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As I run more and more, the calluses on my feet slowly build back up. Hardening, then flaking the dead skin that is no longer needed. Sometimes painful when pressure is applied, but then the pain subsides and a thicker, more protective layer is there. A layer that will help me carry on through difficulty, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

My feet are beginning to look familiar again. No longer soft and smooth, but gnarly and grotesque, the way I like them. The way I need them to be to carry me on all the paths I choose to take.

The roughness I spent so long perfecting disappeared so quickly. And now, although it is reappearing, I know it will once again take time to cultivate the vehicles for speed that I long for. The feet of a warrior. The feet of a worker. The feet that have carried me for many miles, and will carry me for many more. The toes that are not attractive to some in a pair of espadrilles, but that bring a smile to my face when I see a kindred spirit with blisters, callouses, and weird toenails that look more like those of a tortoise than a human being.

The regrowth of my calluses reminds me of how far I have to go, but it also reminds me that I am going. I am making progress. My body is adapting. Slowly. One layer of skin at a time. One step at a time. One day at a time. One mile at a time. And when I no longer feel the calluses changing so aggressively, I'll know that the base is built. I'll know the work to specify is ready to happen. My body will be shaped to pound the miles out and hone my skills. Right now, my body is not ready to hone any skills. It is still rebuilding. It is setting the foundation for which my goals will be pursued, on which my dreams will be manifested.

But patience is a virtue. This process cannot be rushed. Nor do I want to rush it. I enjoy the days of now when I take my shoes off with a grimace as my big toe scrapes the side of my shoe. It reminds me of that time just a few short years ago when my aspirations were crazy. And then they came true. The day I take my shoes off and my feet feel good, I'll know I'm ready to begin sculpting. But for now, I'm gathering the stone.

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