Epic Quest of Awesome

It’s Day 5 now since I started questing at Nerd Fitness Academy, and I have to say, the experience has been very fun so far. As I battle Bosses and Gain XP I am working each day to try to implement Steve Kamb’s Level Up Your Life ideals into my own.

This of course, means making my own Epic Quest of Awesome(Which, in short is a gamified bucket list). I have overlooked my Impossible List carefully and followed suit to separated each item into it’s own Quest Category.

Each Quest is worth 20 XP. After every 100XP is hit(or 5 Quests total) I gain a level. In addition to regular quests there are also Master Quests, extremely difficult quests that automatically level you up once you hit them.

The one tweak I’m making to my EQA draws from my Runescape-playing days, and color code the quests. Each Quests will be colored as such:

  • Quest Completed
  • Quest Started
  • Quest Not Started

Russ’ Epic Quest of Awesome

Below you will find a list of what I want to accomplish over the years. My Epic Quest is a progress and is subjected to change over time.

Completed Quests

Level 2

Level 1

North America Quests

  • Rock Climb Devil’s Tower
  • 50 points in 50 States(2/50)
  • Snow Board in Jasper, Canada
  • See an Aurora Borealis
  • Hike the Ice Age Trail(More Info.)
  • Strawberry Hill(More Info.)
  • Corn Palace(Morn Info.)
  • Travel to Canada

Central/South America Quests

  • Backflip on top of Macchu Picchu

Europe Quests

  • Paraglide in Chamonix Europe
  • Step foot in Sweden
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride in Sweden
  • Marcle Aches Cave(More Info.)

Africa Quests

  • Surf in Killer Point Mocorro

Far East Quests

  • Go to a Japaense Hot Spring
  • Bunny Island, Japan
  • Fuji Mountain Race(More Info.)

South Pacific Quests

  • A Simple Walk Into Mordor(More Info.)
  • Scuba Dive Australia’s Coral Reef
  • Bungee Jump off Victoria Fall Ridge

Ninja/Strength Quests

  • 10 Years Martial Arts(1/10)
  • 10 Years Weaponry(0/10)
  • Complete All Fitocracy Quests(More Info.)
  • Run Alpha Warrior(Texas & California)(More Info.)
  • 5 No-Kip Muscle Ups
  • 15 Second Human Flag
  • Sign White Block at Fight or Flight Academy
  • Post a 5-Minute Parkour Montage
  • Pick a Master lock

Flips & Twists Quests

  • Front Flip
  • Back Flip
  • Aerial
  • Side Flip
  • Corkscrew
  • 540 Kick

Personal Level-Up Quests

  • Skinny Dipping
  • Cliff Swinging
  • Make Food(Cheese, Wine, Yogurt)
  • Visit A Sunken Ship
  • Take A Sniper’s Course
  • Get a Wax
  • 1,000 Photo Challenge[Progress]
  • 1,000 Geocaches
  • Spontaneous Vacation

Rock Star Quests

  • [PIANO] Piano Man By Billy Joel
  • [PIANO] Roses and Butterflies By Making April
  • [PIANO]  Guitar vs Piano By Goukisan
  • [GUITAR] Guitar vs Piano By Goukisan
  • [HARMONICA] The Times They Are Changing by Bob Dylan
  • [HARMONICA] Piano Man By Billy Joel

Education Quests

  • Get a Helicopter Pilot License
  • Become SCUBA Certified
  • Learn to Sail A Boat
  • Get a Motorcycle  License
  • Publish a Mobile App
  • Write a Novel
  • Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Obtain a Master’s Degree

Les Stroud/Survivalist Quests

  • Score 300 With Recurve Bow[More Info.]
  • Make Deer Jerky
  • Finish a Survival Adventure Race[More Info.]
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Waterfront Lifeguard Certification
  • Build and Shoot Arrows from Scratch
  • Take a NOLS semester Course[More Info.]
  • 7-Day Survival with BOB
  • 21-Day Survival, only Knife

Running & Races Quests

  • First Marathon
  • Barefoot Marathon
  • Minneapolis Ground Rounds(51 Miles)(More Info.)
  • 50-Ultra Marathon
  • 100-Ultra Marathon
  • Spartan Sprint
  • Spartan Super
  • Spartan Beast
  • Spartan Trifecta(Sprint + Super + Beast In 1 Year)
  • Triathlon Sprint(750m S/20K B/ 5K R)
  • Triathlon Olympic (1500m S/40K B/ 10K R)
  • Triathlon Half-Iron(1.2 mi S/90K B/21K  R)
  • Triathlon Iron(2.4 mi S/180K B/42K R)

Events/Conferences Quests

  • Eeyore’s Birthday
  • Room 13 San Antonia[More Info.]
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Cirque De Loteil
  • Google Local Guides Summit
  • Red Bull Art of Motion

Financial Quests

  • Have $10,000+ in Saving before 2019
  • Adopt a Minnesota Highway
  • Earn 1,000 Subscribers on Challenge List

Master Quests

  • Get A Career Allowing Me to Live Anywhere
  • Completed a Barkley Marathon[More Info]
  • Obtain a PhD

Challenge List Mini-Quests





2017: Year of Productivity


It’s another year which means it’s once again time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and start looking towards what we want to do in the new year.

For many of us, this means making resolutions that we plan complete, but for one reason or another, never do.

I, for one, hate the idea of resolutions. I feel that most of the time when people make resolutions they make them very general and uninspiring. In the end, a lot of people never keep up to their resolutions and drop them all together by early February.

This is what led me to create The Challenge List, in which I set out a number of challenges for myself and try to complete them before the end of the year. These challenges are made to push me out of my comfort zone and improve both the mind and body.

Throughout the year I’ll be sharing what I learned form taking on these challenges. During my journey I’ll also be experimenting with different productivity methods and utilizing ideas from Tim Ferris, Charles Durhigg, and other productivity experts. As I try out these productivity ideas I’ll be posting what worked and what didn’t,and what can be learned from applying these concepts.

2017 Challenges

Progress: 6/20
Last Updated: July 24th, 2017

  1. Swim 2 Consecutive Miles in Open Water
  2. Finish a Tough Mudder[ACCOMPLISHED July 15th, 2017]
  3. Take a BOB Survival Course
  4. Shoot 150 Points in Archery[ACCOMPLISHED June 29th, 2017]
  5. Develop A University Capstone App
  6. Obtain my Bachelor’s Degree
  7. Get into Advanced Krav Maga Classes
  8. Get into Intermediate Swords Classes
  9. Get into Advance Parkour & Free Running Classes
  10. Climb Black Edge Peak, South Dakota[ACCOMPLISHED July 19th, 2017]
  11. Earn a Front-End Web Dev Certificate at Free Code Camp
  12. Be a Nerd Fitness Rebel for 365 Days
  13. Finish A Triathlon Sprint[ACCOMPLISHED June 3rd, 2017]
  14. Post 50 Blogs in the Challenge List
  15. Make a 5-min Parkour video
  16. Read A Productivity Book A Month
  17. Become a Level 4 Blacksmith on Habitica
  18. Make Cheese
  19. Snowboard Down Green Circle Slope[ACCOMPLISHED February 19th, 2017]
  20. Get a Development Related job [ACCOMPLISHED February 28th, 2017]

You can follow me on my journey by clicking on the Follow Button on the right side of the screen. If you also have any Challenges or Goals for 2017 let me hear them in the comments below!

Buff Buddes Weeks 3 & 4: Achieving Goals

So Week 3 definitely was a little bump in the road for me. I did manage to limit myself during the Thanksgiving festivities, but at the same time, I also did pretty bad maintaining my 10 hour a week goals. I ended up fatiguing my arm during Krav Maga during week 2 and that translated to a lot of workout limitations.

However, after taking some time to recover I was able to dominate week 4. The academy I go to for Parkour was closed for the holiday so I ended up going rock climbing and swimming instead. I ended up reaching my swimming goal and am now going to be focusing on increasing my distance instead of speed. After I build up to doing 1650m freestyle with no rest I will be working my way to get below a 10:00 speed.

I also realize that while I am getting stronger there still some fat I can cut back on. I will be now dropping some of the more fatty foods(lbreads, pastas, and dairy) to try and achieve a 7% fat. Regretfully, I did end up gaining 1% of my body fat back. I also decided to include more jogging to help reduce the fat and to build up to that 5 minute mile.


Week 3
Friday-Tricking: 540 Kicks(1 Hour), Jogging: 5.5 miles(.75)
Saturday-Front and vault flips(1hour)
Sunday-2 mile jog(.25 hours) Yoga(.75 hours)
Monday-Knife Fight Practice(.5 hour)
Tuesday-Jogging(.5 hours), 540 kicks(1 hour)
Wednesday- Knee Drops and Penny Swings(1 hour)
Thursday-Jogging(.5 hours), Yoga(.5 hours)

Total: 7.75 hours

Week 4
Friday – Rock Climbing(1.5 hours)
Saturday – Swimming (1 hour)
Sunday – Yoga (1 hour), 5 mile jog (.75 miles)
Tuesday – 4 mile Jogging(.5 hours), Pull Ups(.5 hours) 540 Kicks(1 hour)
Wednesday-4.5 mile Jog(.5 hours), Yoga(.5 hours), Kip Up Training(1 Hours)
Thursday- Front Handspring(1 hour), 2 mile jog(.25 hours), Pull Ups(.5 Hours)

Total:: 10 hours

Result: I felt like I could’ve put a bit more into it, I hope with classes now finishing up for the semester I can focus more on working out

Weight: 152(+2 Since Last Week)
Body Fat %: 9%(+1% since last week)

Body Photo

Result: A hiccup in my diet a bit, I’m hoping to continue the road to a 7% body fat.

Goal Records
Pulls ups(Goal: 20 Most Done 2 weeks ago: 13, Most done this week: 15)
Rocking Climbing(Goal: Climb a V4, Highest climbed before week 0: V2, Highest this week: V3)
1 mile run(Goal: 5:00, Fastest 2 Weeks ago: 6:06, Fastest This Week: 6:08
500m swim(Goal: 11:00, Fastest before week 0: 15:10, Fastest this week: 10:26) – Swim goal accomplished!

Result: Getting close to a lot of my goals. I feel confident I will be hitting a lot of them before the end of week 16.

Overall Conclusion:
I am definitely getting there with some of my goals but I feel like I still need to push myself a bit to achieve them. I am also starting to focus on some strength base goals as well like handstand push ups and one hand pull ups. If I do see progress in these two exercises I may be adding it to the list of goals.

Goal 4 Accomplished: Be Lifeguard Certified

One of my first memories as a kid was when I fell into the water and nearly drowned. My second memory was when my mother took me to swim classes where we did a rendition of “The Wheels On The Bus” as she dunks my head in the water. As you can tell, my first experiences with water where not pleasant ones. Although, as I grew older I found myself ever more fascinated with water. Every camping trip we went on my goal was to get everything set up before dusk so I had time to go swimming. When I started exercising more my exercises consisted of a lot of running, and a lot of lap swimming. I felt like I could never escape the water.

A few years back I found myself also getting more interested in the outdoors. I loved being one with nature and wanted to be with it as much as possible. This lead me to an interest in wilderness survival, where I would study and practice how to live off the land for years. Eventually I realized I can make my love for the outdoors a career by being a Wilderness First Responder. Not only would I be able to challenge myself to face the dangerous beauty of nature, but I could help people who are in need.

Logically, my love for the water and my goal for being an outdoor rescuer led me to signing up for a Lifeguarding class. I felt that it will be a good preparation towards my goals as well as challenge me to be a better swimmer. Boy, did it challenge me.

One of the requirements for being certified as a Lifeguard is two swim 300 yards consecutively. I use to swim 20 sets of 100 yards when I was younger so I thought this was no big deal. I spent most of my 2014 Fall semester, and summer break training. It turned out to be a lot harder experience than I thought to build up to this, especially because I took a break from swimming for my marathon training.

Nevertheless, I put in months of training for my experience so I was going in with my all. The first day of class required a pre-test that took nearly half the day to do so. I regrettably did weight training with my friend the day before, so I was working on tired legs. I powered through the test and I was thankfully able to go through the rest of the class. Unfortunately, some of my classmates weren’t able to do so. After the pre-test the class dropped from 25 to 16 people.

The rest of the week was filled with a lot more physically straining exercises that went on for hours each day. Each day it was several hours in the water, a few hours of testing, then another few hours studying the Lifeguard manual. As the week progressed we saw a couple more students who didn’t make it through, and one classmate who had an emotional breakdown. I still strove on, determined to finish this to the best of my ability. After pushing through I managed to complete the test and officially became life guard certified.

Challenge List
4 Be Lifeguard Certified ACCOMPLISHED!

Swimming Without Lenses

One of my goals for 2015 is to obtain my life guard certification. In order to achieve this, I felt it best to improve my endurance in the water. I have what many people may consider an active exercise routine(1 hour minimum, 6-7 days per week), but swimming becomes a different challenge for me. I want to assure I’m at my best so I set myself up to train several days a week where I gradually increase my distance each week.

With all the obstacles I face in swimming- such as swimming on an exhausted body or walking 2 miles in below 0 weather to get to the pool- none has been more prevalent than the gear. You see, while I have been in swimming classes since I was young, I never trained to go for distance or speed. Swimming gear was such a foreign concept to me I had to Google the proper way to wear a nose clip. Although, the most troubling gear has always been the goggles.

I use to swim with a pair of nonadjustable pair of goggles I had since grade school. While the goggles did stay, I found that water will still find a way into my eyes. I decided to save a bit of money and buy the best pair of goggles I could find at my local sporting goods store. The goggles had a lot of nifty little features printed on the box, including “Anti-Fog” and “Immune to explosions”. As you can imagine, I was excited to try these out.

So today I went to the pool to try out my new goggles. As expected, it felt a little too snug on my face. I spent a good 10 minutes trying to adjust, fit, and test my goggles. After the twentieth some adjustment, the plastic bit snapped off. The goggles were not only nonadjustable, but could not even be worn at all. I was disappointed, not only because I was out a $30 pair of goggles, but because it made it that much harder to train freestyle.

Still, determined, I tried to do my first set without the goggles. I closed my eyes to avoid the stinging of chlorine,but I immediately hit the divider of the lane. I knew that freestyle could no longer be practice, and plan for today’s sets had to be discarded. After a bit of debate I settled to switch my sets to involve doing my least favorite stroke, the back stroke. I never really enjoyed the stroke, simply because of how sore I get from doing it. I always have the impulsiveness to be tense up and go fast when doing a backstroke. While this is okay for me doing a 100m cool down, it was not ideal for a 1000m swimming workout.

I went at it, and quickly felt myself tense up. I tried to relax but that only caused me to want to push myself harder. By the half way mark my body was experiencing soreness. Luckily enough, I was able to find a quick-fix for my goggles. Unluckily though, I learned that out of the features it claimed to have, “Anti-Fog” was certainly not one of them. I completed my entire workout on sore arms limbs and cooled down with a bit more of the free style. Walking on my legs felt like jello but I was happy that I completed the workout.

My takeaway from this experience. Firstly, I definitely need to improve my backstroke. Out of all the strokes, this one is the only one I can never do in a relaxed state and today has shown how much of a problem that can be. Secondly, I’m always going to bring a spare set of goggles. If it’s one thing I learned, there’s no telling when my goggles are going to bust on me. There’s no telling if one of those times is when I do need them.