Phase 2: Still Planning

Last time, I talked about the planning with respect to my training regimen. I’m still working through some of that, but the core ideas are all there.

This time, let’s talk about equipment.

This race is going to be very intense. It’s going to be long, it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be at night in the summer.

Luckily, the race does provide a bit of guidance on what might be worthwhile.


  • Working head lamp
  • Flashing beacon


  • Weather Appropriate Clothing (Multiple Socks, Water / Windproof Jacket/Pants,
    Trail Running Shoes, Gloves, Hat, Multiple Pairs of Socks)
  • Camp supplies: Pop Up Tent / Canopy, Flash Light, Tarp, Folding Chair(s),
    Space/Thermal Blanket
  • Nutritional supplies: Water, Gatorade, Electrolytes, Gels, Energy Bars, Meals /
    Soups (that can be warmed up in microwave)
  • Sunscreen / Bug Spray

Headlamp and beacon makes perfect sense. It’s going to be dark, you need to make yourself visible to the other racers out there, and you need to see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip and break something. Clothing makes sense too – there’s potential for a wide variety of weather to experience during the race. It is Alberta, after all.

Camp supplies: again, nothing that is unusual here, makes sense. Same goes with the sunscreen/bug spray.

Nutritional supplies. Yep, I’ve already identified that I need to plan nutrition. That is leading up to the race and during. Definitely an area that I really need to be well prepared for.

Now, in this list there are a bunch of things I don’t already have, so I’ll need to make some purchases or borrow some items as we get closer to race weekend, but it isn’t anything that strange or unique I need to be thinking of.

With regards to my other category of planning, something else came up. The possibility of needing a crew. A crew would be a group of folk to ‘be in my corner’ while the race is ongoing. They’d be there to cheer me on as I finish laps, provide me with food and keep me moving through base camp. I’ll have to do a bit more investigation on how many people I can have, etc, but I think having some friendly faces out there would be really beneficial.


Phase 2: Planning

Last week, I discussed how I was approaching my latest personal challenge as a project. So, pulling out the various project management tools out and whatnot – I’m firmly in the planning stage.

A part of planning is to define the project objectives. In my last post, I said the objective was to not die finish the race. That’s a pretty generic and frankly, a pretty weak objective. We need to refine it. Thankfully, refining the objectives is a part of planning! When I consider what needs to be done,  I come up with a few categories.

  • Training – how I get my body ready to participate
  • Equipment – what tools I need to be successful
  • Nutrition – fuel for my body
  • Other – a catch all for things not yet explored

Obviously, there’s overlap/dependencies between these groups. That’s expected. For example, I need shoes (equipment) to run (train) in. I need to eat to be able to move my body. Etc. That’s expected and normal.

So, thinking about training. What sort of things do I (think I) need to be able to do? I know that the race is on for 12 hours. I have to complete as many laps as possible, and one of those laps needs to be completed in the time between the 11th and 12th hour. I’ll have to complete the obstacles each lap. So, where in a normal race, I might just accept the inability to do a particular task and take the penalty – it behooves me to train for those to avoid as many penalties as possible. What do I need to be able to do?

  • Run for X distance (or time?)
  • Pull up my body weight
  • Climb a rope
  • Climb a cargo net
  • Monkey bars
  • Ring swing
  • Carry a heavy bucket/bag
  • Drag an object
  • Throw an axe
  • Shoot a rifle

That’s a good list to start with. What does it tell me?

  • Grip strength is going to be something I need
  • Functional training is going to be key
  • There are a number of specialized activities to consider
  • Endurance, endurance, endurance, endurance

Now, I’m going to think a little about objectives for my running. To date, my longest run has been a half marathon (21.1 km). I can complete this distance in roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes. This doesn’t mean a whole lot when compared to an obstacle/trail race though. So, consider the Spartan Sprint I ran (~6km) which took me about 1 hour 45 minutes. My most recent long trail race was 13km in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

There’s a big disparity in those times! What do I know about them? The Spartan was done roughly halfway through my training for my first half marathon. I had failed a lot of obstacles and had to do a lot of burpees. Also, trail running, which I hadn’t really been training on. So, my time wasn’t great for a lot of reasons. The trail race is closer to my half time for 8km less. Again, big difference in trail running and road – also, I wasn’t training hills and was gassed by the really large hill portions.

This gives a lot of information – one, I need to change focus to run more trails. Two, I need to add significant hill training. These changes will do wonders for my preparation.

Using my Sprint time as a guide, rounding it to 2 hours, then extrapolating a distance, that puts me to an estimate of 36 km. Using my trail race, I can extrapolate a distance of 70 km. This range is still pretty huge target range and the high end does not consider obstacles. What to do?

My initial gut feeling on where I can realistically end up is somewhere between 25km and 50km. This isn’t set in stone yet – I still need to consult with some experts to get their input on what would be realistic given the time I have to train. But, I have a starting point.

Next time, I’ll look a little more into the planning I have to do regarding equipment.

Black Ops: Project management

My interest in project management hasn’t been much of a secret. What else isn’t a secret? I’m a huge nerd. When thinking about the Black Ops race in June, I couldn’t really help myself from starting to apply project management methodologies to the whole endeavor, because clearly, it’s a project.

Why do I say this? Let’s take a look at the definition of a project from the PMI Institute:

A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.

And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.

Well, first, yes, there’s a defined beginning and end time (from time I registered to the end of the race). Temporary. It’s unique in that this isn’t something I do every day. I’m looking to accomplish a singular goal: Not die complete the race.

So. There you have it. I’m gonna have to manage this like a project. Because I’m a nerd.

Phase one is Initiating the project. I kicked off with my registration and announcing my intentions to the world for accountability.

Phase two is Planning. Lots of planning, which, will be my next topic…

Press Start

This week, I registered for the X Warrior Titan 12 Hour Black Ops event.

What I know about this event:

  • It is run on a loop at the Boneyard compound in Barrhead.
  • To get a medal, you have to cross the finish line after the 11th hour.
  • There’s no burpees if you fail an obstacle (penalty loops are in place instead).
  • You can earn patches if you exceed certain distance thresholds.
  • You can earn a patch if you take a loop carrying a heavy bag.
  • It is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever chosen to complete.

That certainly isn’t a lot of information. More will come out as we get closer to June, but I did a little digging on what this event was like last year.

First, the penalty loops. Last year, X Warrior experimented with eliminating burpees and adding the penalty loop concept. It appears participants were given 2 wristbands. One would be collected by obstacle marshals you failed the complete an obstacle. At points on the course, there were penalty loops – if you were missing your bands, you had to complete the loop for each band you were missing (then I assume you gained them back). The loops were carries/pulls/etc. So, instead of burpees, you had a new obstacle to complete.

So, in thinking about training, I have to try and predict what sort of obstacles to expect. As this is an X Warrior event, I can expect that there will be an axe throwing obstacle. Last year, there was a can-shoot with airsoft rifles, I think this will probably make a return too. So, that’s at least two obstacles that are going to be a little tougher to train for – ie, they’ll take specialized time outside of ‘gym time’.

I can expect that I will need to work on swinging-type obstacles, be it a rope to rope swing, or ring to ring, or ring to rope, etc. This will require grip and upper body strength work.

Rope climbs are probably worth training for too. This is going to be partly technique (learning the S and J hook) and grip/upper body strength.

Climbing walls. Climbing other things.

Pulling things. Pushing things. Carrying things.

Basically, I need to get my whole body stronger. That’s cool. But not only stronger, the endurance to keep moving for a very long time.

And on top of all that…more cardio. I know I can run for ~3 hours if I pace myself right. Probably more. But, that’s only a quarter of the race time. So, I need to keep building my endurance.

Really daunting challenge. But, I’m starting 9 months in advance. Hopefully that’s plenty of time.

2017: A review

2017 is coming to a close. It started poorly, ended poorly, but you know…

It might have had some good things too.

The Bad

Let’s rip that band-aid right off and start with the stuff that sucked.

  • Started the year doing EMDR therapy, which frankly, was a really rough experience. It helped a lot, but it required the re-visitation of a lot of memories that I had repressed for decades. But, it made things better.
  • Found a mass on my left kidney. Still waiting on more tests (an MRI, to be specific) to determine if the surgeon is going to remove it or not, but, it’s not exactly the news you’d like to receive. Especially when I received it.
  • My daughter, Nora, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in November. The same cancer I had when I was a child. I’m going to make the assumption that the EMDR therapy at the beginning of the year prevented me from spiraling out of control.
  • Panic attack – I had my first for sure panic attack this year. I’m gonna go ahead and not recommend that to anyone.
  • Leaving the Warmachine/Hordes community – some events took place that lead me to no longer feel welcome/safe in the community based on my personal needs and frankly, basic human decency. It still hurts that I no longer have that outlet and I haven’t sufficiently replaced it, but I don’t feel like I made the wrong choice for leaving.

I had plans of writing some ‘mediocre’ things but you know what? You don’t give a shit and I can’t think of any that are actually interesting/important, so on to the juicy good stuff.

The Good

  • I ran a Spartan Sprint with my best friend, Britt. We didn’t die. We want to do it again.
  • I ran a Half Marathon on my own in 2 hours 20 minutes. I trained for it in 6 weeks (not recommended). I mean, Zita was supposed to join me, but I think she was just trying to trick me into doing it with out her anyway.
  • I ran multiple sub 30 minute 5ks.
  • I started commission painting. (Dead Planet Creations)
  • I read 29 books this year (goal was 30, but one was Lord of the Rings and I only counted it as one book, plus I didn’t count any of the comics I read) plus, I could theoretically finish the last book tonight, but looks unlikely based on what I want to do (I want to do accounting tonight, yikes, I’m super exciting).
  • Enjoyed several PWA events with Brandon and took in a WWE show with Brandon and Danielle.
  • Several adventures with Emily.
  • Went to therapy at least once a month.
  • Did more volunteer work.

2018 is going to create some challenges for my family, but we’re ready. Maybe the goals I had thought for the year won’t be achievable, but, I’ll find something new.

Dine Chartier – an Adventure

Last night I had the opportunity to go for dinner with my parents and my lovely wife, Emily. My parents wanted to take Emily out for her birthday and I was lucky enough to also be invited.

Yes, that is my happy face.

The interior of the restaurant is rustic – distressed wood and fixtures, mis-matched chairs. Chalkboards framed with chunky art frames line the walls. These are used to describe the features and the rotating craft beer taps along with some chalk art. It was a really exciting space to walk into and experience.

Our server (whom I forget her name, so that makes me the worst, but she was the best) told us that she could bring us samples of any of the craft taps to try it out before settling on a full glass, which was a really nice thing to hear. I skipped this option entirely and went to the Situation Brewing Earl Grey Tea Saison, as I have had the Afternooner before, and the other beers on the menu were either ones I’ve had, or not quite what I wanted.

The menu was very intriguing. Many small plates to choose from, many unique offerings.

My parents decided to share the Mussels and Clams.

As a sneak, I definitely stole some. It was enjoyable, I preferred the mussels to the clams personally.

As for Emily and I, we had the Crisps.

Pork rinds and chicken skin. Healthy. Om nom. The flavours were fantastic. The pork rinds were light and fluffy, the chicken skin was salty and chewy and delicious. Also, I was eating fat fried in fat. Because I’m an adult.

Then my beer had a problem. It was empty. I reviewed the board and decided that I wanted to give the Fallentimber Meadjito a try. This time, I took our server up on that sample opportunity. Let me tell you – if you like Mojitos…find this and drink it. If you don’t like it, please deliver your unused portion to my mouth.

Finally – it came time for our main courses. Also, this is where the adventure in the evening occurred. See, I couldn’t decide on what to have for dinner (the Crab Roll is probably what I would have ordered if it was available, but snooze, loose, blah blah), so I traumatized our server. I asked her to pick my main for me because I sure couldn’t. She looked at me like she was a deer about to be smashed by a car on the highway. Apparently this is not something people do, ask for food surprises. Personally, I’d get drunk with power.

Well. I’m not people. This is my way of getting outside of my comfort box in the land of food. Without a sufficient push I won’t go outside of my normal. So. Today was time for adventure. I assured her that I was going to be happy with anything and to not tell me what I was getting until it arrived – she promptly stated “how about the Beaumont Smoked Meat Sandwich”? In her defense, she probably didn’t hear my last request because it was a little loud and I can be quieter than I should be sometimes. I said “sure”!

It arrived, wrapped in butcher paper with a plate of fries that looked amazing. I unwrapped the sandwich and it looked delicious.

Food layout by Emily, nurse, wife,  and food artist.

The sandwich was really delicious. The meat was tasty and well complemented by the in-house made pickles and mustard. My fries were assaulted by everyone at the table. I can’t wait to eat the second half of this today (not fries, they were sacrificed to our stomachs last night).

Emily ordered the Roasted Chicken. The presentation was very appealing.

The bite of the chicken I had was nice. Good flavour, juicy chicken. Only downside: we expected a bit more ‘sauce’.

I didn’t take photos of my parent’s meals because I can only impose so much on people I’m eating with. My mom had the Pork Chow (a nice flavour, really enjoyed the lentils) and my dad had the Roasted cod (I did not sample, as it disappeared too quickly). Both presentations were great. Take my word on it.

Finally, it was time for dessert. Three of us had the Pets de Soeur. It looked too good and I ate half of it and realized crap, I didn’t take a photo. So I’m not sure if I actually ate it. But. It was really good – I particularly enjoyed the calvados ice cream. My dad had the Pot de Lemon Meringue, which I did get to sample and it was a really nice curd and shortbread and a light fluffy Meringue on top. Again, no photo, see imposing and the whole fiasco with my dessert.

So. That’s the adventure at Chartier. I highly recommend you go. It’s great.

Also, hopefully our server reads this. Because she gave me a great meal and will probably pull the same thing on her if she serves me again. Because I like adventure.

On being yourself

It’s Mental Health Week and I’ve been engaging in some discussions lately that I wanted to expand in a blog post – and I’ve been more than a lot neglectful of this space lately so.

A big part of my experience with my depression (and from my readings and travels, many others also share this experience) has been, to quote Elsa (shocking for me, I know):

Don’t let them in
Don’t let them see
Be the good girl
You always have to be
Don’t feel
Put on a show
Make one wrong move
And everyone will know

What does this mean? It means hiding behind a mask. Pretending to be okay when you’re not. Dreading what it would mean if someone you haven’t thoroughly vetted finds out about your illness. Not being able to have control over that knowledge.

It’s an exhausting existence.

A number of years ago I came to the conclusion that for the most part, my mental illness is part of who I am. It wasn’t something I should be ashamed of. It was something I would live with, likely, forever.

I was more open about my illness – I gave less power to what those thought of me because of my illness. Make no mistake, it was still difficult, but I felt better about myself. I’ve bounced between extremes on how I approach my illness and I’d like to think that generally speaking I’ve found a pretty reasonable ground on how I speak about it and speak about the impact it has on my life and on others. I feel good about this. I am glad I have found the strength to accept and live as who I am.

With that said – others don’t. There’s factors that others live with that prevent them from living who they are – and not just in the mental health realm. Really simple example: consider a member of the LGBTQ+ community who comes from an ultra-conservative family. That individual does not have the “at home” support that I was lucky enough to have. These are people that unfortunately, can’t live who they are.

I guess what my point is – I want people to live in a world where they can live as who they are fearlessly.

To close, know who you are in your heart. Know that others want you to be able to live who you are.

Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight vs Sturm & Drang

This game features:

Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight – WB: +5 (Me)
–    Blightbringer – PC: 18
–    Ravagore – PC: 10
–    Shredder – PC: 2

Warmonger War Chief – PC: 0
The Forsaken – PC: 2

Blighted Ogrun Warspears – Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
–    Warspear Chieftan – PC: 2
Blighted Ogrun Warspears – Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
–    Warspear Chieftan – PC: 2
Spawning Vessel – Vessel & 6 Grunts: 3

THEME: Army of Annihilation – Tier 3


Sturm & Drang – WB: +5 (Greg R.)
–    War Hog – PC: 8
–    Road Hog – PC: 9

Meat Thresher – PC: 9

Efaarit Scouts – PC: 3
Maximus – PC: 2
Swamp Gobber Chef – PC: 1
Viktor Pendrake – PC: 2
Raluk Moorclaw, the Ironmonger – PC: 2
–    Buccaneer – PC: 3 (it looks like a Boneswarm…)

Farrow Brigands – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr – Lynus & Edrea: 3
Farrow Bone Grinders – Leader & 3 Grunts: 2
Farrow Razorback Crew – Leader & Grunt: 3

My opponent’s alternate list was a Carver list, and my alternative list was a Saeryn list. I didn’t like the guns in either list against Saeryn, so I went with Thagrosh. I think he went with Sturm & Drang to dark horse me to death.

After deployment, we look like this. I prey the Meat Thresher with the Purple Warspears and the Road Hog with the Orange Warspears.IMG_20160409_203832

I’m going first, so I run things forward, put Draconic Blessing on the Purple Warspears and Fog of War up.

My opponent advances, puts Deflection up and puts Vision on the Meat Thresher. He doesn’t dig his Brigands in. Which, he immediately starts swearing about. You’ll also note that he swapped the sides of the table of the Road Hog and the Meat Thresher. This makes Warspears sad.IMG_20160409_210038

I upkeep Draconic Blessing and Fog of War. I assault the orange Warspears to remove most of the Bone Grinders. I advance the Blightbringer, drop an AOE to remove several Brigands. I do the same with the Ravagore. I just advance the purple Warspears, I definitely made some errors on the placements on these guys. Tenacity gets put on Thagrosh, th

e BB and Ravagore.IMG_20160409_211754

My opponent upkeeps Vision on the Meat Thresher. Maximus takes care of one of my orange Warspears. He tries to Arcane Bolt another with the Bone grinder, but does no damage. Meat Thresher rolled 4 shots, but was unable to do enough damage/hit the warspear behind the flag so he gets less work done there than he hoped. Road Hog sprays down on the Purple Warspears, doing some damage and lighting them on fire. Deflection is up, he has one transfer.IMG_20160409_214706

I had started thinking about my options. I leave Draconic Blessing up but let Fog of War drop. I wanted to eliminate the Meat Thresher and was going to throw my Ravagore and Blightbringer shots into it, but my opponent reminded me that he has Vision on it. I felt without the two shots from range that my warspears weren’t going to get enough done on it. Change gears. I saw that I had two clear shots from my beasts on his caster. I decided to throw them out.

The BB (using Dragon’s Breath) goes first and does a fair amount of damage (10 or so), which he transfers to the Warhog (Road Hog was full of fury). Ravagore goes next – uses it’s animus, and hits. Now he’s on fire, no transfers. I spike damage better than last one – dealing 13 or so damage. Purple Warspears go in on the Road Hog, taking out his Mind and Body. I should have assaulted with the full unit rather than leaving the two leftmost to take shots on the Artillery. The orange Warspears tried to clear out the flag, but failed to kill Maximus (and I didn’t put anyone B2B with flag, so, I failed twice).

My final move was to throw an Obliteration on the brigands in the forest. I hit (and he toughs) the one in the center of the forest, and fail to kill the other with blast. I’m camping one, have Tenacity and am in the BB aura – so Def 15, Arm 19 for Thag, I’m feeling pretty safe.

Fire fails to go out on his caster. I roll a few points of damage, leaving him on 4 left. He cuts for one after pulling fury back. He then reads his feat and then I read it and then I cry a little. He starts things out by throwing a few shots at Thagrosh with the Brigands, doing a 3-4 points of damage over the remaining models. He advances with the Buccaneer, using Jack Marshall ability of Moorclaw, he boosts to hit Thagrosh with the net. Hits. Now I’m laying down. Not good.

He then activates his warlock. Moves him up, and feats. My beasts are reduced to FURY stat 1. They’re now all full on fury. This not good. TK’s the Road Hog away from my Warspears and then starts throwing his other guns at me.

He makes a few errors along the way. The purple Warspear with the blue pelt caused all sorts of problems with getting lines of sight to Thagrosh with some of his guns – be it because of engagement or just preventing advancing to get 3″ out of the forest to see Thagrosh. His Scout activated at the wrong time and he forgot that Pendrake has the knockdown gun as well. Had he done a few of those activations differently, he would have had a few more attacks to throw my way.

Thagrosh ends up on fire and a significant amount of damage (6-8 points left on him) dealt. My saving grace: his dice literally hated my opponent. He rolled 3-4 snake eyes along the way and many of his damage rolls ended up less than he needed to deal damage to Thagrosh. I somehow survive the turn. I roll fire at the start of my turn. It stays lit – but does a few points of damage – leaving me on 2-3 boxes.

My opponent had aggressively gone for the assassination – so he was on no transfers. He was unable to prevent LOS being drawn to his caster, so I rained BB death upon him and the game was over.

In hindsight, I really think going for the two shots on his caster wasn’t the best plan. I think I should have thrown one shot at him, lit him on fire and taken the other on another target and work on the attrition. Moving Thagrosh out in the open was a terrible idea. I didn’t get any benefit from that action. He should have stuck behind the objective where he was and just wait things out. I also should have considered using the concealment aura on the BB or keeping Fog of War up. I think keeping FoW up and using the Armor aura would have been the best plans.

I had no business winning this game based on my actions. But – the dice said no, you still get to win you stupid man.

Painting Vayl, Disciple of Everblight – Part 2

This is a continuation from Part 1 of this series, which may or may not end up being a regular thing, I don’t know. It might be though, given that I have a bit of a theme for some painting that I think is fun. We shall see.

Last time, we left off with Vayl looking like this.


Still has work to be done, but she’s looking pretty good.

The next step is to apply a wash to the cloak. I used Druchii Violet for this stage.


Next up was to begin painting the plates Bronze. I used Dwarf Bronze for this task, and carefully began painting the details.


I wasn’t sure how high I wanted the bronze to go, so I stopped at the waist and just let the thoughts bubble around in my head.

Next, I wanted to highlight the high points of the trim of the cloak. For this, I took Genestealer Purple and using a drybrush technique, I went over the high points lightly.


You can see how the technique is a simple, yet effective way to make some of those details pop out. I decided that I did want the bronze to go all the way up the dress, so I finished off those details. I also wanted the bronze on the shoulder pads, so I did that as well.

On the lower part of the dress, I wanted to apply a wash to help define some of the highs and lows better. I don’t have a photo of it exactly, but I applied a wash of Argax Earthshade, then a wash of Nihilakh Oxide.


After doing a few touchups of various things, it was time to do her Oraculus. I chose P3 Sanguine Highlight for this.


I applied a highlight of Wild Rider Red to the edges of the Oraculus.

And with that…I’m happy to call Vayl complete (after looking at these photos there’s a couple touch ups I want to do, but it’s minor work).
IMG_20160331_222526 IMG_20160331_222535 IMG_20160331_222540 IMG_20160331_222550

Now for the ‘surprise’. Here’s the reference image I was using to help guide me on my way to painting…


By no means is my color matching perfect…but, my daughter looked at the paint job and asked if it was Elsa, so good enough for me!