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  1. This will be my first challenge outside of the Adventurers, and I'm excited to join the Druids for the first time this round! "I Used to be an Adventurer Like You, But Then...." Like the guards in Skyrim, my adventuring career is being cut short because of my knees - though my problem wasn't quite as painful as getting hit by an arrow.... Quick background: A sedentary accountant wants to lose 20 lbs and searches the web. He finds DietBet, MyFitnessPal, Nerd Fitness challenges and the Couch-to-5K program all within a week and decides to try all of them simultaneously. He took the 8 week C25K program and tried to compress it into six weeks to fit the NF challenge, while running a higher-than-recommended calorie deficit to win his DietBet. His knee began to experience moderate pain, but there were only two weeks left. Instead of backing down, training was ramped up. Then the knee decided to become unstable and periodically just stop supporting him without warning, he began to stumble for no apparent reason, and training had to stop due to INJURY #1. Training picked up again during the next challenge, and everything as going well. Then when C25K suggested a 2 mile run, he decided to see how fast he could go. He clocked the fastest mile of his life... Then did a second mile without stopping. Knee issues returned, were ignored again, and he had INJURY #2. Trail running for the first time ever, across uneven loose rocks - Why bother slowing down? INJURY #3. Then this accountant discovers that he has a family history of horrible knee problems and multiple family members who aren't even supposed to climb stairs. Now, I love to run. But I love being able to walk even more, and I don't want to lose my knees to idiocy. So, though I do want to be able to run 5Ks again (and my accounting firm does one together annually), I'm going to take my time getting there and focus my energy on building a better body, not just one that runs farther or faster. MAIN QUEST: My Cousin's Out Fighting Dragons, and What Do I Get? Guard Duty. My goal is no longer to have short term achievements at the expense of long term health: it is to build myself up to have long term health, one baby step at a time. I plan to gradually restore my body to running ability, while doing what I can to prevent injuries and turning more of my focus to my other exercise loves: yoga and hiking. Quest 1: Rehabilitation I currently have a morning routine (that I follow most days) which includes daily stretching of my hamstrings, followed by a brief and extremely basic yoga session. In the evenings I stretch my hamstrings again. This Quest is to amp up my routine to strengthen or loosen (as needed) those parts of my body that are prone to injury: Stretch hamstrings & quads twice daily (not immediately before a run!). Plank daily. Some kind of upper back work daily, once I figure out how to do that (the muscles between my shoulder blades are exceptionally weak due to my usual hunched posture). And continue to grow my yoga routine gradually (I've been adding a single pose every week or two, as I become comfortable with them.) One day I hope to become comfortable enough to start varying the order or content of my yoga routine as my body directs. Quest 2: Realistic Needs: Eating... Food? I don't know if you've noticed, but unless you install a "realism" mod, you can get by in Skyrim for years without eating anything. Or sleeping. And you're rewarded for munching on every random "alchemy ingredient" you come across. Fancy a bite of Giant's Toe, anyone? I need to mod my life and start eating real food instead of whatever's at hand. But my diet has gone wrong in so many ways that I don't know where to start. Extreme levels of coffee consumption, addiction to sweets, lack of vegetables at most meals, not stopping when I'm full, mindless snacking.... I must have redrafted this portion of my challenge half a dozen times, with a different diet approach each time. So... this portion of my challenge will be an adventure in learning where I stand today and planning how to move forward. I will keep a food journal from now through the end of the challenge. Writing down what I eat, and how much, will give me an idea of where I can focus efforts to improve. This could also be an opportunity to practice mindfulness, as it should help to focus my attention more on what I'm eating. I will also record when I go to bed each day or how long I sleep. Sharing my journal isn't necessary, though I may post it if requested. I reserve the right to change this goal to a specific diet goal later in the challenge, or not - to be determined later. Quest 3: Returning to Active Duty Don't overdo! I've started C25K training again (today was the first day of Week 2). And I could make the training my goal. But I KNOW ME. I can't resist the opportunity to go further, faster... And do it today! So I choose the far more difficult challenge: to train SLOWLY. I do not get any credit for training. I will get credit for: - never running without a 46 hour gap in between runs (you know, a 6 am run on Tuesday is okay after an 8am run on Sunday). - never running more than three times in any seven day period - never running "just a little further" after completing a scheduled workout - not trying to time myself (unless at an official race) - never advancing to the next week's set of exercises until I've done the current weeks exercises for at least 5 sessions. - Stopping and walking directly home if I experience any joint pain ....trust me, this goal is going to be the tough one for me. I have run an eight minute mile, and I have run 5K without stopping to catch my breath... And my body wants me to do those things again. Holding back sucks. Quest 4: Desk Duty Do paperwork. I attempted this last challenge (halfway through), but quickly got overwhelmed. I am now going to try a different approach. This is long overdo, and I might as well tackle it while I'm on guard duty! Methodology: My intention is to grow into the Zen to Done method (at http://zenhabits.net/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-productivity-system/) I am currently very good with habit 1: writing everything down. The other nine habits are all areas to work on. I intend to focus just on habit 2 for now: "process. Habit: make quick decisions on things in your inbox, do not put them off. Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making decisions. Process your inboxes (email, physical, voicemail, notebook) at least once a day, and more frequently if needed. When you process, do it from the top down, making a decision on each item, as in GTD: do it (if it takes 2 minutes or less), trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it on your to-do list or calendar to do later." I will give myself credit for preventing additional inbox pileup (not counting weekends) and spending at least some time 5 days a week on reducing the backlog. SIDE QUEST: Exploring Skyrim To bring back a lost love: hiking. I will seek out and learn about local trails for hiking or (when I'm ready) trail running. I will investigate local clubs and groups to find hiking companions. I will ask around NF for local Rebels who know the area's trails or who have the same goals. And I will go hiking at least once before this challenge ends. I have hiked only once since high school, and that was in the Grand Canyon. The beauty of it - of nature, of the companionship of others on the same trail - the camaraderie of strangers who depended on each other's help and were all too ready to offer that help to people they have never met. It made me want to cry. I seek to return hiking to my life, knowing that my life will be better for it.
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