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COPIED FROM THE LAST CHALLENGE (this is part 2/3 of a 3-challenge series) I have been wanting to do a Dark Tower themed challenge FOR EVER. This series is probably my absolute favourite of all time. I’m encouraged by the movie hopefully providing a wide availability of gifs so I'm finally doing it! I won’t be following the movie plot though, I’ll be sticking with the book characters and locations. This is going to be a 3 challenge long theme, with pre-planned variations and additions each challenge. This triple-challenge is all leading up to Mr. Raxie and I’s wedding in October, and then our honeymoon in early November! The first major thing I’ll be working towards is Mr. Raxie’s and I’s first dance. We started taking dance lessons last week I want to continue that. I also want to start taking group dance classes when I can because I remembered how much I truly love to dance (I did ballet for 15 years of my life growing up but it’s been quite a while since then) and every time we leave a dance lesson I feel so unbelievably happy and light. I want to get more of that feeling. A few weeks after the wedding is the honey moon! We were originally going to do something relaxing like going to an all inclusive resort or Disney or something like that and then realized that’s just not us, no matter how much we would love to pretend it is. So instead we are going to do a ~2 week backpacking trip across the Great Smoky Mountains via the Appalachian Trail! About halfway through we’ll be submitting Clingman’s Dome, which at 6,643 feet is the highest mountain on the Appalachian Trail and the third highest mountain on the east coast. It’s going to be really tough. I’m not concerned about being out in the middle of no where for that long as I feel adequately prepared in that sense, the terrain itself is just going to be hard as heck compared to what we are used to… so we are going to have to get really serious about training for that with as much hiking as possible between then and now, and rucking around the city when we can’t get out to nature. With all that said, I’ve got a pretty rigorous training plan for the next three challenges, and my challenges will include zero weeks so they are each 5 weeks long. Each challenge will be a leg of Roland’s journey to the tower with his Ka-Tet (for non-constant readers: the Ka-Tet is Roland’s tightly bound group of travelling companions through the series. They are so tightly bound they are essentially family and their destinies are entwined) and will be traveling towards a confrontation with one of the Dark Tower big-bads. The main Ka-Tet will come with me for each challenge, and each challenge will also have a guest member from the series for that challenge alone. Note: The characters that do and do not come with me, the potential deaths of big-bads, and how each relates to the locations of that particular challenge will have no correlation to book events, so it’ll all be pretty spoiler free.
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. Now I'm not sure how much of my personal stuff I've been sharing here lately, but on top of my recently discussed paycheck issues I've had a lot of things going wrong and it's got me in a real bad mood. The latest thing came a couple of days back, when I got the confirmation mail for my Spartan ticket. You see, my Crossfit box is sponsored by Reebok, who also happens to be into the whole Spartan thing, so they offered us 60 spots on the race and of course I applied for the Spartan Super. The confirmation mail said Spartan Sprint and it turns out the arrangement is to run the latter as a team. To quote the late Macho Man, that put me Misunderstandings and financial pressure be damned, I wanted to do the Super and that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Since there's no option to cancel the Sprint ticket now (plus the peer pressure of running the thing as a team) I went ahead and signed for the Super on top of it all. "Why not both" is the Ranger mantra after all. If @EricMN can travel around and do Spartan weekends, I can do more than just look up to him;I can be inspired enough to run a Super and then a Sprint on the same day. Considering I've already run a Super and needed to push myself further, this feels like the right thing to do. It also feels like madness, but let us not dwell on what happened to the last person who spoke of madness in Sparta. Instead, given the wrestling narrative of my challenge, I'm sticking with Macho Man Randy Savage. Think in cases like that it's mandatory to also tag Macho Man @Teros Savage as well. Wheels:How you get there matters As spectacular as it would be to get to the Spartan in a shiny silver robe next to the SRLF on a throne that's carried by man-slaves, I'm going for something a bit less grandiose. It's been too long since I got my motorcycle license, too long since I've meant to get one but for various reasons never did. This year I made it part of my roadmap for a reason and I'll be damned if I don't ride my own to Sparta (unless the SRLF tags along, in which case we'll probably go by car, but regardless). Despite my financial troubles, I'm expecting a good one-off pay by the end of September, which coupled with the late paycheck from work and the next one hopefully coming in faster, should create a hefty lump of cash I should quickly invest in a motorbike before reality settles in and I start spending it to plug holes in my budget. Life happens once (a.k.a. YOLO). Nutrition: Quantity control It worked, so I'm sticking with it. My diet's pretty solid all around in terms of quality, what I really need to keep in check is the quantity. Bullet Journal: Seeing is easier than remembering Bullet Journalling will continue. I've notived I tend to drop the habit after a couple of off days, so I need to keep it as a goal to make sure I update the agenda. Morning routine: Cup of coffee in the big time Domestic Rangering worked last round so to take this goal to 11, I'm going back to my army days, where every morning began with a standard routine of getting dressed, making the bed, eating breakfast, shaving and cleaning up the barracks. The civilian version I'm going for is a routine of breakfast, personal hygiene (teeth brushing, shower etc), feline care (food and water bowl check plus emptying the litter bin) and housework (laundry, trash, dishes, sweeping the floor etc). Obviously, the getting dressed part is optional and can go between any of the above. Life decisions: Way into the twilight zone So my new job is better than the previous one, but I'm still not thrilled and it's not just me being disappointed because of all the payment issues. The subject isn't what gets me going, the money is way too little for my qualifications (no arrogance here, I'm getting marginally more than the lady who cleans the worplace thrice a week) and from the looks of it, this initial setup phase of the institution I'm working for seems like it'll go on for much more than originally expected, meaning my work will be a lot more administrative than I'd like. On the other hand, this collaboration with my professor doesn't look like it can bear much fruit in terms of employment, at least in the short run and I'm not too fond of living on my parents' cash for a few years before work picks up. I'm keeping in touch because I love the subject and I could get involved in a few research projects (plus the prospect of a potential PhD down the line) but that's about it. I gotta find another way and I gotta do it fast before I'm stuck where I currently am. Goal here is to think some things through, shoot out some CVs and actively work towards a career shift. P.S. This challenge cycle is supposed to go until October 14, but I'm stretching it all the way to my Spartan weekend on November 5th because this is my challenge and I do what I want with it!
I sat out the last few challenges due to vacation/work travel/life. I've been on-again, off-again with working out and eating healthy (big surprise, I know). I was supposed to do a Spartan Sprint last weekend with coworkers but we ended up deferring due to collective injuries and conflicts (I am not injured but not prepared). I think we're going to be targeting a race in early November, which means I have 7 weeks to ACTUALLY TRAIN THIS TIME. As many races as I've done, every single I time I've undertrained...not just butterflies-at-the-starting-line-doubts, but clearly missed too many workouts to perform optimally. Long Term Goal: 25% body fat This Challenge Goal: Feel my Feels Reading one of the NF articles combined with some thoughts swirling around my crazy-brain made me realize...so many of my struggles are coming from a place of anxiety. My poor eating choices, and maybe even my various maladies (headaches and gut issues) which wear me out and drain my motivation to work out. Those moments in the store where I grab the bag of processed carbs, I'm feeling despair, hating myself for being weak, desperately wanting to feel better. I'm eating (and drinking) and watching TV, even reading, out of that desperation - needing that instant numbing and pick-me-up. I KNOW that I feel better when I work out (seriously don't know how people who don't feel the endorphin rush work out ever), but that place of feeling like I might cry or scream in groundless misery is not a place of energy. I'm simultaneously wound up and drained by anxiety. So this challenge...I'm going to try not to numb/drown the feelings. Getting back into the meditation habit and being more mindful of my choices is a start. I've been succumbing to the sucky feels - fighting back starts with understanding. As a reality check, work right now is not even particularly stressful - I'm just not handling it well. Goal #1: Move 5x/week For the endorphins. Any combination of yoga/running/walking/spartan workouts/spin/climbing. Running-crying counts too. Goal #2: Mindful shopping and eating I know how to cook reasonably balanced meals. I'm not aiming for perfect paleo, but roughly: Breakfast - protein, Lunch - protein + veg, Dinner - protein + veg + carb I'm still struggling to find a way to balanced eating, but I'm tired of that post-work feeling-like-I'm-going-to-meltdown induced stop at the grocery store for cheese or chips. I've even fallen back into my popcorn addiction (I know it can be a healthy snack, but not the way I make it, ha). The real goal is, every time I want to buy/eat something unhealthy, to: Write down what I want and what I'm feeling Take 3 deep breaths (or start a meditation through the Calm app) As needed/available, use a non-food mood booster If I still want it, have it Ideally I will only eat unhealthy things when I am in a mental space to fully enjoy them, rather than a space of please-anything-to-make-it-better. Goal #3: Wake early, Meditate daily Just do it. Bed at 9. Lights out by 10. Up at 5. THE PREPARATION I'm pre-paying for a year of Calm so I HAVE to use it to get my money's worth. I will buy the yoga pass with gift cards, and pre-book my classes for the whole challenge Stock the fridge with healthy easy staples: Steamfresh veggies, deli meat, eggs Make a list of mood-boosters that are not food/alcohol Make a list of healthy quick meals/snacks and post it in the kitchen Give fiance $50, and if I miss a workout it gets donated to Trump's 2020 campaign *shudder*. If I hit all my workouts I'll buy new running shoes. THE REASONS JULY 2018 WEDDING!!! I bought my dress and even though I love it, I don't love how my upper arms look right now. Gotta work on those guns. Christmas in Spain - For one this is with my skinny sisters and mom and I'm sick and tired of being the heavy one in the pictures. I want to be able to indulge (TAPAS AND WINE) without feeling like I'm being judged by my mom, looking at me and thinking "this is why you're overweight". I wore holes in my size 10 jeans, and instead of buying new ones I squeezed into my size 8's. Since gaining weight again (142-->152lb) they are tight. I'm not buying bigger jeans. Spartan Sprint in November? My coworker is trying to talk me into doing a Spartan Trifecta next year. But based on my Sprint training track record I'm not ready to commit. But #1 is wanting to feel better all the time. Psst this is my wedding dress: Obviously this is not me. But the flower pattern in the fabric shimmers. Also it's sooooo comfy.
"Solvitur ambulando." -- St. Augustine I'm going to keep this one mostly non-specific and open, rather than making a list of required tasks to check off. With the changing of the seasons, I felt it necessary to choose a challenge that inspires me to get outside and into nature. In addition to starting a new tour of Soulcon and continuing my Spartan-motivated training (see past challenge here), I have a few goals, the first of which are taken from the book The Wander Society. If you're not familiar with it, author Keri Smith "discovered" a secret society known as The Wander Society, an elite group of thinkers that has existed for more than a century and whose members include such wandering souls as Walt Whitman (considered the patron saint of TWS), Gertrude Stein, John Muir, William Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Thoreau, Aristotle, Langston Hughes, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many others. So as you can see, the movement is very much inspired by mindfulness and meditation, "wandering" but not mindlessly, rather in search of an adventure. It is also about disconnecting, putting down our devices for a while and allowing our bodies, minds, and souls to "wander," to experience the world directly. So here are the goals, or what TWS calls the Precepts: 1. Wander every day (at least 10,000 steps) 2. Do not plan your wanderings. Start in any direction. The location is not important. 3. Use whatever you have. (You have everything you need.) Use your senses. 4. Collect and gather. Document experiences and findings. 5. Remain open. Breathe deeply. Ask the question, ‘What can I discover?’ 6. Allow ideas to come in. Write them down. 7. Question everything you have been told. 8. Use your imagination in your wanderings. 9. Use your intuition. Follow your hunches. Go toward what you are drawn to. 10. Encourage your own wild nature. What makes you feel truly alive? In addition, I have a few specific goals that I need to add to my usual (again, see past challenges) habits: Read for at least 20 minutes every day--this means sitting down for at least 20 minutes and reading without interruption and without distraction. Write for at least 20 minutes every day--same specs as above.