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  1. Main Goal Over nine days at the end of October, I'll be tackling over 50 miles of Spartan Race obstacle course: Spartan Race Ultra in Glen Rose, TX on 26 October Spartan Race Trifecta (Super and Sprint Saturday, Beast Sunday) Background because I've been scarce for the last twelve months: In January of 2013 I weighed 235 pounds, which was down from my high of about 260 in May of 2011. I joined a gym, I lost a bunch of weight, and I started to plod my way through some 5k races. Then @Teros flexed his 20 Seconds of Courage, did the Boston Spartan Race, and inspired me to try something I didn't know I could finish. I ran my first Spartan Race, the Chicagoland Sprint, in 2014. Turns out I could. Over the next four years I completed over 60 Obstacle Course races, including about 40 Spartan Races of almost every distance, including a 5x Trifecta in 2016. Mr. T starter kit, for all you 80s kids. In 2017 I trained my over-50 ass off, got a bit faster, learned better technique on a couple of the most difficult obstacles, and qualified for the OCR World Championships. I competed in the over-50 age group in Toronto. It was a slippery, muddy mess for nine miles up and down a ski hill. I loved it. I finished in the bottom 5% overall, but I had earned my right to be there and be judged with the best old men in the world. I qualified again in 2018, but due to other priorities (I bought a house) I was unable to afford to attend the trip to the UK. I lost my momentum, more or less stopped working out, gained some weight, and wasn't sure I could still do this anymore. This year I have been doubting myself. I've been out-of-shape or injured or both for a good part of the year. But I committed to the Greek Spartan Trifecta Championship weekend, where I will run three races and nearly 30 miles in two days, starting with the Spartan Super with @DarK_RaideR. I've been re-dedicated to training - strength and strength endurance twice per week and getting back to consistent running, though both were thrown a curve in August when I came up with a moderately-sprained right ankle. It's healed now. I'm running for distance, and though not fast, I just need to keep moving forward. Moving Forward is also a theme, now, because our family was thrown a huge curveball this past weekend. Content warning: emotional trauma, don't read it if you're not in a good place. So, I'm going to train as well as I can make time for between now and the end of October, I'm going to keep my expectations appropriate, and I'm going to enjoy three days of pain wrapped around seven days of a great vacation. I'm going to leave Dallas with a Buckle. The Nerd Ranger Commander can hopefully show me some of what makes Athens great when he had some time, and then he and I are going to tackle 7-10 miles of the terrain in Sparta. And I'm going to go home with a big-ass Greek Trifecta medal. This is how I'm going to get there. Run I had a good running plan put together for me by a coach two years ago. I'm nowhere ready to commit to the kind of speed I was able to get then, but I can commit to the effort. Goal: Run 3x per week, including one long run. Strength Training From 2013 to 2018, I was a gym rat. I started with Boot Camp twice per week and progressed to working out up to six days per week. I made huge strength gains. I've lost a lot of it, but people have been telling me "It will come back fast" and so far they're not wrong. Goal: Boot Camp or Weight Training 2x per week. Self-Care This is going to be the most important one going forward for now. With the major emotional trauma to our family, we're going to need to put that first and foremost. I won't have any tangible up-front goals here, but I need to do something, daily, to care for my mental and spiritual health. I'm five weeks from 30 Spartan miles and 60+ obstacles in Dallas and six weeks from Sparta. I've got to keep moving forward.
  2. It’s the start of a brand new year, and a chance to respawn and start driving things in the direction that I want them to go in. Therefore, new battle log! Except we’re going a day early, because 2019 starts on a Tuesday and I do not like that. [spoilered is a long, non-essential reading background] The 2019 battle plan… For this year the bulk of my training will live in here rather than being first and foremost in my challenges. The challenges themselves will likely focus more on things like nutrition, mental health, and general lifestyle things (or if I decide to do something new and crazy). The exception will be any year-long challenges I decide to implement. As of right now, there are three: Routine Builder: Routine has proven a useful tool in helping me manage both my mental health and my life in general, and it’s something I have little of, even on workdays. Step One: Laptop off and phone away an hour before bed. Read or knit for an hour. Why? Because I get very easily distracted. It’s easy to say I’ll go to bed at, say, 10pm, and still be browsing mindlessly come 10:30pm. Removing the internet from the equation means less distraction. Add that to the fact that I find both reading and knitting to be highly relaxing things, and that both can be done in bed so there are minimal obstacles to me going to sleep, and I believe this will begin to help me fix my sleep issues. Once I’ve been doing this for four weeks without missing a day then I can add another piece to the routine. Burpees, burpees, burpees: I have a Spartan heavy year ahead so my burpees need to be on point. I’m starting at thirty burpees per day. After two weeks with no missed days I’ll move up to thirty five burpees per day and so on, and so on. They can be done all at once or in sets or one by one, just so long as thirty are done. Project 52: An easy way to get myself reading on a regular basis again, I think. One year, fifty two books. Any books. Fiction or not, old favourites or brand new. And, of course, alongside these year-long projects there are more skill specific goals and routes of progression that I’m trying very hard to tailor to my specific needs, whether they are pre-existing weaknesses that need correcting or the next steps that I have delayed in taking. My training will be structured around these paths Alchemy is perhaps the single most important skill to master. Without learning the art of fueling oneself, progress will be hampered and limited. Throughout the course of this year I aim to learn the art of alchemy with the following goals: Stop over- and under-eating. Figure out a calorie guideline to ensure that I am properly fuelled for active days and not gorging myself needlessly on rest days Macros. Just the basics, protein, carbs, and fats. Once the calorie guidelines have been found, implemented, and adjusted to then it will be time to begin tailoring my diet to further benefit me. This will all change over time, but unlike with the other goals, I can’t see or calculate what might be next for me, nutrition-wise. Not without having a solid base to stand on. Elemental mastery is crucial, particularly if one aspires to be an elemental battlemage. First and foremost, the Path of Fire. Mastery of one’s own body is undoubtedly an important part of fitness, and there are many feats of bodyweight strength that I either want to attain, or have achieved before and wish to reach again. This year I mean to achieve the following: One full pull-up Five pistol squats on each leg These are subject to change, of course. Should I achieve either goal before the end of the year, I will add another. The Path of Earth is that of pure strength, the ability to move mountains and stand against storms. Or, in more mundane terms, to lift heavy things. This year I mean to achieve the following: 100kg deadlift. My current PR is 80kg (achieved 2016). Bodyweight back squat. According to my SL5x5 app, my current PR is 47.5kg for three reps (achieved 2016). 60kg bench press. Doubling my current 30kg for five reps. I don’t think I’ve ever tried for a bench PR before. 40kg OHP. I vaguely recall doing 32.5kg for one rep at some point in the past couple of years. If by some chance I achieve and surpass any of these goals before the year is out, I will adjust accordingly. The Path of Water is the means to move from point A to point B with the swiftness of a flowing river using self-powered methods. Running, cycling, even swimming if I figure out how to not be scared of it (which is a shame, because I used to love swimming). This year I mean to achieve: A half hour 5km. I think my current PR there is somewhere around 40-45 minutes. An hour 10km time. I don’t have a PR for this, and I don’t know if my aim is reasonable, but I’m aiming for it anyway. Cycling goals are under construction pending the following discoveries: average and best times cycling to/from work, 10km speed run time, 25km time, 50km time, and just what grade of downhill trail am I currently capable of riding? Last time I actually did anything, I was solidly in the red and edging into the black (hardest grade, highly technical). I need a trail centre trip to figure the last out, unfortunately. Right now it’s a goal to add swimming goals. It requires a gym membership, which requires the funds for it. Watch this space. Bonus Path of Water goal: Full Mucker Domination: I can’t explain how badly my RRDW experience messed with me last year, or how soul crushing it was that the words ‘half mucker’ escaped my lips at the end when I was asked which, full muker or half, I’d just completed. This year is my last chance to do it and do it well as I will not be making a 2020 effort, though I can’t speak for my plans in the years after. The Path of Air promotes control of self, mastery of movement. Unlike the aggressive, strength-based Path of Fire, Air focuses places more emphasis on skill application and injury prevention. All things yoga, mobility, and flexibility, basically. This year I will achieve: A thirty second pendant pose hold. I’ve been after this for years. A thirty second L-sit hold. Downward dog with my heels on the ground. Currently impossible and painful to try. As with all other paths, goals are subject to change should anything be achieved or deemed too ambitious. The Path of Steel focuses on weapons skills. Or, in mundane terms, obstacles. The meat and bones of OCRs, after all, and something full of new challenges from race to race. It is from this path that the creative and wildcard elements of my training will be drawn. This year I will achieve: A complete monkey bar/rig crossing. Current PR is two rings as of September 2018… Solo eight foot wall scaling. I can and have scaled six foot walls solo, although currently that is far from a consistent performance. Goals subject to change. While I can practice components of these things outside of a race environment, the only opportunity I have to do these things in full is at a race. Which is why rope climbing, while still a goal of mine, is not included in this year’s list. I don’t have any way to begin training for that. My week will be run with M/W/F being strength based (weights or bodyweight), T/T being running based, and S/S being active rest. This structure is helping me formulate routine (and helping me keep track of just what day it actually is) though remains flexible as life is an unpredictable beast. All going well, I should update every evening, giving me an unofficial year long accountability goal as well.
  3. As planned and promised, here is my month-long challenge for the month of April. Featuring my favorite Star Wars alien species: If those creepy looking aliens with breathing devices look somehow familiar but you can't quite recall, go back to when Palpatine pulls the trigger on the execution of Order 66... That'd be Plo Koon, shot down by his own Clone Troopers flying behind him So why Kel Dor? Why Star Wars? Well, in case you've missed it, NerdFitness' resident Jedi Master @EricMN has booked his flight tickets and will be visiting Sparta this Fall for the races. It is only fitting I go with a Star Wars theme and try to make it as the Padawan to his Jedi Master and that's more than a figure of speech: the man has been knocking off OCRs left and right to the point where he qualified for the World OCR championship last year. I've done like 4 or 5 in my entire life these last few years that I got into it. And sure, maybe he hasn't kept it up since the WOCRC, but neither have I since running my back to back Super&Sprint Spartan in 2017. We're still Force-sensitive, all we gotta do is get back in line. Comfortable with (self produced) toxic gases, check Breathing issues (messy nose diaphragm), check Sight issues (5 degrees of myopia), check Goggles (so I don't loose my contacts in water obstacles), check Sharp sence of social justice and a drive to do something for that, check Sounds about right. The Challenge Prepare for the 2019 Spartan Race in Ancient Sparta How Part 1: Continue to track food & water intake on my phone app as well as my weight on a daily basis. Make a conscious effort to cut down on sugar and eat more meat&veggies. Part 2: Train. Attend 2 Muay Thai training sessions a week. While irrelevant on the surface, MT's done a good job of building up my upper body strength (major weak point) and conditioning, especially the "power under duress" part of it. Still, my running and quad/calf endurance could do with a bit more running and following @Endor's C2K PvP challenge, I wanna introduce some running into my weekly training, especially if I'm making up for missed MT sessions. Part 3: Accountability and Logistics. Keep my Jedi Master accountable, including Facebook harassment. Get more info on his schedule and race intentions so I can plan accordingly and get my tickets in time. Obviously, the NGW wrestling narrative will continue this month as well. On with the challenge!
  4. So, it's been a minute. I've been trying to re-find my momentum for a while. It hasn't happened. There are a myriad of reasons and excuses, but the bottom line is that I need to protect my long-term health, and a sedentery lifestyle is what I've been successfully trying to avoid for the past six years, but it's what I've been pulled back to over the past few months. It's my Dark Side. A re-introduction, since I've been absent for a while: I grew up a skinny teenager but got fat in college through beer and bad habits. I stayed that way until my mid-Forties, tipping the scales at around 260lbs at 5ft10in. In 2012 I joined a gym and lost a whole bunch of that weight and began to gain some strength and regained some athleticism. I enjoyed working out but had few goals and was just kind of coasting along, gaining and losing the same five pounds and not really adding strength or endurance. And then, in 2014, I started Obstacle Racing, doing my first Spartan Race in September. I was hooked. In 2015 I completed two Spartan Trifectas, falling short of my third Trifecta on the last weekend of the year due to illness. I was irritated at not reaching that goal and completed 5x Trifecta in 2016 while completing a number of other events and some road races. In 2017, I realized I was getting good at this for an old man and qualified for OCR World Championships as an age group competitor in the Over-50 Men's group. It was by far my most successful year as a "competitive" racer and I was as fast as I have ever been, mostly due to consistency and work ethic. I traveled to Toronto, Ontario and competed with my peers for 9 miles up and down a ski hill in the rain. This was the height of my Jedi powers. I remained active for the first part of 2018, but gained weight, lost a little speed, and even though I qualified again for OCR World Championships this past year, could not attend. The combination of pain, injury and disappointment de-railed me. I let my scheduling issues get the best of me. I've lost a significant amount of muscle mass and nearly all of my cardio fitness. I've allowed some of my mental health issues - depression, anxiety - to re-surface and get the better of me. It's time to take the long road back. Main Goal During the last weekend of October and the first weekend of November I will be competing in Spartan Races on back-to-back weekends on different continents. That's a LOT of miles to rack up in an eight-day period for someone who has not run anywhere of any distance since December, and before that September. Thankfully, I have a tried-and-true training and nutrition plan. Also, for the first time in three years, I am going to be focusing on treating myself with kindness and not just "allowing" for goals that include self-care, but making it a priority. Nutrition Usually I put this as my "third" goal, but I'm putting this in the first slot because without proper nutrition, everything else may as well just go by the wayside. I know how to eat right - plenty of quality, lean protein (chicken, pork, fish) with real fruit and vegetables and quality carbohydrates. I normally have a training macro goal. For this challenge I'm going to start by logging my food - every bit that goes in my mouth - and start dialing in my nutritional goals based on my real activity. I'll add specific training macros as I go along, but only after this goes well. Goal: Track my food intake every day and report it here. Track total calories, protein, fiber and sodium as these are the biggest macro issues for me. Full-Body Strength When I started working out, I was going to the gym two to four times a week and mostly doing Boot Camp workouts. I eventually fell in love with free weights and enjoy strength training, but I also have arthritis and chronic tendinitis and my joints tend to fight against me because I'm a heavy guy for my size and they take a lot of pounding. I have a gym that I have belonged to for six years and I need to start getting my money's worth out of the membership. I will start slowly and ease back into what I know I'm capable of as not to injure myself and be done before I get started. Goal: Full-body strength workouts two to three times per week. Running I actually enjoy trail running, but there's not going to be any of that in Minnesota for me for a while as I just do not enjoy outdoor winter running. If I'm going to complete the Spartan Ultra in Glen Rose Texas in October, I'm going to have to be able to make specific time hacks or I will be removed from the course. I've never received a DNF in an Obstacle Course race. I'm not going to start now. I'm going to ease back in as I stated above with my strength goal. Goal: Start my distance running plan at the novice level: 3x per week, no more than 3 miles per day. Self-Care I'm socially awkward at best and struggle with social anxiety daily. I also have lived with depression and anxiety and in the past have been treated (medicated) for symptoms. I haven't needed that level of help in the past few years as I have successfully self-treated with nutrition, exercise and a healthy dose of service to others. However, the scales are waaaaay out of whack right now and I am dangerously close to some bad places. Fortunately, I also spent a lot of years paying a lot of professionals to help me develop healthy coping habits. It's time to exercise some of those, daily, to regain my equilibrium, and if I can't, it's time to seek out professionals to help. Goal: Practice one tanglble act of self-care daily and report on it. Challenge Obstacles I will be leaving Wednesday afternoon of Week 1 on a 1,500 mile road trip to Florida, to delivery my partner/GF and her vehicle to her month-long break from our Minnesota winter. She works remotely and this will be the second year in a row that we are doing this and I suspect it will become an annual tradition. I will fly back Saturday night, but there will be a couple long days in the car during the trip. I need to roll with this and not get anxiety over the fact that for two days at the beginning of this challenge I will not be able to meet my goals. Events I try to always have something on the docket to keep me focused. I will be attending the Central Florida Terrain Race on Saturday morning, partly because its' five minutes from where we are staying on our trip to Florida. I am in no way trained for this event. I am going to show up, run, get a gauge of what goes well and what doesn't, I'm going to be kind to myself if things go as badly as they could, and enjoy the experience regardless of how I perform. I'm going to be kind to myself above all else during this challenge, but I need this to get myself jump-started and back to being the best me that I have been as an adult. I know it's possible as I've done it, and recently. I'll likely need some accountability to keep my focus on my long-term goals. Above all, it's good to be home.
  5. JonFirestar and 3.00 Spartans! I can't help it but i think this is going to be a bit of a boring challenge and very run of the mill. So I'm just going to focus on the fun part of it! This Challenge encomases a total of 3 Spartan Races. It was going to be 4, but I deferred the first beast (Which would have been this Saturday) and so I am running: Scottish Spartan Sprint on Sunday 16th Sept Windsor Spartan Beast on Saturday 6th October Windsor Spartan Sprint on Sunday 7th October I'm really excited for those races in October because I should be much fitter and, most importantly healthy, so I'm excited. Nothing in this list is going to be done hard or fast. I'm looking at 3 easy fun races with chances to meet up and run with @iatetheyeti and @Rhovaniel, All good fun So let's talk Sparta Scrounge to Survive When inducted to military training the Spartan boys would be given meagre rations and be expected to scrounge and steal for more food, but punished severely if caught. My basic intention here is to continue what I started last challenge with a couple of concessions: 2300-2400 calories per day with one variance/high day per week. At the end of week 0 I'm on vacation, Friday through Monday my intention here is not to track but not to use it as an excuse to go crazy either. I have a bit of a plan for the weekend and it's more accurate to say my goal is to stick to that as best as possible. Nevertheless I'm not too worried about my holiday time so long as I don't go completely insane and what comes before or after is on point. I'll probably also up my calories in general over my double spartan weekend. My invention would be to hit about maintenance (above that on Saturday itself) but what that means in numbers will be worked out closer to the date. That has got more to do with recovery than anything. Again it's not a license to go crazy but the reality is that the weekend is going to be demanding enough without being in deficit. Train For War The Spartans were known for unparalleled skill in battle. Running: 3 runs per week. Monday - Easy Wednesday - Tempo Saturday - Long I'm going to jostle with these sessions a bit so the individual workouts might be different but this is the basic format. The Saturday long run isn't really any longer than the other runs it's just formatted differently so that it takes a little longer and I've added it because doing the exact same run 3 days a week is annoying me. Next Challenge I'll be able to add dedicated speed sessions back in but I might add in some sets of strides towards the end of this one depending on how my injury is feeling. S&C Two Strength and Conditioning workouts per week in the same randomised 'workout of the day' format that I was using last challenge because that kept it fun and interesting. The two workouts will be about an hour long with some kind of cardio to bring up the time Tuesday: S&C WOD + cardio Thursday: S&C WOD + Cardio Recovery Monday and Friday are in all intents going to be recovery workouts. Monday will be a run and Friday something else, probably easy cycling. Active recovery is the name of the game. Continue to do my PT exercises on schedule. Mobility: It has come to my attention that my mobility might not be as good as i think it is. I take being flexible for granted but while my joints are generally loose and mobile my muscles might not be playing ball. My calves and hips are especially tight. Do at least 10 minutes of mobility work every single day. Now that I've written it it seems way more complicated than it is in my head so: TLDR Monday: Easy recovery run Tuesday: S&C wod + cardio (1hr approx total). Wednesday: Tempo Run Thursday: S&C wod + cardio (1hr approx total) Friday: Recovery workout Saturday: Long run Sunday: Rest Mobility every day at least 10 minutes. PT work to plan. I will be taking things a little easier this week and the week 3 I will be doing a full taper. Discipline: I'm not happy with this right now so I want to keep my goal of getting to bed by 10pm at the latest. That's basically that. Eat well, exercise, sleep. I was thinking about implementing a scoring system but I am not sure that I will.
  6. I'm late to the party, going to keep this simple: Challenge goal: Finally freakin break 140lb. I'm so close you guys (weighed in at 140.8lb today!). Goal #1: Eat vegetables 2x/day Goal #2: Complete my half marathon training 4x/wk, strength 2x/wk, yoga or rock climbing 2x/wk Goal #3: Do stuff Morning routine: wake up 5-5:30, tea or lemon water, Bible reading, SAD lamp time Evening routine: screens off 8:30, tea, reading/crossword Make wedding centerpieces Keep my food and spending journal up to date ...probably going to add more stuff here... I will give myself 1pt for each vegetable, workout (run counts as 1, run + lifting counts as 2, etc), and item on my do-stuff list. Will find a way to rewards self with adequate points.
  7. After a great start to 2017 that was highlighted by qualifying for the first time at age 50 for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships and capped off by competing in the Age Group category in that race, the year ended rather quietly as I "whatever"-ed myself into missing workouts, backing off on my running program, and basically falling as out-of-shape as I have been in over three years. Coming on its heels, my 2018 has been consistent in its inconsistency. The year started off poorly; I was eating poorly, I was not working out consistently, and I was missing my scheduled runs. In context, I am not failing, regardless of what the scale says. I look reasonably good in clothes that fit and I am pretty fit in comparison with most of my peers, who largely laugh when I describe myself as "Old, fat and out-of-shape." This is true despite the onset of psoriatic arthritis in the middle of 2017 that has adjusted how I exercise and how I recover. However, I'm not ready to admit defeat to my arthritic knees and lower back. Instead of my deskbound co-workers, I expect to measure myself against a whole different set of peers: These men, 50 and over, who are not content to take that knee but will Rise Up and Conduct Their Business as Grand Masters. I will not go quietly into the night. I will fight until I can't fight anymore. I will Rebel. Main Goal In October of this year, I'll be competing in the 2018 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an age group competitor twice during the 2017 season and raced in a group of similarly grey-bearded men. I will travel to the UK to participate and will run as a journeyman if necessary, but it's my goal to qualify to race against other 50-and-over men again. This time, I don't want to be happy to be there, I want to finish closer to the middle of the pack than the back, and I'd like to leave with something more than just a finisher medal (or two, or three) and a tee shirt: I want to finish with 100% obstacle completion. This is where I say "I know what it takes to get where I want to be" and put my goals in. I do know what it takes. If I had any self-discipline, I could run a Battle Log, because this is basically Level Grinding, but I have the self-discipline of a weasel on crack and the attention span to match, so here we are. If you've been around for any of my challenges you're already familiar with what's going on, but if there are any new eyes reading, here's what's on the menu: Goal: Speed I have gone from "I'm not a runner" to "I enjoy trail running." I'm still building up my mileage from a long winter of slacking, but I have a running plan that works. Consistency will get me there. Plan: Run a minimum of 3x per week, including 3-mile VO2 max interval training, 3-4 mile lactate threshold training, and weekend long run. Goal: Strength I enjoy weight training. I need to supplement this with boot-camp style bodyweight and high-rep, low-weight training, and pull-ups. This will help with obstacle proficiency and efficiency. There will be white boards. Plan: Boot Camp Monday and Wednesday, weight training Tuesday and Thursday. Bonus: 400 pull-ups during the course of the challenge. I tried this last time and it faded out due to inconsistency. Goal: Skill While raw strength will help with some obstacles, it's not going to help me through a ninja-style rig or on Pegatron or obstacles where there are specific skills involved. I have a gym membership to Obstacle Academy for this. Plan: Weekly Friday obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy. Goal: Sustenance When I track my nutritional macros, I can lose inches around my middle and still keep up my muscle mass. When I'm consistent, I see the results I want. I've worked with a couple trainers over the past five years to arrive at the numbers below and as long as I am honest with myself, I can meet my goals here and also look good in my mud jersey when I hit the starting line at the Spartan Race in June. Plan: Log my food daily. Stick to my macros. Sanity This is my self-care non-goal. I'm chronically over-scheduled and currently don't have an out for this, and it won't even get better at the end of the school year until I'm back from my summer Youth Mission Trip, which happens during the last week of this challenge cycle. This is not a quantifiable, SMART goal, but it will stay on the list to remind me to spend some time in self-care daily. Starting Line I Race, and I love it. I love the atmosphere and the people and the event itself. A bad day on an obstacle course is still the happiest day of my week. Including my trail race during Week Zero, I've got a handful of trail "races" on the docket this cycle to ensure that I am getting in my weekend long runs, and one OCR in the middle: The Minnesota Spartan Sprint is my lone local OCRWC Qualifying event of the year, and this year they've made it part of their "Mountain Series", which means it will probably draw more people than I'm used to seeing at our venue and may stack my Age Group with highly-competitive runners who are significantly faster than me and who want the cool finisher medal. We'll see what happens as far as OCRWC qualifying times, but I'm going to go all out trying in front of my friends and family. Finally, I have bee pretty crappy about keeping my challenge threads up-to-date for the past couple months. I won't ghost on y'all - I love my Rangers - but bear with me, especially since this challenge will be done for me at the end of Week 3. I want y'all to know that regardless of the lags in posting, every like and every comment is observed, read, and appreciated. Carry on, Rebels. It's time for an adventure.
  8. Main Goal In October of this year, I'll be competing in the 2018 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an age group competitor twice during the 2017 season and raced in a group of similarly grey-bearded men. I will travel to the UK to participate and will run as a journeyman if necessary, but it's my goal to qualify to race against other 50-and-over men again. This time, I don't want to be happy to be there, I want to finish closer to the middle of the pack than the back, and I'd like to leave with something more than just a finisher medal and a tee shirt: I want to finish with 100% obstacle completion. If I do this, I will get to keep my band. A bunch of my friends kept theirs last year. At the end of the last challenge cycle, I ran a qualifying event and did not place well. I got pretty down about it. While it was a wake-up call regarding my training, it was also a wake-up call to re-focus my mindset and my attitude. I needed to be reminded that I do this for FUN. This is about a mile and less than 15 minutes into the race. Does this man look like he's having fun? This man is 8.2 miles and eight hours into the same race. Does this man look like he's having fun? Kacey spent the whole race, including the double-hill bucket carry, smiling. He also was quoted as saying, while standing in a puddle, "You better be careful here, the mud's up to my waist!" and laughing. I ENJOY obstacle racing. I'm going to spend this cycle putting in the work while changing my mindset and enjoying the process. I need to choose the path to the Light Side, where there is joy in the process. This is where I say "I know what it takes to get where I want to be" and put my goals in. I do know what it takes. If I had any self-discipline, I could run a Battle Log, because these things don't change, but I have the self-discipline of a teenager on a Red Bull drip and the attention span to match, so Challenge Thread it is. If you've been around for any of my challenges you know what's coming: Goal: Speed I have gone from "I'm not a runner" to "I enjoy trail running." The problem is, our trails have been frozen since November and the cold aggravates my psoriatic arthritis. We should have had a thaw in March, but it's now mid-April and IT'S STILL SNOWING. I'll get in most of my work on the Dreadmill with some scheduled trail runs while things are I'm still building up my mileage from a winter of slacking, but I have a running plan that works. Consistency will get me there. Plan: Run a minimum of 3x per week, including 3-mile VO2 max interval training, 3-4 mile lactate threshold training, and weekend long run. Goal: Strength I enjoy weight training. I need to supplement this with boot-camp style bodyweight and high-rep, low-weight training, and pull-ups. This will help with obstacle proficiency and efficiency. There will be white boards. Plan: Boot Camp Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays when I don't have a scheduled race or trail run. Weight training Tuesday and Thursday. 400 pull-ups during the course of the challenge. Goal: Skill While raw strength will help with some obstacles, it's not going to help me through a ninja-style rig or on Pegatron or obstacles where there are specific skills involved. I have a gym membership to Obstacle Academy for this. Plan: Weekly Friday obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy. Have a specific training plan every time instead of just going in and goofing around on the toys. Goal: Sustenance I lost a bunch of weight five years ago by tracking my nutritional macros and I've kept it off by doing the same. I've occasionally dropped five to ten pounds in between that has not stayed off because when I'm not tracking macros, I eat junk. I've stuck to my macros pretty well over the last challenge cycle and my race jersey is fitting pretty well right now, but I'd like to look AMAZING when my home race in June rolls around. Plan: Log my food daily. Stick to my macros. Goal: Sanity This is my self-care non-goal. I'm chronically over-scheduled and currently don't have an out for this. Work is a hot mess and I'm along for the ride. Aside from Yoga on Mondays when it fits my schedule, this is not a quantifyable, SMART goal, but it's on the list to remind me to spend some time in self-care daily. Starting Line I Race. I do it because I enjoy it. A bad day on an obstacle course is still the happiest day of my week. I've got two trail "races" on the docket this cycle to ensure that I am getting in my weekend long runs. There's also one obstacle mud run at the end of this cycle: Muddy Warrior Run, May 19 This is NOT an OCRWC qualifier, so it is going to be more of a fun run than a competitive race for me. It looks like fun. I'm going to go race happy that day. Time to choose your path, Jedi.
  9. This winter has been pretty rough. I don't remember having seasonal depression like this in a good 7-8 years. Cold, darkness, pain (arthritis) and work-related anxiety have all been pretty hard to handle. Now, slowly but surely, I'm rising from my winter-long withdrawal. It's a bad place for me to be; I am an introvert, and I like my quiet time, but my mental health suffers when I isolate myself. I'm not staying here. I'm not Luke Skywalker and I didn't come here to die. It's time to find myself again. I'm still trying to find my consistency from a training standpoint, but I can't just force-project myself back into goal shape; it takes consistent work, and I need to continue to put in that work, consistently. Main Goal I'll be competing in the 2018 OCR World Championships for the second year in a row. In 2017, I qualified as an age group competitor twice during the season and raced in a group of similarly grey-bearded men. I'll be traveling to the United Kingdom this year to race again, regardless of whether I qualify, and will run as a journeyman if necessary. However, it's my goal to qualify to race against other 50-and-over men again this year, and this time, I don't want to just show up and be happy I'm there, I want to finish closer to the middle of the pack than the back, and I'd like to leave with something more than just a finisher medal and a tee shirt: I want to keep my band. I lost mine on Stairway to Heaven. It was humbling. Most obstacle race series (With the exception of my first OCR love, Spartan Race) expect pro and competitive racers to COMPLETE ALL THE OBSTACLES in order be podium-eligible. Everyone else is an official finisher, but those of me in the other category are not eligible for podiums - overall or age group. To make sure officials can tell who falls into which category, racers get a band, which is removed when one cannot complete an obstacle, usually after multiple attempts. Some race directors take pride in the bands they capture. Freaking Canadians. For the record, I completed this thing at OCRWC after 4-5 attempts. I'm pretty obstacle proficient, and have been for some time, but this year, I'm aiming for 100% completion at the World Championships, and that goal will take consistent work to achieve. Anyone who's been around an EricMN challenge over the last three years knows what they're about to see below: Goal: Speed I have gone from "I'm not a runner" to "I enjoy trail running." The problem is, our trails have been frozen for almost five months and the cold aggravates my psoriatic arthritis. Also I just plain hate the cold. We're having a good thaw right now, but I'm still running on the Dreadmill until I know I won't kill myself on the trails. Last year I hired a running coach to give me a running improvement plan. It works. I'm working back into this plan; right now I'm still building up my mileage from a winter of slacking. "Long" runs are relative. I know this works. Consistency will get me there. Plan: Run a minimum of 3x per week, including 3-mile VO2 max interval training, 3-4 mile lactate threshold training, and weekend long run. Goal: Strength Without consistent strength training, I turn into a limp dishrag. Besides, I enjoy weight training. I need to supplement this with training that includes pull-ups and other raise-my-bodyweight exercises. The group classes I attend don't incorporate pull-ups basically because the instructors and most of the other attendees can't do them and are intimidated by them. I need them because arms, shoulders and back will help with obstacle proficiency and efficiency. Plan: Strength training 3x per week: Weight training Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday/Saturday, Grease the Groove pull-up work every day. Goal: Skill I've learned over the last four years of competing in Obstacle Course races that while one could probably power their way through many obstacles with sheer strength, there is a certain degree of skill necessary for things like rope climbing and rigs and Devil Steps and zip lines and whatnot. I bought a membership to Obstacle Academy, and they just finished a remodel. It's time to get on this. Plan: Weekly obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy. Have a specific training plan every time instead of just going in and goofing around on the toys. Goal: Sustenance I lost a bunch of weight five years ago by tracking my nutritional macros and I've kept it off by doing the same. I've occasionally dropped five to ten pounds in between that has not stayed off because when I'm not tracking macros, I eat junk. Right now I look more like Kung Fu Panda in my race jerseys than I want to admit. Plan: Log my food daily. Stick to my macros. Goal: Sanity This is even more important right now than it was last time around. Work is a hot mess and I'm along for the ride. This is not a quantifyable, SMART goal, but it's on the list to remind me to be mindful and spend some time in self-care daily. Starting Line I Race. I do it because I enjoy it. A bad day on an obstacle course is still the happiest day of my week. I've got two race weekends bookending this challenge cycle: Savage Race Florida, March 17 Wheel World, my nemesis. We meet again. I really like Savage Race. It's obstacle-dense at around 30 obstacles over 6-7 miles. Any course in Florida is by definition going be pretty flat. These are things that work in my favor in the Open Waves. Based on both Spring and Fall results from 2017, I have a legit shot at an OCRWC Age Group qualifying finish. Seattle Spartan Super and Sprint, April 14-15 Jesus, that jersey was too small for me. Also, I miss that bandana. I loved this venue when I did it back in 2015. The course is fairly flat and runs out along the Snohomish River, which is gorgeous. Also, I will be visiting my middle daughter, who moved to Seattle a year ago. Best of all, she and one of her friends will be on-course, volunteering during the weekend. I'm glad the jerseys stand out so she can see me as I shuffle on through. The Sprint race on Sunday is another legit shot at a qualifying time. It's been a long winter of self-imposed semi-isolation. I'm ready for it to be over.
  10. Soulcon Warrior Elite started January 29th, right at the tail end of the last challenge. So this challenge will continue with that. Warrior Elite Objectives: Weekly Objectives: Share the gospel with at least 5 people/week. Eat healthy six days/week with no carbs after 1pm except from berries and vegetables; feast day on Sundays. Run at least two 5ks/week (although some weeks the challenge may require the runs to be longer). Exercise a total of 30 minutes 5 days/week. Daily Objectives: Start every day on your knees, praying the Lord's Prayer aloud for your family and your Soulcon brothers. Knock out 40 push-ups right after prayer. Push-ups are a great reminder that falling down is common, but getting back up is what takes the strength. They are also a great reminder for your body that it will obey the goals you have and you will not obey the lust it has. Read the daily devotionals. Drink one gallon of water every day. No carbohydrates after 1pm other than from berries, vegetables, and sweet potatoes (except on feast day). Finishing Objectives: Memorize Ephesians 5:1-21 Ice bath/cold shower challenge: 4 minutes. Breath hold: 90 seconds. Share your testimony on social media. Personal Objectives: Walk at least 10,000 steps/day. Cold shower daily. Daily breathing exercises to prepare for 90 second breath hold (Wim Hof Method?) Go to the gym at least 3 days/week. Daily scripture study before bed; this is non-negotiable. Use Scripture-Typer daily to memorize scripture. Complete all graduate school assignments before due date; this is also non-negotiable. Work on Duolingo daily. In bed by 10:30pm at the latest Sunday-Thursday (Fri. and Sat. a struggle because daughter works until 2am). Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes; this should be silent and not guided--the aim is quiet time with God. Continue outside morning routine (take dogs out, work through stretches/movements). Daily bodyweight movements (especially push-ups, pull-ups, and burpees). Read quietly for at least 20 minutes/day. Listen to at least one informative or motivational podcast/week.
  11. I hope everyone had an awesome holiday. This was a tough one for me personally because it was our first without Papaw. But it ended up being drama-free, and I was surprised to find myself less concerned about gifts and money and instead enjoying time with family and friends. My challenge set-up this time may be edited later as ideas/problems/concerns arise. I plan to continue certain daily habits, such as early rising, prayer, getting outside/earthing/stretching in the morning, Bible study, etc. but they probably won't be mentioned in the challenge goals below. As promised, this challenge will be LOTR themed, focusing mostly on the book series (but with plenty of gifs, pics, vids, memes, etc. from all sources). Each goal is named after a poem/song from the Lord of the Rings book series. Quest 1: The Road Goes Ever On (Walking/Hiking) walk at least 10,000 steps per day at least one 30 minute mindful/adventure walk per day at least one 30 minute hike per week Quest 2: The Riddle of Strider (Strength/Fitness/Nutrition) at least 3 bodyweight/Spartan/HIIT style strength workouts per week at least 1 day per week of 4 all-out 80+ yard sprints (with 10 second rests between each) at least 2 5ks per week (aim for every Saturday and Wednesday) eat whole food/Paleo as often as possible (aim for 2/3 meals per day) intermittent fasting at least 5 days per week (not eating before 11:00am) drink at least 64oz of water per day every day Quest 3: I Sit Beside the Fire and Think (Meditation/Mindfulness/Study) meditate at least 20 minutes every day read at least 20 minutes every day (Bible and LOTR, of course) at least 1 outdoor ("beside the fire") meditation per week (Fri, Sat, or Sun?) at least one language session/lesson using Duolingo Quest 4: Song of Beren and Luthien (Love/Affection) at least 30 minutes uninterrupted time per day with my queen at least 1 "date night" per week with my queen (don't be picky about this; the key is to spend time alone together) speak the top love languages of my queen (acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation) to bed with my queen every night, even if this means moving princess Arabella to another bed (see past challenges)
  12. Priorities Last weekend's sermon was about saying no to good things to make space for great things. There are so many ways I want more of this theme in my life -- in our house (as we slowly buy home items to make it somewhere I feel pleased inviting people into, but also purge), in my day (staying an extra half hour or hour unpaid at work, watching too much TV), in my diet (too much wine and sweets). I've lost my meditation habit, and I miss it. I have time in the morning, but this month I shouldn't need to be at work particularly early - so I can get back to a good morning routine without waking up earlier. Goal #1 The Perfect Morning Obviously not every morning can or will be 'perfect', but I've always had this routine in my mind: Meditation Prayer Short to-do list Eat breakfast Half the time I drag my feet so much I don't get to early, but still haven't done anything worthwhile with my morning. When my alarm goes off at 5:30, I will say no to random internet reading (or even reading my current book), pressing snooze, and leaving for work early. Goal #2 Workouts I am tempted by the Spartan Stadium plan, but not sure I want to start it when I know I'll have to interrupt for vacation. So for now this means workout 5x/week. Spin, run, yoga, spartan workouts, made-up gym circuits all count. As the weather gets iffy and cold I need this more than ever. I will say no to social engagements if needed to make time to work out. I will also not watch TV by myself (sports/movies with fiance are allowed AFTER my workout). I will say yes to workouts that sound fun, even if they cost money, especially if someone else will join me. Goal #3 Track Every Bite Here or in my battle log, along with how I feel. I will say no to wine in the evenings, endless-unaccounted-for carbs and sweets, and eating when I am not hungry. Thanksgiving Recap Last week was ugly nutrition-wise. I was at my future in-laws, and even though they are wonderful it was draining for me trying to make a good impression, and make frequent conversation. I coped with the stress with food. I felt constrained diet-wise by being in someone else's house, but I still could have made much better decisions. The discomfort of not being in my own space combined with forcing myself to talk to parents/family/friends was so much ugh. But especially as fiance's dad is elderly, we will likely be visiting them more frequently in the future -- this is very important to fiance, as my parents are practically next door but we are not able to see his parents very often (a couple hour flight, or 12 hour drive). I want to support him in this but find that I resent spending vacation time to take trips that are not restful. On the flip side, I ran/walked 3/4 days that we were there. And the morning after getting back, I showed up to spin class. I know the workouts aren't enough to offset my eating, but it's nice to have something positive to report. More than anything it was a chance to escape and have some "me time". Update on the Feels Aside from the stress and anxiety of Thanksgiving, I have generally been feeling a bit better over the past couple weeks. Less episodes of wanting to lie on the floor forever. Can't say why, but I'll take it while it lasts.
  13. First, some mood music: It's time to take it to the next level. Soulcon Team Juliet begins Monday, November 27th. I have been invited to join the Warrior Elite Challenge that starts at the end of January, so I need to be prepared. Below are the Soulcon Challenge Objectives: Pray the Lord's Prayer out loud, on your knees, every day No carbs after 3pm from grains and breads (sweet potatoes, vegetables, and berries are allowed) Track your caloric intake except on feast days Drink at least 64oz of water a day Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week Run, walk or crawl two 5ks a week Before you leave home for the day do 40 pushups (or as many as you can) <---- I may be substituting burpees here. Sleep 6-8 hours a night (excluding feast days) Evangelism: Talk to at least 10 people you don't know about your faith There are also weekly physical challenges: Week 1: Test-In Week Max Push-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Max Sit-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Run, walk, or crawl a 5k (who crawls a 5k?) Make sure to record your 5k time, push-up, and sit-up count to challenge yourself on Week 6 Week 2: Max Week Monday: Push-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many push-ups as possible. Wednesday: Sit-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many sit-ups as possible. Friday: Bodyweight Squat Day You have 24 hours to do as many squats as possible. Week 3: Fast Week Have one fast day with at least one person on your team (this team consists of a Facebook group). On this day, you will drink only water and black coffee. Week 4: Hell Week This week you are limited to fruit, veggies (including sweet potatoes, not white potatoes), lean proteins, unsalted nuts, and protein powders (no milk added, only water). Also, no weight training this week, just daily push-ups and any bodyweight training you desire. Push yourself as hard as possible, and have a healthy competition with the guys on your team. You can keep track of: miles from jogging or walking miles from cycling miles on the elliptical Additionally, I have some personal goals and objectives that will supplement the ones above: Body: Spartan-style workout at least three days/week (bodyweight stuff, carrying buckets of rocks, tubs of water, etc.) Primal Body Reboot movements daily. Cold showers daily. Lift at least twice/week. Walk at least 10,000 steps/day Eat whole foods for at least two meals/day. No junk food for the duration of this challenge. Practice throwing knives at least once/week. Mind: Finish at least one book/week. Listen to at least one informative podcast/week. Read at least one scholarly article/week about any topic of choice. Heart: Hug and kiss wife and kids before leaving home for work. Call parents daily. Message or call at least one Soulcon brother daily. Greet people on campus when passing them. Soul: Study scripture using the SPACE method (to be explained in a later post). Pray throughout the day, either spoken or unspoken. Meditate daily; this could include WHM breathing or some variation. Spend at least 30 minutes/day in nature. So there it is. Very similar to past challenges, and I know it seems like a lot. But if you know me, you know it's not impossible. I need to be challenged again to push myself.
  14. less of a secret, more just simple. i figured out some shit last challenge (pun intended) and i'm coming into this next challenge like but with life things stacking up, i'd like to keep fitness things pretty simple for now. do a solid 4 week challenge of goals instead of changing them every week like i did last challenge. Exercise. I have a 5K and spartan sprint in this challenge so i'll be following the Tough Mudder prep plan. I'll be adjusting some of them to get in heavy lifting. i've also upped my pull up bar play by a minute. 5 Tough Mudder workouts per week pull up bar play 6 min per week yoga 60 mins per week Food. let's get some consistency here. cooking new foods and getting back in the habit of breakfast casseroles (or oatmeal bakes). also with the onslaught of plans and holidays, i'll be trying out something new with my alcohol consumption. consume 30g fiber per day take Mg at least 6 days per week only drink alcohol one night per week life things. 10/20: friend’s board game night (plan to drink) 10/22: book club and family bday dinner (plan not to drink) 10/27: friends’s going away party (plan not to drink) 10/28: costume 5K and friend’s Halloween party (plan to drink) 11/4: Stadium Spartan (plan to drink) 11/11 – 11/12: visit bro in-law in Albany (might try not to drink all weekend...) 11/18: wedding outfit shopping; movies with Dad; friends bday (saa)
  15. I've broken this year down to 3 big chunks of long challenges leading up to major fitness events. Chapter 1 was about preparing for the Crossfit Open 2017, Chapter 2 was about preparing to run a Tough Mudder in Ireland next to @Jarric and now Chapter 3 is about getting ready to run the Spartan Super in Sparta on November 5th. I've also kept up a wrestling narrative, where I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. While so far I've used my Guild Leader powers to move the same thread across challenge forums until each chapter was complete, I've realized it makes it hard for people to keep up with the narrative if they've missed the start. Also, since I will be tweaking my goals for every challenge cycle anyway, I decided I might as well set up a new thread to continue where the old one left off and help people get back in track with where me and my storytelling is. Nutrition: Quantity over quality I feel like I've been focusing on the tree and missing the forest. While my overall eating habits aren't perfect (far from it) I do know what's good to eat and what not. I no longer indulge myself or go overboard with ultra junk food, nor do I really carve such things. You could say that more or less I have my eating in line and have been focusing on trimming the details to perfect it. Given my current life parameters, that is too much effort for too little detail that will result in too minor a difference. While I've been focusing there, I let the fact slide that I am consuming massive quantities of food and most of it is completely senseless and irrational because I'm not that hungry. That said, my nutrition goal for this challenge cycle will be to cut down on the quantity of my meals. Pretty cloudy goal, even if I'll know when I've hit or missed it, but just to make it a bit more SMART I'll put it out as a "mindful eating" goal. Take a moment to consider what and why I'm eating before I eat it, as well as give myself some time to feel full before I decide to have some more. Crossfit: Focused work on eliminating weaknesses When I did the Tough Mudder, I was at my worst physical shape ever for a race and fully expected it to be a trainwreck. Surprise surprise, not only it went great, I even rocked stuff that's been troubling me since day one such as rings and hangs. My biggest weakness was conditioning and that also becomes apparent pretty much on every crossfit workout I do. The lessons from the Mudder, coupled with the fact that going to the box 3 times a week to train is no longer a challenge but an established habit, mean I need to rethink my training. For every week of training, my goal is to spend some extra time working on one of three things: Metabolic Conditioning, Grip Strength and Climbing skills, Upper Body Strength. Things that count as Metabolic Conditioning: Running, Rowing, Assault Bike, Ski Machine, Double Unders, Burpees, Box Jumps, Wall Balls Things that count as Grip Strength and Climbing Skills: Dead Hangs, Pull ups, Muscle ups and pretty much anything involving rings or a pull up bar Things that count as Upper Body Strength: Shoulder Presses, Standard or Handstand Pushups, Bench Press Ideally, at the end of the week I want to have 3 workouts down and one of these three practiced in each Bullet Journalling I keep a simple journal, just dots of things I have to do that I strike out after I've done them. None of the fancy schmancy stuff, simple but it works for me. I've noticed I tend to slip and forget this, which destroys any pretense of organization, so I need to track my progress and make sure I keep doing it until it's an ingrained habit. Domestic Rangering My new job is much closer to home and lets me be back a lot earlier, before the SRLF is there even. My goal is to take advantage of that time to get the house in order instead of goofing around and then sluggishly doing whatever I can be assed to (usually just dishes, laundry and the occasional cooking or ironing).
  16. Main Goal I'm still training toward my 2017 goal. I'm going to Blue Mountain, Ontario, 12 October to 15 October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an Age Group competitor during the Spartan Sprint in Illinois in June, and will be competing in the 50-and-over Age Group. I've been waiting since the beginning of November 2016 to say I'm one of them. I will have eight weeks between the start of this challenge cycle and my date with Blue Mountain. That's about the right amount of time for me to be able to concentrate on a goal, and follow through. As part of my training, on August 12, I am running my first-ever Half Marathon. I would like to not finish last. I am still slow as a road runner and suck at distances. These are weaknesses that I can train in tangible ways. This is more or less the training that has got me here, so in order to continue 2017's successes, I'm pretty much keeping the same goals as always: Run Lift Heavy Things Don't Eat Stupid Adding in a fourth that makes sense: Self Care That's going to cover not only things like "Don't abuse those knees and take a break if you need it when I'm working out" to "Take a day to myself and avoid literally everyone if I feel like I'm crashing." I'll add in important stuff like my weekly workout schedule and my specific macros later. Still moving forward toward the goal. Can't wait for the reveal on this year's bling.
  17. Jon Firestar Runs a Lot, and Preps for Sparta I don’t really have a theme for this one, nor an original title but here we go: This is going to be a 2 part challenge although both are going to focus on my two race goals. On September 3 I run my first half marathon race! On September 30 I go and run my first Spartan Beast! Very little is changing in my overall plan. It is, however where everything starts to come together and I get to see exactly how much strength, speed and mettle I’ve forged into my body over the last year! My training is going to be focused on the lead up and taper towards these two goals. Luckily they are both the same distance so my running training is very applicable to both. The half marathon is going to be the harder run by a long way but having the miles under my legs is going to help for the Spartan too! Running! Miles: 100 - stretch goal 120 A simple milage goal of 120 miles over the next 5 weeks. I have a plan and if I hit that plan dead on I’ll run 120 miles. I’ll be happy if I break 100 though. Week 0: 30 miles Week 1: 30 miles Week 2: 20 miles Week 3: 20 miles Week 4: 20 miles (I'm going to play this one by ear. It really depends on how much recovery is needed) Training: The training plan is identical to what it has been leading to this point. Things will look different weeks 2 and 3 because of the taper. I’m also going to shuffle things around week 2 give myself a good quality tempo workout on Saturday. My intention is to go to Parkrun and set a new 5k PR (my long run will happen Tuesday that week and will be around 7 - 8 miles) 5 runs per week. Monday: Easy Run Tuesday: Threshold (20 minutes at T Pace or 6x5 minute cruise intervals) Wednesday: Easy Run Thursday: Speed intervals/hill repeats Saturday: Long Run Taper: 2 weeks prior to the half marathon. Speed Goals: These are goals that I’d like to achieve this cycle. They are very much just aspirations and I’m not defining success or failure based on them but I’m going to put them out there to show what I’m aiming for. 5k PR sub 28 minutes. Half Marathon: 2:08 This is Sparta! So here is where things are actually going to change. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how I’m going to handle my strength training over the next couple of months. Here is the deal. I’ve been running the Juggernaut Program since the new year. It has been going great and I’ve been making serious and steady progress the entire time. The problem is that I am just not going to be able to put together a full training block until probably after November 11. My next 4 ( maybe 5) races are so tightly packed together. I really don’t want to be at all sore for when I go into an event even if the Spartan and Half Marathon are the only ones I really care about being well rested for. My plan, is simple. I will finish out my current wave of Juggernaut next week, deload and then start some focused Spartan specific training. These will most likely be circuit based with a lot of emphasis on body weight work, grip and heavy carries. I’m going to be taking inspiration from @EricMN's wow workouts but shaping them up as I come to them. So my workouts are going to be much more WOD like and a little more adhoc but expect plenty of burpees! I want to try and keep plugging away at the big lifts but probably not at the same volume as I am currently doing. When I finally get back to a more traditional lifting program (which might be November) I’ll test my 1RM and, with any luck, set new PRs to play with. Then I’ll go ahead and start back on Juggernaut. At least through the Winter until next race season! The challenge is to make sure I hit all 3 strength and conditioning workouts per week and spend time each weekend to set out exactly what I’m doing in the coming week. So I’ll post my workouts for the coming week on my Sunday update for a little bit of accountability. Food! 2600-2700 calories per day. Just because weight loss is still a thing! A modest deficit maintained by eating below 2700 calories per day. On the week leading to my half marathon I will increase that to 3000 calories, which is just above maintenance, and will probably introduce the extra calories in the form of carbs.
  18. First things first: Soulcon will continue for the next two weeks, as will my training for the Spartan race. This challenge is not meant as a replacement, but rather a supplement in some cases and a renovation in others. This post is inspired by this quote: "You want to improve your mental toughness? Try this: Be tougher." The construction of the challenge is based on a post by SealGrinder PT titled "10 Tips to Increase Mental Toughness." So, without further explanation, let's do this! 1. Focus on the Present Be mindful of where you are and what you're doing right now. Focus on taking the next step and the next step and the next step. Make small present decisions that take you closer to your bigger goal. Don't stress about the future or moan about the past; be here now and do what you can right now (even if that doesn't seem like much). If you find yourself "lost" in the chaos, pause, take a deep breath, and focus your mind on the present. 2. Have a Short Memory Don't dwell on past mistakes; learn from them and move on. Forgive yourself and forgive others equally. Don't hold on to past hurts either inflicted upon or inflicted by you; learn from them and move on. 3. Stay Positive Take control of a tough situation by driving out negative thoughts reinforcing the positive. Laugh out loud even when you don't feel like it; as a bonus, make someone else laugh and join them. Watch a positive motivational video/movie. Listen to uplifting music, something that reminds you to stay focused and not quit. Read articles/stories about people overcoming negative situations by staying positive. 4. Become a Ritual-aholic Be faithful to your morning routine: 4:45 am wakeup (or earlier) Prayer/Bible reading/quiet time with God -- There is no compromise with this; it is THE most important thing on this list. Take Minnie outside Pushups or burpees (at least 30) Cold shower Brush teeth Get dressed Make bed Drink a tall glass of water Evening Routine (to be modified later) Write down at least 3 things from the day for which you are grateful. No cell phone/iPad/Macbook after 9:30 pm. Read every night. Brush teeth In bed by 10:30 pm with almost no exceptions (work, time with family, etc.) 5. Enjoy the Battle Find joy in the struggle. Like this: If you have to, tell yourself you are enjoying the struggle and force yourself to smile or laugh even as you sweat and grunt and push through your challenges. Listen to music that gets you fired up and helps push you along (see "Stay Positive" suggestions). 6. Visualize your Future Self Similar to Steve Kamb's Level 50 idea, imagine the self you want to be after this challenge. Create a full mental picture as detailed as possible, a full "character study" (physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral). Role play as your future self while completing your challenges, even if you aren't yet able to achieve all that you want your future self to achieve. 7. Hang Around Winners Spend time with people (irl more than online) who are either at or above the level you want to be; this includes both physical ability and spiritual walk Have mentors: men who are more mature and experienced with life's challenges; utilize these men as often as possible by asking questions and spending time with them to watch and learn how they navigate the trials of life. 8. Repeat Affirmations Memorize Bible verses that serve as promises and affirmations from God. Repeat positive affirmations in your mind or out loud that help you focus your heart or mind. Abba, I belong to you. I am a warrior, not a quitter. I am stronger than I know. I am the one Jesus loves. I am an adopted son of God, brother of Jesus, husband and father, teacher, friend, and mentor. I will do this. What we do in life echoes in eternity. When trouble smiles, I smile back. Read and memorize quotes by men who have come before you and overcome challenges and adversity 9. Read Good Books Read at least 10 pages total every day. Choose books that contain and/or teach examples of mental toughness, either fictional or real. Examples: Extreme Ownership -- Jocko Willink Fearless -- Eric Blehm The Way of the Seal and/or Unbeatable Mind -- Mark Divine Spartan Up! -- Joe De Sena Matterhorn -- Karl Marlantes Unbroken -- Laura Hillenbrand Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- Richard Carlson A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini 10. Calm Yourself Meditate daily using the Insight Timer app. Practice breathing techniques (WHM, box breathing, etc.) Incorporate yoga and stretching into your day. Do at least one thing every day that brings you joy: sprint across the field, take a barefoot walk, go for a swim, hike deep into the woods and soak it up, sit in silence and do nothing.
  19. Continuing from Chapter 1 where I did the Crossfit Open and Chapter 2 where I did a Tough Mudder in Ireland, this third Chapter will be about doing the Spartan race in ancient Sparta on November 5th. In the words of a wise Jedi Master: Eyes on the prize The Tough Mudder experience was a useful test in that sense and taught me that I need to keep doing what I do, plus eat better to feel lighter and work on my conditioning. This means I need to Eat lighter, eat healthier Sugar and processed carbs contribute to weight gain and that bloated feeling. Avoid them, simple as that. Keep working out It's not like I'll suddenly stop Crossfitting, but I don't want to suddenly put up specialist goals like running and grip strength. Instead, I'm keeping this flexible with a program that'll change with every challenge cycle. For starters, I'm sticking with 3 CF workouts per week until the end of this cycle (August 5) and brainstorming what's next. Unrelated to the race but tracked nonetheless are life quests to keep Bullet Journalling and at long last get a plumber to fix the damn toilet. The wrestling narrative will continue as well. For those who haven't been following this, I’m playing Total Extreme Wrestling 2016 and doing the Road to Glory challenge, essentially creating a newbie 18 year old alter ego in some backyard wrestling promotion as I try to headline the Main Event of a big promotion’s Pay Per View event. Technical details and rules can be found here. I am using the game’s database of characters, but set in 1997. Considering the first TEW was set in 2005, it's pretty early in that universe and if played well, I should have the chance to rise together with the game's most famous characters. This challenge will run from July 15th until the end of the Spartan weekend on November 5th.
  20. Main Goal I'm going to Blue Mountain, Ontario, 12 October to 15 October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. During the last challenge, I qualified as an Age Group competitor through competition, and will be competing in the 50-and-over Age Group. I've been waiting since the beginning of November 2016 to say I'm one of them. Now that it's happened, I need a new training goal. "Do well at OCRWC" isn't a specific enough training goal for me; I have no frame of reference for this competition. Also, I know I cannot podium in my age group (I know damn well who is in my group and I cannot make that leap in the next four months). I need a realistic training goal to keep me moving forward. Fortunately, I've got a couple in mind. First and foremost, I aim to repeat my OCRWC Qualifier Finish from the Chicago Spartan Sprint in consecutive weekends at the end of this challenge. Just because I don't NEED to qualify for OCRWC at Savage Race in Chicago on July 29, or Conquer the Gauntlet in Iowa on August 5, doesn't mean I shouldn't show up and push some other old guy to do his best at those same races. Right? I've been posting these two images since last November, it would be weird to stop now... Second, on August 12, I am running my first-ever Half Marathon. I would like to not finish last. I am still slow as a road runner and suck at distances. These are weaknesses that I can train in tangible ways. (Almost like I had planned this when setting up my 2017 calendar or something). All that means that, like the Jedi Knights of old, I need to re-focus on my training. The Jedi Trials According to Jedi tradition, every initiate needed to pass five Trials to become a Jedi Knight: Skill, Courage, Spirit, Flesh and Insight. I'll be using these five areas to continue to build on what I started so far in 2017 and fulfill my main goal during competition at OCRWC. Trial of Skill I'm fairly obstacle-proficient in a Spartan Race, but whether that will transfer to this level is pretty hard to quantify as I'm going to see lots of obstacles in Toronto that I've never seen before on a course. I'm going to need to consistently work on obstacles to keep that skill level up. Goal: At least one hour of obstacle skills training at Obstacle Academy every week Trial of Courage No lie, I'm a bit freaked out by the competition, now that I've qualified. The last thing I want to do is be the last man on the hill. Time to up my game. To do this, I have to build on the improvements I've made as a runner this year, and that can only happen if I stick to my training plan. My running coach, Josh, has given me a plan that works and that has produced tangible results. I need to stick to it, and I can't skip my weekly long runs. Goal: Stick to my weekly running schedule and do not skip my weekend long runs. Trial of the Spirit I've been racing fairly flat this year and while the Montana mountains didn't kill me and my home Minnesota Sprint did not steal my soul per usual, hills are still a weak spot. OCRWC is 15K at a ski resort and my intel says I should kiss my legs goodbye, unless I start getting serious about my hill training. Goal: 2x hill workouts per week. Trial of the Flesh Just because Spartan Race ignores OCRWC doesn't mean OCRWC ignores Spartan Race staples, like heavy carries. They don't skimp on the heavy stuff, and I can't, either. However, this is a modified goal from what I've been working on for most of the year: I am not eschewing strength training, I just want to keep what I've got, while continuing to become leaner. It's a delicate balancing act, but I've got the general know-how to program myself for this. I'm going to supplement Tuesday's Weightlifting class and Thursday's Boot Camp class by continuing the Grease the Groove Pull-up work I've been doing, while also doing accumulation work. Goal: Strength Training group classes 2x per week. Goal: Accumulate 12 pull-ups or more per day. Goal: Accumulate 100 push-ups or more per day on non-group training days. Trial of Insight None of this all will mean a damned thing if I don't continue to take care of myself, and taking care of myself starts with nutrition and ends with rest. I'm going to give myself a small break from strict nutrition between 6 July and 9 July, as I will be in TX for a certain Chaplain's wedding, and also where I will eat In-n-Out and Whataburger because those are things I can't do here in the Midwest. I also may or may not eat all of the tacos. Otherwise, I know my macros, and it's time to try to stick to them on a daily micro-managed basis. Goal: Stick to my macros. Goal: 6 or more hours of sleep per night. Training Summary Modified schedule for the week ending 7/8 accounts for the Chaplain's nuptials. I'm going to be hungry after 10 miles, folks, plan a good breakfast. Training goals will help keep my eyes on the next prize... It's still the black one.
  21. This challenge (as well as the next one) will be influenced by two things: Soulcon, which starts July 10th and the Spartan Race, which will be August 27th. Soulcon is a ministry for men created by Navy veteran, author and lifestyle/fitness coach Cody Bobay. It stands for SOULCONtrol and refers to the Bible's call to submit our mind, will and emotions to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Essentially, Soulcon equates the concept of self-discipline with strengthening your walk with the Holy Spirit; they are not mutually exclusive. The spirit (your soul) needs to be strong in order for the body to be healthy and strong. Soulcon is a 6 week challenge for men, and there are four main fundamentals that are part of the Soulcon daily routine: what you eat, what you drink, exercise, and rest. In addition, there are several required objectives: Pray the Lord's Prayer out loud, on your knees, every day No carbs after 3pm from grains and breads (sweet potatoes, vegetables, and berries are allowed) Track your caloric intake except on feast days Drink at least 64oz of water a day Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 days a week Run, walk or crawl two 5ks a week Before you leave home for the day do 40 pushups (or as many as you can) <---- I may be substituting burpees here. Sleep 6-8 hours a night (excluding feast days) Evangelism: Talk to at least 10 people you don't know about your faith There is also a weekly physical challenge: Week 1: Test-In Week Max Push-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Max Sit-ups in 2 minutes 2 min rest Run, walk, or crawl a 5k (who crawls a 5k?) Make sure to record your 5k time, push-up, and sit-up count to challenge yourself on Week 6 Week 2: Max Week Monday: Push-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many push-ups as possible. Wednesday: Sit-up Day You have 24 hours to do as many sit-ups as possible. Friday: Bodyweight Squat Day You have 24 hours to do as many squats as possible. Week 3: Fast Week Have one fast day with at least one person on your team (this team consists of a Facebook group). On this day, you will drink only water and black coffee. Week 4: Hell Week This week you are limited to fruit, veggies (including sweet potatoes, not white potatoes), lean proteins, unsalted nuts, and protein powders (no milk added, only water). Also, no weight training this week, just daily push-ups and any bodyweight training you desire. Push yourself as hard as possible, and have a healthy competition with the guys on your team. You can keep track of: miles from jogging or walking miles from cycling miles on the elliptical There are two more weeks, but I will save them for the next challenge. I will also share my Spartan challenge in the next post.
  22. A lot has happened since I was last consistently active with Nerd Fitness! One of the biggest things is that I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and discovered that not only do I have a passion for it, but I'm actually built just right for it, and I'm kind of a natural (or so it's been said to me, I still feel like a fish out of water most of the time!). Bear with me while I info dump... In other news, I did my Spartan Sprint last weekend, June 24th! Mom and I drove up to Boise Friday, and I ran the race on Saturday, 4.7 miles with 1100 ft of elevation gain (from climbing one big ol hill three times), and 150 burpees (all of the grip ones, the spear throw, and the rope climb...I was SO CLOSE on the Twister and the Rope Climb). I was adopted by a team about fifteen minutes in, which was my evil plan all along! Then, my car broke down just as we were about to leave Boise right after the race. So my Mom and I got to hang out in Fucking Boise (that's what it's now forever known as) for an extra 2 nights, as we waited for normal business hours on Monday to fix my car. We had a BLAST! We walked everywhere, obviously, and found some civilization on Fairview Ave, a great breakfast place called The Egg Factory, and managed to stay Green on our macros, and a workout in at the hotel gym. Eat To Perform is still going great for me, but lifting has taken a backseat to hiking and jiu jitsu. I do BJJ 3x a week, and try for at least one hike a week, with an occasional lifting session to keep in touch with my lifting friends haha. Personal life info dump, in the spoiler in case you don't want to hear me talk about my love life =p Body: 1. BJJ 3-4xWeek (Tues/Wed/Thurs nights, sometimes Saturday mornings) 2. Hiking at least 1x week (Fri or Sat usually, plan it for the evening to make sure I have time for a long date earlier in the day) 3. Running and BW workout or lifting 1-2 x week (Sunday/Monday mornings) Heart (when you're 4500 miles away, leaving things to spontaneity usually ends up with it just not happening, there's gotta be a plan...not super romantic, but the way it is): 1. Call on lunch break at least 3xweek 2. Plan and have extended date 1x week (usually Friday or Saturday, my days off, and something I've been neglecting because of all my other activities...because I felt like I wanted to make the most of my time left in Utah and felt a bit of resentment about having to leave...that's getting a little easier the more we talk and reconnect) Mind: 1. Read Jiu Jitsu Academy or Becoming A Supple Leopard 3x a week for 15-20 minutes 2. Get 7.5 hours of sleep every night (AKA: don't be a crazy grumpy zombie girl. 3. Check in on NF 5x/week
  23. ...finally made it. I said once that shit is going down, but I am not, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m fairly close to sinking. Things got bad, and the situation was completely beyond my control, and that stress and upset and helplessness hit hard. But things are better, and I’m using the knowledge to try and recover as best I can before the Spartan Sprint at the end of the month, perhaps the most difficult physical feat I’ll have undertaken to date. Shouldn’t be that bad, I mean, in the past three weeks I haven’t gone on a run, haven’t worked out properly, and have eaten like absolute crap… I am so unprepared for this it’s almost funny, but that doesn’t mean I won’t put my all into it when the time comes. Despite the race, what’s most important right now is remembering how to function. My flat is disgusting, my sleep schedule is non-existent, and I haven’t left home for anything but work and the odd bit of food shopping in far longer than is healthy. Sadly, not an uncommon occurrence in my life, but recognising I’ve fallen back into it is a good sign. So I've got a few simple things I want to start with before even beginning to think about anything else. The Fix-Up i. the fifteen minute method Spend at least fifteen minutes every day on household tasks. Could be washing dishes, cleaning down appliances, washing the floor, or a bite-sized clear out, just as long as something is done. After fifteen minutes, take a break. If it was a struggle to get through those fifteen minutes then go on to do something enjoyable. If not, take another fifteen minutes for more housework. scoring 0-10 sets of 15: Utter failure 11-20 sets of 15: Regular failure 21-27 sets of fifteen: Barely a pass - No reward 28 sets of 15: Target - Reward TBD 28+ sets of 15: Success - Extra reward(s) TBD Tally: 3/28 ii. wakey wakey Getting the right amount of sleep has become complicated due to the vodka-pickled party pensioner downstairs (it is being dealt with, just excruciatingly slowly). However, on weekdays there is no reason I should be relinquishing forever more in bed. If I’m not working, or working a back shift, I should be out of bed by 8am sharp. scoring ...to be done retroactively, I think. I don’t know how many days off I’ll have or how many weekends I’ll have no sleep. iii. escape the hidey-hole Go outside. Go for a walk. Get on a bus and go somewhere new. Do something that is not sitting on the sofa wallowing in self-pity. Once a week at the very least. scoring 0-3: Failure 4+: Pass - Reward TBD iv. unfinished business I’ve always enjoyed art, I have a lot of plans for this little flat of mine, and my memory appears to be disintegrating. All of these things have resulted in me beginning to draw out said plans, and the results are better than I would have thought. So by the end of this challenge cycle I’d like to have every room planned out. Aside from allowing me to get a better visual and not forget which ideas I’ve had, it gives me something to work towards. scoring The flat really only has three rooms, but they can be split into seven zones. 0-5: Failure 6-7: Pass - Reward TBD v. fun fun fun Fun is not mindlessly surfing the internet for something to occupy my time. Fun is picking up my guitar or a book, fun is gardening or knitting, fun is something that will actually make me smile, and that’s been in short order recently. scoring Might work this as a ‘no fun = penalty’ kind of thing, not sure yet. bonus no vi. socialise Imposed self-isolation is no fun, and is incredibly damaging. I’m not doing myself any favours, and despite what my insecurities would have me believe, I’m not doing anyone else any favours by shutting myself away. So I’ll talk to people. Every day. bonus no vii. smoothies My diet has consisted of crap, and that’s when I actually eat. While I’ve managed to get myself back into eating food with proper nutritional value, I’m still struggling to adjust to eating enough to fuel myself. It’s amazing just how quickly the stomach adapts to eating next to nothing… Drinking is a lot easier, therefore if I find myself having a day where I’m on the low end of the calorie consumption scale then all I need to do is blend up a smoothie and have at it. There we have it. I was considering pushing forwards with the challenge I’d originally planned, but it didn’t fit with what I know really needs to get done. Yeah, regular workouts, running, and on point nutrition will benefit me massively, but I can’t do that if I can’t figure out how to go about my day to day life. So I’m trying to figure it out and not vanish off the face of the earth in the process.
  24. Hello Rangers, I come to you( a week late) from an unintended hiatus. I started a warrior, with my training goals to become as strong as my favorite viking, Hafthor Bjornsson, aka The Mountain Now, my course has taken a drastic change, I have signed up to take on the Spartan Ultra Beast, for those who dont know its a 26 mile obstacle race, and I have chosen to do one in colorado, at a ski resort. So technically I am still training to fight the mountain. This will prove to be the most physically difficult thing I will have ever undertaken. And I am training hard to get ready for it, and it is the reason I have come to the rangers, as this seems more like a ranger style event than a warrior one. Naturally most of my goals for this challenge revolve around defeating the ultra beast (All bolded ones are the goals for this challenge) Training to fight the mountain and the ultra beast: 1) Strength train 3x a week 2) run 3+ miles 3x a week 3) walk 3 + miles a day (pretty easy seeing as how my walk to and from work is 1 mile each) 4) keep a thorough log of workouts/progress 5)WARM UP AND STRETCH PROPERLY TO PREVENT INJURY (I'm really bad at this, and I have definitely ached unnecessarily) obviously besides training right, I need to eat right, which also ties in well with my desire to budget better, and thus came this category Eating greens while saving green 1a) leave the card at home, only use the $20 cash pulled out at the beginning of each week (AKA stop buying food and coffee)* special dinners coming up are exception this is mainly for during working hours* 1b) bring snacks and a large thermos full of coffee or bring coffee grounds to make coffee at work ( i really like coffee) 2) plan trips to the grocery store only allow for 1 misc. item on the list, to avoid buying unhealthy and over spending( new ingredients are like shiny things to me) 3) review budget at least once a week Recently I traveled out of the country for the first time, to the Dominican Republic and caught the travel bug Exploring new worlds (kind of) 1) save 5% to 10% of pay check for travel( this kind of helps give motivation to stop eating out) 2)pick a country and start to plan a trip Lastly, I have been inspired recently to tap into my creative side, and I would like to try to launch a youtube series and an associated blog, the reason being, is that I have not found any very good series that explains aerospace engineering, and I get a lot of value from video tutorials. At the same time as making a video tutorial, it should help me review, reinforce, and maybe learn new things, by teaching it to an audience(even if it is only one person). At the same time I have ideas for other topics as well, but I figure one at a time. I have some ideas, but I really need a name for the channel if anyone has any suggestions Building and Online presence 1) pick a name for video series/blog 2) film one "episode" i know this seems like alot, but I feel they are very doable, many of which I have started doing already( been training for a while now), but the supporting quests are not there for example. I have been bad about logging my workouts, and have to rely on memory for reps/weights etc. Other quests here are simpler, and may only take a day if that, yet are quests all the same. I know i was late to the party(again), but hopefully not too late. Let me know what yall think of my goals. Sorry for wall of text.
  25. Luke Skywalker: Oh, come on! How could you know my father? You don't even know who I am. Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here! We're wasting our time!Yoda: [sighs, looks upward] I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.Obi-Wan Kenobi: [voice emanates from nowhere] He will learn patience.Yoda: Much anger in him, like his father.Obi-Wan Kenobi: Was I any different when you taught me?Yoda: He is not ready!Luke Skywalker: Yoda? I am ready! I— Ben, I can be a Jedi! Ben tell him I'm rea— [bangs his head on the low ceiling] Ow!Yoda: [to Luke] Ready are you? What know you of ready? For 800 years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained! A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one, a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, the horizon. Never his mind on where he was [pokes Luke]. Hmm? What he was doing. [paces around] Adventure. Heh! Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. [turns to Luke and points with his walking stick] You are reckless!Obi-Wan Kenobi: So was I, if you remember.Yoda: [still looking at Luke] He is too old. Yes. Too old to begin the training.Luke Skywalker: But I've learned so much.Yoda: [looking toward the sky] Will he finish what he begins?Luke Skywalker: I won't fail you! I'm not afraid.Yoda: [grimly] Oh! You will be. You will be. Main Goal I'm planning to to to Blue Mountain, Ontario, in October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. I could register right now as a Journeyman as I have completed the requisite three or more qualifying events since the last Championships. I don't want to just show up as an enthusiastic course-filler, though. I want to qualify as an Age Group competitor by earning my spot through competition. The black one on the left is what I'm after. How realistic is this goal? On July 30, 2016, I finished 24 minutes behind the OCRWC qualifier time for the 50-54 age group at Savage Race Chicago.This past February 25, I ran the Spartan Sprint in Arizona while sick as hell and finished 15 minutes behind the final OCRWC qualifier time. I am working with a running coach who has given me a plan to increase my speed over distance. I know I'm getting better, but I believe I still have time to make up. I've used my 10k time as my guideline for improvement, since it's the same distance or longer than my two A races for this year; over the past year and a half, I've knocked about 10 minutes off my PR for 10k and am working to trim even more off by the end of July, when my two "A" Races are held: Savage Race Chicago, July 30 Conquer the Gauntlet Des Moines, August 5 What will it take for me to get there? I now have 10 weeks to close the gap on my competition. I'm still slow enough over distance that some solid dedication will trim off large chunks of time, though. As I identified before the last challenge, it's going to take me, getting out of my head, casting off my own perceived limitations, and pushing beyond my comfort zone. What I want is still on the other side of comfortable. I'm not going to let the two races in this challenge cycle - the Chicago Spartan Super and Sprint on June 10-11, and the Minnesota Spartan Sprint at the end of this cycle on June 24 - alter my training toward my goal. I'm going to be doing a boatload of hills between now and June 24, because if I don't, I will die on the ski hill here at home, but that won't replace anything in my schedule, and it will make me a better runner overall anyway. The Chicago and Minnesota Spartans are B (Chicago Sprint) and C races on my calendar, and will be run accordingly. I will not be risking injury or fighting my way off-trail (like the hard-core "ON YOUR LEFT" people who expect others to yield during a section of a bushwhacked single-track and then leap through the brush when you can't, while cursing loudly) during either one of these events. I aim to enjoy all three, and if an OCRWC qualifier occurs at any, well, that's great, too. I've got ten weeks. Goal: Faster I've become faster than I was - three of my last four road races were all personal bests, and the fourth met a goal time - but if I want to be faster, I've got to run, consistently. Two challenges ago I put on more consistent miles and started getting the hoped-for results. Last challenge I got a new running plan from my coach, Josh, and I just set a PR in a 5k in terrible conditions at the end of the last challenge, even though I missed my own personal goal time. Now it's time to put on some significant mileage and be able to sustain those paces for longer, in order to achieve my goals. This will be the schedule for this challenge: Week Zero: 3 miles VO2 Max Monday, Hills Tuesday, 4 miles Lactate Threshold Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday for consistency, Hills Friday, 10 miles Saturday, Incline Trainer Sunday Week One: 3 miles VO2 Max Monday, Hills Tuesday, 4 miles Lactate Threshold Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday for consistency, Hills Friday, Badass Dash followed by 4 mile trail run Saturday, Incline Trainer Sunday Week Two: 3 miles VO2 Max Monday, Hills Tuesday, 4 miles Lactate Threshold Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday for consistency, Hills Friday, Chicago Spartan Super Saturday, Chicago Spartan Sprint Sunday Week Three: 3 miles VO2 Max Monday, Hills Tuesday, 4 miles Lactate Threshold Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday for consistency, Hills Friday, 10 miles Saturday, Hills Sunday Week Four: 3 miles Monday, 3 miles Tuesday, 3 miles Wednesday, 3 miles Thursday, Minnesota Spartan Sprint Saturday (this is also my annual Youth Group Mission Trip week, hoo boy), trail run Sunday Yes, I'm planning on either running or climbing hills almost every day for the next 10 weeks. This is what it's going to take. Goal: Stronger This has been working, but they moved one of my lift days at the gym. I'm replacing it with Boot Camp due to convenience. I need to be more consistent with my own body-weight workouts. Part 1: Week Zero: Lift Day Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday, Obstacle Academy Friday, OCR WOW Weekend Week One: Lift Day Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday, Obstacle Academy Friday, Badass Dash Saturday Week Two: Lift Day Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday, Chicago Spartan Super/Sprint Weekend Week Three: Lift Day Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday, Obstacle Academy Friday, OCR WOW Weekend Week Four: Youth Group Mission Trip where I'll be doing manual labor all week, MN Spartan Sprint Saturday Part 2: Continuing the Grease the Groove pull-up training method I stole gratuitously from @Big_Show. I'll be recording the total number of pull-ups completed every day, not just full dead-hang strict pull-ups. I wanted to average at least 20 per day over the last challenge, but it was more like 12-15. I'm aiming for 15 to 20 per day this time around. Part 3: Also during the last challenge, I tried to accumulate 200 push-ups per day; this wound up being more like 60 to 120 per day. I'm going to try again, shooting for 120 to 200 per day. Not hard if I get in a few sets of 20 during my workday at my desk. Challenge Plan Summary I can do this. Goal: Smaller I know my macros work. I'm still trying to refine so that I meet goals based on my daily needs; I'll be sticking with what I set the last time around, because actually meeting these targets daily was not so much "hit and miss" as "stormtrooper-level miss". 10 weeks of dedication to attempt to meet a goal I set before the first of the year. That's only two challenge cycles; not quite the home stretch right now, but I can see it from here, and I need to be ready. Here we go. We all know what Yoda would say here.
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