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Sambie’s Challenge – Level 2: Claiming the Clave

22 Sep

It’s almost time for my second NF Challenge.  I know I fell off posting updates here, but I have some supportive strategies in the works for this challenge that I hope will foster more regular posting.  Without further ado, here is the narrative and goal breakdown for the upcoming challenge (challenge dates 9/24/12 – 11/5/12).

“You’re trying too hard, you know.”

I stood up from my crouched position over the rock borderwall and wiped a sheen of sweat off my face. “Yeah?”

The Claver shifted out of his squat and stood up.
“Yup. Trying too hard. You’ve been coming here, what, 8 weeks? You think piling a few rocks along the Wall or bringing down our nutri rations is going to make us trust you?”

Who knows how long he’d been there, watching. I’m out here on the borderwall alone, attempting to patch up the gaps where the earth has been trying to reclaim the rocks. That’s been my strategy so far – pitch in and hope the Clavers eventually start to trust me. Sure, I could continue to bring them their nutri rations and their sanctioned moss and then just make my way home, but for some reason I can’t. Maybe it’s the Gelfling blood in my veins, but I feel invested in this dungheap of a community. There are plenty of Gelflings and halfies here, along with all the other social refuse, but my Gelfling blood alone hasn’t been the ace I’d hoped it would be. They still don’t trust me.

An exasperated sigh escapes my lips. “So what am I supposed to do?”

He leaned over and plucked a long stem of sweetgrass and turned back to face me, his eyes pale green where they should have been white, a sure sign of his history as a moss druggie.

“You need to chill the h*ll out. Stop trying to fix everything.”

I realized I’d been holding one of the borderwall rocks this whole time, and now I was irritated and tired and the rock was heavy. I heaved it against the crumbling gap with a curse. “I’m just trying to help. You do realize I’m the only person who gives enough of a s**t to take this job voluntarily, right? I’m the only one who gives a crap about you people.”

He looked at me out of those greenish eyes and gnawed on the end of his grass stem. “That’s where you’re wrong. We give a crap about each other.”

“I know that, but I’m just trying to…”

“Gods, shut up!” he interrupted. He flung the grass stem away. “You think you can just come in here, claim Gelfling blood, get a little dirty in the daily runnings of this place, and we’re gonna just open our arms and thank the gods the Staties finally sent us a good one?”

I just looked at him, my face not belying that that’s exactly what I’d thought.

“Take some advice from me. Why don’t you hang out around here because you actually want to be here, not because you feel sorry for us? If you’re so proud of that Gelfling blood you hide from the Statie ‘crats, then why don’t you actually do something for yourself out here. Until you claim a piece of the Clave as your own, ain’t nobody here going to trust you the way you want us to, not really. So far, all they know is you get involved in their business every day and then drive your SUV back into City Proper, away from us and our problems, every night.”

That was 3 days ago, and I haven’t been able to get that conversation out of my head. Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong. Maybe I assumed too much. Sure, being a halfie and being willing to get dirty with the Clavers was helpful at the beginning, but it only got me so far. It only told them that I’m not quite as bad as the other Social Service Unit workers who’ve been sent out here, most of whom refused to go beyond the loading dock. While it ensured that the Clavers don’t hate my guts, it sure didn’t make them trust me. And who can blame them? If I were them, I wouldn’t trust me either. Maybe I haven’t made it clear on which side of the line in the sand I fall: on the side with Clavers’ right to exist, or with the City Proper Staties who would like nothing more than to blot the Enclave out of City memory. Right now I’m the only link between the Clave and the City, the conduit for information to pass both ways. Trusting me is a risk that, so far, none of the Clave has been willing to take.

So, Jenko tells me I need to lay claim to the Clave if I really want them to trust me. Gods! I don’t even know why I want it so bad, but all right then. I’ll start by finishing this wall repair, and then I’m headed to Gridley’s storehouse to sign up for one of the upcoming Clave games. Only Clavers participate, but there’s no rule saying outsiders can’t be contenders. It’s just that, so far, no one from the outside has dared.

Sambie’s Challenge – Level 2: Claiming the Clave

If I’m going to participate in the Clave games –a series of underground endurance and strength challenges– I have to continue getting lean, strong, and fast. I also have to take a different approach to getting my head on straight. Idealist views and Gelfling blood aren’t enough here; I’m going to be up against Clavers who can run, lift, and move like they’ve got nothing to lose. Because they don’t. Gods know why, but I want to fit here. I will lay my claim, and this is how I’m going to do it.

Goal 1: Core/Strength – Handstand Progression – Master the 1st level in the hollow-body progression (legs bent, 1 minute mastery) +4 STR
Practice the hollow body progression 3x/wk.
Continue my beginner bodyweight circuit 3x/wk (weighted squats and lunges, incline pushups, assisted pullups, rows, plank, and jacks)

Goal 2: Endurance – Running – Increase distance; achieve a 7-mile distance at any speed +5 STA
Run (indoor/outdoor) 2x/wk minimum, preferably 3x/wk
Put intention into working on good barefoot/minimalist form

Goal 3: Flexibility- Yoga – Learn one new pose to mastery +2 DEX
Practice yoga 2x/wk.
Practice GMB handstand wrist prep every day.

Goal 4: Getcha Head in the Game (for reals this time) +2 WIS +2 CHA
Meditate every day – Any length of time, but no timer. Come up with some way to log this. The point is, get on the dang cushion.

Sunday October 7 – Mountain RAID Obstacle 4-miler
Sunday November 4 – Mt Diablo Trail Adventure 10k
Misc Dates – Weekend Berserker Mini-Challenges


And so it begins…

3 Aug

Sambie’s Challenge: Level I

     At first glance, you’d think a half-Gelfling Ranger in my position wouldn’t need much strength to get through the day. If you’re a City person, chances are you’d think my job at the Social Service Unit is mostly cushy, State-funded desk work that lets me get fat on government pensions and undisclosed perks. I guarantee that if you walk a 10-hour shift in my shoes, you’ll see why you’d be wrong. Sure, I guess you could say I’m one of those pigs who works for the State. Granted, it’s the signature of a Statie ‘crat none of us have ever seen that graces the corner of my pay waiver every two weeks. And sure, I occasionally get stuck behind the desk in the State office at City Center, cranking out all the forms I neglected to “complete timely.”Mostly, though, I’m out here, coaxing my old SUV down these gods-forgotten, pocked roads to “deal with” the Enclave. That’s the gist of my job, as far as the State is concerned: keep the Clavers quiet, keep ’em high if I have to, just do whatever it takes to keep them from bleeding out of their compound into Proper Society. Sounds like a real peach of a job, right? I bet you’re wondering what crime I committed to get stuck with this gig.
     Actually, nothing. I chose this job as quick as it came up on the social services Roster wheel downtown. Prior to, I’d been suffocating as a desk jockey, a backup sidekick to some ego-inflated ‘crat whose primary goal in life is to do as little as possible and wallow in his status as an “elite” Statie, fat on money and power and State-funded hedonism. Basically, whenever he got stuck with a piece of grit work, anything that required the slightest mental or physical exertion, he and his #1 sidekick would find some crafty, bulletproof way to pawn it off on me and then take all the credit. So yeah, when Clave duty came up on the Roster, I jumped at the chance. Nobody else wanted the job, which meant I got to be assigned solo. Nobody really even wants to know how I’m doing; they’d know if I was dead because Clave duty’d come up on the Roster again, and as long as that doesn’t happen they’re all happy to leave me out here to work alone.
     The Enclave is a huge heavily-forested compound on the outskirts of the outskirts of City Proper where all the social refuse collects, like trash in the corner of an alley. There’s a lot of moss druggies here, thieves, political insurrectionists, union boys, and young kids who failed–by genetics or on purpose–to survive some element of the City’s strict culling system. In other words, it’s intense out here; these people are as real as it gets because life saw them for who they are and spit in their faces. I’m the liason between City and Clave, because as the State found out after its most recent failed attempt to starve them out, Clavers are here to stay. Clavers didn’t trust me when I got here a few months ago, till they found out I had Gelfling blood in me. Oh yeah; there’s a lot of Gelfings and Gelfling halfies out here too. Few things’ll land you in Clave quicker than Gelfling DNA; City folk can’t seem to stomach us. When it comes to my genetic history, what the State doesn’t know keeps me safe, for now. Somehow I managed to have almost no Gelfing traits in my appearance, though I can manage a decent dreamfast and I’m unnaturally quick on my feet. Clavers still aren’t sold on me, but seems like I’m breaking through a little bit. Best way to do that? Get dirty. When I’m out here checking the water and nutri rations or dropping off a load of sanctioned moss, I keep my ears open for what’s going on and jump in. Hunting some wood cat? I’m there. Moving rock in the steam tunnel? I’m there. Climbing the crumbling scaffold to collect coveted barred finch eggs? Yep, I’m there too. All that running, chucking, and climbing means I’m starting to look a little bit like a Claver…that City flab is slowly being replaced by hard muscle that I have to keep carefully hidden under my dress uniform at the State office. This is life on the boundary lines of power, and I find I love walking that tightrope. I live alone, I prefer to work alone, and in the Clave nobody cares who you are as long as you don’t flinch when a raging, green-eyed moss junkie comes at you with a stonehammer. Clave duty means getting Clavers to trust me enough to let me keep them safe from the State. I can do that, but first, I have to be able to prove I’m strong enough, physically and mentally, to bear the responsibility.

Name: Sambie
Half-Gelfling Ranger, Clave duty
Level 1
STR 2 / DEX 1 / STA 3 / CON 3 / WIS 4 / CHA 2
Weight: 197lbs
Height: 5’8.5″
Body fat % – ?


–Run 1 mile at 4.0mph or higher on the treadmill without stopping or walking STA +3 DEX +1
–Perform a 2-minute plank with good form STR +3
–Eat true paleo all day, one day each week CON +2 CHA +1

–Meditate for 25 min/day 6 days/wk and 45min 7th day (weekend day) WIS +3 CHA +2

Personal bonuses:
Extra gold stars if I can run 1mile on both the treadmill and my trail loop without stopping/walking; trail loop includes two moderately death-inducing hills, a row of crabapple trees that require ducking under, slippery grass, and the potential for neighborhood animals to eat me.

Extra gold stars if I add true paleo meals to days of the week besides my all-day-paleo day.

Extra gold stars if I add in a weekly dharma study session to supplement the meditation practice.