I TOOK TO to running. I ran a lot – shaved nearly five minutes off my best time over seven kilometres. There was plenty of time to stride out on Sydney’s Bay Run in the long winter of 2009. It was one of the things tenuously holding my days together. Each morning I waged an internal civil war just to get up. The tabs opened out across my web browser: news and email, and then the baton relay of Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne, JobSearch, JobsNSW and artsHub. I prodded the vacancy-page recesses of the ABC and SBS. It was less like a trawler dragging its net through a lonely sea than like visiting a row of mongers who sold only a few fresh fish every week, placed strategically atop the stinking pile they had spruiked for weeks. There you were, in a crush of five hundred people, all bidding for the same gleaming meagre catch.
After sending one or two applications – if I found something I was even remotely suited to – it was time to don my paint-speckled shorts and an old T-shirt, and do my stretches. Around lunchtime I hit the tarmac in my worn Dunlop Volleys, finding my gait and settling into a rhythm, managing my breathing and my mind, holding focus, running along the water’s edge at Iron Cove. The tide was out, but I was sure it would eventually come back in.
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