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The Dead City of Aku'Mah

 

Part I

 

The black stone river port squatted solemly in a miasma of fog and entropic despair. No wind blew. The river laid still, its opaque water as lifeless as the metropolis through which it coiled. No star or moon was visible, yet the city was dimly illuminated by some unpreceptable light source. The slick hewn stone banks of the river and canals seemed to almost glisten in the unatural twilight.

In one of the city's market squares stood a cowled man, dressed in worn, grime caked garmets . His hands were loosely wrapped in dirty bandages, stained by the same black grime found on his clothing and deep under his finger nails. His gaze tumbled across the breadth of the square. There were no carts, no merchants, and no sign that there had been in any recent amount of time. The lamps stood unlit, their glass sconces encrusted with a black film of filth and neglect. At the centre of the market lay a well, its shadow filled orifice emiting the stench of a foul bog. Each connecting street at the market's perimiter gaped at him, dusky paths that seemed to only lead deeper into the sprawl.

As he took his first step, the sound of his bootheel fell flat on the wet cobblestones. Its sound was audible but hollow, devoid of all resonance. After a few more paces he stopped and abruptly yelled aloud. No echo. He didn't need to be a scholar to know that the physcs of this place were all wrong.

Every building facade he examined, every grime coated window he eyed, like the intersecting streets, were all lifeless. Nothing to indicate the presence of another. Nothing to give hint at a path for... escape? Was he a prisoner here? Was he leaving, or just arriving? Did he choose to be here? He couldn't remember.

 

...to be continued.

 

 

 

Challenge V

 

 

 

Goals

 

To improve my strength to bodyweight ratio.  To improve my running speed and endurance.  To improve my ability to enjoy life.  To find more adventure.  To be more patient. To be more content.  To be less frustrated.  To be less scared.  To connect to my inner self and to discover who I am.

 

 

Motivation

 

Still unclear.

 

 

Quest I - Improve my bodyweight to strength ratio

 

Strength train 3/week focusing on push-ups, pull-ups, and bodyweight squats.

 

Award: +4 STR

 

Grading: 1 point per workout completed.  13 = C, 14 = B, 16 = A, 18 = S-Rank

 

Routine A: Deadlift, Push-ups, Squats, Pull-ups/rows, Split Squats/Lunges, Dips, Planks/Leg Raises

 

Routine B: Squats, Push-ups, Split Squats/Lunges, Pike Push-ups, Bridge Work

 

Routine C: Squats, Push-ups, Romanian Deadlifts, Pull-ups/Rows, Split Squats/Lunges, Dips, Planks/Leg Raises

 

 

Quest II - Improve my running endurance

 

Increase my weekly long run each week.

 

Award: +4 STA

 

Grading: 1 point x number of the week.  15 = C, 17 = B, 19 = A, 21 = S-Rank

 

Long run distance goals: W1: 11km, W2: 12km, W3: 13km, W4: 14km, W5: 15km, W6: 16km

 

 

Quest III - Improve my flexibility

 

Perform a simple yoga routine 3/week.

 

Award: +3 DEX

 

Grading: 1 point per yoga session completed. 13 = C, 14 = B, 16 = A, 18 = S-Rank

 

Yoga routine: Will start by learning and performing sun salutations.  Number of "rounds" to be determined but I am thinking of starting with 8.

 

 

 

Bonus Quest - Find stillness and connection

 

Meditate daily, starting at 10 minute sessions and increasing duration by 2 minutes each week.

 

Award: +4 WIS

 

Grading: 1 point per day that I meditate.  30 = C, 34 = B, 38 = A, 42 = S-Rank

 

 

WEEKLY TALLIES

  • WEEK 01: Bodyweight 2/3, Running 1/1, Yoga 3/3, Meditation 2/7 + Assassin Mini-Challenge (+1 STR)
  • WEEK 02: Bodyweight 1/3, Running /2, Yoga /3, Meditation 1/7
  • WEEK 03: Bodyweight /3, Running /3, Yoga /3, Meditation /7
  • WEEK 04: Bodyweight /3, Running /4, Yoga /3, Meditation /7
  • WEEK 05: Bodyweight /3, Running /5, Yoga /3, Meditation /7
  • WEEK 06: Bodyweight /3, Running /6, Yoga /3, Meditation /7

 

TOTAL SCORE: Bodyweight 3/18, Running 1/21, Yoga 3/18, Meditation 3/42

 

 

UPDATE 01: Awards, grading, and routines added.

UPDATE 02: Weekly tallies added.

  • Like 2

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


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Well, this looks interesting.

 

I really like your goals, your impossible list and your little teasing story.  I'm staying tuned for more :)   What is your biggest motivation at the moment or your favourite goal to work towards?

  • Like 1

Level 11 Morgana Scout

STR 14|DEX 11|STA 31|CON 11|WIS 23|CHA 19

Current challenge:  Talvi makes tactical decisions | Epic quests: 2015, 2016 | Running instalog: new_tracks_to_follow | Previous challenges: -2 -1 etc...

 

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What is your biggest motivation at the moment or your favourite goal to work towards?

 

That's really hard to answer, and it's been something I have been tring to answer for about two weeks.  I guess, for right now, it's the ability to do more.  I know that's kind of vague, but it means I want to swim more, hike more, run more, adventure more, etc...  I just want to be the last one on the trail, and not having to set limitations on myself due to physicallity.

 

At this point, allow me to interject that I have just realised I went on a long, long rant-like spree below.  I feel like you asked a simple question deserving of a simple answer and I used it as a journaling prompt to basically do a mental dump.  I apologise and you need not read beyond this point, unless you're really bored and somewhat curious.

 

 

 

 

 

To elaborate more on it, and to give you an answer far longer than maybe what you were anticipating, for the last three years or so all of my motivation to workout has either been based on extrinsic motivators or through sheer vanity.  Recently I asked myself, "Why the #$%& am I doing this!?!"  This line of self-questioning came about during my first attempt at a fifth challenge back in October.  I set the bar a little too high.  One of my goals was to count calories and eat at a deficit.  I hate counting calories, but I wanted to be leaner.  After a few weeks I crashed hard.  Sure, I lost nearly 10 lbs, putting me at my lowest weight as an adult, but I was hungry and grumpy, my lifts were suffering, and I felt like I was surviving life - not living it.  After recovering from the crash, which segued into Christmas and by then all bets were off and I was drinking like a fiend, eatting crap, and skipping workouts - even my runs.  When the smoke cleared I had put on 15 lbs. 

 

As I was getting back into things after two months "off", I wanted to rexamine why I do what I do.  Why do I lift?  Why do I eat "clean?"  Why do I run?  What's the point?  Well, running is easy, I really like it.  It's like a mini-vacation.  Sometimes it's hard, like in this cold we're experiencing - running 10+km in -15C cold, in knee deep snow that causes my calves to scream in agony as the lactic acid builds.  But most of the time it's damn near transcendent. 

 

As for the other stuff, that's harder to answer.  I lifted to get strong and to get lean, but why?  To look good?  Why do I need to look good?  So people will like me?  Won't the people worth being liked by like me for who I am?  And the people who won't like me unless I look good, do they really matter?  I can rationalise it but the thought process never really goes away.  And services like Fitocracy, Bodybuilding.com, Youtube, Instagram, and even on here (though it's significantly less so here) all feed into this fitness competition of looking good, posting selfies, and so we strive to keep up with the Jones.  Well F the Jones.  I don't want to be 75 years old counting calories in hopes of seeing ab definition to post a fitspro selfie on Instagram. 

 

I've been really enjoying James Clear's blog posts on creating identity based habits.  The concept is not really that new, nor are his thoughts completely groundbreaking, but it's really motivated me to think about who do I want to be and then reverse engineering from there.  Another source of food for thought is Mark Divine who writes that to truly succeed, one must find an intrinsic motivation.  What's mine?  If I put all vanity aside, what's my motivation?  Health?  I am healthy enough. I can out run and out lift the average Joe, my resting heart rate is 45 BPM, my blood pressure is good, I'm not on any medication, have no medical conditions, and I never get sick.  So if I want to be "healthy", well, so long as I eat my veggies and maintain some level of cardio then I should be doing better than most.  But then one gets to reading the Mark's Daily Apple forums and suddenly you begin to feel like crap again.  It's like the world of online fitness takes its cues from MMO min/maxers.  If I read one more article about protein timing I think I'll eat my own head. 

 

To paraphrase John Romaniello from an interview on the Art of Manliness podcast, Brett MacKay asked what his one, go-to, trapped-on-a-desert-island exercise would be.  John's repy was, "Swimming."  For so long, I would be the guy squatting coconuts on a desert island just because the internet told me that squatting is the best thing since flavoured whey protein.  John would be swimming.  He'd be having fun at the beach.  More importantly, he'd eventually be able to swim out to a rescue ship or even home.  If I have no desire to compete in strongman, bodybuilding, or powerlifting, and I am not an athlete training to be the best at something for which squatting is required, then why do I squat?  I don't know.

 

So after a terribly long post, which really seems more like a rant than an answer in retrospec - and for that I apologise, I think the whole point is; I don't know the why just yet.  Or maybe I do but haven't realised how to articulate it.  For now, I run because I like it and I want to run longer.  I have abandoned the barbell (except for deadlifting because, c'mon, deadlifting is awesome) for bodyweight workouts.  I don't want to eat my way through plateus and spend months toiling to lift big pieces of metal just so I can lift a few more pieces of metal and then brag about it.  I want to be able to control my body.  What's a big OHP number if I cannot easily pull my body up?  What's a big bench number worth if I can barely do a dozen pushups?  What's a big squat worth if my legs and glutes fail me on the rock wall? 

 

I think about all the things I like to do, hiking, trail running, climbing, paddling, "adventuring"; and it just seems they'd all benefit from me being stronger but lighter.  So with all that I know, I think the best way to get there is calisthetics and, of course, doing those things.  For a self-experiment, this year - 2015 - I am changing from Wendler/BDSM style workouts to bodyweight workouts with the exception of deadlifting, of course, and just see what happens.  How will my body and my mind react to getting better at pushups instead of benching?  I don't know, but I'll find out. 

  • Like 1

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


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You've got the challenge well thought out, wow! I am sure it will help you succeed!

 

The long post you made about why you do all those things struck a chord with me. Sometimes I find it hard too. Right now I am starting weightlifting because I really want to and so far I really like it. The actual reason I once wanted to was to be pretty and have a great body. I have to admit I still want to have that, but at the same time I don't have the desire to go selfiewhoring on instagram. I guess it is just a thing I set my mind to. I want to prove it to myself, in some way. That I can do it. And the other thing about being able to do more... Well yes that is really important too. I phrase it like this: I don't want my body to hold me back doing the things I want to do. Meaning my body should be able to go on long hikes, go camping, climb over a fence, sprint to the train, and many more of those things. The fitter I am becoming the less effort everything seems to take. And it is fabulous. It is so liberating, and that feeling, well that is addicting, and definitely a big reason why I do all the things I do. 

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Mid-week progress:

 

Monday: Yoga (+1) & meditation (+1)

Tuesday: Snowshoeing, bodyweight work out (+1), and yoga (+1)

 

  • Like 2

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


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Mogishade! Can I say, I missed your presence here :D Yes, even your ramblings. 

 

I understand where your thinking stems from as well; I feel a bit the same way. It's not like I have any health problems or am even slightly overweight... But I can barely move my own body over a wall or up a tree. What if the zombies attack!? (or something truly bad happens.) I want to know I can rely on my form to look after me for as long as possible. Like Lilith said, I want to prove to myself that I can do things, and if an opportunity comes up, I want to know I cna face it with my whole being. 

 

I've also started bodyweights this challenge, and I'm digging it. I'm going to try my damnest to make it a habit so I always want to do it. 

Stonie

They/Them

Currently reading: Good Omens by Terry Pratchet & Neil Gaiman

Currently playing: Outer Worlds (Xbox)

Current DnD character: A radio presenter who’s magical bardic weapon is a portable radio broadcaster’s kit

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Thursday - Meditation (12 min) (+1)

Friday - Yoga (40 min) (+1)

Saturday - Bodyweight workout (+1)

  • Like 1

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


Link to post

Nicely done! So far you have had no idle days, am I right? Woohoo!

I think Wednesday I did nothing.

As for today, I ran 11 km today. Glutes hurt. Drank 2 bottles of wine.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


Link to post

The Dead City of Aku'Mah

 

Part 2

 

The streets wound through the lifeless city.  The jagged buildings that lined the streets seemed to be corralling him.  Each intersection he arrived at was just as nondescript as the last.  Each avenue was just another winding path of shadows and cobblestone, fenced in by the abandoned structures of this lifeless city.

 

He stopped at a shop window. Rubbing the grime from the glass with his bandaged hand, he peered in.  It was an old corset shop.  Headless wooden torsos stood about the shop like idle customers, their carved figures still bound in stitched lace and dust.  On the shop counter sat an old register made from wood and brass.  Everything looked so unused, as if the entire city was assembled to be a set for some great stage play that never premiered. 

 

His concentration was suddenly broken as the sound of laughter tore through the silence of the dead city.  He pivoted in surprise, his posture guarded.  The street was empty.  The sound seemed to linger like a faint echo.  It had been the laughter of a child.  It sounded again, tumbling down the street.  His heart raced.  He'd grown so comfortable in the silence, in the assumption that he was entirely alone, that the benign sound of a child's laughter frightened him.  He hesitated, suspicious of it.  As his mind debated whether or not he should give chase or flee, his body held him motionless.   The laughter came a third time, but fainter.  It was moving away.  His paralysis broke, and he ran after it.

 

Each time the laughter came it grew more distant.  His long strides carried him through the streets, turning sharply at a number of intersections.  He briefly considered that it was a trap, that he was being lured deeper into the city for some malicious purpose.  The laughter grew fainter still.  He halted at yet another intersection.  Breathless, he gasped at the damp, musky air.  The laughter was gone.  He looked about.  This area of the city was no different from any other part he'd been to.  Still no sign of life.  Every building abandoned, yet intact and still holding its contents.  All the people replaced by a layer of grime and dust.

 

He sat down on the street curb, his body nearly collapsing.  He folded his arms, resting them on his knees, his head hanging.  He was tired, and felt defeated by the labyrinth in which he was caught.  He tried to remember how he got here.  Nothing.  He searched his mind.  What was the last thing he could remember?  His memory was like the city - empty.  Not only could he not recall how he got here, but he couldn't remember anything.  His past was like a fleeting dream refusing to be remembered.  He had a notion of maybe what his life was like.  Or was he imagining it?  He felt like it was all there, just beyond his grasp; but the more he forced it, the further it slipped away. 

 

His mind froze and his heart lerched.  Something had fallen at his feet, making a light sound as it impacted.  His head slowly lifted, his eyes peering over his folded arms.  A light blue kite laid before him, diamond in shape, with long ribbon tails splayed about the cobblestones.  Its lead was cut.  He stared at it.  After a strained moment, he reached out and picked it up.  Standing, he examined it cautiously as if it were a dangerous weapon.  It appeared new, no tears and clean - devoid of the grime that blanketed his surroundings. It's light blue colour stood out from the near monochromatic shades of the dreary city that coiled around him.  He looked up and down the empty street with a renewed interest.  Taking the kite with him, he returned to his aimless trek.

 

 

Week 1 Retrospective

 

Completed my running and yoga.  Didn't complete all my meditations and missed a work out.  I could try and make excuses, but I won't waste anyone's time.  Truth is, I just procrastinated a bit too much until there was no time left.

 

 

Week 2 - Midweek Check-in

 

Slow start.  My lazy week 1 carried on through my weekend (Sun - Tue).  Also, this -25 C cold is getting a bit tiresome.  Below is a photo from snowshoeing on Sunday.

 

med_gallery_28495_1684_445790.jpg

 

 

  • Like 1

"If you're not waking up in the morning and living your life like a ritual of creation or destruction or life or death or love or hate then you really are just dieing one minute at a time."


- Paul "Grimnir" Waggener of the Wolves of Vinland


 


Mogi Shade, Level 4 Yeti


[STR 6] [DEX 8] [STA 4] [CON 5] [WIS 4] [CHA 4]


 


Current Challenge: [05]


JJSOMMER.COM | Tumblr | Instagram


 


Quinte Outdoor Club Meet-Up Group [ON, Canada]


Link to post

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