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Ergolad: BLTN2 Challenge (AKA-Better Late Than Never Challenge 2.0)


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Well, this is my 2nd challenge. My first one I started a week late, so I dubbed it the "Better Late Than Never Challenge." Since it's been almost a year, I figure it's only appropriate to stick with the name.
About me: Check out my previous challenge to learn more. In brief I run, I do some strength training, I drink a shit-load of green tea, I'm modified Paleo, practice Long Form Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan & meditate. My intermittent work schedule is demanding and I've found it very difficult to keep up my goals when employed.
Let's get to the F-ing Challenge: Right off the bat, I know the format, but let's get one thing straight.


  • STOP WASTING TIME - I'm specifically resisting the urge not to wax on and burn a bunch of time here on this forum. I'm all about communicating, supporting each other and being accountable, but these goals are meant to move me forward, and help me engage life more fully, not sit at a computer screen all day. This is a huge challenge for me. How to make this challenge SMART? I have to limit computer time, focus on the job at hand and make an effort to seek out alternate healthy, stimulating activities. Again I don't want to think about this too much. There in lies part of the trap. I'm not going to invest in software that will lock me out of my browser while I'm working, or get ridiculous developing GTD systems, because I know that can get me in just as much trouble as the problem itself. My gut tells me to man-up with this one and take it head on. So it's simple, if I see myself spinning, I apply mindfulness practice to it, recognize it and move forward. How that will play out? Stay tuned. My challenge if anything, is to really start to bring this habit to the surface, stop letting it run on autopilot in the background and allow the conscious mind to process it. Like in a moment of anger, one can take a deep breath, recognize the anger, allows oneself to feel it, observe it, and somehow that process can neutralize it and move one forward. With all that said, I give myself 20 more minutes to finish this post.
  • RUN 3-4 days/wk: I trained the shit out of the 2012 Bulldog 25K for my last challenge, then in th month leading up I got a job, started to lose the plot a bit with my training and ultimately threw my back out the worst I ever have, to the point I was sent home from work because I think I was scaring people. After an 8 month work stretch my running went from 16 runs a month at the peak to lucky if I got in a run on the weekend. I want to find a way to keep running at least 3-4 times a week. Sometimes that means modifying what I had in mind. It also means having some goal races or activities. Currently I have a running group I can join on the weekends, a half marathon trail race coming up next week and finally the 2013 BD25K in Aug. Keeping my schedule filled with milestones like this and continuing to record my metrics, I will find a way.
  • STRENGTH TRAIN 2-3 sessions/wk: Do some kind of strength training twice a week. I work out with a trainer friend of mine, who actually introduced me to the whole NF thing, and we usually meet once a week. In addition I got crazy and decided I wanted to do one of those 200 Pushup Apps. So I'm into my 2nd week already. I'm guessing it's going to take me longer than 6 weeks, probably closer to 8-10, as I'm finding I need a little longer rest in between days and if I don't make the count for the day, I do it over again my next workout day until I do get it. Usually do this on my off day from running.
  • MEDITATE: I'm revisiting this challenge from a new perspective. Originally it was about doing a sitting meditation once per day. What I have come to realize is that in addition to sitting, my Tai Chi practice and running are both very real meditation practices for me. And though one can argue, mindfully anything can be meditation, I feel comfortable making it a goal to do something meditative every day, be that sit, practice my forms or run. I'm good with that. Tai Chi usually ends up being on the days I don't run or strength train, OR when I have a group class (Mon, Tues, Thurs or Sat), which my current schedule allows, but weekday classes haven't played out well when I'm working full time. Anything's possible though.


Finally, and this was a big deal in my last challenge, work has loomed over me like a specter for quite a few years; either I'm unemployed and need to find work, or I'm employed, unhappy, overworked and unfulfilled. I won't call it a goal, but an all encompassing theme here is to engage my goals while still maintaining my work commitments— find that balance. I don't know how I will do that, but I'm setting that intention.


Currently I'm between jobs, recovering a bit, but need to remain proactive. As I move forward I don't want to let living be supplanted by working. I want to create harmony between work, play and family.
Kick ass with all your goals everybody. I'll be checking in! Will allocate points to each goal if time allows. Not my priority, but the RPG thing is kinda fun. Also hope to cross-guild a few challenges, maybe visits some Druids, Warriors or something.

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Welcome back! We're glad to have you.

Scout 30/Ranger 1 (3 skipped)


"I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."
-Litany Against Fear

Facebook | Twitter | Runkeeper | Strava
Shukar Still Isn't Lion

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Pretty good. Nice to see you guys.


Missed last weeks challenge, but on track with my goals.


Run: Runkeeper (also always in my signature) has my log of running sessions if you want check them out. Completed the Valley Crest Trail Half Marathon in 2:10, which was about 5 mins slower than my one and only official 1/2 Marathon in 2011. Considering that was a road race, I'm feeling pretty good about this trail run. Think I'm going to run another 1/2 soon, but this time road. Think I could break 2 hrs without all the challenges of the trail….  Did a couple sessions with my Chi Running instructor, Steve. Those are always helpful and he's got me doing some low HR (think Zone 1) distance training now. Did a 2.5 hr run yesterday in the wee hours. Totally relaxed, kept HR at roughly 130BPM @ a steady cadence of 87SPM.


Strength: Definitely got 2-3 sessions in. Continuing my 200 PushUp program. Did a retest the other night. Where my initial starting test was 18 good form pushups, I'm now doing 33. Feel good at week 3 having made that progress, almost double my initial result. Fairly confident part of that is strength increase, but also think a lot of it has to do with improved form and execution. Also, I find meditating in between sets is helpful. Worked out with my trainer a bit too and she always challenges me.


Meditating: Things are on track here. Did something every day, whether it be running, Tai Chi, meditation or a combination of the 3. Tai Chi practice has been solid. Where I missed 3 of my 4 classes last week, I made up for it with an alternate. My nephews (2 & 4) are in town. Did Tai Chi with them motoring all around me yesterday morning. My wife said it was good for my focus. Not so sure about that, but I did do a solid 45 min set and didn't lose the steps at any point. Even after 20+ years practicing, I've been so inconsistent, this is the first time I've felt pretty confident with putting all 108 together myself. In class I've perfected the fine are of following my neighbors out of the corner of my eye. It's nice to not have to rely on them!


Time Management: Believe it or not, avoiding killing a ton of time here has been a priority. I'm allowing myself this detailed check-in, but you probably won't see me more than once a week. Going to try and check in on my fellow challengers. I enjoy the interaction and support we can provide each other, understanding it's a two way street. Off to Disney for the next couple of days to join my brother, his wife and two kids. They spend an extra day and then come back to crash with me for the rest of the week. Good to have them here! 


Gonna have to start thinking employment soon. Trying to reframe all that in a way that's not so debilitating. Breathe, breathe, breathe… The whole thing leaves me a bit stunned, like some deer in the headlights of life. As part of my management, I need to put some time into a business contract that I've been letting fall behind. So will call it quits here and put in some time. 


Best to all you folks!

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Have had two sets of house guests over the last two weeks and totally forgot to check in here last week. Gonna do a recap now.


Run: Killing it with lots of running over the last two weeks. Meeting my goals and then some. Tapered a bit this week; running the Pasadena 1/2 Marathon tomorrow. Goal is to break 2 hrs, a PR. Supposed to be a hot one, so we'll see. I like the heat, and I better be ready for it running the Bulldog in August. Got in a ChiRunning session the other day and worked out a strategy for the race with my coach.


Mediation: Still sticking to my philosophy of doing something meditative. Solid with it. Haven't done as much Tai Chi class with family in town, but I keep  things up and have attended at least once a week. In addition I started training in a new meditation method and it will actually have me meditating regularly again. I'm optimistic. Also got a copy of a book about running as meditation, looking forward to finding some time to read that.


Strength: On target with strength training. Making progress with my 100 Pushups program. It made a 20 pushup leap this week, which challenged my confidence. I didn't make it, but made a solid gain. Will repeat until I push through. Taking an extra day off so I'm not recovering on my race day. Also worked out with my trainer each week. Enjoyed the plank stuff from our challenge a week back. Want to do more of that, and will. Had a weird flair up of lower back pain, but managed it well, got in solid recovery and it never really manifested.


Time Management: Well, I think I'm doing OK, considering all the activity in my house. I lost the plot a bit the other day, but recovered, making time for myself today. Wish I could do it all, but sometimes I just have to set some boundaries. Here's an analogy: I have a Chevy Volt. For 9 months I ran that car off of one tank of gas, managing to get everywhere I needed to go on the 30-40 mile electric range, only rarely drawing on gas. I've been using a lot of gas lately. Circumstances change though… rolling with it. Well, in the spirit of this goal, let's wrap it up, get to race prep for tomorrow, and my other tasks.


Of note, there appears to be potential for work again looming on the horizon. Nothing solid, but an interview and two other projects expressing interest. That in itself is a whole other topic. I'll say this, I'll take it one step at a time, not project too much, and meet the decisions head on when and if they have to be made.


Hope everyone is doing well.


Kick ass and take names.

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Very nice run.  I see in your notes you have a running coach.  How do you go about finding one?  Not sure I want one, but may consider it.


Thanks man.


Um, because I'm a fan of ChiRunning, I searched their teacher database first and got some local names. But it wasn't until I did a workshop with Danny Dreyer, the guy behind ChiRunning, that I met who I'm working with now, Steve Mackel. He was assisting Danny at the workshop and he approached me and gave me some pointers that were very helpful. I learned he was located fairly close to me in Pasadena, so I did a private with him. It too was super-helpful, making the concepts behind ChiRunning more digestible. When my schedule freed up I just bought a 6-pack of sessions with him and it's been great. In addition to Steve, I also did a private with a crossfit guy I found through the VivoBarefoot site. He wasn't as helpful, but he did record video of my running which I liked. In addition to all the minimalist/midfoot or forefoot strike/barefoot inspired coaching, there are tons of traditional coaches out there. You could check your local specialty running store. They might be able to point you in the right direction. Online I like Jeff Gaudette at RunnersConnect. I found him through the free training plans on RunKeeper, followed his profile link and ended communicating with him a bit. I liked that he has always been responsive to my questions, even though I've never actually paid for his coaching, only an Elite Membership with RunKeeper and trained for my first marathon with his RK training plan. If you get on his RunnersConnect mailing list they send out regular emails with great running tips.


Hope that helps.

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Challenge Report:


Overall went pretty well. My grading here isn't very scientific. 

  • STOP WASTING TIME - I'll call this a D. Basically not a lot changed for me here. This was way to nebulous of a goal. Need to figure a way to make it SMART. I still procrastinate like no one's business. 
  • RUN 3-4 days/wk: I'll call this an A. I set milestones and ran consistently. PR-ed for a half marathon, trained with my coach regularly and when a mild injury started to flare up a bit, I backed off, but kept running and am recovering well. Still feel on track for the August Bulldog 25K.
  • STRENGTH TRAIN 2-3 sessions/wk: I'll call this a B, mostly because I allowed more time than necessary between my pushup sessions. But, I'll qualify that by saying I did strain my shoulder a bit trying to keep up with the pushup goals set by the app, which were unreasonable IMO. Lost my edge and ended up getting an average of about 2 sessions a week.
  • MEDITATE: +A! Not only did I meet the criteria I set but I exceeded it by taking on a new 2X a day mantra based meditation practice. This is a new one for me, and challenging to accomplish, but so far I've been consistent.

Not that this was part of my challenge officially, but I'd mentioned being between jobs and my concern about maintaining my objectives while working. Well, I secured a new position and start the middle of next month. I'll have to put my money where my mouth is. We'll see how that goes. 



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