Quaker Strong challenge week 1

in health •  8 months ago 

Pi Day early run

The challenge

Earlier this month, @dhimmel and I spotted this poster at the Penn gym (I recently rejoined the gym to use the Sheerr pool):

so we decided we would enter and train to be Quaker Strong. We have completed our first week and I'm happy to report I have one green box on the log and it's for running (who would have thought?!)
Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 3.57.13 PM.png


  • Pre-existing injury: I started the challenge with a big bruise on my right hip due to falling from my bike onto ice the past week (twice), and falling on the same spot again while skiing the day before. This bruise would flare up during the week after sitting too long (including biking), but fortunately not during running.
  • Preparation: Most of the preparation goes into the bike: lubricate the chains, pumped air in tires, get out the bike shorts, water bottles, food for long ride, etc.
  • I stumbled upon this hilariously relatable cartoon:
  • Cycling: Long bike rides are a bit brutal with the current weather, but Valley Forge and Fairmount park never disappoint! We also got to play a round of disc golf after work for the first time in 2019 thanks to daylight saving times!!!
  • Constant soreness: There has not been one day that my quadriceps feel normal. No matter how much I stretch or roll, the pain persists.
  • Motivational podcast: Invisibilia started their season 5 this month! On my 13.1 mile run after a 60 mile ride the day prior, I listened to the first episode discussing the theory that more pain cures existing amplified pain. How fitting!
  • Meditation is hard. Meditation is very hard.
  • Unrelated (but related to Steem... somewhat): @dhimmel and I went to a Blockchain class one night. The teacher didn't show, so he taught the class.
  • Spin: was hard, as always. I have never liked spin classes. I'm hoping with two more free classes I'll find my way to enjoy this glow-in-the-dark-while-sweating-my-butt-off experience, but for now, all I hear is the instructor shouting out way too many numbers (positions, resistance levels, rpms, etc.) while turning the music to max volume. May be one needs all this noise to be distracted from the misery of spinning?
  • Another difficult part about the challenge is that I haven't had time to cook much. Late night swims often end with very old leftover or late meal at Koreana.

Photos, gifs and more

You can imagine the look people gave us for wearing work clothes to the gym!

where the Schuylkill river meets the Perkiomen creek

How I count the number of liters I drink a day.

West Philly at dawn

These conclude our first week of the challenge! Wish us luck!

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Don't know if it's still true, because I haven't fished much since my late teen years, but when I was a kid the best muskellunge (musky) fishing in PA was supposed to be where the Schuylkill meets the Perkiomen. I've been there a number of times, but not recently, and I never caught a musky ; -). I think I know exactly where you are standing. Doesn't look like it has changed much on the far banks...

Yes!!!! We saw a few fishermen there when we walked toward the water! Perhaps you're right - it has not changed much!!!

That's awesome that you've been to that spot. We figured we were biking far enough that we should make the turnaround spot something special. We rode through Valley Forge, but IMO it's not that special. More special is the natural confluence of two great rivers. Here's our GPS tracks on ViewRanger and Strava.

West Philly at dawn ... brought to you by daylight savings time!

You make better captions than I do!

@dhimmel's Week 1 Results

Here's one Dr. Himmelstein accomplished in his first week of Quaker Strong Challenge:

DateSquatsSit-UpsPull-UpsPush-UpsSwim (miles)Bike (miles)Run/Walk (miles)Row (meters)Sleep (hrs)Yoga/Stretch (hrs)Meditation (hrs)Water (ounces)

I am strongest Quaker.
— Benjamin Franklin


I commented on another participants spreadsheet that had noted her stretching and meditation times in hours rather than minutes. Therefore, in just one day the speadsheet accounting considered her done with those activities.

So I used the handy comment feature of Google Docs and wrote on the affected cell:

Is this a typo (20 hours of stretching)?

The Penn Recreation & Wellness account resolved my commend and responded:

Great job on the challenge so far! I realize you were trying to be helpful, however, I would appreciate it if you refrained from commenting on other participant's Google Sheets. Thank you for understanding and keep up the good work!

After a few days of remaining unremedied, the errant values have now been switched to hours rather than minutes.

Did @dhimmel and I succeed? Are we Quaker Strong? Find out here!

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