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  1. New Challenge! Or rather a series of challenges because I am trying to do multi-challenge character arc and it will span the course of 12 months. So, in case I have not mentioned it, tomorrow is my birthday! And also Thanksgiving if you're one of us Yanks. Which means I plan to get some extra stuffing and NOT feel bad about it. I turn 49 tomorrow, which is a weird combination of WHOOOT WHOOOT and holy fuck. I want to make my next few challenges all about getting out of my comfort zone, trying new things, and basically revving the engine so I come screeching up to the starting line of 50 with my tires smoking and my helmet on and some other racing cliche that I cannot in this moment think of. Half a century, baby! Bring me the bifocals and the comfortable shoes BECAUSE IT IS ON. I used my ongoing obsession with the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as a framework. In the course of the movie, Walter takes on a whole series of challenges that lead him to the prize and leave him a different person. Or... does it? There's a scene in the movie where Walter, after all his adventures, is sitting in a coffee shop and trying to write his resume - because while he was out having his grand quest, the magazine he worked for folded and he lost his job. It's almost a throwaway scene, but it's always stuck with me, because I watch it and wonder what happened to him after the movie ended. Like, did he get another boring job, and Cheryl get another boring job, and they just went back to being little gray pieces of paper again? I hate that thought. I refuse to believe it. I think - I like to think - that having gotten a taste of life outside his comfort zone, Walter and Cheryl bought an RV, and traveled across country with her kid and her three-legged dog, rock climbing and surfing and selling cupcakes at music festivals, with Walter's mom baking clementine-infused weed brownies whenever they traveled somewhere with legal marijuana. I am 90% sure that Walter's mom makes kick-ass weed brownies. My last couple of years have taken me waaaaay outside my comfort zone, or what I thought was my comfort zone, and I want to build on that and really start to stretch. Think about this: - I started weight training with a 40-pound back squat and a zero-pound deadlift, because I didn't know what the fuck a deadlift was. I now squat 175 for reps (or did, and will again when my knee is back) and my 1RM deadlift is 225. I'm still considering getting that printed on t-shirt, by the way. - I went from 42% body fat to 31%, and I gained 18 pounds of lean mass. I'm heavier, but a smaller size, so I guess I got denser. I'm weirdly proud of this. - I started riding my bike with a 3-mile loop around my neighborhood that was almost enough to kill me. This February I attempted the 52-mile "Brushy Tunnel" ride for the first time (a rite of passage for local cyclists) and was shaking in my shoes because I was sure I couldn't do it. I've since done it 8 times. I've ridden 6 metric centuries (100 kilometers) in the past two years and I have Tyrannasaur quads like Usain Bolt. I never want to wear long pants again. - I planned and did my "Keys Loop" Adventure, I went diving in Hondouras and was not kidnapped by drug lords, and I toured California and spent a week in Yosemite and ate every taco in Los Angeles. I took a sailing class and got certified as a keelboat operator. I bought a decent car. It doesn't seem like much taken individually (just like my resume!) but as a whole it's actually a lot. Now it's time to look ahead and really start to stretch. I made a wish list of everything I wanted to do in the next year, and I'm going to attack a couple of items each month until I get them all. Some will span a few challenges and some will be one-and-done things, and a few can overlap which is good because I am all about efficiency. A few things are goals about accepting my own self, like stopping dying my hair and being embarrassed about my love of nature movies and how much I adore things that are fried. A few are athletic goals that I've been wanting to do but chickened out because I was afraid to fail at them. Some are professional to make my job and my life easier. And some are just things that would give me enjoyment, like starting an instagram for my obsession with street art. But they are all things that have unique meaning to me and will allow me to grow. I'll post a copy of the list on my challenge periodically and cross things off as I accomplish them. I'd put it in my signature but I can't figure out how to make a pretty multi-colored signature with editable items and different fonts like some people have, and godamnit if I can't have the My Little Pony version than I'll just make my own. Given, then, that the challenge starts right after my birthday (I will plug this shamelessly, I am a complete attention whore), here are my items for this month: - 250 pound 1RM deadlift: The Mantis is convinced I can do this, though I find it slightly terrifying. The one good thing about my knee being janked so I can't do squats is that I am really focused on my deadlift and I am frankly kicking some ass there. My most recent workouts were 165 pounds for 3 sets of four reps. - Find a uniform: Like Steve jobs and his turtleneck, or Diane Von Furstenburg with her wrap dresses. I want to have a go-to look that always looks decent so I can stop thinking about what I'm wearing. So far it looks like my winter look is a pencil skirt with knee boots and a long sleeved top, or jeans (actually jeggings; there is no getting my quadzilla thighs in jeans anymore) with the same boots and top. I also promised myself I'd buy a decent pair of winter boots this year; Atlanta is not that cold but it's constantly wet in the winter and I'm always miserable. I want something with traction because I have a phobia of falling. - Revise the side hustle: I had a little ebay business that I ran on the side of my regular job, but it takes a ton of time for some reason and even at it's peak it only made about a hundred bucks a month. I'd be better off finding a different side hustle or just putting in more hours at my regular job. So this month I am going to give myself permission not to think about it or try to work on it. Bonus: more time for gym! Enter a powerlifting meet: I won't actually accomplish this goal over this challenge, but I'm going to attend a powerlifting meet so I can get a feel for it on the 9th, unless I have to work. I want to see how they run and what the competition is like. My gym workouts will continue on the strength end of things because I've discovered that 80 miles a week on the bike and three to four crossfit-style workouts make me want to become one with the carpet. I'm going to be working on my pull-ups a lot because I can't enter the Crossfit Open unless I can do a pull-up (even in the Master's division, where I totally am) and getting back to squatting. I did a couple bodyweight squats at the gym Monday for the first time in 5 weeks and they worked pretty well, just stiff. I'm also going to give myself permission to drop out of the online video bike training program I was using because a) it was killing me and b ) I hate riding the trainer five days a week. I'm going to mix up the trainer and outside. okay this has totally gone on long enough, you're all very patient. Go eat turkey.
  2. NEW CHALLLENGE! Oh My God So Excited ... This is just a placeholder, though. I'll be back later today. Just wanted to let you all know what you're in for.
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