My body asked me to stop running.

I was an avid runner three years ago. I had the right shoes, a fancy watch, and knew all my vital stats that helped me train for races. I was never a marathoner because of the time commitment, but I did my share of half, 10K and 5Ks.

I loved it.

It was a refuge for me. A place to go where I could let my mind wander and solve the situations, challenges, and opportunities going on in life and work.

Then, something changed. My age, my form, my training. Something changed as the injuries built up. First, it was planar fasciitis. That sharp pain in your heel that makes it hurt to stand or walk, much less run. That was an eight-month layoff full of nothing. Don’t do anything. Work on the heel through stretching, Physical Therapy, and just wait.

Then, not six months later, I tore a muscle in my left thigh right where it meets the hip. I had to have surgery to connect it back together. One doctor told me I should shut everything down for the rest of my life. What? No more physical sports? Not the kind that puts intense pressure on my muscles.

Thankfully, a crafty physical therapist and I worked together for another eight months to get me back to fighting shape. I went back to old man soccer and lifting weights, but I was scared of just running. Maybe I was done.

Acumen is going through a growth phase, ramping up other cities, cultivating new relationships, and reaching new CEOs and Owners. As the stress of new opportunities and challenges mounted up, I found that I longed for my old refuge, running. I needed a place where I could go and work things out.

I started running again.

Not with the same fervor as my previous runner self. My runs now don’t involve a watch, have no phone or earbuds, and are a little slower, much shorter, and yet, they still do the same thing: offer me a refuge.

If you don’t know this yet, going outside in the Midwest is like getting into your black car with black leather interior after it’s been sitting in the sun all day without opening the windows or turning on the AC. It’s all sorts of muggy hot.

As I ran the other day in this wet inferno on my slow run, I noticed my heart rate was too high, and the sweat pouring off my brow was too ferocious to keep pounding out the strides. I saw another runner taking a break under a tree.

Some of the best ideas come from watching and learning from others, don’t they? So, at the next big shady spot, I did something I’ve never done on a run: I stopped to take a break. That was a funny realization. In all my runs, one of my unwritten rules was never to stop. If I stopped, then I might not start again.

Well, this old dog is a little wiser. It turns out that if you slow down to learn from others, stop to catch your breath, and turn down your body heat, you get to keep running. Imagine that!

That shade was my refuge for my body and from the sun. Running keeps my mind straight and working hard, but I won’t be able to run as far without a refuge.

How fast are you running?

What is your body telling you about that?

Are you running towards an injury that you know you can avoid?

Where do you seek shelter, protection, rest, ideas, and community from your everyday muggy inferno?

Where is your refuge?

If you are looking for a refuge for this long run you are on, come and stand in our shade. You’ll meet many other CEOs and Owners doing the same.