January 6th, 2013
10:02 AM ET

Letters to the President #1448: 'Resting and returning'

Reporter's Note: The president has outlined an ambitious agenda for his second term. Hopefully he’s left enough time to read my latest letter.

Dear Mr. President,

I’m slowly trying to ease back into decent mileage with my running. After my last 50-miler in November and the 10K I ran five days later, I was pretty much shot. I needed a break and I took one.

For all of December up until Christmas Day I did not run a step. I rested my legs and body. I ate like a horse. I did not get enough sleep, but I grabbed as much as I could when I could. It all helped. Sure, the first few returns to the trails felt very clunky and I have almost certainly stacked on some extra weight. But overall I seem to have a tiny bit of spring in my step again. I’m looking forward to the runs again, instead of being beaten up by them.

I have loosely set my sights on making the Gettysburg marathon in the spring my first one of the new year. I feel a little tempted to try to slip into the Bull Run 50 Miler again, but I really think that would be a mistake. Too much mileage too soon, and I fear it would make a mess out of the rest of the year of running.

I mention all of this, because while I know you are eager to make the most of your upcoming second term, I think you should also make some realistic assessments about how tired you are, how beaten up your team is, and base on that precisely when you should launch the initiatives that interest you the most.

Taking down time is ridiculously hard, especially if you are an overachiever. (And by definition I think that word applies to all presidents.) But it is also awfully important.

Some of your new plans face formidable opposition; opponents who will not hesitate to bring every bit of their powers to bear against you. If you engage them without a clear, rested mind, and forces who are ready to rumble, I think you’ll regret it.

So enjoy a little down time and don’t rush back to the office too soon. Effective work is what matters, whether it starts right away or in a few weeks.

Call if you get a chance.