In my last post, I wrote about the beginnings of FormFire. In this post, I’d like to write about the toll it took on me and what I learned about dealing with stress. Anyone who knows me knows I like to run. A lot. In fact I think I drive my colleagues nuts by skipping out at lunch practically every day. I was a runner from a very young age, but I slowed down in college and just about stopped altogether during the beginning of my work career. That’s where it caught up to me. During the final 8 or 9 months before FormFire was officially launched, there was a lot of work to be done. I was used to long hours leading up to the big leap, but this was different. This is where things got crazy. A typical day involved going into work in the morning (I was still at Herbruck Alder), staying until 5:00 or 6:00, having a quick dinner at home, then working until 2:00 in the morning. Or 3:00. Or 4:00. Or just skipping sleep altogether then going back to work. Typical weeks were 80 to 100 hours. 120 happened a few times. [caption id="attachment_1451" align="alignright" width="300"] 2013 Northcoast 24 hour at Edgewater Park[/caption] It got to a point where even taking time to make any kind of a decent meal was too inefficient. Frozen pizza or delivery was faster and I could eat while I worked. I saw my health and sanity starting to decline and my weight going up. I was also becoming miserable to be around. My partner, Colin, and I intended to officially launch FormFire on January 1st, 2006. Everything led up to this day and I was on a one-track, laser-focused mission to have the system ready. Knowing there was a fixed date gave me a goal - which was good, because I knew I couldn't go on like that forever. I told myself that once I hit it, I had to do something about getting my life back. I had wanted to run a marathon since my cross country days so that was it. On January 1st, 2006, two things happened: FormFire, LLC came into existence and I started running again. I trained up until the Cleveland marathon in May that year, coming in over 4 hours, but happy. I decided that I needed to keep running. I needed the release. I needed the time to think. I needed to stay healthy. This has served me well as an entrepreneur. We’re fortunate to have a fitness center in our building and it’s not uncommon for me to grab a quick run and a shower if I need some clarity. Running has become part of my life. I've run dozens of marathons and ultras since 2006. I run at lunch. I run before work. I run after work. Sometimes all three. But it keeps me grounded. It lets me burn off energy. It also makes me more productive. I've learned that sometimes grinding away on a problem for hours on end gets me nowhere. Stepping away allows me to come back focused. While running may not be your cup of tea, I think it’s vital to have something – some distraction, hobby, sport or whatever - to deal with the stress of hard work. Trust me. Your mind and body (perhaps even your colleagues) will thank you for it.