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  1. Hello, 2022! [Preamble] 2021 was quite the year. We spent our first full year in the Forest which has been an experience! I also (unexpectedly) went back to full time work for the first time in nearly 10 years, and for the first time at all since I became a mother. I changed my eating habits and lost extra 10lbs that had been following me around since before the pandemic started. In many ways 2022 will be about continuing and carrying on, but instead of just finding my feet in my new reality, I want to get some forward movement, too. [About Me] I’m a 42 year old American woman living in the forests of England with my British husband (Mr) and pre-school son (Enting). I work in gamedev and when I’m not doing that, I’m tending to my garden, doing needlework of some sort, playing games (of various sorts), and exploring our local woodlands. [Goals] My fitness goals are pretty simple: Reach Mordor Finally finish my (tracked) journey to Mordor. I’m 1000 miles away! I’ve been wanting to complete this challenge since the early 00s (when it was called the Eowyn Challenge), and I’m sure I’ve been “there and back again” several times over, but I’ve never managed to track the whole thing. I want to finish my walking route to Mordor by November 2022. My goal for this challenge is 25 miles a week. Eat PAI Continue with PAI. For this challenge, I want to build up to an average score of 75 (and actually maintain it). Eventually, I’d like to get up to 100, but I’m building up to it. Maybe next challenge… Down Another 5 I’d like to trim down another 5lbs, although not necessarily all of it during this challenge. This will be done with increased activity and continuing to watch my portion sizes/limited snacking. It doesn’t sound like a lot, I know, but I’m now in the range where I find losing weight (let alone keeping it off) to be really difficult! My goal is to weigh less than I did at the start of the challenge. Tracking will be done with a minimum of weekly updates, and of course will include plenty of Owlshire photospam. [Challenges] It’s likely that my husband will soon need to start commuting part of the week to his studio and I’ll be regularly solo-parenting which will require some routine adjustments. My household has a tendency to catch every germ (except, so far, Covid) that comes through the Enting’s preschool. I do not exaggerate when I say this happens about every other week. This tends to knock down my fitness goals since I become housebound looking after people even if I’m not sick myself. I’d really like to work on alternatives for when I can’t go for long hikes in the woods—which is my preference, but can’t always happen. Admin note: I always start on Week 0, and I track from Monday-Sunday.
  2. I was going to wait for two things before posting about my Epic Quest. The first was the new year, because that seemed the logical time to start a new adventure. But waiting for the new year is actually counter-intuitive for me. I don’t need to wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar, and I am not going to wait till September 29th rolls around again, as tempting as that would be. (It would be my Granddad’s birthday and extra special in that sense, as well as the date Aragorn meets the hobbits). This is my quest – to walk many miles, and along the way, find the person I felt myself becoming before the pandemic. The strong one who can travel across the world on her own, handle challenges that come her way, thrive in confidence and strength. I left my reservations, my awkwardness and lack of self confidence behind, little piece by little piece. I look at the photos from that trip and I see confidence. That woman didn’t care if passers-by thought she was nuts, posing with a big sword in her hand or waving the flag of Rohan across the Pelennor Fields (I forget it’s real life name, it’s near a town called Twizel though). She just did it because she was having fun and being true to herself. I can’t go back to Middle Earth yet. The world is still reeling, travel is not as safe or as open as it can be. And I’m beginning to understand that the location made it easier, taking me out of my everyday environment, but I need to thrive there too. Not just when I’m away. So, hence this challenge. The other thing holding me back from saying anything was me actually finishing it. I’ve done the calculations, worked out what milestones I want to use… but I need a little help from the nerd hive-mind. You see, I am planning to walk, run and row through Middle Earth, tracking my progress and hitting various milestones along the way, like weathertop, the wolf attack after Caradhras, Helm's Deep, etc. I am not, however, walking to Mordor. My path is that of a Dúnedain. Aragorn has captured my imagination since first I snuck my mum's copy of LOTR out of her bookcase to read in the bathroom at night. The films cemented him as everything I wanted to be and yet felt relatable. Someone wrestling with the weight of responsibilities, questioning his ability. And becoming one of the most well rounded ‘warrior’ characters I have ever seen in books or film. Leading by example, with friendships bound by love, fearless in battle, accomplished in healing, well rounded enough to allow his emotions space to exist and yet not being so overrun with them that they rule him. Now, I’m not after the throne of Gondor. But I do want that sense of confidence that comes from being exactly who you are, knowing exactly who and what you are and living it. I glimpsed it on my travels, and I want it again. My path then, is to follow the footsteps of the Dúnedain, from the moment Strider sees the hobbits on the Great East Road and follows them to Bree, to the moment Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, is crowned King Elessar of Gondor and Arnor. I can walk, run and row, because all three were large parts of his journey. I didn’t think that the Fellowship spent much time rowing down the Aunduin, but according to this website, they actually rowed 389 miles down from Lothlorien to the falls of Rauros. I am not however going to be including horse riding. Mainly because, for one thing, I do not know how to ride. I mean, I’ve ridden one once, in New Zealand ironically, and if not for the guides I had with me, that horse would have taken me wherever the heck it wanted to go! It was a wonderful experience, but one that requires a deceptive amount of skill. Learning to ride properly would take an awful lot of time and funds that I simply don’t have. So, I’ll stick to those three, and rowing will probably not feature all that much. Which leaves me with the milestones. I have an idea that, at various moments I think are key or noteworthy, I have an Event, some way to mark this moment of the journey. Some of that will be a challenge, like a hero workout, some of it will be more reward based, but still something connected to helping me grow, like a camping weekend, an archery experience day or new gear. But there are several milestones and I am needing ideas. Throw your best suggestions at me! So far I have: - Complete ‘Murph’ (without a weight vest). - Get my gait analysed properly rather than guess what shoe is best for me for running - Axe throwing and knife experience day at Nuclear Wild forest - Obstacle play day at Wildforest - Camping weekend with hiking - This 100km challenge… probably over 2 days because that mimics the continuous journey more and I don’t know I like the idea of walking in the dark and potentially missing a marker. My navigation skills are not quite up to a ranger’s standards yet! https://www.ultrachallenge.com/cotswold-way-challenge/ The Milestones I have chosen (subject to change, I’m already considering adding some more in): 110 miles – Attack on Weathertop 319 miles – Attack at the Ford of Bruinen; Aragorn and Glorfindel stay to defend the other hobbits as Frodo is sent ahead (may add in something for Rivendell. Aragorn was not idle here, but went out scouting for signs of the enemy with the elves) 647 miles – Wolves attack the Fellowship after the failed attempt to cross Cahadras 707 miles – Attack at the Chamber of Mazarbul. (Gandalf falls and Aragorn assumes leadership of the Fellowship approximately 1 and a ½ miles later) 775 miles – Aragorn stands in Cerin Amroth in Lothlorien, remembering his time there with Arwen. 1,178 miles – Uruk-hai attack; Boromir is killed, Merry and Pippin captured. Frodo and Sam leave and Aragorn decides to pursue the Uruks and rescue Merry and Pippin. 1,313 miles – After 3 days of hard travel, the three reach Rohan and meet Eomer. 1,473 miles – Reunited with Gandalf, they reach Edoras and free King Theoden from Saruman 1,592 miles – Battle of Helm’s Deep (whatever milestone I choose for this, it has to be Epic. I adore this battle) 1,648 miles – Confront Saruman in Isengard and reunite with Merry and Pippin 1,848 miles – Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli reach the Paths of the Dead and have to convince the dead to fight for them 1,906 miles – Reach the Stone of Erech, the dead follow. 2,431 miles – Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Aragorn loses one of his kin in the battle. 2,540 miles – Marching to Mordor, Aragorn reaches the desolution of the Morannon; heralds proclaim his coming as King Elessar. 2,572 miles – Battle of the Morannon. Despite the odds, Frodo and Sam succeed in destroying the ring and the tide of battle turns. Victory and the fall of Sauron. 2,640 miles – Army regroups and rests at the Field of Cormallen and Aragorn is reunited with Frodo and Sam, who are celebrated and praised for their great deeds. Banquets in celebration. 2,692 miles – Aragorn is crowned King Elessar at Minas Tirith. So – that’s my plan. Any ideas of suitable events, challenges, workouts or rewards for each, please say! It’s the only thing I feel I need to have in place before I start. (I am reward and milestone driven, I have to say)
  3. I’m a 42 year old American woman living in the forests of England with my British husband and pre-school son. I work (remotely) on the narrative side of gamedev and when I’m not doing that, I’m tending to my garden, doing needlework of some sort, playing games (of various sorts), and exploring our local woodlands. Or at least, that’s what I want to do... The last year has been full of big changes—in November 2020 we moved from Central London to a woodland property in the Forest of Dean in the midst of this pandemic. I had stars in my eyes about spending my time gardening and wandering the woods with my young son (the Enting), but a couple of months after we arrived I was recruited for fantastic role, and while me returning to work was not in our plans for another couple of years, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up! But it does mean I’ve spent a lot more time indoors this year than I expected to, and I’ve done a lot less work around Owlshire as well. Add in several rounds of autumn colds and the darkness of coming winter and… well, it would easy to stay inert indoors under a fluffy blanket until next summer. I’m keen to feel strong again, get outdoors, and feel worthy of Owlshire! This is me, today.
  4. [Preamble] Hi rebels! I’ve been on a challenge break, but recently started doing a Daily Weekly Battle Log/Epic Quest with some longer term fitness plans. I thought I’d join the holiday challenge madness and see if I can do a bit more! [About Me] I’m a 42 year old American woman living in the forests of England with my British husband and pre-school son. I work (remotely) on the narrative side of gamedev and when I’m not doing that, I’m tending to my garden, doing needlework of some sort, playing games (of various sorts), and exploring our local woodlands. [Goals] My fitness goals are pretty simple right now: Reach Mordor Finally finish my (tracked) journey to Mordor. I’m 1100 or so miles away! I’ve been wanting to complete this challenge since the early 00s (when it was called the Eowyn Challenge), and I’m sure I’ve been “there and back again” several times over, but I’ve never managed to track the whole thing. I want to finish my route to Mordor by November 2022. My ongoing goal is 20 miles a week, but for this challenge I’d like to stretch it to 30 miles a week. Eat PAI About this time last year, @oromendur introduced me to PAI, which wasn’t working well for me as a satifying metric early on, but I’ve decided to start tracking it again. For this challenge, I want to build up to an average score of 75 (and if I get there before Christmas, maintain it). I’m also shatteringly close to reaching my weight loss goal for the year, so hopefully I can hit that, too! Tracking will be done with a minimum of weekly updates, and of course will include plenty of photospam. Admin note: I always start on Week 0, and I track from Monday-Sunday. Week 0 is going to be an odd one—I’ll tell you more about it later!
  5. In many ways, this winter had lasted years. Keladris had needed time to heal, time to hide away from the world. It was against her nature, but her spirit and her body demanded it, and so she had reigned in her thirst for adventure in search of rest. But, as the new year dawned, she found herself ready. Regaining her strength, it was time for her feet to find the road once more. ---------------------------------- For a while I was pondering a whole host of goals and figuring out a theme for it/and RPG system but, in the end I think "keep it simple stupid" is the way to go. My first two challenges have been really successful, all in all. But the thing I haven't been able to get to stick is walking. So I'm making that my one and only goal for this challenge! Of course, I plan to maintain all the good stuff I've already built up (dancing 2-3/week, strength training 1-2/week, getting my veggies and doing my stretches so that ONE DAY I will get the splits). But for the challenge, I'm going to make it my mission to go for a walk Monday-Friday. Every morning as soon as I'm awake. Doesn't have to be far, although I find once I'm out I do tend to do at least 30 mins. For tracking, Imma post a picture each day! I like the added challenge of finding something different to photograph, will help me to explore. I'll also be posting over in the Walk to Mordor PVP. And I'll be listening to the LOTR audiobook as I go My whys: I work from home and because of COVID, my daily steps tend to be very low unless I make walks a priority. My weight loss has also stalled slightly, and I think it's time to get some extra daily movement to support the dancing and strength training. PLUS the sun is making an appearance after the Canadian winter, and I want to be ready to go on a hike as soon as we're allowed to travel out of the city. Besides, what's a bard without a little adventure and exploration?
  6. Hi I'm back... again! The forums have changed a lot in my absence, it seems! My life has had a couple changes as well: - I've decided to switch from a PhD to a Master's, since I realized I wasn't enjoying myself very much, and - I finished all my coursework for said Master's and just have my final project left! I'll be starting that quite soon. It's just a paper, so hopefully nothing too stressful! (*knocks on every piece of wood in the house*) I've been on a Lord of the Rings kick lately, so in keeping with that and also my previous challenges' goals of Just Going for a Walk, Damnit, I've decided to keep track of my mileage and Walk to Mordor. There's even a nifty website/app that tells you what the Fellowship is doing when you reach various distances. (It's called... "Walk to Mordor". Big surprise right ) I got myself a smart watch, so that will make it easy to keep track of my mileage! Then the only challenge is actually... going... for walks. But that's why it's called a Nerd Fitness CHALLENGE. It's challenging myself to do something cool for the betterment of my health. I would love to make it to Crickhollow by the end of the challenge, which I can do if I walk a little over 2 miles per day. We'll see how far I actually get...
  7. Or, When it Rains it Pours This particular challenge begins with two big things that may happen during it: 1) Finally moving to the Wye. (90% chance.) 2) Start my new job. (??!?!?% chance.) If that last one confused you, it’s okay. I’m a bit dazed myself! The short version is that an amazing contract writing opportunity dropped on me out of nowhere last week and Mr and I agreed that although the timing was somewhat less amazing (since we’re on the cusp of a cross-country move and we hadn’t really about thought of me going back to work before Enting started school), the career path it could open up for me (games writing) was too good to ignore and we’d made it work if it came through. I’ve since made it past the first round with the initial writing sample I did for them, and they’ve hired me to write them an opening script based on their game premise. If the script goes over well, it may turn into a longer term contract to develop and write rest of their launch content. (And after that, possibly ongoing content.) breathes (I told Mr that even if I don’t make it beyond this stage, the boost to my confidence has been huge. And I will still have a current professional credit on my CV.) ANYWAY. Goals during this challenge: 1) Assuming the move continues forward, the next stage will be choosing which removal service we’re using. There’s also going through and getting rid of misc. junk that has piled up, admin like getting mail redirected (I’m particularly worried about the timing of the move and my absentee ballot for the US presidential election), choosing a new surgery/dentist, etc. And if the contract pans out(!!!), I need to figure out a fast childcare solution for the Enting on the other side. (Luckily, his current nursery has been really flexible with us over the last couple of weeks.) 2) Finish the script. Submit it. Make it the best thing I can while showing them I can keep a tight deadline. 3) Continue the Walk to Mordor/4 miles each day (done by average of days). Since I will be, at least for the next several days, back to doing a lot of computer work, I need to make sure I’m caring for my body. I woke up this morning with my body feeling like I was 111 years old, and I don’t like that at all. I’m only 41! 3a) Mr has suggested we start doing pilates or something together. Give that a go. I also need to update the WtM app. It’s been a few weeks This has been done now. 4) Don’t drop my eating standards (too much). Things are busy, and I will not have as much leisure to cook elaborate healthy meals, at least in the short term. Compromises will need to be made, but don’t completely let go. Goals 1-2 are moving targets that will develop on how things both inside and outside of my control proceed and I’ll probably set objectives at the beginning of each week. 3-4 are fairly static. And that’s it for me... here’s to big awesome changes!
  8. I’m Ann of Vries, often Adventurer and occasional Ranger. I decided it was time to do my semi-annual “holiday” to the Rangers Guild. I’m an American currently living in London with my British husband and 2 year old son (more on him later). However, this urban status is to be short lived as we are in the process of purchasing a woodland property in the magical Wye Valley/Forest of Dean and expect to move there this autumn/winter (move date TBD). (You may not have heard of the Forest of Dean, but you’ve probably seen it. A lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed in its faerie tale woodland.) Meanwhile, I’ve been on a pilgrimage of my own to follow my heroes the Fellowship of the Ring on their Walk to Mordor. During the last challenge, I just missed my goal of arriving at the Trollshaws (211/221 miles). For this challenge, I will put my chin up and continue my journey. The recent months have been difficult—there’s been the global pandemic crisis, of course, and myriad challenges caused by Lockdown restrictions in the UK. My husband was unemployed at the beginning of the pandemic but thankfully found a new contract in the midst of it and has been working from home—which presents its own challenges. (He will eventually be commuting to the Midlands part-time and working from home part-time, probably starting early next year.) Oh, and there’s all of the issues of moving house as well, which isn’t easy even during the best of times. But then there is also my toddler, the Enting, who is in the throes of the Terrible Twos and can foil my attempts at lengthy walks and... well, anything and everything else I’m trying to accomplish! The Challenge: Find the Entwives There are a great many tasks involved in any moving of home, and this one of course is no different. We need to keep on with the solicitors, get the building survey done, go through our things, decide what’s going with us and what’s going away, set up a removal service once we have a date, etc. Part 2 of this search for the Entwives is to Find Joy in Growing. The Terrible Twos have been pretty hard on me. I want to remember the joy of little Entings instead of spending this time always feeling exhausted and frustrated. Beyond Rivendell I’m about 100 miles from Rivendell, but I intend to get much further beyond it. My goal is 205 miles—which should take me just past the “6 Days Past Rivendell” milestone on my Walk to Mordor app. This is based on an average of 6 miles a day starting in Week Zero. These miles are taken straight from my Fitbit—they include any puttering about, errands, long walks, chasing of toddler, etc. I stick to challenges better when the record-keeping is easy and straight forward. Learn from the Rangers They say that you’ll be chasing your toddler until you’re exhausted and in a way that’s true, but I’ve found that doesn’t seem to include going on long walks which has always been my principle form of exercise and was fine when he was littler and less mobile since I could just put him in the carrier or buggy and go as far as I wanted. Add in Lockdown restrictions/social distancing in a big city, husband working from home, preparing for selling/buying/move of homes, and I’ve found my weight frustratingly ticking up. I need to find alternatives I can do in a shorter time frame—preferably that don’t require much (if any!) kit change, new equipment, or set-up since I just don’t have time for that (and I’m trying not to buy things when we’re about to move). This is an exploratory goal. I aim to try different things over the course of the challenge with intent to choose one (or some) to continue with by the end. They don’t have to be formal “exercise.” One idea I have is just playing “tag” with my toddler in the park. (Suggestions welcome!) Maintain or Lose I want to either maintain my current weight (which is admittedly a touch higher than I prefer), or make progress on it going down. I’m already a pretty “clean” and healthy eater, so I feel that weight gain is mostly about my activity level. Ever on we go....
  9. Dearest Adventurers, It has long been the ambition of mine to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Fellowship of the Ring. And so, I have began something of a pilgrimage of their footsteps, from Bag End to Mordor. But I also have long felt a connection to the lost Entwives, and I seek home, a garden to tend. I don’t think I will find the Entwives—no one else has—but I can find one in myself. (I already have an Enting, after all!) So it is while on this long journey I hope to find my place in Middle Earth to settle down. During the last few weeks, I journeyed from Bag End to Bree. In the next few weeks, with my Enting on my back and friends coming and going at my side, I should make it as far as the Trollshaws. Challenge: Starting in Zero Week, begin walking. My goal is the Trollshaws, which is 221 miles. It doesn’t really matter how I make the miles—steps done on daily activities/errands, local walks, hikes, etc. After more than a decade of trying and failing the record-keeping with this challenge (I certainly haven’t lacked the mileage), I believe the key to me completing the Walk to Mordor is really by making the bookkeeping as simple as possible. Whatever my Fitbit says at the end of the day goes into my handy WtM app. Easy. Do something each day to help get the house sold and get me to that garden to tend. That will usually involve some sort of upkeep on the tidying, decluttering, or attacking the dust bunnies in some forgotten corner. If we get an offer on the house during the challenge, I will outline new goals based on our next steps. Skip Second Breakfast. I’ve put on a few pounds over the last several months (before Lockdown started, really), and I’d like to see them go. My goal here is to weigh less at the end of the challenge than I did at the beginning—as simple as that. It’s more about increasing activity than eating (I’m a pretty clean eater already), but they are of course intertwined and I need to be mindful I’m not just replacing every calorie I burn. Starting weight: 126lbs. (Usual disclaimer—I’m quite petite, so that weight puts me nearing the top of my healthy range and when I see an upwards trend I like to nip it in the bud. I want to get back to the middling—somewhere around 115lbs.) And that’s it. Walk a lot, make the house look good, and say no to extra snacks sometimes. I can do that much, right?
  10. *waves I enjoy the NF newsletters and have been lurking the forums the past week. So much stuff here, so I am wading through little by little. I am an older Nerd (53) who needs to reach for health, fitness and life goals. No more just dreaming - time to plan it, work it. I'm interested in improvement in every area of my life so I have lots of goals to work with. I am also an introvert, one of the rarest ones - an INFJ. I do love my alone time (content homebody) and tend to avoid social events. I don't think that is a bad thing, but it wouldn't hurt to get out sometimes. I am Nerd-y in my lifestyle (not a spouse, two kids and a dog person - CHILDFREE POWER!), my love of living in Second Life, and my urges to turn information into Excel spreadsheets-and... other things... I will be finished with physical therapy for lower back pain at the end of March. NF is my after-PT plan (I promised my therapist) to not lose the momentum I have gained. So...here I go with baby steps to my future life that I choose to have. Big Thoughts Doing the Walk to Mordor and Back Setting up my BatCave Meditation/Yoga Practice Becoming a Foodie Ninja (WFPB-mod) Accomplishing some long-held day dreams A full Bullet Journal of memories by the end of the year Challenge 1 - March 19-April 14 Walk on the treadmill x 5 days per week to add to WtMaB totals (no pressure on time, just that I get on the treadmill consistently) Purge 1 trash bag of clothes that do not match my future self vision / that I have been holding on to for "when I lose weight" Practice one yoga pose each week x 5 (newbie, but I have always wanted to do yoga) Make one new recipe each week Work on one Excel template BuJo trackers set up for the rest of the year Excited to start... fearful of failing... Determined to just hang in, do the best I can.
  11. Continuing off the Dragon Age theme from last challenge... Last time we were in Ostagar, going through the trials and tribulations of exploring the Korcari Wilds, the Grey Warden induction ceremony, and finally the battle against the Darkspawn. Despite craziness of life (mostly work...) we made it through the first challenge in relatively one piece. That craziness has not backed off at all. The town of Lothering in Dragon Age Origins is very much a "goal setting" place. I always think of it as a stopping point - some time to stop and think about next steps. Coming off of that thought is the question - what do I want from 2019? What is my main goal? Well, I've been talking off and on about running a half marathon the past year or more. It's still something I am very much interested in doing. Enough so that I'm going to do my best to fight ranger brain and say that this challenge, and following challenges, will be set with the half marathon goal in mind. For the sake of simplicity, I'm only going to have the one goal this challenge: Step 1: Commit Time to Getting More Distance Measurement: Garmin Watch (track all walks, runs, and bike workouts). Tracking: Walk to Mordor (Runs & Walks count full distance. Bike, divide distance in half) - I've started tracking a few times in the past, but starting from 0 for this challenge and planning to track through 2019. (Need to set up spreadsheet) Goal: 40 miles by end of challenge (Avg = 10 miles per week)
  12. Don't Turn to Stone I have all the mobility stuff ... foam rollers, lacrosse ball, miracle ball. Do I use it? Nope. Never even think about it. I'm pretty flexi-bendy for my age, years of dance, martial arts, and forced yoga marches had a lasting effect. Still, though, I am older than I was, and I do have aches and pains and stiffnesses. Challenge Goal: Work on mobility, mostly cervical spine but other areas as needed, at least 5 min/night at least 5 nights/week. 25 points possible Enjoy Second Breakfast Challenge Goal: This one is simple - I am now on week three of my gym's three-month Nutrition Transformation Challenge - continue to comply with coach's meal plan. Bonus points: streamline meal prep down to 5 hours (currently about 7). 5 points possible (one point per week, including zero week) Walk to Mordor According to my often-ignored fitness tracker, I average about 6k steps per day. Challenge: Walk 7,000 steps per day at least 28 of the 35 challenge days (counting zero week) A Hobbit Hole Means Comfort I've made some dents in the library/junk room/cavern. I'll take pics when I'm home during daylight (probably weekend). Time to buckle down and get this library party started! Goal: Get rid of enough junk that I can move the remainder to the center, leaving room around the perimeter to start prepping the walls for paint. Scoring is simple pass/fail Don't Turn to Stone 0/25 Enjoy Second Breakfast 0/5 Walk to Mordor 0/28 A Hobbit Hole Means Comfort 0/1
  13. THE SILVER ARCHER Chapter 1 I pulled my quiver strap tighter with one hand so it wouldn't bounce against my body as I ran hard up the last hill, trying to disguise my heavy breathing. Mistral would be furious that I wasn't at the rendezvous point when she arrived, and I doubted that she would accept my excuse. The sun had long set and the roving bands of enemy elves and men would soon resume their nightly pursuit of our little Ranger band. It was not safe to be out in the woods alone. When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked down and saw Mistral's campfire already burning low. I sighed and began to run down toward her. At least I had shot two small rabbits and traded for some cornmeal in the last village - perhaps that would appease her frustration. I took a deer trail down the hill so I would make as little noise as possible hurrying toward the campsite, but despite my relatively quiet approach, she was already sitting up and poking the fire back to life when I arrived in the clearing. "You stayed longer than you said you would," she said simply. I sighed and dumped the sack at her feet. "I did." She glanced at the bag, didn't open it, and looked up at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why?" I took a deep breath. No sense in covering it up. "I healed three people this afternoon." "What!" She immediately sat up and pushed back her hood to look me full in the face, her eyebrows raised high over huge violet eyes. "I told you not to use your powers without one of your teachers around! You still have much learning to do before you're ready to use them on your own!" "I know ..." I unslung my bow and quiver and sat down heavily on the ground next to her, slowly pulling off my wristlets and unlacing my boots. "But ... I couldn't just leave them there, could I? One of the girls had been hurt ... one of them was a young mother who was very sick ... and then an old gentleman who was very confused and needed help. I was the only one around." "You went to town," Mistral shot back pointedly. "You were not the only one around. Someone else could have helped them." "But not like I could," I shot back without thinking. As soon as I said it, she closed her eyes and her shoulders sank in a deep sigh. Why had I said that? I turned away and pulled my boots off, cringing as I waited for her usual lecture. She threw her stick down on the ground and rubbed her slender hands over her face with another heavy sigh. "Sky, you bear an important responsibility as the Keeper of the Silver Bow, that's true. But you're carrying far more weight on your shoulders than you should - far more than you're ready to carry. No one expects you to fulfill every need or right every wrong that comes your way. You are not the only Healer in the world. There are others. Many others. If you stop to use your powers on every crying child or lonely old man you meet, you won't have any time left to concentrate on your training and get stronger and more prepared to help even more people, in even bigger ways. Your training is the most important thing for you to focus on right now. All these side quests of yours are good, yes, but your training is best. You have a great work ahead of you that you won't be able to do if you don't shut out the distractions and practice and learn." I sighed quietly as I half-listened to the speech she had already given me three or four times in the last week. I knew her reasoning was probably true, but I also knew I couldn't just close my eyes when people saw my Silver Bow in the villages and forest towns and came to me, asking for my help. It only took me a few minutes to hold onto someone's shaking hands and listen to them pour out their heart, or to fire an arrow discreetly into the center of a bickering throng, or to place my hands on the shoulders of a wounded soldier so the King's healing power could flow through his bruised body. The practice drills and dull old texts that Mistral assigned me did not and could not seem as important as real people sitting in front of me and asking for my help. Of course, I couldn't say any of that to my teacher. "You're right," I said meekly, and reached over to push the bag toward her. "I did bring back a couple of rabbits and some cornmeal, if that helps." She looked at the bag, then at me, then shook her head and chuckled. "Sky, I'm not so easily distracted. Thank you for the food. You fry the cornmeal while I prepare the rabbit, and we'll continue this discussion another time."
  14. Keep On, Keepin' On Continue to do what you've always done. You just have to keep on, keepin' on until you've achieved your goal. #keep it up #continue #persevere #don't stop #don't let up challenge goals: Body 1. Continue NF Handstands program. Daily practice. +1xp per practice. 2. Begin NF Rings program. 3x weekly practice. +1xp per practice. 3. 2x weekly xfit. +1xp per practice. 4. Walk to Mordor PVP. 2-5k daily walking. +1xp per practice. 5. Log meals on MFP. +1xp per day (minimum 2 meals recorded to earn xp). Mind 1. Meditate. 2-5min daily practice using calm.com. +1xp per practice. 2. 1x weekly Yin Yoga class. +1xp per practice. Spirit 1. Bedtime routine. (face-floss-fathom). nightly practice. +1xp per practice. Accountability: I will keep track of my challenge progress in a paper/pencil journal. I will log my walking daily on the Walk to Mordor pvp google sheet. I'll update this thread with my progress 1-2x weekly. i will like and reply to questions, comments, and encouragements (gifs or otherwise) in a timely manner!
  15. Hello! I'm Phoenix and this is my first NF Challenge! Walk to Mordor - I started this a couple months ago and am on mile 355. It has been super fun and I love Lord of the Rings! I may reach Rivendell in this time and if I do, I will reward myself by watching the movie and having a hobbit-themed dinner with friends. 90 Pushups - Not consecutive... Just 3 sets of 10 regular, 10 diamond, and 10 wide everyday to work on strength. Running - Run 3 or 4 times a week. 6min Abs - Do daily: 1min crunches, 1min flutter kicks, 1min penguins, 1min scissor kicks, 1min Russian twists, 1min plank (or similar) Spanish - Start to learn Spanish for a trip later this year I'm soo excited and glad I found NF!! Let's do this!!
  16. Hello! I'm Phoenix and this is my first NF Challenge! Walk to Mordor - I started this a couple months ago and am on mile 355. It has been super fun and I love Lord of the Rings! I may reach Rivendell in this time and if I do, I will reward myself by watching the movie and having a hobbit-themed dinner with friends. 90 Pushups - Not consecutive... Just 3 sets of 10 regular, 10 diamond, and 10 wide everyday to work on strength. Running - Run 3 or 4 times a week. 6min Abs - Do daily: 1min crunches, 1min flutter kicks, 1min penguins, 1min scissor kicks, 1min Russian twists, 1min plank (or similar) Spanish - Start to learn Spanish for a trip later this year I'm soo excited and glad I found NF!! Let's do this!!
  17. Epic Quest :- Run a Marathon. This has been a goal of mine for a while now, a couple of years ago I was on track for this after completing 5 half marathons during the year, so I signed up for a full marathon, then suffered a stress fracture to my shin and have had injuries/niggles ever since. I will run a marathon though, and all of my challenges will contribute towards that goal in some way. 1. Get Strong:- I've never had much strength, always had a weak grip, never done any lifting at the gym. I've started the Stronglifts 5x5 program this week. So 3 times per week follow the program. Except 29th Aug - 5th Sept I'll be away camping with the family, so on my usual lifting days I will instead do a bodyweight workout. 2. Travel to Mordor:- Log distance walked/cycled/rowed or run each day. Minimum of 5 minutes per day. 3. Stretch:- I've always been lax stretching. i know not stretching is bad. Minimum of 5 minutes stretching Calfs & Hamstrings evryday. None lifting days this will be upped to minimum 20 min full body stretching / yoga
  18. Hello, one and all, and welcome to my fourth challenge! I'm a little bit late posting this because my silly internet-shire portal wasn't working, and wouldn't allow me to post! For those of you who have followed me in the past, you know that my previous challenge started out strong, but then ended with a whimper and a *poof!* But NO MORE!!! I will make a lasting change in my life and it will start here! So without further ado, welcome to my little hobbit-hole and please enjoy my challenge ​Elven Vitality: ​For my first quest of this challenge, I will be seeking to gain the vitality and energy of the elves, so that I can be like this guy: As I am sure that this requires plenty of focus and dexterity, I will be focusing on yoga for this quest, which helps to develop both. In the past I have overextended myself on my quests by requiring that I do certain activities 5x per week. In order to prevent another - issue - like last time, I will be limiting myself to doing yoga 3x per week, preferably on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, though there is flexibility in this (haha get it? flexibility​). Successfully completing this quest will earn +3 DEX and +10xp Walk to Mordor:​ Well, too bad Boromir, because that is exactly what I'm doing. For the past 9 months or so, I have been embarking on a journey to Mordor, and last week I made it to Rivendell! It has been extremely slow going so far since I can be a bit lazy at times, so as part of this challenge I decided to step up the pace a bit. By the end of this challenge I will have walked 82 miles, which is approximately - hehe - DAY 5 of the Fellowship's journey from Rivendell to Lothlorien (sometimes they make me feel like such a slacker). This will require me to walk a little over 3 miles over the course of each day, which will definitely be challenging me to be up and moving around more! Successfully reaching my goal of 82 miles in 26 days will earn +3 STA and +10xp ​Second Breakfast: ​Throughout my time spent in the NF Academy, my biggest vice has always been the nutrition section. I have put it off for several years at this point, always trying (and failing) to "complete my food log" before moving on to the next step in a healthier me. Well I say NO MORE! For this challenge, I will attempt to reach level 4 of NF Nutrition by the end of the challenge. In order to do that, I will need to eliminate grains from my breakfast for two full weeks. However, first I need to actually eat breakfast in the morning. So for the first 1.5-2 weeks of this challenge I will simply eat any breakfast every weekday (I tend to sleep in on weekends). Then, for the last two weeks of the challenge I will eliminate grains from my breakfast. I just bought a bunch of eggs and plan to just start out eating those for breakfast when I can in order to make the transition easier. Successful completion of this quest will earn +3 CON and +10xp ​A Hen without its Beak: For the past several years I have been attempting to write a fantasy novel. I tend to make excuses for why I don't have the time to work on it, and therefore it has been put to the wayside. I attempted NaNoWriMo this past November and failed pretty hard because I didn't put the time into it. I LOVE to read and write, but I always feel like I have so many other things I should be doing. So for this challenge, I am going to start making writing a priority. My fourth and final quest of this challenge will contain two parts. For the first two weeks of the challenge, I must put 1 hour of work into my book per week, or just under 15 minutes per day, 5x per week. The last two weeks of the challenge I will need to put in 2 hours total per week. This time can consist of anything from researching, to outlining, to actual writing. Successful completion of this quest will earn +3 WIS and +10xp So, there you have it. If you have any questions or suggestions for my challenge, feel free to comment! I'll be making my rounds and looking at other posts soon May your roads go ever on and on, ~Cal
  19. This is my first 4 week Challenge and I'm excited to see how it goes. I have recently started referring to nearly everything I do in terms of Harry Potter. One because I'm listening to the books on my drive to work (1+ hour each way) and two I find that saying Scourgify! to clean the sink doesn't work, but it makes it more fun to get it empty and clean (I have no dishwasher)! That being said I have been tracking a lot of little tasks in my life that I would like to improve. I would like to focus on 4 for the purpose of this challenge. 1. Triwizard Training - running 10 miles a week. Any distance at one time counts toward weekly mileage. Running within another gym class that is not measured, unfortunately doesn't count! 4/4-4/10 -- 7 miles 4/11-4/17 -- 8 miles 4/18-4/24 -- 9 miles 4/25-5/1 -- 10 miles 2. Household Charms - perform the Scourgify charm at least five times a week, promote S.P.E.W. by doing a load of laundry six days a week and perform house hold charms list once a week. Goal: 12+ points a week. (extra points can only be earned if all 3 minimums are met) 3. Walk to Mordor - continue walking to Rivendell. Average 2.5 miles/day in April. 4/4-4/10 -- 2.4 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/11-4/17 -- 2.5 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/18-4/24 -- 2.6 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/25-5/1 -- 2.7 miles, min. 5 days a week 4. Caffeine Intake (Butter Beer) - reduce caffeine intake from ~558mg/day to ~511mg/day or less 4/4-4/10 -- 546mg or less average per day 4/11-4/17 -- 534mg or less average per day 4/18-4/24 -- 522mg or less average per day 4/25-5/1 -- 510mg or less average per day I have a LOOT reward system worked into the spreadsheet I track everything on, but I will earn the following loot related to these goals: - real running sunglasses once I increase to 10 miles a day - barefoot walking shoes that I can wear at work once I reach Rivendell (3/29 I'm at 83.2 miles) - ~300mg/day of caffeine I get more sustainable (read better for the world but way more expensive) coffee - I have no good reward yet for my Charms goals, I'm thinking cute kitchen gear, but my kitchen is tiny and I don't really need more stuff in there - ideas? Since this is my first challenge we will see how often I can give updates - goal: once a week minimum (hopefully more often!) Thanks for reading!!
  20. Syren

    Syren's Guardians

    Main Quest: The Quest for the Uncreaking Body! GUARDIANS of the micro-GALAXY Goal 1 (diet): Eat All of the Vegetables -- pick 2 cups each day from the 21-day Fix list Ate 2 Cups Vegetables per Day (52/52) 100%100% Goal 2 (diet): Replace Soda with Tea Chose Tea Over Soda (26/26) 100%100% Goal 3 (fitness): Move Naturally -- Get up to Swim Daily Swim Each Day (17/26) 65.4%65.4% Bonus Fitness Goal -- Move Naturally -- Drylands Daily *Bonus Fitness (17/26) Dry Lands* 65.4%65.4% Level Up at Life! Goal 4: Save Money -- Via Coffee Shop Shenanigans -- Replace sugary drinks with brewed coffee or Espresso and lemon Chose Brewed Coffee (26/26) 100%100%
  21. Posting this fashionably late, as always. This dragon will be the death of me! I am coming into this challenge with very little to almost no motivation at all. I thought about skipping it but then I would feel much worse in the long run. I have relapsed completely on my morning routine since the last challenge but I want to pick it up again. Quests 1. Practice mindful eating habits. No eating while standing, continue to not eat while gaming or watching tv. Focus on the food and nothing else for at least one meal a day. WIS + 3, WIL + 2 2. Track my food intake using FatSecret I have always been more successful when I keep track of what I have eaten. Also helps put into perspective just how much I am eating. WIS + 3 3. Yoga & Walking (One or the other, or maybe both, 5 times a week). Preferably mornings. STA +1, DEX +1 Ready to begin my Walk to MORDOR challenge! Life challenge Work on cosplay pieces at least 5 days a week. (no time limit, at least SOMETHING). Tracking and Accountability Progress Calendar Walkers PVP. Walk to Mordor progress in Signature. Mindful Eating FTW!
  22. Now that I have access to something that has a physical keyboard, I can actually type out my challenge. Woo! I won't be able to start fully on my challenge until Wednesday as I'm visiting family out of state and it'll be super hard to do most of this when I'm busy and traveling. Next Sunday I'm going to start GM'ing a Star Wars RP campaign. Because of that, I've had Star Wars on the brain for a bit, so I'm going to go with a Star Wars theme for this challenge. Main Goal - Get down to target weight of 130 pounds. Goal #1 - Stay On Target! I'm still thoroughly confused about how many calories I should be taking in because some days, 1300 calories makes me feel like I'm starving to death. Though, that could be because I'm not eating the best foods or something. Going to try and stay between 1300 and 1500 calories while tracking everything I eat. May also ask for help in some of the help forums to figure out what's best for me to eat. Goal #2 - Train Like a Jedi To defeat the Empire, I need to be in better shape. So this time, I'm going to buckle down and get my butt to the gym. I *have* to go to the gym 5 days a week, though my bare minimum is going to be 5 days. 3 days will be strength training with 20 minutes of cardio and the other days will be training for my 5K in July. Goal #3 - Walk to Mordor....er....the Battle of Endor Continuing with my friends over at Sprite Stitch, I'm walking to Mordor. I don't really have a clear goal on this, but if I walk more than a mile each day, than I'll call that a win. Being a stay-at-home mom in a tiny apartment doesn't give me much room to walk, but by going to the gym and even getting outside with the Youngling will help me get those much-needed steps in. My Life Goal this time is going to be in the creative streak this time. I have several cross stitching projects that I need to get done sooner rather than later. I keep putting them off due to other random things, so I'm going to devote at least 2 hours a day to stitching. I'll have to post pictures of the projects when I get home.
  23. Well, here I am again. A little blurb for those who don't know me: I'm a stay-at-home-mom who really needs to lose some weight. I think this will be my 4th challenge, but I've rarely finished for various reasons. Last challenge I stayed out, opting to do a Battle Log instead, but I didn't even stick with that. But I really need to change. I need to lose this weight, not only to feel better, but so I can be there for my little girl. I want to be able to keep up with her never-ending energy. While listening to Pandora, this song came on, and it was part of the reason that inspired me to do a challenge this time around (as well as some pushing from Teros. )I've heard it before, but this time, it resonated with me for different reasons than it has before. Lately, I've been struggling with depression a lot. I've had to force myself to get out of bed, and even then, I normally stayed on or near the couch. A couple of weeks ago, I actually got to the point of suicidal thoughts and almost reverted back to cutting. I'm still struggling, but I can see the light outside of the cave. So, I'm going to attempt to keep things simple this challenge to help me get back up on my feet. I'll be focusing on creating habits that I can stick with and that will help me achieve my weight loss goal. My Main Goal is to get down to 130 pounds, which is about 80 or so pounds. Of course I'm not going to lose all that in one challenge period, but at least I can get a start. To achieve this goal I need to: Log all the foodz! Normally when I log food, I just get "close enough" or I give up halfway through the day because I decided to scarf down an entired frozen pizza or something. Not any more. I need to get back into the habit of food logging and log everything.Exercise. Last November I joined a gym and I haven't been very consistant about going. I enjoy being there, but getting there is the battle. So, I need to get to the gym at least 3 days a week, though I'm going to try and start going 5, but only 3 are neccesary to pass. I'm also going to start measuring how much I walk in a day, as on another forum we're starting the Walk to Mordor challenge.No Soda. My husband has to have soda in the house, so it's a huge temptation. I have gotten better about drinking more water, but I really need to cut this sugar demon out. My goal is to have 3 or less sodas the entire challenge.I do have a Life Goal of becoming a better housewife. I really suck at doing chores and the like. There's some sort of mental block going on there that I'm struggling to get over. I have a few simple steps that I can take to start going in the right direction. Get some clothes on. One bad habit of being a SAHM is not getting dressed some days. It's way too easy to just stay in your PJs when you don't have anywhere to go. So, I need to start getting me and my DD dressed when we get up. Simple chores done every day husband works. I recently read somewhere about a mindset that another SAHM started to take, and that was "If my husband is working, than I need to be working". That doesn't mean that you need to thoroughly clean the house everyday, but I need to be spending less time on the computer and other things that aren't completely productive. Here are some simple things that I need to get done every day DH is at work:Wash dishesHave DD pick up toys at end of the dayClean up after cookingMake sure most (if not all) my stuff is picked up​I'm still working on a grading scale for everything. As for the point system, I'm going to take a page out of our guild leader's book and just divvy them out as I think I earned at the end of the challenge. Will be less stressful at the start, and at the end I can accurately gauge which stats went up. Come Monday, I'll post my starting stats and all that jazz. Just gotta survive the weekend first.
  24. It is true, my fellow nerks (that’s a combination of nerd and dork, for those of you not in the know), I have indeed decided to make the journey from Hobbiton to Mount Doom! I started right after Christmas, and am already 4.89 miles into my journey. Which I know isn't huge when stacked up against the 1,779 miles that the trip entails, but it’s a start, and that’s what counts. I’ll be recording my journey here, and it probably won’t be very interesting and will definitely include lots of complaining, but I need somewhere to keep track of everything, so why not broadcast my personal information all over the Internet? Because, I mean, come on, when has that ever backfired? And I’m going to post all my back Evernote entries that I created in December so that there’ll be a complete record of everything. Okay, so some basic rules: 1) Not all walking counts. Only exercise or walking that was intended to count counts. So walking from my apartment to my car doesn’t count, but intentionally choosing to walk across campus to get from one class to the next instead of driving does. Unless I’m in a really bad mood. If I’m in a really bad mood, any walking I choose counts, so long as it’s been recorded on the pedometer. If it’s not recorded, too bad for me. Also, tangent, but does anyone know a good pedometer app? The ones that get the best reviews and are at the top of the list on the Google Plus store all have time limits on how long they’re free. I don’t need a GPS, or a calorie counter, or any of those other fancified features. I just need it to count my steps. 2) I have to record everything. I want proof after this is all over that I actually did it. Who knows, maybe I’ll make a scrapbook (I won’t) or something. But either way, I need to have something to see at the end. Plus, writing about it will keep me accountable. Okay, so I think that’s it. I’m sure I’ll come up with some more rules along the way, but, for now, I bid thee adieu. Allons-y and Geronimo, y’all; I’m going on an adventure!!! See there, I added it at the end. Just wanted to make sure y’all’re paying attention.
  25. I've started two challenges and am yet to finish one. This time around, I'm going for the smallest of baby steps to keep me on track to getting fitter and eating healthier. Step one: walk to mordor! Walk one kilometre every day. That's it. One measly km. every day. I'm tracking this on runkeeper, where I have a goal set up with 2,846 km—the distance to Mordor and back, from the Shire. ATTRIBUTE POINTS: STA 3 CON 1 Step two: yoga every damn day I want to get as flexible as I was when I was younger. Well, not quite. I want to be better than I was then. I want to be able to do a proper handstand. I want to do the things I see on my Instagram feed. (I follow a lot of yogis). So my goal is to do yoga every day for at least ten minutes. ATTRIBUTE POINTS: DEX 3 STR 1 Step three: paleo central I was a vegetarian for eight and a half years. I recently got back to eating meat (a personal choice) but I want to do it the healthy way. I want to eat real food. I'm allowing dairy for this challenge because I'm fairly sure my digestive system is okay with that and also because it's my way of easing myself into the new way of eating. I'm giving myself a score out of ten for every day, depending on how well I eat and how I feel physically and mentally about it. ATTRIBUTE POINTS: CON 3 Extra motivation My life quest is to be a better person. I know this isn't a quantifiable goal so I'm using the medium of SuperBetter to express it—I want to get more resilient. SuperBetter is a game designed to help you level up in life. You can power up at any time, fight bad guys, complete quests and make allies to improve your resilience and get happier. My resilience started at 280 and, based on the max points you can gain in a day, my goal is to get 470 points, so up to 750 at the end of this challenge. Some of the power ups and quests will be a part of the goals I've already outlined, and some will be extra credit. ATTRIBUTE POINTS: CHA 2 WIS 2
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