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Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges.  I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. 

In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more.  Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form.  With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. 

 

I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good fight lightin' it up, and level up my life!

 

Challenge Lesson:  "I Need to Know How to Wield It"     [No Spoilers this time for The Last Jedi]
 

Quote

Rey: I felt something... it awakened, but now I need to know how to wield it.

 

 

Everyday the human body changes.  Old cells die and new cell are formed.  I read recently that in 7 years, the skin cells of the human body have been completely replenished with new ones.  One could argue that the person you are in 7 years is a completely new one.  I'd say that the person you have become in 7 years a slightly modified replication, with natural aging appearance, augmented with new experiences and memories to enhance skills.  

 

Those new experiences are the ones which help us grow challenging ourselves in new ways.  Occasionally, those new experiences will awaken a new passion or bring out a new skill.  This can be an exciting or scary time as our comfort zone, status quo, personal priorities, etc are challenged and changed to make room for the awakening.  

 

Personally, I have a few new awakenings.  I am interested in playing more Magic: The Gathering outside my close friends.  The passion I have for the game and the newest release is pushing my interest into doing more than just playing the game with purchased or thrown-together decks.  After playing in a Prerelease event, I feel confident I can recognize synergy among cards, use that synergy to build a strong deck, and play socially and competitively without making judgment errors or game play mistakes which would result in embarrassment or upsetting my opponent.  These events are not free and require time; therefore, I'll have to pick and choose my battles and balance my other priorities.  There is a Cosmic Encounter (my favorite board game) tournament in May which I am very interested in; however, I am also intimidated by the scale of it.  One could prop up the other. 

 

My IJRS Jedi Novice Training and Karate Brown III training are in the final stages, which is exciting, but I am facing the question about what do I do with it.  For both, the natural progression is to teach others.  The IJRS may ask that I help tutor Novice students.  I want to put together a website to put my knowledge and philosophy out there for others to learn from (I do that here a bit with these lessons).  For Karate, I sempai classes, leading small groups.  As I progress, the leading will progress as well.  When I reach black belt, I may be asked to lead classes.  I have to ask myself, what is my personal goals for teaching?  How much commitment will it take?  Where does it fall on my priorities?

 

There is also Epic Nerd Camp, which I want to be more involved with, but I don't see myself being able to commit the time necessary to do it and meet expectations.  I have a lot of desires and commitments which I keep trying to fit in.  I keep on looking at my evening Toastmasters club thinking that I will need to step away from it to make time for these other things.  But that is such a small commitment compared to the things I am looking to expand on.  What else will take a backseat? 

 

The scariest part is that is all MY stuff.  What about my wife's stuff?  My kids stuff?  My life is their life which means it is all OUR stuff.  The priorities and commitments will be sorted out one way or another.  The stuff which doesn't fall on all our lists is the stuff which falls to the bottom.  I need to ensure that every voice and passion is heard to craft my stuff to fit the others.

 

Because we share our lives, how I wield my awakened passions is integral to how my family will wield it.

 

 

My Main Quest and Mission:

My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow.

 

World 4 Level 8 Challenge:

FITNESS:

  • Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly.  2 Sprints (10 reps), 2 Jogs (30 min), 2 Bikes (10 min), and 2 Racquetball sessions.  Track time and distance.

    STA +1, DEX +1
     

  • Walking: Fortify the Spine - 800 min total, 200 weekly. 
    STR +1
     

  • Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly.  Track reps for push-ups and sit-ups AMRAP and daily total.

    STR +1, STA +1
     

  • Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly.  

    DEX +1, STR +1
     

  • Karate: Training and Practice - 1000 min total, 250 weekly.  Track progress towards belt.  Track improvement on all material. 
    DEX +1, STA +1
     

DIET:

  • Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4.  Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days.  Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days.  Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days.   
    CON +2
  • Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, 6 Dr Peppers a week, and limit cheese to 6 meals a week.
    CON +2

 

LIFE:

  • Get Stuff Done - Complete 72 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 18 hours each week.  Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge)
    • Dishes (15)
    • Laundry (8)
    • Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (25)
    • Yard Work (2)
    • Animal Care (32)
    • Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8)

          WIS +1, CHA +1

 

INCENTIVES!  Working hard for CASH!  ($140.90 carried over)
 

  1. REWARD:  For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. 
    CONSEQUENCE:  For any week where I complete less than 16 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash.
     
  2. REWARD:  $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc)
    CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour.
     
  3. REWARD:  $20 for each completed IJRS lesson. 
    CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. 
     

 

BONUSES: 

  Life:

  • $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). 
  • $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings.
  • $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour.
     

  Workout:

  • $5 for each cardio session over 30 min
  • $10 for doubling any weekly minimum

 

PENALTIES:

  • Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. 
  • Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day.
  • Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  • Lose $5 for CheezIts, more than 6 Dr Peppers a week, and more than 6 meals with cheese a week. 
  • Lose $1 for each snack. 
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The weekend was busy around the house.  Oil changes, laundry, fixing a few things, and GAMES! 

 

Saturday afternoon, I attended my Extra Life guild kickoff meeting.  The Guild Leaders gave a presentation and talked about what they do.  I decided to help out with social events like today's kickoff.  They brought up needing content from the community, but took ZERO pictures of the event.  A room full of streamers and no one was streaming.  I'm going to get that fixed.  After the presentation, we hung out and played board games.  I brought some kid games, but there weren't any kids this time; however, the other Extra Lifers enjoyed them just the same.  Ice Cool is flicking and spinning Penguin game where he are escaping you class at school to eat some fish, but the hall monitor is out to catch you.  Kittens in a Blender was a big hit among those that played even though they were reluctant to actually blend the kittens.  I had no issues and tried to blend often.  MANIACAL LAUGH! 

 

At home, we played 3 crazy rounds of Mystic Vale with expansions on Saturday night.  The first two games were super quick 30 minute games with players hardly touching the Vale, which was fun and exciting, but getting those extra abilities is really fun so, we added ALL the victory points for an insane two hour game.  We went through almost all the cards in the Commons and Vale.  I scored 48 points, but I knew that wouldn't be enough (I scored 38 points in the first game which I won).  The winner had over 100 points and bought more than half of the Vale. 

 

On Sunday night, we played Artemis, which is a Starship Bridge simulator with each player taking a station aboard the star ship.  I was captain first, commanding and coordinating all the players.  I had to teach the game controls at the same time, but every one picked it up and had a blast.  Epic Nerd Camp is running the game in conjunction with a LARP for an away-mission, so we had to get some experience playing the game anyway.  After a practice round, I turned up the difficulty.  We did well in the beginning jumping between hostiles and neutralizing threats.  At the end, an armada came out of a gas cloud near us while docked at a space station.  We got overwhelmed by at least 10 ships attacking us and the space station at once.  We had to abandon it and were about to try to nuke the armada when the time expired.  Next, we added a second ship as one player wanted to try running it all himself.  I took Helm and Comms which worked well in concert, directing the friendly traffic for supplies.  In the third round, I added Weapons to let our Science and Engineering officer focus more on those tasks.  Switching between Helm and Weapons is tricky if your in a dogfight, but most the enemy ships are not very maneuverable. 

 

Monday morning, it was back to the grind regardless of the snow.  Stretching and Karate tuning my combos with a bit of bag work for my morning workout.  Work and a lunchtime Toastmasters Officer meeting.  This evening could be karate class, but the weather will probably keep us home.  I'll be cleaning up my bedroom, so I can get through taxes.  Yay! :-(

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Talked to a Heart Health Coach on the phone last night (as part of my Health Insurance Wellness Incentive program to cover my deductible).  She gave me some better options for breakfast and let me know I should reduce my peanut consumption and replace it with cashews and pecans as they are healthier for the heart.  Peppers are also a good veggie to eat in the mornings.  She mentioned egg whites, but I'm not sold on that.  And I love me some runny yoke.  So I need to buy peppers and cashews (pecans are too expansive and not appetizing without roasting).  Then I need to eat them. Those are goals for the next two weeks.   Easy enough, right?

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Been away a while, but challenge is going well.  Back down to 150.4 lbs.  Got the peppers for breakfast.  I think I have been struggling with dehydration after workouts and karate, so I have Gatorade powder to add to my water bottle.  It's been helping. 

 

In karate class last night, I finally earned my Orange stripe for my combos.  I've been working on them since December receiving details a ton of times.  It is a difficult set, so I expected the work.  I have to have all my stripes by March 11th.  I have two left: Red for Spar and Purple for review, which I have to get last.  I should earn my Spar stripe tomorrow, but it is ok if I don't.  There are two spar classes left after this weekend.  It just shortens the time to earn my Purple stripe.  I am reviewing everything already, quizzing myself.  I am also preparing my breaks and spotlight.  For my spotlight, I might do a 5-7 minute speech on Warrior Spirit or Coaching.  I also think coming up with my own combo set would be fun.  Decisions, decisions...

 

I might need to have the speech ready by Tuesday to compete in a Toastmasters contest, though.  I entered three contests: Humorous, Impromptu, and Inspiring.  I have previous speeches I can use for the two prepared ones, and the impromptu contest is just that, but I want something fresh.  Decisions, decisions...

 

Work is going well.  Earned monthly bonuses the last two months.  So that rocks.

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I'm working on two new speeches for tomorrow night.  I have the old speeches ready in case I need to change gears, but original content is what will win at this round.  In order for me to make an impact with my speeches, I need to do something unpredictable and that is what my humorous speech will be about.

 

On Saturday, I earned my Spar stripe through 4 matches where I was a force.  It is only suppose to be three matches, but the timer made a mistake in the second match shortening it, so they had to add a fourth.  For the most part, I felt that, with the opponents they gave me, I just had to keep my energy up and demonstrate my combo and defense to the instructors for those matches.  I felt I controlled each match with power and finesse where necessary, kept my energy up and pushed through the toughest spots.  I paced myself well without pulling back.  It felt awesome.  My muscles and lunges ached like crazy after, but I didn't let it the ache hinder me until it was over.  When I started attending spar class, I retreated a lot looking for an opening against more experienced, quicker fighters. Saturday, I had everyone retreating from me.  That won't always be the case, but it felt good to see my improvement, especially over the last two months going for that stripe.

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6 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Congratulations on the red & orange stripes!  How long before the purple review stripe test?

 

Cut off is March 12th, so it is right around the corner. 

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The Toastmasters Area Speech contests were last night.  Typically, it is a 2 hour event of two contests (Impromtu and Inspirational in the winter/spring).  This year, they eliminated the fall contests and added the Humorous contest to the winter/spring contests.  I expected a 3 hour event, but then they combined the two other areas to pool resources.  It isn't tripling the 3 hours, but it is adding anywhere from 2-10 speeches per contest (44 - 220 minutes).  And that was in a perfect world without the arrival delays of judges and contestants, a ballot counting snafu, and the multiple leadership huddles to ensure the Directors were all on the same script.  We started at 6pm and ended at 11pm.  I hope the Directors learned valuable lessons about expectations, preparation, and seeking guidance.  Unfortunately, this was a one shot event for them.  They can try to pass on what they learned to the next leadership team, but they don't always listen.  Having done the jobs before, I had concerns from the inception of the event.  When I got a face to face with my Area Director the week before and got to know him better, I was comfortable airing some of my concerns, namely the running time for a weeknight contest.  He was a little naive about their ability to just "make it happen" in 3 hours.  I'm sure I would have been a little naive, too, but I was always overly prepared for the events and heeded much of the advice I received.  With the cold, I stuck it out.

 

As for the results, I thought I did really well with the Impromptu speech with only one small mistake, but the judges saw different as I finished 3rd behind two acceptable efforts.  I'd feel better about it if they were spectacular.  I'm actually happy to lose, because impromptu is not my forte and for each contest first and second advance.  The other two contests, I placed 2nd.  The winner in each was spectacular, so was happy with my finish.  My performances in my opinion and some of my friends in the audience would rank among my best all-time. 

 

The humorous speech was a slightly modified classic of mine which got me to the District stage in 2017 (the last Humorous contest).  I felt the elements I added could put it over the top.  And I didn't feel I missed any marks.  The winner was just out-right amazing and deserved the win.  I plan to keep it the same for the Division contest.  I just need to rehearse the new stuff a bit more. 

 

The Inspirational speech was a brand new speech, which I wrote through the few days before and was still working out the details as I walked up to the stage.  It was unrehearsed and practically off the cuff, where I only knew the opening, main points, and how I wanted to conclude.  The speech was about taking advantage of opportunities when they arrive to achieve your goals and dreams by being dialed in to "Who you want to be", "What you really think", and "Why you are doing it", which lends perfectly to my personal experiences with public speaking.  Going in unrehearsed forced me to LIVE the speech purpose while delivering the speech, which in retrospect I feel like it would have made my point more clear, but I likely would have done it in a way which would have resulted in the judges deducting points for admitting to not being prepared.  I'll have to contemplate that for the next level. 

 

I got to bed around midnight and was up at 2:30am to let the dogs out, then up at 6:30 to get ready to work.  It's been a sleepy day. 

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I had my follow-up Heart Health coach call.  Cashews, pecans, and raw peppers incorporated into meals and snacks.  I've done them before, but they aren't cheap to keep up.  The peppers get boring, too, but I'll have other options on occasion, like boiled eggs, peanut butter, or a bit of dark chocolate.  I'll stick with them a bit better this time.  I've kept up with apples and OJ. 

 

For exercise, he recommended HIITs.  Another thing I've done before and got away from, because it gets tedious and can be demotivating.  Trying to beat my rep count in a given time is always fun; however, I tend to get hurt (back, knee are common ailments, this month has been my elbow).  I get disinterested in working out when I come back to an exercise and I'm not able to reproduce past results.  It's worse when an injury hampers me from even getting close.  I stopped tracking my personal bests, because it just kept bumming me out. 

 

I also don't like wasting workout time messing with a timer.  Instead of a timer, I typically will do four exercises in succession with a rep count and each exercise hitting a different muscle group in Assassin fashion (push, pull, legs, core).  Pull ups, squats, crunches, and leg lifts.  Push ups, toes-to-bar, box jumps, and chin ups.  Mixing it with karate could keep it interesting.  I prefer to push the rep count or complexity of the exercise to increase the intensity.  I might do 20 standard push ups in the first set, then try to do 20 type-writer push ups in the second, and 20 clapping diamond push ups in the third.  Or switch the order if I'm doing it at the end of my workout (after karate practice, a run, or sprints).  Mixing in the time element every once in a while would be a good plan though.  To avoid "beating the previous" mentality, I can mix up the time intervals.  One day 20 sec intervals, next time 28 sec, third time 35 sec, another 22 sec. 

 

Keeping up the motivation is the key, but that key is hidden in the drawer of knowing yourself.

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On 3/1/2019 at 10:41 PM, JediNickD said:

it gets tedious and can be demotivating.  ...   I also don't like wasting workout time messing with a timer.

Two reasons why I don't like to do a lot of HIIT.

 

On 3/1/2019 at 10:41 PM, JediNickD said:

I typically will do four exercises in succession with a rep count and each exercise hitting a different muscle group in Assassin fashion (push, pull, legs, core)

This is how I do it if I am doing a full body workout.  If I am working on one specific area (such as push) I will rotate through various kinds of push reps (horizontal, vertical, inverted).  So that could be pushups, dips and wall handstand shoulder taps one set, and then cat pushups, tuck planche dips and elevated pike pushups for the next set, etc.

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World 4 Level 8 Challenge GRADES:

FITNESS:

  • Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly.  2 Sprints (10 reps), 2 Jogs (30 min), 2 Bikes (10 min), and 2 Racquetball sessions.  Track time and distance.

    STA +1, DEX +1  A = 350 min, weekly met, milestones met.  I'm going to move the Milestones back to incentives for the next round.  As I track time and distance, I can set milestones for each challenge.  With 2 of each, I forced myself into diversity which I customarily don't do.  I prefer to do what my body tells me it wants to do at this "advanced" age.  Making them incentives will give me something to push for (like a reach goal), but won't force me into a workout box.
     

  • Walking: Fortify the Spine - 800 min total, 200 weekly. 
    STR +1  A = 1330 min, weekly met.  The weather is getting nicer for outside walks.  Audio books on the phone will make those more beneficial.
     

  • Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly.  Track reps for push-ups and sit-ups AMRAP and daily total.

    STR +1, STA +1  A = 380 min, weekly met, tracking done for push-ups (37 max reps, 105 reps most in one day, 465 total for the challenge).  I'll likely skip sit-ups again.    Squats, leg lifts, planks are all more challenging and fun. 
     

  • Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly.  

    DEX +1, STR +1  A = 560 min, weekly met.  Keeping it consistent while increases the intensity of the stretches slightly each week.  Added a new back and hamstring stretch with the strap which is helping a lot with my karate kicks.
     

  • Karate: Training and Practice - 1000 min total, 250 weekly.  Track progress towards belt.  Track improvement on all material. 
    DEX +1, STA +1  A = 1210 min, weekly met, tracking improvement in my karate binder and progress in spreadsheet and binder.

DIET:

  • Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4.  Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days.  Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days.  Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days.   
    CON +2  A = 28 days for each.  Flawless victory.  Weight and measurements tracked. 
  • Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, 6 Dr Peppers a week, and limit cheese to 6 meals a week.
    CON +2  A = Need to continue this as there were some close calls where I had to slap my hand.  The no CheezIts is the toughest one.  I miss them, but I can't do moderation with them.  When I get a box, I can't resist them and it disappears in a matter of days.  There is 21 serving in a box, which means it should last WEEKS with only me eating them.  It has to be cold turkey.  Mmm, cold turkey... 

 

LIFE:

  • Get Stuff Done - Complete 72 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 18 hours each week.  Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge)
    • Dishes (15)
    • Laundry (8)
    • Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (25)
    • Yard Work (2)
    • Animal Care (32)
    • Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8)

          WIS +1, CHA +1   A = 107 hours, weekly met.  Fell 7 hours short on animal care.  In the last, 4 challenges, I only came close to 32 hours once, whereas, I am always over my Other Chores goal.  I need to make an adjustment to my goals or priorities.  I don't think anything is being neglected with the animals, but I do feel cleaning is neglected.  So much dust and animal shedding in the house.  I might try vacuuming daily to see if I can clear up allergy issues the whole family is having.

 

INCENTIVES!  Working hard for CASH!  ($140.90 carried over, Week 0 $45.50 earned, $75 spentChallenge Earned $306, Spent/Lost $336, End of Challenge Carry Over $81.40
 

  1. REWARD:  For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. 
    CONSEQUENCE:  For any week where I complete less than 16 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash.
     
  2. REWARD:  $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc)
    CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour.
     
  3. REWARD:  $20 for each completed IJRS lesson. 
    CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. 
     

 

BONUSES: 

  Life:

  • $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). (73.5 hours, with 40 on reading/writing/mediation)
  • $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings.   (20.5 hours)
  • $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour.  (16.8 hours)
     

  Workout:

  • $5 for each cardio session over 30 min 
  • $10 for doubling any weekly minimum

 

PENALTIES:

  • Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. 
  • Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day.
  • Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  • Lose $5 for CheezIts, more than 6 Dr Peppers a week, and more than 6 meals with cheese a week. 
  • Lose $1 for each snack. 
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