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The Dark Knightwatch Rises

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Aaaaaand, we're back! 


Heya folks!


I'm gonna be revisiting an idea I had earlier in the year, my own character sheet style tracking system, which I'll explain a bit later on.  But what will the next few challenges look like, "thematically"?  What'll get me fired up as we begin to close out one year and begin looking towards another?


Well, thinking in terms of street level superhero origin stories always works for me.  Training for a purpose, taking back the city, depending on grit and toughness and resourcefulness and skills, building out the home base.  Batman, Daredevil, Punisher, Arrow; all of them speak to me on a deep, deep level.


The ultra skilled, autonomous secret agent thing also fires me up.  The obvious choice here is the Jason Bourne films.  Not only for the awesome action scenes, athleticism, and situational awareness, but the fact that he's....remembering who he is.  Sometimes I really, really feel that I've essentially forgotten my identity.  Here's to remembering (and to maybe becoming a hypercapable parkour ninja spy by degrees, too!)


I also am drawn to stories of mystery, dark and ancient forces moving against humanity, creepy tales of brave investigators fighting a desperate rear guard battle against the tide.  Supernatural (well, early on anyway) spoke to me, as do the books of John Connolly, and games and stories based around the Cthulhu mythos (I'll take my tentacle blasting with a tiny bit more hope though, thanks!)  The gun slingin', dread tome totin', library delvin' hardboiled detective is a thing in my schema of total awesomeness, trust me.  Think something like Dresden Files, with a little less overt, inate magical ability.  I think one of the things I like about these tales, besides the plain ol' light against the evil themes, is how you often need ritual and forgotten tomes and dangerous knowledge as well.  The quest for knowledge, balanced with the pursuit of physical badassey, balanced with a fight for human souls.  Oh, heck yeah.


Speaking of detectives, there's the totally mundane mystery novels featuring characters like Elvis Cole or Spenser.  Seriously, if you had me describe my idealized self, it would look a lot like Spenser.  Those novels were so instrumental in shaping my as a younger man, and perhaps they will be again as I reshape myself after getting off track for a while.  


I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the world of The Division.  Capable badasses "activated" when all the chips are down and tasked with rebuilding society after the collapse of everything?  Uh, yeah.  Need I say more?


And finally, of course, there's the good ol' Rangers of D&D and fantasy fiction lore.  Now, much of the "character fantasy" I build my fitness journey around are modern era heroes, but I can't help but get wicked pumped when Aragorn is introduced in the books or films, and I almost always play a ranger or scout-like character in fantasy gaming.  Two aspects I'll definitely take directly, though, is the value of being outdoors, rediscovering a love for the wilderness.  The other thing I'll be borrowing is the classic D&D stats for a character sheet I'll maintain over the year.


So, that was probably all more information than what you really needed but I think it was therapeutic to kinda spell it out for myself, remind me while I started this whole journey in the first place.


Now, what about specific GOALS for this Challenge, outside the longer term character building?


1)  Lose 5 pounds or more


Pretty strightforward here, right?  Lose about a pound a week or better.  Given how much spare poundage I'm hauling around, this should be doable.


2)  At least three times a week, in the morning, go for either a walk, a ruck, or a run


What I'm gonna aim for is 4-5 times a week, but 3 will be good enough for a win.  This'll help with the weight loss goal above, as well as building discipline, especially as the weather turns ever colder.


3)  Complete Dan John's weighted pullup program.  


Initially this was written as a 12 DAY program, I'm gonna allow myself to take a couple extra recovery days from it, though, turning it into more of a 12 SESSION program.  And in fact, I'm likely gonna add a sort of "on ramp" in the form of two extra session at the beginning.  I'll spell out the whole program in the new few days.


OK, that's about it!  Gonna grab the second post in this thread as a placeholder for the "stat block" as it stands today.


I hope everyone has a great Challenge!  Lets go do the things!

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"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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1st Level




STR  13

DEX 10


INT 12

WIS 12

CHA 10


* I used one of those online test things to get a general sense of where my stats currently stand, and then I honestly brought them all down a little bit.  Why?  Well, I'm thinking of myself as "first level" here, and want to give myself "room to grow", so to speak.






  • Press 190 x5

  • Squat 305 x 5

  • Bench Press 265 x 5

  • Deadlift 415 x 5

  • Close CoC #1 gripper 8 times per hand


* I feel this is something that's presently within reach, but I'll have to dedicate a little bit longer to them, and get back on track with grip training.  That's really fallen off.  As I hit these numbers in the course of my training, I'll check them off, and then all are completed I'll get +1 STR



  • 16 unbroken dips

  • 8 unbroken pullups

  • 20 unbroken doubleunders


* Alright, so, obviously the dips and pullups are still kinda under the realm of "strength".  But when I consider dexterous characters, especially in the way I'm thinking of them (Bruce Wayne with gymnast rings in his gym), I also imagine handstands and muscle ups.  I'm waaaay off from both, but the dips and pullups are basic building blocks towards them.  And there's not much simpler in the realm of "body control" than just moving it up and down.  The dubs, meanwhile, are just a real basic "skill" involving coordination and timing and such that I used to be able to do in limited numbers, but have lost along the way.  Once I can pass all three tests, I'll set new benchmarks and gain a +1 DEX



  • 1 mile unbroken run

  • 4 mile ruck

  • Lose 8 pounds


* Obviously the basics of endurance are covered here, but also the pure health element, too.  After I hit these I'll add a +1 to my CON, and set new, higher goals.



  • Finish 8 books

  • Accumulate 8 hours in study or practice in a non-fitness skill


* Pretty straight forward, here.  Finish 8 books of any length, and practice or study something for 8 hours total.   Can be split among a few skills (3 hours each of Duolingo and, I dunno, researching how to get HAM radio certified, and a couple hours of lessons on guitar)  That'll earn me a +1 INT, and a new set of benchmarks.



  • Accumulate 2 hours of meditation

  • Complete 2 books of Bible


* Another simple concept.  Obviously Wisdom can be reflected in lots of ways, but a real basic one is to work on calming my mind and studying my faith.  After this +1. maybe I'll explore some of those other manifestations of WIS.



  • Finish 3 chapters of PN L1cert

  • Write and publish 3 blog entries


* Like WIS, Charisma can take many forms.  I'm thinking of it in terms of "leadership" and communication this time, two ways that I can work around my social awkwardness and interact with people

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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So, right off the bat, a couple obstacles to overcome:


First, I'm starting out by being out of town for a couple days.  No biggie though.  I'll try to get to a local gym I've been to a few times, both tonight and tomorrow for some workouts.  Today we're dealing with a snowless Nor'Easter in the area, but I went for a short walk down to the water this morning, so, one "moving in the AM" for the week is done!


The other obstacle I'll face is that I'll be ENDING this Challenge out of town, too, and more specifically, out of country.  But again, I can easily make do with whatever I have access to, and if nothing else will focus on bodyweight stuff and mobility.


Bookending the Challenge by being on the road, however, does compress my timeframe a bit in getting the pullup challenge in.  Here's what that's going to look like, by the way, given my slight adjustments.  I'll be doing these reps with about 25 pounds of added resistance:


session 1

2-2-1-1 reps


session 2

2-2-1-1 reps


session 3

3-2-1-1 reps


session 4

3-2-1-1 reps


session 5

3-2-2-1 reps


session 6

3-3-2-1 reps


session 7 reps



session 8

4-3-2-1-1 reps


session 9

4-3-2-2-1 reps


session 10

4-3-3-2-1 reps


session 11

4-4-3-2-1 reps


session 12

5-4-3-2-1 reps


session 13

AMRAP test


My plan is to do a few sessions  a week, usually at the beginning on my workout, between my warmup and primary strength movement.  The volume isn't too bad, and if I stay on task, I should be able to knock them out swiftly.  If I can get, say, 6 or 7 reps under load by the end of this little experiment, I oughta be able to hit one of my "stat bump" goals of getting 8 bodyweight pullups.  So we shall see!


Besides, if I'm planning on being a costumed vigilante superhero striking fear in the hearts of evildoers, I better be able to haul myself AND my armor and gear up over a wall, right?  Right.  ;) 

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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Heya friends!  I'm now back home, same and sound.  Unfortunately, the gym in town where I was staying actually closed for a couple days due to a wide ranging power outage, so I wasn't able to lift.  Bah!  But, I got in a couple more walks, and last night, when I got home, I did the first session of the Dan John Pullup Challenge.  Tomorrow I'll have a more official kick off to the Challenge, with my first roper workout back.


Hope everyone has had a great weekend!  Happy Halloween!

  • Like 1

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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KW, checking in!


Things have gone pretty well this week!  I haven't reweighed in, despite my plan to do so every couple days, but I likely will tomorrow, to see if there's been any progress on that front.


I did have a fairly disastrous strength session on Monday, where I've learned that my handstand pushup strength has fallen right off a cliff.  Ah well, I'll be sure to add in some extra light sessions of them in coming weeks, and hopefully they'll start creeping back up again.


Otherwise, I had two decent strength sessions, and two WODs.  First strength session I hit some shoulders (to make up for the atrocious handstand work!) including some strict pressing with the axle bar, and working up to a heavy single on deadlifts.  Second session was a lot of squatting, which is a movement that's given me a lot of pains lately, both literally and figuratively.  I've scaled back pretty far on load, and just trying to be patient in building it back up.  Otherwise I'm using a lot of other unloaded movements to keep the ol' legs progressing.



The first WOD I got in was a more obstacle course style one my friend and I pieced together, which included some traversing of the monkey bars, which, lemme tell you, is something I haven't done for, uh, DECADES.  Man, I'm awful at it haha.  But I figure that's like step one in being a roof jumpin' skyline runnin' vigalante type!  The other was a lot of squats, thrusters, and cals on the ski erg and bike, done with a partner, but the "non working" partner had to hold a sandbag the entire time.  And it lasted 40 minutes.  Ow.  :D


Finally, I've gone for two light runs so far this week.  Well, they've been more walk-jog intervals a la one of those C25K programs, but it's a start!  I'll be getting in a ruck tomorrow or Saturday morning, as well.   


Tomorrow will also be a chest/bench day, and I think I've got the framework for a fun conditioning session  I'll plug in afterwards.


Otherwise, today's a rest day, though I'll probably do some mobility/stretching later on.  Gonna work on the KDubcave a bit too.  I'm decidedly butlerless, and I can see why that's such a popular option for my crimefighting peers.  ;)



  • Like 1

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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