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Doc Brian Chapter 2: Doc's Plans Are Revealed


Doc Brian

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I had planned to do another little story that summarized what happened last time and set the stage for this challenge, but I went on a business trip this past week and never got around to it.  Oh, well.  Maybe later.
 
On to the current challenge!
 
As luck would have it, I already set up a mid-range quest with a one year conclusion…
 
 
The Quest: Conquer an Adventure 5k
 
Growing up, I was very underweight (125 pounds at 5' 11" when I graduated high school).  After I got married, I started filling out... and kept on filling out.  My biggest weight was 205 pounds.  Not horrible, but definitely overweight. 

In 2011 after getting my PhD, I landed a job as a computer science professor near my hometown in Arkansas.  In 2012, I began hiking around a lake about a mile from my house, exploring areas I had roamed as a kid.  I've always enjoyed hiking, canoeing, and similar outdoor activities, and the nostalgia was especially fun, but I eventually wanted more.  I started to try trail running.  My initial attempts weren't too successful, but I kept at it off and on.

Spring/Summer of 2013 was the turning point for me.  By this point, I had two clearly visualized and mutually supportive goals:

  • Not content with jogging around the lake trails, I will be able to run up and down the steep hills, leap over ravines, and vault over logs and boulders.  I will be the trail running version of a Parkour Traceur.
  • As a more concrete goal, I will compete in various adventure/mud runs like Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and Spartan Sprint.  I won't just finish them; I will do well. 

Target date for completion: May 2014.


 
[iframe width=560 height=315 src=//www.youtube.com/embed/xk6hFwBkxy4 frameborder=0 allowfullscreen][/iframe]

Ok, so I'm not going to do this by next year.  I don't even want to do some of those jumps.  

But an amateur version of this is what I'm talking about.

 
Is this distant date a bit overkill just for a mud run?  Yeah, probably.  Some would suggest I just start entering these runs now so I can see gradual improvement, but that's not my style.  I could enter a Warrior Dash right now and survive.  But I don't want to just survive.  I want to conquer.  I want to surprise myself with how capable I have become.  I want to push myself hard now so that the big finale is a blowout, not a Rocky Balboa-style comeback from behind.
 
I agree that with a one year goal, I could get sidetracked.  However, I plan to give future six-week challenges some themed milestones to keep things interesting.  Over the course of the next year, I'll devote training for the various obstacles that are typically found on these runs.  I also plan to include some basic Parkour training.  Because, hey, Parkour training.  But these things will come later (or sooner, depending on how quickly I progress, plateau or burn out).  For now, I'm focusing on the fundamentals.


 
Goal # 1:  Strength Training with Strong Lifts 5x5
 
This was my number two goal on the list during the last challenge, and it was relegated to second string status.  This time, the focus pendulum swings from running to lifting.
 
One of the things I observed last challenge is that I do well with benchmark goals.  Last time, I had the goals "Finish C25k" and "Lift three times a week."  Guess which one I accomplished.  I know the second goal seems better because it ingrains a habit, but I wasn't as motivated.  To use this quirk to my advantage, I'm setting lifting milestones for each of the five Strong Lift exercises.  Accomplishing a milestone is worth +1 STR.  Each milestone is based on my body weight at the end of the challenge. 
 
(Yes, if I lose weight, I don't have to lift quite as much.  Now there's some more incentive to accomplish Goal # 3.  Yay, synergy!) 
 
These milestones are actually a bit of a stretch for me.  I'm going to have to really bust my butt to fully accomplish them, requiring almost maximum increase that SL allows, but the rewards are very high.  A maximum of +5 STR is riding on this goal.
 
            Squat:              5 reps at 75% bodyweight
            Bench press:   5 reps at 50% bodyweight
            Deadlift:           5 reps at 100% bodyweight
            Rows:              5 reps at 50% bodyweight
            OHP:               5 reps at 35% bodyweight
 
Fractional points will be awarded for the percentage increase from my starting weight to the goal weight.  For example, my current deadlift is a little over 50% bodyweight.  If I reach 75% bodyweight, that's halfway to my goal and is worth +0.5 STR.  I'll round the reward to the nearest 0.25 STR.  No +0.6666 STR for me! 
 
 
Goal # 2: Running
Another thing I learned last challenge was that I can't do two "programs" at the same time.  Strong Lifts and C25k left no flexibility in my workout.  Running still maintains importance in my training, but it moves to second place for this challenge. 
 
Last challenge, my goal was to complete the C25k program on a rugged lake trail.  This time, I'm going to work on improving my performance.  I will run twice a week, but I get to choose what I do as I feel like it.  On the menu is interval training, hill training, 5k around a track (improving time), trail run around the lake (improving pace or total distance before stopping), or whatever else I think up or others suggest.  The only requirement is that a particular workout must be performed at least twice during the challenge for it to count (so that I can measure improvement), and it must not be performed twice in the same week.
 
Up for grabs is +1 DEX and +3 STA scored as follows:
            11 or more runs: A
            9 - 10 runs: B
            6 - 8 runs: C
            4 - 5 runs: D
            3 or less runs: F
 
 
Goal # 3: Diet
Last challenge, the goal was to limit snacking and eat generally healthy meals.  It didn't work as well as planned.  For one thing, I didn't address my problem with boredom snacking.  I was just more likely to grab a carrot or celery stick if it was available.  Unfortunately, it often wasn't available…
 
There is also a second problem.  Although I eat generally healthy food, I sometimes just don't eat at all.  Not only is that bad for building muscle, but I also easily get migraines when I don't eat.  You'd think that the beginnings of a headache would jolt me into action to shovel something into my pie hole (preferably not actual pie), but it's more likely to just make me sluggish and less likely to fix the problem.
 
The plan for this goal is a little game of Snack versus Meal.  I get a point when I eat an actual meal (up to three per day) and I lose a point when I eat an unscheduled snack (any snack, even a healthy one).  I say unscheduled because I'll allow myself a healthy snack in the afternoon before I go home from work.  I have to actually plan it and bring it from home for it to count.  So, basically it's a mini-meal that doesn't count for points either direction.  Also, I'm going to be ruthless on how I count my snacks.  If I get a handful of Cheez-its, that's a snack.  If I go back and grab another handful five minutes later, that's another snack.
 
I'm sure my kids will get a kick out of keeping score.
 
Up for grabs is +3 CON.  Rewards for this goal are as follows:
            100 - 126 points: A
            75 - 99 points: B
            50 - 74 points: C
            25 - 49 points: D
            less than 24 points: F
 
 
Life Quest: Course Preparation
With all this work on fitness, I can't leave my work behind.  I have two new courses to teach this year, one in the fall and one in the spring.  I have a bad habit of putting off figuring out the exact contents of the course until the last moment, sometimes just staying a week ahead of the students.
 
I've taught the fall course once before, so a few weeks of ironing out the things that didn't work last time should be fine, but the spring course is completely new and will take some serious planning.
 
Max reward is +2 WIS and +1 CHA.  Scoring is a follows:
            Both courses fully planned: A
            Fall course fully planned, Spring course partially planned: B
            Fall course fully planned, Spring course outlined: C
            Fall course fully planned, Spring course unplanned: D
            Fall course unplanned: Automatic F

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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Day one summary:  Job's a good'un!

 

Did SL workout "A" today.  I pushed the weight up by five pounds on all three lifts.  I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to do that since I didn't do any lifting during the two week break.

 

I'm going to have to shift the weights to the morning, though.  The mid/late summer evening mosquitoes are getting really bad.  My legs are all eaten up.

 

EDIT:

Oops, almost forgot to mention my diet goal.

Today I ate three meals (although breakfast was kind of weak) and I split a root beer float with my wife.

Two points!

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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Did I mention that I LOVE your point system for the diet goals?  It's brilliant!  And you can get your kids involved by making it tangible (throw beans or rocks in a jar and keep counting them up)!  Way to go on the lifting last night - mosquitoes are the worst.  Hopefully moving the lifts to morning will help out a bit.  Otherwise, have you tried those Off fan things?  My sister swears by them for her kids...

 

Great job on Day 1!

FluffyRin  --  Ranger (Level 4)

STR 4 | DEX 3 | STA 4.5 | CON 10 | WIS 10 | CHA 6

Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, Current

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Thanks!  Glad to be back for another round.

 

I saw your counting jar idea right before I left for work this morning.  We have some glass rocks/beads/thingies that we used in a glass vase years ago.  Grabbed them and put them on top of the fridge.  Yay, instant accountability!

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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Good start to the challenge.  Lifting + mosquitoes sounds like a nightmare.  How do you not impulsively drop the weight to swat them away?!

 

"Did you go to the gym when you were alive?"
"I died in 1938. For exercise, we drank sloe gin and smoked Lucky Strikes."
- Dead Like Me

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Thanks!  Glad to be back for another round.

 

I saw your counting jar idea right before I left for work this morning.  We have some glass rocks/beads/thingies that we used in a glass vase years ago.  Grabbed them and put them on top of the fridge.  Yay, instant accountability!

 

Nice!  Glad you were able to use the suggestion.  :)

FluffyRin  --  Ranger (Level 4)

STR 4 | DEX 3 | STA 4.5 | CON 10 | WIS 10 | CHA 6

Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, Current

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Good start to the challenge.  Lifting + mosquitoes sounds like a nightmare.  How do you not impulsively drop the weight to swat them away?!

Who says I haven't?  Actually, I sort of almost did that.   I caught myself swiping a foot across my other calf while I was trying to squat.  I didn't fall, but it wasn't a good idea.

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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I haven't been able to get my running in, but I'll do that today.  I haven't tried running on an actual track, but there's an indoor track at the university gym that I'll try out.  Maybe then I'll see what my time is under ideal conditions.

 

Did my lifting yesterday morning.  Much nicer -- very few mosquitoes.  I don't think I actually got bitten, but it's hard to tell with all the welts from Monday.  Unfortunately, it appears the dog has decided my power cage is the perfect place to poop.  This is the second time in a row she's taken a dump right in the middle of it.  Grrrr.  Maybe I'll put a big box or something in there.

 

As far as diet goes, the last couple of days have all seen me earn two points -- three meals and one evening snack.  Man, it is hard to break that habit!  I would have had more than one snack if I didn't have that jar of rocks staring at me.

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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Boo dog habits!  That stinks (literally)!  Mutts pick the weirdest places to do their business.

 

And it's awesome that the visual cue is helping with the snacking.  Nice job with staying on track with the diet habits!

FluffyRin  --  Ranger (Level 4)

STR 4 | DEX 3 | STA 4.5 | CON 10 | WIS 10 | CHA 6

Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, Current

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I teach various computer science courses.  This coming semester, I'm teaching operating systems, Android app development, and an intro class on tech support.  The Android class is fairly new; I taught it once as a test run last summer.  It had a good reception, so we made it a yearly course, and I need to come up with a more stable curriculum.

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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App development sounds awesome.  I need me some skills, a killer idea and I'll be rich.  I'll name a university after you.

 

Good work on your workouts and goals.  Let's win us a t-shirt!

49 is the new 53

 

Fourth Level Half-Elf Ranger

STR [6.5] DEX [6] STA [17] CON [5] WIS [3]  CHA [5]

 

Current Challenge

 

My Third Challenge  > My Second Challenge > My First Challenge

 

"Don't ever tell me there's no way."  Agent Phil Coulson

 

 

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All of that sounds really cool. I'm guessing there's a lot of coding and programming involved, yes?

I think it's fun...

 

Lots of coding in the Android class, but also design philosophy and some stuff regarding navigating the legal quagmire.  The other two classes, not so much coding.  I specialize in artificial intelligence type stuff, but I usually teach that in the spring.

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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Got my lifting on this morning and running this evening.  DOMS are starting to dwindle away,  (They were pretty rough the first couple of days back.) and I didn't walk around wobbly-legged throughout the day.  

 

The run was pretty muggy, but an occasional breeze helped.  I worked on increasing my pace since I haven't yet gone back to trail running.  I may give the trail another shot tomorrow.

 

Diet-wise, I'm still sitting on two rocks a day.  I haven't snacked yet today, but it's Friday night.  I figure it's going to happen.

Doc Brian, Rogue Professor

Level 2 Half-elf Ranger/Wizard

STR: 6 DEX: 4 STA: 4 CON: 3 WIS: 5 CHA: 5

Current challenge

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