by Lewis Carlan in Stories, image by David

Coping with being an unemployed runner

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On January 6th 2011 I became a statistic. I joined the 7.8% of Canadians who are unemployed. I was completely caught off guard when I was told I was being let go due to lack of work. I took the news kind of hard, I was almost waiting for my former boss to say, “Gotcha! now get back to work.” But she never did.
I took my final paycheck and left her office.

After I made my rounds of saying good bye and cleaning off my desk, I left the building where I was now formerly employed. My first stop was the bank to deposit my last check and thought about how I can break the news to my wife. I was going to call her, but thought it might be best to tell her in person. We already were having our financial struggles and figured this news would really stress her out. So I waited. I tried to call my dad to chat but he wasn’t available. Needing to speak with someone, I got a good friend of mine on the phone and we spoke about what happened for a bit. It felt good talking about it with someone.

I decided to walk around Toronto for a bit, not wanting to go home right away. I went into a few bookstores, etc then had lunch. I looked at my watch and saw it was now after 1. It was time to venture home. I caught a bus around 2 and started my long journey home. All I could think about on the bus ride was, “why me?” and “why didn’t I see this coming?” and “what am I going to do now?” and “how is my wife going to take this?”. I felt panic starting to set in.

Why didn’t I see this coming?

When I got home, I told my wife. She didn’t take the news well. Feeling really stressed out at this point, I decided to do something I love. I put on my running gear and went out for a run. During the run, all I could think about were the days events and how they transpired. I started to get a bit of a headache, so I stopped thinking and started listening. I tuned in on the wonderful sound of the “thump, thump, thump” my feet were making when they hit the pavement. I listened to that sound for the remainder of the run. It was music to my ears! My headache was gone when the run ended and my stress level went way down.

When I got back home, I checked a few emails and one was from my running buddy, Chris. He wanted to know if I was in for a few half marathon races that he was signing up for. My excitement turned into reality when I reminded myself I was now unemployed and paying $80.00 plus per race may not be the best thing to do right now. I sent him back an email and explained the situation letting him know I need to pass on the races.

So my days have turned into basically looking for work and running.  I spend the morning trying to find a job and then run most afternoons getting home in time to pick up my daughter from school. While I hope to find a job very soon, I do enjoy being able to run in the early afternoon during weekdays. It has been very theraputic for me during this tough time.

I was logging my miles in the other day and realized that my running shoes have over 500 miles on them. Time for new shoes I thought, but the reality of being unemployed  put a damper on that. I decided that I will not buy new shoes until I find a new job. That will be my treat to myself when I get a new job, I will buy new shoes and enter a few races. Right now feeding my family is the priority.

As much as I love running, my family comes first.


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