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  1. No, not that weird stuff! I'll dress this up later, but here's the basics for March: 1) Need more running. Find more running. Do more running. It's starting to warm up, the trees are turning red (which means the spring buds are coming already!) 2) Use the NerdFitness Yoga program like, at least 2x/week. More if possible. It's really quite manageable. I just need to do it. My flexibility is really lacking and I need to loosen up. 3) Lift more heavy things, at least 1x/week. 4) Write more than twice in the month. BONUS: I met up with my brother last night, who has been doing circus training (particularly strong man stuff, for him) with my little sister (an aerialist and all-around performer). I was talking about my need to get off the ground and loosen up and learn what I'm capable of, and he suggested that I come with them to their circus gym and learn some tumbling from one of the trainers. This was such a fantastic idea that I'm going to do so, probably at least every weekend in March, and start to get comfortable with what I'm capable of now that I'm approaching a normal weight. BONUS THE SECOND: I was going through my music folder the other day (not my music library, but my personal music folder) and realized that I have very few actual recordings of myself, despite having all the tools to do so. There are a couple from 2010, one from 2012, etc. I've decided to start a project where I'm going to record myself and my guitar for five songs every couple of years, just to start getting an idea of how I'm changing over the years, musically speaking. I'd like to complete this project by the end of April, so I'm going to work on this and try to get at least two of the tracks completed and the third one started. My song list for this project is: Vertical Horizon - The Man Who Would Be Santa Parabelle - No One Looks As Good As You In That Trapt - Only One in Color 10 Years - So Long Goodbye [unheilig - Als wär's das erste Mal] - still subject to change, but I think I can do a pretty rockin' acoustic version of this So that's going to be my March. More endurance, more strength, more Kung Fu, more flexibility, and... tumbling. Maybe somewhere in there will be some time to breathe? Yeah, probably not. :/
  2. Geez, it's February already eh? So much to do, and only 29 days to do it in. I'm going to keep this pretty simple this month. I'm going to be pushing myself though, which means I'm going to need to be careful not to overdo things. 1) Get out running at least 1x/week. 30 minutes minimum. 2) Do at least two weight sessions/week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are available days. They don't have to be long, just enough to do some basic sets. This means I'm going to have to start dragging myself out of bed earlier. This will be a good thing for me. 2a) Neither of the above will impact my 3x/week Kung Fu training or my 1x/week lightsaber class. Class is the priority. Everything else is gravy. 3) Keep logging calories. I doubt I'll get down to 199 this month, although if I'm careful it's technically possible. I do want to weigh in under 205 by the end of the month, though. This should definitely be doable. My lowest so far is 208.2. 4) Keep writing. I haven't written this many words since I published CLARITY. So far I've written almost 6,000 words(!! I just counted this, holy wow) in less than two chapters on this weird ad-hoc project, but it's fun and I don't care how good it is. Unless y'all are just humoring me, it must not be god-awful--I'm seeing some engagement--so that's good enough for me. BONUS: Book flights to Germany before Feb 29!! Here's a link to a collected text file of the story so far, for anybody new who's interested in catching up.
  3. Snow drifted gently from the heather-gray skies above, settling a blanket of white stillness around the courtyard. The priory was quiet on this early winter morning, the cold keeping everyone in their beds long past the sun's late rise. Kyellan swept the stones clear of the snowfall, though he knew he would be doing the same a mere hour later. The elder brothers could not traverse slick walks, and there was no sense inviting injury when it could so easily be avoided. The world seemed impossibly quiet, with all the animals in hibernation and the birds flown to warmer climes. A gentle chirp startled him out of his near-meditative state. He looked up to see a small, red bird sitting atop the stone wall. He knew its kind well, but the crimson starlings flew south in the late autumn... and yet more, something seemed strange about this one. Its feathers seemed startlingly dark, almost the color of a drop of blood. The bird cocked its head at him, chirped again, and then exploded from the snow atop the wall in a spray of white, and was gone. The world returned to its softened silence. Kyellan shook his head. Perhaps the bird had merely been lost, or left behind by its fellows. A sad state, indeed, but he knew naught of the affairs of birds. With the stones at last cleared, Kyellan set aside his brush, shook his gray cloak and gloves clean of the snowfall, and returned to the eastern common hall. A cheery fire now burned in the hearth, spreading its welcome warmth throughout the stone walls. Kyellan gratefully shed his snowy cold-weather gear and took a chair beside the fire, rubbing his chilled hands. His right still ached faintly from that training accident two months ago, but every day the hurt grew fainter, and his grip stronger. "Good morning, Ky," said a voice, which warmed him almost as much as the fire itself. He turned and smiled at Athe, his blood-sworn sister. They had taken the oath of service to the Sentinels together, and though the ceremony had been the first time they met, a bond of friendship like Kyellan had never felt before had been forged between them through trial, hardship, and learning. "And good morning to you, lazybones," Kyellan grinned. "I see you've taken to rising with the bears, rather than the sun." She rolled her eyes and pulled up her own chair to the fire. Her auburn hair glistened in the flickering light from the hearth, and glared at him briefly from beneath her eyelashes. "You always take the best spot in the morning." "And if you'd get up earlier, you wouldn't have this problem." "If even the Knight Commander sleeps in on a morning like this, you can hardly blame me for doing the same. Don't worry; after the morning meal, I'll be in plenty of shape to beat you all around the training yard." Their shared laughter was interrupted by a throat-clearing from the doorway. Kyellan looked up to see the weathered face of Marcthelion Irontree, Knight Lieutenant, and the man in charge of their training. They immediately sobered, and rose to attention. "The Knight Commander summons all Sentinels and Companions to the Great Hall. Immediately. A message has arrived from the capital." Irontree's deep voice was grave. ---------------------------------------- Okay, so I gave this a fair amount of thought. I've decided that I've kind of played out the Star Wars theme over 2015, and despite the fact that I still go to lightsaber class every week, I think it's time to give the Jedi thing a rest. So, since I also make some kind of claim to being an author, I've decided to go with something original this time. We'll see how it goes. Like the running challenge I did last summer, I'm going to add a bit to this story with each update post I make throughout the month. This is all-new... I'm making this up as I go along, folks, so bear with me. You're seeing the writing process here--first draft, little editing, and no outline. Let's see what happens. Anyway, on with the challenge goals! This new 4-week thing is interesting, so we'll keep it light this first time out. Goal 1: Track calories every day. I've been making great progress on my weight loss since I picked MyFitnessPal back up a few months ago, and I'm starting this challenge somewhere between 210 and 215. (I'll get an exact number tomorrow.) That means I'm down somewhere between 20 and 25 lbs from where I was in the summer. Don't change a system that works--I'm actually getting toward fighting shape, and I want it! The holidays are over, and I'm once again in full control of my food. On the bright side, I only had a couple of tough days throughout the holiday season, so I actually kept making progress instead of being set back. Goal 2: Run 5k once a week. In preparation for the June Tough Mudder in Vermont (which I'll be running with Oramac, and anyone else who wants to join us! ) I've been running once a week with my buddy. He pushed me through a 5k training route back in mid-December, and since then we've also run a 4-mile loop and a different 5k trainer. It's been great! My first 5k time was 44:59, and last time it was 38:11, which I'm pretty happy about. Goal 3: Injury Recovery via Sword Training. I'm still working off the hand injury I got back in November, but it's getting better. I'm gently trying to work my grip back into shape via my lightsaber and my longsword. This is a careful and tricky process, but it's very important. Level Up Your Life: Track every expense for the month in YNAB, and reconcile it all at the end of the month. The wife and I have been working with YNAB through December to great success, and I want it to continue. We've already worked ourselves from being pretty far behind to being back on track, and I want 2016 to be a carefully managed year, money-wise. We've got our Germany trip coming up in September, and I want to figure out just what my salary can do when it's put to real priorities instead of disappearing into the ether. ------------------------------ That's what I've got. Looking forward to seeing everybody else's challenges as we roll into 2016!
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