Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pondering Goals

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Work 6p-8a

As is all too common this time of year, I have been pondering my goals. They come in many shapes and forms and span the breadth of my life from work to home and all parts in between and around. I have lived my life in the ever-present shadow of some goal or another and after residency found myself a little lost as this flat, expansive future lay before me with no major obstacles to overcome. With my career goals accomplished, I began to focus on the fitness goals that had had to come second for so long. Many, though not all, of those goals have been reached, and to some degree, I find myself feeling complacent.

I've decided that inertia is a bitch and stagnation its companion. While neither 155# nor the physique and level of physical fitness I now sport is my goal, I no longer disgust myself and even occasionally look in the mirror or at pictures and think, "Thirty-five isn't all that bad after all." I can go and do as I please and outwork everybody I know. My blood pressure at the doctor yesterday was 92/46 the first time and 96/48 the second. And while I might not look like a goddess of health, I don't look like Buddha either. While this is a good thing, it seems to have taken away some of the urgency I felt this time last year, so my workouts don't seem to have that same umph, and my diet needs some tweaking. I am the victim of inertia, and as a result I have stagnated.

Having goals is not the difficult part. I can list goals ad nauseum, but I've discovered that they have little meaning and provide little motivation without a thorough examination of their reason for being--which can become a quagmire of thought. Saying that I want to be fit leads into the question of "why?" and, somewhat more importantly, "what is fit?" The answer to these questions is unique to each person who asks them, and I have been formulating my answers over the last several days.

Fitness for this somewhat paranoid farm girl translates to survivability. Not only is life more fun when body habitus, strength and endurance are not an issue, but physical stressors such as trauma and illness are more likely to be survived--and survived without lifelong disabililty--when the victim starts out in good physical condition. Fat people can't fly in medivac helicopters, and intubating someone who's neck is so damn big as to be nonexistent is a scary prospect. But survival goes beyond that for me to something much darker and probably a little pathologic. For me, the level of fitness I would like to acquire is the type of fitness that would make surviving the proverbial shit hitting the fan much more likely. If one day I am puttering along, Obama is assassinated and the world goes into instant udder pandemonium with riots, fires and all manner of violent chaos, I want to be able to do what I need to do to get the hell of dodge. Or if some sketchy character starts chasing me through the boatdocks of Jacksonville, I would like to feel confident that I can scale the fences and obstacles between me and safety... Yes, I know this is ludicrous and insane, but I continue to acknowledge and embrace my insanity by having these goals.

After defining these goals of fitness, they are best accomplished in small steps, so I've been thinking about what those steps need to be and how to measure progress toward them. A vague idea of a fitness assessment test is forming in my mind, and I will continue to hone this over the next few days. Right now it feels a lot like everyone else's basic fitness assessment with a timed run, pushups, pullups, maybe box jumps, burpees and snatches. I think I mostly I want to stick to bodyweight exercises and would really like to have an O-course to run. I'm struggling, though, with exactly what and how I want to do. Suggestions welcomed.


  1. what is fitness?

    fitness is being able to survive the zombie apocalypse.

    seriously, that's how i define it. what physcial skills would allow me to manage getting through that?

    its all about being built for go and not for show.

  2. I have to agree with Anthony on the fit means being able to survive zombie attacks.

    However, you touched on why my goal list is so long. Re-read it, you'll note that I didn't just list my goals (there are only 6 of them), I listed the steps I think will help me reach my goals.

    They also have a way to measure built in.

  3. Love reading what you write.

    For me, fitness is about having a body that works well for me. And as form follows function, when my body works well, my clothes seem to fit well, which makes me happy.

    Yeah, not having something to shoot for can leave one feeling lost. I'm kinda there. I'm running a 50K in February, but it's not that much of a stretch for me. Now that the marathon is over, "what's next?" is a good question.

    I look forward to us both finding our answers. And I continue to have great admiration and respect for you, Jennifer!

  4. Well, I don't think you're differently insane by framing your fitness direction in terms of SHTF. Many of us are on the same page.

    If it's zombies, you need a suitable gun for each member of your group, and a crapload of ammo for each gun. While the gunless hide, the gunful hunt, as is evident from Night of the Living Dead.

    As for fitness, fitness probably doesn't mean squat in terms of a zombie infestation. No matter how fit you are, you will tire. Zombies won't, which is why you have to kill them from afar.

    Short of competitive wrestling matches and full-contact boxing, I've found the 5-minute snatch test to be a great test of strength, mindfulness, endurance and mental toughness. It just sucks on a deep level, but it also wakes you up on a deep level.

  5. I believe the term I used at RKC was "all-around bad-assedness"

  6. Okay, so now I imagine zombies when I work out. Thanks guys! :)
    And, yes, Mr. Whitley, I had forgotten that you worded it so aptly. I will latch onto that.