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InDestructiBull: Game On!


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Thus begins my de-lurking process. I've been wandering around by myself for a few months now, so what better time to team up with other people than a 6 Week Challenge? 

 

Starting Point:

Height: 5'5" (eh, let's round it up to 5'9")

Weight: 140ish? I don't want to tie my success or failure to a scale, so I am not keeping track.

Overarching Life Quest: To hike the Appalachian Trail.

 

Level 1 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 3 | DEX: 1 | STA: 2 | CON: 3 | WIS: 4 | CHA: 2

 

 

Challenge Goals:

Fitness: Run for 30 minutes 5 times a week  [+3 STA, +2 DEX]

Fitness 2: Take the stairs, not the elevator, to my lab and my office [+3 STA]

Diet: No soda or beer [+2 CON]

Level Up: Get at least 3 collaborators for my dissertation research, 1 of which must be my summer practicum mentor. [+2 WIS, +3 CHA]

 

Plan: (Week-by-Week Schedule to Follow)

Fitness 1: I've been working my way through the Couch-to-5k program with decent success. I'm 9 from the end of the program, so I will see it through. After that, I'll continue to run for 30 minutes 5 times a week, around my neighborhood when the weather cooperates, in the gym at school when it doesn't. Right now I'm working on consistency rather than distance or speed.

Fitness 2: My office is on the 3rd floor. My lab is on the 4th floor of a different building. The only bathroom is on the ground floor. Bring it on.

Diet: This is also a continuation of an ongoing self-challenge: I haven't had a single soda in all of 2013. For my next trick, I'm going to see if I can cut out beer as well. Whenever I want a soda or a beer, I have a glass of water instead. (Did I mention the bathrooms are all on the ground floor?) I predict this part of the challenge will be the hardest for me.

Level Up: The end of this challenge coincides with the end of my semester/beginning of my summer session. By then, I will have at least 3 collaborating institutions for my dissertation research. This part of my challenge is do-or-die: if I can't get my research off the ground this summer, I may not be able to finish before my funding runs out. On top of that, this challenge involves lots of phone calls, interviews and meetings with professionals in my field. The intimidation factor goes to 11.  

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Hey, I'm the Assassin who signed up in your Fellowship of the Nerds team. I dig the challenges - they seem doable! (Props to you for giving up beer entirely, especially - that's one I still have trouble with in social situations.) And best of luck with the dissertation work - my fiance's a former PhD student, I know that pressure firsthand!

Le cÅ“ur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point. (The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know.)

@kawaiidragoness || @KawaChallenge || Reddit || Tumblr || Youtube || Dropbox (cloud storage) || Kiva (microloans for the world's economy!) || Universe Project 

L2 Spriggan AssassinSTR 5 | DEX 3 | CON 7.67 | STA 6 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 4.67QUEST || CHALLENGE: Lair (0) Start-Scummer (1) UD (2)

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Status Report #1

I got an unexpectedly good start to my day today. The director of one of the organizations I'd contacted to see about working with called me back bright and early this morning to express his interest in my research. It's not a definitive 'yes' in the collaboration column, but it's a good start. Plus, I wasn't incoherent or flustered trying to talk over the phone the way I'm always afraid I will be. 

 

My run was especially good after that phone call. I'm still slow, but I kept up a steady pace for the full 25 minutes. I got new running shoes a week ago and they're breaking in nicely. 

 

I remembered to take the stairs instead of the elevator all day today. I wonder how long it'll be before I forget...

 

No soda or beer today. I bought a bottle of wine to keep in my kitchen as an alternative. Thanks for the vote of confidence for this goal, kawatan! I went back and forth as to whether to cut beer out entirely or to just limit myself somehow, but from past experience "only one beer" turns into "ok, one more beer" a lot faster than "no beer at all" turns into "ok, just one beer," especially during a finite time period. I don't intent to eliminate beer from my life for good, I just want to reduce my intake. 

 

Success Rating for the Day: A (4/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Report #2

Mediocre day today. My run was fine, I remembered to take the stairs, and I set up a few phone calls with potential collaborators for tomorrow (including my top choice for my summer internship). Today was registration day for the Summer/Fall semesters, so I had to put up with the usual confusion and ridiculousness that surrounds everything my university does. It sure made me want a beer, but I've resisted so far. I might go get a glass of wine and drink it while I think about how I'm only teaching and working on my dissertation next fall. It'll be my first semester without classes to take, which is great.

 

Success Rating for the day: A (4/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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I love the goals!  I'm also working on consistency in my workouts (way too many excuses and not enough work getting done), and am in the process of eliminating habit-foods as well.  What is the reason you're dropping beer?  I'll be honest, drinking wine it's place seems counter-intuitive, but then I know I don't have all the facts, which makes me curious.

Level 5 Lizardfolk: Assassin STR - 4, DEX - 3, STA - 5, CON -4, WIS - 20, CHA - 12

"You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."

 

Current Challenge: "Idealistinfire's 2% Improvement Plan"     Battle Log: "Idealistinfire Battle's Saboteur's Spawn"                                

Epic Quest: No fancy name yet

 

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Thanks, idealistinfire! My decision to drop beer for this challenge is more for my psychological benefit than for health benefits. Beer is probably my #1 high-calorie-low-benefit "junk food" right now, so I'm hoping cutting it out of my habits will put me in a self-control mindset that also makes me think twice about what I choose to snack on. In the past, when I wanted to reduce the amount of certain foods from my diet, I started by eliminating those foods entirely for a set period of time. After that time period, it was easier to reintroduce those foods in moderation. I was a vegetarian for a year to see if I could do it, and now I eat a lot less meat than I did before my veggie year. I'm hoping even 6 weeks without beer will have the same effect. Drinking wine instead of beer is also mostly psychological. Wine has fewer calories than beer and (supposedly) can help lower cholesterol (a problem that runs in my family), so wine feels healthier to me. Plus, I tend to think of wine as a "special occasions" drink, so I choose good wines and take the time to appreciate them while I drink them (as opposed to beer, which I tend to drink like water, without much thought.) Ultimately, by consciously changing my attitude about my choice to drink alcoholic beverages, I'm hoping I will drink beer less frequently (and stick to good beer) once the challenge is over. 

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Great goals, and good work on starting out strong!  I totally understand "just one" turning into "just one more" so the plain of just saying zero makes a lot of sense to me.  I also like the plan to incorporate more activity through your everyday activities through taking the stairs.

Level 2 Hobbit Druid

STR 1 I DEX 2 I STA 4 I CON 5.5 I WIS 7.5 I CHA 4.75

Challenge 1 - 1.1 - 1.2 - Current Challenge

 

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Great goals you've set for yourself.  I really like Goal #2 – for eight years I taught elementary music on the third floor of my school, and the only faculty restroom was on the first.  Between having to walk some classes to and from their homeroom class, I went up and down the stairs at least six times a day.  I now work in a building in which I have ZERO steps to climb.  I like the new building, but at times I really miss the built-in workout I got every day.  

 

Best wishes on your dissertation.  I had enough trouble motivating myself to finish my master's thesis -- I admire anyone who goes in for the long haul. :)

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Status Update #3

My run today was spectacular! It was raining so I went to the gym (which was a little disappointing after two days of really nice runs outdoors) but I managed to zone out on the treadmill and ran for longer than I'd intended without noticing. Usually I'm ready to give up with several minutes left to go... Back in January I could barely jog for a minute or so without getting winded and wanting to quit; today I ran nearly 4 kilometers continuously in 25 minutes. Looking at how far I've come is really inspiring for the rest of this challenge.

 

The rest of today's update isn't as uplifting. I took no elevators (even though I whanged my knee really hard on the bus this morning and got a huge bruise), drank no soda and drank no beer. I had a good conversation with a raptor rehabilitation center in AL this afternoon. I can't really use any of their data from past cases because they don't keep the kinds of records I'm interested in, but they said they've changed their pathology workup procedures recently so they may be able to give me some data points over the next few years. They also said they're really interested in my project and will see about trying to help me even more if they can. I also got the names of a bunch of other rehab centers that might also be able to help me out. I'll call that a tentative "yes" in the Collaborators column.

 

Success Rating for the Day: A (4/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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I like your reasoning with the wine!  It makes total sense - I'm doing the same thing with coffee/caffeine.  I gave it up for Lent and now that I can drink it again, I'm saving it for really tough days when I can really appreciate it.  I'm hoping to do the same with baked goods :)  Congrats on your run today and on making progress towards the collaboration goal!

Level 5 Lizardfolk: Assassin STR - 4, DEX - 3, STA - 5, CON -4, WIS - 20, CHA - 12

"You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."

 

Current Challenge: "Idealistinfire's 2% Improvement Plan"     Battle Log: "Idealistinfire Battle's Saboteur's Spawn"                                

Epic Quest: No fancy name yet

 

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Status Update #4

Uneventful day today. I worked from home, so no elevators to avoid but no stairs to speak of either. My run was good (28 minutes continuously, though MAN was I glad when my watch hit 28:00). Still no soda or beer. No progress on collaborators, either, unless you count playing telephone tag. Ho hum.

 

Success Rating for the day: B (3/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #5

I made it past my first day (Saturday) without running since the challenge started. I was a little worried that I'd lose motivation after that day off, but it wasn't a problem to get up and go running today. I ran for 28 minutes continuously and made it a little farther than I did on Friday over the same amount of time. I've got one more 28 minute run and then the rest of them are going to be 30 minutes from here on out (finishing up the Couch to 5K program!) Whenever I'm running my usual route, I'm going to try to go just a little farther each day, even if it's just a few steps farther. I ought to figure out exactly how long my route is...

 

Not much to report on my other goals. Still no beer or soda. It's been easier than I thought to avoid them (although I've been working all week without much social time, so that could be why.) I didn't go to campus today, so no stairs vs. elevators challenge. No progress on collaborators today either. 

 

Success Rating for the day: B (3/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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W00t!!  Great goals.  I finished my dissertation last May - cheering you on!!!  What's your field?

Some sort of Jedi .....

We are better than we know, if we can be made to see it, [then] for the rest of our lives, we'll be unwilling to settle for less.  

Walk to Mordor Spreadsheet

Past Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

"No, I'm from Iowa.  I only work in outer space." -- James T. Kirk

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Status Update #6

Today was a really good day. I spent all morning at the botanical gardens with my students. I doubt most of them enjoyed it as much as I did, but it sure beats being cooped up in a lab for 5 hours. I finally got my score from the comprehensive exams I took back in January and I passed with a high enough score to officially qualify for the PhD program! I had a couple of good conversations with potential collaborators this afternoon and I even managed to acquire a data set from one of them. I also spoke to one of them about designing an internship for the summer. I'm still waiting to hear back about whether I'll get the funding I need to travel for this internship, but knowing they're interested in me is a huge plus. [For anyone who's interested: my field is conservation biology. I'm studying lead poisoning in birds of prey, so hopefully I'll spend my summer working with a raptor rehabilitation center.]

After all that good news and forward progress, I ran nearly a block more than I did yesterday in 28 minutes. I'd say this was a great start to week 2.

 

Success Rating for Week 1: A

- Runs completed: 5/5

- Elevators taken: 0

- Sodas/beers consumed: 0

- Collaborators: 1!!!/3

   Bonus: Summer internship in negotiating stages

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #7

Apparently I had too good of a day yesterday so I had to make up for it today. A grant proposal I'd been counting on was rejected, so now I'm back to square one with my summer plans. I've been rejected from grants before (in fact every single one I've written while in this program has been rejected) but this one was particularly demoralizing. Luckily I'd already gone for my run before I found out, otherwise I probably would have skipped it for the day. I was planning on getting some work done this evening, but I think I'll just go to bed instead. No progress on collaborators today, either...

 

Success Rating for the day: B (3/4 goals addressed)

How successful I feel: C-

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #8

Another demoralizing day today. I got official confirmation that I won't be getting any of the summer funding I applied for and then I had to sit through a lab meeting dedicated to congratulating the people who did get funding. There's nothing like a bad attitude to make it feel like you're running with weights on. I made it the full 30 minutes, but I started off too fast because I was angry and I burned out early. I had to slow way down for the last 10 minutes or so. I'm glad I chose to shoot for duration rather than speed or distance, otherwise I'd be pretty disappointed in myself. Lesson learned: I run much better when I'm in a good mood than when I'm upset. 

 

For the Rangers mini-challenge I've added 10 push-ups and 20 crunches 5 times a week. This isn't a very ambitious goal for me, more like a minimum. I haven't worked on push-ups or crunches in awhile, but if I can do that many on a bad day after a disappointing run I should be able to exceed that number on a better day. It also doesn't help that I have very little floor space in my apartment. I might have better luck at the gym where there's room to spread out a little. 

 

Success Rating for the day: B (3/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #s 8 and 9 (due to internet difficulties yesterday...)

I finished my Couch to 5K program yesterday! Third time's the charm: in the past 3 years I've started the program 3 times and had to stop midway through twice. I couldn't be more proud of myself. I think I get bonus points for having a conversation during my workout. A colleague went with me to the gym and got the treadmill next to mine, so we chatted on and off the whole time. 4 months ago I couldn't jog for longer than a minute and a half at a time without needing to catch my breath. Now I can make it 2.5 miles in 30 minutes and still carry on a conversation.

 

I figured out the route I run around my neighborhood is about .8 miles long (each block is .4 miles and I run a figure-eight that loops two blocks.) Half of it's slightly uphill, too, so I get about .2 miles uphill followed by .2 miles downhill as I go. Today I ran a little more than 7 blocks, or about 2.8 miles in 30 minutes. Including my warm-up, I went about 3.2 miles in 35 minutes. From here on out I plan to run for 30 minutes 5 times a week, going a little bit farther each time.

 

Still no soda or beer, still no elevators. I'm keeping up with my mini-challenge goal of 10 push-ups and 20 crunches without much trouble. And I'm about to go make some progress with my research, so I'm picking away at that goal, too!

 

Success Rating for Yesterday: B (3/4 goals addressed)

Success Rating for Today: A (4/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #10

Ended up with a long weekend off from running due to a busy weekend schedule followed by a rainy and chilly day. I had a decent run today, so at least I was able to get back into the challenge. I made it through a very social weekend without breaking my soda/beer embargo, and I continue to succeed in avoiding elevators. No tangible progress with collaborators, though I'm still picking away at it. Unrelated: I'm rocking a new really short haircut and loving it! It's just the pick-me-up I need heading into week 3. I wasn't very much help to the Rangers during the first mini-challenge (my push-ups and crunches were pretty half-assed...) but the second is right up my alley. I'm already running nearly 3 miles 5 times a week, and I calculated how far I walk every day and it's easily over 3 miles. I have a busy few weeks ahead; maybe I'll break up the long hours of work with short walks.

 

Success Rating for Week 2: B

- Runs completed: 5/5

- Elevators taken: 0

- Sodas/beers consumed: 0

- Collaborators: 1/3 (no new ones this week)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #11:

I made it 3 miles in 30 minutes today! I'm still burning out too soon during my run, but I'm getting better at cooling down while still running. My stride is getting a little longer, I'm maintaining a little bit more speed, and I'm pacing myself well enough to be able to full-out sprint the last minute or so. I may try using more of an intervals approach to gain more speed, rather than the run-until-I'm-tired-then-back-off method I'm using right now. Does anyone have any advice for building speed?

 

The Rangers' second mini-challenge is awesome for me! Between walking and working out, I'm clocking in a bunch of miles for the guild. I should start keeping a distance spreadsheet for myself; it's really satisfying to plug in those miles and watch them build up over the course of a week. Plus, my walk to/from the grocery this afternoon felt like a hero's quest, which is always great.

 

Still no elevators, soda or beer. I've been busy grading today, so no collaborators either. On the plus side, once I finish these exams I'm DONE my teaching assignment for the semester! No more intro bio until September! (Actually I really enjoy teaching... I will miss my classes, just not the extra paperwork and time commitment.)

 

Success Rating for the Day: B (3/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Status Update #12

I didn't make much progress on speed today. I figured I should take it easy since my knee was kind of bothering me. I gained another collaborator today, which is fantastic! The Bronx Zoo is gonna give me access to their vet case files so I can pull all the data I want from them. I won't be able to start until the end of the month, but I'm on the books, so that's great.

 

Success Rating for Today: A (4/4 goals addressed)

Level 3 Mord'Sith Ranger

STR: 7 | DEX: 2.5 | STA: 11.25 | CON: 10 | WIS: 6 | CHA: 5

Challenge 1 | Challenge 2 | Challenge 3

 

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Good that you took it easy, then. You kind of need your knees if you're going to do any kind of running. It's just a fact. You can't outrun that kind of problem. If it's getting into your knees or if you're feeling it in your feet, there's no shame in cutting down the running some and reducing the stress. Your body will thank you for it.

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