Move It Mama Monday! Walking To Mordor

One does not simply walk into Mordor…

Except that one does. Well, Frodo and Sam certainly did. I think Gollum sort of slunk or slithered his way in.

But to get to the point…

Last month I signed up with Nerd Fitness Academy. NFA is a website that offers advice, informatin, and motivation for people looking to get into better shape. It’s set up like a traditional RPG for the most part, allowing users to choose a character class – warrior, assassin, ranger, and ninja – to help people set fitness and health goals and achieve them. The more goals or “quests” you achieve, the more points you accrue on NFA, and as you accrue points, you level up. The program makes good use of the nerd/geek theme to motivate users, I think, and so far, I’ve had fun following the various parts of the program and working on quests.

One of the quests I’ve been working on is the “Walk to Mordor.” The goal of the Walk to Mordor is to get into the habit of walking daily. To complete the quest, you have to walk for at least 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks straight. I’ve been working hard at this one for over a month now. Sadly, I have not yet achieved that goal.

Why? Why can I not manage to get in at least a 5-minute walk every day?

Well, it all comes down to priorites. Most weeks, I have been able to walk at least 30 minutes every day for 6 days straight. Then the 7th day comes along. The 7th day is usually the day I have a Girl Scout event to run – a troop meeting, an outing, a certain murder mystery party, etc. Girl Scouts usually takes up one full day of my week, every week, in addition to the 1-2 hours I put into volunteering for Girl Scouts everyday.

I have come to realize that 6 out of every 7 days, I can and will make walking a top priority. As soon as I get up on those 6 days, I will put on my exercise clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head out the door. I will walk 3-4 miles a day during those 6 days. But come that 7th day, my priorities are very different.

On the days that I work Girl Scout events, my only priority is Girl Scouts. I am up by 6:30AM, sometimes even earlier. Chances are very good that I was up until after midnight the night before, preparing for the event in question. So I’ll be a little low on sleep. But I will be up early because I need that time to clean my house (if the event is at my home), prepare a meal and/or snacks for the girls, double-check paperwork for the event, set out supplies for activities, check email for any last-minute communications from other volunteers or parents, drive to the event if it’s not at my home, probably pick up some Girl Scouts along the way who need a ride, gather and store receipts for anything we purchase that day (because I have to account for how the troop spends its money), check in girls at the event, run and/or get through the event, surpervise the girls in their activities, lead the activities, supervise clean-up after the activities, check the girls back out when their parents come to pick them up, drive home any girls that came with me, file the receipts and paperwork, etc., etc., etc.

On days when I do Girl Scout events, I am on my feet all day long. I do not go out for a walk, but I do not stop moving until the event is done and the paperwork is taken care of. And on some days, I don’t even manage to finish that final paperwork before I collapse into bed and pass out. Those days are busy and exhausting. Going for a walk, even a 5-minute walk, doesn’t even enter my mind.

So how can I complete this quest for NFA? Tomorrow, I know I will get up and get out the door and take at least a 3-mile walk. I’ll easily walk more than 10,000 steps (the recommended daily step count) before dinner. And I’ll do the same the next day and the day after that for 6 days straight. But on the 7th day…

I have a Girl Scout troop meeting scheduled. It will run from noon to 5PM. And I guarantee you I will be up by 6:30 that morning to cook, clean, prepare for and run that meeting. I will be busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest until that meeting is over, and then I’ll be deader than a zombie who hasn’t eaten her daily alotment of brains. And I probably will not have taken even a 5-minute walk that day. I will have been moving all day long, but that isn’t part of the qualifications for the “Walk to Mordor” quest.

What to do? Should I get up just a bit earlier so I can take that 5-minute walk? I’ll probably be low on sleep that morning, but I could try it. Or maybe I should adjust the goals of the quest a bit? Instead of walking 14 days in a row, set the goal of walking 6 days a week for 4 weeks straight?

I don’t know. I’m considering posting the question on the NFA forums to see what people think. In fact, that’s probably exactly what I should do. And maybe I will if. Unless, of course, I choose to use that time to go for a 5-minute walk instead.

Like I said, it’s about priorities. And choosing how to spend 5 minutes can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to achieve a goal.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. If you’re on your feet all day (except when you’re in the car) but don’t actually fit in a dedicated five-minute walk, I think that still counts. To my mind, a “walk five minutes every day” goal is about finding and meeting a Complete Willingness Unit (the smallest action you can take towards your goal so you can just do it without getting overwhelmed by the whole thing) so you can get used to being physically active every day. Five minutes makes a big difference from zero minutes, and once you’re regularly doing five minutes it’s not as hard to do ten minutes.

    When you’re already cheerily doing a three-mile walk six days a week, you’ve met that baseline and then some. You’re not breaking the chain by sitting on your ass watching TV all day on that seventh day—you’re still constantly moving, which is the underlying point of such a challenge. I would count it.

    I have a similar gamification thing for general tasks called HabitRPG and exercise is one of my thing. I originally pictured it as half an hour of yoga or biking or running or walking the dog, which are things we tend to think of as “real exercise,” but I also give myself points for walking to school (15-20 minutes mostly uphill), shopping trips of reasonable length, and my library shifts (which include 30-60 minutes of walking while reshelving books).

    I think if you’re clearly fulfilling the spirit of the quest, you shouldn’t have to haggle too much about the letter.

  2. DDog,

    I understand exactly what you’re saying, but that’s the issue I’ve been pondering. What is the spirit of the quest? I’ve been thinking about it all week, and this is what I’ve come up with. Ever since I tore my ACL two years ago, I quit driving into the school parking lot to pick up the kids and now I park about 150 yards away in the parking lot of a nearby building. For a while, that was my dedicated walk every day, and I still do it (since I HATE sitting in the school parking lot for pick up).

    Part of me thinks that the spirit of this is the idea of deliberately setting aside even a little time from everything else I’m doing in order to do that 5 minutes of walking. And I think this because one of the reasons why I’m walking is to keep my blood pressure down. And the best way to do that is to step away from the work that demands so much of my time.

    So it’s not about staying on my feet all day. It’s about taking a little bit of time to take care of myself instead of doing work for someone else.

    I did come up with a solution for this, I think. I can either take that walk the very first thing when I get up (just 5 minutes, but I’m still taking it), or I can spend 5 minutes on the elliptical machine we have once the Girl Scout event of the day is done. Usually, by the time I’m done with Girl Scouts on that day, it’s way too dark to walk. But I can do the elliptical machine, since it’s right there in my well-lit living room, and that’s what I did today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.