Find Your Fifty
"One Step...and then the next gets you where you're going." -Sister Creep
When I was younger, people would ask me what I wanted to do for a living and I always had the same response; "I don't want to lift heavy boxes for a living." Fortunately, I accomplished that goal and have found myself working as a digital artist throughout my career.
I think about how I've been able to turn my hobby and passion into a career on a regular basis and never take it for granted. Working in a temperature-controlled environment, wearing casual clothes (sometimes socks AND shoes), enabling me to create worlds, tell stories, and share my imagination in the form of comics, games, movies, toys and more. Priceless….almost.
Like most digital artists I know, I spend countless hours behind monitors. For years, I would spend on average 18+ hours a day at my desk. This commitment to my art quickly became a health issue. I simply wasn’t physically active. I gained weight, started having lower back issues and found myself with no real work/life balance.
Several years ago, I decided to work on balancing things in my life more and became more aware of what I was eating and started running. A short run turned into a mile, which turned into a 5k, which turned into a half-marathon which led to my first 50-mile Ultramarathon.
Note: An ultramarathon, also called ultra-distance or ultra-running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers (26.219 mi).
I'm currently training for my next ultramarathon and as you can imagine, with an average week of 60+ miles, I've had a little bit of time during my runs to think about what stops most people from stepping away from the computer and becoming more active. For me, it was always a lack of time.
I simply didn’t have time to exercise.
Anyone who knows me knows that it's important to me to close out each day with a list of tasks I've accomplished. I always thought I didn’t have time to exercise AND tackle the ever-growing list of to-dos I make for myself. What I quickly discovered was that if I make exercise part of my weekly routine, I simply did have the time.
I still accomplish my work-related tasks, my weekly runs and have plenty of down time.
I have found running to be my go to activity that works for me. This doesn’t mean everyone should throw on a pair of kicks and start running, though. It's something I enjoy and helps me maintain some balance with the hours at the computer.
Find your fifty.
It may be martial arts, swimming, biking, tennis or any number of activities that gets you active and away from your workstation. I recently discovered Yoga and plan to add it to my weekly routine. What's important is that you find something you enjoy doing that gets you up and moving. Dancing, gardening, or even pulling out that pogo stick you haven’t touched since childhood.
Besides the obvious health benefits that come from exercise, I find that I solve a lot of problems within a few minutes of running that I couldn’t solve behind my computer for hours. I sleep better, feel better and solve problems quicker. Being more active has improved every aspect of my life, and the only regret I have is not starting sooner.
Try adding some time away from the computer a few days a week, and I believe you will discover just how easy it is to add to your routine and how quickly you will see benefits from doing so. Don't try and run a mile right out of the gate, bike 60 miles or swim 100 laps. Start slowly, and build over time.
I'm no fitness guru and not a health expert, but I felt it was important to share how finding ultramarathons has gifted me with a much-needed balance and hope you find your fifty in whatever form works for you.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." -Jim Rohn