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Lines in the Sand

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

My sister talks about having lines in the sand to defend her physical activity when work gets busy or life otherwise tries to interfere with her efforts to maintain fitness. It's a good concept, but for quite a while I did not have such lines defined.

In the past few days, I've determined where my lines in the sand are.

During tax season, I volunteer with a local VITA organization to prepare tax returns for low income people. This requires training each January, and the training is sedentary. Also, the training that fits with my work schedule runs 5:30 to 9:30 PM. The first of 3 such sessions was last Thursday.

Part of supporting my healthy lifestyle has been getting enough sleep, which means getting to bed early enough to get enough sleep before I need to get up. This has turned me into a synthetic morning person. Translation: I start to fade about 8:30 PM, and learning new things after 8:30 PM is difficult. I managed to get through Thursday, though I didn't get to bed on time.

Line in the sand #1: In bed by 10:30 at least 6 days a week. Getting to bed by 9:30 is better, and 7 days a week is better.

Sessions 2 and 3 of the training are today and tomorrow, with the test tomorrow. But there is an online option to train (just the federal return, but we covered the changes for New York on Thursday). I resolved to try to get the test out of the way with the online Link and Learn program, so I could go to bed on time today and tomorrow.

Saturday was a bust for online work. I did my long run in the morning, and had a nice afternoon with my daughter. Got a little bit of work on taxes done in the evening, but I faded and went to bed.

Sunday I made more progress, but got distracted by the NFL playoffs. That, and I had to break to take a walk. Otherwise, I wouldn't have got my 10K steps in.

Line in the sand #2: 10K steps per day. I might settle for less than 11K, but 10K is mandatory.

Monday was a day off work so I could donate blood. I walked early to ensure the 10K steps. But most of the day was in the computer room, doing either household financial chores or studying taxes and taking tests. I got to bed on time Monday, barely; but I also finished those tests and printed my volunteer agreement with the scores.

I missed lifting weights Sunday and Monday to the sedentary activities. Apparently, strength training is not a line in the sand.

Today is Tuesday, a work at home day. I would traditionally write a blog describing my lunch run. The short version: 37°F, sunny, SSW wind 10-12 mph. 4.65 miles in 37:17, for a 6:44 pace per mile. The shoulders were dry pavement, apart from a few patches of snow that I was able to avoid pretty easily. Being able to run after two days of being mostly sedentary was a good stress reducer.

Running, as much as I enjoy it, is not a line in the sand. I have had an extended period of not being able to run regularly, and I certainly am going to try to keep the regular running up. But it is not realistic to suppose that I will never be injured or sick, and in any event running cannot be an every day activity. I think I might be able to sustain 4 days a week, when the bad foot is 100%; right now I'm happy with 3 days a week and a natural pace over 4 miles that is a hair faster than my first competitive 5K.

To support the run on Thursday, and to support a walk this morning that guaranteed my 10K steps, I ate quick cooking oatmeal at breakfast instead of my preferred steel cut oats. It cooks faster, and the time was more important to me. But even with the quick cooking oatmeal, I found time for three sets of pullups du jour and three sets of pushups interspersed with preparing breakfast.

Line in the sand #3: Exercise during the morning breakfast routine. It's been pullups and pushups for a while. Before that, it was more extensive exercises while I was unable to run. Before that, it was kettlebell Turkish getup/windmill combos and kettlebell snatches. But it's always something, and I got that something in through two very sedentary (for me) days. On good days, I'll get the KB TGU/windmills and snatches in as well as the pullups and pushups; but getting one or the other is a line in the sand.

I don't think I have any other lines in the sand. You might ask, what about eating to plan? That's not a line in the sand, that's written in concrete. Thursday I had two pieces of pizza that were hard to work around, but I got it done. Today I didn't eat any of the free pizza when I went to training to turn in my volunteer agreement and free up the rest of this evening and tomorrow evening for other purposes. That was another thought in my mind while doing the training online; I'm better about declining free pizza than I was a year ago, but it's safer to just avoid it.

Lines in the sand for fitness is a great concept. These are things you will do, regardless of how much life gets in the way. Right now, my lines in the sand are:

1. Exercise in the breakfast routine, currently pullups and pushups.
2. 10K steps per day, even if I have to go out and walk at 8:30 PM to pump the pedometer number.
3. Get to bed on time at least 6 nights a week.

How about you? Do you know where your lines in the sand are?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great concept! I have to think about what my lines in the sand are vs. what is etched in concrete.

    1928 days ago
    Looks like you have a good routine. Way to go turning away that pizza and again, great pace on the run! Not sure I have any lines in the sand, but did recently purchase a pedometer that I've now deemed totally useless. Took it for the exact same walk, same route, same distance 2 days in a row and it measured almost a thousand steps different and over 3/4 mile different from day one to day two. So while no lines in the sand, I am thinking I might bury my pedometer in the sand.
    1928 days ago
    Nice concept. I also really like the distinction between lines in the sand and those in concrete.
    1929 days ago
    I seriously need to draw some lines...way too much " as the wind blows" lately for me.
    1929 days ago
    Lines in the sand - a wonderful concept. Getting to yoga twice a week is mine. I need it for strength and for getting through the week. Great that you are volunteering on tax!
    1929 days ago
    I like how you have your day planned.
    I guess I call my lines in the sand my focus areas.
    I stick very close to my planned next step in each focus area.
    If something does get in the way it's usually only one time. I either make it up or forget about it and move on to the next day's focus areas.
    1929 days ago
  • DIANE7786
    I love the line in the sand idea. Thanks for sharing.
    1929 days ago
  • DALID414
    Wow, I can't say I've ever put them in writing. My eating plan is in concrete too!
    1929 days ago
    Good job finding yours. Mine are my walking breaks at work, no matter what. And this year, my big hairy marathon training plan. No matter if I feel sluggish... get the minutes in!
    1929 days ago
    Lines in the sand? hmmm . . . .
    Start every day with scripture reading and informed commentary by reputable writers, prayer and quiet time if not actual meditation. Been doing this since retirement.
    Have coffee every morning. Probably not a good line in the sand for a health-focused guy, but my body *really* likes it : )
    Eat breakfast every day. Make it a healthy breakfast except for times when I'm not in control (eg visiting rellies).
    What would be very good for me to do would be to have a couple of lines re: exercise and eating. I'm still sporadic about both. When I'm good, I'm very, very good; but when I'm bad---you guessed it--I'm horrid!

    1929 days ago
  • NWFL59
    Enjoyed this blog very much. I don't have many lines in the sand, actually just one really but I see that if I want to attain my fitness/health goals then I need to establish a couple more. emoticon
    1929 days ago
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