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  1. Hey, NF Community! Just wondering if there are any other iNaturalist addicts and/or other assorted nature nerds (hikers, photographers, explorers, citizen scientists, professional scientists) who would like to share here! "Nature stalking," as I like to call it, has really helped me connect with my surroundings, get outside more, log more hikes, explore new places, and learn so much about the creatures we share the environment with! If anyone is interested, jump on in! If you have questions about getting more outdoorsy, please feel free to shout those out, too! To kick this off, I wanted to share a few of my iNat pics (I'm personally very fond of bees!) and a few resources. iNaturalist - upload observations of living creatures to help with data collection and analysis, and use an amazing AI system to identify your photograph! (available on desktop, iPhone, and Android) * More info in my conversation with @InnerFire, below. QuestaGame - individuals and teams photograph and identify living organisms for points (similar to iNaturalist, but made into a game) SciStarter - Citizen Scientist project center Geocaching - outdoor treasure hunting (yes, really!) World Wildlife Fund Panda Ambassadors - WWF volunteering What else should I add to this list?? - Odynne (TIPSYwithWATER) BEE SPECIES PICTURED: Perplexing Bumble Bee, Common Eastern Bumble Bee, Eastern Honey Bee, Eastern Carpenter Bee, Western Honey Bee
  2. Oh heeeeyyy guys! Only been, like, FOREVER since the last time I showed my face around here. A year and a half if I remember correctly. I'll catch you guys up a little bit before getting to my respawn challenge. 2018 was a fucking year - there was a lot of growing up and self acceptance. Certain events earlier in the year forced me to do some serious introspection: figuring out who the fuck I am, who I want to be, what I’m willing to accept in my life, what I absolutely will not put up with, and where I want to go from here. For the most part I think I’ve figured it out, and things have been a lot better since doing so. Summer and fall went smoothly and everything was going well, but as we all know, life likes to take us by surprise. In November I got laid off, but thankfully I was only unemployed for a month and a half. I love my new job - it’s definitely one of the better ones that I’ve had, even if I had to accept a bit of a pay cut. It’s also way closer to me. I had an 80mi round trip commute at my last job, and this one is only 12mi. Literally the next town over from where I live. It’s super convenient. As far as fitness goes, when I left you at the end of 2017 I was at my heaviest - almost 180lb. I put myself on an intermittent fasting plan, and over the the course of 6-8mo I lost ~30lb. I did gain back a few pounds over this past holiday season (so much delicious, delicious food), but it doesn’t bother me. When I started my journey with NF in Oct 2014, I was 152lb. I was miserable about it and the goal was to get back to my high school weight (139lb). While getting back to that weight would be pretty cool, it's definitely not my goal any more and I can honestly say that I have no problem being in the low 150s. In fact, I’m pretty fuckin comfortable in/with my body right now. Seeing how my mindset and views have changed over the last 4.5yrs is mind blowing; I never thought I’d get to the point where I actually kind of love myself and my body. That just about catches you all up on my absence, so on to my respawn challenge! Usually I like to have a theme or something, but I’m going to be keeping it pretty simple so I don’t get distracted.. 2018 involved a lot of mental growth, so I'm dedicating 2019 to physical growth - fitness, hard skills, and putting plans into place. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Self care: Journaling There were a lot of anxiety attacks and depressive episodes over the course of last year. I get overwhelmed with my own thoughts very easily, and it consumes me. I used to journal regularly back in the day, and that’s something I want to make a habit again. Getting stuff out on paper just makes everything that much more manageable for me. Frees my mind up a little bit. Usually I find a blank sheet in one of the many random journals I have, but I bought myself a new notebook so that I can start this habit fresh. *Goal: Write in journal at least 4x/wk. Can be anything from a few words to a few pages and everything in between. I just need to get something out in order to manage my stress level. Diet: Water No soda I’ve managed to cut down my energy drink intake a lot (oh Redbull, how I miss you), and some of my soda intake. Now I need to work on increasing my water intake. I joke that I’m a cactus and don’t need much water, but I know I really should be better about it. Now I need to cut out that soda habit completely - end of story. *Goal: Drink 60oz of water 3x/wk (Mon, Wed, Fri) *Goal: Stop. Drinking. Soda. C'mon Ruth, it's not that fuckin hard. Use that stubbornness for something good for you. Fitness: Routine While I spent a lot of time reigning in my diet and getting the weight off, I never got back to working out. Other than urban exploring (which, to be fair, does involve a lot of walking, stairs, and climbing of stuff), I haven’t done shit. I’ve been feeling really weak and easily winded lately and it’s driving me nuts, so fitness is going to be a big focus. *Goal: Full body routine 3x/wk (Beginner bodyweight or NF kettlebell) Skills: Photography Since getting back into the afore mentioned urban exploring a few years ago, I have taken up photography a fair bit as well. They kind of go hand in hand. Christmas 2017 I was gifted a lightly used Nikon D3300 and kit lens so that I could take my photos up a notch (I had been using my phone). I bought a guidebook so that I could learn to use it, and eventually learn to use the manual settings. While I did figure out how to use the camera in auto mode, I never got around to learning manual. For the last few months I haven’t even touched the camera, if I’m totally honest. I just haven’t been out and about, but I want to get back to using it and picking up the skills to use it properly even when not exploring. *Goal: Each week learn a new step/skill and perform 3 practice sessions (at least). At end of 4 weeks, review each skill/technique. (Zero week will be used to break down the guidebook into weekly skills/techniques.) Week 1, Chapters 1&2 - A.) Back to basics: reset camera to factory settings, then update to book recommended settings. B.) Back to Basics 2: Get a feel for the camera in it's 'out of the box' form to use as a control. Can compare photos down the road as I learn more. Week 2, Chapter 3 - Auto Modes: take some time to try out the auto modes available on the camera. Week 3, Chapter 4 - Professional Modes A: begin practicing using the manual settings and adjustments Week 4, Chapter 4 - Professional Modes B: continue practicing using the manual settings and adjustments Zero Week - Review Other: Updates Keeping up with my challenges in the past has always been difficult for me for whatever reason. So, I’m going to try and correct that by setting aside specific times each week that I will use to update. You may or may not see me update outside of these times, I can’t promise anything. In addition, I’m going to set aside tentative times during the week to try to catch up with everyone else. *Goal: Challenge updates on Mondays and Thursdays @ 7pm (I will start typing up my updates at 7, so expect posts after 7:30pm) *Soft goal: Catch up with others on Sundays and Wednesdays xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I still have a bit of finalizing to do on the side, so I will not be counting zero week towards the challenge. Anything that I do end up doing this week is a bonus. Down the road I would like to count zero weeks as part of the challenge, but I find that it's a good time for me to do planning. I try to start while the current challenge is going on, but then I get distracted/excited and Ranger BrainTM kicks in. So, at least for the first few challenges that I'm back for, zero week will be a planning week and continuation of the last challenge.
  3. Hello fellow Rebels to my latest 4-week challenge! After the success of my last challenge I realize that the best way for me to be the best Ranger I can be I'll need to stay disciplined and be proactive. One way I plan on doing this is through skill-building instead of Questing. But since I like to do things ranging from cardio, strength training, yoga, and more it means I will need to tackle my skills like a ranger. Training Like A Ranger To be the be ranger I will to be keep up my habits in a diversity of skills. This means getting familiar with a variety of different classes. So I divided my challenges for these 4-weeks based on it's class. Skillin' Like a Warrior A warrior is strong and swift. Capable of overpowering what faces them while enduring the great lengths of battle. Skills Strength Training - 5 Days A Week Each week I'll be doing either calisthenics or weight training. Cardio - 5 Days A Week Done after strength training. Working primarily on stamina. Skillin' Like a Monk A monk remains grounded and nimble. A master of their own body and mind. Skills Yoga - 2 Days A Week Stretching- 5 Days A Week Take an Akido Class Take a Yoga Class Skillin' Like a Wizard A wizard is wise. Dedicating their lives studying to learn abilities beyond their physical self. Skills Photography Class I enrolled in an online 4-week photography class on Coursera. Hoping to see improvements in my photography. Free Code Camp Certificate This is part of a 500-hour course I started this year. I am on the last project before earning that sweet Front-End Web Development Certificate Read a Chapter From a Book on Productivity Skillin' Like a Bard A bard is inspiring. Through their music they motivate those around them to keep going. Skills Guitar Practice - 6 Days A Week _______ Will be keeping track of all my challenges via spreadsheet! I have this spreadsheet set up kind of like a game. If I manage to stick to 6 of my challenges for 4 weeks in a row I unlock a virtual die called Chance Cube. Rolling the cube randomly select an item from a list of rewards. Spreadsheet
  4. So I exist in this wasteland, reduced to one instinct: survive. When the going gets tough, who survives better than Max Rockatansky? It's no secret I love Mad Max, this will actually be my second Mad Max themed challenge HECK YEAH! 2016 has been the literal worst. While peppered with some really great stuff and achievements and personal I-am-a-rad-human moments, the tail end of this year is hitting me like a battering ram, mainly in my personal life, and right now in the interest of self-preservation I need to take my foot off the gas and just hold on. While not my favorite thing to do, I am mindful enough to realize that right now this is a very necessary tactic. This challenge will focus wholly on self-care. I will, of course, keep fitnessing in the background - Zero week will be a deload week (that seriously couldn't have come at a better time) and following that I will still be lifting three days, throwing in something extra for the fourth, and working on my mobility drills. My quests this go around will keep me from losing my everloving shit and not collapsing into a useless pile at any given moment, because I'm going to enjoy the holiday season, darn it!! (YES HI I did put up all the decorations today bahahaha~) So in the interest of keeping it real, my quests: 1. Stay Yeah I can't do that disappearing thing again. Very very bad for my overall everything. Keep posting here regularly, should be simple, right? 2. Daily Draw I've been futzing about with tarot again and grabbed myself a really killer deck recently, with some amazing dark digital artwork. I'd like to do a card draw most mornings - not all - just to give myself that time of mindfulness and check in with myself, and see how I can fit the energy and meaning of what I draw into my daily life. This ties gently into my third quest as well~ 3. Viewfinder I'm really working on using my Instagram more, and in more varied ways than just 500 FFXIV screens. (BUT those are cool too~ <3) Since I've mostly backed away from Facebook and its idiocy IG is really my main social media point now, and it works for me because I've always loved photography. While I don't have the oomph currently to pick up my DSLR and go shoot out in the wild, I really want to utilize photography more as a creative outlet and self-care tool. Here's one I took this morning: I will, of course, share my shots here. A big motivator for me to complete this challenge is that my next NF level will put me at level 20 (!!!!!!!!!) and that's pretty rad to think about, I've successfully completed 20 challenges as of 2017?!? That's pretty heckin' cool!!! So yes, let's go and finish 2016 in one piece, so when 2017 comes it won't even know what hit it. <3
  5. Happy New Year, beloved nerds! Welcome to 2016. If 2014 was the year of personal transformation and 2015 the year of settling into my own skin, I hope that 2016 will be the year in which I expand my successes into realms other than the physical (while continuing to hone my physical skills and being a BAMF, of course!) I start this year injured and rehabbing but not discouraged. I'm good at being the underdog. Between illness and injury and holiday madness, the last few weeks have been full of gluttony, missed workouts, and stress. I'm not a resolutioner in the traditional sense, but the end of the holiday season, marked by the coming of the new year, does bring with it a chance to settle into routine, which I really appreciate. And I do like the continuity of long-term goals, especially with the challenges getting shorter, so here is my list of concrete goals for 2016: Get my finances under control: cut down my CC debt by at least 1/2Rehab my injured leg to 100%Perfect and perform at least one aerial routine for an audience WITHOUT CATASTROPHIC INJURYPerfect the straight-arm/straight-leg straddle-upBench press 100lbsAnd here is a list of my more amorphous goals/desires for 2016: Make more memoriesWrite moreSpend more time with my familySpend time with my friends, especially those who I don't see as often as I shouldComplete at least one "wish list" remodel on my house, provided it doesn't interfere with my financial goalsIf it works out, become a parentA bit more detail about all of these below: All of that said, I spent some time considering the purpose of my battle log over the course of the last few weeks. With the challenge breaks shortening to a few days, the use of my battle log between challenges for fitness tracking seems unnecessary. Instead, I hope to use it for four things: Tracking my progress towards the big goals listed aboveKeeping an index linking to every 4WC summary so that they're easily accessible in one place at the end of the yearWriting about my thoughts and whatever topics catch my fancy - baby steps into blogging before I decide if I want to get myself a wordpressSharing some of my instagram photosSo hopefully following this thread (for those who choose to do so) will prove interesting and very different from my challenge sprints. Ready? Let's kick 2016 in the teeth.
  6. Continuing with my respawn ... I'm back with my second challenge of 2016. It's something of a two-edged sword; continuing my progress from the last challenge and also catching up on stuff I missed. My points will all be recorded in my NF character profile So without further ado, my challenge goes like this: 1. Treadlift v 2.0 Treadlift "build" workouts are a 12 week compilation, which perfectly splits into 3 lots of 4 weeks. The workouts are the same in terms of arrangement (with 4 workouts per week) but progressing to level 2 and leaving level 1 behind with the last challenge. Still 30-mins per workout but switching it up and keeping it fresh! 32 points on offer here (2 per workout) 2. Foam rolling! I foam roll my muscles for at least 10 minutes every day. 28 points available (1 per day) 3. Steppage! Not sure that's a word, but it's what I call it anyway. I strap on a pedometer and I record how many steps I go each day. I can't improve on something I don't measure so the first step to improvement is measurement. 20 points on offer for this quest (5 for each week I complete a log of steps) 4. 365 catch up! I photograph Edna every day, but for a while now I have missed days. Over the course of this challenge, I will see how many days I am behind and I will catch up to where I am supposed to be. 20 points awarded if I complete this, pro rata points if I partially complete
  7. Quest 0 - Hoard of the Dragon Queen I've been letting work get in the way of my workouts ... I'm frozen! (see how I made that work?) before week 1 I'm going to do at least 2 runs and a kettle bell workout! Quest 1 - The Rise of Tiamat Stretching! Everyday I'm going to do 10 minutes of stretching! A: 28 Days of stretching! (Wis +3) B: 20-27 Days of stretching! (Wis +2) F: <19 Days of stretching! Quest 2 - Princes of the Apocalypse Movement and mobility! 6 days a week I'm going to do some running/jogging. This could be long distance running + sprinting + hill work etc. A: 24 Days! (Dex +2, Con +2) B: 23-20 Days! (Dex+1 Con +1) F: <19 Days! Quest 3 - Out of the Abyss Tuesday+Thursday Kettlebell beast mode! A: 8 Days of Kettlebells (Str+3, Sta+2) B: 4-7 Days of Kettlebells (Str+2, Sta +2) F <3 Days of Kettlebells Quest 4 - Curse of Strahd I've been letting myself mope about and not be as social or out going as I should. Plus my photography has suffered from lack of doing it.
  8. So I have a few active goals I'm working towards: 1) Bodyweight exercises or go for a run before breakfast 2) journal every week day with breakfast 3) do more social things with friends and make new connections 4) further my gardening and photography skills Battle log day 1. - Bodyweight routine? Check! - Journaling? Check! - Social goal? Rejoining my martial arts school next month to reconnect with friends (and hey, cross training) and writing this post, so check! - Gardening? Starting seeds this weekend, so also check! - Photography? Daily snap taken, check! Today is a good day and is off to a good start. I have a lot of things I want to achieve this year (yes it's March, I'm just now getting around to posting, gah!) and I feel my momentum is good. Not sure how often I want to update here, but probably a few times a week. I'll also likely jump in on the next 4 week challenge at the end of the month. Go team, and such!
  9. I feel like I should apologize up front because this challenge will be rife with images of shirtless Stephen Amell doing salmon ladder. If sexy half-naked men aren’t your thing, I’m sorry. Only not. I mean, really... Oliver Queen, a man who came back from an island with amazing skills, improved body, and a really bad case of caveman beard. He trained with functional movement that Assassins are so familiar with and his body became a fine-tuned instrument of awesome. Push the boundaries like Laurel [+5 STR] There was going to be a picture of Laurel here, but then I got distracted... Originally this goal was supposed to be all about kettlebell and trying it out, but due to unforeseen life circumstances I have no access to it. So, let’s do some other strength training: push ups! I did a challenge like this before but it fizzled out 2 weeks in because I didn't allow myself any recovery time. I will be smarter this time. Challenge: 100 push ups per day, 5 days a week. Score: However many days a week I get, that's how many points I'll assign myself at the end. Off days: Thur, Sun Have abs of steel like Sara [CON +4] I mean, g'daaaamn! I've always thought my core strength wasn't all that great, but clearly I had no idea how much worse it could get. After being away from kickboxing for the past 3 months, my core strength is mostly gone. It's been replaced with a horrifying gut. Let's fix that!!! Challenge: Do a core workout, 3 times a week (Tue, Thur, Sat) 4 sets of: 20 leg lifts 20 flutter kicks 20 sit ups 20 Russian twists (weighted, if I can manage) Score: [+3 CON] - 3 days/week [+2 CON] - 2 days/week [+1 CON] - 1 day/week Pull up like Oliver is watching [sTR +4] What was I doing again?... I've regressed a bit in my pull up work, though I have been doing a lot of TRX body rows. I am almost at the floor level! That being said, I need to get back to actual pull up work and doing negatives. Challenge: Do pull up training 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) Sets will be 5x5 negatives. Score: [+4 STR] - 3 days/week [+3 STR] - 2 days/week [+1 STR] - 1 day/week Explore the world like Thea [WIS +3] Go outside, see fun things! Or something... Look at me, I'm attempting a life goal again! This may end poorly, but I refuse to give up on myself. I want to do something fun and creative once a week and I would like for it to be photography-based. I used to photograph so much, but it's kind of gotten by the wayside. I need to change that. Challenge: Once a week, go out and spend at least an hour look at the world through my lenses. Post at least one photo to my challenge thread. This will be hard, but I'll be glad I did it Score: There are THREE Sundays in this challenge, so let's do a point of WIS per day accomplished. Go the extra mile like Barry Allen Only, you know, I'm the one making it. Just like Barry isn't really part of Arrow Team, though he makes an occasional appearance, this section isn't really part of my challenge. At the beginning of the year I decided to challenge myself to a cheesecake a week and I'm doing well so far and here's the continuation: Triple chocolate Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Nutella Cheesecake I will try to post pictures, though I promise nothing
  10. Yeah, well, I know HP’s been done to death, but it is my everlasting true nerd love and given the calendar timing, I thought the Yule Ball would be a fun add on… Start with what you know, eh. I was sorely tempted to switch out to a Red Rising or Martian theme, but I’ll save those for another time. Excited to be completing my first challenge as a Ranger! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Marauder uses her 20 seconds of courage and scribbles her name on a small slip of paper, marches forward, and tosses in into the cup… Her doubts rear their ugly heads instantly with a barrage of taunts. but you’re not strong enough to… but you aren’t smart enough to… but you can’t compete with them… Marauder digs deep and, with a confidence she hasn’t felt in a long long time, stifles the voices. I AM strong. I AM smart. I CAN win this thing. Training must commence immediately. I only have 6 weeks to prepare… Preparation is the path. Passion is the key. Victory is the undeniable result. Quest 1: The Dragon Challenge Strength training is a key element to success in all the challenges, but the dragon challenge in particular could require feats I’ve yet to attempt. A very exhausted owl just delivered some dumbbells for my new training. How much does a dragon’s egg weigh? Hopefully lifting some heavy things will have me ready… Scheduled training will be performed three times per week starting with Dumbbell Division level 1. Keep an eye out for progressing something each workout. Trophy: new workout top Points: +3 STR/ +1STA Quest 2: The Merpeople Challenge Gillyweed is the key. Supplies are low in my area, so veggies are the answer for now. Superpowers of improved night vision, boosted immunity, increased blood flow, and anti aging properties are all bound to help in other quests as well. Surely, increased veggie consumption will make the gillyweed more palatable when the actual challenge comes… Required training consists of consumption of 3 servings per day of vegetables. Trophy: TBD Points: +3 CON Quest 3: The Maze The key to success in any maze is to keep your mind focused and clear. Be ready for surprises and obstacles. Observation is key… Required training will be my own form of meditation, an outdoor nature ramble with photo, 5 days per week. No speed or distance criteria, just get your head clear, and SEE. Capture one thing you observe with a photo and post here to training log. Trophy: New wool socks! Points: +2 WIS, +2 CHA Life Quest: Get smart, get warm, and prepare for the Yule Ball… Besides the obvious training required for the challenges, I need to keep up my studies, prepare for winter weather, and get ready for the Yule Ball. get smart… finish the 6 books remaining in your 50-book challenge for 2015. get warm… finish knitting a hat for the cool weather. prepare for the yule ball… work on grace with twice weekly yoga practice. no time restriction, build a healthy habit. bonus yule challenge… have all yule purchases complete or finalized by end of challenge. Trophy: new yoga mat for successful completion (>80%) of yoga challenge (yeah, I’m yoga-ing on the carpet, itchy). Points: +2 DEX, +2 CON
  11. So I'm building from my critical roll last challenge. It is time for the Avenger in me to Assemble! Cause I'm a bit of comic geek and hey I wanted a fun theme Quest 1 : Run like QuickSilver (Sta+3) Like Quicksilver I'm a runner first so I need to keep that going. I want to be accountable for my midweek and long runs as well as push myself to get to my sub-2 hour half marathon goal come November. Midweek runs I want to run at around 9m10s pace and/or long runs I'd like to keep under a 10 minute pace. I'm realistic about this and know I'll have a bad run or two in the mix so I'm going to give myself a bit of leyway and say that if I hit either of these run it'll count. A : 5 runs at goal pace B : 4 runs at goal pace F : less than 4 runs at goal pace Quest 2 : Get Black Widow's Flexibility (Dex+3, Con+1) I'm not Russian spy assassin (I leave that to starsapart), but I respect the flexibility that Black Widow has. Building on my previous stretching challenge, I'm going to add a bit of yoga to my life. Once a week I'm going to do a yoda flow/routine to help prevent injury and increase my flexibility. A : 6 times B : 5 times F : 4 times Quest 3 : HULKBUSTER Smash Diet (Wis+1) Booze and sweets have been creeping back into my diet and like Tony dealing with the Hulk I need to smash this right in the face. I know I'm not going to remove all the bad overnight but I've got to get myself into a better place. So I'm going to talk with the wife about working towards cleaning up the diet. I'll fill in the goals and such after said talk. UPDATE The wife and I talked and we decided that after we get back from Austin (this comign weekend) we'll refocus on the fooding. We're going to start doing Sunday meal preps like so many do round here. As this is our first time really doing this i'm going to allow for a week of it JUST not happening ... cause well life. A : 4 weeks of meal prep B : 3 weeks of meal prep F : 2 or less weeks of meal prep Life Quest : Create a Vision (+2 Wis, +1 Chr) Unlike Ultron I don't want to upload my conscious to an advanced robot ... but I do want to get back into my photography as my camera has been gathering dust for far too long. I'm going to start going back to group photo shoots and doing my work photog'ing again so I'll be posting pictures! A : 6 photos posted B : 5 photos posted F : 4 photos posted
  12. Goals for Challenge #39: Do StrongLifts at least 2x per week (14/14) I'm really shooting for 3, but life. I've been doing Stronglifts 5x5 for about a year and a half now, simply because I keep stopping and starting, so I'm really trying to get through to the point of failure -> 3x5 this time around. Track my eating on MyFitnessPal 5 out of 7 days per week (30/30) While ultimately I want to be hitting my calorie and goal requirements, the more important thing is just the tracking - I will naturally adjust as I watch the tracking anyway, but when I don't track I definitely eat too much! Two break days each week because there's some things you just can't track. Meet Fitbit goals daily-ish (36/36) 10,000 steps, 7+ hours of sleep, and 64 oz of "water" per day. May be kinda cheating as this covers several things, but they're all kinda routine things that I look for anyway. Ideally I'd actually hit 15,000 steps and 8-9 hours of sleep, but this is more likely to be acheivable! Giving myself 7 unscheduled days to not meet my goals, because life. Life goal: Submit two job applications per week (or until a new job happens) I need to move on like whoa, and am awful about the process of doing so. Bonuses - Not measured or tracked, but things that will bring me joy to do: Keep up with Lenten disciplines - no alcohol and daily reflection on Instagram Do something with "real" photography every week Host a dinner party (go easier this time tho kthanks) Try a new recipe every week Read real books Reward for successful completion of challenge(>90%): cool workout tank NF shirt + new sports bra bike shorts Partial completion of challenge (>50%): new sports bra bike shorts Insufficient completion of challenge: sad trombone + donate $100 to the agency I work for
  13. Injury adds to the insult as I'm unable to attempt my sub-two hour half this race season. I'm not forgetting about this goal only shifting it the back burner as I work on other goals. Now it is time to take the time to get into better overall shape so I can knock my half-marathon goal out come spring. Quest 1 - Upgrade the body I need to increase my strength! To do so I'm going to go to TRX at least twice a week throughout the challenge, for a total of 12 classes. A = 12-10 Classes (+3 Str +1 Con) B = 9-7 Classes (+2 Str +1 Con) C = 6-4 Classes (+1 Str +1 Con) F = 3-0 Classes Quest 2 - Upgrade the speed I need to increase speed! While I can't run like Steve Austin I can bike so I'll do a bike ride of 3+ miles each week, for a total of 6 ride. A = 6 Rides (+2 Dex, +2 Sta) B = 5 Rides (+1 Dex, +2 Sta) C = 4 Rides (+1 Dex, +1 Sta) F = 3-0 Riders Quest 3 - Maintain the body Need to adjust the diet to build muscles and keep myself going! Need to figure out how to quantify this one! Skipping the 3rd quest for this challenge Life Quest - Upgrade the vision Steve Austin could see with a 20.2:1 zoom lens, me I've got a Canon 7d collecting dust. I want to do 3 photo shoots over the course of the challenge A = 3 shoots (+4 Wis) B = 2 shoots (+3 Wis) C = 1 shoot (+1 Wis) F = 0 shoots
  14. Who am I? It might be that some day soon I'll get the proper answer to that question. It might be that day is years away. I can't say I'm in much of a rush to get there. Pseudo-philosophical babble aside... At the time of writing this, I'm a twenty two year old student with a bit of a spare tyre and lungs that only seem to work at a fraction of what they should be working at. On this site I've adopted the name Yeti, though I'm not unusually tall nor overly hirsute. And I do not thrive in the cold. Hypothermia and I have become close acquaintances over the years. If anything, I'm more a dwarf, short, compact, and with a love of shiny things. At the moment I'm a student in my third year of an adventure tourism management BA, and through university I have learned, and become, so much more. Not an over-dramatic observation either. Rewind back a few years and you'll find a near-silent, greasy haired, chubby teenager with zero self-esteem or confidence, wrapped in the midst of clinical depression, crippling social and general anxiety, paranoia, anger issues, and a few other unsavoury things. Everything came to a climax during 2010, and in the last few months of that year began, ever so slowly, to get better. I spent a little over five months volunteering in a country park before moving on to a six month contract at a museum, yet in the September of 2011 I entered my first year of uni almost mute, scared all over again. Didn't speak more than three words in a row to my housemate for all of a month. Kept my hat on and my head down in lectures. Didn't really venture out along unless it was at night. And then I moved out of my little room and into a smaller room a few roads down with a guy and the girl who would become one of my closest friends. That was the catalyst. Since then I've gained enough confidence to first join the uni clubs (mountaineering, paddling, biking), then progress to being on the committee of the mountaineering club. From there I became a class rep, spent a short and disastrous term as student vice president, and now hold the role of secretary in the newly establish student association. I have a fairly active social life, I've almost completely beaten my general anxiety into the ground and the social one is almost there, I have far more confidence even if I still don't think highly of myself, and though I still have bad patches, I'm now able to manage my depression well enough to begin to build the life I want to have. The result is this: What do I do? Not doing something to fill the hours, but doing something to feel alive. I have a deep love of adventure sports, one of the reasons I picked that particular version of the video up there. Mountain biking, both cross country and downhill, is something I thrive on. There's something about taking your bike through the wilds and back country of an XC run or going all out and just shredding it on some of the crazy technical features on a DH track that just does it for me. Adrenaline junkie? Probably, but just look... I also climb, which will be the focus of a lot of my workouts. At the moment I'm climbing at around a UK 5b grade, though apparently my local climbing wall sets routes that are actually harder than advertised, so that's only a rough guess. Couldn't say what bouldering grade I'm at, though it isn't overly high. Not that I mind, I'm relatively new as far as these things go, and my climbing experience on actual rock is limited to maybe a couple of weeks' worth of days down the local glen and a week in France on some lovely limestone. Spread that over the three years I've actually been climbing... It's been mostly indoors for me. One of my favourite views, one of my most difficult first attempts completed first time around... Then there's paddling. Admittedly, I'm more a flat water paddler than anything else right now. I love the white water stuff, but I'm not much good at staying upright or facing downriver in anything beyond grade two water. While I may not be much good in the cold considering my tendency to become hypothermic easily no matter what I wear, I've enjoyed skiing since I was something like eight or nine, give or take, and I enjoy snowboarding when I actually get the chance to do it. The more sedate activities I enjoy are hiking, power kiting (and kite-boarding), and slack lining. Why? Why do this? Why change? Why go to so much effort? Well hey, why not use some of this shiny university training to actually make some sense of why I feel the need to change. Of why I need to change now. According to Maslow, if not all of the lower four sets of needs are met then it will cause psychological unrest within a person. I can testify that this is indeed the case. Going by this, not even all of my biological and physical needs are being met. Sure, I'm breathing, I'm eating and drinking as best I can, and I have a roof over my head. But my sleeping pattern is shot to hell, and we're not even going into the subject of sex... Therein lies my first and most basic of intrinsic motivations: Get my life in order to sort out my sleep pattern (and honestly, wouldn't rule out the other one either). Shifting on up to the next level, I know my need for stability isn't being met on either a physical or mental level. Again, the motivation here is intrinsic. And then we move on to the level that is, perhaps, one I will never be able to salvage. My relationship with my family is strained at best with the exception of my brother and gran. I've only ever held down one quite turbulent and short relationship and can honestly say I have no idea how to even approach the idea of another. If we switch work group for uni group, well, it does get a little better. I have some amazingly solid friendships inside and outside of that group. That makes this motivation both intrinsic and extrinsic, I'd like to sort my life out in order to feel better about myself, but I'd also like to be able to feel more secure in my current relationships and begin new ones, the latter of which isn't so much for my own good, but something I want. I can just take the whole other two levels and work them into tens of motivations. Those, while being some of the most desirable things to achieve, will almost certainly be in the long term. The thing is, I want not only to climb harder, paddle further, bike bigger, and hike longer, but I want to look better, feel better. I want to look at myself in the mirror without having a bombardment of negative thoughts. I want to be everything I know I can become. And there's nothing wrong with that. It took a while to convince myself of it, but it's ok to go after what I want. And I'm going to do what about it? ​Work my ass off, and while we're doing the cliché bit, I'm gonna have fun doing it. Stress is definitely of the bad here, and something I need to work on reducing in a major way. So I'm going to take some NF advice and construct myself some levels, do the RPG thing. I'm estimating that, all in all, I'm shooting for level three, and this will be the battlelog that takes me to that level. So what is my level three? Graduate from university with a BA Hons. degreeHave £100 in a dedicated savings accountHave a full time jobBe able to swim five lengths without stoppingBe able to do a pull-upClimb consistently at a 6a levelHave ridden the Fort William downhill track from start to end without crashingHave a photograph publishedBe able to do five full pistol squats on each legVisited one European country that I haven't been to beforeClimb Ben NevisBecome proficient with one film editing softwareStart my plant-life sleeveMeditate regularlyBe able to cook at least five authentic Chinese recipes properly It might not look like much, and it might look like a lot. Either way, I don't have a set time to do it, it just happens to be what I'm working towards just now. When I can check off everything on that list, I reach my level three, and I finally upgrade my bronze dagger and leathers for a pair of short swords and some chain mail, and who knows, there may even be some extra swag involved. This battlelog will keep a record of workouts, yes, and it will serve as somewhere I can vent and plan and get plans out and wax philosophical about motivation and deeper meanings... Anything. Life goes here.
  15. Ok this is the inaugural challenge of what I hope will become a staple of challenges for years to come. What I have envisioned for this group is a photography challenge for each of the 6 weeks. The only rule is that the picture must have been taken during the week of the challenge. The whole point of this group is to force ourselves to get some practice under our belts. So feel free to join up and get out there and take some pictures! Don't forget to post them here so we can keep each other accountable. WEEK 1 CHALLENGE: Around the house - take a pictures of anything that has to do with or is sitting in your house.
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