_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

I went running today, for the first time in weeks. It was just a couple miles through the hills of my neighborhood in a stolen morning moment, but my legs turned rubbery after the first couple turns and all those cigarettes made themselves known.

It’ll take me a few weeks to get back in fighting shape.

I did the most running of my life the two months I was out of work, the last two months of 2013, exactly one year ago. I had just lost my job of nine years, and though I was focused on where I wanted my career to go, I still went through a bit of an existential crisis. It happens to everyone when they get fired, regardless of the circumstances. Trust me: I’ve been fired a bunch of times.

I knew what I wanted to do; I just had to figure out how to do it, all while battling back waves of uncertainty and self-doubt.

And so I ran. Three miles. Four. Five. I built castles in the air while I cruised greenways and downtown blocks, lost myself in the sound of rushing creek, mapped out strategies and scenarios even as I mapped out my route.

All the while I was getting stronger, pushing myself to see how far I could go, past inclement weather and sharp pain and tight schedules.

I ran. And when it was time to start the real race, I was ready.

But that was nine months ago. And while that time has been filled with near-constant activity for me, I haven’t been doing much running. Not the kind that involves lacing up a pair of sneakers and a long stretch of road.

I run from one meeting to the next, from one task to another. I run from stop to stop while I move a quarter ton of newspapers every week. I run to the office in the morning and I run home to catch my kids before they go to bed on school nights.

And while it certainly shortens my breath and raises my heart rate, it’s an entirely different kind of action. It’s perfectly fine to build a castle in the air, but it will never exist until you start picking up some bricks and digging a moat.

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