At the very least, I can say it was grueling. Words like painful, horrible and vigorous also come to mind. Is she talking about running the ultramarathon, you ask, or possibly taking on the Ironman Triathlon? No, I’m talking about going on my first jog–a measly three miles–since having my baby five months ago.

In the months leading up to this run (if I can even call it that), I was stuck in a no-exercise rut. I had found every excuse not to go: “The baby has a cold.” “It’s too chilly outside.” “It’s getting too dark.” “I thought I saw a dog running loose in the neighborhood.” But yesterday, something in me finally clicked. I thought, “Enough excuses. Get out there and get moving.”

So I fastened the boy into the jogging stroller, handed him a toy, strapped on my iPod and hit the pavement. For about two minutes, it felt great. Wow, could I really do this after taking a year off? The answer quickly came: NO! At least, not the way I used to be able to. My three-mile run–which was actually a two-mile walk and one-mile run–took nearly 40 minutes, and my heart rate was likely much higher than it should have been. But the point is, I got out there and I got started.

In today’s struggling economy, it’s hard to stay motivated–whether at work or at home. As the unemployment rate keeps soaring, companies continue to impose layoffs and employees continue to feel anxiety about what may be just around the corner for them. Employee morale is at an all-time low. In times like these, it’s easy to fall into a rut and begin to lose interest in work. As a result, quality often suffers.

That’s why it’s so important right now to keep our motivations high. Staying busy and doing our jobs well will allow all of us to feel good about what we’re doing and want to continue doing it.

As for my rediscovered exercise routine, it’s going to take me awhile to build myself back up to easily running my usual four-to-six miles. But I’ve taken the first step. And already–as hard as it was–I have the motivation to go out there and do it again and again and again.