Last year the woman I ran my first marathon with contracted cancer, and three weeks ago, she passed away. In her honor, I’m running my sixth marathon — back to the one we ran together, the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, June 3.

Rebecca and me after our first marathon, June 2007

Now, you’d think that after five marathons in five years, I’d be an old pro. Far from it this time, my friends. In the past couple of years, my career and my new marriage have taken precedence over running, and I’m starting with the beginning training schedules again, taking each mile one step at a time in hopes my body will remember that once I was a pretty dedicated runner.

This personal quest, like many before, echoes where I am in my professional life. On August 30 of last year, I wrote that I was shutting the doors of my copywriting business to focus on being an author and speaker. But I jumped off that bridge with something of a safety net — a “part-time,” seasonal position at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I put “part-time” in parentheses because the job turned out to be quite time consuming, and now that it has come to an end (as of Friday of last week), I’m left here on square one with my new business as well.

So as I sit here on the first full day of the first full week without having to juggle the other job, I’m looking for a road map to success. Should I send out emails to anyone and everyone who might hire me as a speaker? Start working on another book? Jump back into social media? Attend a conference for speakers to get back on track? I’m out of shape as a business owner as well, and I have to start with the beginner’s schedule to catch up.

My marathon coaches have a plan to get me back into shape. Each week — each day, even — they spell out exactly what I need to do to cross the finish line in June. But right now I have no such plan for Your Nerdy Best Friend. I think my best bet is to first get caught up on some basic business chores (like accounting and taxes), then take myself away for three or so days to draw my own road map. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again. I just need to remember to take it one step at a time.

So, what’s your Square One story? Are you starting something new in 2012 and floundering about your first steps? Share your challenges, and perhaps we can all help each other.

PS — I’d be honored, truly honored, if you took a moment to read my friend’s story as told by her husband (it will touch your heart, I promise) and to donate any small amount in her honor. If cancer has touched your home, please join me in the fight to stop this dreaded disease from taking more of our friends and family too soon.