to a gym, for two whole weeks at the end, if I manage a perfect week on all goals, I get to buy either a kettlebell or a set of dumbbells to take with me on holiday so I can still do some strength work. If I get another perfect week, as a bonus I get to buy a foam roller so all that hill walking doesn’t ruin my legs. The rest I have yet to figure out…
  19. <Narrative follows. Skip to second post for goals.> I ascended the summit of the volcano. I had crossed oceans and worlds, answered to sphinxes and gods and querulous accountants, trekked across deserts and through rush-hour traffic, and at last I arrived at my destination. I saw a decrepit mining shack on the very summit of the volcano, and a stooped old man with a scraggly beard entering and exiting with a lone skeletal mule. Noxious fumes wafted out of the dark mysterious portal that led into the heart of the volcano. The miner looked at me and muttered. I peered closely at the man's face, attempting to resolve what he had said. Was this what it sounded like when someone "spoke in tongues," as they say? And if it was a riddle, wouldn't I need to understand at least some of it to be going on with? The sulfurous fumes did coil about him in a most enchanted fashion, but aside from that I discerned no evidence of oracular miracles about. "Are you the oracle," I asked hesitantly. "The... Greecian oracle?" The mule twitched one ear and spoke. "There was a brief period of time when I wanted to be called The Artist Formerly Known as Delphi," it said, "but these days I mostly go by Python." "Python," I said to the mule, nonplussed. "I am in need of your wisdom." "I am in need of a good rum and coke," said the mule. "We all have needs. This guy, it's a good thing you can't even tell what he says. His needs are endless. And disgusting." The mule looked from the miner, to myself, and back. The miner muttered incomprehensibly. "You can't, can you?" the mule asked me. "No, sir. Um, ma'am. I mean, Python. No, Python, I can't tell a word." "For the best," the mule declared. I floundered, and then tried again. "Oh, Great Python, vessel of truth, dispenser of wisdom, giver of -- "Cut that shit out and just tell me your problem." "I've got arthritis in my knee. I think I should lose some weight. But it's, you know, hard...." The mule gave me a withering look. Sulfurous clouds begin to billow out of the mine along with thick, oily smoke. The earth shook. The mule stood rooted to the ground and it's voice came out like thunder. "You will fail to lose weight because you like to drink too much in the evenings," the mule said. "And when you drink, you snack." "You will fail to lose weight because on your days off your fiance over-feeds you," it continued. "He means well, but he has no sense of proportion." "You will fail to lose weight because you give in to unexpected temptations," the mule said with a sneer, "as if each one was an irreplaceable opportunity to enjoy comforts that you may otherwise never experience." "You will fail," the mule concluded, "because you will rationalise your own downfall." I stood for a long moment. I said, "Well, that's heartening." "There's only one solution," the mule said. I raised one eyebrow. "You must take me with you and study as my apprentice." "Apprentice Oracle of Doom?" I hated to admit, but I rather liked the sound of that. "There is a price." This time I raised both eyebrows. "I have not had a good laugh in over two thousand years. I think stepping on this one's foot would give me a laugh of some sort," the mule said, nodding at the miner, "but I've resisted the degredation of my soul thus far, and I'd hate to imperil myself with such malign glee. You must relieve me of this temptation. You must make me laugh." I couldn't begin to imagine how I would bring glee to such a being as this, but my need was great. "I accept your terms," I said. "Now what?" Python swatted the miner with its tail. "I declare you a fully empowered journeyman oracle, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. I don't think anyone will come to you for guidance, but if they do, no false stories of drowning all their future children in the bathtub. Nobody deserves that shit." The mule glared at the miner. "I mean it." The miner muttered incomprehensibly, and nodded. With that, I turned and led Python down the side of the volcano. Briefly, I wondered whether I'd be better off getting myself a motorized scooter and saying to hell with this whole project. Then I glanced at the mule. Heavy saddle bags lay across its back. "Did I accidentally just steal all the product of that guys efforts?" I asked. "Oh, the sulfur?" Python asked. "Yes, you did. But you'll need it." "Great," I said. "That's wonderful." Then a minute later, "Hey, did you hear the one about the...."
  20. THE SILVER ARCHER Chapter 1 I pulled my quiver strap tighter with one hand so it wouldn't bounce against my body as I ran hard up the last hill, trying to disguise my heavy breathing. Mistral would be furious that I wasn't at the rendezvous point when she arrived, and I doubted that she would accept my excuse. The sun had long set and the roving bands of enemy elves and men would soon resume their nightly pursuit of our little Ranger band. It was not safe to be out in the woods alone. When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked down and saw Mistral's campfire already burning low. I sighed and began to run down toward her. At least I had shot two small rabbits and traded for some cornmeal in the last village - perhaps that would appease her frustration. I took a deer trail down the hill so I would make as little noise as possible hurrying toward the campsite, but despite my relatively quiet approach, she was already sitting up and poking the fire back to life when I arrived in the clearing. "You stayed longer than you said you would," she said simply. I sighed and dumped the sack at her feet. "I did." She glanced at the bag, didn't open it, and looked up at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why?" I took a deep breath. No sense in covering it up. "I healed three people this afternoon." "What!" She immediately sat up and pushed back her hood to look me full in the face, her eyebrows raised high over huge violet eyes. "I told you not to use your powers without one of your teachers around! You still have much learning to do before you're ready to use them on your own!" "I know ..." I unslung my bow and quiver and sat down heavily on the ground next to her, slowly pulling off my wristlets and unlacing my boots. "But ... I couldn't just leave them there, could I? One of the girls had been hurt ... one of them was a young mother who was very sick ... and then an old gentleman who was very confused and needed help. I was the only one around." "You went to town," Mistral shot back pointedly. "You were not the only one around. Someone else could have helped them." "But not like I could," I shot back without thinking. As soon as I said it, she closed her eyes and her shoulders sank in a deep sigh. Why had I said that? I turned away and pulled my boots off, cringing as I waited for her usual lecture. She threw her stick down on the ground and rubbed her slender hands over her face with another heavy sigh. "Sky, you bear an important responsibility as the Keeper of the Silver Bow, that's true. But you're carrying far more weight on your shoulders than you should - far more than you're ready to carry. No one expects you to fulfill every need or right every wrong that comes your way. You are not the only Healer in the world. There are others. Many others. If you stop to use your powers on every crying child or lonely old man you meet, you won't have any time left to concentrate on your training and get stronger and more prepared to help even more people, in even bigger ways. Your training is the most important thing for you to focus on right now. All these side quests of yours are good, yes, but your training is best. You have a great work ahead of you that you won't be able to do if you don't shut out the distractions and practice and learn." I sighed quietly as I half-listened to the speech she had already given me three or four times in the last week. I knew her reasoning was probably true, but I also knew I couldn't just close my eyes when people saw my Silver Bow in the villages and forest towns and came to me, asking for my help. It only took me a few minutes to hold onto someone's shaking hands and listen to them pour out their heart, or to fire an arrow discreetly into the center of a bickering throng, or to place my hands on the shoulders of a wounded soldier so the King's healing power could flow through his bruised body. The practice drills and dull old texts that Mistral assigned me did not and could not seem as important as real people sitting in front of me and asking for my help. Of course, I couldn't say any of that to my teacher. "You're right," I said meekly, and reached over to push the bag toward her. "I did bring back a couple of rabbits and some cornmeal, if that helps." She looked at the bag, then at me, then shook her head and chuckled. "Sky, I'm not so easily distracted. Thank you for the food. You fry the cornmeal while I prepare the rabbit, and we'll continue this discussion another time."
  21. As stated in my Roadmap for 2017, my goal for the year is to be more me. To implement that, I’m going back to the basics, the good ol’ 3 fitness quests plus 1 life quest format and a challenge theme to keep things interesting. Goal 1: Eliminate sugar. Holidays have been heavy on the sweets and the first step towards getting my nutrition back in line is to drop a returning habit of casual treats before it settles in for good. Goal 2: Eliminate coffee. Probably have tea instead. Morning coffee at work has become a habit and I gotta get off the caffeine hook. This should also reduce water retention, make me feel less bloated and maybe drop some weight or at least points off the waist. Goal 3: Crossfit 3x a week Life Goal: I’m using a wonderful agenda gifted by the SRLF as I’m getting into Bullet Journalling. Should help me get shit done and pull my head together. Goal is to update the log nightly To keep things interesting, I’ll be adding a little theme and narrative. I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. This challenge will run from January 9th until the end of the Crossfit Open in March 27th. My aim is to prepare for the Open, do it and be better than I was last year. This will be my second ever Open, so if the repeat workout is one from last year, I’ll have some direct way of comparing, otherwise I’m aiming for better than 15.863 Overall and 47th in my country, which were my ratings last year. Last but not least, to add extra motivation and work towards a major life goal, I will be setting money aside according to my progress in order to buy a motorcycle. 1 Euro will be saved for every day without sugar, without coffee, every night of BuJo-ing, every workout and ever 3 workouts per week. Reserving the right to add extra rewards, such as a lump sum for doing better than last year in the Open. Tracking spreadsheet is here.
  22. KEEPER OF THE SILVER BOW Chapter 7: An Aim Strong and True mission: growth The screaming shout of the man could be heard long before his crashing footsteps approached our camp. Our corps leader, Ayre Kallana, met my eyes and signaled me to move into the brush, while the older members melted silently into the shadows with practiced speed. Only minutes passed before we could hear him come thrashing and tumbling down the hill and landing hard in a gasping, sobbing heap at the bottom. "Oh please help," he wailed, his voice a parched scream, his breathing coming in huge choking draws. "Please, someone please! I need help! Help me! Help me!" I could see him from my hiding place; he did not seem injured, but his limbs were shaking and he kept his face pressed into the dirt, weeping as if all hope had left him. I glanced over at Ayre, who was pressed closely against a tree, his eyes flickering quickly over the man, into the woods beyond and back the way we had come. When he felt me look over, he looked out of one eye and shook his head. He would handle this one. Still, I lifted my magic Silver Bow off my shoulder and fit an arrow into the string. The civil war was growing more violent every day, and traps and deception were rampant in the woods and villages beyond. Ayre made no sound as he stepped out from behind the tree and kneeled beside the man, gently touching his shoulder and rolling him over. The man was likely no older than me; but I barely stifled a gasp when the light fell across his face. His cheeks were sunken deeply into his skull and his eyes bulged in his yellow-gray face, barely visible under the greasy hair that fell across them. His toothless mouth was open in another moan when he became aware of Ayre's presence, and he cried out and scrabbled backward in the dirt, flinging up one skeletal arm to protect himself. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't do anything," he shrieked, huddling away and cowering as Ayre tried again to reach out to him. "Please don't hurt me!" "I'm not going to hurt you," Ayre reassured him, holding out his open hands. "I heard you yelling for help, and I'm here to help you. What's wrong?" The man stared for nearly half a minute with his mouth open vacantly before he realized that Ayre was telling the truth, and he crumpled in defeat, lowering his head to his knees and beginning to sob. "My whole village," he whispered. "The dark elves - they came into our village over a year ago and started giving people 'medicine' that was supposed to help us get stronger. But it didn't, mister. It was poison. All of us - we can't live without it, but we're dying, all of us are dying. I escaped to get help, but they got hold of me before I left. I'm a dead man, mister. But I've got to find someone who can help my village before I die." Ayre's wrinkled brow closed over his cloud-gray eyes as he listened, and I saw his jaw flexing. He reached out and put his thin hand on the man's much thinner shoulder. "What can I do for you?" The man snapped his head up and grabbed the front of Ayre's shirt, his eyes frantic. "Tell them," he cried. "Tell them it's poison. Tell them they need to fight and get free of it. Get a doctor who can heal them. But please, mister - you're a solder, aren't you? Help them fight - you've got to help them fight!" His impassioned plea was too much for his weakened body to handle. With a brittle moan, he sagged forward and fell to the ground at Ayre's feet. "Sky!" Ayre lifted the man off the ground and looked over his shoulder. "Sky, I need you!" I slung my bow over my shoulder as I leaped out of the bushes and ran down the hill, skidding to my knees next to him and quickly putting my hand on the man's thin shoulder. A wretched, poisonous smell reeked from his body - I gagged and coughed as I reached up with my other hand and cradled his greasy, dirt-caked face. But when I closed my eyes and prayed for strength, the healing warmth of the Silver Bow's power began to build deep in my chest, rising and spilling down through my arms and fingertips, flowing into his diseased body. "May the King have mercy on this poor man," I whispered. Ayre bowed his head and joined me as the healing powers intensified: "May the King in His mercy heal this man and save his spirit." After a few minutes, the yellow-gray color began to fade from the man's skin, and he stirred. His breathing no longer rattled in his chest. When he opened his eyes, they were clear, no longer jaundiced and unfocused. He tried to gather strength to speak, but I shook my head. "No, just rest. Everything will be all right. My name is Sky Elvenword, and I'm a healer. This is my mentor, Ayre Kallana. He's a teacher. I think our friends can help you and your village." The man closed his eyes, and his chest trembled as tears began to run down his face. "My name is Yazl Henry, miss. I wasn't sure I could find any more of the King's servants in these dark woods. You are the ones I've been praying for all these years."
  23. My name is Rhovaniel. Once, I was a pawn, an unthinking Empire pawn. Some months ago, I woke up, and sought my freedom as a Ranger, a member of the Rebellion. For that, I was imprisoned by the Emperor, Lord Morgulon, who wants all living things held under his dominion, held under the sway of sugar and processed poison under a tasty and addictive guise. I resisted his attempts to reclaim me, and with the aid of another Ranger, Callan, I escaped. Callan brought me to a healer’s house some leagues from the Capital, on the fringes of the Empire. But still they found me. The healer who sheltered and nursed me was murdered, her daughter gravely wounded. Injected with a strong dose of sugar syrup and succumbing to Empire chocolate, I face now a greater challenge. Protect the healer’s daughter. Resist the onset of sugar cravings. Grow in strength and endurance. Prepare for my next encounter with the Emperor’s agents. And there will be a next encounter. I have to know why the Emperor wants to reclaim me so badly. Why he did not have me killed. I’m starting in Week Zero, but I do anticipate that my History weekend away (this weekend) and the funeral coming just after that will mean I won’t be able to complete some of these. I’ll just try to keep my food choices as good as possible, since at the Lodge, I won’t be in control of what food is on offer, or if there’ll be space/time to do a workout (it’s a shared room with another student) and I can’t dictate what I will eat with my Dad and the day of the funeral, and I’ll also have to get the train back home after. To track, I will use the symbols Tank uses: C = Compliant, T = Travelling, V = Variance. For workouts, X will mean I did not complete that workout, will mean I did. The Lay of the Land: - This challenge, I run. Only once a week to start myself off, but later on I hope to increase this. Minimum 5 km each week. ZR tracks my times and pace, so it should be relatively easy to track. In addition, I will aim for one other cardio workout, probably swimming. Walking 10,000 steps or more will also count as a cardio workout if I have no other option because Life Happened. 2 cardio workouts per week: _ _ /_ _/_ _/_ _/_ _ The Strength to Fight: - Demons don’t just attack the mind. Illness, aches, pains, injury. They prey on the unfit body. So, I work to defend against this, and become… anti-fragile. 3 strength workouts per week: _ _ _/_ _ _/_ _ _/_ _ _/_ _ _ To Hunt or Gather: - Nutrition has been and remains my biggest struggle. So, this challenge I’m going to re-try paleo, since I still dislike MFP as much as ever. With the exception of wholegrain rice, because I cannot live on sweet potato alone. Baby steps till I fully figure out how to cook properly. 4 variances (non-paleo, or unhealthy food) per week. Shamelessly stealing Tank’s code for tracking this. Eat Paleo with 4 variances per week: _ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Into the wild: - I must face the unknown with courage. My comfort zone offers safety but not growth. This one is more of a Life challenge, but I’ve got to kick a few bad habits here. Confidence, calmness in the face of adversity (read: stressful situations). For this, I will do one thing every day to either boost my confidence, push myself out of my comfort zone, or otherwise teach me to be more resilient and calm under pressure. I will research how to help that. Meditation maybe, or perhaps online tutorials on problem solving, etc. Anything that will boost my confidence in my ability to face pressure and responsibility. One action daily to boost confidence and resilience under pressure: _ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Rewards: I’d like to add some rewards into this challenge, as an incentive to stick with it, especially in weak moments. I’ve noticed that when motivation is low, I feel the need to have an incentive to push on. The problem is, I have no idea what they should be. I will hopefully get these in place before Week One and the official start of the challenge. EDIT: Each week that I get 90% or more overall completion of my goals, I get a movie night. Weeks 1-3 will be (performance dependant) Lord of the Rings extended editions. I may or may not allocate a variance to said movie night.
  24. I start 2017 with a semester to go in my History degree and very little idea of what I’ll do once I graduate. In all likelihood, I’ll apply for a History Masters and end up in academic History for lack of a definite career plan. And, maybe it is what I want to do. But right now, I know myself too little to know what I want, and what will keep me fulfilled and happy. But, in me is still the same burning desire to write fiction. It’s been dampened down now with the pressure to choose a career and with the stresses of university. But I know that I can awaken the spark, and find joy in writing again. I just don’t know if I will ever write professionally, and I guess I’m at the point now where I feel the need to know myself better, and know what path I want to take. I don’t expect to have life all planned out, because life takes unexpected twists and turns, and change is a good thing. But I turn 25 this year and I still feel like a teenager pondering her choices in the career’s office. And I’d really like to feel more sure of my direction this year, so this challenge, you can expect two things: 1. A lot of me kicking ass. Time to show my demons that I’m in charge, not them. 2. A return to narrative. I have my creative writing class, but it’s stalled and I have to get a handle on it. My return to narrative is my escape, my chance to write whatever and rediscover the passion and joy. My 2017 Goals are: 1. Lose around 10kg. Weighed in worse than expected at 73.7kg. Unacceptable. Weigh ins will be every week for this challenge. (starting on either the 9th or 10th, when I get back home.) Not to frighten myself but because I need to learn how my body works, how my weight fluctuates, etc. I’ll do my best not to read into the figures until the end of the challenge. Hopefully the overall trend will be downwards. 2. Get strong – strength workouts 3 times a week. 3. Get more endurance – start running again, add in climbs if possible. Probably be the stair-master given how flat it is around where I live. 4. Write a diary every day. Get the writing habit and have something to look back on on 31st December, 2017 5. Read at least 12 books for pleasure this year. Not for any course, no history stuff, nothing for work counts. Pure pleasure. 6. Find my path: I need to work on the career thing. Really, need to figure out what I want to do. Maybe that’s history, it probably is, with the age-old dream of professional author to the side of that. But I don’t know for sure. Sometimes I do, sometimes not. This challenge then, has the following Goals: Diet Got to get a handle on this. I eat too much, and the wrong things. Enough now, Rhovaniel. Eat the way a Ranger would eat. (No, put the wild plant down, you have no idea what it is and if it’s poisonous. Let’s try the basics, shall we?) 1. 2,100 calories a day. Track on MFP. 2,400 on variance days and workout days where I feel the need for them. 2. Chocolate is the enemy, and I will slay the demon. None in my house, none in my mouth. At all. Even on variance days…. (Really? Oh, come on… Yeah, yeah I know. Gotta break the addiction. Fine.) 3. I suck at cooking, but pre-packaged food isn’t going to make me healthier. I will have 3-4 recipes/options per non-variance meal to choose from. At least one of each will be an on-the-go, or at work option where I have only a microwave, kettle and toaster. I will experiment with meal prep for work, but it does involve a degree of organisation (something else I lack...) Exercise 1. Running 1 x week, minimum. If my lungs play up with the cold, then I will square my shoulders, grit my teeth and get on a treadmill. Goal is a 5k each week and hopefully watch my times improve. 2. Stairmaster, or maybe a brisk walk on the treadmill with elevation 1 x week, maybe. This goal may or may not stay in place, as it’ll be before or after a gym strength workout. Before as a warm up probably. 3. Gym workouts 3 x week. Probably back to the Academy, but they want you to start doing pull up progressions in Level 3… and I have not explored the side of the gym where there may be stuff to help with that. We’ll see, but either way, there will be strength training done. The only thing is that I was feeling like the Academy wasn’t working for me, so for last couple of months I haven’t used it. I need to find a programme I’m happy with, or give the Academy another shot. Maybe the gym workouts with Darebee’s 30 day Ab Challenge thrown in, because damn it I will get stronger and nail push-ups. (well, that’s a thought out goal…yeah, yeah I know. I'm trying.) Life 1. Finish at least 1 fiction book in this challenge cycle. 2. Go to the careers office at uni. Look in more detail at Masters. Explore my options. Do something to further my career plans (or at least, start to form them) at least three times in any given week. 3. Keep diary every single day. Sorry that was a lot to take in. I’d like to make a table to keep track of it, but not sure how I’d incorporate it on here. My narrative will hopefully somewhat follow my goals, and how well I do dictates how well Rhovaniel does in narrative…
  25. Howdy Rangers! This will be my third challenge with the Rangers. For those of you who didn't follow my first challenge, this challenge will be written a little differently than most. The majority of the posts in this challenge comprise a story, written in-character by Ranger Five. In character posts will be in green. These posts make up the story. I'll be writing about a zombie apocalypse setting, with a lot of inspiration from Zombies, Run! the app, but my own plotline. So don't worry about spoilers outside the first mission. If I've done my job, you won't be able to tell what's from the app and what's not unless you go through the app's story yourself. Most of what I use from Zombies, Run! will be characters and the basic premise, not the story itself.The story began in Chapter 1: Rebel Five Outruns Zombies, continued in Chapter 2: Rebel Five Seeks Answers, and this is the third chapter. However, the previous challenges have a lot of words in them, so for people who weren't following along with it, I've written the story so far for you.The Story So Far: Cast of Characters: Ranger Five: Our protagonist. Hails from Mullins Military Base. Major de Santa: Leader of Abel Township. Samuel Yao: Radio operator. Runner Seven: Head of Runners. Ranger Nine: Head of Rangers. Monk Two: Head of Monks. Has been giving Five fighting lessons. Emily: Head of IT. Janine Myers: Formerly Abel's doctor. Turned traitor at the end of Chapter 2. Currently at large. Louis: Works for Janine's mysterious employer or colleague. Henchman. Now that we know the narrative, let's look at the goals for this month: Goal 1: Lift weights at the gym up to thrice per week, using the Stronglifts program. (Exception in Week 1, where I can only make it to the gym once) Minimum: 6 workouts. Solid: 8 workouts. Great: 9 workouts. Excellent: 10 workouts. Goal 2: Run up to three times per week. Minimum: 6 runs. Solid: 8 runs. Great: 10 runs. Excellent: 12 runs. Nothing new here. I'm dialing my running back to thrice a week to prevent further injury. I'll run 5 km thrice a week (two slow, one fast) for Week 0-2, then I'll up the slow runs to 6 km for the remainder of the challenge. Goal 1 remains unchanged except for my scheduling issue; why mess with something that's working. Goal 3: Stretch up to three times per week. Minimum: 6 sessions. Solid: 8 sessions. Great: 10 sessions. Excellent: 12 sessions. I've been neglecting my stretching recently, and there's no excuse for that. If I can't do it at the gym due to time constraints, I can do it before I run, after I run, or at any other point in the day. Three sessions a week is a good start. Goal 4: Write up to three story posts per week. Minimum: 6 posts. Solid: 8 posts. Great: 10 posts. Excellent: 12 posts. Due to my injury, I got out of the habit of a solid Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule for writing story posts last challenge. I'd like to get back to it; there's quite a bit I'd like to write about this month. The plot's continuing to heat up, so I need to keep the posts coming! Scoring system: Minimum = 1 point. Solid = 2 points. Great = 3 points. Excellent = 4 points. 8 points or higher, all minimums met: Minor reward, worth up to $30. 12 points or higher, all minimums met: Major reward, worth up to $100. The first story post, explaining Chapter 3's title, should be up tomorrow.
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