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Finally got around to writing my new epic quest, which is designed for 2015 only. The plan is to make epic quests one year at a time. As I've said before in this challenge, 2015's theme is that of foundation. I want to get a good base of athleticism that I can use to branch out into whatever I like in 2016. That means strength, cardio, and some basic skills.

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It's difficult to find a mixture between "ambitious" and "too hard". My compromise is to come up with a set of goals that individually don't feel particularly difficult (I have little doubt that if I focused most of my energies on any one of these goals, I could achieve it within 8 months without too much trouble) but together become quite challenging. You're right, the 2-hour half marathon is among my biggest challenges, but even if I don't make it, I should still manage to run a half-marathon by the end of the year, which is quite an achievement for me in and of itself :)

 

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I looked at it:

 

Overhead: 2/3 BW for 5 Reps

Bench: 1.0 BW for 5 Reps

Deadlift: 1.5 BW for 5 Reps

 

It looks like you have taken an interest in lifting!  Just need a goal for squats!  (such as 1.2 BW)

Classless Human Male Warrior - Introduction

Height: 1.77m Weight: 93 kg

Spoiler

 

Current Maxes: (repsxkg)

Squat: 10x122.3, 5x138.2, 3x147; 1x170

Bench Press: 10x79, 5x93, 1x102

Deadlift: 10x152, 5x192, 3x210, 1x229

Overhead Press: 10x52, 5x61, 1x70.3

Current Battle Log: 1707 Sam Ashen Summer Swole Program

2017 Challenges:  1701 1702 1703 1704 1705

Previous Challenges: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1603 1604 1605 1606 1607 1609  1610 1611 1612

Daily Log:The Daily Grind

Form Check:  Stronglifts Olympic

More FC's:  Pistol Squats

Want to play?  MFPvP

 

 

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It's difficult to find a mixture between "ambitious" and "too hard". My compromise is to come up with a set of goals that individually don't feel particularly difficult (I have little doubt that if I focused most of my energies on any one of these goals, I could achieve it within 8 months without too much trouble) but together become quite challenging. You're right, the 2-hour half marathon is among my biggest challenges, but even if I don't make it, I should still manage to run a half-marathon by the end of the year, which is quite an achievement for me in and of itself :)

You could definitely complete one with a pretty good time. The system I use to set my time goals estimates you could finish in 2:15 or so (under ideal conditions) at your current level of training. In eight months, you could probably shave some minutes off of that. If you put in the work and stay off the injured list, you'd be fairly close.

Life before Death

Strength before Weakness

Journey before Destination

 
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I looked at it:

 

Overhead: 2/3 BW for 5 Reps

Bench: 1.0 BW for 5 Reps

Deadlift: 1.5 BW for 5 Reps

 

It looks like you have taken an interest in lifting!  Just need a goal for squats!  (such as 1.2 BW)

I chose not to go for a squat goal because I quite rarely go to the gym. To me, weights are basically a test of how well my bodyweight strength has carried over to other activities. Attempting to do heavy squats when I'm inexperienced with squats has not gone too well in the past; I managed to lightly injure my foot doing it. On bench/OHP/DL, my form is already good enough to avoid injuring myself.
 

You could definitely complete one with a pretty good time. The system I use to set my time goals estimates you could finish in 2:15 or so (under ideal conditions) at your current level of training. In eight months, you could probably shave some minutes off of that. If you put in the work and stay off the injured list, you'd be fairly close.

My system (VDOT from Daniel's Running Formula) says 2:10-ish with a 28:16 5k. In any case, we'll just have to see how effective my training turns out to be. The good thing is, even if I don't get a 2-hour HM, the mere act of attempting it is going to get me a solid baseline of mileage (20-25 mpw by the end of HM training) for future training. I'll benefit enormously from the training whether I win or not.

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I chose not to go for a squat goal because I quite rarely go to the gym. To me, weights are basically a test of how well my bodyweight strength has carried over to other activities. Attempting to do heavy squats when I'm inexperienced with squats has not gone too well in the past; I managed to lightly injure my foot doing it. On bench/OHP/DL, my form is already good enough to avoid injuring myself.

 

 

I get it.  At my buddy's place I do not have a rack, so I end up doing front-squats.  That is where the bar sits on the front of your shoulders and your elbows pointing straight forward and it looks weird.  But I understand where you are at and why you stated your goals.

 

Do Olympic lifts interest you at all?  (curiosity)

Classless Human Male Warrior - Introduction

Height: 1.77m Weight: 93 kg

Spoiler

 

Current Maxes: (repsxkg)

Squat: 10x122.3, 5x138.2, 3x147; 1x170

Bench Press: 10x79, 5x93, 1x102

Deadlift: 10x152, 5x192, 3x210, 1x229

Overhead Press: 10x52, 5x61, 1x70.3

Current Battle Log: 1707 Sam Ashen Summer Swole Program

2017 Challenges:  1701 1702 1703 1704 1705

Previous Challenges: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1603 1604 1605 1606 1607 1609  1610 1611 1612

Daily Log:The Daily Grind

Form Check:  Stronglifts Olympic

More FC's:  Pistol Squats

Want to play?  MFPvP

 

 

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Those are some pretty great goals for the year! I can barely think ahead a few days! Some day I will try and plan that far ahead!

Looks like things are going well!

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I get it.  At my buddy's place I do not have a rack, so I end up doing front-squats.  That is where the bar sits on the front of your shoulders and your elbows pointing straight forward and it looks weird.  But I understand where you are at and why you stated your goals.

 

Do Olympic lifts interest you at all?  (curiosity)

Not right now, but perhaps in the (fairly distant) future. It's certainly not on my plans for this year, and I have no plans to try it next year, but I know plans can definitely change. At the moment, it seems like it would take the problems I have with squats and magnify them tenfold. Olympic lifts are on the intermediate and up CrossFit Seattle benchmarks that I use as a reference, but I have no plans to try and learn them any time soon.

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Thanks for the link!  I (very) recently took a look at where I was at and what my near-term goals are and it seems to pointing towards cross-fit stuff.  So I will be mining that information and looking for stuff which includes lots of reps on power lifts and Olympic lifts and cool lifts.

Classless Human Male Warrior - Introduction

Height: 1.77m Weight: 93 kg

Spoiler

 

Current Maxes: (repsxkg)

Squat: 10x122.3, 5x138.2, 3x147; 1x170

Bench Press: 10x79, 5x93, 1x102

Deadlift: 10x152, 5x192, 3x210, 1x229

Overhead Press: 10x52, 5x61, 1x70.3

Current Battle Log: 1707 Sam Ashen Summer Swole Program

2017 Challenges:  1701 1702 1703 1704 1705

Previous Challenges: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1603 1604 1605 1606 1607 1609  1610 1611 1612

Daily Log:The Daily Grind

Form Check:  Stronglifts Olympic

More FC's:  Pistol Squats

Want to play?  MFPvP

 

 

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Did a 4-mile run on Thursday and another today to get my total mileage up to 9 for the week. A little less than originally intended, but not too shabby. 53 miles is the cutoff to not lose any stat points for the challenge, and barring any misfortune I should still reach that.

It was a good run today. I was approached by a pair of friendly neighborhood dogs who decided to run with me after getting their required tribute of pats and renditions of "Who's a good dog?"'. There was a little one and a big one. The little one would dash on ahead, pee on things, and wait for me to catch up. The big one would just trot along ahead, occasionally turning it's head to make sure I was keeping up. I think they were quite happy to have a human who would run with them for as long as they liked, but it's hard to tell. Dogs are ridiculously happy about everything. I've encountered those dogs before, but was told by their owner that they always find their way home again, so I wasn't alarmed by them travelling up the road with me. After about half a mile they decided the scent of a fence post was more interesting, and we parted ways. I didn't see them on the way back, but the gate to their house was closed, so I presume they made it back before I got there.

Then I took a new path I hadn't taken before for my 4-miler, which was more hilly than my usual 4-mile route. On the way back, I had the interesting realisation that despite being 3 miles in, I felt as fresh as if I'd run half a mile instead. If the sun hadn't been setting I probably could have quite easily gone further. I finished my run in the cool twilight air, feeling quite alright at the end of it, without the nagging hip flexor pain my 3+ mile runs normally bring me.

My hip flexor problem appears to be largely resolved by warming up before running. I only need a couple of minutes; some high knees, back kicks, lunges, and squats. Whether my hip flexors have gotten stronger / more conditioned through the running or respond better thanks to the warm-up, I may as well keep the warm-up, as it's only about 2 minutes long.

I think I may go for 6 miles next week. There's a trail that starts at the end of my road that goes for about a mile and a half, so running to the end of that from my house is around 3 miles. I'll have to see how I feel, as 6 miles is 1.5 more than I've ever gone before, but I'm going for a 10k at the end of the challenge, so if I can't handle an easy 6 miles, I'll be in serious trouble during Week 6 :D

All in all, looks like things are looking up, which is good, since the 10k is fast approaching, and I have doubts about my ability to crack an hour. Still, there's only one way to find out!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Been procrastinating somewhat on my weekly review, but here goes:

 

Week Four Recap

 

Goal One: Run 60 miles by the end of the challenge. (9) (32.5/60)

 

It doesn't look like I'll make this goal, but I should at least get 50+. The back injury has definitely derailed my plans somewhat. I'll be a bit less ambitious in my next goal, and plan for unexpected contingencies. Perhaps calculate 5 weeks of perfect training, and make that my 6-week goal. 27.5 miles is simply too much for me to push into two weeks, especially as I need to taper for a bit before the 10k. It's annoying, but I'd rather not overreach myself. The goal is to be running for years or decades; in the end, how long it takes me to reach a good level of mileage doesn't matter much if I can keep it for ages.

Goal Two: Complete three strength workouts per week. (2/3) (8/18)

No good excuses for this week, I simply didn't get around to Sunday's workout.

Goal Three: Eat within 50 calories of my target each day. (5/7) (25/42)

I went over my goal twice this week. The first time was when family visited for the night, which happens very rarely. The second one was on Sunday, when I weighed myself and found I'd lost 700 grams. (Fluctuations, I assume are most of the cause) I ate a bit more because I could afford to. I'll be weighing in weekly from now on, in order to more carefully track the fluctuations. I'll go up in calories by 100 per day if I lose weight / maintain at the end of this week.
 

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Had a really hard run on Monday. Not particularly challenging a training session, just a 3-mile run, but for some reason (perhaps due to the early afternoon heat) I was feeling really bad during the run. I actually had to walk at points; this hasn't happened to me for quite some time. Fortunately, Tuesday proved that to be a fluke as I ran a nice, smooth, easy 2 miles at a slightly faster than normal pace. 

I did a light but necessary workout today; 1 or 2 sets of each of my 10 exercises, videoed for form. I checked all the videos against my course videos. I need a technique level of 8/10 (self-judged) to move on, and I had 2 7's, 4 8's, and 4 9's. I still need to increase the reps on some of the exercises and reduce my exertion. I'm supposed to have at least 3 sets of 12 of each exercise, with a technique level of 8, and an exertion level of 5, which is not much more intense than a heavy warm-up. I may allow myself a little leeway here, but I should have at least 8 or 9 of the 10 exercises up to this standard before moving to Phase 2, which is more difficult strength moves with some short combinations.

The video session felt easy, and was easy, but it was also very necessary for my progress, so I'm okay that I didn't exactly go all out today. I'll get back into it Friday, and I now know exactly what needs improving. My technique is almost dialed in; then I can focus mainly on increasing strength, allowing me to do more reps with less effort.

Saturday I'll be doing my final long training run, a 6-miler. There's a trail at the end of my 5k course that's almost 5k out and back, so combining the two will be about 6 miles. I've never gone down it before, so I'm looking forward to my first trail run. It's also part of a shortcut into town, which is good. One of my medium-term goals is to be able to run all the way into town and back. The shopping center is about 9k's on foot, so by the end of the year I should be capable of doing the 18k run as my long run whenever I like. Then I can allow myself to buy a portable treat like a Mars Bar whenever I want...as long as I'm willing to run in and get it. (Considering 18k's would burn around a thousand calories for me, a 250-calorie Mars Bar doesn't seem unreasonable.)

Part of the reason I want to be able to run into town is that it seems like a milestone to really separate myself from the average guy. 9 kilometres is unequivocally outside of walking distance for just about any first-world country. So if I can do that on a regular basis, it's essentially a way of separating myself from everyone else. It sounds like a rather vain goal, but I'm being honest with myself here. As Shakespeare wrote, nothing is so common-place as the wish to be remarkable. (Thank you Criminal Minds, for making me sound smart!) I've reached an average or above average level of fitness now, depending on your criteria. (Definitely fitter than the average person, but I may not be stronger than the average 23-year old male yet) The next step is to move from "fit" to actively "athletic"; to separate myself from the majority, and reach an impressive level of competence. 

But I shouldn't get ahead of myself. The 10k is coming up, and I feel woefully underprepared. I'm not sure if I can even make an hour, but the only way to find out is to try. If I can't, I'll probably do more 10k training next challenge, and move on to 15k only when I can do a sub-60-minute 10k. 

Thanks for reading!

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Did a pull-up max test. I've moved from 2 crappy pull-ups to 3, and 1 good pull-up to 2. I'm still not sure if I'll count this as a victory for the "3 pull-up" requirement, but when I said I could do 2 pull-ups, I meant the crappy ones. I'll have to think about it. Hopefully I can do 3 good ones at the end of the challenge and render the dilemma moot :D

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Hey Salivanth, I was just thinking about Shadowrunners and I decided to do some stalking.  What time did you get in the final 10k run?  And how did the last part of your challenge pan out?   I really like your 2015 epic quest list - it looks like 2015 is going to be your springboard to awesomeness :)

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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Hey Salivanth, I was just thinking about Shadowrunners and I decided to do some stalking.  What time did you get in the final 10k run?  And how did the last part of your challenge pan out?   I really like your 2015 epic quest list - it looks like 2015 is going to be your springboard to awesomeness :)

I ended up bowing out of it after my hip flexor was hurting me and I only got 31 minutes in the first half. My focus on the next challenge is going to be taking a step back, and focusing on training without specific goals at the end. Due to some unavoidable and some avoidable lack of training, it ended up just stressing me out. I will be participating in the next challenge, with the Scouts. I have both Scout and Assassin goals, but I've found the scouts seem to be a more supportive environment for someone like me who won't be participating in any mini-challenges. Probably because of their smaller size. I'll link it here when it's up; I guess I should start working on it!

As for the epic quest; 2016 is my planned springboard to awesomeness. 2015 is all about building that springboard :D

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