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Jormungand: XI - Zer0


Jormungand

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For my second challenge with the Assassins, I want to base my quests this turn on one of my favorite assassins - Zer0 from Borderlands 2. I've been playing this game a lot recently, and it's tough to find better inspiration than this badass. Each separate quest will be drawn from one skill per each of his skill trees. I'm placing a lot of emphasis on running and bodyweight training to keep me working towards my OCR goals for next year: a couple Tough Mudders and a Spartan Trifecta. So, let's get to it.

 

File:I-can-t-play-as-Zero-Borderlands-2-yet-so-I-drew-him.jpg

 

First Quest: Vel0city - With autumn moving into winter, I need to keep my running up. However, I want to try to balance it with working with my wife (the ally) while still keeping my own mileage high. I want to push for at least 40 miles, which I know is lower than the last challenge, but I want to put some focus on working with her, as well. She can't quite yet run as far as I can on a single session, and I want to do something so that she doesn't feel completely excluded. So, I will run with her at least once per week.

 

Second Quest: Innervate - This quest is a little different than normal, and longtime listeners will recognize the throwback. I used to play in a band quite frequently, but we dissolved about a year ago. However, the opportunity has arisen that I could be playing in a throw-together group for a fundraiser that is taking place on the last day of the challenge. I play the bass guitar fairly competently, but, for the event, I might also need to fill in on rhythm guitar, which I do fairly incompetently. My goal will be to passably play better by the event, so I will practice every day in some form to get better at the guitar.

 

Third Quest: Ir0n Hand - I want to be doing more with bodyweight training this challenge, so I will keep it simple. I will do at least 500 push-ups in the next four weeks. Also, I want to start greasing the groove with my pull-ups, so I will do at least one rep each time I walk under my pull-up bar that is in the door to my bedroom. Finally, they've been pushing the handstands a lot on NF, and I'd like to do their progressions so that I can perform a decent one by the end of the challenge.

 

I've enjoyed my time here with the Assassins, and I look forward to continuing my progression. I will leave you with a haiku that Zer0 gives during the game:

 

The true world revealed / Weaknesses now known to me / Time to go to work.

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Zero and Obstacle Course Races, I'm in! :D Following Along for the awesomeness sure to come 

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Yesterday marked the one year point since I joined the Nerd Fitness community. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into back then, but I'm certainly glad that I took those first steps. I've appreciated the opportunity to get to know so many of you wild and beautiful people, and I cannot wait to see what we can all accomplish in the time to come.

 

I didn't do a whole lot for Zero Week. No runs, but I did do some work on my handstands. I've been practicing the crow pose for the past several days while stretching my wrists out. Also, yesterday while watching football, I worked on my strumming patterns for a little while on the guitar. I need to keep reminding myself not to expect any major improvements right off the bat - I just need to keep picking away at it. I was less than mindful over the weekend at a couple parties/outings regarding my food choices, but now that the challenge has started, it's time to zero in on what goes into my stomach.

 

I played a whole lot of Borderlands 2 yesterday, both single player and co-op with the ally, and I think I've met my quota for a while. Time to regain some focus and get this challenge started off right.

 

Happy Halloween!


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Level 13 Human Assassin

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I also forgot to mention that I started doing pull-ups each time I went into the bedroom. You start to really become aware of how often you walk through a certain doorway in your house when there is a task to do. I've been trying to get one pull-up in each time both when I'm entering and exiting. As a side note, we actually have two doors that go into our bedroom, and I'm trying not to cheat by only going through the one without the pull-up bar. I started mixing it up yesterday by doing them randomly in one of the three grip positions, but I think I'm going to start focusing on only doing pull-ups.

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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Excellent, here we go again! Congratulations on your first year – I'm just a few days away myself. Sounds like you've got a great mindset starting out! You've also reminded me that I need to make somewhere in the house to do pull-ups.

 

You've probably already got something similar that you're working from, but over on my thread, I posted a link to the wrist exercises I've been doing that I thought were particularly helpful for Crow and other hand balances. I can't do a full handstand yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll be making an appearance in the course I'm doing before long.

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12 hours ago, SaltyDragon said:

You've probably already got something similar that you're working from, but over on my thread, I posted a link to the wrist exercises I've been doing that I thought were particularly helpful for Crow and other hand balances. I can't do a full handstand yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll be making an appearance in the course I'm doing before long.

 

I hadn't been doing anything that thorough, but after watching the video you posted, I might give it a try. Mostly I've just been sticking my arm out straight and then pulling my fingers back with my other hand. I've only done one wall handstand so far. I want to keep practicing Crow Pose for the time being before moving on much further. I'm purposely holding myself back from just doing a ton of wall handstands until I get better because I want to ease into this and not overdo it too early (read: hurt myself). 

 

And I thought that your first year was coming up, as well. Early congratulations - now on to the next stage!

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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China Miéville, The Scar

 

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If your having trouble holding crow for extended periods or just want to change it up. These are some other good inversions to practice to cross train for your handstand assisting with the wrist and ab strength needed to maintain your handstand form : Tripod (with feet on elbows and feet raised), Shoulder stand (supported and unsupported and harder unsupported), and Headstand (w/ knees bent and legs out stretched) 

For the training that I'm doing with GB I'm starting back over with tripod before I even get back against a wall. Getting your body use to being upside down will help signifigantly during that "oh s*%t I don't wana fall and hurt myself" period when you're first starting out. Hope those help 

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3 hours ago, Ryuu1011 said:

If your having trouble holding crow for extended periods or just want to change it up. These are some other good inversions to practice to cross train for your handstand assisting with the wrist and ab strength needed to maintain your handstand form : Tripod (with feet on elbows and feet raised), Shoulder stand (supported and unsupported and harder unsupported), and Headstand (w/ knees bent and legs out stretched) 

 

Thanks for the links. I will definitely give those a shot. I am looking for anything that will help as well as any variations that will move me at least one step closer. Appreciate it.

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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"Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole."

China Miéville, The Scar

 

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Week 1 Recap:

 

First week of the challenge went pretty well. For Vel0city, I got 10 miles in, which felt pretty good, plus a hike Saturday afternoon. I went camping over the weekend, and a friend and I hiked some trails and trekked up a fairly steep hill that was literally off the beaten path. I didn't get to run with the ally, but I found out that she went to the fitness center after I did on Friday. I know that I can't make her do anything she doesn't want to do, and if she doesn't want to go on a run with me, I accept that. I just need to keep offering it and understand that she will need to go at her own pace.

 

For Innervate, I'm working on getting my strumming patterns down on the guitar more than anything. I know several basic chords, so I've just been stringing random ones together while drilling. The ally frequently reminds me that, as much as it pains me to admit, I will probably never play guitar for the Misfits or the Ramones, so I can't just play downstrokes all the time.

 

For Ir0n Hand, I've been diligent with my pull-ups. I've not gotten an accurate count of how many I average a day, but every once in a while, I will knock out a set of five or so to see if this groove greasing is helping yet, though I'm fairly certain it's still too early to have much effect. I worked on Crow some more this morning. Hopefully at some point, I won't feel like my core and lungs are ready to explode while I'm holding it.

 

Here is an icy shot of Zer0 to start off your week. Let's get to it, people.

 

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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"Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole."

China Miéville, The Scar

 

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2 hours ago, Jormungand said:

For Ir0n Hand, I've been diligent with my pull-ups. I've not gotten an accurate count of how many I average a day, but every once in a while, I will knock out a set of five or so to see if this groove greasing is helping yet, though I'm fairly certain it's still too early to have much effect. I worked on Crow some more this morning. Hopefully at some point, I won't feel like my core and lungs are ready to explode while I'm holding it.

In my experience greasing the groove helps a lot when trying to increase the # of reps you can do. I remember back when I was first starting out and I used it in a very similar manor to help me increase my pullups from about 3 to 10. Then about a year ago I did the same thing for handstand pushups to help me get them from about 3s of 4-6 to 3s of 8-10. If you're having trouble breathing while constricted and compressed some poses that might be able to help with that are plow and ear pressure pose. Start with plow and then if it feels ok drops your knees by your ears for ear pressure pose. The links are what they are suppose to look like but I can't bring my arms down to the ground in either of them (inflexible shoulders :/ lol) but they are great for getting use to compressed breathing (and opening the shoulders which you'll need further down the line in your handstand training. 

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Great work so far!  Five pull-ups is more than I could ever do at a time, so that's pretty impressive to me. Crow – and handstands – are really great for upper body, so that combination should be awesome. Something I came across when I first started working on crow mentioned that it was good for teaching you to breathe in awkward and uncomfortable positions, so it sounds to me like you're doing it right. Keep it up!

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Level 11 Sea Dragon

 

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17 hours ago, Ryuu1011 said:

In my experience greasing the groove helps a lot when trying to increase the # of reps you can do. I remember back when I was first starting out and I used it in a very similar manor to help me increase my pullups from about 3 to 10. Then about a year ago I did the same thing for handstand pushups to help me get them from about 3s of 4-6 to 3s of 8-10. If you're having trouble breathing while constricted and compressed some poses that might be able to help with that are plow and ear pressure pose. Start with plow and then if it feels ok drops your knees by your ears for ear pressure pose. The links are what they are suppose to look like but I can't bring my arms down to the ground in either of them (inflexible shoulders :/ lol) but they are great for getting use to compressed breathing (and opening the shoulders which you'll need further down the line in your handstand training. 

 

Plow definitely looks like it would help. I am still very much a yoga newb, but I'm really liking how if you're working on one pose, there is another pose to help with that. It's almost as if they're made to be done concurrently. Who would've guessed? Thanks for the heads up. 

 

7 hours ago, SaltyDragon said:

Great work so far!  Five pull-ups is more than I could ever do at a time, so that's pretty impressive to me. Crow – and handstands – are really great for upper body, so that combination should be awesome. Something I came across when I first started working on crow mentioned that it was good for teaching you to breathe in awkward and uncomfortable positions, so it sounds to me like you're doing it right. Keep it up!

 

Well, it is definitely good for that. I can just feel a ton of compression once I lean forward. If I can hold the pose and learn to breathe at the same time, we will really be getting somewhere. 

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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I tried Plow pose this morning. I wasn't able to get my feet to touch the ground, but I did try to just keep my breathing even and let me legs do what they would and not try to force anything. I think it is definitely something to work on. I could feel my core reacting the same way as it does with Crow, and I just tried to maintain awareness of my breathing patterns. Also, I worked on Tripod pose, with...less success. All that, combined with some wall handstands at the fitness this morning, left me ready for more.

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I like to see people getting into yoga. It has more benefits that a lot of people realize, and can be one hell of a workout if you want it to be. If you're like me (and a lot of other people) you may be conditioned to breathe from the chest, which will be harder in some positions. Re-learning to breathe from the diaphragm has been surprisingly hard. The body awareness that comes from yoga has certainly helped.

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14 hours ago, SaltyDragon said:

I like to see people getting into yoga. It has more benefits that a lot of people realize, and can be one hell of a workout if you want it to be. If you're like me (and a lot of other people) you may be conditioned to breathe from the chest, which will be harder in some positions. Re-learning to breathe from the diaphragm has been surprisingly hard. The body awareness that comes from yoga has certainly helped.

 

You're not wrong. Anytime I would hold a pose like that during these early weeks, my breathing would come in spurts and gasps. Now, I put more of a focus on steady breaths and the pose will take care of itself; I've found that improving the former will yield improvement in the latter. With my focus still being on obstacle races, I am looking at branching out in an effort to improve my racing. I found this article that has more poses to work towards, though I'm still eyeing that handstand.

 

Week 2 Recap:

 

For whatever reason, I struggled last week. It wasn't a complete loss as you can read below, but nowhere near the fire that I feel should be burning.

 

For Vel0city, I only went running once, and ended up with about 5.5 miles with a faster pace to round out the last half mile or so. For Innervate, I had a talk with the ally about our need to work more on the songs we're playing for the benefit. I'm gaining some ground on my guitar skills - I just need to keep it up. For Ir0n Hand, a trip to the fitness center on Tuesday left me with some bodyweight work, and, on Friday, I worked a bit on my handstands and push-ups (of which I am around 200 for the challenge).

 

Towards the end of the week, I just felt sort of lethargic. I can contribute a lot of that to food choices during and around a campfire I went to on Saturday night, which led to a pretty lazy Sunday. The lingering feeling led me to the realization that I am in need of a pretty critical respawn, which comes at an opportune time. This past weekend was World's Toughest Mudder, and it was bittersweet to read up on how everyone did during the event. I loved watching all of the racers compete, and the camaraderie was inspirational. It was also eye opening. If I'm going to get serious about this, now is the time. I realize that I have been in this seat before - almost exactly a year ago, in fact. That was then. This is now. There will be sacrifices, but I am willing to make the commitment.

 

This morning, after a very restful Sunday, I am looking at things differently. The fog (both literal and figurative) has cleared. I know it won't be easy, but I also know that I have allies in this fight - you all included - that will lift me up when the road turns rocky. Thanks for sticking through this ramble, and I will leave you with one of Zer0's respawn haiku:

 

I will not die here / I have too much left to do / And too much ammo.

 

zero_bugmorph-11352603.jpg

 

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You know, I had such ambitious plans for my three-day weekend...and ended up napping a lot of it away! I figure I must have needed it as much as anything else I had planned, so I won't worry about it – I'm still moving forward, and it sounds like the same can be said for you. Also, excited to hear that you're progressing with the guitar! I wish I had secrets to share, but you know as well as I do, I'm sure, that practice is the only way to really get any better. It's just a matter of finding the time and the inclination to do it. Lately, I've been spontaneously picking up a guitar at random moments and just playing for a few minutes, or longer as I feel like it. I think you mentioned picking at it while watching television. Jimi Hendrix used to do this, apparently, when he was younger – so obviously that's a good idea, too!

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On 11/14/2016 at 9:55 PM, SaltyDragon said:

Jimi Hendrix used to do this, apparently, when he was younger – so obviously that's a good idea, too!

 

We all have to start somewhere. You're right though. A friend of mine who is a potter frequently tells her students not to judge their beginning to someone else's middle. The same can be said for anything really.

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On 11/14/2016 at 9:22 AM, Jormungand said:

I will not die here / I have too much left to do / And too much ammo.

 

I love this haiku soooo much!!! Congrats on your one-year Rebelversary! I'm really glad to see you continuing to add flavor to your challenges and working at them! As for the World's Toughest Mudder, you'll get there! I may have to follow yours and @SaltyDragon's lead and see what this crow pose fuss is all about. You are an inspiration, seriously!

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I went for a run yesterday afternoon. Here in Indiana, it's been windy for the past few days, mostly between 10-20 mph. I knew it was supposed to rain later, but I figured that, if I left around 3:45 p.m. and kept my run to under an hour and fifteen minutes, I'd be good. So, I took off south into a wind that was blowing about 15 mph into my face. After a mile and a half or so, I found a pretty nice rhythm and got to it. Ultimately, I thought I'd do 7.5 miles, but I thought that might be pushing it on time, so I settled on turning around at mile three and only going six overall. I could see off to the west (where I normally run has quite a bit of uninterrupted line-of-sight) that the sky was ominously dark. It was right at the halfway point that that dark sky starting spewing some lightning. I felt that I would still make it back by the time the storm hit, but I picked up my pace nonetheless. Once I pushed past mile four, things really started getting ugly. The wind never abated (though it had been at my back this last leg), but I could tell that the lightning was getting closer. I wasn't worried about that, despite being surrounded by empty corn and bean fields, there were plenty of telephone poles that were taller than me and I figured they'd be struck before I was (if it even ever came to that). 

 

As I continued picking up my pace, I kept thinking that it might not be a bad idea to flag down someone going my direction and see if I could hop into the back of their pick-up truck to hitch the rest of the way home. At the rate that the storm was rolling in, I knew that there was no way that I was going to make it home without getting caught in the middle of it. It was right at the 4.5 mile mark that someone pulled up to me in a white pick-up truck. Inside, there was an elderly man with an open Bud Light in his hand and a bolt action rifle in the passenger seat. Ah, Indiana. "Need a ride?" he said. "At this point, I can't say that that would be a bad idea," I replied. I jumped into his truck and rode home. It was a good thing I did, because the literal second after he dropped me off and I got the garage door up, the sky cut loose and the storm hit. Hard. It was what we Hoosiers like to call a "gully washer." In fact, it was to the point that by the time I opened the door to the house, the ally was putting on her jacket to come and get me. As we stood in the garage and watched the dogs, Grim and Zero (who is half named after this challenge's namesake) play in the rain, we both agreed that she probably wouldn't have made it in time. Thankfully, my neighbor came at the exact moment that I could - as they say in Borderlands - Catch-A-Ride!

 

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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"Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole."

China Miéville, The Scar

 

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Week 3 Recap:

 

Not great but not terrible.

 

For Vel0city, I got in two runs for 8.5 miles total. Still behind for this challenge, but I am not going to fault myself for still making the effort. For Innervate, I got some more practice in. I feel comfortable with where I'm at for the one song I will be playing guitar on. Now, I need to start figuring out some of the bass riffs for the rest. We'll finally be able to have some practices with all of us together, so I guess we will see how those progress. For Ir0n Hand, I mostly just got in 100 push-ups this past week. Paltry, I know, as it only puts me at 300 total, but I am determined not to miss my goal. I'm not sure that I will be able to do a full handstand by the end of this challenge, but I'm not giving up yet. There is still a week left, and I have no intention of coasting out of it. 

 

I am nearly dead / It's time for a second wind / Let my aim be true.

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Level 13 Human Assassin

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"Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole."

China Miéville, The Scar

 

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19 hours ago, Jormungand said:

Week 3 Recap:

 

Not great but not terrible.

 

For Vel0city, I got in two runs for 8.5 miles total. Still behind for this challenge, but I am not going to fault myself for still making the effort. For Innervate, I got some more practice in. I feel comfortable with where I'm at for the one song I will be playing guitar on. Now, I need to start figuring out some of the bass riffs for the rest. We'll finally be able to have some practices with all of us together, so I guess we will see how those progress. For Ir0n Hand, I mostly just got in 100 push-ups this past week. Paltry, I know, as it only puts me at 300 total, but I am determined not to miss my goal. I'm not sure that I will be able to do a full handstand by the end of this challenge, but I'm not giving up yet. There is still a week left, and I have no intention of coasting out of it. 

 

I am nearly dead / It's time for a second wind / Let my aim be true.

Keep pushing! This challenge is almost over let's finish it strong! :)

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Four Week Challenge Recap

 

Structure was the name of the game, and it was the lack thereof that I think is what threw me off about halfway through this challenge. There were never any days where I had to do something (other than greasing the groove with the pull-ups), it made it easier to put things off until "tomorrow" but I never got around to working on things as completely as I should have. A pretty sorry end to the challenge, but I am already looking at how to make improvements for the next one to round out the year and end on a high note.

 

First Quest: Vel0city Not good at all. Only ended up with 26 miles total this challenge, which is way down from where I wanted to be. I also feel that I'm not being as motivating to the ally as I would like to be. I think I'm going to have to be more open and not push her as much, that way I don't come off as pushing or overbearing. I will try to find a way to encourage her more effectively, though I have to understand that a lot of it will come down to her own choice in the matter and I can't decide that for her.

 

Second Quest: Innervate I didn't practice every day, but we practiced enough to get through our portion of the gig. We had a lot of fun, and nobody kicked us off the stage, so I will count this one as a win.

 

Third Quest: Ir0n Hand No handstand, but I did get to 500 push-ups (half of them came in the last week, but I will still count it). Also, there were only a couple days in there that I didn't do my pull-ups as I walked through my bedroom door. I definitely did it more than I didn't, so there is something to that.

 

Looking back over it, it's not terrible, but it's more "meh" than I'd care to continue with. I liked using Zer0 as my inspiration, so look to see a similar theme for the next challenge. As always, thank you to everyone who stopped by with comments and advice. You are all awesome, and I look forward to having you around next time.

 

I'm back from the dead / To continue to raise hell / Get out of my way. 

Image result for zer0 borderlands 2

 

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Level 13 Human Assassin

Introduction Battle Log Current Challenge

Previous Challenges: I, II, III, IV, VVI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI

"Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole."

China Miéville, The Scar

 

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