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  1. Am I late, or are y'all early? Or did I start this precisely when I meant to? It's totally me, I'm late, you guys, I don't know how it happened I'll let you ponder that. I skipped out last challenge because I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't really know what I meant by saying I wanted to "Maintain." And truthfully, some of that is still at play now. My old workout routine has completely flown the coop. I don't really have a routine anymore so much as a series of touchstones that I try to touch every week. Instead of thinking about particular movements, I think these days in terms of patterns - press, pull, squat, hinge, lunge, invert - and do a little core work on the side as it relates to or enhances my martial arts. (At this point, that means hanging leg raise progressions, loaded carries, and side planks with the goal to develop a Copenhagen Plank for adductor strength). I walk more these days too. A lot more. I managed to get a pedometer app on my phone and it's been mindblowing to see how little I was moving beforehand. It's not perfectly accurate, but it's consistent, and I can work with that. I'll document that some in the logs this week to give you an idea of what this comes out looking like. I feel really good these days as a result. My busted shoulder is nice and quiet. I'm better-rested, and I feel like I'm moving better as a result. I've been going easier in the rolls out on the mats for BJJ these days and I've had to get technical since I'm not using strength so much. I think I'm better, and even when I'm tapped, I find that I don't care about the tap so much as getting tapped safely (ie don't be stubborn, tap early, tap often). I got a couple things coming up this challenge. One of these is a belt promotion this Sunday, 8/6, which I'll go to. I don't have any expectations; the job has consumed me and I'm not making the time that I want to for this, so, I'll go, but I'm not so certain that I'm going to be promoted. It's fine if not. I've been meaning to go to these things for a while anyway, and it'd be good to be a part of the community. The other thing is a GoRuck challenge out in Denver at the end of the month. This will be with my brother, who is apparently arranging the whole thing. I've bought the tickets and the weight, so now I just need to get a couple other pieces of safety gear and I should be good to go. Just need to get some training volume. This particular event is slated to just be a 12 mile hike in 5 hours with a 20 lb weight. I think that's too easy given how it went the last time I did one of these, but I think I'll be better-prepared this time. More prep time would have been better, but I couldn't accomplish that with the equipment I had, so, I'll just have to make the most of what I can do now. I have three goals for this challenge. Surprisingly, only one physical, but that one physical goal will cover, like, everything, so for the most part I'll just be logging that stuff here. The other two goals are to keep working at my writing and to meditate. I'm up to 5 minutes at this point, so I'd like to hit 6 minutes for the remainder of the challenge. And, uh, yeah. That's that. I'll be about. Good to see you all again.
  2. So for the next 2 weeks(9/11 - 9/25) I will be leaving sunny wonderful Florida to spend time at my cabins in Wisconsin. Highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. It is going to be quite the change. Goals for the challenge Workout of some sort daily 10k steps daily Eat whole foods(mostly paleo with limited dairy and maybe one whole grain serving daily). Two travel days are cheatish days(morning food and some beer). Also some freeze dried camping food reviews for content. I may choose to have whiskey once while up at the cabins but other than that strict. Daily hobby 50XP of Duolingo daily Read 10ish pages Post a picture of dinner Examples of WODs Ruck Run Circuit training Weight lifting Hobbies Minis Content creation(youtube videos and launch channel) Fishing Model rockets Building things(fish tank stand) Board games Currently also running a PvP warm up for Rucktober. I need to market Rucktober and get some sign ups. The PvP for the warm up is here if anyone is interested.
  3. A day late, but not a dollar short. Yet. Howdy, everyone, hope it's been well with you! I'm sorry I'm late coming in. I had a hard time coming up with a challenge because, well, if I'm honest, I'm content with where I am right now. I'm well-healed, back on the mats, I'm engaging with friends and asserting my boundaries when I need to, and... well, I mean. Life is pretty good! I mean, beyond all the ways in which it isn't, but, you know, that's life. Still, there are advancements to be made. I'm keeping some spaces clean, but I want to clean out more, and I know what I gotta do next from there. And, I need to get moving on my writing again. TBH, that was just two things, and I had a really hard time coming up with a third. And then my dear sweet sci-fi friend decided to fill the hole in his soul with a Tough Mudder in Baltimore in a few months. He needs a team, and I wasn't going to let him go alone. Or at least, that's how I'm operating right now, because he's not sounding too terribly committed to it right now. Either way, I figure if I'm careful about it, putting on some miles won't hurt me any. But that's something I have to do, which means I lose one of my days for rolling dice. Boooo. But OTOH, the dice-rolling mechanic is really nice for a way to randomize my off-days, and I've liked it a lot. So. I have three goals. Goal 1: Clean. Keep my sink clear and expand it to cleaning the sink surfaces themselves. They're kinda grody. Get 'em clean and keep 'em that way. Goal 2: Write. Surgery and recovery in the last month really knocked me off my course. I'm itching to get back to this. I'm cleaning up some planning stuff and restructuring the story a bit, which I think is going to clean things up rather nicely, actually. Goal 3: Train. Almost seems like a gimme, but, well, I got something on the horizon now, and that needs to be met. At this point, the constants are Quick and the Dead sessions 3 times a week, and on one day a week I'm going to go for a ruck. Tough Mudder recommends being able to run/walk 7 miles, so I figure if I can clear that under load, I'll be good to go. Truthfully, this goal could be called "Ruck," but I want to go keep it consistent in terms of scoring with the other goals. Why, you ask? Because I want to try my hand at rewarding myself again this time. I may have just cursed myself with this, but doggonnit, everyone else gets to have rewards and stuff, and I want some too. Since I'm not realistically going to get around to getting boxes moved any time soon (having to get my car troubles managed still, although they're coming along very well), I want to look into doing something else that'll help my training. Looking at my school's schedule, I see that they do no-gi training in addition to gi training for grappling. But in order to do that, you have to have a rash guard, for hygiene and safety purposes. So. If I manage an 80% success rate overall, I will reward myself with not one, but two freaking rash guards. Because that's what my schedule works out to having time for right now. So this means that out of a 105 total possible points, I need to score 84 or better. And how'd I start off? 1: 0/1 2: 0/1 3: 0/1 Yeah, it ain't exactly auspicious. I blame the holiday. Went home to see my folks and ate good food and spent the day chilling out rather than getting after my goals. Oh well. It's not about the start; it's about the finish.
  4. When was the last time I challenged? Spoiler alert: you probably don't recognize my name around here, it's been that long. But you're never too far gone to throw yourself back into the deep end, so here goes: For most of the year, I've just been focusing on keeping my runs going. Niggling little injuries and a general lack of free time (I know I know we all have the same 24 hours in the day) have had me unable to do much more. But recently -- well, I don't know if it's the Spring thaw coming on, or just getting a little frustrated with the man in the mirror, or what, but it feels like time to get serious again. The wife and I agreed to lose weight together about six weeks ago, and that's going fantastic (I'm down about ten pounds, she's down more than that!) and I started up my body weight workouts again... but it felt like something was missing. So I went and re-read Natural Born Heroes, which was a mistake, because now I'm all like YEAHHHH PARKOUR and WOO NO SUGAR IN MY DIET and RAAAA DO ALL THE THINGS. A likely sign I'm about to overdo it in a big way. So I'm not going to try *all* the things; just *some* of the things. The big thing is, I'm gonna try out rucking once a week. Whether in place of a run or a workout, I'm not sure yet (my heart says sub it for a workout, my brain says sub it for a run), but I'm gonna try it regardless. I hear it's good for posture (which I'd like to correct) and core (which ... yeah) and it just looks like fun besides. My pack arrives tomorrow! I also want to roll in some of the MovNat beginner exercises with my bodyweight workouts -- cuz the endless push-ups and squats aren't totally ringing my bell these days. Finally, not fitness-related, but I've gotta keep the hammer down on the current draft of my novel. I'm into the mushy phase of editing where it's easy to get lost and lose momentum, and a challenge -- with a little bit of accountability baked in -- is a good way to keep me on the straight and narrow. (Notice that there's no running goal. I'm assuming my runs will stay stable. Surely nothing can go wrong under such an assumption.) So. First challenge in, like, more than a year? Check. Three goals? Check. Go Ruck yourself.
  5. New Challenge! So I skipped the last challenge due to busyness and laziness. Since the IRONMAN New Orleans 70.3 I have been eating like Kirby from Nintendo and just inhaling everything. I need to get back on track starting this week, especially since Eagleman 70.3 is Sunday. I did PR my 5k last Monday with a 7:21 mile pace which as very nice since I had not PR'd for 6 years, and I beat it by about 1:30. The training is paying off! I have finally managed some good time management with training and life and I would like to invest some time into my hobbies. So I will be posting lots of image updates of me working on my new reef aquarium, cars, magic cards, building a deck, and gardening. Hopefully I can continue and really get some time in on these instead of watching TV in the evenings.
  6. "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time." So, here's the thing. I've read Lord of the Rings and some Game of Thrones and I know that there's lots of good stuff out there. But believe it or not, neither of those were really my first epic fantasy. Oh, I mean, sure, I read LOTR as a kid, but like I didn't get it, you know? A lot of it just went in one eyeball and out the other. I think I learned more about it reading the commentaries than actually reading the book itself the first time. What I'm trying to get at is that, for me, the first fantasy series that I really grokked on any level was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. What is the Wheel of Time about? Basically... it's a free for all. A battle of the sexes caught up in the battle against annihilation. Man versus woman versus Evil. It's epic and awesome, and it's the kind of series where I go back and reread and always find something new to take from it. And with the news coming down that the legal hurdles have been cleared and that a TV series is somewhere in the future, well... the days I have to actually finish reading this thing are numbered. So, let's dig into this. The books have three protagonists at their center, each of whom represents something admirable. Although I don't know if I'll continue with the series as a theme for my challenges, I think I can make do with this lot to start. Rand Al'Thor. "I am tired of running. Tired of you threatening my friends. I will run no more." Rand is a stubborn fellow. He and his friends come from a place where stubbornness is a way of life. Dig deep and hold your ground. My body is adapting to the work at the store. Now I must make my mind follow suit. Set the day's training agenda, and stick to it, no matter what. I always regret something rushed, but I never regret something done late in the day or in the night. Matrim Cauthon. "Blood and bloody ashes!" Mat's a bit of a contrast with the others. He hears the call to adventure and, after the first one, spends a good amount of time trying to run from the call. The call, sadly, knows where he lives, and very often beats him to the place he is trying to go. This one's all about locomotion. I heard there was a GoRuck happening up in Boston in November, and while I don't know if the money's going to come together to make it happen, training as if it could or would is probably going to benefit me. So, there are two things I need to grow comfy with. Moving with a pack, and swimming. So: Find and acquire 6 bricks for the pack Acquire and begin applying Total Immersion Perrin Aybara. "We don't talk about being men, we just are." ("That's why you make such a bad job of it.") Despite his size, Perrin's actually a very gentle young man in the beginning. He is known for being deliberate and careful with his thoughts, and given how the journey changes him, this is a Very Good Thing. Continue mental training with an emphasis on awareness and correction of emotionally useless states. Moiraine Damodred. "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." Oh, Moiraine. The first real badass. More Gandalf than Gandalf to me. There's no hiding that she has a story to tell, but when we first meet her, she's trying to learn stories and to understand and read the Pattern of the world around her. So, a reading challenge. Finish The Eye of the World by the end of the challenge. Don't laugh. It's a big book and I read slow. Though maybe I should pick up something about speed reading if I can. Maybe that would help. ... Time to throw the dice...
  7. Sorry for bigness When I first heard this song it really resonated with me. When I first joined the Rebellion, I was overweight, and insecure. Since then, not only have I become stronger physically, but I have developed and grown in many other ways too. These challenges are my fight song, I am going to fight to be a woman who is strong, who is overflowing with joy, and loves this adventure called life. My goals are my small, but very real ways of how I am continuing that journey. Goal #1 Track Food and Water on MFP- food tracked 6 days a week, water 5 days, goal for water is 64 oz Goal # 2 Morning routine- this is a return goal because I've let it slip a bit, and now that spring is here and mornings are so much easier it is time to tighten it. To do before breakfast: Bible, kitchen chores, stretching.After breakfast: if time read a chapter in book, then exercise.Also ; drink 12 oz of water in the morning. Goal #3 Finish Road Trip Scrapbook Adventures- The idea isn't to do all of these. They are just a reminder of all the wonderful opportunities I have to do besides watching TV or Facebook. Some I am consistently working on, others may be spur of the moment. Cook using a new recipe Bake something new Try a new food Go for a picnic Do hill sprints Run in the park Run on a trail Find a new trail Find a new hidden spot Eat at a new restaurant 2 x this month do some jungle clearing( aka greenbelt in backyard) Make a parkour balance rail Make a sand bag Do yoga/stretching outside Say hello to a new person Learn how to start a fire Look into what it would take to start a Neighborhood Watch program Do a geocache puzzle Find 3 hikes Find 2 fun local things to do Volunteer somewhere Look at travel blogs recommended in Level Up Your Life Memorize Philippians 1:1-15 at verse 13 Finish Desiring God by John Piper about half way done Read a biography cut apart a whole chicken learn how to start a fire
  8. I desperately want to focus on sleep this Challenge (I really need to), but I'm not going to start leaving work any earlier, which means that the only thing I'm able to sacrifice to increase sleep is family time. I MIGHT be able to pull off 7 hours/night though...if I'm really disciplined. Maybe... Start doing PT with my unit at least once a week. This is a case where I probably won't get as much of a workout as when I work out on my own or with the CrossFit class here, but it would be good for me to PT with my soldiers more often. Run once a week in some shape or form and ruck at least every other week. I have a team mud run and potentially a GORUCK or two coming up in future months, in addition to the fact that I need to get into rucking shape for next March. I also have a few workouts that I want to knock out by the end of this challenge. They're benchmark workouts that I either have never tested or have been wanting to test for some time now: Fran (re-test for first time since 2013) 21-15-9 Thrusters at 95# Pull-ups Zeus (re-test for first time since 2013) 3 Rounds For Time (RFT) 30 Wall Balls, 20/14 lbs 30 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls, 75/55 lbs 30 Box Jumps, 20 in 30 Push Press, 75/55 lbs 30 Row Calories 30 Push-ups 10 Back Squats, 1x bodyweight Lumberjack 20 (1st time) 20 Deadlifts (275lbs/185lbs) Run 400m 20 KB swings (2pood/1.5pood) note: 1 pood = 16 kg = 35# Run 400m 20 Overhead Squats (115lbs/75lbs) Run 400m 20 Burpees Run 400m 20 Pullups (Chest to Bar) Run 400m 20 Box jumps (24″/20″) Run 400m 20 DB Squat Cleans (45lbs/30lbs each) Run 400m Murph (1st time) 1 mile Run 100 Pull-ups 200 Push-ups 300 Squats 1 mile Run Helen (1st time) 3 RFT: Run, 400 m 21 Kettlebell Swings, 1.5/1 pood 12 Pull-ups Also need to knock out the first two Open WODs and probably re-do the third. Open WOD 16.1 20 min AMRAP: 25' Walking Overhead Lunge (95# barbell) 8 Bar-facing Burpees 25' Walking Overhead Lunge (95# barbell) 8 Chest-to-bar Pull-ups Open WOD 16.2 Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of: 25 toes-to-bars 50 double-unders 15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb. If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to: 25 toes-to-bars 50 double-unders 13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb. If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to: 25 toes-to-bars 50 double-unders 11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb. If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to: 25 toes-to-bars 50 double-unders 9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb. If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to: 25 toes-to-bars 50 double-unders 7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb. Stop at 20 minutes. Open WOD 16.3 7 min AMRAP: 10 Power Snatches (75#) 3 Bar Muscle-ups This Challenge seems kind of weak, in that it doesn't have any daily or performance goals, but this one is more about establishing a little bit of consistency. The next one will be more in-depth.
  9. YARRRRRRR, A PIRATES LIFE FOR ME! So as my thread dictates I will be traveling to New Orleans for IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans. This is actually a half IRONMAN(the 70.3 dictates half distance) and my first triathlon of the season. I figured a lovely pirate theme to travel to a port of call would be cool. Also I like dressing up as a pirate, so that works. Daily Tracking Batten down the hatches: My house and life are in somewhat of disarray. I need to do one chore daily to improve the situation. The rums all gone: For this challenge I am only going to drink when I am out and about in a social situation, also maybe on Saturday nights. Tales of the sea: As my title dictates I have a GORUCK AAR to write up for my past back to back, I would also like to write up one of my other events from the past to continue filling out my signature. X Marks the spot: I need to get to reading much more, consult the maps. Try to read every day/night. Stick to the code: Continue eating correctly and cleanly(fuel for training), and do my daily habits the best I can(time permitting) That is pretty much it, pretty simple but going to be tough to pull it all off. I am going to stick to trying to really put some work into the deck in my backyard and also making strides towards setting up a new 75 gallon fish tank to fulfill the house work. Cutting out most drinking should be simple. The GORUCK reviews are going to be fun, I am still waiting on a few pictures and videos from the recent one so I should have that up at the end of this week/early next week. Ughh, reading is something I want to make more time for. Hopefully I can get my face in a book a lot this challenge. Eating correctly is now simple for me, daily habits though some nights I just plain run out of time, I won't hold that against myself unless I am wasting time before hand. Also awesome pirate metal
  10. Kara gritted her teeth as she raised her shield up to ward off the blow of the sword arcing through the air. Metal met metal in a clang that resounded through the air and jarred all the way up through her arm and her body, shaking her with it's strength. A flurry of curse words flew past Kara's lips as she countered the attack, bringing her own hammer up and sending it crashing down on her enemy. He brought his shield up to deflect the blow then twisted in a maneuver she had not seen before that allowed him to block and attack almost simultaneously. The shield on her forearm was brought up to counter the swift attack and he simply shrugged the efforts off and continued to rain blow after blow at Kara. She struggled to protect and defend and find a way to attack herself, even as her strikes seemed to show little to no effect on her opponent. The young Valkyrie cursed and attempted to roll away from her opponent as he let loose a barrage of attacks swifter than she could anticipate or protect herself from. She let loose with a torrent of curse words as she put some space between the two of them and warily eyed the man moving after her. She had the strength of the Gods, she stood toe to toe with the denizens of the Nine Realms, and yet to him it was as if he was under assault from a fly. If not for the shield in hand there was no doubt that her body would be a mass of cuts and injuries. As it was head to toe throbbed, every slash and thrust deflected sending jarring pains and aches all over. The shield arm was suffering the brunt of it and Kara knew the next day her limb would be unusable and numb with bruising and pain. The rhythm of battle was interrupted by a sudden shift in tactics on the part of her enemy. A sword was brought up as if to attack and Kara moved to block it. Out of the corner of her eye she saw, too late, his shield coming up to be used in the attack as well, the dual attack shifting her focus to move away. But it was too late,. She had already moved her own block and shield and even as she turned to roll from both blows the shield caught her entire right side firmly across her breastplate. She flew back on to the ground and he followed her down. With one hand he slammed the shield down, pinning her weapon in place, his weight upon her shield and his sword brought to her neck. A sharp sudden motion and she felt the sting of the cut as the sword slid across her neck, leaving a shallow cut to mark his victory. “You lose Curly One†“I know. No need to state the obvious, you Old Goat!â€Expletives followed her comment and he managed to raise his brow even as he pulled back and stood up off of her. “I was not aware one could do that with a hammer, my face and a sheep. Perhaps you can demonstrate with your own at the next feast.†“Perhaps I can use my hammer on that tiny excuse for a manhood you claim instead?†“Such a violent young woman.†He reached down and grabber Kara's hand, yanking her to her feet with a smirk. “One would think you could channel that into fighting better yet I find you, once again, laying on your back before me.†She shot him a dirty look, practically snarling at him and his comment. “I fought fine you Goat! I would have had you in another few blows.†“Pah. You had nothing Valkyr. You're blows were like that of a gnat biting at a horse. You were exhausted swiftly, easily. You did not anticipate or react quick enough to my change in tactics, too stuck in the idea of hack and slash. No doubt you are still swimming in last nights mead. You are ill prepared for the battles ahead with the abysmal training you've received. How are you to survive battlefields the world over much less Ragnarok when you cannot even spar with me. You will take no souls for Asgard and Valhalla the way you are now!†“What shall I do then?†Her insults were gone, the bravado shattered with the truth. Her eyes shifted to her teacher seriously and he nodded with a smile. Finally she would take this seriously. “You will build up your strength. You will exercise your body. You will train in battle and defense. Stop filling your body with bread and booze. Being a cup bearer does not mean you have to drink enough to pass out every night, Curly. You will prepare. You will listen. You will rise as a Valkyrie, not a silly girl any longer.†Goal One: Strength "Come, Curly. Follow me and I will show you what you need to do with that hammer of yours and a few other items I have." Her teacher guided her through the practice yard and took her to piles of discarded leather from armor crafting cut offs. "Stand here. Hit the leather. Don't stop until I say." "You want me to hit....leather? Why?" He sighed and eyed Kara fiercely. "Do as I say Valkyr, or leave and let me find another student who can listen." Growling the Valkyrie lifted her hammer and began to slam it into the pile of leather over and over. Being born with the strength of the Gods is all well and good but when the Gods and other beings of the 9 realms are your enemy and are stronger than you that must change. You need to build that strength up to stand toe to toe with Giants. For this challenge I will do 3 strength exercises a week, a combo of Maces and Crossfit. Goal Two: Endurance "Keep running." "I haven't stopped, Goat!" "You're slowing down, Curly. Keep moving or they'll get you." "They haven't got me yet!" "Shutup and run or they'll bite you!" The gnashing of teeth as one of the hounds chasing Kara lunged at her calf reiterated the point and the Valkyrie turned to keep running, trying to ignore the pain in her side as the weight of her armor slowed her steps and burned in her lungs." Being strong and facing down Frost Giants or a handsy drunken Thor is only one aspect. Valkyries live on battlefields and collecting souls sometimes means taking part. Being strong doesn't help if battles are long and drawn out (or if you're running around tables to elude Thor until Sif can knock him cold and drag him off.) To be the best Valkyrie you need the endurance to withstand enemies in battle. I will do four endurance/cardio based workouts a week, any mix of Rucking or C25K sessions. Goal Three: Defense "Why don't I have my weapon?!" "Because I took it from you." "And?" He growled, turning to backhand her, the blow ringing through her face and ears, leaving her gaping at him. "Because if an enemy manages to take it from you it won't be a slap you'll be facing." Any further comment was cut off by a growl as Kara leaped through the air to land on him and begin pummeling him with her fists, making him laugh. "That's it, girl. Now you understand!" Knowing how to swing a hammer and block a shield is one step in being able to fight. Learning more than one way of fighting and moving is useful along with improving agility and flexibility. One can never say when they may be stripped of their weapons in battle. To this end I will do one Krav Maga session minimum a week. Preparing for battle of any kind is the task of a true Valkyr! Goal Four: Buck Furpees! He watched the young woman as she cleaned out not only her armor and weapons but even the sweat stained under tunic. He hovered, making sure every last drop of moisture was dried, that no rust would be forming on her gear. Then observed her sharpening her sword and checking over the mace for any weak points are cracks. "I would have thought hitting you with this would have made it crack, as hard headed as you are, Old Goat." "There you go, thinking again." She snarled but he merely chuckled, causing her to shake her head at him in disgust. She muttered obscenities under her breath but keep working on her gear and making sure it was ready for battle. Preparation is a key to battle. Going into a fight means taking care of yourself, your armor, your supplies. It means knowing what you may face and being ready for whatever is thrown at you. Being prepared for me means facing the dreaded Burpee head on. I will be doing the Spartan in June and Burpess will inevitably be a part of that. I must prepare, even as I curse them. Every week I will do Burpees before bed and when I wake up. Each additional week I will add on 5 Burpees until I can easily do those I need to in preparation to become a Spartan Valkyrie! I will start with 5 my first week. Goal Five: Nutrition Halfway through throwing back the cup of mead Kara found it wrenched from her hand and thrown to the floor. The young woman turned to face the einherjar she was sure it was and found her face to face with her teacher. The snarl that had been forming died on her lips and she stared at him pouting. "That was my mead." "What did I say." "To stop swimming in my food and gorging myself." "So..." She frowned and bit her lip but reached out and grabbed some meat and cheese and fruit to eat along with a tankard of cold, refreshing....water. Ugh. Swilling wine and mead and beer is all good for any Cup Bearing Valkyrie. But feasting and drinking until one is swimming in it is not. The body must be ready for battle along with the mind and reflexes. Stuffing my face is not part of that. The holidays are over. Time to Ranger Up! I will eat 2 primal meals a day every day of the week, allowing myself one day to eat Primal only once. The day is my choosing but it does not mean I will gorge. Only that I can relax and let myself embrace my inner Valkyrie with a little good food and good drink. Life Goal: Live Winning a battle is all well and good but one must learn life is not always about the next battle, the next fight. One must enjoy and live. Fear must not hold back your life. So every challenge I will pick one new thing to do, one thing I am uncertain of or afraid of. I will do it and will conquer it. I don't know what it will be each time. It may be something small and simple. It may be life changing. But it will be done and I will post in my wrap up what I did each challenge. Completing each challenge I will award myself a static set of stat points (subject to change with tomorrows release of more info) based on what my focus for each challenge was. At the end of everything if I have achieved all my goals I will reward myself with something from my list. My newest tattoo. Piercing. Massage. New athletic gear. Kara listened to all her mentor laid out for her and nodded with a sigh. She looked at the looming edifice that was Valhalla and watched those inside. The souls of countless warriors in battle taken before she had come along and there would be countless more she would add to the teeming mass. She could not approach this as casually as the others may. She was collecting souls for battle, for Ragnarok and she was determined they would not lose, no matter what the Norns and the prophecies claimed. Asgard would stand strong, she would serve the All Father. She would do what it took. “Let us train some more then, Old Goat.â€
  11. Steve's article about "Doing Things You Suck At" poked me to get off my seat and write a challenge thread again. One of the things I suck at is sticking with things and keeping up a challenge thread. I reckon I can make my attention span at least 6 weeks long - it's time to give it a go again. Background “All this has happened before. All this will happen again.†I've been here before, both "here" in the Rebellion and "here" in my fitness journey. I completed my third challenge right before Christmas then somehow just trailed off after the new year. I was in the process of kicking rear, adding weight to my workouts, and making progress, but then somehow I got bored and disillusioned. With nothing on my horizon to work towards, I quit. I accomplished a GoRuck Light this last weekend, which was the motivation for my last challenge. Over 8 miles rucked in 5 hours, with at least 30 lbs on my back (my ruck) and often with much heavier weight - I was pretty impressed with myself. This is the point of a hard event, it seems - to push your boundaries of "unreasonable". I did struggle in the PT parts of the event more than I anticipated. The only training I've done in the last 6-8 weeks has been rock climbing and rucking/running, so this shouldn't have been such a surprise. I'm signed up for a GoRuck Challenge in August, ten weeks away. Instead of 5 hours and 8 miles, this will be 10-12 hours and 15-18 miles. A bit more difficult, you might say. While I was able to "gut through" the Light, such a thing will be quite a bit more difficult in the Challenge. Main Quest Over the next two challenges, I need to get my ducks in a row and be in proper conditioning to make it through a long event without undue suffering. Main Goals 1. Three workouts/week (weeks 4-6: 5 preferred) (+3 STR, +2 STA) Weeks 1-3: scale Beginner Bodyweight Workout to regain lost ground Weeks 4-6 (and next 3 weeks): start through the GoRuck 6-week training plan 2. Ruck 2x/week (+4 DEX, +1 STA) A "RUCK" is a walk or run with a weighted backpack. The minimum for this challenge is my current baseline: at least 3 miles/day with at least 20 lbs (4 bricks + work paraphenalia). As the challenge progresses, I'd like to increase distance, and I _will_ increase weight up to 6-7 bricks (25-35 lbs) 3. Yoga 2x/week The last challenge I did aimed for yoga 4x/week. While I liked my practice, I didn't like the time commitment and how I felt when I got inevitably behind. Therefore, I'll scale back to 2x/week this time. I've been using the guides from DoYogaWithMe.com, and I've really enjoyed them. Being several months out of practice, I think I'll go back to week 3 of the beginner course and see how it treats me. I left off somewhere around week 3 of the beginner-to-intermediate course, and might catch back up quickly, we'll see. Goal 1 Grading: A: 3x/week B: 2x/week C: 1x/week F: none Goal 2 Grading: A: Ruck! Ruck! C: Ruck! F: No ruck. Goal 3 Grading: A: 2x/week C: 1x/week F: Oops, I forgot Life quest: Goal: 3 efforts (at least 1-2 hrs) spent on organization or home improvement. Examples: Cleaning garage, taking unwanted piles to Goodwill, etc. Ordinary housecleaning and yard work don't count. Life Quest Grading: A: 3 accomplishments B: 2 accomplishments C: 1 accomplishment F: Oops, I forgot Challenges: - Week 1 is a recovery week from the GoRuck. Only 1 workout required for full credit. - I'm on vacation from the end of Week 2 to the end of Week 3 - out of my usual routine. All these workout and forum things I have to remember how to operate...better get on it!
  12. For those just joining me, I’m Quickdraw, your friendly neighborhood United States Marine Sergeant. I’ve spent the last two challenges preparing to slay my biggest personal dragon, the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT) this Saturday. My goal score is 250/300. My dream job assignment (teaching at my job school) is contingent on getting that goal score, because fitness is what we do. I’ve been training hard and I expect to completely succeed on Saturday. Which means only one thing: Done, done, and I’m on to the next one. I need another quest to pursue. Main Quest We take two annual fitness tests. Sometime in the fall, I’ll be tested on the Combat Fitness Test (CFT), which is very, very different from the PFT. I intend to score above a 290 on that test; I’ve previously run a score in the 270s. I also have it in my head to run the local half marathon, and participate in a Spartan Race/GORUCK/Tough Mudder (the more the better). Those events are all merely symptoms of the physical condition I need to be in for the CFT, though. The CFT is what matters, and that 290 is my Main Quest. A note on scoring Last challenge I used a system of Miss/Block/Hit/Power Attack/Critical to track my achievement levels. Calculating those values daily was getting a little demanding, so the simplified version works as such: I score 1 point/day/exercise off the list. Hit/Power/Critical will be assessed on a weekly basis instead of daily. Bonus activities are worth a variable amount of extra points at the end of the test. Final grade scale per quest is A-F in 10% increments out of the total possible 6 weeks*weekly critical hit value. Subquest #1: Upper body The CFT calls for some very different upper body fitness, but I want to maintain my progress on pullups. To cut down my pure reps and give my poor shoulders a BREAK, I’m doing my Armstrong Program pullups with my backpack with a 10 lbs brick (yup, that’s what counts as a “break†around here). Every time I regain Training Set 6 (the number of reps-per-set at which I can perform 9 sets with 1 minute break between sets), I’ll add another 5 lbs to the pack. By next years PFT, I want to do 20 pullups with 35# in the pack, representing the weight I was my first time here at this school 6 years ago. All the other exercises are meant to improve my performance on the scored 30# ammo can press on the CFT. The scoring thresholds are meant to allow for some rest days on the ammo-press training. Pullups 1/day Armstrong Program. Unweighted ammo-press training 3 minutes of sun gods, and search for additional exercises. ONLY ONE/DAY OF Light ammo-press training Use my bricks and light sandbag for timed AMRAP. Start at 10 lbs*2 minutes. Heavy ammo-press training Make a heavier sandbag, 40 lbs, maybe a 50 lbs as well. Start at AMRAP 1 minute. HIT 5 / POWER ATTACK 8 / CRITICAL HIT 12 Bonus activities: Work out with the Powerlifting Club at least once. Make it to one of the Crossfit box’s free Saturday sessions. Try sledgehammering. Subquest #2: Core Always room for further improvement here. I’m shifting away from doing 10 minutes of planks, in favor of some alternative stuff. Most of my quest goals will benefit from doing more squats, so that’s the thing I’m bringing in. 6-minute abs 5 minutes of planks 50 air squats Another 50 air squats HIT 10 / POWER ATTACK 15 / CRITICAL HIT 20 Bonus activities: Achieve a 2 minute front plank. Subquest #3: Cardio For all of my planned/projected major activities in 2014 (see Main Quest), I need to improve my endurance under load. The CFT, in particular, is meant to rapidly suck all the glycogen out of you and leave you exhausted. Loaded endurance Weighted hikes for time. I’ll find a good starting point for this as I go, probably my ~1 mile run course and 20 lbs as a starter during this first week. As I go, I will increase weight, speed, distance, and add hills. Sprints Short course (10 minutes there and back) of lamppost sprints, on-track pyramid sprints. Long Run 5+ miles at a more moderate pace. HIT 2 / POWER ATTACK 3 / CRITICAL HIT 4 Bonus activities: 12 hour town ruck with my friend Dallas. Identify (and possibly register for) a GORUCK and/or Spartan. Trail run in the park areas near my house, minimum 7 miles. Physical Sidequest: Flexibility I need to be spending more time with my foam roller and stretch bands. My mobility kinda sucks, and putting my shoulders through 500 pullups/week this past challenge has made it all the more obvious. Foam roller Daytime stretching Post-run stretching HIT 8 / POWER ATTACK 12 / CRITICAL HIT 16 Bonus activities: Attend a yoga class. Try some MobilityWOD stuff. Mental Sidequest: Daily Meditation I am trying to develop a habit of mindfulness meditation. I bit off more than I could chew last time by trying to increase my sessions-per-day, so the goal here is simply to adopt a habit of daily meditation, weekends included (I get weekends off for everything else). One session, 2 minutes. That’s it. No critical hit threshold, no bonus activities; this is pass/fail on a daily basis, and I will not (this time) enhance it during the challenge. If I can successfully develop the habit at 1x/day, I can expand it from there NEXT challenge. __________________ I look forward to sharing this challenge with you guys and seeing you accomplish your goals as well. Let's do this!
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